Fellow county citizens/residents, parents with schoolchildren, commuters, taxpayers:
We thought you should be aware of the following.
A New, Unseemly Justification for a Decades-Old Residential Developer Dream — While endlessly preaching unity, Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Wheeler and her allies (starting with the lockstep BOCS Dem majority) simultaneously:
- suppress opposition political speech and west county interests and concerns;
- weaponize and force their extremist political dogma on those who disagree;
- stoke division and backlash to increase their power, doing it mostly in the name of under-served minority communities; and
- see fault and sinfulness everywhere except within themselves.
And where does it all end? Unsurprisingly, as smoke screen and justification for another developer land grab — this time involving breaking open the Rural Crescent (RC) to thousands of new houses and shoving down the throats of west county residents more residential development, more overcrowded roads and increasingly dysfunctional schools, higher taxes (during the biggest economic downturn in almost 100 years), and more environmental destruction. In the last 20+ years of PW County (PWC) politics, it seems that nothing changes, except that things can always get worse and even more corrupt.
[(See: https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/in-the-rural-crescent-debate-some-see-conservation-others-see-exclusion/article_e203729a-7217-11eb-b00b-bb600d8796bf.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=email&utm_campaign=user-share and https://potomaclocal.com/2021/01/23/prince-william-supervisor-flips-position-on-preserving-the-rural-area-takes-heat-after-approving-99-new-homes/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/bocs-5-dems-unite-to-insult-west-county-citizens-force-516-more-devlin-road-houses-on-them/ and https://pwcbg.org/2019/10/beware-preserving-rural-crescent-limits-on-residential-developers-no-longer-supported-by-both-parties-in-5-nov-elections/) Note: For 20 years Wheeler lived in the RC in a million-dollar home, as noted in the “…wheeler-shills-big-for-developers…” hyperlink below. Shortly after her move-out in mid-2020, she and the BOCS Dem majority then began attacking the existence of the RC as elitist and exclusionary. This is not unusual behavior for Wheeler, who constantly uses her countywide platforms to lecture and propagandize the public on her versions of public morality and the one true political dogma we must follow (hers), while she tries to suppress all opposing views. Note also, per three hyperlinks above, that Supervisor Boddye — who we once hoped and thought was an ally against wasteful and harmful overdevelopment — quickly corrupted, completely, to the fat-cat, irresponsible residential developer side. In fact, he did so in record time, faster than any supervisor we’ve known in over 20 years, a truly remarkable feat considering the exceedingly corrupt land use history of the PWC BOCS … and a Faustian bargain, indeed, for Kenny.]
A Closer Look at the County’s Self-Appointed Judges of Political Morality — Many of us who frequently disagree with Wheeler and the lockstep BOCS Dem majority have worked to make the county a better place for all by opposing uncontrolled plunder-and-pillage land use policies. Many of us have also spent many years of our lives serving ethnic minority communities in church, local, professional, and private business settings. We do so because we’re all brothers and sisters, children of God, and everyone deserves love, truth, and sometimes a hand up in their lives, and serving that way helps us, too. Now, Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) believes it’s time to take another look, a more critical look at Wheeler and the BOCS Dem majority’s claims to represent the best interests of under-served minorities, as well as Wheeler’s holier-than-thou, anti-democratic assault on all who disagree with her methods and apparent aims.
How Wheeler & BOCS Dem Majority Have Harmed Minorities & General Public— Wheeler and the lockstep BOCS Dem majority’s rhetoric and behavior, in our view, too-often: benefits the elite and harms the rest; is hyperpoliticized and self-serving, showing an unrestrained ambition for higher office (especially by some, including Wheeler and Boddye); and is replete with airy promises and glittering generalities directed at minorities. In contrast, PWCBG will give you concrete examples of how the BOCS Dems’ policies have hurt and will continue to most-hurt under-served minorities and the poor, while harming the rest of the county as well.
- Since the onset of Covid over a year ago, Wheeler has been extremely quick to take credit for expansive business and other private shutdowns and enforcement thereof, as well as an abundance of Covid testing. But now that the chips are down and it’s time to actually vaccinate, Prince William Health District (PWHD) has lagged; its mobilization and contact efforts and record databases have been and remain a disorganized and duplicative jumble, “a hot mess” as one PWHD employee/acquaintance told us, an observation repeatedly confirmed by our own experience. Furthermore, per reports from family and media: in Colorado, for example, people in their fifties with no underlying conditions were already getting vaccinations as of 22 Mar (with those above 60 already vaccinated); in Utah, everyone 16 and above has been, as of the last week of March, receiving vaccinations; and likewise in Connecticut, all residents 16 and up are expected to be eligible to get an appointment for a coronavirus vaccine by 5 April. Under-served minorities and the poor frequently have less access to and are not as well informed about vaccines and availability, and thus will suffer the most from PWHD’s lagging processes. Note: Either Chair Wheeler can honestly take credit for both the good and the bad Covid governance above, or she can take credit for neither; she is either ultimately responsible for both or ultimately responsible for neither. She can’t have it both ways.
