——– Original Message ——–
|Subject:||Now We’re Facing ~3,650 Homes/11,000 People Behind Jiffy Lube Live; What You Can Do|
|Date:||Sun, 07 Sep 2014 22:19:08 -0400|
|From:||Ralph Stephenson <e-mail address withheld>|
|To:||Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <e-mail address withheld>|
|CC:||Stewart, Corey <email@example.com>, May, Michael C. <MCMay@pwcgov.org>, Caddigan, Maureen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Covington, Wally <email@example.com>, Nohe, Marty <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Principi, Frank <email@example.com>, Candland, Peter <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Jenkins, John <email@example.com>, Haynes, Austin B. (Chairman) <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Burgess, Ron <email@example.com>, Vanegas, Alex <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Arnold, Fran <email@example.com>, Holley, Edgar Bruce <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Hosen, Kim <email@example.com>, Fry, Rene <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Bryant, Russell <email@example.com>|
All: In democracies, the people tend to get the kind of government they have earned and deserve. If citizens don’t become informed, don’t vote, don’t take the time to get involved, they’ll have a government that is run entirely by elites who typically won’t care much about the people’s interests, just their own. Nowhere is this more true than at the local level, where there’s no one looking out for your welfare but you. Yet at no other level of government are government decisions likely to affect you more directly and immediately than at the local level, and at no level of government elections is voter turnout lower — usually around 5% in Prince William County (PWC).
Virtual non-participation by those of us who are just ordinary citizens in PWC so far has gotten us a local government of the residential developers, by the developers, and for the developers. To see what the residential developers have given us so far, I refer you to the first two links immediately below (similar to the e-mail I sent you on 27 August 2014) and the third link, an e-mail exchange I had recently with PWC BOCS Chairman Corey Stewart. (SEE PARAGRAPHS BELOW THAT FOR INFO ON HOW MUCH STONE HAVEN’S DEVELOPERS ARE PAYING INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF THE PWC BOARD OF COUNTY SUPERVISORS — BOCS.)
Email Exchange: Falsities in Chmn Stewart’s Reply on Rez Development, Taxes, County’s Economy, etc; Stone Haven
On 3 September 2014, the PWC Planning Commission, the PWC Board of County Supervisors (BOCS)’ advisory board on land use, approved for final vote/final decision by the BOCS — PROBABLY IN EARLY OCTOBER 2014 — a plan to put 1,650 houses/5,000 people, assuming the county average of 3 people per house, on ~1.25 acres behind Jiffy Lube Live. (Note that the realty industry/residential developers and their friends and families showed up for the Planning Commission hearing and fielded 17 speakers; as for ordinary citizens who opposed the project and will be most hurt by it, only 12 showed up to speak.)
But wait; there’s more. Just submitted and beginning the county review process is another development behind Jiffy Lube Live, Prince William Station — with ~2,000 houses on perhaps 1+ square mile of land. So, if local citizens don’t stand up now and start protesting loudly, pretty soon we’ll have (1,650 + 2,000 houses) x 3 people in each house = 11,000 people on ~2.5 square miles right in the middle of what is already one of the most congested areas in the state. See left-middle of screen shot below for map of these two upcoming developments.
- much worse overcrowding in our schools;
- much worse traffic congestion;
- huge indirect taxpayer subsidies/corporate welfare to developers for unneeded housing (see two links above for further details on that);
- less green space and, in the case of Stone Haven, possible violations of county open space policies;
- the very real danger of slummification over time from a) population densities per square mile that are almost twice that of Bangladesh and b) single family homes only 5 feet from property lines;
- less county land available for employment uses, resulting in a potential 6,623-13,245 jobs lost forever and a further acceleration of PWC’s drift down the path of a low-wage, commuter economy (see: “County votes to re-examine land protection goals of Rural Crescent”);
- a political environment in Prince William County where residential land developers’ political campaign contributions determine county policy.
Note that FIVE OF THE EIGHT BOCS MEMBERS HAVE RECEIVED AMOUNTS RANGING FROM $1,000 TO $11,000 FROM THE STONE HAVEN REALTY COMPANY RK REALTY AND/OR DEVELOPER EV HUNTER TRUST. LEADING THE PACK ARE STEWART, WHO’S RECEIVED $11,000, AND COVINGTON, WHO’S BAGGED $6,500. See e-mail below for details and documentation. The only one of the five who’s received these payoffs and is not known to be a likely “yes” vote is Peter Candland. The other four are strong “yes” votes and completely compromised on this issue — bought off, unobjective; they should recuse themselves from the upcoming vote on Stone Haven. (Remember that the BOCS will decide, probably in early-October, whether to approve Stone Haven.)
