Citizens for Balanced Growth

Author: Ralph Stephenson (Page 1 of 31)

Why & How To Recall BOCS Chair Wheeler for Abuse of Power

[31 July 2022 mass email to county citizens from PWCBG]

As many of you probably already know, Prince William County Board of Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Ann Wheeler is now the target of a petition drive to recall and then remove her from office for abuse of power.  (See item #7 below for details, and last paragraph below on how to help.)

WHY A RECALL — Here’s why we agree that Chair Wheeler should be recalled and removed from office.

1.  Chair Wheeler has repeatedly tolerated and implicitly supported mob intimidation tactics.  Examples include: a) BOCS Democrats’ involvement with the May 2020 street riots in west county, b) the subsequent illegal BOCS Democrats’ meeting presided over by Wheeler, and c) in several public BOCS meetings, Wheeler’s toleration of outrageous racism and transparent threats of racist violence against BOCS opponents.  After these threats against Wheeler’s opponents, the group responsible for the racist intimidation was awarded with millions of dollars of county taxpayer-funded grants.  (See this report and hyperlinks in #2 and #3 immediately below.)

2.  Chair Wheeler is racist.  In addition to the examples just noted, Wheeler loves to relive and encourage talk by herself and others about the racism of two generations and more ago, over which no one alive has any control, and loves to discuss the faults of others, but brazenly tries to silence all talk about her and her allies’ own here-and-now racism.   She has repeatedly pursued policies that harm the county’s poor and minorities. (See:  13 examples of this here and here, and the link in #1 above.)   This hypocrisy and phoniness places her in the company of politicians who prefer talking and virtue signalling about problems far away in time or place … versus actually solving problems right under their noses and/or which they perhaps are even helping cause.

Her views on race relations, support for Critical Race Theory, including in BOCS meetings, and endless talk about “equity” (meaning not equal opportunity but equal result, financial redistribution through taxation, and shakedown politics) are rife with the soft bigotry of low expectations.   Her views are also rife with condescending white elitism, dovetailing with professionally/financially self-interested elite thinking that is frequently not in harmony with that of ordinary blacks and other minorities, as shown repeatedly in polling results.  (See link here.)  For the beginnings of a far more honest, less corrupt, less self-righteous discussion of these topics, see these discussions of the writings and work of several eminent black scholars:  a, b, and c.

3.  Chair Wheeler and her allies have repeatedly demonstrated profound disrespect for and flouted the rule of law Examples include her and her county attorney’s repeated double-talk and lies about their violation of state transparency and freedom-of-information laws and her illegal attempts to take advantage of the situation and shut down public comment during Covid.  (See examples here, 11 more examples here, as well as hyperlinks above.)

4.  Chair Wheeler is ideologically absolutist, politically dictatorial, and intolerant to the point that she refuses to seriously listen to and is frequently openly disrespectful and uncivil, even in official meetings, to anyone she deems to be not on her side.  (See, for example, these articles:  a, b, and c.)   Rarely do both arrogance and ignorance, two seemingly mutually exclusive traits, combine so thoroughly and consistently in one person as they have done in Chair Wheeler.  In addition to the many examples of this in the hyperlinks above, other examples include her repeated claims that residential development is almost exclusively happening in the east end of the county.  But her belief is easily refuted by the fact that the county’s population center, based on census results, is shifting farther and farther west and the western magisterial districts are shrinking in geographic size (while still increasing in population) because of rapid population increases in the west.

5.  Chair Wheeler presumptuously appropriates to herself the mantle of progress.  But that’s credible only if one sees the following as progress:  going backwards in time to 1970s America to ape that period’s unaccountable and out-of-control govt spending, ever-higher taxes even during economic hard times, Big Brother policies imposed coercively on the public, declining public schools, and a soft-on-crime, anti-police approach that, inevitably, ensures high levels of street crime and violent crime. …  Credible only if one sees progressiveness in Wheeler’s infatuation with ideological puritanism and absolutism — political tendencies that are in no way new, but instead hark back to the ancient, medieval, 17th century, and mid-19th century worlds.  (Note hyperlinks above and Dem Governor Northam’s veto of extremist anti-police legislation supported by Wheeler and the BOCS Dems.)

6.  In the interests of brevity, numerous other examples of Chair Wheeler’s misrule and limiting of public input with which she disagrees — including ensuring manipulation of county public opinion surveys/questions/audiences to a predetermined result — have not been included.

7.  And as if all the above is not more than enough abuse of power and corruption for even a large country, much less a medium-sized county, now there’s evidence that Chair Wheeler’s on the take, specifically relative to her support of a massive increase in data centers outside areas already designated for them, including in the Rural Crescent.  The problem is that she is directly and indirectly heavily invested financially in data center companies, a major conflict of interest, to say the least.  (See here and two attached articles for an explanation of how these developments have finally triggered a county-wide campaign to recall and remove Chair Wheeler.)

So Chair Wheeler is apparently even more corrupt than we thought.  She is also ethically, temperamentally, judgmentally, and politically unfit to govern anything involving democratic processes and people with views not entirely aligned with hers.  She is certainly not fit to govern a richly-diverse, highly-educated, democratic county of almost 500,000 people.


HOW TO ASSIST THE RECALL
— For the latest full instructions for signing and submitting the petition to recall Chair Wheeler, click this link:  https://protectpwc.org/2022/07/13/wheeler-recall-petition/

The Coalition to Protect Prince William County, which is managing the recall, is looking for volunteers to help collect signatures, which over the last week included collecting signatures at several sites throughout the county.  We’ll keep you informed with any other recall updates, as needed, as they become available.  Feel free to forward this message via email, social media etc.  

Sincerely,

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.

WSJ: Three New Books Challenge Preconceived Notions of Race

OPINION UPWARD MOBILITY

The Wall Street Journal

Far-left activists, scholars and journalists dominate the debate with views most black Americans reject.
By Jason L. Riley
July 26, 2022 6:20 pm ET


“The Brother From Another Planet” is a low-budget science-fiction comedy released in 1984. It tells the story of an alien who crash-lands his spaceship on Ellis Island and spends the next few days wandering around Manhattan. He looks like a normal black man and can understand what people are saying, but he can’t speak. This leads everyone he encounters to make assumptions about him—where he lives, why he’s there, what he wants—based on appearances. It’s all speculation premised on preconceived notions.

I do a fair amount of public speaking and am sometimes asked about my personal background. People want to know how I turned out the way I did, but I’m not always certain what they’re getting at. How did I become conservative? Why do I speak standard English? How did I stay out of jail? The inquiry is often made in a tone that suggests I have somehow defied expectations, that I didn’t turn out the way people who look like me normally do. It’s almost as if I’m otherworldly.

The reality is that most of the views expressed in this column each week are shared by many if not most black people. A majority of blacks tell pollsters that they support school choice and voter ID requirements and that they oppose racial preferences. Media outlets typically turn to social activists, far-left academics, liberal journalists and progressive politicians for comment on such matters, but the viewpoints of Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ibram X. Kendi and Nikole Hannah-Jones are often at odds with those of the average black person.

Moreover, this longstanding divergence in opinion has if anything been widening. One of today’s most prominent activist organizations, Black Lives Matter, has advocated defunding the police, while polling has shown that upward of 80% of blacks want the level of policing in their communities to remain the same or to increase.

