My comfort lies in the fact that seven folks elected by town residents have a better idea of what town residents want," Wright said. "Not everybody on the board of supervisors lives and breathes Leesburg." - Kevin Wright, Leesburg Town Council, as quoted in Leesburg TodayThere is one Supervisor on the Board of Supervisors who represents one of the oldest incorporated Towns in Virginia. One Supervisor for whom there is a clear, delineated constiuency that has been on the books for nearly two hundred and fifty years. There is only one Supervisor whose job is to advocate for Leesburg. That Supervisor has been derelict in these duties.
Jim Clem may be the Supervisor from Leesburg, but he is not a Supervisor for Leesburg.
Jim Clem's words and actions as a Supervisor have not served Leesburg. At the League of Women Voters Debate on Wednesday night, Jim Clem's statements and plans were interesting, perhaps even valuable, but remarkably few of them specifically responded to the needs of Leesburg's citizens.
Mr. Clem raised the false issue of immigration, an "issue" which effects eastern Loudoun far more than Leesburg. Only about 8% of Leesburg Residents are even of Latin American origin, and most of those are here legally. Traffic on Route 15 North, for example, is a much more pressing issue to Leesburg than immigration.
Mr. Clem raised public safety in the County as one of the most important actvities of his term on the Board. His work on public safety in Loudoun County is admirable, but the Town of Leesburg maintains its own police force, and is one of the safest towns around. Surely, other Districts have a much greater interest and concern with the County police than the residents of a town with its own police force? If the public safety responsibilities were transferred to a Supervisor whose district has a greater need of County public safety services, the Leesburg Supervisor could focus on another pressing Leesburg issue, perhaps affordable housing.
Mr. Clem lambasted the Town Council (and has continuously done so for years) for denyng or opposing governmental decisions which would ease development in and around the town. This brings us back to Councilmember Wright's quote above. Mr. Clem is one man, elected four years ago with the assistance of developers, after significantly expanding development in Leesburg.
Since serving on the Board of Supervisors, Jim Clem has actively thwarted the express preferences of the very Town he represents. He admitted as much at the Leage of Women Voters Debate this week when he said, "If the town had stepped up to the plate, I wouldn't have had to put pressure on them." Mr. Clem found it necessary to pressure the representitives of his own constituents who were elected more recently than he was!
The Leesburg Town Council was elected more recently, and more broadly, by the residents of Leesburg. Seven people spend their time listening and responding to the concerns of Leesburg, even as Supervisor Clem concerns himself with plumbing in western Loudoun.
At Wednesday's debate, Supervisor Clem agreed that keeping the Loudoun County government center in Leesburg was "paramount" and to lose it to another location would be "devastating." Clearly, he is in line with the Town on at least this issue.
Or is he?
“If the county government center moves out [of Leesburg],” there will be an economic hole and the local businesses will feel the “pinch,” he said. “[Council members] need to find some other avenue to generate revenue if the county government should leave.” - Jim Clem, in the Loudoun Times-MirrorOn Wednesday night, Supervisor Clem is discussing how paramount retention of the government center is. But in Tuesday's Loudoun Times-Mirror, he is calling upon the Town to seek alternatives to the government center.
It is no accident that Mr. Clem originally had two Town Council members opposing him for Leesburg Supervisor.
Jim Clem may have been a good Mayor of Leesburg, but he has been a bad Supervisor for Leesburg. As Supervisor, he has stood in the way of the Town's elected leadership, concerned himself with every issue but those that matter to Leesburg, and has voted for every development put before him, except one. On his watch, the County belittled cooperation with the Town and denied even the most reasonable requests put forward for Leesburg's citizens. Even as a member of the Board majority, Mr. Clem could not get the Board to refrain from using push polls in campaigning!
Supervisor Jim Clem has been an ineffective and absent advocate for Leesburg.
It is time for a change.