Ken Elston
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I love to cook. Haven’t had much time for it this summer, as I have added campaigning for City Council to my to do list, but I love cooking. A dear friend gave us a bumper sticker. We keep it on the fridge. It says, “Love people. Cook them good food.” Words to live by.

What makes good food? Great ingredients make good food. The art of cooking lies in showcasing the best ingredients.

Thoughtful preparation helps in making great food, too, because you have to prioritize and recognize the importance of timing in the whole affair. The pairing of flavors, attention to detail, and determining when to do this important cooking before that important chopping, so that plating and enjoyment are both optimized, defines the experience of the finished product.

The spirit of approach probably matters, too. Cooking for people with love is important. You attend to the ingredients, prioritize, and work really hard in the heat, because you care about all the people you are doing it for.

Manassas has all the wonderful ingredients and boundless potential needed to satisfy our entire population. Ten square miles that can be showcased artfully, but it will take a thoughtful approach to prioritizing our efforts, so that we optimize the experience for all.

The spirit of approach really does matters. Governing for people with love is important. You attend to the citizens, prioritize, and work really hard in the heat, because you care about all the people you are doing it for.

Let’s get cooking, Manassas.


Imagine that perfect “Hometown, America.” When I think of it, it’s a place where children play on streets that are safe and clean, attend the best schools, and where neighbors know and look out for each other. Now, imagine what it would take for this vision to be the truth about Manassas. Even with our problems [shared with other small cities], we may not be that far away from that small town ideal.

We have a terrific police force, as well as great fire and rescue services. Those who manage those services are some of the best in the business. Each budget cycle they tell us what is needed to achieve top-notch status. If our political leadership support their well-reasoned, achievable goals, our streets are safer.

Clean streets that drain properly, that can support increases in car, bike and pedestrian traffic, and that visually brand our city in a positive way during inevitable growth are manageable necessities for our future. Our city already (or is it still? again?) looks good in places. The new welcome signs are genuinely welcoming, and I applaud the efforts that went in to getting them. Let us keep supporting improvements. We have to hit some new benchmarks, and focus on more than just the flashy things, if we are going to do what is absolutely necessary for the citizens of the city now, let alone position ourselves for a bright future.

Our school system does a fine job of educating our youth and dealing with current challenges. For the most part, our children are having good experiences with caring teachers. The schools are handling high numbers well, and they are identifying those needs that would have to be filled to really go from good to great. The elected School Board and appointed school administration have been good stewards of the public’s money and their trust. Trust them to do their duty, and support them in meeting and resolving challenges, and we will have the school system we would all want for our children and grandchildren.

Besides resulting in the kind of city we all want, that kind of community investment saves significant money long-term and attracts the kind of investment we need. These priorities keep Manassas City a great place to live. They are worth our time and consideration. As a city leader, I will focus on the things that matter most to our city and help to make us what we want to be. We don’t have to simply imagine. We can make it happen.