In “The State of Black America,” a new collection of essays edited by William B. Allen, an emeritus professor of political philosophy at Michigan State University, Mr. Allen writes that it is not only wrong but counterproductive for the media to give the last word on social inequality to black elites who traffic in racial resentment and identity politics. “The civil rights movement may inadvertently have spawned the most serious obstacle to the progress of American blacks in our time,” he writes in his own essay. “Black leaders have turned to group identity rather than individual identity and American principles of assimilation. The result has been cultural stagnation for some black communities.”

Elsewhere in the volume, Brown University economics professor Glenn Loury challenges the left’s notion that racism mainly explains this cultural underdevelopment. “The ‘structural racism’ argument seldom goes into cause and effect,” he writes. “We are all just supposed to know that it’s the fault of something called ‘structural racism,’ abetted by an environment of ‘white supremacy’ that purportedly characterizes our society. Any racial disparity, then, can be totally explained by the imputation of ‘structural racism.’ ”

Mr. Allen’s is one of several new books that showcase alternative ways of thinking about racial inequality that receive little attention in the press and give the impression that black thinking on social policy is near-monolithic. In “Agency,” Ian Rowe of the American Enterprise Institute argues that the path out of poverty is not more government wealth redistribution but more focus on family structure and the so-called success sequence: graduate from high school, find a job, get married and then have kids, in that order.

Finally, my Manhattan Institute colleague Rafael Mangual has just authored “Criminal (In)justice,” a clearheaded assessment of the woke ideas—defunding police, emptying prisons—that have won over so many politicians and policy makers who show little interest in how such proposals will affect law-abiding residents of low-income minority communities. Presented in the tradition of such scholars as James Q. Wilson and George Kelling, who didn’t let emotion or faddish thinking impede their empirical reasoning, Mr. Mangual follows the evidence to its logical conclusion, even when that conclusion is politically incorrect.

The book’s discussion of the popular belief that poverty is a “root cause” of crime is instructive. Mr. Mangual reports that New York City homicides fell from more than 2,220 to fewer than 300 between 1990 and 2018, a period during which the city’s poverty rate increased slightly. Even during the 2007-09 Great Recession, which hit New York especially hard, crime continued to decline. Between 2006 and 2009, the jobless rate for black men, who are most of the city’s murder victims and perpetrators, nearly doubled, yet homicides and other violent crimes fell significantly.

These kinds of observations deserve far more notice and debate than they normally get in traditional media, where independent thinkers such as Messrs. Allen, Loury, Rowe and Mangual are misleadingly treated like brothers from another planet.

Joe Morton in ‘The Brother From Another Planet,’ 1984.
PHOTO: ALAMY STOCK PHOTO

What BOCS Dems’ Past & Future Actions Do & Will Say About Them

[PWCBG e-mail 25 April 2022 to BOCS supervisors]

Supervisors Wheeler, Bailey, Angry, Franklin & Boddye:

We completely agree with Supervisor Vega’s comments below.

Furthermore, we are very disappointed with your decisions and behavior since you were elected in 2019.  We had high hopes for several of you but you have consistently disappointed us on every count.  You repeatedly behave like invaders and conquerors of your lowly and inferior subjects in mid- and west-county, rather than as the enlightened servant leaders you ought to be who show respect and love to those for whose welfare they have temporary stewardship.

You seem to have an insatiable appetite for power as well as for higher and higher taxes and spending —  even during very dangerous and inflationary economic times, even though your policies most hurt the economically vulnerable through higher taxes, rent, housing, and other costs.

In fact, your repeated mistreatment of underserved economic and racial minorities betrays the hypocrisy of your highly-manipulative, intentionally-divisive dogmas of equity (equal result not equal opportunity), class/race/sex/gender warfare, one-party dictatorship (where the party pits groups against each other in ways that increase its power and ability to manipulate), and deeper government control and intrusion into people’s lives (in ways that perpetuate and deepen existing social problems and government dependency.)   We find your many policies which fit the description above irresponsible, perverse, and shameful.

For more info, see  https://pwcbg.org/2022/04/what-virginia-supreme-court-case-county-budget-say-about-bocs-dems/

How about you surprise us and the rest of the county tomorrow 26 April by reducing people’s financial burdens while increasing their freedom from crime?

Yours truly,

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.


——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject:PWC Budget: Speak Now or Face a Tax Increase(s)
Date:Mon, 25 Apr 2022 12:06:46 -0400 (EDT)
From:Supervisor Yesli Vega <colesdistrict@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:colesdistrict@pwcgov.org
To:stephenrkg@gmail.com
Dear Neighbor,


This e-mail is a friendly reminder that there is less than 36 hours left to prevent more tax increases from your Board of Supervisors.


At 7:30pm tomorrow evening, the Board will vote on the FY2023 budget, which contains a $124 million spending increase over last year’s budget, which is a county record.


To pay for this, the average Prince William County family will face a residential tax increase of $190 in addition to a brand new 4% Meals Tax levied on you every time you eat prepared food at a Prince William County dining establishment. This is in addition to the state sales tax.


Should the Board Democrats proposed budget be adopted on Tuesday, it would be the third straight year of near record residential tax increases since COVID and the inflation crisis began in early 2020. If adopted, the average cumulative increase in tax payments per home would spike above $1,400 per family versus if the Board had merely kept tax bills flat in these difficult times.   I have advocated for and proposed at least an equalized tax rate or real cuts in the average tax bill for county residents in each of these years, including a tax rate of $0.96 for the upcoming fiscal year, which would provide the average family, on average, a savings of $327 from the current Democrat proposal, and $155 less than last year’s average bill. If adopted, this would represent the first real tax relief to county homeowners since the late 2000’s housing crash saw home values plummet.


In addition, I have proposed that we put an end to the Meals Tax before it even gets out of the barn. In locality after locality, most recently in neighboring Fairfax in 2016, voters have overwhelmingly rejected Meals Taxes in Virginia. Per, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these taxes hurt those who can least afford it, with those making less than $30,000 per year spending twice as much of their income eating out than the national average. Further, local restaurants that made it through the pandemic are just now starting to get back on their feet. Yet, according to the Virginia Restaurant, Lodging, and Travel Association, meals taxes routinely result in job losses and business closures.


A residential tax rate of $0.96 and removal of the meals tax would still result in the county receiving $45 million more in taxpayer revenue than last year but less than the record $124 million currently proposed.   To pay for this, I proposed eliminating the misnamed county Office of “Equity and Inclusion” and removing allocation of funding for the legal groundwork needed to form a taxpayer funded monopoly bargaining ordinance for taxpayer funded county employees to unionize. Like FDR, I object to those being paid by the taxpayers to unionize and bargain against those they work on behalf of via mandatory taxpayer funded monopoly bargaining.


I also proposed a 60% across the board cut to the spending increase over last year’s budget – with the exception of public safety. As my office has brought to light, Prince William County presently has an officer shortage of 342 sworn officers below its own stated level-of-service standards and last year, we saw crime against persons and property increase by double digits from the year prior.


Despite this, the current budget does not include funding for a single additional police officer despite the record increase of $124 million in proposed new spending, shrinking the percentage of funding of general fund revenue to the police department for the third consecutive year. Liberal jurisdictions across the country have employed similar tactics at the request of defund the police activists.   With $45 million in new revenue we could certainly spare even $1 million for the hiring of five additional officers for a down payment on closing the 342 officer gap we’re seeing amidst increased crime.  


