Prince William

Citizens for Balanced Growth

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.

Chair Wheeler’s Christmas Gift To West County: Over 4000 ‘Dwelling Units’ & 9200 New Residents Near Rte 28 & Hornbaker

[Mass e-mail by PWCBG to county citizens]

All:   Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Wheeler has proposed that at the Tuesday 15 December 2020 BOCS meeting, 10 days before Christmas when county citizens are focused on other things, to push through the biggest plan yet to overcrowd Brentsville District schools and clog traffic in Brentsville and Coles Districts along Rte 28.  This plan is called the Innovation Small Area Plan (SAP).

Any traffic reduction benefits that Wheeler and her allies are claiming from the politically-motivated and residential developer-driven Route 28/Godwin Bypass plan will be more than reversed by this new Innovation SAP.  (But the reality is actually even worse because so far the planned $300M Bypass appears only to move existing traffic chokepoints around to multiple points just north and possibly south of Manassas and Manassas Park — sort of like moving around the deck chairs on the Titanic after it hits the iceberg.) 

Here’s an excerpt from our message in September 2020 warning that this was coming:  “Note that Deputy Executive and Former Planning Chief Rebecca Horner says — per her and Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) Chair Ann Wheeler’s plan — that Innovation Park, which was supposed to be a commercial area, now ‘would have between 2,377 and 4,073 dwelling units’ and 5,360 to 9214 people.  (Innovation Park is approximately bounded by Hornbaker Rd., Wellington Rd, Godwin Dr., and Rte 28.)”  See our following email exchange with Ms. Horner for more detail:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/pwcbg-planning-commission-planning-chief-e-mail-exchange-regarding-slipshod-obfuscatory-non-citizen-friendly-innovation-small-area-plan/  Also, see:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/wheeler-shills-big-for-developers-in-west-county-continues-assault-on-rights-rule-of-law-low-cost-housing-residents-leading-local-news-org-muzzled/ .

Imagine that much overcrowding and virtually 100% tax-negative residential development in Brentsville District and the impact on schools, traffic, and taxes.  (Note:  Probably well under half of these numbers and impacts will be attributable to additional George Mason University students and their cars.) Be sure to send a note of thanks to pro-developer, big-government, big-tax enthusiast Chair Wheeler and the BOCS Dem majority for this special Christmas gift.  They’re located at:  BOCS@pwcgov.org  

Other than that, Seasons Greetings, Happy Holidays, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year to all.  (Here’s a link to this message:   https://pwcbg.org/2020/12/chair-wheelers-christmas-gift-to-west-county-over-4000-dwelling-units-9200-new-residents-along-rte-28-hornbaker/ )


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.

Support 1 Dec BOCS Resolution To Prevent Wheeler, Allies From Using County StratPlan To Defund Police

[30 November mass email to county citizens; note that the proposal below was defeated 1 December in a 5-3 straight party-line vote]

All:  Please read Coles Supervisor Vega’s note below concerning Gainesville Supervisor Candland’s resolution to prevent the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) from sneaking language to defund the Prince William County Police Department into the county’s four-year strategic plan.  This resolution has been placed on the agenda by Chair Wheeler to be voted on 1 Dec at 2 pm, a time when, of course, most people are at work and cannot attend or participate.

Here are recent news articles regarding the very high approval ratings the county police have consistently received from the public, as well as related info on this topic.  (See:  https://potomaclocal.com/2020/11/27/prince-william-police-overwhelmingly-favored-by-residents-years-of-studies-show/  and  https://potomaclocal.com/2020/11/19/its-time-to-speak-up-and-defend-our-police-who-defend-our-rights/   Here’s a link to this message as well:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/support-1-dec-bocs-resolution-to-prevent-wheeler-allies-from-using-county-stratplan-to-defund-police/  )

We can only imagine why the BOCS Democrats’ appointees to the County Strategic Plan Committee would be motivated to support such a position — a position that is unsupported by data and public opinion and obviously highly injurious to overall public well-being, starting with non-elite minority citizens in high-crime areas, but of course impacting everyone else in the county as well.  Nevertheless:

