Another Day, Another Thrashing for Corey Stewart

Since Prince William County Board Chairman Corey Stewart floated the idea of eliminating the cap on real estate tax increases, not a day has gone by without a well-deserved thrashing from his one-time supporters. Here is today’s…

Chairman Stewart: 

In 2006 you strongly opposed Brentswood (the predecessor of the pending Stone Haven and Prince William Station residential developments.)  You pointed out then and for a year or so afterward that “when we approve large developments, we are essentially approving a tax increase” and that the county’s housing boom has “hurt the average person”.  (See: attachment and  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs).  BUT NOT LONG THEREAFTER YOU REVERSED COURSE 180 DEGREES AND BEGAN RELENTLESSLY CHAMPIONING RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPER CAUSES, including Avendale and Stone Haven, as well as a major change in direction beginning 2009-10 by the Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) on land use that seemed to allow development virtually “anywhere, anytime” and allowed fast-tracked approval of developer land use requests.  (See: http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html#FastTracking)

You also talked in 2007 about how you’d been “socking it to the development community.”  BUT NOT LONG THEREAFTER YOU BEGAN AGGRESSIVELY SEEKING DEVELOPER MONEY.  (See:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs).  At last count you’d received $759,841 from them.  (See: http://vpap.org).

AND NOW, per the 11 December 2014 InsideNova report below, YOU NOT ONLY HAVE APPARENTLY LOST INTEREST IN RESTRAINING TAX RATES, BUT ARE BLAMING COUNTY BUDGET SHORTFALLS, PARTICULARLY SCHOOL SHORTFALLS, ON PW COUNTY TAXPAYERS’ RELUCTANCE (AND INABILITY IN MANY CASES) TO PAY HIGHER TAXES.  In so doing, you have truly retreated to one of the last refuges of political scoundrels:  If only the taxpayers were more generous and the government had more and more money, everything would be so much better — and we wouldn’t have overcrowded schools, etc.  Apparently, taxpayers paying 30-40% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes and fees is not enough for you.  I’m sure it’s very frustrating to you that taxpayers are hesitant to give you more money so you can:  cover up your own policy mistakes of the last 5-6 years, keep giving indirect subsidies to residential developers, and in turn receive more and more campaign funding from developers to further your faltering statewide political ambitions.

It’s interesting that in recent years you have not publicly made mention, in fact have assiduously avoided any mention of the main reason for overcrowded public schools (and roads, for that matter):  consistently tax-negative residential development, caused by you and your predecessors’ pro-residential developer policies that simultaneously overcrowd and underfund both schools and roads and neglect tax-positive commercial development.  (For more info, see:  http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html#Proffers and http://pwcbg.org/MediaReportsOnBalancedGrowth.html#Reports .)  

Note that early next year Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG) plans to release updated 2015 budget figures on tax-negative residential development.  While a few numbers will change, we expect that the basic story will remain more or less unchanged:  The breakeven value of new houses (where taxes received from the house equal the cost of government services incurred by the house) has been about $450,000, while the average new house sells for about $330,000.  That leaves a tax gap of $120,000 multiplied by the current tax rate of 1.25%, meaning that on average each new house built has been $1,400-$1,500 tax negative per year.  While tax rates change and it looks like the average house is selling for a bit more now (though that trend could reverse if the percentage of townhouses in new housing rises), the breakeven value has also risen.  So we expect that the tax gap will remain similar, likely resulting in at least a $1,200 tax deficit per house per year. 

Highly overvalued developer proffers of empty and often worthless land do not help much in reversing the tax-negative trend.  (See Word attachment above.)

In other words, OVERALL, RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT IN PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY IS OVERWHELMINGLY TAX-NEGATIVE, AND THAT REALITY DOES GREAT HARM TO TAXPAYERS, SCHOOLS, ROADS, QUALITY OF LIFE, AND THE VALUE OF EXISTING HOMES.  Let me remind you that this is the very point that PWCBG has been making to you and the rest of the Board of County Supervisors for almost nine years now.   Surely you could not have failed to hear us all those countless times during that period when we’ve spoken to you directly in person at BOCS meetings or, along with hundreds of citizens, sent e-mails to you reminding you over and over again of all this.  Or perhaps, more to the point, YOUR DESPERATE PLEA BELOW FOR HIGHER TAXES CONCEDES PWCBG’S POINT, IN A BACKHANDED, PERVERSE WAY.

Compounding folly on top of folly, county officials such as you continue to advocate more and more of this tax-negative, taxpayer-subsidized housing — even though there are still ~30,000 approved-but-not-yet-built houses and no housing shortages in the county.

Nor have you or the School Board mentioned the $37-38 million dollars diverted to the school board’s Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center and other frills that were funded even before the basic needs of schools were met.

Your political “principles” change so quickly and so radically that you’re giving me political whiplash.  Let’s hope that your next change is either in the right political direction once and for all or to the political exits.

Ralph Stephenson
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth

John Gray Calls Out Corey Stewart’s “Survey His Office Conducted For Political Purposes”

John Gray, a past candidate for Prince Willaim County Occoquan Dist. Supervisor and County Chairman, has taken note of some interesting language used by PWC Chairman Corey Stewart in a recent article and is now filing a FOIA request for additional details…

Ms. Horan: In an article published in yesterday’s (Thursday December 11, 2014) edition of Inside Nova titled “Prince William leader floats idea of eliminating real-estate tax cap”, in the third paragraph of the article, Chairman Corey Stewart is reported to have told the reporter Jill Palermo “….as well as a separate survey his office conducted for political purposes….”

Under the authority of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700) I am requesting the following:

1. A complete, unabridged and un-redacted copy of that “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes” to which the Chairman refers in the article.

2. Copies, if available, of any time records indicating time spent by Office of the Chairman County employee staff in conducting that “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes”.

3. Copies, if available, of any reimbursement requested by the Chairman in his capacity as Chairman, on behalf of The Chairman’s campaign or by the Chairman himself individually and personally from the County for this “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes”.

4. Copies of any invoices submitted by and paid, accrued or encumbered to any commercial, non-profit or political organization to the County for the services rendered by any organization (commercial, non-profit or political) in conducting this survey.

5. Quotation as to competent legal authority that allows the Chairman’s office to conduct and expend county taxpayer funds for the “separate survey his office conducted for political purposes” AND competent legal authority for the Chairman’s office for directing his staff to conduct this separate survey for political purposes without the consent or knowledge of the entire PWC Board of County Supervisors.