To communicate your wishes on the Board majority’s proposed budget or my alternative budget ahead of tomorrow evening’s adoption you may contact the entire Board directly at BOCS@pwcgov.org. You may also call the county switchboard at (703) 792-6500 and ask to be transferred to your appropriate Supervisor. As we saw with the unconstitutional gun control resolution and boat tax proposal of 2020, in-person speaking can prevent negative consequences from happening as well. You’re welcome to join us at 7:30pm tomorrow evening at the James J. McCoart Building, 1 County Complex Court, Woodbridge, VA. Residents unable to attend in-person may address the Board virtually via this link. For Prince William,


Yesli Vega yvega@pwcgov.org (703) 792-4620


Coles District Supervisor | 13476 Dumfries Road, Manassas, VA 20112 Unsubscribe stephenrkg@gmail.com Update Profile | Constant Contact Data Notice Sent by colesdistrict@pwcgov.org powered by Trusted Email from Constant
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What Virginia Supreme Court Case, Insatiable Appetite for Spending Say About BOCS Dems

[PWCBG mass e-mail 9 April 2022 to county citizens]

Fellow citizens:  

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a lawsuit brought by Alan Gloss, the leader of a group that filed suit in 2020 against the five Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Dems for holding a meeting in May 2020 that violated Virginia’s transparency-in-government/open meetings laws.  Here’s a newspaper article with more details.

And here’s a request from Alan’s group for funding to help cover legal fees for the Supreme Court case:  View update.   Any amount you can contribute would be appreciated.  We support their efforts in our county to minimize corruption and ensure the rule of law, which is a key building block of civilization and one of a handful of things that consistently separate prosperous and successful modern nations from those that are not.

You might find it interesting to note that Prince William County Attorney Michelle Robi, arguing for the five BOCS Dems in county court in 2020,  defended the illegal May 2020 meeting by arguing that it was not actually an offical government meeting but instead a private meeting.  Then Robi filed a retaliatory lawsuit against Alan’s group after their case was dismissed by a county court.  In this retaliatory lawsuit, Robi completely reversed direction and argued that the defendants (Alan’s group) should pay all legal fees for the county because the five BOCS supervisors were, in fact, attending what she now described as an official county meeting.  In other words, the County Attorney was now openly mischaracterizing and defending an illegal meeting and, at the BOCS Dems’ behest, trying to retaliate financially against a private group that was merely trying to ensure adherence to the state’s transparency/open meeting laws.  Robi’s lawsuit was unsuccessful.

“The biggest disease is [political] corruption; the vaccine is transparency.” — Bono 
“Corruption is paid by the poor.” — Pope Francis

Here’s an earlier article we wrote on this case when it was still in the county courts. 


And now we turn to the Prince William County Budget.  Since the new BOCS Dem majority took office in Jan 2020, the county budget has increased by $335 million from $1.148 billion to a planned $1.483 billion in 2023, a whopping 29% increase in two years (and three budget votes.)  This increase does not include at least $82 million in federal Covid aid to the county government in 2020-21, per county records.  This budget will be approved on 26 April 2022, Tuesday, at the evening meeting starting at 7:30 pm, unless the BOCS hears — and learns from — a groundswell of opposition.

On 17 February, Supervisor Vega’s office sent us the following report titled “The County Budget:  Impact on Taxpayers & Public Safety By The Numbers.”  Font colors and sizes are same as in the original report.

Board [Democratic] Majority’s Proposed Budget
On Tuesday, the Board Majority voted to advertise a real estate tax rate of $1.05 per $100 assessed value
The Board Majority also advertised a new 4% meals tax on Prince William County’s small business owners and consumers already burdened by record inflation.
Click here to see the proposed budget.
Even with an increased tax bill this year and $106 million in new spending, this budget still does not address the serious issue of a lack of police officers. We will still be hundreds of officers short of the required number of police officers per Prince William County resident.
Officers Shy of 2021 Level of Service Standards = 229
Number of New Officers Hired = 0 (zero)
Prince-William-County-General-Fund-Revenue_-FY18-Compared-to-FY23.png
If adopted, the size and power of the Prince William County Government will have grown 6.6 times population growth in the last five years. That’s not including the hundreds of millions of dollars received in the last couple years from the federal government.
General Revenue Increase Since FY18 = 33%
Population Increase Since FY18 33% 5%
Should the advertised rate be passed, the average residential tax bill (real estate tax + fire levy) will have increased $760 since COVID began. The average household will pay $1,465 more than if tax bills had just been kept flat since the pandemic started.
Pre-COVID Average Tax Bill = $4,488
Average Tax (Proposed Budget) = $5,248
Tax bills in the county have increased faster than home values. Since 2006 (the last time the average home value was near this price), the average home value has increased 9%, but the average tax bill has increased 62%.
Average Home Value – 2006 = $429,745
Average Home Value – 2022 = $466,739 (+9%)
Average Tax Bill – 2006 = $3,257
Average Proposed Tax Bill – 2022 = $5,248 (+62%)
Supervisor Vega’s Budget Proposal
Last evening, Supervisor Vega proposed a 12% real estate tax cut.
This was defeated on a 5-3 vote.
Current Tax Rate Vega = $1.115
Vega Proposed Rate $0.98
Supervisor Vega also voted against the majority’s proposed tax rate.
votesnew.png
In Supervisor Vega’s proposal:

Homeowners would see a reduction of $388 from the current rate of $1.115.
Homeowners would pay $93 less than last year.
This would be the first real tax bill cut since 2009 and the first time the rate has been below $1 since 2008.
billvotesnew.png

Supervisor Vega also proposed scrapping the plan to implement a new 4% meals tax on county restaurants and consumers.  This was also defeated on a 5-3 vote.

Under a $.98 real estate tax rate, county revenue would still increase by $49 million over FY2022.  Without the new 4% meals tax on restaurants and consumers, county revenue would still increase by $81.5 million over FY2022.

Click to read InsideNova’s recap “Prince William County taxes likely to go up again” [and a Potomac Local report.]

In a statement, Supervisor Vega reiterated her commitment to defending Prince William County families and taxpayers despite the setback on the advertised tax rates:   “It would have been nice to have given assurance to our residents with the first real tax cut in more than a decade. However, I will continue to fight on their behalf against the desires of some to see Prince William County government increase in power and scope. Even without increasing taxes on our homeowners and restaurant consumers, county government revenue is still projected to increase by tens of millions of dollars over last year. We can afford to give our taxpayers a break for once.”


Conclusions:  As we’ve observed the new BOCS Dem majority since Jan 2020, we’ve noticed several pronounced tendencies in their governance:  

First a tendency to vote in lockstep on almost all major BOCS decisions.

Second, disregard for the opinions of any citizens but those with whom they completely agree (almost always including developers), thus disregard for any opinions but their own.  Since taking office, they have continuously ignored majority west county and mid-county citizen input, including on local land use issues, even though it has typically been expressed publicly and almost unanimously by hundreds, sometimes even thousands, of ordinary citizens.  One example among many is Supervisor Boddye campaigning hard in 2019 for preservation of the Rural Crescent (RC) then, within about a year of taking office, completely reversing his stance and shamelessly claiming in a Prince William Times interview that preserving the RC is “a form of segregation.”  Was he a segregationist before he was elected to office in 2019? (His pro-RC stance in 2019, unique among all the Democrat candidates, helped him win a very close election by a few hundred votes.)

