Citizens for Balanced Growth

Author: Ralph Stephenson (Page 1 of 29)

Summary/Updates — BOCS Chair Wheeler Undermining Our Freedoms & Prosperity: 11 Examples

Happy 4th of July to all.  By request, we’re sending the summary below, with updates, of our 27 Jun email titled “BOCS Chair’s Disregard for Others & Rule of Law Is Undermining Our Freedoms & Prosperity:  11 Examples”.   Here’s a link to the full text of that message, with extensive documentation, as well as updates to items 1, 4, 5, and 6:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/06/bocs-chairs-disregard-for-others-rule-of-law-is-undermining-our-freedoms-prosperity-11-examples/ .  Please also share this summary via social media and/or other means:  …. )



In Prince William County our freedoms and prosperity are both at risk due to a series of extreme abuses of power and maladministration by Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Ann Wheeler in which, unfortunately, she has usually been joined in lockstep by the other four members of the BOCS’ Democratic majority.  Using police state tactics as much as she can get away with it, Chair Wheeler is routinely trying to suppress:  free speech, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government for redress of grievances, the BOCS minority party, and the public’s right to know what its government is up to (government transparency).  She has been doctrinaire and reckless, yet confused, regarding the county’s economy.  And she has demonstrated  incompetence on land use policy and vindictiveness toward west county residents.  Here are 11 examples:

1.  Enabled goon-like intimidation of the minority party — At the last BOCS meeting on 16 June, Chair Wheeler allowed numerous foul-mouthed, abusive, and threatening verbal attacks on two female Republican supervisors, Yesli Vega and Jeanine Lawson. 

Such attitudes and behavior are very reminiscent of early days in the histories of the Nazi Brownshirts and of Chairman Mao’s Red Guards during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.

2.  Tried to use police to remove “conservative protesters” — Wheeler and other Dem supervisors’ sympathetic reaction to the goon-like behavior noted above is unprecedented in our 15 years of experience with the BOCS and stands in dangerous and extremely hypocritical contrast to her response at the 19 May BOCS meeting to “conservative protesters” who opposed her plans to end the county’s longstanding cooperation with ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on illegal immigrants jailed for crimes in the county.  Wheeler “threatened to have police remove [the] crowd of conservative protesters who stood outside the BOCS chamber and heckled the supervisors during the session, but used no profanity.”

3.  Tried to use police to prevent a “Reopen Prince William” rally — According to local media reports and reliable confidential sources, Chair Wheeler tried to use the county Sheriff’s Department to forcibly shut down (by arrest and/or forcibly blocking or removing any participants who showed up) a legal, peaceful Reopen Prince William rally to reopen the county’s economy on 23 May.  Apparently for Wheeler and her allies, bigotry and racist hate speech (see #1 above), as well as police state tactics (see #s 2 and 3 above), are just fine if they’re targeted at shutting down her opponents and denying them their First Amendment rights.

4.  Violated Virginia’s open government laws in order to suppress public opposition, free speech, and the right to petition the government— Chair Wheeler held two BOCS meetings (on 12 and 19 May) without full, in-person public debate regarding ending the 287g County Jail-ICE cooperation program.  This was done in apparent violation of Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law and the BOCS’ own emergency legal justifications for holding said meetings (as printed in every BOCS meeting agenda since the Covid-19 shutdown.)  She did so to pack the County Jail Board with political cronies, including, nepotistically, Potomac District Supervisor Bailey’s husband, in order to end on 17 June the County Jail-ICE cooperation program, which the five BOCS Dems oppose, and to minimize public comment. 

Note:  Regardless of one’s views on the appropriateness and/or efficacy of the ICE program, this was a major decision that should legally have waited until the county was sufficiently open again (from the Covid-19 shutdown) to allow in-person comment by all county citizens so inclined.  At least one Dem supervisor has suggested — as justification after the fact — that the new Jail Board appointments were too few to make a difference in the outcome of the Jail Board vote against the ICE program.   If so, then the 12 and 19 May BOCS deliberations/vote with no in-person public comment were neither necessary nor an emergency — and thus illegal.  You can’t have it both ways.

5.  Violated Virginia’s open government meeting laws in order to suppress public opposition and illegally exclude duly-elected minority party BOCS supervisors — On 31 May, Chair Wheeler and the other four BOCS Democrats attended a “community meeting” with police “on use of police force during a Manassas-area protest the previous evening.”  The meeting excluded the three Republican supervisors and thus violated FOIA laws on open meetings, which require public notice when three or more members of the board are meeting and discussing policy.  (See:  https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodepopularnames/virginia-freedom-of-information-act/.)  The five Dems then — incredibly — denied that they discussed any matters of government business.

6.  Showed poor judgement and confusion regarding the county’s severely weakened economy and reopening — Chair Wheeler unilaterally asked Virginia Governor Northam to keep the county’s economically devastated small businesses/employers closed from 15-29 May, two weeks after most of the state began Phase One of Reopening.  Then, amid a groundswell of opposition to her precipitous and unilateral behavior on something that impacted so much of the county’s population, the BOCS voted 5-3 (in a very rare show of bipartisanship on major issues, without Wheeler’s support) to request Governor Northam allow earlier, partial reopening of some business activities.  Northam denied the request.  Then on 24 May, appearing to panic, Wheeler completely reversed direction and publicly supported early reopening of the county’s economy.  (See:  https://www.insidenova.com/news/special/coronavirus/leaders-making-preparations-for-may-29-reopening-in-northern-virginia/article_c377cd60-9ecf-11ea-8a79-7fdd58140b9b.html )

7.  Showed poor judgement, influenced by cronyism, regarding protecting county schoolchildren — On 12 May the BOCS voted 7 to 1 (with Chair Wheeler the lone opposing vote) to make a FOIA request (with necessary redactions) for allegedly inappropriate online communications between School Superintendent Steven Walts and schoolchildren, as well as to send a letter to the elected county school board asking it to explain how it is investigating Walts.  Chair Wheeler says she trusts her political crony School Board Chair Lateef and the rest of the Board to do the right thing, with no oversight, after they previously provided poor oversight of very highly-paid Walts.

8.  Hypocritically put rigid, absolutist ideology above the interests of under-served communities.  According to the 16 Jun BOCS meeting agenda and recent news releases from Chair Wheeler praising herself and announcing “A New Era” in the county, the county is now implementing a new program called “Diversity Lens” that will be a significant factor in designing, evaluating, and implementing county programs and strategic plans.

