All: Good news.
Electoral Outcome — On 5 November, the four western and central county candidates whom you and we were able to directly support were all elected to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS): Yesli Vega (Coles), Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville), Kenny Boddye (Occoquan), and Peter Candland (Gainesville.) We have deliberately chosen not to list their party affiliations this time because we don’t care. We backed them only because they have chosen to publicly, clearly, and specifically support protecting the Rural Crescent and limiting residential development, which overcrowds our roads and schools and raises our taxes to pay for the resultant deteriorating public services — an indirect subsidy to residential developers. Peter, Yesli, Kenny, and Jeanine’s four opponents all refused to make such promises — or any promises other than meaningless platitudes — and they all lost by big electoral margins (10-15%), with the exception of Kenny’s opponent, who lost narrowly because she was an incumbent and, as far as we know, not deeply unpopular.
What You Achieved — This positive electoral outcome for the four candidates from the west- and mid-county happened because you took matters into your own hands as citizens — voting and, in many cases, before that actually campaigning with friends and neighbors for what you believe in and value, staying focused on the germane issues for BOCS candidates, land use and taxes, and not being distracted by irrelevancies, glittering generalities, red herrings, and disinformation from residential developers and their allies. Well done. (Remember that it takes a five-vote majority for the eight-member BOCS to pass anything.) We take our hats off to you: A virtuous and informed citizenry is the only defense against bad government and tyranny. We must now hold our representatives to their promises and hold all BOCS supervisors accountable to deliver responsible government that serves the 98%, ordinary citizens, not primarily the 2%, residential developers, big landowners, and their allies.
Lessons Learned? — Let us hope that the county Democratic Party will never again choose to try to make protecting the Rural Crescent and limiting residential development a partisan issue supported only by Republicans. Congratulations to the three new members of the BOCS from the southeast end of the county — Margaret Franklin (Woodbridge) and Victor Angry (Neabsco), who both ran unopposed in non-competitive districts, after wining earlier contests, and Andrea Bailey (Potomac), who won by a whopping 28%. Let’s hope they can find common ground with the four BOCS members from west- and mid-county in serving all county citizens (not just residential developers) on the land use issues that matter most, creating the greatest possible good for the greatest possible number.
Let us also hope that the new Chairman of the BOCS Ann Wheeler will publicly, clearly, and specifically: a) stop supporting breaking open the Rural Crescent to high-density development via the Bi-County Parkway and via the rigged, residential developer-driven Rural Crescent Study; b) accept serious limits on residential development, which overcrowds our roads and schools, damages the environment and property values, and raises our taxes; and c) stop listening virtually exclusively to unscrupulous residential developers on land use issues.
We wonder what Ann meant when she told WTOP Radio on 6 Nov, right after the election: “We are going to do a comprehensive review of land use … [Ann: Does that include continuing the rigged, residential developer-driven Rural Crescent study?] We’re going to make a plan for Prince William County for the next 20 years, so we know where we can grow.” Both sentences, but particularly the last one sound to us like another big, juicy yet furtive kiss/promise from Ann to residential developers.
Ann also stresses that the county needs more federal funding to fix the schools, through a process over which she has virtually no leverage: the 2020 federal census. Ann: More importantly, how about stopping rather than encouraging out-of-control residential growth, especially tax-negative housing, which overcrowds our schools and roads and forces us to then subsidize through increased taxes the very thing (residential development/developers) that is tormenting us? (For the full WTOP 6 Nov story, see: https://wtop.com/prince-william-county/2019/11/democrats-preview-coming-changes/ )
Ann: We request that you read our following recent posts, which we think you’ll find helpful to better understand the full range of major land use issues:
https://pwcbg.org/2019/11/see-what-you-the-people-achieved-4-for-4-questions-for-annw/ (this post)
Again, to the people of the western and central parts of the county who supported Yesli, Jeanine, Kenny, and Peter: Well done. Bless you. You can make a difference.
Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth
Only in the bright light of public scrutiny can the common good be secured,
While in darkness and obscurity the interests of the powerful and affluent prevail.