Respectfully Submitted,

John S. Gray CPA PC

Scott Jacobs Campaign Still Claiming GOP Label; PWC GOP Notifies Him of His Ouster

In a comment to a post on The Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County, a voter in PWC’s Brentsville District states that he/she received

a call from [Brentsville Dist. supervisor candidate Scott] Jacob’s campaign a couple of days ago and they said he was the Republican candidate [in the Dec. 23 special election]. I told the caller I thought Jeanine Lawson was the Republican nominee. The caller said Lawson was “another” Republican.

To which another commenter replied:

Lawson might be THE Republican nominee but Jacobs is still a Republican and therefore a Republican candidate.

That is incorrect. In Virginia, since voters do not register by party, one can only be a member of a party by joining your local party committee. Jacobs, by running as an independent against a Republican nominee, automatically ousted himself from membership in the local county party when he “violated the letter and spirit of the agreement” he made when he joined the party. Therefore, he is not “still” a Republican.

To that end, the Prince William County Republican Committee took action on Nov. 24 and the meeting attendees unanimously voted that he be dropped from the committee. An official letter from county Republican chairman Bill Card detailing the circumstances and proceedings was emailed to Mr. Jacobs on Dec. 8 and a hard copy is being mailed to him today. You may view the letter here.

Mr. Jacobs is obliged to inform his campaign staff that they need to cease and desist any claims that he is a Republican candidate in their communications with voters. To continue to do so would perpetuate an image of dishonesty.

Agenda 2015: A Plan to Reform Prince William County Government

Two weeks from tomorrow, Dec. 23, voters in Prince William County’s Brentsville District head to the polls in a special election to fill the seat vacated by former Supervisor Wally Covington (R) who has been confirmed by the Virginia General Assembly for a judgeship in the county. Virginia Virtucon’s endorsed candidate, Jeanine Lawson, is looking very strong in the run-up to election day and we have high hopes that she will join Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland and Occoquan Supervisor Mike May as another voice for the county’s taxpayers on the Board.

Candland and May were the only two supervisors to vote against the 5-year, 22.5%+ tax increase that passed the Board earlier this year. In a good news / bad news item, May has decided to run for Commonwealth’s Attorney in 2015. While we will finally be gaining someone in that office far superior to the current occupant whose abilities we have long questioned, we will be losing May from the Board of Supervisors where he has served with distinction. The addition of Lawson will at the very least help maintain the status quo for advocates of good government.

In deference to Mrs. Lawson’s campaign, I am holding off on making any announcements about my political future until after the first of the year so as to not detract any attention from where it should be these next two weeks. We need to do all that we can over the next 15 days to ensure that Jeanine Lawson is the next supervisor from the Brentsville District.

Why is it so important that we elect Lawson and others who share this basic good government philosophy? Because good governance ultimately benefits all citizens regardless of party, race, gender or current economic situation and that is the primary function of local government. We need people willing to commit to reforming our county government because we cannot keep going in the same direction that we have been for the past two decades in Prince William County — taxes are up, schools are more crowded, traffic is worse and businesses are bypassing us for Loudoun and Stafford counties. That is not good for anyone (unless you live in Loudoun or Stafford.)

This is why I have drafted “Agenda 2015: A Plan to Reform Prince William County Government.” Agenda 2015 is a series of common sense proposals aimed at solving our county’s current tax, spending, budget, education, economic, transportation, governance and ethics problems. By no means is this a panacea for these issues, but the start of what I hope is a long conversation that must be held in order to move forward on developing and implementing workable solutions. We cannot wait until after next year’s elections to start this discussion with new people, but must begin it now.

 

AGENDA 2015:

A PLAN TO REFORM PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY GOVERNMENT

 

INSTITUTE “ACCOUNTABILITY BUDGETING”

This twist on zero-based budgeting sets clear measurable goals, verifies progress, and makes adjustments as necessary.  Not only would agencies and departments have to justify every dollar they request each year rather than start from the previous year’s baseline and grow from there, but requests for funds must be accompanied by specific measurable goals against which progress can be ascertained.  This will allow for future budgets to make adjustments based upon what works and what doesn’t work. Perhaps if the county budgeted according to such straightforward principles, residents would not be facing a 4.5% tax hike for FY ’15 and a massive 22.5%+ tax increase over the coming 5 years.

 

MAKE REDUCING CLASS SIZES AND INCREASING TEACHER PAY A PRIORITY

The Board of Supervisors currently hands over nearly 60% of all tax revenues to the school system via a revenue sharing agreement, yet our classrooms remain the most crowded in the Commonwealth and our teachers are among the lowest paid in the region. The revenue sharing agreement must be scrapped and the supervisors should ask the school board members to put together a budget that sets as its priorities: 1.) reducing class sizes, and 2.) increasing teacher pay. The school board can then do this as they see fit, present their plan to the county supervisors who then have the option to approve the budget or ask the School Board to make additional changes before approval. That would ensure the school board’s legal autonomy while also maintaining the board’s oversight for nearly 60% of our tax dollars. That certainly makes much more sense than what we have now – a backwards process where the supervisors hand the money over first and then relinquish all oversight responsibility.

 

REFORM THE COUNTY’S TAX STRUCTURE

Fundamental reform of our tax structure in Prince William County is needed in order to protect taxpayers as well as to ensure the county’s future economic development and prosperity. We should be upfront about what taxes the county collects. County taxes on electricity, telephone service (both landline and cell), and cable as well as the personal property tax decal fee should be abolished and be made transparent by utilizing real estate taxes to raise the same revenue instead. Likewise, special assessments for fire, gypsy moth eradication and other services should be included in the real estate tax, not separated out. By doing these two things, taxpayers would know precisely how much they truly are paying in taxes and would also be able to deduct the full amount from their federal taxes.

 

REFORM THE COUNTY’S CAR TAX

We need to reform the county’s personal property tax, which is one of the most onerous taxes that we have to pay. Every October residents get hit with a bill that they must pay in a lump sum unlike the real estate tax that most people pay each month via payments to an escrow account as part of their mortgage. This is unconscionable and the portion that taxpayers must pay should be eliminated. Since the state reimburses the county for a portion of the car tax and we should not forgo that, the county should credit taxpayers with the amount they would owe on the tax with money paid by them in real estate taxes. Even renters indirectly pay real estate tax by way of the rent they pay to the property owner, so everyone would be paying their share in one way or another. Simply put, just as the phone or cable company has been able to bundle your phone, TV and internet into one package for a single price, the county should bundle all the revenue that it needs to raise into one tax and eliminate the rest. It will be simple, fair and easy to understand as well as beneficial to taxpayers.