We wonder why no “Diversity Lens” was used to evaluate Chair Wheeler’s decision to keep the economy closed longer than most of the rest of the state or in changing the Jail Board in order to end the county jail’s cooperation program with ICE.  Minority communities and under-served areas of the country were benefiting relatively more from the booming economy before Covid-19, with labor participation rates higher and unemployment lower than they’d been in over 50 years, and wages rising much faster (percentage-wise) for lower- and working-class wage earners than any other group.  These communities thus had the most to lose from the county’s longer economic shutdown (see #6 above.)  And minority communities also have the most to lose from immigrant criminal predators potentially being released back into their communities.

9.  Showed poor judgement and cold-hearted, uncaring attitude toward county’s small businesses, employees by raising taxes during economic collapse — With official unemployment at almost 15% (over 23 million workers nationally) and a severe economic recession threatening to bankrupt tens of thousands of county residents and businesses, on 28 April silver-spoon, multi-millionaire Chair Wheeler, oblivious and/or indifferent to this suffering, led the BOCS Dem majority to raise rather than reduce private employer & homeowner taxes and to increase government spending.

10.  In March, attempted to permanently restrict citizens’ First Amendment rights at BOCS meetings, then lied about and denied responsibility for doing so.

11.  Demonstrated land use incompetence and vindictiveness toward west county residents — Chair Wheeler forced the big Devlin Rd. residential development project upon West County citizens on 10 and 31 March, ignoring virtually unanimous local opposition, including over 1,000 petitioners, while also ignoring BOCS rules and procedures and unresolved flooding, eminent domain, phasing, and housing density problems.



It’s our county.  We can either choose to live with the above abuses of power, choose to live with ever-eroding freedoms and prosperity under Chair Wheeler’s anti-democratic, police-state mentality or fight back.


Sincerely,

Ralph & Kathy Stephenson

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.

BOCS Chair’s Disregard for Others & Rule of Law Is Undermining Our Freedoms, Prosperity: 11 Examples

Greetings, fellow citizens.  We hope that you are all safe, healthy, and doing well.  Happy 4th of July to everyone.

Two of mankind’s greatest achievements and the perspective they give us on our county and its leadership — We’re long-time fans of blues and early jazz music.  In our opinion, this music, on its musical merits alone, is one of America and the world’s great cultural jewels.  But we’re inclined to see it as even more than that when we remember that something so moving and powerful was born out of centuries of ugliness and suffering of every kind — suffering that was caused by some people thinking they were better than and could subjugate and control others not like them, depriving them of meaningful rights and power.  For the ~ 5,000 years or so of recorded human history, much of the world’s suffering has been caused by such attitudes and behavior.

As we were recently traveling, listening to our favorite blues station, the radio announcer diverted from her normal music news and commentary as she introduced the next blues song: “What the Devil Loves.”  She said that what the Devil loves is “mayhem” — referring to the Minneapolis police brutality, the legitimate protests against it, and the unjustified and opportunistic criminal looting, destruction, and violence that followed in many cities. Whether you believe in a literal personified devil, or see the Devil only as a metaphor of evil, or benightedness, or sin (whatever you may believe that to be), the radio announcer was right:  the Devil loves moral chaos, hypocrisy, lies, darkness, tribal hatred, erosion of the rule of law, and mayhem.  After all, it creates such excellent opportunities for devil’s work.  But more on that later and why we think it’s relevant to Prince William County.

Now let’s move to another one of the world’s greatest and most foundational achievements, the US Constitution’s Bill of Rights, starting with the First Amendment, which, for the first time in over 5,000 years of recorded history, guaranteed freedom of religion, speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and petitioning the government for redress of grievances as the most fundamental rights in a free society.  (See: https://constitution.findlaw.com/amendments.html)  The First Amendment, the rest of the Bill of Rights (the first ten), and the subsequent amendments, a core part of the supreme law of the land, clearly and indisputably show a relentless and ongoing march toward increasingly greater freedom, inclusivity, and opportunity for all Americans within the rule of law — ideas and aspirations far more eloquently expressed in Martin Luther King’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech than anything we could ever write.  (See:  https://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm#  and  https://www.archives.gov/files/press/exhibits/dream-speech.pdf

Even the virtually universal, over-5000-year-old scourge of slavery — an integral and apparently intractable part of every major empire, nation, or tribe in history that we know of until the 19th century — was finally outlawed in the US (preceded by Haiti, Spain, Britain, and France and followed by many others), though it took the US’ bloodiest war by far, the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments, and another 100 years until legislation was passed in the 1960s and early 70s (including the 24th Amendment) that promised real equality of opportunity for African-Americans and other ethnic minorities.

Most of the current 27 amendments to the Constitution are completely unprecedented in their scope and effect, and are a truly miraculous achievement in world history.  They, and the Constitution in general as amended, have enabled the US to be the freest, most stable and prosperous, most powerful nation in the history of the world.  (For any who cannot accept this demonstrable truth, we’d love to know:  When in world history has there been any major country, much less a truly multi-ethnic one, that has been as free, prosperous, and stable as the US, and been so before the US first pioneered/implemented most of the models, methods, and ever-advancing capabilities that made it possible?)

And now we come to the crux of the matter.  Civilization, the rule of law, our freedoms, beginning with the First Amendment, and modern progressive economies are resilient, but they are also fragile, as the last five months of this year have clearly demonstrated.  “Fragile” because targeting of minority groups of any kind (including but not limited to ethnic, religious, and political minorities), disrespect for the rule of law and others’ rights, and carelessness regarding the economy in pursuit of ideological purism or other foolish ends can eventually undermine — or even destroy — our freedoms and prosperity, as has actually happened repeatedly, to varying degrees, throughout the world and world history, including now and recently.