  • We note that the BOCS Dems, led by Chair Wheeler and Woodbridge Supervisor Margaret Franklin, have repeatedly tried, without provocation, to undermine county police.  Here’s one example of how their anti-police extremism was too much even for their state party boss, Governor Northam.  (See:  https://potomaclocal.com/2020/10/21/prince-william-democrats-deny-request-from-police-chief-to-urge-governor-to-amend-traffic-bill-gov-amends-anyway/ )
  • We also have previously shared with you many examples in which all five BOCS Dems, and sometimes just Wheeler, Franklin, and Potomac Supervisor Andrea Bailey, mindlessly voted to do economic and other harm to the county in general, but most of all to non-elite minority citizens, by: 
    • unnecessarily prolonging and then again trying to even further prolong the economic shutdown;
    • raising real property and business taxes during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression; and
    • voting to evict scores of non-elite minority citizens from the only homes they can afford in order to make way for a dubious proposition at best — the Rte 28/Godwin Bypass.  The Bypass is likely to waste $300M if its purpose is to improve traffic, but it will be a wild success if its purpose is to enrich fat cat residential developers, opening up countless new development opportunities for them.  

(See:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/pwc-bocs-latest-power-grabs-include-green-new-deal-style-mandate-on-all-financial-assault-on-dissenters/  and other hyperlinks contained within it.  Also see  https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/why-candlands-6-oct-bocs-proposal-requiring-clearly-defined-land-use-terms-36000-new-houses/  … yet another example of a necessary BOCS proposal that was defeated on a 5-3 party-line BOCS vote and in which the majority once again chose control — over all else including good governance and common sense.  And why didn’t the Dems offer their own proposal?)

So much for the hypocritical, “it-means-whatever-I-say-it-means-right-now” “Equity Lens” policy, which all 5 BOCS Dems flatly refuse to define and which, based on that refusal and other past behavior, will probably end up mostly or only benefiting elite, powerful, already well-off minority and other party constituencies. 


And perhaps now we’re getting closer to a possible motivation that would bring the 5 BOCS Dems to support tax, school, crime, and other policies, which in many a one-party urban city and county over the last 50 years have run the local economy, schools, physical and social infrastructure, and tax base into the ground in the midst of ever-growing financial and human capital flight.  So could the motivation be that such polices cynically give the party and its supporters control — and thus political power and money — over those too impoverished, dependent, and/or without alternatives and resources to resist?

We want to make you aware of all this and give you a chance, as soon as possible, to make your feelings known to the BOCS about defunding the police, if you so choose.  Here’s the BOCS’ collective email address:  BOCS@pwcgov.org

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:Support Supervisor Candland’s Resolution
Date:Sun, 29 Nov 2020 20:22:30 -0500 (EST)
From:Supervisor Yesli Vega <colesdistrict@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:colesdistrict@pwcgov.org
To:stephenrkg@gmail.com
Dear Neighbor,

As I alluded to in my October 19th email, the results of Prince William County’s Strategic Plan Community Survey revealed that the option “Safe and Secure Communities” was the number one most important issue of County residents, determined to be a top focus area by 68% of respondents.

Again, the fact that this issue scored so highly in the midst of a summer when calls to defund and reallocate police budgets was so deafening from a small but extremely vocal fringe only underscored how important our residents believe safe and secure neighborhoods really are to their qualify of life.

Unfortunately, this message was apparently not clear enough as just last month the Strategic Plan Team briefed the Board of Supervisors with an update that inexplicably contained a recommendation to consider reallocating police funding as one of only three “focus areas” under “Safe and Secure Communities.”

Reallocate (as we all know is simply another term for defund) police funding as a means to achieve Safe and Secure Communities?

When asked, the person running the County Strategic Plan erroneously claimed that support of police and support for defunding the police according to the survey were “equal.”

You can click here to see all of the comments regarding law enforcement from your survey and decide for yourself the truthfulness of this claim.

Under no measure could anyone without a preset agenda determine that the reallocation or defunding of police budgets is a priority for any but a very small, but vocal minority. As you can see, comments provided to the Strategic Plan Team are about 20:1 pro law enforcement vs. anti law enforcement/defunding.
Additionally, other community surveys have routinely found that over 90% of County residents are satisfied with our local police department.