 

IMPROVE THE COMMERCIAL-TO-RESIDENTIAL TAX RATIO

Our county’s tax base remains disproportionately residential resulting in a heavier than necessary tax burden on homeowners.  The county has not even been able to meet the all-too-modest goal of a 75% / 25% residential to commercial split – and that includes counting apartment complexes as commercial property rather than residential. The continuous rezoning of commercial property to residential, which is the heart of the tax ratio problem, can no longer go on unabated. The Board of Supervisors should adopt a rezoning “swap” policy where commercial property may only be rezoned for residential if an equal amount of unused residentially-zoned property is converted to commercial use. At the same time, policies must be put in place to attract businesses to the county that will offer high quality jobs rather than simply more hospitality and retail sector positions.

 

ELIMINATE BPOL

The Business, Professional, and Occupational License or BPOL tax (which is a relic of the War of 1812) is on gross receipts, not actual income. Stafford County’s elimination of their BPOL tax is something that their economic development department has used to great effect in luring high-end businesses that might otherwise have located in Prince William County. As a result, Prince William County attracts low-wage retail and hospitality industries as its primary employers while Stafford and Loudoun counties struggle to keep up with the demand for office space from high-end, good paying private sector employers.

 

STREAMLINE THE COUNTY’S PERMITTING AND INSPECTION BUREAUCRACY

The county bureaucracy responsible for issuing building permits and conducting inspections is riddled with problems ranging from lost site plans for parcels of land to ridiculously high fees for permits to do something as minor as moving a fire sprinkler head a few feet to accommodate the reconfiguration of commercial office space. When it is easier to obtain a building permit for a house in the county than it is for a simple outdoor covered structure that has no walls, doors, windows, power or plumbing, there is something drastically wrong. When new businesses have their openings delayed by several months because of this bureaucracy, resulting in lost wages for employees and lost tax revenue for the county, it should be a priority for the Board of Supervisors to fix the process.

 

SHINE MOONLIGHT ON BOARD PROCEEDINGS

Our Board of County Supervisors is supposed to be a part-time position and represent the typical county citizen. Due to the county’s lack of quality employment, many residents must travel to other parts of Northern Virginia or into Washington, DC for their jobs. Most people have 9-to-5 types of jobs, yet too often our county supervisors hide in broad daylight by way of afternoon meetings that citizens cannot attend without taking time off from work. As a result, a majority of current supervisors are either self-employed or retired because they are the only ones who can participate. In order to encourage better civic involvement, both in terms of residents attending meetings to have their voices heard as well as encouraging them to serve on the board themselves, all meetings should be held during the evening.

 

INCREASE EFFICIENCY OF BOARD MEETINGS

Establish four board committees: Finance, Government Services and Operations; Transportation and Land Use; Economic Development; and Joint Schools/BOCS. Items would be introduced before the full Board and then the Board would have the option of sending them to committee for a more in depth discussion and study. The committees would have 3-5 members, meet monthly, and make recommendations to the full Board. During the budget process, Finance would hold additional meetings and work out a Capital Improvement Plan for adoption by the full Board using different metrics on things such as debt capacity, load, ratios, etc. This will serve to make BOCS Business Meetings more efficient and more focused on making decisions as opposed to exploration and/or oversight.

 

ADOPT STRONGER CONFLICT OF INTEREST AND ETHICS RULES

Our current Board has been plagued by numerous scandals with one of the most egregious being the use of taxpayers’ money in the form of office discretionary funds that were used instead for personal and political purposes. While this has been reined in somewhat, other avenues for abuse of our tax dollars still exist including the budget carryover process. The ethics and conflict of interest statutes that currently only apply to Loudoun and Fairfax counties must be extended by the General Assembly to cover Prince William County as well. Our county should be at the forefront of lobbying for this change and until it is instituted should put in place rules that mirror it.

 

IMPLEMENT COST-EFFECTIVE MASS TRANSIT

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) can be implemented at a fraction of the cost of extending Metro, providing more immediate service and getting customers where they need to go much faster than Metro ever could.

The county needs to better publicize the OmniRide Metro Direct service (prominent Metro Direct signs at pick-up locations and recognizable signs on the buses like the DC Circulator would help).  BRT can serve the needs of people to connect with Metro now at a fraction of the cost.  The service should be tweaked – the buses could go directly to Metro stations in Fairfax from their origination point in Prince William and the departure/arrival stations could be prominently located close to entrances for the EZPass Express lanes on I-95 or the I-66 HOV lanes. This would also enable the county to avoid becoming a member of the Metro system and paying millions of dollars each year for system-wide maintenance of Metro that would gut the county’s transportation budget.

 

 

Corey Stewart Versus………????

Chairman Stewart has all but announced his intentions to run for reelection, holding his annual Fall fundraiser last month. Chairman Stewart who is a powerhouse at fundraising has the advantage of name recognition, and the power of incumbency.

However Corey has caught some slack lately, and has been painted as a tax raiser. In fact, in one Board meeting fellow Supervisor Democrat Frank Principi proclaimed:

Corey you’re looking more and more like a democrat everyday

No doubt if there is a challenge mounted against Corey, he will be painted as going too far left, and abandoning his Conservative base.

Enter Supervisor Pete Candland, who according to sources met on Saturday morning with several well-known political players who approached him about running against PWC board Chairman Corey Stewart. They represented several conservative groups who were upset over Corey Stewarts running of the board, and more specifically his financial policies.

Furthermore they have committed to financially backing Supervisor Candland if he decides to challenge Chairman Stewart.

Supervisor Candland is said to be discussing this possible venture with several other local activists and most importantly analyzing the impact of a county wide campaign on his family.

Whoever the nominee on the GOP side will be, they will likely face liberal activist Rick Smith. Grab your Popcorn folks this is getting interesting.

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Scott Jacobs’ Statement of Economic Interests Makes for Interesting Reading

Scott Jacobs, the Republican-turned-Independent candidate for Brentsville Dist. supervisor in Prince William County, has filed his Statement of Economic Interests as a candidate (see here and here). It appears that once again, just as his sloppy handling of a simple filing fee cost him the chance to compete for the GOP nomination, Mr. Jacobs put his incompetence on display once again with this filing (and perhaps revealed an intriguing issue with the county’s assessment system.)

While The Derecho has already delved into these statements and discovered some interesting things of his own (with one correction – it is the 12923 Fitzwater parcel that is not listed on the statements submitted by Jacobs), there are other things to pick apart here as well.