Third, disregard for the rule of law, good government, and open, democratic traditions, as seen in the upcoming Virginia Supreme Court case noted above.  Other examples, as we’ve noted in previous messages and on http://pwcbg.org, include Chair Wheeler’s repeated attempts during Covid to eliminate citizens’ First Amendment rights to attend and address the BOCS, to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances at BOCS meetings and county government buildings elsewhere, as well as her attempts even to muzzle unfavorable press coverage.  She also used the two-year “state of emergency” (Mar 20-Mar 22) to push through all sorts of non-emergency, controversial government decisions, often very late at night or in the early hours of the morning, to make it as difficult as possible to attend for citizens who had to work in the morning, could not easily connect virtually, or were concerned about exposure to Covid in public.  … Not to mention Supervisor Bailey’s attempts to use the police to harass ordinary citizens with whom she disagrees, though not so much to fight crime.   To us, all this makes the BOCS Dems look way too focused on accumulating power instead of serving all the county’s people and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.

Fourth, despite endless lip service to the interests of the poor and underserved, the BOCS Dem majority in actual economic practice and policy decisions has repeatedly done major damage to the interests of the poor and underserved.  Major real estate and business tax increases every year by this BOCS are an indirect regressive tax that increases rents, home ownership costs, consumer costs, and hardship for the middle class, employers, and those who can least afford it, the poor.  This is especially noxious during times of great economic hardship for many … and especially without any accountability to you.

Contact the BOCS at BOCS@pwcgov.org and let them know how you feel about the Dem majority’s attempts to disenfranchise you as a citizen & taxpayer, and to create an increasingly intrusive and heavy-handed county government.  Let them know how you feel about them confiscating your hard-earned money and squandering it on any hobby horse scheme or trendy political dogma that suits their fancy. Feel free to share this message linked here via email, social media, etc.

We believe that diapers and politicians, especially politicians who are doing the things described above, should be changed often; both for the same reason.

Yours truly,

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.

For BOCS Dems, Abuse of Power & Racism Okay as Long as It’s the Right Kind

[PWCBG mass e-mail 21 August 2021 to county citizens]

Fellow citizens:

Recently, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair and Vice Chair — Ann Wheeler and Andrea Bailey, respectively, as well as Bailey’s husband — teamed up yet again to use county officers to intimidate political opponents of the BOCS Dem majority.  This time the county police were instructed to contact one of two local critics about an email he had written criticizing Wheeler and Bailey.  The police did so — once with what many would see as a threatening email message and then a second time in person.  Wheeler and Bailey, along with the other three Dem supervisors, have been openly supportive of keeping the county’s police department, highly rated by the public, well under strength (by hundreds of positions, per estimates we’ve seen from other county leaders), and holding open the threat of further defunding the police as a prod to try to make it as responsive as possible to them, apparently regardless of the rule of law and Bill of Rights freedoms.

Abuse of Power —  See the linked 12 August and 19 August Potomac Local News reports and a related report/commentary from a local blogger for details on the incidents above.  Also, see previous reports we’ve shared with you about Wheeler and the BOCS majority’s attempts to undermine county citizens’ first amendment freedoms.  Note the curious silence over the last 20 months from other local news media regarding these threats to your local civil liberties.

Systemic Racism v. Inclusion — We also note:  a) Wheeler, Bailey, and the other BOCS Dems’ frequent use of terms like “equity,” which they repeatedly refuse to clearly and objectively define despite formulating numerous important BOCS policies based on the term; b) controversy over their proposed diversity and equity teams at every county government level to ensure their new equity policy is enforced; c) and the BOCS Dems and their appointees’ frequent direct and indirect references to systemic racism and the need for more inclusion, while deciding virtually every major BOCS vote in the last 20 months on a 5-3 vote with no bipartisanship, thus effectively excluding the elected representatives of about half the county population from major decision-making.

The ideas of systemic racism, justifiable cross-generational reverse racism in response/retaliation, the need for punitive and coercive powers in the public square and workplace to enforce acceptance of such ideas, and Critical Race Theory (CRT) are all rooted in mid-19th century ideas of class struggle, and recent political updates, through which The Party pits groups defined by its current orthodoxy against each other and thus manipulates and coerces them toward its own ends.   Locally the PWC BOCS and School Board’s Dem majorities, as well as national teachers union leaders, unequivocally and unquestioningly support CRT orthodoxy and the premises on which it is built and are ensuring that school children are indoctrinated with it.

Breathtaking Hypocrisy, a Dodge, and a Taxpayer Shakedown — Yet the Wheeler-led BOCS Dems’ actions belie the seemingly happy talk of helping the poor.  Linked here is one example of our repeated documentation and explanations of how the BOCS Dems are already harming minorities, sometimes cruelly, even after only 20 months in power.

Meanwhile, at the national level, after 40-50 years of increasingly destructive, failed near-monopoly leadership nationally by The Party of major cities, costing trillions of dollars to taxpayers, urban minorities are too often sunk in multi-generational, directionless despair in drug- and crime-infested urban neighborhoods and public housing — with broken families, shambolic, failed public schools, and no escape therefrom being the rule rather than the exception.  (Think of the slums of metropolitan Baltimore, DC, New York City, Newark, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, and many other major US cities.)  Maybe that’s the way The Party now keeps its most vulnerable constituencies down and dependent on it, with no end game in sight.  If this is what is meant by systemic racism, then we couldn’t agree more that it’s a great evil and an epidemic.  But we wonder how the previous and current architects, puppet masters, and thoughtless supporters of such actual systemic racism can simultaneously deepen and spread it, often profiting handsomely off it professionally, at a cost of trillions of dollars in taxpayer funds, yet also claim to be the saviors of its victims.  Maybe we need a second joint-training session of the BOCS and county School Board by a “systemic racism” expert from our new model, Baltimore Schools, to help us.  Calling George Orwell.  (See attached “PWC_SB…” slides from the joint training session held 8 Dec 2020 and note how the implicit bias training, a potentially useful thing in and of itself, is, however, preceded by and builds on the assumption of systemic racism.  Also, see this link and this link for a different perspective from three leading black scholars — including the necessity of constructive culture in determining economic success, as well as criticism of the current political concepts of “systemic racism” and “equity.”)

Coming Full Circle to one of the Ultimate BOCS Motivations, Developer $ — In conclusion, we are left to ponder whether The Party’s national tactics and strategy, which leave so much destruction and despair in their wake, are being diverted in our county to another goal as well.  In March we discussed in detail how racial slurs and allegations of systemic racism are being used as a smokescreen by some BOCS Dems to suppress opposition and give free rein to developers, particularly regarding the county’s Rural Crescent.   In other words, perhaps the BOCS Dems are abusing power, using racial slurs, constantly introducing new bones of contention to county politics, and pitting people against each other to divert attention from a key goal of the BOCS Dems, a goal to which they have shown unwavering commitment.  That goal, now mostly complete, is to fully urbanize Prince William by paving the way for approval in county strategic plans of 36,000 more houses — adding ~100,000 more people to a county already suffering from overcrowded roads and schools, and eliminating the Rural Crescent and its environmental protections.   That’s still probably the key “money” issue in county politics, and money always talks.  Note, for example, Chair Wheeler’s unsurprising budding romance with developer $, which account for 84.5% of her fundraising in the most recent reporting period.  (See attached “Report_CC…” and https://www.vpap.org/committees/326462/wheeler-for-prince-william-county-board-of-supervisors-chairperson-ann/)

Here’s a link to this message on our pwcbg.org website (not including the two attachments.)  As always, feel free to share on social media, via email, etc.