That’s why I’m supporting Supervisor Candland’s resolution to instruct the Strategic Plan Team to strike any reference to reallocating or defunding police funding from the 2021-2024 Strategic Plan.

You can view Supervisor Candland’s resolution, which will be coming up for a vote on Tuesday at 2pm, here.

The Strategic Plan is a very critical document as it provides goals and guides the Board on our governing actions for the next four years.

While many of you made your views clear in response to the survey this summer, the Strategic Plan Team unfortunately did not get the message. That’s why it’s critically important that your elected leaders reaffirm that message before this dangerous idea gets any further out of the gate.

You can email the entire Board at BOCS@pwcgov.org to make your thoughts known ahead of Tuesday’s vote.

You can also sign up to speak virtually by 5pm tomorrow by clicking this link https://survey.alchemer.com/s3/6055990/Dec-1-2020-BOCS– Or you’re always welcome to address the Board in person as well.

Our new police chief roundly rejected these radical efforts from the DC City Council earlier this year when they took $15 million from his department at the expense of their citizens safety. It’s important that as he starts his new position leading our department that he has the resources necessary to ensure we have safe and secure communities in Prince William County.

Thank you for your commitment to making Prince William County the best place to live, work, and raise a family.

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

P.S. The Board was recently briefed that at our current population, Prince William County is 235 officers shy of our own level of service standards outlined in our Comprehensive Plan.





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Why Candland’s 6 Oct BOCS Proposal Requiring Clearly-Defined Land Use Terms & Policies Needs Your Support; 36,000 New Houses

[3 October mass email to county citizens; note that the proposal below was defeated 6 October in a 5-3 straight party-line vote]

All:   Please see Gainesville District Supervisor Pete Candland’s message at the bottom of this thread.  He notes the need to define terms by which the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) does business and makes land use policy and decisions.  “For example,” he says, “we have yet to even define affordable dwellings, equity in housing, or environmental justice.  To continue hearing land use cases regarding housing developments and potentially the extension of sewer into the Rural Crescent for cluster developments or data centers without first defining our own guiding documents is irresponsible government. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity on these important issues is leading to backroom deals between Supervisors and developers.”

To ignore the need for such action by the BOCS is to give them and developers a blank check for residential development.  As is clear from the just-released county development “build-out analysis” and our recent email exchange below with defacto County Planning Director Rebecca Horner, that would be disastrous for county citizens.  If you think the out-of-control overcrowding of schools and traffic and rising taxes and concurrently-declining services were unacceptable before the pandemic, imagine what it will be like in the coming years with almost 36,000 new houses and over 100,000 additional residents added as quickly as possible.

Regarding BOCS Chair Wheeler and the Planning Office’s plans for explosive residential growth, see: a) county’s full development “build-out analysis” here, especially pp 6-7,  https://eservice.pwcgov.org/planning/documents/buildoutanalysis/2019_Publication.pdf); b) our email exchange with Horner https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/pwcbg-planning-commission-planning-chief-e-mail-exchange-regarding-slipshod-obfuscatory-non-citizen-friendly-innovation-small-area-plan/; and c) one example of the plans that developers are already confidently making behind your back https://potomaclocal.com/2020/09/16/regional-views-differ-on-post-pandemic-housing-development/

Included in the link immediately below is also a fuller discussion of:  a) this planned explosive residential growth, b) what tactics are being used to fast-track its implementation, and c) sadly, how the above now relates to a deepening assault by Chair Wheeler and the BOCS majority on the rule of law, on your rights (free speech, the right to petition the government for redress of grievances, and a free press), and, astoundingly, even on some low-cost-housing residents.  To read more, with links providing full documentation, click here:    https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/wheeler-shills-big-for-developers-in-west-county-continues-assault-on-rights-rule-of-law-low-cost-housing-residents-leading-local-news-org-muzzled/

Please email the BOCS (BOCS@pwcgov.org) before 6 October and let them know that you strongly support Supervisor Candland’s proposal requiring clearly-defined land use terms and policies.  No more back-room deals with and blank checks to residential developers; no more robber baron behavior by the BOCS.