- It seems that there are those who care only rhetorically about under-served minorities and the downtrodden — in a highly objectified way — to: get votes, accomplish their personal political ambitions, exercise power and control over others, and increase taxes, spending, and the size of government. So, speaking of under-served minorities and Covid vaccinations, note the following indifference from Wheeler’s allies on her new county Racial and Social Justice Commission to … well, real injustice and inequality. (See: https://potomaclocal.com/2021/02/16/social-justice-commission-refused-to-hear-plea-for-equitable-vaccine-distribution-to-minorities/ )
- The BOCS Dem majority continues to make stealthy attempts to undermine and defund the county’s highly-regarded police department, not due to any documented patterns of police misbehavior in the county, but instead apparently simply due to their hostility toward police in general. The absence of police most hurts under-served minorities and the poor in high-crime areas. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/support-1-dec-bocs-resolution-to-prevent-wheeler-allies-from-using-county-stratplan-to-defund-police and https://potomaclocal.com/2021/03/29/police-satisfaction-ratings-continue-to-grow-in-prince-william-county/ and https://potomaclocal.com/2020/11/27/prince-william-police-overwhelmingly-favored-by-residents-years-of-studies-show/ and https://potomaclocal.com/2020/12/28/prince-william-outs-officers-names-patrol-areas-despite-being-cleared-of-wrongdoing/ and https://potomaclocal.com/2020/10/21/prince-william-democrats-deny-request-from-police-chief-to-urge-governor-to-amend-traffic-bill-gov-amends-anyway/)
- Chair Wheeler’s autocratic contempt for county citizens and the spirit and letter of the rule of law, including 1st Amendment and related rights, is a threat to democracy and the civil rights of all. For example, “A” sets the precedent of violating political minority “B’s” rights today, which makes it easier for some future, stronger antagonist to violate “A’s” rights tomorrow. It’s called “tyranny of the majority” and is why the French Revolution and even ancient Greek democracy ultimately failed and why civil rights for ethnic and some religious minorities took so long to take hold even in the United States, with all its unprecedented checks and balances on power. Wheeler’s mentality is a throwback to very dark periods in history, although she clearly sees herself as politically enlightened. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/why-candlands-6-oct-bocs-proposal-requiring-clearly-defined-land-use-terms-36000-new-houses/ Note that in article linked immediately above, links at end of paragraphs subheaded “First the Republicans” and “Then the Democrats” include detailed documentation of Wheeler and Dem majority’s many violations of 1st Amendment and related rights, abuse of minorities, abuse of west county citizens, and shilling for residential developers.) … Wheeler has suppressed and demeaned participative democracy and county citizens’ 1st Amendment rights by:
- Virtually always ensuring that controversial west county and other issues on which she doesn’t want opposition are placed last on crowded BOCS agendas. That means citizen comment on issues of great interest to west county and other citizens is often delayed until BOCS Tuesday night meetings very late or the early hours of Wednesday morning (in the middle of the work week) and many speakers have to go home/go to bed before they get a chance to speak. This is one way in which Wheeler suppresses participative democracy, speech, peaceable assembly, and petitions for redress of grievances she doesn’t want to hear.
- Asking for citizen feedback only after the matter is already settled, such as recent county attempts to get more feedback on the Rte. 28 Bypass — after the BOCS Dem majority had already decided all major aspects of the matter … with prejudice.
- Undemocratically and slanderously dismissing any widespread opposition to her policies as “manufactured outrage” or some other self-serving epithet, no matter how many hundreds or thousands of emails are received, including many from minorities, or how many petitioners sign petitions, or how many speakers speak against her polices. (See: https://potomaclocal.com/2021/01/23/prince-william-supervisor-flips-position-on-preserving-the-rural-area-takes-heat-after-approving-99-new-homes/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/action-taxes-1st-amendment-devlin-rd-and-bocs-chairs-hamster-wheel-of-government/ )
- Her oft-repeated, brazen lie that all or most residential development is in the east end of the county. It is a matter of objective demographic fact that over the last couple 10-year census periods at least, the geographic size of the three western magisterial districts, taken together, has slowly shrunk, while their population relative to east county has risen, as the population center of the county has gradually shifted toward west county. (All district boundaries are determined, according to law, by proportional population.) Even dogma-driven, habitual liar, and always-pro-residential developer Chair Wheeler should be able to grasp the objective reality that for a very long time residential development has been at least as heavy in the county’s west as in the east. (See: https://potomaclocal.com/2021/01/23/prince-william-supervisor-flips-position-on-preserving-the-rural-area-takes-heat-after-approving-99-new-homes/ and https://www.insidenova.com/headlines/prince-william-county-begins-redistricting-process/article_0136d3cc-83b7-11eb-906b-73e2b671aba7.html and Al Aborn link in last paragraph below.)