Sincerely,

Ralph & Kathy Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG)
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.

Summary — While Hurting Minorities, Wheeler BOCS Uses ‘Equity’ as Smokescreen for Developer Land Grabs

[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.


Sincerely,

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.

While Hurting Minorities in 13 Ways, Wheeler & Allies Use Slurs To Suppress Opposition, Give Free Rein to Developers

[Mass email sent 31 March 2021 by PWCBG to county citizens]

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/ )
  • 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. 
  • 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 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.


Sincerely,

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.

West County Supervisors: How To Fight Overdevelopment, Destruction of Rural Crescent in Face of Developer-BOCS Assault

[21 Mar 2021 PWCBG mass email to county citizens]

Fellow citizens:   Please read the four short e-mails below sent 18-19 March from our three west county supervisors:  Jeanine Lawson (Brentsville), Peter Candland (Gainesville), and Yesli Vega (Coles).  They describe clear, immediate, and ever-growing threats to ordinary Prince William County citizens as the BOCS chair and her four lockstep Dem allies align completely with residential developers and their allies against virtually unanimous citizen opposition — Democrats and Republicans alike — who favor rural and historic preservation, less overcrowding of schools and roads, and no tax increases in the middle of America’s worst economic crisis in almost 100 years.

The emails below, especially the first and fourth, describe two easy ways to make your voice heard on these issues.  The second and third emails describe the problem. 

Remember that once rural and historic areas have been paved over, they’re gone.  Forever.  Let’s not pave paradise and put up a parking lot, especially where no road, school, and other infrastructure currently exists, which dramatically increases taxpayer costs.

Sincerely,

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.

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Jeanine Lawson <jlawson@pwcgov.org>
Date: Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 5:40 PM
Subject: Two Easy Ways to Help the Rural Crescent



Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine M. Lawson Two Easy Ways to Help the Rural Crescent

Here’s how YOU can help the Rural Crescent right now in two easy ways: 

County staff is soliciting citizen feedback about the county’s future as part of Comprehensive Plan, Pathway to 2040. There are two easy ways you can make an impact on these decisions.  

First, please take this short survey on priorities – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PWC_KickOffPoll

Be sure to pay attention to question #1:



Second, the staff is conducting 3 virtual meetings next week focusing on different parts of the county. Please sign up and participate in one of these sessions ASAP:      

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Eastern portion of the County. To register for this meeting, click this link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpce-srT4tHt058N1v76gBm9oabVCVmR6z      

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Central portion of the County. To register for this meeting, click this link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvd-uhrz0vHdPBAZac7QQG6BwHNN1JPs1e      

Thursday, March 25, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Western portion of the County. To register for this meeting, click this link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErce-opzwiGdBZeTGbD4tJMS4l940dsbXb                                                                                                            

I know that you must be feeling frustrated and angry with recent votes by the new majority of the Board of County Supervisors, which continue to defy the will of the people. I share those frustrations.

I strongly urge you to take the time to fill out the survey, participate in the meetings, make your voice heard, and share with your friends. 

Don’t let PWC plan YOUR future without you! Regards, Jeanine  

Questions? Contact us today 703-792-6190 or JLawson@pwcgov.org

This message was sent from jlawson@pwcgov.org

Jeanine Lawson
PWC Government
9400 Innovation Drive Suite 130
Manassas, Virginia 20110


——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject:The Rural Crescent Fight Continues
Date:Fri, 19 Mar 2021 16:00:31 -0400
From:Jeanine Lawson <jlawson@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:jlawson@pwcgov.org


Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine M. Lawson

The Rural Crescent Fight Continues

Friends –

In another late night, 5-3 vote, Chair Ann Wheeler and Supervisors Angry, Bailey, Boddye, and Franklin approved the Independent Hill Small Area Plan that removes land from the Rural Crescent. What is especially troubling is 41 of those acres are planned for intense commercial use, such as a data center complex. Furthermore, this parcel is directly adjacent to Prince William Forest Park (PWFP), a 14,000-acre national park. We are fortunate in our county to house this treasure which is the second-most pristine forest in the United States. Within the park is Quantico Creek which is known to be the cleanest stream in the Chesapeake Bay region. 

Never before have I seen such a diverse coalition of bipartisan elected officials at every level of government and nonpartisan organizations unite to protect our greatest natural resource. Advocates to stop this destructive development plan include: 

— Hundreds of citizens
— Congressman Rob Wittman (R)
— Virginia State Senator John Bell (D)
— Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D)
— National Parks Conservation Association
— Sierra Club
— Prince William Conservation Alliance
— Coalition to Protect Prince William County
— Piedmont Environmental Council
— Mid-County Civic Association
— Lake Ridge Occoquan Coles Civic Association
— Virginia Native Plants Society
— Audubon Society

This strong coalition wrote letters, hundreds of emails and/or spoke at the hearing, including a letter from Congressman Wittman. Repeatedly, people expressed environmental concerns of expanding intense commercial development into our rural area, and especially next to PWFP. Although the National Park Service cannot give an official position, through a letter and in person testimony, the park superintendent conveyed concerns that the stormwater runoff will damage Quantico Creek. He also said a development of this size will introduce invasive plant species due to the clearing and grading so close to the park. These long- lasting effects will inevitably complicate the park’s ecosystem and cause habitat loss. Understandably, the Park Service fears the diminishing appeal Prince William Forest Park will have on its annual 400,000 local and national visitors, not to mention the economic loss. I think the most compelling statement in the park superintendent’s letter was “While the County’s Staff Report indicates that ‘A minor adjustment to the rural boundary is being made,’ the precedent of opening the Rural Area to more intense development could affect the park for decades.” Sadly, all of these concerns fell on deaf ears. 

Also nearby is Quantico Marine Base. During the public hearing, the base commander phoned in and made his concerns very clear. He warned us any development encroaching near Quantico Marine Corps Base could impact his ability to conduct large training exercises crucial to our national security. Concerns here were dismissed as well.

Chair Wheeler and Supervisors Angry, Bailey, Boddye and Franklin remained unmoved, disregarding the numerous red flags. This irresponsible vote not only chiseled away at the Rural Crescent, but it also opened the door to more commercial and industrial development in this protected area. To take it a step further, Supervisors Angry and Bailey intend to completely transform the rural area with data centers and high-density housing. 

My colleagues are attempting to justify their vote under a false premise. Their justification that the approved plan will permanently preserve 120 acres is flawed. The county cannot force parcel owners to preserve land, therefore their vote does not guarantee a certain amount of preserved land. As a matter of fact, when I met with the landowners last week, they clearly stated their plan is to develop the majority of the 160 acres for data centers. 

No surprise, there is already another proposal to put 800 acres of data centers directly adjacent to the Manassas National Battlefield, and I anticipate proposals for data centers along Vint Hill Road. I cannot emphasize enough the devastating effects these absurd development plans would have on our landscape, tourism, environment, and housing values in the rural area.   