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 ——–

Subject:Clearly Defined Land Use Policies
Date:Fri, 2 Oct 2020 13:52:39 +0000
From:Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
Reply-To:Supervisor Pete Candland <gainesville@pwcgov.org>
To:stephenrkg@gmail.com
View this email in your browser
Dear Friends,

Whether you are new to Prince William County or have family that has been here generations, you have seen the very real impacts of land use policies made by the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. Even during the pandemic when schools and workers are primarily at home, our roads need widening, and our schools need more teachers and resources. 

Yet these problems didn’t happen overnight. Since the 1990s, we’ve seen politicians promoting “bendable” land use policies, the lack of specific and updated definitions within our planning documents, and board members who are willing to put developer campaign contributions over protecting the people they swore to represent.  

Over the last eight years, I have worked with many residents, regardless of political party, to implement new land use policies that better hold developers accountable, provide more predictability for businesses, and slow down the out-of-control growth of the last thirty years. But more needs to be done to fix decades of damage. 

I have to admit, I was willing to give the new majority on the Board of County Supervisors the benefit of the doubt that they might learn from the mistakes of the past. I hoped they would carefully consider the full impacts of proposals, revise and update land use policy, and work to change the “business as usual.”

Unfortunately, that has not been the case. In fact, just a few months ago, the majority of the Board voted to approve a large housing development in the Brentsville District called the “Devlin Rezoning.” Against passionate pubic testimony from the community, this new Board majority disregarded the will of the people and approved additional housing.

The Devlin Rezoning was the same process and result that we’ve seen dozens of times since the year 2000. 

Since that time, some of the same Supervisors who voted to approve the Devlin Rezoning have introduced new concepts into the land use discussion. Concepts such as “equity in housing” and “environmental justice” are new to the Board discourse and are important discussions to have as we try to develop a rational land use strategy. 

Now let me be clear, I believe and support many of the underlying concepts within these proposals. When you strip away some of the rhetoric and buzzwords, it comes down to making changes in our land use policies to treat people fairly and to protect our wonderful environmental resources. These are concepts that I believe most people in our County can agree upon.

Just recently, the Board considered an asphalt plant next to what have traditionally been lower income areas – relative to the very expensive areas of Northern Virginia. There was no extensive analysis of the environmental impacts or the impacts on the working families that live there. 

The County needs to be clear in its planning documents on how it’s going to handle land use cases moving forward. It is not fair to the residents in Prince William County, or the many businesses who want to move here, to make these concepts subjective.

For example, we have yet to even define affordable dwellings, equity in housing, or environmental justice. To continue hearing land use cases regarding housing developments and potentially the extension of sewer into the Rural Crescent for cluster developments or data centers without first defining our own guiding documents is irresponsible government. 

Unfortunately, the lack of clarity on these important issues is leading to backroom deals between Supervisors and developers. This is unacceptable.

As a result, I am bringing forth a Resolution at the October 6th Board meeting to authorize a study period to clearly define these land use concepts.

My resolution also includes a 12-month deferral on any rezoning applications that would increase residential density.


To view the resolution, please CLICK ON THIS LINK.

We have to first define and understand these concepts before proceeding with significant land use decisions effecting generations of County Residents. And the defining of these concepts must include the input of the residents of Prince William County, not just a few county staff or Board appointees. This is too important…we must include as many people as possible in this process. 

The Prince William Board of County Supervisors has to stop continuing to make the mistakes of the past and take the time to develop a land use policy that is clearly defined and implements policies that protect our residents and our environment.

Sincerely,

Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District



 
     
     


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

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BOCS’ Latest Power Grabs Include Green New Deal-Style Mandate on All + Financial Lawsuit Against Dissenters

[Mass email to Prince William County citizens]

Fellow Prince William county citizens, taxpayers, homeowners, and consumers:

Here are some recent developments regarding Prince William County’s short- and long-term political and economic situation that we think you should be aware of.

First the Republicans — In the previous decade-and-a-half of usually 6-2 Republican-majority Boards of County Supervisors (BOCS), a majority of Republican supervisors and two Democrats, John Jenkins and Hilda Barg, typically favored out-of-control residential growth that overcrowded our roads and schools, damaged the environment, reduced property values, and then forced taxpayers to indirectly subsidize the very thing that was tormenting them.  For 14 years we, Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG), joined with allies to relentlessly fight against this misgovernance and corruption — unmasking and working against the BOCS supervisors who endlessly supported it.

