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  1. Having taken copious notes I can summarize the evening of the town council and mayoral candidates as follows: the mayoral session was boring and between stressing TOURISM and ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE COMMUNITY, the disproportionate share of taxes paid by the town taxpayer vs the county taxpayer was mentioned. Walter Duncan’s report of this issue should be read by all. Only a handful of average town folks could be seen present with the rest of attendees being the usual important figures of the town, and the small niche of people that are interested in town affairs. Both candidates relied heavily on prepared statements and too little time was given for any real substance to be given in their responses.
    My picks for prospective councilman would be Eugene Tewalt, Bret Hrbek, and Linda Allen, all of whom spoke clearly and confidently when answering questions. They also did not pander to the crowd and their prospective voters by providing answers which merely were meant to be short and safe, while attracting simple minded voters; i.e. “I’ve never voted to raise taxes, and I never will”.
    JOBS, JOBS, and more JOBS needed was generally agreed to be the theme of all of the candidates. How to provide them included hiring a “headhunter” to attract businesses, to buillding a R&D, TECH, Science based mega business center at the Royal Phoenix development project. Tourism continued to be touted as the savior of Front Royal in the future. Everyone seemed to be o.k on future development as long as it’s “done the right way”.
    The issue of Annexation uncovered some differences in the candidates with only Hrbek and Tewalt being open minded to the possibility of annexation, if done properly.
    Chris Holloway thought the present council was doing a good job with communicating with the County, and the E.D.A., and saw no need for annexation. He thinks tourism isn’t a problem and their doing a good job now in that regard, (If it’s not broke….trouble is, it is broke and needs fixing). Time to clean house, bring back the men and get rid of the “good ole boys” who seem to be good at only getting rid of anyone who threatens their good times, (Michael Graham) or they just wear you down with their nonsense, (Tom Conkey) or they scare away any real job opportunities for fear of innovative solutions–solar panels, or they just plain won’t make a decision to support or not support an innovative project that could provide cost savings, revenue, and a socially responsible way to dispose of their waste–“vermistabilization” –yours truly. Bottom line is they will tell you whatever you want to hear and then you will never hear from them. What’s truly disturbing is it doesn’t look as if the voter turnout is going to be much different from the past judging by the limited number of “real” town folk present at the candidates forum. I hope I’m wrong and the voters will voice their opinions with their vote.

    Jerry Scholder

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