———- Forwarded message ———
From: Stephenson, Ralph
Date: Mon, May 25, 2020, 9:13 PM
Subject: Letter to BOCS on 19 May Bipartisan Vote & Ending Lockdown
To: BOCS, Prince William County <BOCS@pwcgov.org>, Angry, Victor S. <vsangry@pwcgov.org>, Wheeler, Ann <awheeler@pwcgov.org>, Candland, Peter <gainesville@pwcgov.org>, Vega, Yesli <yvega@pwcgov.org>, Boddye, Kenny <kboddye@pwcgov.org>, Jeanine Lawson <jlawson@pwcgov.org>, Franklin, Margaret <mfranklin@pwcgov.org>, Bailey, Andrea <abailey@pwcgov.org>, <PCandland@pwcgov.org>

BOCS members:

The 5-3 BOCS vote on opening some parts of the economy noted in the news article immediately below is one of the first truly bipartisan policy votes — even if perhaps symbolic — on a major controversial issue that we can recall since the new BOCS took office in January 2020.  (See: https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/northam-denies-request-to-open-local-restaurants-to-outdoor-seatng-hints-at-statewide-mask-policy/article_51a422e2-9c68-11ea-af0b-e758dd6e6ae6.html )

Bipartisanship and compromise are often the fruit of unselfishness, tolerance of other points of view, humility that acknowledges that no one person or group has all the right answers (least of all those who think they do), political maturity, and a focus on achieving the greatest good for the greatest number.  All of these virtues enable a healthy democracy, happy citizenry, and lasting legislative achievements.
We ask that you continue to do everything you can to open the county’s economy very soon, as soon as possible, with as many safety measures as possible for workers and customers.  The decision of when and how to open up is not an easy one.  Nor, as the many doctors and biomedical researchers in our extended family tell us, is it one for which existing templates or science provide any definitive answers, notwithstanding occasional and nonsensical pretenses by politicians to the contrary.

Please ensure that the county’s already fragile commercial economy (only about 15% of the county tax base) is not sacrificed for a level of safety and security on Covid-19 that will not and never can be achieved,  while ignoring the long-term health, financial, social, and other consequences of the expanding economic catastrophe.

Remember that many of those who, after the lockdown, have been or will be first to lose their jobs or businesses in the previously-booming economy and labor market and who are suffering most now are currently and were before the lockdown the most economically vulnerable.  They cannot afford the luxury of an unachievably optimal or near-zero level of Covid-19 risk, while those who are well-off perhaps can.  But those who are well off and have relatively secure jobs and finances, and little or nothing to lose, should not be dictating policy for those who are desperate, have everything to lose, and yet have no voice in those decisions.

We think this problem is largely articulated  by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan in the following 14 May Wall Street Journal commentary:


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.