Then the Democrats — Since Jan 2020, the county has had a Democratic majority BOCS that has consistently shown its clear intent to imitate the previous Republicans’ abuse of taxpayers and citizens.  This includes continued and possibly even intensified overcrowding of schools and roads and environmental damage, as the Dem majority one-by-one approves small-area residential development plans to increase the county’s population by a total of ~100,000 as soon as possible.  But in addition to happily imitating their predecessors’ abusive land use policies, the new Dem BOCS majority has now virtually unanimously shown that it also intends to systematically violate citizens’ First Amendment rights, ignore the rule of law when convenient, increase taxes and spending even during severe economic downturns, abuse minority homeowners and workers, and financially attack dissenters.  (See, for example:  https://www.princewilliamtimes.com/news/supervisors-seek-reimbursement-for-95-000-in-legal-fees-for-failed-foia-lawsuit/article_2a68280c-24eb-11eb-b9a2-2ff2ae0e207c.html  and   https://pwcbg.org/2020/10/judges-ruling-on-prince-william-supervisors-actions-sets-dangerous-precedent-what-you-can-do/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/10/wheeler-violated-laws-jurisdictions-in-godwin-bypass-gambit-foia-case-denied-on-technicality-rule-of-law-how-to-create-real-unity/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/09/wheeler-shills-big-for-developers-in-west-county-continues-assault-on-rights-rule-of-law-low-cost-housing-residents-leading-local-news-org-muzzled/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/07/summary-updates-bocs-chair-wheeler-undermining-our-freedoms-prosperity-11-examples/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/06/letter-to-bocs-on-19-may-bipartisan-vote-ending-lockdown/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/04/urgent-plea-to-bocs-dem-majority-regarding-31-march-chance-to-fix-defects-in-devlin-rezoning/  and  https://pwcbg.org/2020/03/chair-wheeler-holding-semi-public-31-mar-bocs-meeting-to-implement-greatly-increased-emergency-powers-suspension-of-public-comment/

Furthermore, as if all of the above were not enough, the BOCS Dem majority is also proudly indulging itself in increasingly expensive, yet unexamined social policies — policies pursued with great zealotry and incantantion, but no supporting data or evidence, definitions of terms, standards to determine success, or impact statements, including economic impact.   Political zealotry is no substitute for professionalism and policies built on cool analysis of facts, data, evidence, and impacts on citizens, especially economic impacts. 

Boy, have I got a Green New Deal for you — A case in point is the following “Green New Deal”-style proposal to be voted on by the BOCS on November 17, Tuesday .  Mandates to be enforced include the following (see attached BOCS agenda for 17 Nov, item 13D, for full text):   

“…BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors directs staff to incorporate into the Comprehensive Plan goals of 100% of Prince William County’s electricity to be from renewable sources by 2035, for Prince William County Government operations to achieve 100% renewable electricity by 2030, and for Prince William County Government to be 100% carbon neutral by 2050;

“BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors directs staff to begin to work on recommendations for the creation of a public advisory body charged with advising on potential enhancements to the Community Energy Master Plan (CEMP) to achieve the goals of the above-stated Comprehensive Plan changes; …”

So here we have yet more uninformed, recklessly undefined and unsubstantiated, yet mandated county policy that sounds fine at first, until one scratches even a millimeter below the surface.  (See the following, including the first three bullets, for a vision of where the county seems to actually be headed if it continues to adopt politically trendy, but poorly-conceived policies:  https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/wsj-is-californias-current-trajectory-also-pw-county-and-virginias-just-a-few-years-behind/   See also Q6 in the 12 November email below.)

Note that Kenny Boddye-D, the Occoquan Supervisor who is sponsoring this measure, has not responded to any of our seven questions in the 12 November email below.  Such unwillingness to be held answerable or accountable to anyone — least of all ordinary taxpayers, citizens, homeowners, and voters — seems, increasingly, to be part of the ruling Democrats’ playbook in Prince William County.  (For example, Potomac Local  noted in a 2 Nov 2020 email to subscribers that with regard to the Manassas mayoral and city council candidates, “none of the Democrats agreed to be interviewed about their campaign(s).”  Potomac Local also reported on 27 Oct that attempts by the Prince William Chamber of Commerce to invite the Manassas Democratic candidates to attend candidate forums were also unsuccessful.)

