[Mass email 7 April 2021 by PWCBG to county citizens]

Fellow county citizens/residents, parents with schoolchildren, commuters, taxpayers:  Per earlier requests, here’s a summarized version of the message we sent you last week.  This new message is linked here.  Feel free to share via email, social media, etc.

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, in a major power grab:  suppress opposition political speech and west county interests and concerns; weaponize and force their fanatical political dogma on those who disagree; stoke division and backlash, pitting people against each other to increase their political 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 more developer land grabs — this time involving breaking open the Rural Crescent (RC) to thousands of new houses (so far all of them high-cost) 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. 

A Closer Look at the County’s Self-Appointed Judges of Political Morality — Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) believes it’s time to take a more critical look at the BOCS 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— Here are 13 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 states as diverse as Colorado, Utah, and Connectict, all three, particularly the last two, are way ahead of Virginia in making vaccinations available to all.  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 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 this link. )
  • 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.
  • 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. … Wheeler has recently found even more ways to suppress and demean participative democracy and citizens’ 1st Amendment rights, such as:
    • Virtually always ensuring that controversial west county and other issues on which she doesn’t want opposition are placed last on crowded BOCS agendas.
    • 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 from minorities, or how many petitioners sign petitions, or how many speakers at BOCS meetings speak against her polices.
    • Her oft-repeated 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 to the west.  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. 
  • The BOCS 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • The Rural Crescent (RC) has extremely limited school, road, police, and fire infrastructure and effectively no public water, sewage, and transit infrastructure.  The BOCS Dems’ 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.

  • The BOCS majority approved — without serious discussion, debate, or public implementation plan — 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.   Under-served minorities 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 yet 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 — comes from Al Alborn, who suggests that maybe it’s time for PWC to become two counties:  East PWC and West PWC.

Here’s a link to the more complete version of this article on pwcbg.org, with full detail, documentation, and links, as well as the Potomac Local News version.


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.