The banner headline in the Northern Virginia Daily newspaper said it all: CLEAN SWEEP. Voters this week in Front Royal, Virginia, dumped their long-standing Mayor, along with 3 incumbent city councilors — all of whom had voted in favor of a controversial rezoning for a Wal-Mart supercenter. The paper said the pro Wal-Mart clique was carried out by a “wave of voter dissatisfaction.” The new Mayor, Jim Eastham, won with 55% of the vote. Defeated Mayor Robert Tennett “was not able to shake off the close association with his support for the controversial rezoning measure.” The new Mayor said Wal-Mart was only part of the growth challenges facing this small community. The in-coming Mayor has served for 18 years on the town’s Planning Commmission. A total of 2,408 people cast ballots in the election, or roughly one-third of the eligible voters. All the incumbents who were rejected by voters placed their support behind a rezoning effort on July 28th, changing 121 acres from residential to commercial. The City council’s vote was taken to court by local residents, and the trial is scheduled for this fall.
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