In Prince William County our freedoms and prosperity are both at risk due to a series of extreme abuses of power and maladministration by Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Ann Wheeler — deliberate decisions in which she has been, unfortunately, usually joined in lockstep by the other four members of the BOCS’ Democratic majority.  Here are eleven examples:

1.  At the last BOCS meeting on 16 June, Chair Wheeler allowed numerous foul-mouthed, abusive, and threatening verbal attacks on two female Republican supervisors, Yesli Vega and Jeanine Lawson.  These attacks, reportedly from CASA in Action, a regional immigrant rights activist group, were clearly intended to physically intimidate and silence the two minority-party supervisors, who disagree with Wheeler on key issues.  Although these obscene personal attacks were flagrant violations of BOCS rules and procedures — at least they would have been before Chair Wheeler’s reign — and the speakers should have been warned once, and then, if that failed, removed from the BOCS chamber, Wheeler did nothing to stop them, and consequently lost control of the meeting.

(For more details, see https://potomaclocal.com/2020/06/16/prince-william-supervisors-lose-order-as-black-lives-matter-supporters-call-for-abolishing-police-u-s/  and  click here or on picture below for video excerpts from the 16 Jun BOCS public hearing, which a frequent target of the attacks, Supervisor Vega, described as “hours of unhinged radical leftists calling for us to defund and abolish our local police force,” etc. )

Such attitudes and behavior are very reminiscent of early days in the histories of the Nazi Brownshirts and of Chairman Mao’s Red Guards during the Chinese Cultural Revolution.


2.  Wheeler and other Dem supervisors’ sympathetic reaction to the goon-like behavior above and her non-response to their intimidation tactics and threatening language directed against other BOCS members by name in an official, public county government meeting is unprecedented in our experience.  It stands in dangerous and extremely hypocritical contrast to her response at the 19 May BOCS meeting to protesters who, unlike Chair Wheeler, support the county’s longstanding cooperation with ICE (federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement) on illegal immigrants jailed for crimes in the county.   Per the Potomac Local report linked above, at the 19 May meeting Wheeler “threatened to have police remove [the] crowd of conservative protesters who stood outside the BOCS chamber and heckled the supervisors during the session, but used no profanity.”  Wheeler showed a similarly extreme double standard in threatening to use police to shut down the 23 May rally to reopen county businesses described in example #3 below.

Apparently for Wheeler and her allies, bigotry and racist hate speech (see #1 above), as well as police state tactics (see #s 2 and 3), are just fine if they’re targeted at shutting down her opponents and denying them their First Amendment rights.

3.  According to local media reports and reliable confidential sources, Chair Wheeler tried to use the county Sheriff’s Department to forcibly shut down (by arrest and/or forcibly blocking or removing any participants who showed up) a legal, peaceful Reopen Prince William rally on 23 May.   She called County Sheriff Glen Hill two days beforehand, asking him to stop the rally, ostensibly because of Covid-19, but in reality even more importantly because the rally would be critical of her. 

Sheriff Hill refused to comply with Wheeler’s demand, saying the protesters have constitutional rights and he would not be arresting anyone.  Wheeler then instructed County Executive Chris Martino to call Sheriff Hill for further details.  Apparently still unable to let it go after her and Martino’s earlier calls, especially after hearing a WMAL Radio interview that she didn’t like, Wheeler called Hill yet again, insisting that he stop the protest, at which point Hill said:  “I work for the people, not for you.”  (See: https://potomaclocal.com/2020/05/26/reopen-manassas-rally-highlights-residents-lockdown-frustrations-tensions-in-county-government/ )

Hypocritically, Wheeler showed no such Covid-19 or other legal concerns regarding the 30-31 May protests in the Manassas area inspired by George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis, even when the protests turned violent and damaged local businesses.  (Nor did she criticize her partisan friend Virginia Governor Northam who showed up at Virginia Beach the same day of the Reopen Prince William rally, completely ignoring social distancing and not wearing a mask, in violation of his own edicts.)


(Here is a serious alternative view from a well-known scholar and commentator on these and related issues that we recommend for your thoughtful consideration and to add perspective:   https://pwcbg.org/2020/06/a-critical-look-at-the-current-state-of-american-politics/ )

4.  Chair Wheeler held two BOCS meetings (on 12 and 19 May) without full, in-person public debate regarding ending the 287g County Jail-ICE cooperation program.  This was done in apparent violation of Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) law and the BOCS’ own emergency legal justifications for holding said meetings (as printed in every BOCS meeting agenda since the Covid-19 shutdown.)  She did so to pack the County Jail Board with political cronies, including, nepotistically, Potomac District Supervisor Bailey’s husband, in order to end on 17 June the County Jail-ICE cooperation program, which the five BOCS Dems oppose, and to minimize public comment. 

Note:  Regardless of one’s views on the appropriateness and/or efficacy of the ICE program, this was a major decision that should legally have waited until the county was sufficiently open again (from the Covid-19 shutdown) to allow in-person comment by all county citizens so inclined.  At least one Dem supervisor has suggested — as justification after the fact — that the new Jail Board appointments were too few to make a difference in the outcome of the Jail Board vote against the ICE program.   If so, then the 12 and 19 May BOCS deliberations/vote with no in-person public comment were neither necessary nor an emergency — and thus illegal.  You can’t have it both ways.

  (See: https://potomaclocal.com/2020/05/20/newly-appointed-prince-william-jail-board-member-vowed-to-abolish-287g-immigration-program/ and https://potomaclocal.com/2020/06/17/prince-william-jail-board-abolishes-287g-program-used-to-id-suspected-illegal-immigrants/ )

5.  On 31 May, Chair Wheeler and the other four BOCS Democrats attended a “community meeting” with police “on use of police force during a Manassas-area protest the previous evening.”  The meeting excluded the three Republican supervisors and thus violated FOIA laws on open meetings, which require public notice when three or more members of the board are meeting and discussing policy.  (See:  https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacodepopularnames/virginia-freedom-of-information-act/ .) The five Dems then — incredibly — denied that they discussed any matters of government business.  (For fuller details, see: https://www.insidenova.com/news/politics/prince_william/amid-protest-response-supervisors-fight-over-closed-meeting/article_7a89b5de-aa99-11ea-8d28-dfff86ac0107.html and  https://potomaclocal.com/2020/06/11/resident-slaps-prince-william-board-of-county-supervisors-with-foia-lawsuit-after-post-riot-meeting/ )

So let’s diagram this logically:  The county government’s leaders, including BOCS Chair Wheeler, County Executive Chris Martino, County Attorney Michelle Robl, and Democratic supervisors, attended a meeting with the chief of the county Police Department to discuss police handling of a very controversial issue — a protest followed by rioting and violence.  The four other Dem supervisors were all there (though the head of the county government and leader of the Democratic Party in the county, Chair Wheeler, claims she had no idea they’d be there.)  The topic was the protests and riots occurring in the western part of the county, represented by Republican Supervisors Candland and Lawson, who were not invited.  Yet, according to Wheeler, “no county business was discussed.”