Let’s take a closer look –

13460 Nokesville Rd. LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
.89 acres of Vacant land
Zoned agricultural
Assessed for $3500 in 2014
Purchased by Scott Jacobs 3/5/2014 for $50,000

12814/16 Fitzwater Dr. Zoned General Business LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
1 home and 1 commercial building (formerly Nokesville Flowers) on .8679 acres
Purchased 10/14/2010 for $330,000 (I think it was a short sale)
Property was purchased and still is held under Scott and Kim Jacobs
Assessed in 2014 for $390,100

This property fronts the large undeveloped tract known as Hale Farm (owned by real estate investors since late 90’s, including Bob Sowder). The Hale property is a huge property along the railroad tracks that the owners want to develop with high density housing and a VRE station

Then things really become interesting in January 2012 when Scott was appointed by Wally Covington to the Prince William County Strategic Plan Committee. As a member of the committee, Jacobs received briefings on various future county plans functions including transportation – specifically VRE and transit.

After the Prince William Strategic Plan Committee transportation briefing in November 2012, Scott Jacobs purchased the following properties along the railroad tracks in Nokesville at the location of the proposed future Nokesville VRE:

12917 Fitzwater Dr. SFH on .5583 acres, Zoned General Business LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
Purchased 9/27/12 for $240,000
Property was bought by Scott and Kim Jacobs but sold for $330,000 to 7/30/14 to Fitzwater Dr. Acquisition LLC, which made Scott and his wife $90,000 for the two years they held the property.
Assessed in 2014 for $234,500
Fitzwater Dr. Acquisition LLC. Was formed 7/2/14
The registered agent is Nicholas Jacobs (Scott’s brother) but there could be multiple others in the LLC
Because the property is listed on Scott Jacob’s Schedule H-2 of his Statement of Economic Interests as one of his properties, that means Scott and/or his wife Kimberly are also partners in Fitzwater Dr. Acquisition LLC.

12523 Marsteller Dr. Vacant lot 1.0 acres, zoned General Business LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
Purchased by Scott Jacobs 11/1/2012 for $30,000
Assessed in 2014 for $22,200

12615 Marsteller Dr. Vacant lot 1.0 acres, zoned General Business LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
Purchased by Scott Jacobs 11/1/2012 for $30,000
Assessed in 2014 for $22,200

12923 Fitzwater SFH on .4851 acres, Zoned General Business NOT LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2
Purchased 8/1/2014 by Scott and Kim Jacobs for $270,000
Assessed in 2014 for $207,700
Scott has told people he is going to relocate his growing real estate business to this house.

All the Fitzwater lots would be in the section of Nokesville that Scott wants to develop and make walkable with shops and restaurants.
The Marsteller lots are alongside the railroad tracks where the Nokesville VRE would be built if it was put into the transportation plan.

Properties outside PWC:
120/230 Executive Center Parkway Fredericksburg, VA LISTED ON Scott Jacob’s Statement of Economic Interest H-2

With the exception of 12814/16 Fitzwater Dr. parcel, each of the properties Jacobs owns in Prince William county are assessed for lower than what he paid for them even though some of these parcels were purchased at times when the real estate market in the county was further depressed than it is today. Since the county assesses real estate every year and it bases values on the sale prices of nearby properties, why does Jacobs appear to be getting such a discount on his property taxes via the curiously lower assessment values?

So, in addition to “forgetting” to disclose his most recent property purchase made on Aug. 1 of this year on these filings made on Oct. 20, one has to wonder if Jacobs is getting some sort of preferential treatment (a “Friends and Family Discount”?) from the county on his property taxes thanks to their current assessment values vis-a-vis their actual purchase prices.

Police Pop PWC Planning Post Perv

InsideNOVA is reporting that Prince William County’s (apparently now former) assistant planning director Ray Utz was arrested Wed., Nov. 19 on charges of indecent exposure after police received not one, but TWO calls from women reporting that a man driving a vehicle registered to Utz was exposing himself to them at stoplights in Woodbridge and Lake Ridge. He was officially charged with “two counts of indecent exposure and two counts of obscene sexual display.”

Readers of Virginia Virtucon may recall that Virtucon has been writing about Utz’s alleged sexual harassment issues for 5 1/2 years, so the fact that he has been arrested on such charges is not the least bit surprising.

See:

     EXCLUSIVE! – PWC Planning Office Sexual Harassment Scandal EXPOSED!    – 6/4/09

     GUEST POST: Latest Ray Utz Scandal    – 3/13/11

     Culture of Corruption Continues – PWC Fills High-Level Position Without A Competitive Search    – 7/8/14

(My, how prescient that first headline “PWC Planning Office Sexual Harassment Scandal EXPOSED!” was in light of these charges…)

We have detailed sexual harassment claims against Utz dating back to as early as 2006 via a memo written to then-Planning Commissioner Kim Hosen by women who attended an April 23, 2008 Planning Commission meeting who were appalled by Utz’s treatment of her during the meeting and alluded to conditions allegedly faced by female employees in his office over the course of the previous two years. In addition, we published a January 26, 2009 letter to the Prince William County’s Human Resources Dept. detailing “the indignity, humiliation, abuse and non-professional experience [women] have suffered working at the Planning Office under Ray Utz” and that goes on to allege various abuses and unethical behavior in detail as well as corroborating statements and information for the allegations contained in the memo to Hosen.

If these past allegations and the new charges prove to be true, then this would seem to indicate an escalation in this man’s behavior to the point this week where he had become so reckless that he was daring to be caught. He was arrested after he was alleged to have done this during the middle of the day at the intersection of Gideon Drive and Smoketown Road in Woodbridge and the Old Bridge Road at Mohican Drive intersection in Lake Ridge. That would seem to be the sign of a sick, sick individual if this is accurate.

Perhaps just as disturbing as his alleged behavior over the years is the fact that Prince William County was made aware of these problems in 2008 and again in 2009. Not only did they do nothing about it (other than sweep it under the rug and cover it up), but they chose to keep him on staff and then promote him to a plum position without engaging in a competitive search for the post despite both county board Chairman Corey Stewart and County Exec. Melissa Peacor claiming that all vacancies are publicly advertised and filled competitively. Utz was already one of the county’s highest paid employees earning in excess of $100,000 in his previous position before his promotion.

In light of the lengthy public record of allegations against Utz and now his arrest, Stewart and Peacor must be made to answer for their decisions regarding Utz and be held accountable for their actions as well.

Voters should not renominate nor return Stewart to the chairmanship in 2015 (nor should they elect Democrat Rick Smith – formerly known as the blogger “Mitch Cumstein” in the early days of Virginia Virtucon and on the old Too Conservative blog – as he is chairman of the taxpayer boondoggle known as the Hylton Perfoming Arts Center that is at the center of a whole other set of county scandals, but that is another story for another day.)

An interesting aside – according to the InsideNOVA article, Prince William County’s assistant planning director chose to live not in Prince William County, but in Fredericksburg despite being one of the county’s highest paid employees and being able to afford to live in PWC. Obviously he either knows something that the rest of us don’t or else he knows what a lot of us already do and that our county property taxes are too high and our county government wastes our tax dollars with reckless abandon. My guess is that it is a little of both.