The Prince William County Board of Supervisors has a responsibility to protect the environmentally rich, aesthetically beautiful, and historical portions of the county; as well as encourage economic development in areas already planned and equipped with infrastructure for such use. Prince William does not need to convert rural areas into industrial and commercial land use. We can have strong commercial economic development in the properly designated areas, as I have proven with the $4.5 billion dollars of investment that I have welcomed into the Brentsville District over the past 6 years. All of this was done without developing the rural area. I am once again disappointed in my colleagues who voted in favor of this plan, against the recommendations of nationwide and local environmental experts.

Regards,
Jeanine

Link to Congressman Wittman’s Letter: https://supervisorjeaninelawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Wittman-letter-on-Prince-William-Forest-Park.pdf

Link to Prince William Forest Park Superintendent’s Letter: https://supervisorjeaninelawson.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Prince-William-Forest-Park-Letter.pdf  


Questions? Contact us today 703-792-6190 or JLawson@pwcgov.org

This message was sent  from jlawson@pwcgov.org

Jeanine Lawson
PWC Government
9400 Innovation Drive Suite 130
Manassas, Virginia 20110


———- Forwarded message ———
From: Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
Date: Fri, Mar 19, 2021, 2:22 PM
Subject: Destroying Our Rural and Historic Areas


Dear Friends,

Once again, despite overwhelming opposition and the hundreds of emails from Prince William County residents, the Democratic majority on the Board of County Supervisors voted to strip out a portion of our rural area, this time, to pave the way to allow a new data center.

The vote last Tuesday, was the second vote this year to dismantle the long-standing policy in Prince William to protect our rural and historic areas. During that Board meeting, Supervisor Angry (D-Neabsco) even stated that the Rural Crescent had “expired”.

I want to thank Supervisors Lawson (R-Brentsville) and Vega (R-Coles), for standing with me and standing with the residents of our County. 

Below is a video clip from our last Board meeting where I reiterated my support for the Rural Crescent despite the recent personal attacks waged upon me. It is my sincere hope we will turn the tide of these recent setbacks and preserve our rural and historic areas for generations to come.

The policy positions taken by party line votes have disappointed many of us who have fought so hard to preserve our rural areas and to protect our natural resources. This should not be a partisan issue…in fact, on Tuesday, we were joined by residents of both political parties in opposing this project.

But it appears that despite the many campaign promises of other Board members that they would actually listen to the citizens of our County; they are intent on paving over much of our rural areas.

Make no mistake, this is coming to the Gainesville District. In fact, there is already a proposal to add almost 800 acres of data centers adjacent to the Manassas National Battlefield Park.

It saddens me to tell you that right now, those of us who enjoy the natural beauty of our County’s undeveloped areas are losing to politicians and developers who only care about increased contributions and cashing in on our area’s land. 

But as long as I’m still a Supervisor, the battle isn’t over. Giving up in this fight is not in my nature.

I will continue to represent the majority of our County who do not want to see overdevelopment and who don’t want to sell out our protected areas in pursuit of additional tax dollars to fund an ever-growing county budget.

Our natural and historic resources should not pay the price for Prince William County government’s spending addiction.

Chasing data center dollars while paving over our environmental and historical treasures is bad public policy. And while it may be easy to pursue the big money today, I believe that the Board would be selling out future generations in Prince William County.

Please know that I will not back down or rest until this fight is over.

Click here to view my comments:





Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District
 7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210 | Gainesville, VA 20155
(703) 792-6195 | Gainesville@pwcgov.org 

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject:Opportunities to Make Your Voice Heard on Land Use, Housing, and Mobility
Date:Thu, 18 Mar 2021 21:16:28 -0400 (EDT)
From:Supervisor Yesli Vega <colesdistrict@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:colesdistrict@pwcgov.org


Dear Neighbor,

Prince William County government says they want to hear from you.

As part of the County’s Comprehensive Plan Update, Pathway to 2040, they have started the process of planning your future as a resident for the next 20 years in the areas of land use, housing, and mobility.   First, you’re invited to take a short survey on these issues by clicking here – https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PWC_KickOffPoll.  

Second, there will be three virtual meetings next week focusing on the Central, Western, and Eastern parts of the county.  


MEETING DETAILS AND REGISTRATION   
·      Tuesday, March 23, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Eastern portion of the County 
·      To register for this meeting, click this link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIpce-srT4tHt058N1v76gBm9oabVCVmR6z   

·      Wednesday, March 24, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Central portion of the County  
·      To register for this meeting, click this link: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJIvd-uhrz0vHdPBAZac7QQG6BwHNN1JPs1e   

·      Thursday, March 25, 2021 (6:00 PM – 8:00 PM) – Meeting Focus: Western portion of the County 
·      To register for this meeting, click this link:  https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJErce-opzwiGdBZeTGbD4tJMS4l940dsbXb 

While recent decisions by your government and Board of Supervisors have made many of our residents question how much value their input truly has, we must not give up!   These issues will play a major role in the future of your quality of life here in Prince William County so I hope you’ll take the opportunity to fill out the survey, participate in the meetings, and make your voice heard.

For Prince William,
Yesli Vega yvega@pwcgov.org (703) 792-4620

Sup. Candland Notes ‘Historic Vote Leads to Decline of the Rural Crescent’; Ch. Wheeler Dismisses Overwhelming Public Opposition as ‘Manufactured Outrage’

———- Forwarded message ———
From: Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
Date: Fri, Jan 22, 2021, 11:34 AM
Subject: Historic Vote Leads to Decline of the Rural Crescent

View this email in your browser View this email in your browser Dear Friends:
 
I last emailed everyone to let you know about the proposed development (Preserve at Long Branch) that was coming before the Board and express the immense adverse impacts that the approval of this project would have on the rural areas of the County due to the precedent it would set. I’m incredibly grateful that so many of you reached out to the Board and expressed your opposition to this project. 

However, five of the eight members of the Board chose not to listen to the voice of the residents and, led by the Board Chair, dismissed the concerns and efforts of so many in opposition, and approved the project. 
 
These five members, who together make up the Democrat majority on the Board, may portray the approval as just another nice residential community that, although in the Rural Crescent, will have a park that will allow people to walk around. However, the truth is that the precedent has now been set to allow other developers to bring water and sewer out to our rural areas and will set the stage for more massive proposed housing developments in our previously protected areas.

Make no mistake, this will be the first step toward approving more housing and even data centers in our rural areas.

Hundreds of Prince William County residents shared their opposition to this project, but unfortunately, these citizens were ignored, their concerns were discounted and mocked, and the developers across the area now know there are five Board members who they know will help them bring the end to the Rural Crescent. 

Click here to listen to Chair Wheeler dismiss citizen input and my response:
 
As a reminder, these are the same members of the Board that, earlier in 2020, opposed my resolution to defer residential development in the County while we update our planning documents to better protect the environment, clearly define affordable housing, and to enact a more balanced approach to our land use. 
 
I’d like to thank Supervisor Jeanine Lawson and Supervisor Yesli Vega for standing with me and the vast majority of citizens who wanted the Board to protect our rural areas.
 
For those of you who may not know, the Rural Crescent has become the “overdevelopment firewall” in Prince William County. It has helped protect our community from the out-of-control development that we all witnessed in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Many Prince William County citizens moved here because they didn’t want to be in an area with the same traffic as Fairfax, but now the majority of the Board has dismissed those concerns. 
 