So exactly what was the purpose of the meeting?  A barbecue?  Dinner and dancing?  Karaoke?  Probably not, as evidenced by the following 31 May Facebook entry from Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin, apparently describing the business that she and the other Democratic supervisors conducted at the meeting at which they claim no business was conducted. At the very least, the enthusiastic support for and laser focus by Dem supervisors on the ongoing protests makes it very hard to avoid the conclusion that the “community meeting,” from which the Republican supervisors were excluded, attempted to influence police behavior … and thus conducted business and thus broke the law.

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Chair Wheeler’s repeatedly childish, preposterous lies and denials after being caught breaking the law or doing other scandalous things show her contempt for county citizens’ intelligence and the rule of law.

Note:  Since the riots occurred in the western half of the county, wouldn’t it be logical to assume that the supervisors representing the directly-affected districts, Supervisors Candland and Lawson, should be the first to be invited to the meeting, not “diss”-invited?  Furthermore, isn’t it interesting that the riots occurred in the western end of the county and not elsewhere in districts represented by Dems?  …  Probably just a coincidence.

6.   Chair Wheeler unilaterally asked Virginia Governor Northam to keep the county’s economically devastated small businesses/employers closed from 15-29 May, two weeks after most of the state began Phase One of Reopening.  Then, amid a groundswell of opposition to her precipitous and unilateral behavior on something that impacted so much of the county’s population, the BOCS voted 5-3 (in a very rare show of bipartisanship on major issues) to request Governor Northam allow earlier, partial reopening of some business activities.  Northam denied the request.  Then on 24 May, appearing to panic, Wheeler completely reversed direction and publicly supported early reopening of the county’s economy.  (See:  https://www.insidenova.com/news/special/coronavirus/leaders-making-preparations-for-may-29-reopening-in-northern-virginia/article_c377cd60-9ecf-11ea-8a79-7fdd58140b9b.html and https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/northam-denies-request-to-open-local-restaurants-to-outdoor-seating-hints-at-statewide-mask-policy/article_51a422e2-9c68-11ea-af0b-e758dd6e6ae6.html  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/06/letter-to-bocs-on-19-may-bipartisan-vote-ending-lockdown/ )

We realize that decisions on opening and closing the economy during the pandemic are difficult ones.  We also realize (as the many big pharma researchers and medical doctors in our extended family regularly remind us) that there is no settled science specifically regarding Covid-19 to guide such government decisions, despite Chair Wheeler’s frequent phony and pseudo-intellectual implications and claims to the contrary.  However, Wheeler might have made better decisions, and at least decisions with more buy-in, if she hadn’t, yet again, shown contempt for everyone’s views but her own.  The importance of consultation, building consensus, and listening to and often accommodating different points of view are some of the most basic, important lessons of leadership.  Clearly, Chair Wheeler has no idea about and/or interest whatsoever in how to be a good leader, only in dictatorially trying to impose her will, her ideology on others.

7.  On 12 May the BOCS voted 7 to 1 to send a letter to the elected county school board asking it to explain how it is investigating School Superintendent Steven Walts, after allegations against him of multiple instances of inappropriate behavior with and online messaging to  students.  The supervisors also voted 7 to 1 to submit a FOIA request to the county school division asking them to release all  direct messages Walts exchanged with students over the past 18 months, redacting students’ names for privacy.  (We welcome this as one of the two times we can recall since the new BOCS took office — #6 above is the other — in which a major vote has been decided by a bipartisan majority.)

Chair Wheeler was the only dissenting vote, saying she trusts her political crony School Board Chair Lateef and the rest of the Board to do the right thing, with no oversight, after they previously provided poor oversight of very highly-paid Walts.

(See: https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/county-supervisors-vote-to-foia-superintendents-twitter-exchanges-with-students/article_0589f508-94ca-11ea-b41a-5f444d501ab6.html  and  https://www.fox5dc.com/news/prince-william-county-schools-superintendent-under-investigation-over-private-messages-with-students )

8.  According to the 16 Jun BOCS meeting agenda and recent news releases from Chair Wheeler praising herself and announcing “A New Era” in the county, the county is now implementing a new program called “Diversity Lens” that will be a significant factor in designing, evaluating, and implementing county programs and strategic planning.  At best, this program — if properly designed, limited, and audited — might bring business, development, employment, and volunteer expertise together with underserved areas of the county.  However, with absolutist ideologues such as Chair Wheeler in charge, that seems unlikely.

We wonder why no “Diversity Lens” was used to evaluate Chair Wheeler’s decision to keep the economy closed longer than the rest of the state or in changing the Jail Board in order to end the county jail’s cooperation program with ICE.  Minority communities and underserved areas of the country were benefiting relatively more from the booming economy before Covid-19, with labor participation rates higher and unemployment lower than they’d been in over 50 years, and wages rising much faster (percentage-wise) for lower- and working-class wage earners than any other group.  These communities thus had the most to lose from the county’s longer shutdown (see #6 above.)  And minority communities also have the most to lose from immigrant criminal predators potentially being released back into their communities.   As far as we know, no one asked these communities how they felt about either of these decisions — the first a unliteral decision by Wheeler.  There were no impartial statistical surveys pursued with the kind of zeal and enthusiasm that the five Dems have shown for their new and future pet big government projects, no independent “Diversity Lens” to evaluate the impact of these two Wheeler decisions.

9.  With official unemployment at almost 15% (over 23 million workers nationally) and a severe economic recession threatening to bankrupt tens of thousands of county residents and businesses, on 28 April multi-millionaire Chair Wheeler, oblivious and/or indifferent to this suffering, led the way to raise rather than reduce private employer & homeowner taxes and to increase government spending.  (See paragraph immediately above.   Also see Wheeler’s financial disclosure statement here:  https://www.pwcgov.org/government/bocs/Documents/WheelerSOEI20.PDF )

So much for Wheeler’s promises to improve the already-fragile commercial part of the commercial:residential tax base and improve the economy.  Big government and Dem supervisors’ new pet projects and long-planned tax-and-spend party after taking office come first.  The survival of thousands of small businesses and their employees, whose problems started when they were closed wholly or partly by government shutdown decisions, can wait.  Citizens and businesses exist to serve the government and provide tax revenue to fund the pet projects and political whims of imperious county supervisors such as Wheeler, not the other way around.