 

PWC-Loudoun Split Politically For First Time In Modern Era

I noticed something very interesting in last week’s election results. For the first time in at least 20 years, Prince William County and Loudoun County split in how they voted for the top of the ticket. While Ed Gillespie narrowly carried Loudoun County by about 0.5%, Mark Warner carried PWC by almost 3%. I have reviewed the top of the ticket for every statewide race in Virginia going all the way back to 1996 and this is the first instance of this occurring. As our friend “The Derecho” pointed out last week in his post-election summary, the approval of several high density developments in Prince William County by the Republican-dominated Board of Supervisors has ironically led the county to becoming more Democratic in its leanings. As he wrote:

It would be ironic however if the greatest source of campaign funds to several of our GOP Supervisors ultimately led to the loss of their seats as their districts become more dense and more blue.

I have been sounding the warning on this for years (and most recently predicted this outcome in June of this year.) I fear that we may have reached the tipping point now with this year’s election as PWC and Loudoun split. It doesn’t take rocket science to figure this out. Cities and the inner suburbs of many cities tend to vote Democratic. Just look at any map from the past 100 years or so. Why any political body controlled by Republicans would advance land use planning and other policies that would lead to their own political defeat is simply baffling. However, that is exactly what has been taking place in PWC for the past 15 years and has accelerated over the past five or so. More apartments, more townhouses, more condos only bring more Democratic voters.

For a review of the past several statewide elections that were at the top of the ticket and how PWC and Loudoun voted, see below. Given the trendlines, I would not be surprised to find this split becoming permanent.

2014:

Locality – LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidate Votes Percent
Ed W. Gillespie Republican 45,500 49.08%
Mark R. Warner Democrat 45,042 48.59%

Locality – PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidate Votes Percent
Ed W. Gillespie Republican 45,366 47.49%
Mark R. Warner Democrat 48,140 50.39%

2013:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidate Votes Percent
DEM Party Terry R. McAuliffe 44,369 49.55%
REP Party Ken T. Cuccinelli II 40,464 45.19%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidate Votes Percent
DEM Party Terry R. McAuliffe 50,441 51.94%
REP Party Ken T. Cuccinelli II 42,431 43.69%

2012:

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
LOUDOUN COUNTY
Mitt Romney 75,292 47.03%
Barack Obama 82,479 51.53%

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Mitt Romney 74,458 41.32%
Barack Obama 103,331 57.34%

2009:

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
LOUDOUN COUNTY
Robert F. “Bob” McDonnell 39,996 61.04%
R. Creigh Deeds 25,430 38.81%

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Robert F. “Bob” McDonnell 43,993 58.70%
R. Creigh Deeds 30,847 41.16%

2008:

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
LOUDOUN COUNTY
Barack Obama and Joe Biden 74,845 53.66%
John McCain and Sarah Palin 63,336 45.41%

COUNTY/CITY CANDIDATE VOTE VOTE%
PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Barack Obama and Joe Biden 93,435 57.51%
John McCain and Sarah Palin 67,621 41.62%

2006:
LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
J H Webb Jr Democratic 40,381 50.07%
G F Allen Republican 39,249 48.67%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
J H Webb Jr Democratic 44,503 50.51%
G F Allen Republican 42,409 48.13%

2005:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
T M Kaine Democratic 31,074 51.64%
J W Kilgore Republican 27,539 45.76%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
T M Kaine Democratic 33,364 49.95%
J W Kilgore Republican 32,178 48.17%

2004:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
Bush/Cheney Republican 60,382 55.69%
Kerry/Edwards Democratic 47,271 43.60%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
Bush/Cheney Republican 69,776 52.84%
Kerry/Edwards Democratic 61,271 46.40%

2002:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
J W Warner Republican 40,196 82.67%
N B Spannaus Independent 4,490 9.23%
J G Hornberger Independent 3,530 7.26%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
J W Warner Republican 43,375 81.44%
N B Spannaus Independent 5,660 10.63%
J G Hornberger Independent 4,186 7.86%

2001:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
M L Earley (R) 53.44% 24,372
M R Warner (D) 45.84% 20,907

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
M L Earley (R) 52.35% 30,543
M R Warner (D) 46.79% 27,297

2000:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
Bush/Cheney Republican 42,453 56.12%
Gore/Lieberman Democrat 30,938 40.89%

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
Candidates Party Vote Totals: Percentage
Bush/Cheney Republican 52,788 52.52%
Gore/Lieberman Democrat 44,745 44.52%

1997:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
D S BEYER JR (D) 13,697
J S GILMORE III (R) 20,997

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
D S BEYER JR (D) 18,110
J S GILMORE III (R) 32,049

1996:

LOUDOUN COUNTY
CLINTON/GORE (D) 19,942
DOLE/KEMP (R) 25,715

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY
CLINTON/GORE (D) 33,462
DOLE/KEMP (R) 39,292

One Out, One In for Coles GOP Primary

Prince William County Republican Committee Vice Chairman D.J. Jordan issued a statement this morning stating he will not be a candidate in the 2015 Republican Primary for Coles District supervisor, a post currently held by Marty Nohe.

Jordan To Forgo A Run For Coles Supervisor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

October 2, 2014

WOODBRIDGE, VA — D.J. Jordan today released the following statement regarding the 2015 election for Coles Magisterial District Board of County Supervisor:

“I’m extremely honored by the many people who have encouraged me to run for Coles Supervisor, but after much prayer and consideration, I have determined that the timing is not right for me and my family for this particular race. I cannot dedicate myself as fully to a campaign like this as I would like; therefore, I will step aside for others to pursue this election.

“There will be other opportunities for me to seek public office and I look forward to doing so when the time is right. The conservative principles that I believe in will make our community a better place. As an activist, I will continue to advocate for a limited, efficient government that fosters personal freedom, improved quality of life, and opportunity for all.”

###

This news comes just one day after local businessman and lifelong county resident Paul O’Meara filed to run in next year’s GOP primary against Nohe. O’Meara owns Ballsford Kitchens & Bath and is a graduate of Hylton High School. His father founded both Paul O’Meara Construction, Corp. as well as Ballsford Kitchens & Bath. O’Meara was one of the signatories on the petition opposing the Bi-County Parkway submitted to VDOT a year ago and is a donor to Gainesville District supervisor Peter Candland, so those are two pluses in his favor in my book.

All,

This morning I filed as a Candidate for the Coles District Supervisor Office. I have also formed a Candidate Committee, Friends of Paul O’Meara. I know it will be a great deal of work, but I am looking forward to it! As a professional courtesy I have also called each member of the Virginia House and Senate which have portions of their districts lying in the Coles District. Thank you to each of you who have lent advice and support to me leading up to this point. I greatly appreciate any advice and support you may lend during this campaign!

