High-Tax Foe in Vienna to Challenge Devolites

Article excerpt

Byline: Marlene L. Johnson

Arthur G. Purves, a Vienna resident for 25 years, will challenge Delegate Jeannemarie A. Devolites in the Aug. 21 primary for the Republican nomination to represent the 35th District in Virginia's General Assembly. Mr. Purves said he is opposing Mrs. Devolites because of her support for higher taxes. He cites this year's General Assembly session when the House of Delegates voted three times to approve a referendum to increase the state sales tax from 4.5 cents to either 5 cents or 5.5 cents.

Although HB2776 was ultimately defeated - but by only two votes - Mrs. Devolites voted for higher taxes all three times.

"Fairfax County taxpayers had a 6 percent real estate tax increase last year and an 11 percent real estate tax increase this year. Now Delegate Devolites wants to increase the sales tax by 20 percent," he said.

"We need a delegate who will oppose - not support - the waste driving these endless tax increases."

He said since Katherine Hanley became chairman of the Board of Supervisors in 1995, Fairfax County tax revenues have increased $300 million more than required to keep up with population growth and inflation.

Mr. Purves is a social conservative who opposes abortion, favors tuition tax credits and returning the Ten Commandments to public schools to improve education and to reduce the demand for social spending.

FAIR WARNING

The District could face another crime crisis unless it draws up a plan soon to meet rising opposition by residents to halfway houses in their neighborhoods, so warns D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, a Democrat.

As a result of the lack of such plan, the recidivism rate is rising, although it is still 50 percent below what it was when the District controlled the offender system, Mrs. Norton said.

At least 40 percent of the offenders leaving the system have no home whatsoever, leaving them especially vulnerable to street temptations because halfway house beds are unavailable.

"What residents do not know is hurting them, especially the figures on reduction in crime once offenders have had access to halfway houses," the District's nonvoting member of Congress said at a July 20 hearing.

As many as one-third of inmates do not get the full halfway house treatment, said Jasper Ormond, interim director of the Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency. Mr. Ormond testified that even when inmates get the full halfway house treatment, the 120-day period of confined treatment and monitoring is cut in half for lack of beds. He said even some sex offenders are moving into the community without all the resources they need because there is not enough halfway house space for them to remain longer.

Mrs. Norton has asked Mayor Anthony A. Williams to immediately issue an executive order, drawn in part from legislation passed by the D.C. Council, to set up a citizen commission to propose criteria for developing a plan for the distribution of halfway houses.

The delegate said that, in the interim, the city should organize an emergency transition working group to assure temporary or permanent space for offenders, rather than have them released into the community without the treatment and monitoring that has produced the reduction in crime by offenders.

NEW BEST FRIENDS

Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, Louisiana Democrat, and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, Democrat, have resolved their differences over language in legislation regarding the District's chief financial officer.

"I very much appreciate the way my friend Mary Landrieu was willing to discuss this matter with my District colleagues and me," Mrs. Norton said.

Mrs. Landrieu withdrew language overriding the D.C. Council's legislation for the chief financial officer as well as the language attaching the D.C. General Hospital contract and converting it to federal statutory language. …