(For more info, see https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/what-you-can-do-11-thru-14-apr-re-bocs-dem-majoritys-callousness-in-proposing-tax-increases-amid-employer-jobs-meltdown/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/alert-chair-wheelers-phony-reversal-under-pressure-on-real-estate-tax-replacing-it-with-even-higher-taxes-2/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/action-taxes-1st-amendment-devlin-rd-and-bocs-chairs-hamster-wheel-of-government/ .)

10.  In March, Chair Wheeler attempted to permanently restrict citizens’ First Amendment rights at BOCS meetings, then lied about and denied responsibility for doing so.  (For fuller details see:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/chair-wheeler-holding-semi-public-31-mar-bocs-meeting-to-implement-greatly-increased-emergency-powers-suspension-of-public-comment/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/civic-associations-holding-public-hearings-during-pandemic-with-greatly-reduced-public-participation-will-undermine-the-public-process/ and https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/bocs-urged-to-ensure-banning-of-public-comment-does-not-become-permanent/ )

11.  Chair Wheeler forced the big Devlin Rd. residential development project upon West County citizens on 10 and 31 March, ignoring virtually unanimous local opposition, including over 1,000 petitioners, while also ignoring BOCS rules and procedures and unresolved flooding, eminent domain, phasing, and housing density problems.  (For fuller details see: https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/bocs-majoritys-incompetence-vindictiveness-false-pride-devlined-west-county-tax-increases-despite-growing-business-jobs-meltdown/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/second-chance-for-5-new-bocs-members-deceived-by-developers-on-devlin2-pwcbg-suggests-tax-relief-for-local-employers-employees-facing-layoffs/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/open-letter-holding-pw-county-attorney-accountable-on-land-use-covid-19/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/supervisor-boddyes-help-requested-in-defeating-devlin-kline-projects-to-protect-west-county-revitalize-east-county/)

So, in sum, Chair Wheeler continues to ride the hamster wheel of big government/government process, constantly indulging in self-praise about it to give the illusion of constructive progress, while in reality frequently regressing to pre-modern, anti-democratic repression of dissent and heretics to try to get her way.   (“Heretics” are anyone who doesn’t agree with Wheeler’s absolutist secular political religion.)   She is strong to undermine, damage, and destroy, strong to incite factional and other hatreds, but very weak to build anything constructive and substantial.  She is also strong on pretension, virtue signalling, moral exhibitionism, and hypocrisy.  Yet, she is weak on truly protecting the county’s under-served and most vulnerable communities whose needs and struggles she — as a wealthy, silver-spoon elite — claims to understand and know how to solve (i.e., through more big government dependency.)  Her actions and focus also show no interest whatsoever in improving the quality of life for the county’s middle class, ensuring the greatest good for the greatest number, or protecting the rule of law and civil order.

Can it be that Chair Wheeler and her closest allies, including some of the BOCS supervisors, see disrespect for the rule of law, disrespect for the First Amendment and the rest of the Bill of Rights, support of social mayhem and moral and legal chaos, and illegitimate centralized economic control as legitimate means to their extremist ideological ends, whenever that suits their purposes?  Can it be that they nurse intense hatred and vindictiveness toward those who think differently from or oppose them?  (Sadly, we continue to hear indications from some of them and others who work with them that this is indeed true.)  Can it be that they still have very little interest whatsoever in learning and properly doing their core jobs, which are tax and land use policy?  Increasingly, it sure seems that way to us.

As critical as we have been of previous BOCS leadership, this BOCS leadership is already far worse, repeating the previous BOCS’ negligent land use policies and adding many new aspects of misrule and disrespect for the rule of law that previous leaderships probably never imagined.

So what are we going to do now?  We request that you start by sharing this letter on social media and/or by forwarding it to your friends.  (Here’s a link:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/06/bocs-chairs-disregard-for-others-rule-of-law-is-undermining-our-freedoms-prosperity-11-examples/ )  As needed, we’ll begin a new feature on our website (https://pwcbg.org) in which we’ll regularly keep citizens updated with Chair Wheeler’s latest crimes against the people of the county

It’s our county.  We can either choose to live with the above abuses of power, choose to live with ever-eroding freedoms and prosperity under Chair Wheeler’s anti-democratic, police-state rule or fight back.

We’ll leave you with two thoughts.  The first is from the screenplay of the movie “A Man for All Seasons,” which tells the story of the great 16th century English statesman, Catholic humanist philosopher, and saint Sir Thomas More and his conflict with King Henry VIII over the future of the English state:  “… This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s.  And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?  Yes, I’d give [everyone, even] the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”

Second, from British crime novelist Michael Gilbert:  “If there’s one thing that can keep me awake at night it’s a vision, which I sometimes have, of this country being ruled by the wishes of its rulers and not by the rule of law.  Could it happen here?  Of course it could. It’s too bloody easy for a Government to panic [or to arrogantly see its own intolerant political vision as absolutely superior to and replacing all others] and set the law [aside] because it happens to be inconvenient.  Temporarily, of course.  They always mean to bring it back again — some time.”

Sincerely,

Ralph & Kathy Stephenson

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.

Letter to BOCS on 19 May Bipartisan Vote, Ending Lockdown

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

BOCS members:

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

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

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

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

We think this problem is largely articulated  by Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Peggy Noonan in the following 14 May Wall Street Journal commentary:
https://peggynoonan.com/scenes-from-the-class-struggle-in-lockdown/

Regards, 

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.

A Critical Look at the Current State of American Politics

Wall Street Journal — OPINION  COMMENTARY
America Doesn’t Need a New Revolution
Can the country confront its current problems with its traditional can-do spirit? We have barely four months to figure out how.
By Ayaan Hirsi Ali
June 26, 2020 4:04 pm ET


Outrage is the natural response to the brutal killing of George Floyd. Yet outrage and clear, critical thinking seldom go hand in hand. An act of police brutality became the catalyst for a revolutionary mood. Protests spilled over into violence and looting. Stores were destroyed; policemen and civilians injured and killed. The truism “black lives matter” was joined by a senseless slogan: “Defund the police.”