Sincerely,
~Paul

Lawson Unleashes Shock and Awe in Claiming Brentsville GOP Nod

Jeanine Lawson proved the breadth and depth of her support last night in her quest to become the next supervisor representing the Brentsville District on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. After her opponent for the nomination imploded and then bolted to run as an independent, Lawson was left as the sole candidate for the nomination. Despite that fact, 641 registered voters from the Brentsville District turned out on a Wednesday night in early October to support Lawson in what at that point was an uncontested nominating meeting. That is simply amazing — a true show of force or as I would term it, a political shock and awe.

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Following is an excerpt from her acceptance speech:

Thank you! I enthusiastically accept the nomination for the Republican Candidate for Brentsville District Supervisor. Thank you Brentsville voters!!!

I am happy, energized and confident as we move forward to the special election set for December 23rd.

As your Brentsville Supervisor, I will provide transparent, interactive government, I will represent you!

I will make it clear with my land use vote that we need to stop using the failed formula which has resulted in the unacceptable overcrowding of our schools!

I will encourage tax positive development, promote employment friendly policies to attract jobs, use our taxpayer transportation funds on projects which will truly relieve our congested roads and I will look for opportunities to expand usable open space and recreation for our families.

I will always keep the taxpayers’ interest first. I will represent you.

I want to thank my family, my husband Dan and our children, my campaign team and all our volunteers.

I especially want to thank you for attending tonight and for your support and I ask for your vote on December 23rd. THANK YOU!!!

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(Photo courtesy NOVA Digital)

Of the five sitting GOP supervisors on the county board, Lawson has been formally endorsed by three and a fourth has indicated to Virtucon that he will support the party’s nominee. That only leaves Chairman Corey Stewart to weigh-in on this race.

Nohe to Support Lawson for Brentsville Supervisor; Will Stewart Follow?

In case there was any doubt about Coles Dist. Supervisor Marty Nohe’s allegiance to the Republican Party, let’s put that to rest right now. I had the opportunity yesterday to ask Marty about the situation that has developed in the Brentsville race with Scott Jacobs bolting the party to mount an independent campaign leaving Jeanine Lawson as the sole qualified Republican candidate for the nomination. Here is how it played out:

RILEY: Now that Jeanine is the only GOP candidate in the Brentsville race and will officially become the nominee tomorrow night, are you going to issue an endorsement, statement, etc.?

NOHE: Thanks for asking. First of all, let me say that I am not so vain as to think that there is anyone in the Brentsville District who is waiting to decide how to vote in December based on my recommendation. But as a member of the PWC Republican Committee, and a Republican elected official, I always support the Republican nominee.

There you have it. Nohe always supports the Republican nominee and tonight Jeanine Lawson will claim that title at the Brentsville mass meeting. That’s good enough for me.

Now let’s see how long it takes PWC Chairman Corey Stewart to clarify his stance on this race. You can bet that even if he does publicly commit to supporting Lawson as the party’s nominee that people will still keep a very close eye on him to make certain that he is not offering any behind the scenes support or assistance to Jacobs. Given how his 2013 Lt. Gov. campaign played out, such vigilence should not be surprising.

Scott Jacobs Launches Independent Candidacy — Is He a Tool or a Fool?

How’s this for being such a loyal Republican? You screw up the easiest thing a candidate has to do — stick a check and a letter in an envelope, place a stamp on it and drop it off at the local post office to be postmarked by a specified date — and then you start to whine and claim victimhood status when you don’t own up to your mistake and take responsibility for the action (or lack thereof) of your own campaign. You then bolt the party to launch an independent candidacy because your campaign was so inept as to prove itself incapable of mailing a simple letter.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 30, 2014

JACOBS LAUNCHES INDEPENDENT CAMPAIGN FOR SUPERVISOR

Jacobs: “Every voter deserves a choice in a fair, open election.”

Nokesville, VA — In a closed-door meeting last weekend, three party insiders on the nominating committee voted to stop Scott Jacobs, a candidate for Brentsville District Supervisor and Nokesville native, from participating in the party’s nomination process. This move by party insiders cleared the pathway for their friend and activist, Jeanine Lawson, to become the Republican nominee despite the widespread support for Scott Jacobs in the Brentsville District.

As a result of the decision, Jacobs, who is being endorsed by over 100 local small businesses and the Prince William Association of Realtors, has announced that he will continue his campaign as an Independent candidate.

In a statement, Scott Jacobs wrote:

“What they’ve told Republican voters is, ‘You don’t deserve to pick your candidates – we do.”

“I believe every voter deserves a choice in a fair, open election. I believe in democracy and my commitment to serve the citizens of Brentsville has never been stronger. That is why I’m going to give voters the choice that they deserve and that they are being denied.”

“This election isn’t about party allegiances; it is about which candidate can best facilitate the changes necessary to bring high-paying, professional jobs to the district as well as a higher quality of life for all. That is why over 100 local businesses have announced their support for my campaign, and why more are doing so every day, they know that I can get the job done.”

“During this past year, I have enjoyed the opportunity to meet with many people who believe we can build a stronger local economy, stronger schools, and stronger families right here in the Brentsville District. These citizens deserve a leader who will put it all on the line. Now voters will have a chance to cast their votes at the ballot box, fair and square. I look forward to finishing the race I started as I look forward to the future, encouraged by citizens who want to build a welcoming district full of economic opportunity and a prospering community for all.”

“That’s why I’m proud to keep fighting for a stronger Brentsville and will continue my campaign for Brentsville District Supervisor as an Independent candidate this December.”

###

Background: As a result of the nominating committee’s decision, Scott Jacobs’ name will not appear on the ballot for his party’s nomination process, nor will he receive the Republican Party’s endorsement. At this time, without a Democrat candidate announced, Jacobs expects to face Jeanine Lawson, an activist and the party’s presumptive nominee, in a special election on December 23rd.

Scott Jacobs is a native of Nokesville, a small business owner, husband, and father of two.

What a load of crap and every one of Jacobs’ supporters needs to understand that it was their own candidate’s fault he did not qualify for the ballot. The requirements were as clear as day, posted on the local county GOP website, so easy even a caveman could do it as GEICO commercials used to say and they STILL couldn’t do it. IT WAS SCOTT JACOBS’ AND HIS OWN CAMPAIGN’S FAULT AND THEIR FAULT ALONE THAT THIS FIASCO HAPPENED. Now he wants people to believe that he fell victim to some party insider shenanigans. Give me a break.