The Rural Crescent is not just about preserving the beauty of our area or taking steps to protect our environment or about smart planning that builds communities around public transportation centers – even though it is about all those things. The Rural Crescent helps protect our community from more overcrowding in our classrooms, more traffic on our roads, and helps control the annual increase in our tax bill. 
 
Unfortunately, we witnessed certain Democrats on the Board of County Supervisors who had expressed their support for the Rural Crescent in the past while running for office, have now flipped – much to the delight of home builders across the Commonwealth.
 
This comes as a surprise to many voters in the County because when Chair Wheeler first ran for the Board she signed the Rural Crescent pledge – promising to protect the Rural Crescent from this very type of development. Even Supervisor Boddye, again while a candidate not that long ago, professed his support for the Rural Crescent at a Board of County Supervisors stating, “I fully support preserving the Rural Crescent as it currently stands.” 
 
Unfortunately for the citizens of Prince William County, their dedication to our rural preservation had an expiration date.
 
But I promise you, this is not the end of the fight to protect all the citizens of this County from the impacts of overdevelopment. You’ve got my commitment that I will continue to do everything I can to protect our rural areas.
 
I gave you my word nine years ago and my promise is just as good now as it was then. 
 
Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District

                 7001 Heritage Village Plaza, Suite 210 | Gainesville, VA 20155
(703) 792-6195 | Gainesville@pwcgov.org

2 Eminent Black Scholars Discuss ‘Equity’ & Upward Mobility

OPINION UPWARD MOBILITY

Wall Street Journal: Progressives Put the Racial ‘Equity’ Squeeze on Biden
The left wants a spoils system on steroids. If the president gives it to them, heaven help us.

By Jason L. Riley
Feb. 2, 2021 6:16 pm ET

President Biden likes to talk about “healing” and “unity,” but he also keeps pledging to prioritize the supposed interests of certain favored minority groups. When is he going to realize that his goals of racial unification and racial favoritism are at cross-purposes?

Last week Mr. Biden signed an executive order on “racial equity.” He said that George Floyd’s death last summer “marked a turning point in this country’s attitude toward racial justice” and is “forcing us to confront systemic racism and white supremacy.” He added that “this nation and this government need to change their whole approach to the issue of racial equity” and make it “not just an issue for any one department. It has to be the business of the whole government.”

Nothing quickens the pulse of progressives like talk of “systemic racism” and “white supremacy,” so it’s hard to know if Mr. Biden is just telling leftists what they want to hear. But if it’s more than that—if the president is serious about focusing on equal outcomes instead of equal opportunities—then heaven help us. Milton Friedman said the “society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither,” while “the society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.” Of course, Friedman had a constrained view of the government’s capabilities that isn’t shared by very many Democrats today. For them, good intentions are what matter most.

The political left has long used racism as an all-purpose explanation for racial disparities. This ignores that disparities down through history have been the norm, not the exception, and that they exist even in regions of the world where most people are of the same race. The per capita income gap between people in Eastern Europe and Western Europe, for example, is wider than the gap between whites and blacks in the U.S. Moreover, racial disparities have both grown and narrowed over time, even though racism has been constant. If Mr. Biden wants to change the government’s approach to racial inequality, this history ought to inform his actions.

The greatest success of the civil-rights movement wasn’t a new government program but getting government off the backs of blacks by defeating Jim Crow. Nothing the government has done since then in the name of advancing blacks has been more effective than simply ending government-sponsored discrimination. Black poverty fell by 40 percentage points between 1940 and 1960. It continued to decline in the wake of Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society interventions, but at a much slower pace.

Similarly, blacks were joining middle-class professions at a much faster pace in the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s than they would after affirmative-action programs were implemented in the 1970s. In fact, we now have evidence that suggests racial preferences have been not only ineffective in helping the black poor but also counterproductive. After the University of California system ended race-conscious admissions policies in 1996, black and Hispanic graduation rates rose dramatically.

Liberals also insisted that more black political representation would translate into more black upward mobility, but the historical record says otherwise. Poor blacks in Marion Barry’s Washington in the 1980s, and Sharpe James’s Newark, N.J., in the 1990s, saw their economic plight worsen. Even under our first black president, racial disparities in income and homeownership widened. It turns out that political clout is neither sufficient nor even necessary for a group to advance economically. Blacks and Hispanics experienced record low poverty and unemployment rates before the pandemic under President Trump, who has rarely been accused of bending over backward to help minorities.

If history is any guide, what blacks most need from the government is for it to get out of the way. Stop forcing poor black children to attend failing schools by denying them school choice. Stop increasing the minimum wage and pricing black young adults out of jobs. Stop implementing occupational licensing regulations that prevent black entrepreneurs from starting a business. And stop pretending that policing is a bigger problem than violent crime in poor black neighborhoods. In 2019 there were 492 homicides in Chicago, according to the Sun-Times, and only three of them involved police.

Mr. Biden surely understands this reality, but he’s also the head of a Democratic Party full of people who worship at the altar of identity politics and held their noses to elect a straight white male out of political expediency. These are people who believe that your race or religion or social background should inform your politics. They don’t want to make nice with their political opponents. They want revenge for four years of Donald Trump. The president has to decide whether he wants to implement a racial spoils system on steroids to accommodate them, or whether he’d rather focus on racial unity. He can’t do both.

_______________________________________________________________________________________

OPINION THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW

Wall Street Journal: How Equality Lost to ‘Equity’
Civil-rights advocates abandon the old ideal for the new term, which ‘has no meaning’ and promises no progress but makes it easy to impute bigotry, says Shelby Steele.
By Tunku Varadarajan
Feb. 12, 2021 1:52 pm ET

The first time Shelby Steele used the word “equity” in one of his books—“White Guilt,” published in 2006—he was referring to the value his father had accrued in restoring “three ramshackle homes to neat lower-middle-class acceptability.” This was in 1950s Chicago, a city the author describes as “virulently segregated.” Shelby Steele Sr., a Southern-born black truck driver who’d left school in third grade to work the fields, concealed his homeownership from his white employer. He was afraid he’d be fired for “getting above himself.”

No bank would loan the elder Steele money, so he used bricks, discarded lumber, and cast-off roofing shingles to render the properties rentable. “That’s what we used to call equity,” says Mr. Steele, the son. “The sense of the word I grew up with has no relationship at all to the meaning it has taken on today.”

Mr. Steele, 75, is a longstanding conservative commentator on race in America and a senior fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. We speak over Zoom a week after President Biden signed an Executive Order on Advancing Racial Equity, intended to address “entrenched disparities in our laws and public policies, and in our public and private institutions.” In his remarks at the signing, Mr. Biden seemed to suggest that his is a project aimed at reshaping American governance. “We need to make the issue of racial equity not just an issue for any one department of government,” the president said. “It has to be the business of the whole of government.”

I can almost hear Mr. Steele growl in his study in Monterey, Calif., as I read these words aloud. “This equity is a term that has no meaning,” he says, “but it’s one that gives blacks power and leverage in American life. We can throw it around at any time, and wherever it lands, it carries this stigma that somebody’s a bigot.” Its message is that there’s “inequality that needs to be addressed, to be paid off. So if you hear me using the word ‘equity,’ I’m shaking you down.”