Democratic politicians—and some Republicans—hastened to appease the protesters. The mayors of Los Angeles and New York pledged to cut their cities’ police budgets. The Minneapolis City Council said it intended to disband the police department. The speaker of the House and other congressional Democrats donned scarves made of Ghanaian Kente cloth and kneeled in the Capitol. Sen. Mitt Romney joined a march.

Corporate executives scrambled to identify their brands with the protests. By the middle of June, according to polls, American public opinion had been transformed from skepticism about the Black Lives Matter movement to widespread support. Politicians, journalists and other public figures who had denounced protests against the pandemic lockdown suddenly lost their concern about infection. One Johns Hopkins epidemiologist tweeted on June 2: “In this moment the public health risks of not protesting to demand an end to systemic racism greatly exceed the harms of the virus.”

Although I am a black African—an immigrant who came to the U.S. freely—I am keenly aware of the hardships and miseries African-Americans have endured for centuries. Slavery, Reconstruction, segregation: I know the history. I know that there is still racial prejudice in America, and that it manifests itself in the aggressive way some police officers handle African-Americans. I know that by measures of wealth, health and education, African-Americans remain on average closer to the bottom of society than to the top. I know, too, that African-American communities have been disproportionately hurt by both Covid-19 and the economic disruption of lockdowns.

Yet when I hear it said that the U.S. is defined above all by racism, when I see books such as Robin DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” top the bestseller list, when I read of educators and journalists being fired for daring to question the orthodoxies of Black Lives Matter—then I feel obliged to speak up.

“What the media also do not tell you,” I tweeted on June 9, “is that America is the best place on the planet to be black, female, gay, trans or what have you. We have our problems and we need to address those. But our society and our systems are far from racist.”

America looks different if you grew up, as I did, in Africa and the Middle East. There I had firsthand experience of three things. First, bloody internecine wars between Africans—with all the combatants dark-skinned, and no white people present. Second, the anarchy that comes when there is no police, no law and order. Third, the severe racism (as well as sexism) of a society such as Saudi Arabia, where de facto slavery still exists.

I came to the U.S. in 2006, having lived in the Netherlands since 1992. Like most immigrants, I came with a confidence that in America I would be judged on my merits rather than on the basis of racial or sexual prejudice.

There’s a reason the U.S. remains, as it has long been, the destination of choice for would-be migrants. We know that there is almost no difference in the unemployment rate for foreign-born and native-born workers—unlike in the European Union.

We immigrants see the downsides of American society: the expensive yet inefficient health-care system, the shambolic public schools in poor communities, the poverty that no welfare program can alleviate. But we also see, as Charles Murray and J.D. Vance have shown, that these problems aren’t unique to black America. White America is also, in Mr. Murray’s phrase, “coming apart” socially. Broken marriages and alienated young men are problems in Appalachia as much as in the inner cities.

If America is a chronically racist society, then why are the “deaths of despair” studied by Anne Case and Angus Deaton so heavily concentrated among middle-aged white Americans? Did the Covid-19 pandemic make us forget the opioid epidemic, which has disproportionately afflicted the white population?

This country is only 244 years old, but it may be showing signs of age. Time was, Americans were renowned for their can-do, problem-solving attitude. Europeans, as Alexis de Tocqueville complained, were inclined to leave problems to central authorities in Paris or Berlin. Americans traditionally solved problems locally, sitting together in town halls and voluntary associations. Some of that spirit still exists, even if we now have to meet on Zoom. But the old question—“How can we figure this out?”—is threatened with replacement by “Why can’t the government figure this out for us?”

The problem is that there are people among us who don’t want to figure it out and who have an interest in avoiding workable solutions. They have an obvious political incentive not to solve social problems, because social problems are the basis of their power. That is why, whenever a scholar like Roland Fryer brings new data to the table—showing it’s simply not true that the police disproportionately shoot black people dead—the response is not to read the paper but to try to discredit its author.

I have no objection to the statement “black lives matter.” But the movement that uses that name has a sinister hostility to serious, fact-driven discussion of the problem it purports to care about. Even more sinister is the haste with which academic, media and business leaders abase themselves before it. There will be no resolution of America’s many social problems if free thought and free speech are no longer upheld in our public sphere. Without them, honest deliberation, mutual learning and the American problem-solving ethic are dead.

America’s elites have blundered into this mess. There were eight years of hedonistic hubris under Bill Clinton. Then came 9/11 and for eight years the U.S. suffered nemesis in Afghanistan, Iraq and in the financial crash. After that we had eight years of a liberal president, and the hubris returned. Sanctimonious politics coincided with deeply unequal economics.

Through all this, many Americans felt completely left out—of the technology boom, of the enterprise of globalization. I never thought I would agree with Michael Moore. But at an October 2016 event, he predicted that Donald Trump would win: “Trump’s election is going to be the biggest [middle finger] ever recorded in human history.” I still think that analysis was right. Mr. Trump wasn’t elected because of his eloquence. He was elected to convey that middle finger to those who had been smugly in charge for decades.

But you can’t give the middle finger to a pandemic, and 2020 has exposed the limitations of Mr. Trump as a president. Yet when you look at the alternative, you have to wonder where it would lead us. Back to the elite hubris of the 1990s and 2010s? I can’t help thinking that another shattering defeat might force sane center-left liberals into saying: That wasn’t a one-off; we’ve got a real problem. They’ll be in the same position as the British Labour Party after four years of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership and two election defeats, when eventually the moderates had to throw the leftists out. One way or another, the Democratic Party has to find a way of throwing out the socialists who are destroying it.

The Republicans, too, have to change their ways. They have to reconnect with young people. They have to address the concerns of Hispanics. And they have to listen to African-Americans, who most certainly do not want to see the police in their neighborhoods replaced by woke community organizers.

We have barely four months to figure this out in the old American way. To figure out how to contain Covid-19, which we haven’t yet done, because—I dare to say it—old lives matter, too, and it is old people as well as minorities whom this disease disproportionately kills. To figure out how to reduce violence, because the police wouldn’t use guns so often if criminals didn’t carry them so often. Perhaps most pressing of all, to figure out how to hold an election in November that isn’t marred by procedural problems, allegations of abuse and postelection tumult.

Who knows? Maybe there’s even time for the candidates to debate the challenges we confront—not with outrage, but with the kind of critical thinking we Americans were once famous for, which takes self-criticism as the first step toward finding solutions.