These BOCS supervisors, compromised by the money they’ve received from developers, fear only one thing: informed citizens who think for themselves and are involved. If you become involved, you can make a difference. Remember that it was a coalition of concerned citizens who eight years ago defeated Brentswood (roughly the same residential development as these two, in the same place.)
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO TO STOP THIS? First write to the cc addressees above (the first eight are the BOCS, the second eight are the Planning Commission) and tell them that you strongly oppose the Stone Haven and Prince William Station developments and will not vote for them at election time if they vote in favor. You can also write opinion letters to the news media. Second, be ready to come to the BOCS hearing, probably to be held in early October on a Tuesday at 7:30 pm, and speak for up to three minutes against Stone Haven. We can help you if you’d like help on what to say. If we don’t show up in force at that meeting, pro-developer supervisors will use it as an excuse to vote for Stone Haven, as did at least one of the Planning Commissioners at the 3 September hearing. Third, I think those of us opposed to Stone Haven and Prince William Station are going to have to be foot soldiers for the next month or so, spreading the word by word-of-mouth, blogs, websites, etc and delivering flyers door-to-door. Similar to the Brentswood flier, which is what we delivered eight years ago to thousands of homes to help defeat the Brentswood development behind Jiffy Lube Live, these fliers could give our reasons for opposing Stone Haven on one side, and describe the action citizens need to take to stop Stone Haven on the other side.
Who is willing to help me take fliers door-to-door in the communities along Linton Hall? Please let me know if you’re available, how many you can deliver, and what communities you can cover. Please advise as soon as possible; we don’t have much time. I welcome any suggestions you may have.
Ralph Stephenson, Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth
——– Original Message ——–
|Subject:||How Hunter Trust & RK Realty Bought Off BOCS on Stone Haven; Report From Bristow Beat|
|Date:||Sat, 06 Sep 2014 20:32:06 -0400|
|From:||Ralph Stephenson <email address withheld>|
|To:||Stacy Shaw <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|CC:||Stewart, Corey <email@example.com>, Caddigan, Maureen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Principi, Frank <email@example.com>, Jenkins, John <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Covington, Wally <email@example.com>, Nohe, Marty <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Candland, Peter <email@example.com>, May, Mike <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Holley, Edgar Bruce <email@example.com>, Haynes, Austin B. (Chairman) <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Hosen, Kim <email@example.com>, Burgess, Ron<firstname.lastname@example.org>, Fry, Rene <email@example.com>, Bryant, Russell <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Arnold, Fran <email@example.com>, Vanegas, Alex<firstname.lastname@example.org>|
Hi, Stacy. Just want to point out some things you should know regarding the following Bristow Beat report:
1. Do you know what percentage of the speakers and audience at the Wednesday meeting were from the real estate/development community and thus have a vested financial interest in development in general and at least indirectly in Stone Haven specifically? I recognized many of them as being part of the real estate/developer community. Why is it that local news reporters never ask that question? Isn’t that sort of conflict of interest relevant? It certainly compromises the objectivity of one’s views on a political (land use) issue when one has a direct or indirect vested financial interest in it.
2. Your report says: “One man CLAIMED to quote Board of County Supervisor Corey Stewart in saying, ‘When we approve large development, we are essentially approving a tax increase.’ He said Stewart had changed his tune on development, but he doubts Stewart’s motivation for that change.” It was my wife, Kathy Stephenson, not “one man” (me, presumably), who reported Corey Stewart’s comments from 2006. Furthermore, this is not a claim, it’s a fact. Attached is the Washington Post report; Stewart’s comments are in the second full paragraph on page two.
Here’s another example of Stewart acknowledging that residential development has “hurt the average person” in PW County: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs
I’ve known Stewart for eight years and worked with him for a couple years on a number of issues when he was an ally, but not so much since he decided to support unrestrained residential growth in the western end of the county. He would love for people to forget his own history and ethical conflicts of interest on land use or do whatever he can to obfuscate them whenever they re-emerge — because they show him to be disingenuous, opportunistic, unprincipled, and completely untrustworthy. Please don’t be co-opted into assisting him in that effort. : )
For info on Stewart and other Prince William County supervisors’ conflicts of interest on land use, see Supervisor Conflicts of Interest, right side, top of page.
