Jim Burton is running for re-election to the Board of Supervisors to represent the Blue Ridge District.
We should re-elect him because we need a proven and experienced hand to deal with the budget, the first piece of business before the Board next January 2012; and we can’t afford to have someone learning “on the job” – not in these difficult economic times.
Jim has been the Blue Ridge Supervisor, repeatedly elected since 1995 as an Independent, first in the Mercer District before it became the Blue Ridge District.
Jim is well regarded for how he combines thoughtful reflection with constructive action in the County’s best interest. With his background, that’s no surprise.
Jim is from Normal, Illinois, from a Railroad family, having by-passed a pro baseball career, to join the first class at the Air Force Academy.
Jim’s character was cast during his service with the legendary John Boyd, a defense department reformer and one of the greatest fighter pilots that ever lived.
Jim met Boyd after Jim had graduated from the Air Force Academy, after Jim had flown tankers for the Strategic Air Command (SAC), and after Jim had attended the Squadron Officers School, the Air Command and Staff College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.
Boyd’s most poignant advice to Jim was to do “what was right for the situation.”
Jim lived that advice when, as a specialist in weapons acquisition and testing, he charged the Defense Department’s “business of buying weapons” was “dirty and corrupt” at the expense of the soldier’s safety, focusing on the untested $14 Billion Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s poor design. Jim successfully fought to make the vehicle safe and combat ready, wrote an award-winning book exposing the scandal, and was portrayed in a movie about the whole incident (played by the leading man from the ‘Princess Bride’ (yes, really!)).
After Jim retired from the military to Aldie, there was a large flap over the sprawl development involving 50 homes west of Aldie. Jim was concerned, “change [was] coming that [was] dramatic … at a pace that we [were] not able to adjust to,” and there’d be “dislocations.” Jim believes in “smart development,” that is, “at a rate that the community can adjust to and … for which the community can provide the necessary amenities and facilities.”
Jim appeared at many public meetings to argue this point until a Sheriff’s Deputy served him with a subpoena issued by a developer seeking Jim’s personal records, all because Jim spoke against his development.
While the subpoena was quashed, Jim was angry that this had happened at all, prompting him to run for the first time to the Board of Supervisors.
As a kind of wake-up call, Jim underscored the fact, that presently “we have 41,000 un-built residential units in the pipeline.”
Jim says that, despite the economic challenges, and the limitations imposed by Richmond on what the Board can do legally, we have still managed to have lower taxes than in 2009, continue to preserve the County’s triple A rating and we can hold to a sound course, if we budget carefully, forego certain expenses in the short term, prevent changes to the comprehensive plan, and resist those who would open the transition area for development.
In conclusion, we need to have Jim re-elected to the Board of Supervisors for all that he’s done and what else he can do to make a difference for the better.
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