I had thought better of Scott until this email arrived. He struck me as someone who, had he handled this right, could have built up good will within the GOP for a future run for office. (Heck, the next primary for this seat will be held in June 2015, only six months after the special election.) Instead, he listened to his tone deaf consultants who have given him nothing but bad advice throughout this campaign so they can continue to line their own pockets as well as to the residential developer community who are backing him to the hilt so they can continue with their rampant exploitation of the county to maximize their profit margins at the expense of taxpayers by building more tax-negative housing.

It is now time to lay the cards out on the table for the other members of the Board of Supervisors. Where do Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor Marty Nohe stand on this race? They are both Republicans. Do they support Jeanine Lawson, the Republican nominee, or do they support Scott Jacobs who is running as an independent candidate against the Republican nominee? What about other Republican office holders at the state level who endorsed him or were helping him behind the scenes? Will they abandon the Jacobs ship now that he has abandoned the party? Jacobs has certainly placed all of them in an incredibly awkward position.

So, which is it? Is Jacobs a fool for listening to his consultants or is he simply a tool of residential developers?

UPDATE:

School Board Chairman Milt Johns is the first elected official out of the gate with a statement:

Scott Jacobs has just posted on Facebook that he will not be the Republican Candidate for the Brentsville Supervisor Special Election in December, but that he will run as an Independent candidate. Republican Committee members, and especially Republican elected officials, need to come together now to support the only remaining candidate for nomination on Wednesday night, Jeanine Lawson, and then as she prepares for the December special election. We know that there will be an Independent candidate, and there could still be a Democratic opponent.

Virtucon’s own Terrence Boulden, who is also the county YR chairman has announced that he has resigned from Bull Run Stategies in order to keep in line with the party plan and remain as YR Chairman, stating that he had absolutely no part in this fiasco and like a good Republican, he follows the rules.

Austin Haynes, another prominent county GOP activist, called Lawson as soon as he read Jacobs’ release and endorsed Jeanine. Austin previously had stayed out of taking sides in this contest because he likes them both. He even spoke to Jacobs and tried to talk him out of running as an independent.

PWC Chairman Bill Card has sent out the following message:

“We’re not upset that Mr. Jacobs has chosen to run as an Independent. However, I’m greatly disappointed that Scott has decided to criticize the Republican Party and our nomination process. From the beginning, our process was fair and open. In fact, Scott and his campaign were a part of deciding the process from the very start. Mr. Jacobs actually agreed with a Mass Meeting and the filing details at the June 23 meeting that the Committee decided this nomination process.

“His victim attitude and refusal to accept responsibility is unbecoming of a Supervisor. I hope Mr. Jacobs retracts his comments about our Party and process. In Prince William County, we value responsibility no matter what our Party affiliation is.”

And presumptive GOP nominee Jeanine Lawson has issued a statement:

September 30, 2014
For Immediate release

Jeanine Lawson statement to supporters

The Brentsville Special Election Republican Mass Meeting Nominations Committee will report at the Wednesday Mass Meeting that Jeanine Lawson is the sole qualified candidate

Dear Brentsville District Supporters,

I regret that I need to inform you of a very important action which will affect the Republican Nomination Meeting scheduled for October 1st. The other person who was running for the Republican Nomination did not meet the simple filing requirements, placing a check and form in the mail by the required deadline. Because he did not qualify as a Republican nominee, he has now announced he will run as an Independent.

I am confident we have the overwhelming support and would have won if this former Republican could have succeeded in filing properly. The Prince William County Republicans will still hold the meeting tomorrow night.

It is very important for all my supporters to attend, we do not know if the other side will try to disrupt this legitimate meeting.

I am very honored to have your support and I cannot wait to see you tomorrow night!

OCTOBER 1st
PATRIOT HIGH SCHOOL, 10504 Kettle Run Road, Nokesville
7:00 p.m. – 8:15 p.m. Check-in to vote-you have to be in line by 8:15 in order to receive a ballot
Please read the Call for more information on the October 1st meeting: http://pwcgop.org/wordpress/3083/brentsvillespecial/

Scott Jacobs Disqualified by PWC GOP Nominations Committee

The Derecho and The Sheriff of Nottingham in Prince William County are reporting that the Prince William County Republican Committee’s Temporary Nominations Committee for the open Brentsville Dist. Supervisor seat disqualified candidate Scott Jacobs for failure to file his statement and filing fee on time in accordance with the official call:

Filing for the Nomination for Brentsville District Supervisor

Any person who desires to seek the Republican nomination for the Brentville District Supervisor, Prince William County, VA ***must*** submit a written statement to that effect, along with a non-refundable filing fee of $895.00 (Eight Hundred ninety five dollars and no cents), to the Temporary Nominations Committee, at Prince William County Republican Committee, Attn: Nominations, P.O. Box 1955, Manassas, VA  20108-0806, postmarked on or before September 24th, 2014. (emphasis added)

Really? Jacobs’ campaign couldn’t even do something THAT simple correctly?

Word is that Jacobs’ team is going to try and drive their turnout for the meeting in order to challenge the ruling of the nominations committee from the floor. Jeanine Lawson’s supporters cannot take anything for granted and must show up to ensure that the rules as written are enforced.

However, in the end it does not matter how those attending the mass meeting want to handle this. The official call is the trump card here and it specifically states that candidates “must submit a written statement . . . along with a non-refundable filing fee of $895.00 . . . postmarked on or before September 24th, 2014.” There is no changing what the official call states and Robert’s Rules of Order will back that up. Furthermore, there can be no nominations from the floor since the official call does not allow for that.

What does matter is if this process is dragged out, it might give Democrats or an independent an opportunity to organize and get behind a candidate in this race. The only way that Jacobs’ name can be placed in contention for the nomination at the mass meeting is if Lawson’s supporters allow it to take place or do not challenge the outcome of a floor vote to permit it if Jacobs were to prevail on the question. If that happens, then this mass meeting would surely be overturned by the Republican Party of Virginia’s State Central Committee as it has with other recent mass meetings in Fauquier and Campbell counties that were not held in accordance with the party plan, the official call and/or Robert’s Rules of Order.

Under the rules as set forth and as would ultimately be upheld by RPV, only one candidate – Jeanine Lawson – has qualified to seek the GOP nomination at the Oct. 1 mass meeting. Scott Jacobs needs to acknowledge this and get behind the nominee of the party.

UPDATE: So much for being a good sport. Jacobs is bolting the party to run as an independent.

The Race for Brentsville Supervisor is on!