For more info on my wife’s and my speeches (we were the first and second speakers, respectively, Wednesday night at the Planning Commission hearing), see: Stone Haven information, Kathy Stephenson Speech
3. In response to Chairman Haynes and other pro-developer citizens’ view that there was a two-year, fully consultative process that sought all points of view on Stone Haven, none of the rank-and-file, non-activist citizens I and my wife have met and talked to about this recently knew anything about the process. This so-called two-year “consultative” process was rigged from the beginning to provide the desired outcome for developers and their allies on the BOCS and Planning Commission. It was sham, a fraud, pure and simple. Nor is it even remotely likely that “no Stone Haven for now” was ever an acceptable option or outcome of the process, yet that’s the option I would’ve chosen for reasons clearly specified here:
Email: Falsities in Chmn Stewart’s Reply on Rez Development, Taxes, County’s Economy, etc; Stone Haven
4. My organization, Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth, can (and usually does) provide proof and documentation to back up everything we say. (We are hard-working citizens and taxpayers who earn our livelihood doing other things and so really have no time to be involved in local politics, and are involved in other community service as well, but nevertheless want to and will relentlessly serve our community in every way we can.)
However, Planning Commission Chairman Austin Haynes, who was chosen by Stewart and quoted profusely and unskeptically in the Bristow Beat article above, can’t back up any of his preferences, opinions, and subjective statements with facts or documentation. Furthermore, his independent, objective judgement is undoubtedly at least somewhat compromised by the fact that he is part of the land development community.
One of Chairman Haynes’ co-workers, Brendon Shaw, who is now working for the PW Chamber of Commerce as well, has been working for EV Hunter Trust for the last two years, helping them market the Stone Haven project. See this link for more info:
To Chairman Haynes’ credit, I believe that it is because of even the appearance of this possible conflict-of-interest that he made his announcement at the beginning of Wednesday’s hearing promising to abstain from the vote Wednesday. Another of Chairman Haynes’ co-workers at Crossroads Realty is Jackson Miller, a local delegate to the VA State Assembly, who is heavily dependent on developer campaign contributions to stay in office. Since 2006 he’s received almost $200,000 from developers, more than double the amount he’s received from any other industry: VPAP.org Jackson Miller Campaign Donations 2006-2014 by Industry Sector. Brendon Shaw used to work for Delegate Miller as his legislative assistant as well.
Supervisor Marty Nohe, who’s been shilling in Supervisor Covington’s stead for Stone Haven for a couple years (because Covington’s been outed for his brazen conflicts of interest on land use), received money from EV Hunter Trust, the Stone Haven developer, in 2011, right before he began his advocacy for Stone Haven. Here is the list of BOCS supervisors who received money from Hunter Trust 2009-11:
- $2,500 to BOCS Supervisor Marty Nohe
- $1,500 to BOCS Supervisor Covington
- $1,000 to BOCS Supervisor John Jenkins
RK Realty is the realtor handling the Stone Haven development. RK Realty has donated the following amounts to the following PW Supervisors and other politicians noted above 2010-13:
- $11,000 to BOCS Chairman Corey Stewart
- $5,000 to BOCS Supervisor Wally Covington
- $2,500 to BOCS Supervisor Peter Candland
- $1,500 to Manassas, VA State Assembly Delegate Jackson Miller
The only one of the five BOCS supervisors above who’s received payoffs from Stone Haven’s EV Hunter Trust and/or RK Realty and is not known to be a likely “yes” vote is Peter Candland. The other four are strong “yes” votes and completely compromised on this issue — bought off, unobjective; they should recuse themselves from the upcoming vote on Stone Haven. Stewart, who’s received $11,000 and Covington, who’s bagged $6,500, lead the pack.
If these are not ethical conflicts of interest, even if legal in VA, and very bad for open, objective, and fair government, I don’t know what is. (If I were working for or with the federal government and had such a conflict of interest, I would probably end up in a federal prison.)
For other supervisor conflicts of interest, see: Supervisor Conflicts of Interest
When you connect all the dots above, what do you see?
I invite you and all of the news media personnel included on this e-mail to continue to be in touch with PWCBG (see http://pwcbg.org). My e-mail is above.
PWCBG uses facts, financial analysis, logic, and documentation to back up its positions on balanced growth/balanced land use. The same can rarely, if ever, be said of the other side (developers and the politicians supporting them) in the most controversial land use schemes. Because of the weakness of their arguments, to get what they want they tend to rely on propaganda, half-truths, or even outright lies, emotional appeals, greed, payoffs, backroom deals, and underhanded political maneuvers hidden from the public.
Ralph Stephenson, co-founder of Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG)
On 8/29/2014 10:36 AM, Stacy Shaw wrote:
On Fri, Aug 29, 2014 at 7:17 AM, Ralph Stephenson <email@example.com> wrote:
Yes, Stacy, please do. Thanks for asking. Ralph
On 8/28/2014 9:12 AM, Stacy Shaw wrote:
Stacy A. Shaw
Bristow Beat, LLC