- The BOCS Dem majority continues to refuse to define the terms “affordable dwellings, equity in housing, or environmental justice,” despite using these undefined terms as standards of policy. This kind of deliberately fuzzy thinking, leading inevitably to lack of precision and accountability, is one of the key enablers of corruption in government and particularly in county land use policy. Such corruption benefits only elites and their cronies at the top and siphons most money away from any true public good such as constructive aid to minorities before it reaches them. In current political language, “equity” is a particularly abused and poorly-understood term which at best means little or nothing other than what the user or hearer loosely wishes it to mean at the moment, but which has real negative consequences for minorities. Supervisor Bailey rarely speaks in political discourse without using the term authoritatively as the last word on virtually any topic, yet appears incapable of defining it. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/why-candlands-6-oct-bocs-proposal-requiring-clearly-defined-land-use-terms-36000-new-houses/ and the following link to thoughtful — as opposed to BOCS-style dogmatic — discussions of “equity” by eminent black scholars Jason Riley and Shelby Steele @ https://pwcbg.org/2021/03/2-eminent-black-scholars-discuss-equity-upward-mobility/ )
- The BOCS Dem majority approved large tax increases on businesses and homeowners in both 2020 and 2021 during the worst economic downturn in almost 100 years. As always, the most economically vulnerable parts of society, including disproportionately large numbers of minorities, suffer the most in economic downturns due to layoffs and/or reduced work/wages. (See: https://www.insidenova.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-prince-william-county-budget-is-anything-but-lucky/article_92ea94c6-7867-11eb-a58b-cb087979025a.html and https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/alert-chair-wheelers-phony-reversal-under-pressure-on-real-estate-tax-replacing-it-with-even-higher-taxes-2/ Also, see: https://potomaclocal.com/2021/03/02/instead-of-harassing-business-owners-investigators-should-assist-in-vaccine-roll-out-says-county-supervisor/ )
- Chair Wheeler and the BOCS Dems’ complete reversal on the Rte 28 Bypass, only weeks after deciding against it, was a sellout to developers and their allies and a stunning injustice threatening irreplaceable existing low-cost homes for minorities, followed by Wheeler and the Dems’ refusal to even meet with their victims. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/wheeler-shills-big-for-developers-in-west-county-continues-assault-on-rights-rule-of-law-low-cost-housing-residents-leading-local-news-org-muzzled/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/10/wheeler-violated-laws-jurisdictions-in-godwin-bypass-gambit-foia-case-denied-on-technicality-rule-of-law-how-to-create-real-unity/)
- The Rural Crescent (RC) has extremely limited school, road, police, and fire infrastructure and effectively no public water, sewage, and transit infrastructure. BOCS plans and initial decisions to develop the RC will channel county money away from under-served areas, which could be developed much more cost-effectively instead, including with low-cost housing where needed. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2021/03/west-county-supervisors-how-to-fight-overdevelopment-destruction-of-rural-crescent-in-face-of-developer-bocs-assault/ and https://pwcbg.org/2021/03/sup-candland-notes-historic-vote-leads-to-decline-of-the-rural-crescent-ch-wheeler-dismisses-overwhelming-public-opposition-as-manufactured-outrage/ and https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/democratic-supervisors-open-to-more-homes-industrial-uses-in-the-rural-crescent/article_2542edd4-619b-11eb-918e-1fccd42bd995.html)
- The BOCS Dem majority approved with no serious discussion or debate county mandates that the county switch to non-fossil fuels over the next several years, with Kenny Boddye, the sponsor of the resolution, refusing to answer any of our very simple and rightful questions, as taxpayers and county citizens. (See: https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/pwc-bocs-latest-power-grabs-include-green-new-deal-style-mandate-on-all-financial-assault-on-dissenters/) Under-served minority communities and the poor can least afford more expensive, only-semi-reliable alternative fuels and will be the least able to simply move out of the county if these mandates are enforced, causing already-high and rapidly-rising county taxes to rise even more, while services — such as schools, roads, police, fire, preservation, etc. — continue to decline.
Our thanks to Groucho Marx (RIP) for once again perfectly describing exemplars of political absurdity, in this case Wheeler and the BOCS Dem majority: “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedies.”
In conclusion, perhaps the best solution to Wheeler & friends’ dictatorial suppression of the western half of the county — treating its people as if they were a subjugated colony who must be assimilated by their overlords, their superiors — is the following InsideNOVA commentary by Al Alborn. His well-researched suggestion, which as recently as 18 months ago would’ve still been purely hypothetical, increasingly has real immediacy: https://www.insidenova.com/opinion/around-prince-william-what-if-one-prince-william-doesn-t-work/article_5a1c85ce-887e-11eb-98d0-0fd6b6355bac.html?fbclid=IwAR2kvSy4W87qNmJmMG_Jg1qffh2KHPL8_S-cp_O7n_f4c5evz4qpgZZJkoc
Here is a link to this article on pwcbg.org: https://pwcbg.org/2021/03/while-hurting-minorities-in-13-ways-wheeler-allies-use-slurs-to-suppress-opposition-give-free-rein-to-developers/ Please feel free to share via email, social media, etc.
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.