Ms. Hirsi Ali is a research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution.

ACTION: Taxes, 1st Amendment, Devlin Rd., and BOCS Chair’s Hamster-Wheel of Government

[Mass e-mail to county citizens by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth]

Fellow county voters, taxpayers, homeowners:

Since taking office in Jan 2020, Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Ann Wheeler is off to a decidedly undemocratic start by:  

  • Officially attempting to restrict citizens’ First Amendment rights at BOCS meetings in March;
  • Planning to raise on 28 April, rather than reduce, government spending and private employer & homeowner taxes during a severe economic recession that threatens to bankrupt tens of thousands of county residents and businesses; and
  • Forcing the big Devlin Rd. residential development project upon West County citizens on 10 and 31 March, ignoring virtually unanimous local opposition, including over 1,000 petitioners, while also ignoring BOCS rules and procedures and unresolved flooding, eminent domain, phasing, and housing density problems. 

(For info on what you can do to oppose Chair Wheeler’s attempt to raise taxes on 28 April, see:  https://www.facebook.com/144935038911635/posts/3723679831037120/?sfnsn=mo …  You’ll need to sign up before 5 pm 27 April.   Also, see Coles Supervisor Yesli Vega’s message below and this message posted at:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/action-taxes-1st-amendment-devlin-rd-and-bocs-chairs-hamster-wheel-of-government/ )  

An already clear, well-established pattern — In attempting to deflect near-universal criticism of her gambit to restrict First Amendment rights at BOCS meetings, Chair Wheeler denied involvement — a lie that convinced no one, since calling, controlling the agenda for, and leading BOCS meetings is solely the BOCS chair’s responsibility.

At the 10 March hearing on Devlin and thereafter, Chair Wheeler, followed by other members of the BOCS Democratic majority, blamed the pre-2020 BOCS for her own regime’s abusive decision on Devlin.  This was yet another lie followed by an attempt to avoid responsibility for her own bad decisions and unethical behavior.  But she who thinks nothing of trashing another’s neighborhood, leaving behind a mess for others to clean up, would clearly think nothing of then lying about it to try to avoid responsibility.

Leading up to and during the 21 April BOCS budget markup, Chair Wheeler repeatedly attempted to avoid responsibility and divert attention from her tax increases on businesses and ordinary citizens who are already in jeopardy from the ever-deepening recession.  She also repeatedly attempted to deflect efforts to cut spending anywhere.  (See county government’s video archive of 21 Apr BOCS meeting at https://pwcgov.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=23&clip_id=2706, from about 2 hrs 30 minutes to the end.)

On multiple occasions over the last two months, Wheeler and other BOCS Dems implied they could not have known the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic and its effect when they approved the county’s 1.17% advertised real estate rate (at least a 4% overall increase, depending on property value increases) and that they all along intended to lower the tax rate to 1.145 or 1.125.  Besides ignoring that a politician’s alleged and unexpressed state of mind and intent never trumps his written record, the problem with that argument is that Chair Wheeler and other members of the BOCS Dem majority were sending messages to county citizens and beyond throughout March and April taking credit for how up-to-date they were on the pandemic and how much the county government was supposedly doing to alleviate the effects of the pandemic.  But they can’t have it both ways.  Per their own claims, they were very sensitive to the health aspects of the pandemic — regarding which they have little or no expertise or ability to do anything — but completely missed, didn’t understand (economic incompetence), didn’t care about (economic neglect), or ignored the economic effects on county employers, employees, and homeowners of their decision to raise taxes during the economic collapse (economic abuse.) Anyway, a smaller tax increase is still highly inappropriate and should not even be considered at this time.

Furthermore, during the 21 Apr markup, Chair Wheeler chose to focus her frustrations at badly mishandling the tax issue, and being thwarted on raising taxes even more, by claiming that Republicans, particularly Supervisor Lawson, were working to “inflame” their constituents by earlier reporting to constituents how much the proposed tax increases were going to cost them, especially at this perilous economic time when the BOCS should be reducing taxes.  So, according to Chair Wheeler, by doing part of their core jobs, reporting tax issues to constituents, Supervisors Lawson and Vega were supposedly inflaming them, while Chair Wheeler, by not doing her job, is, once again, blameless.  (Chair Wheeler should consider the reality that she is the one inflaming much of the county with her hubris and flippant disregard for anyone but those who think just like she does.)

So just four months into her term of office, Chair Wheeler has established a clear, well-established pattern of lying and avoidance of responsibility.  Apparently for Chair Wheeler, the buck stops nowhere … or at least anywhere but with her.

The evil twin — Corey Stewart, our least favorite BOCS chair before Chair Wheeler, raised taxes over 35% in 12 years, while home values declined, in order to fund the mostly tax-negative residential development of which he became so fond.  Taxes increased dramatically while services to ordinary citizens declined dramatically — as evidenced by increasingly overcrowded roads and schools, increasing environmental damage, and little or no improvement in the very small commercial tax base.  Chair Wheeler apparently wants to become Stewart’s evil twin by not only approving as much tax-negative residential development as possible, but also by mindlessly expanding county government — because the hive, the collective, the government, not the individual worker bee, is what matters, what lasts, at least in the fevered minds of big-government ideologues.

The “fabric of our community” — Chair Wheeler remains cloaked in unfounded confidence, supported by no evidence whatsoever, in what she has repeatedly called “the fabric of our community,” the part of the county government that is run by the BOCS.  No wonder she cares so much about the government and continuing to feed that beast, while caring so little about what happens to businesses small and large, families, and other private groups that are the real fabric of our county.  Collectivism requires sacrifice by and of people and smaller groups, the worker bees, for the good of the government and the ruling party, the hive, which is what really matters … not the other way around.

The wheel — When we see Chair Wheeler frenetically sending scores of messages and press releases about what the county is doing about Covid-19, about which it can do very very little, including one message to the Vice President of the United States … while abusing ordinary citizens on 1st Amendment, tax, and land use issues, we’re reminded of something else:  A hamster on a wheel.  The similarities are striking.  The cage, the county is littered with Wheeler press releases and other stuffing and trash, which covers up the really nasty stuff that falls on top of the ordinary citizens, taxpayers, homeowners, private employers and employees at the very bottom of her cage.