Equity in this “new sense,” Mr. Steele says, can be understood only as “a strategy.” The president is promising to “fix America morally, and aligning himself with the strategy of black people to gain power by focusing on victimization. He’s saying, ‘America must tackle that problem and create programs that help minorities achieve equity’—whatever that may be.”

The idea of equality has been eclipsed, Mr. Steele says, in part because “it was a little too specific” and bore the baggage of the old civil-rights movement. “We fought for equality 60 years ago,” he says. It was a struggle that brought his black father and white mother together. (They married in 1944. All of her siblings abandoned her, “and never came back.”) “We won the civil-rights legislation in the ’60s,” Mr. Steele says, “and the term ‘equality’ is exhausted now. And it’s lost much of its mystique—because you can measure it.”

Americans look at statistics and disparities and many think “there’s another explanation for inequality other than racism,” Mr. Steele says. “Inequality may be the result of blacks not standing up to the challenges that they face, not taking advantage of the equality that has been bestowed on them.” He points to affirmative action and diversity—“the whole movement designed to compensate for the fact that blacks were behind”—and says that blacks today have worse indices relative to whites in education, income levels, marriage and divorce, or “any socioeconomic measure that you want to look at” than they did 60 years ago.

“It’s inconceivable,” says Mr. Steele, “that blacks are competitive in universities today.” In the 1950s, by contrast, they matriculated with slightly lower grade-point averages than whites and graduated with GPAs slightly higher than whites. “Nobody gave them anything,” Mr. Steele affirms. “They didn’t want them in universities then. We would never put our race on an application, because it would be used against us. The minute we started to get all these handouts from guilty America in the civil-rights era, we entered this uninterrupted decline.”

Equality, Mr. Steele suggests, no longer offers an alibi for black underperformance. Equity, by contrast, “is above all that.” Its absence is “just a generalized sort of evil.” Black leaders and white liberals “wanted a new, cleaner, emptier term to organize around. And equity was perfect because it meant absolutely nothing.” It allows whites, he says, to prove themselves to be “innocent” of racism. “The emptiness is what invites them in, and they say, ‘Yes! Oh my God! We’ve got to help blacks create and achieve equity. Because it will show us to be redeemed of our racist past and therefore empower us’ ”—even as it empowers the black-community leaders who are their moral notaries. He describes this compact as a “nasty little symbiotic bond between white and black America,” with each using the other “to gain power and moral legitimacy.”

Mr. Steele laments that liberal America is “still not ready to talk realistically and frankly” about race. What is obvious to him, and, he says, “obvious to millions of Americans, is the fact that America has made more moral progress in the last 60 years regarding race than any nation, country or civilization in history.”

He describes this progress as “miraculous,” and cites his own life as proof. He was born into a deeply segregated America where every aspect of life was racially calibrated. In 1946, when his mother showed up at a Chicago hospital in full labor, nurses ushered her into the maternity ward. When her husband arrived after parking the car, the nurses realized that the baby wasn’t going to be white. They pushed her into the elevator, which descended to the basement, where the “colored maternity ward” was. This was where Mr. Steele and his identical twin brother, Claude, were born. (Claude Steele is also at Stanford, a psychology professor who has studied “stereotype threat” and its effects on minority academic performance. The twins hold polar opposite views on race.)

Mr. Steele encountered plenty of discrimination in his youth. He couldn’t be a paperboy because they wouldn’t let black kids ride a bike through white neighborhoods at 6 a.m. He couldn’t be a caddy on a golf course. He couldn’t wash dishes at the local Greek restaurant because people would see his black hands on the plates. He couldn’t work at J.C. Penney because he couldn’t be seen laying clothes out on display. He couldn’t go to the schools he wanted because all schools were segregated.

While pursuing a doctorate in English at the University of Utah in the mid-1970s, he had to go to court to get an apartment to live in. “Landlords didn’t want to rent to blacks,” he says. “The first housing desegregation lawsuit in the history of Salt Lake City—I filed it.” Offered a job as a literature professor at the university after earning his doctorate, Mr. Steele preferred a position at California’s San Jose State University. He and his Jewish wife, Rita (whose father escaped the Holocaust), wanted to get away from the racism they faced as an interracial couple in Utah.

“Every aspect of life assaulted me as a black,” Mr. Steele says, and things didn’t start to “really, deeply change” until he was in his 30s. “Because I’m that old,” he says, “I have segregation flashbacks” when walking by the lobby of a luxury hotel. When he was a kid, he wouldn’t dream of crossing the threshold into such a place.

“The point I’m making,” he says, “is that I know what racism really is like, what inequality is like.” Today, by contrast, blacks enter the American mainstream as a matter of course, where “they’re far more likely to run into racial preferences, be celebrated for their race, be promoted above their skill levels, than held back.” Mr. Steele says that he doesn’t know “anywhere where blacks are held back. They’re not just pushed forward, but they’re dragged forward into American life.”

That, he says, is a tragedy: Black Americans had “the hell knocked out of them in the mid-’60s” by freedom. “We had borne up under every abuse, every torture. But we had no experience in freedom. We didn’t know what freedom required. We didn’t know how much individual responsibility you have to take on to thrive in freedom.”

How could black Americans have been prepared for freedom? “They should have been left alone, as Frederick Douglass said,” Mr. Steele responds, invoking the 19th-century abolitionist. “Left alone.” Then, says Mr. Steele, they would discover “other talents, other attitudes, other ideas of responsibility.” Instead of thinking that “one has to be blacker than thou, they will actually begin to say, ‘We’ve got to have the skills. We’ve got to make a contribution. We have to join America. We are America.’ ” But today’s America is “too cowardly to do it.”

Mr. Steele again invokes his father, born in 1900. Whites didn’t feel “guilty” about blacks back then: “They didn’t give a damn about my father.” Shelby Steele Sr. taught himself to read and write, built a business, a family, a life. “Everybody in the neighborhood I grew up in in Chicago did that.” Blacks were making economic progress, Mr. Steele says, “until American liberalism came in under Lyndon Johnson and said, in effect, to black people, ‘We don’t really have any faith in you. We don’t believe you can do it on your own. We hurt you, so now we’ll make it better.’ ” A downward spiral ensued in much of black America. The three houses Mr. Steele’s father fixed up and rented fell victim to blight. In the end, as he writes in “White Guilt,” “the family signed them over to their nonpaying renters for nothing, happy to be rid of the liability.”

White America continues to determine the lives of black Americans, Mr. Steele says: “Patronizing black people is just a form of white decency,” burnished by concepts like systemic racism and white privilege. “ ‘We’re still in charge of your life,’ ” white Americans say to blacks. “ ‘You do what we tell you.’ ” And so, Mr. Steele says, “we’ve become slaves all over again. And we run around, coming up with words like ‘equity,’ trying to jack the white man up.”

Yet Mr. Steele also sees “more and more blacks” pushing back against “the tribalism of race” as it collides with the “reality of freedom.” He views the Black Lives Matter movement as a desperate attempt to salvage tribalism. For all his indignation, Mr. Steele foresees a better future. “Millions of black individuals, living their lives as individuals, will take us beyond tribes and into true American citizenship. Many blacks are thriving already. Their children will do even better.”

Mr. Varadarajan, a Journal contributor, is a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and at New York University Law School’s Classical Liberal Institute.

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