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Connolly Gets Tough...With Average Joe

washingtonpost.com editors

All Chris Short wanted to do on Monday afternoon was read his statement to the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. All Chairman Gerry Connolly wanted to do was argue.

The board was holding a public hearing on a proposal to limit the use of the temporary portable storage containers, such as PODS, that have become omnipresent in some neighborhoods. The usual format is for citizens to have their say with a minimum of comment from elected officials, save an occasional question for clarification.

Connolly is, by and large, courteous to his speakers but will, from time to time--usually in the midst of a long afternoon--go off on some unsuspecting citizen.


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VIDEO | Posted: Sept. 10, 2007
"I really think there shouldn't be any government restriction on the way property owners in this county use their property," said Short, who identified himself as a PODS employee who lives in Vienna.

"Really?" said Connolly, ramping up for a debate.

"Absolutely," said Short, with a fragment of nervous laughter.

"Really? So you don't--forgive me for interrupting--you don't think we should have any interest in how high a building is...

"Well, I'm not here to argue with you about that," said Short, clearly not accustomed to speaking in public and no doubt wondering what kind of ambush he'd walked into.

"I'm just trying to understand your assertion, sir," said Connolly. "So we should not have any building height restrictions...on residences. Is that correct?"

"I would say not. Obviously you guys have a different opinion. I'm not here to argue with you."

"Really? Well, actually the Code of Virginia has a different opinion," said Connolly, making sure Short knew he wasn't addressing one of the guys.

Connolly eventually took pity on Short and, having taken up most of the three-minute time limit, gave him extra time. But the flustered Short never regained his footing.

By washingtonpost.com editors  |  September 14, 2007; 10:31 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque  
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