You get what you pay for — Remember that the kind of local government we get depends on us:  whether it is doctrinaire, oppressive, extremist, and unresponsive … or whether it instead is truly working for all citizens, the greatest good for the greatest number while protecting the rights of all minority groups.  Bad government depends on our apathy and willingness to look the other way, while good government depends on our willingness to speak up and protest when our rights and well-being are threatened.  The price of liberty is eternal vigilance.

We end with a quote from an 1858 speech by Abraham Lincoln:  “What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence?”  He then answered, “It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, our army and our navy. … Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in us.”

You may want to contact the  BOCS@pwcgov.org  to protest against this Green New Deal-style proposal and county-government-financed attacks on political dissent as described in the first hyperlink above.  Also please feel free to share via email, social media, etc. the following link to this item:   https://pwcbg.org/2020/11/pwc-bocs-latest-power-grabs-include-green-new-deal-style-mandate-on-all-financial-assault-on-dissenters/

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: Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <stephenrkg@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, Nov 12, 2020, 2:20 PM
Subject: Kenny: Questionsd on Cost/Mitigations of BOCS Proposal for All Electricity To Be 100% Green by 2035
To: Boddye, Kenny <kboddye@pwcgov.org>
Cc: Stephenson, Ralph & Kathy <stephenrkg@gmail.com>

Hi, Kenny.  Hope you’re doing well and will be able to take a well-deserved break or two with loved ones over the holidays.

At the bottom of this thread, we’ve excerpted key passages from the attachment, the green electricity proposal that you’ll be sponsoring for the 17 Nov BOCS meeting.  Here are some questions about that proposal:

Q1:  What will this proposal, if implemented, cost electricity users per year each year, including estimated inflation, from 2020 thru 2035?

Q2:  Ditto for Prince William County Government operations thru 2030 to achieve 100% renewable electricity and thru 2050 for PWC Government to be 100% carbon neutral?

Q3:  What will be the cost to and economic impact on businesses, consumers, homeowners, renters, and taxpayers?

Q4:  If the financial, economic, and possible environmental costs of these proposals are not known, why is this proposal being presented before they are known and advertised, and thus without county business, consumer, and taxpayer knowledge of what the BOCS is signing us up for?

Q5:  Wouldn’t a slower pace of residential development, allowing schools and roads to catch up to demand, and preserving the Rural Crescent help the county meet reasonable green goals?  Yet, current county planning intends to increase the population by at least 100,000 over the next few years.  Won’t that make meeting green goals even more difficult, perhaps even requiring relatively last-minute, poorly-conceived, draconian financial, economic, and environmental measures that will severely damage the county’s economy, taxpayers, and consumers?  (Economic and financial weakness, on the one hand, and successful environmental preservation, on the other hand, rarely, if ever, go hand-in-hand.)

Q6:  Has any serious thought been given to possible, even likely, unintended negative consequences of the attached proposal?  For example, see second question of Q5 paragraph above.  Please note that the massive, ever-worsening yearly fires in California (and other West Coast states) have been largely caused by irrational, extremely expensive, politically- (not economically- and environmentally-) driven environmental regulations such as banning controlled forest burns and enforcing on public utilities mandates they cannot meet, resulting in underfunded, overburdened, poorly-maintained electricity networks, leading to fires and other environmental damage that has actually greatly worsened air pollution, and thus probably climate change as well, throughout many parts of the Western US.  These are examples of the unintended negative environmental consequences that can result when naive environmental purism is aggressively pursued. (Note: We actually follow such issues because one of us grew up in California and both of us still have strong ties to the region.)

Q7:  Is nuclear power, such as from the nearby Lake Anna facility, being considered by PW County as part of its proposed green solution? [Q7 not in original email to Supervisor Boddye.]

Please always question orthodoxy, especially political orthodoxy.


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.

Is California’s Current Trajectory also PW County and Virginia’s … Just a Few Years Behind?

