|Dear Friends and Neighbors,|
Thanks to everyone who came out last month and made my first coffee of the season a success. The discussion was lively, with topics ranging from ABC privatization to whether Virginia should adopt the national Common Core educational standards. My second event will be held this Saturday morning from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Main Street Bagel in the City of Fairfax. Stop on by, bring your ideas, and join in on the conversation.
George Mason University Community Advisory Council
It has long been a goal of mine to not only improve communication between George Mason University and the surrounding communities, but to also ensure that local residents have meaningful input into decisions before they are finalized. When I was growing up in Kings Park West, George Mason University was a sleepy college nestled in the middle of the woods. Today, depending on the day of the week, GMU now vies with Virginia Commonwealth University as the largest university in Virginia by population. While GMU is a world-class university and a source of great pride, the dramatic changes have also come with frustration, especially since GMU isn't subject to local government rules and regulations. These issues include traffic, parking, and noise - just to name a few.
Over the past several years, I have been working with GMU, Fairfax County, and the City of Fairfax to find a way to build a stronger, more collaborative relationship between GMU and the surrounding communities. On September 29th, I was proud to facilitate the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding to establish a formal George Mason University Community Advisory Council. Unlike earlier efforts, the MOU establishes specific expectations for what information needs to be shared and when as well as a system of accountability to ensure that issues are identified and discussed before decisions are made by GMU's administration or Board of Visitors. For instance, all changes to GMU's Six Year Capital Plan will be reviewed by the council prior to submittal to the Board of Visitors or the Commonwealth of Virginia for approval. On hand for the signing were GMU President Alan Merten, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, City of Fairfax Mayor Rob Lederer, and Braddock Supervisor John Cook.
The Advisory Council will include five members from the County, five members from the City, and three members from GMU. I am pleased that GMU's appointees include individuals who have direct authority to influence decisions, including Chief of Staff Tom Hennessey, Director of Community Relations Traci Claar, and Director of Campus Planning Cathy Wolfe. The City and County are currently in the process of appointing their members.
Like any process - this will take time and a lot of hard work. But I am excited about this new opportunity. A full copy of the MOU can be found at www.davidbulova.com.
The "Quick Guide"
Do you ever wish that there was one place you could go for information about the literally hundreds of human service providers in Northern Virginia? Well, that is actually what the Northern Virginia Regional Commission has been doing for years! The "Quick Guide Online" is a free service that provides a searchable index of the names and phone numbers of the most frequently requested human services in Northern Virginia. For more information, visit www.novaregion.org/index.aspx?nid=281.
As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve. I hope to see you this Saturday morning for coffee and conversation!