Chair Hamster-Wheeler

Sincerely,

Ralph 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: Yesli Vega <yesli.vega@yestoyesli.com>
Date: Thu, Apr 23, 2020, 2:05 PM
Subject: 25,000 Lost Jobs & A $177 Tax Increase
To: Ralph <stephenrkg@gmail.com>



Now Is NOT The Time To Be Taking Even More Money From our Citizens

At a time when nearly 25,000 of our citizens have lost their jobs (a number that will increase this week) the Democrat majority on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors is poised to raise the average residential property tax bill $177 (in addition to increasing vehicle fees).

If you’ve paid attention to this year’s budget process my colleagues in the majority have argued repeatedly that we must increase your taxes because they don’t have enough of your money to spend.

These two graphs speak for themselves:


The blue axis shows how your home values have decreased since FY2008 (the reason I chose FY2008 is because it’s still the closest our homes have gotten to pre-recession values). Even so, the average home value is still almost $27,000 less  than it was 13 years ago – assessed pre-COVID.

It would be fair to assume that as a result your tax bill would also be less.

Wrong.

The red axis is how much your bill will have increased over that time. If the current proposal passes (the vote is scheduled for April 28th) the average residential tax bill will increase by an additional $177 on average meaning your average yearly bill has increased by over $1,200 – or 35% – while your home value has gone down 6.5%.

Home values down. Taxes up. Way up. And going higher.

The second graph shows how county spending has increased over the last decade compared to population growth.


Assuming the Board majority forces through their current budget next week county spending will have increased by almost $500 million over the last 10 yearsa 56% increase.

Meanwhile, our population has only increased by 16% in that same period.
When the size of the government bureaucracy grows 3.5x population growth it becomes pretty clear why your taxes have increased so much.

Yet the Board majority thinks this is perfectly reasonable. In fact, they think you should be grateful that they’re only increasing your taxes by $177 – indeed, their initial proposal raised your taxes by twice the amount.

I hope the cake is good at least.

I think it is downright immoral to forcefully take more money out of your pocket than last year in a time of such economic turmoil.

You ALREADY pay the second highest residential tax rate of any county in the entire Commonwealth of Virginia.

And the worst part is, this tax increase will be felt as equally by the single mom having increased rent payments passed down by her landlord and lower income homeowners as the wealthiest citizen in our county.

No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you have my word that I will NOT vote to take even more money out of your pocket next week.

I believe you’re taxed enough already.

For Coles,

Yesli Vega Coles District Supervisor 



Follow Yesli on Twitter and Facebook @yestoyesli.

Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Yesli Vega

Friends Of Yesli Vega | yestoyesli.com

Chair Wheeler’s Fake Reversal, Under Pressure, on Real Estate Tax Increase, Replacing It With Even Higher Business Taxes

[13 April 2020 mass e-mail to county citizens by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth, PWCBG]

Under pressure, Chair Wheeler backs off the 4% real estate tax increase — In her message this morning to county residents, Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chair Wheeler, under intense public pressure, backs off from her late-Feb-March 4% real estate tax increase, but then immediately proposes an 8% increase on businesses in the next paragraph. Continue reading

What You Can Do 11-16 Apr Re: BOCS Dem Majority’s Callousness in Proposing Tax Increases Amid Employer/Jobs Meltdown

[11 April 2020 mass email by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth, PWCBG]

 

All:  As you know, Prince William County and much of the country is in a far-reaching economic lockdown of still indefinite duration.  If  small- and medium-sized businesses and the most at-risk households in our county are to economically survive, the county government should be freezing spending, cutting taxes, or even declaring tax holidays until the economic crisis passes — not raising taxes. Continue reading

BOCS Majority’s Economic & Land Use Incompetence, Vindictiveness , False Pride Endangers County; Tax Increases Despite Growing Business/Jobs Meltdown

[Mass e-mail to county citizens by Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth]

Fellow citizens, taxpayers, voters:

Chair Wheeler kicks the can down the road — Here’s how the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Democratic majority closed the door on bipartisan requests to fix major defects in the residential developer/Stanley-Martin Homes’ Devlin Rd. rezoning request on 10 and 31 March, and how the BOCS majority thus unnecessarily kicked the can down the road, leaving a major mess for others to clean up after them — homeowners, taxpayers, commuters, schools, flood control officials, lawyers, etc.  We’ll also discuss the longer-term implications of that and other BOCS-majority tendencies that have become increasingly noticeable in the last three months, following strong initial indications that we warned about repeatedly during the 2019 election campaign. Continue reading

Urgent Plea to BOCS Dem Majority Regarding 31 March Chance To Fix Defects in Devlin Rezoning

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Subject: Urgent Plea to Victor, Kenny, Andrea & Margaret Regarding 31 March
Date: Mon, 30 Mar 2020 13:26:44 -0400
From: Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <email address>
To: Angry, Victor S. <vsangry@pwcgov.org>, Franklin, Margaret <mfranklin@pwcgov.org>, Bailey, Andrea <abailey@pwcgov.org>, Boddye, Kenny <kboddye@pwcgov.org>
   

Victor, Kenny, Margaret, Andrea (info Doug Widener/Citizens Alliance of Prince William):

We and the thousands of people with whom we correspond and/or who have made their concerns and wishes known regarding the Devlin rezoning proposal were deeply disappointed by the BOCS’ 10 Mar Devlin rezoning decision.  On the other hand, you undoubtedly believed that you were doing the right thing by instructing the developer to work with Supervisor Lawson to cover many of the concerns raised by citizens at the hearing. Continue reading

Open Letter: Holding PW County Attorney Accountable on Land Use, Covid-19

[Open letter to Prince William chief County Attorney Michelle Robl and county leadership and mass email to county citizens]

Ms. Robl:

Rapacious residential developers — We have lived in Prince William County for 20 years.  For the last 15 years we have been working to defend our district, and other districts of the county as well, from rapacious residential developers who:  overcrowd our roads and schools, increase our taxes through mostly tax-negative residential development, damage the environment, and corrupt our politics.  As residents of the county, in recent years we have watched the quality of education decrease while our taxes have greatly increased, much faster than inflation and than in Loudoun, for example, where we used to live.  We have experienced the traffic gridlock caused by inadequately planned residential development.  In short, we live with the reduced quality of life caused by out-of-control residential development. Continue reading

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