OPINION  COMMENTARY (The Wall Street Journal)
California, Love It and Leave It
Bad policy has made the state unlivable, so I moved my family and my venture-capital firm to Texas.
By Joe Lonsdale
Nov. 15, 2020 3:37 pm ET

I love California, but I had to leave. I grew up in Fremont, attended Stanford, and have spent most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, founding technology companies like Palantir and Addepar and investing in many others. In 2011 I founded 8VC, a venture-capital firm that today manages more than $3.6 billion in committed capital. Few top venture capitalists consider living anywhere other than California and a handful of global financial centers, but I am moving myself and dozens of my 8VC colleagues to a new land of opportunity: Texas.

The harsh truth is that California has fallen into disrepair. Bad policies discourage business and innovation, stifle opportunity and make life in major cities ugly and unpleasant.

Forty years ago my parents came to California because you could accomplish anything in the Golden State. Government policy facilitated the entrepreneurial spirit. Dreamers and doers could thrive. The burst of activity in tech, finance, medicine, energy and many other industries lasted for decades. But now a state like Texas provides these opportunities without the problems and baggage California has accumulated. Let me mention a few personal examples:

• Public safety. Ill-conceived criminal-justice reforms and radical district attorneys are taking a toll on urban life. Three of my colleagues’ wives have been harassed and chased by derelicts in San Francisco’s streets, which are littered with needles and human waste. My wife is afraid to walk around the city with our young daughters. Police often don’t even respond to harassment and property crime, which has surged; San Francisco’s property-crime rate is now the nation’s highest.

• Electricity. The wildfire smoke that has blanketed California cities is one thing. But power outages, which left us stressed about spoiling breast milk for our daughter, are the direct result of California government incompetence. Last year the state had 25,000 blackouts, and this year has been even worse. The electricity turns on and off, as in Third World countries. Meanwhile, Texas has its own energy grid, with a plentiful and diverse supply. It’s nice to turn on the lights whenever we want.

• Responsiveness. In the early days of the pandemic in March, 8VC entreated the mayor of San Francisco and city staff to clarify rules to allow our critical employees to work on accelerating Covid-19 testing and the development of therapeutics. The city didn’t deign to respond. Government officials in Texas, by contrast, care about business. They return calls.

• Housing. California’s restrictive zoning laws make it nearly impossible for many essential low- and middle-income workers to live anywhere near major cities. In Texas, permissive zoning allows every member of our staff to live close to work and spend time with friends and family instead of enduring grueling commutes.

That’s not all. The California government is beholden to public-employee unions and spending is out of control. A broken environmental review process means it takes a decade of paying lawyers to build anything. Legislation makes it impossible for businesses to hire contractors without an exemption—granted by friends in the legislature, as with the music industry, or won by spending hundreds of millions on a referendum, as gig-economy companies with drivers just did. This isn’t how business is done in developed countries.

Politics in the state is in many ways closed off to different ideas. We grew weary of California’s intolerant far left, which would rather demonize opponents than discuss honest differences of opinion.

I will continue investing in Silicon Valley startups and fighting to help the state. I’m optimistic that over the long run, California can return to the values that once made it the dynamic center of global technology entrepreneurship. But until priorities change, the state will keep losing its top builders and creators.

In 2000 or 2010, it made sense to build in San Francisco. That’s where all the talent was, but not anymore. Except for a few concentrated parts of advanced biotech and software infrastructure technology, talented people are building top technology firms all over the country. This disaggregation of talent will spread prosperity across the U.S. Some of my most prolific entrepreneurial friends from California have moved with us here to Texas. Others have left for Miami, Nashville, Las Vegas and other great American cities. Six of our portfolio companies are already based in Austin and employ hundreds of people.

Our investments follow the talent. We’re betting that the future of America is going to be built in the middle of the country, in places with good government and a reasonable cost of living. In other words, places like Texas.

My firm has a motto: “The world is broken, let’s fix it.” We invest in technologies and people who will transform major industries and improve the lives of millions. It’s tragic that California is no longer hospitable to that mission, but beautiful that Texas is. Our job as entrepreneurs and investors is to build the future, and I know of no better place to do so than Texas.

Mr. Lonsdale is a general partner at the venture-capital firm 8VC.

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