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Dear Friend,

On September 18, Brentsville Supervisor, Wally Covington was confirmed as a Prince William County General District Court Judge by the Virginia General Assembly. Per Virginia law, Supervisor Covington will have to resign his position on the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

I’d like to congratulate Supervisor Covington on his judicial appointment. I look forward to having the opportunity to represent the residents of the Brentsville District and my campaign is in position to run a strong race in the upcoming election. I will continue to share my plans for balanced growth, responsible spending, and quality of life issues with the voters of the Brentsville District.

On Wednesday, October 1 at Patriot High School starting at 7:00 p.m. the Republicans will hold a nominating meeting to choose their candidate who will run in a special election to fill the Brentsville District seat.

For more information on the Republican nominating meeting, please contact the Prince William County Republican Committee via phone at 703-680-7388 or their website at http://pwcgop.org/wordpress/.

For more information on the campaign please visit our WEBSITE and FACEBOOK.

Thank you,

Jeanine

Copyright © 2014 Lawson for Supervisor, All rights reserved.

Occupation and Employer information is required by law and is for reporting purposes only. Contributions are not deducible for federal income tax purposes. Business/Corporate checks are permissible.

Our mailing address is:
Lawson for Supervisor
P.O Box 414
Gainesville, VA 20156

This communication Paid for and Authorized by Lawson for Supervisor.

Guest Columnist: Act NOW To Stop Stone Haven in PWC

GUEST COLUMN BY: Ralph Stephenson, co-founder of Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG)

Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Wally Covington and Marty Nohe are trying yet again to slip past local citizens a huge housing development behind Jiffy Lube Live. This time the development is called “Stone Haven” and will put at least 1650 homes (at least 5000 people, assuming the county average of 3 per home) on just under 1.5 square miles in what is already one of the most congested areas in the state. This, in spite of the fact that, at last count, the county already has about 30,000 approved-but-not-yet-built homes.

Six years ago another, even larger development in that location called “Brentswood” was defeated by local citizens tired of extremely overcrowded schools, extremely congested roads, and unneeded, taxpayer-subsidized housing developments that benefit only developers. Current Chairman Stewart was strongly opposed to the development then and became Chairman of the Board of County Supervisors largely on the strength of his opposition to it. (For more info on Brentswood and Stone Haven, see http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html#Brentswood)

But as the saying goes, “power corrupts” and since then Chairman Stewart has become overtly ambitious, seeking not just county-wide office, but statewide office as well. And as anyone even somewhat familiar with Virginia politics knows, it is very difficult to achieve high office in Virginia without big money from residential developers. So Chairman Stewart has gone over to the other side, relentlessly championing residential developer causes in recent years, despite knowing all the things above, including his open acknowledgement in the following video that the county’s housing boom has “hurt the average person”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0f8XDSKrNzs

Supervisor Covington’s identification with developer interests is so strong that he effectively sees those interests as his own, regardless of how they “hurt the average person.” Reportedly, he’ll be leaving office soon, but for years he’s been trying to put thousands of houses on the land behind Jiffy Lube Live; “Stone Haven” will allow him to finally achieve this goal.

Supervisor Nohe makes no secret of the fact that he represents residential developer interests and, in fact, receives much of his funding from big Fairfax County developers. (For more info, see: http://pwcbg.org/PughChallengesNohe.html) He has repeatedly campaigned for Stone Haven on Supervisor Covington’s behalf, including in Supervisor Covington’s district (the district to which many of you belong as well): Brentsville.

(For more info on these three supervisors’ conflicts of interest on land use, see http://pwcbg.org/SupervisorPositions.html, right side, top of page.)

Note that a house has to be worth about $450,000 to generate as much in real estate tax revenue as it costs the county in services (for police, fire, roads, schools, etc.) But in recent years the county’s median home value was only $331,700. (See this link for more info: http://pwcbg.org/Proffers2014_RSSpeech_PWC100.html) Stone Haven will be no different; in fact it may be even worse as at least half of its homes will be townhouses. Guess who’ll pay the difference? Answer: you, the taxpayer. How does it make you feel to know that you have to pay higher taxes so that certain members of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors can ingratiate themselves with and receive big campaign contributions from residential developers? And not only do you pay higher taxes, but what you receive in return is overcrowded schools and roads, less green space, and sometimes even lower property values.

The County Planning Commission, which advises the Board of County Supervisors [BOCS], will take up the Stone Haven proposal Wednesday, 3 September 2014 at 7 pm, two days after Labor Day, and the day after school starts. The BOCS often schedules meetings regarding controversial land use proposals at times (such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and at the beginning of the school year) when it hopes citizens will not be able to attend. No notification is being given to citizens by the county on this hearing other than small, impossible-to-read-as-you-drive-by signs on Devlin announcing the hearing. But I hope that you will make your voice heard anyway. The next step after the County Planning Commission hearing, if the BOCS follows normal procedures allowing public input, will be a hearing before the BOCS, at which time the BOCS will vote whether to approve Stone Haven.

Here’s what you can do to stop Stone Haven. (Remember that citizen opposition is what defeated its predecessor, Brentswood, 8 years ago). Attend the 3 Sep, Wednesday meeting at 7 pm at the McCoart County Building located at 5 County Complex Court, Prince William, Virginia. Arrive early and sign up to speak briefly against it. You’ll be allowed to speak for 1-3 minutes, so plan a very brief speech that states why you’re opposed. Feel free to use the info I’ve provided above, if you like. If you let us know you’re coming, we’ll sign up early for you. Whether you can attend and speak against Stone Haven or not, please also send a brief e-mail to the BOCS and county Planning Commission. (See addresses following.) Again, feel free to use the info I’ve provided above; you can even just forward this to the Planning Commission and BOCs and say you concur with it, if you like.

Thank you for your interest in local affairs, which affects all of us, whether we wish it or not. It’s time to ensure that our county government serves the interests of its citizens and not the other way around. Remember that “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.”

Ralph Stephenson, co-founder of Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth (PWCBG)
Kathy Stephenson

Board of Supervisors:

cstewart@pwcgov.org

MCMay@pwcgov.org

mcaddigan@pwcgov.org

wcovington@pwcgov.org

mnohe@pwcgov.org

fprincipi@pwcgov.org

gainesville@pwcgov.org

jjenkins@pwcgov.org

Planning Commission:

austin@crossroads-realtors.com

kenavon@aol.com

alex.vanegas.cpm@gmail.com

gainesvilledistrictpc@gmail.com

ebholley@gmail.com

khosen@pwconserve.org

fryrene@verizon.net

russellbryant@comcast.net

Corey Stewart’s Next Big Lie On YFT & UACs

Can you still call it someone’s next big lie if you expose it before it is uttered and you wind up pre-empting it?

Whatever.

Here’s what Prince William Co. Board Chairman Corey Stewart’s next big lie will be regarding the housing of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UACs) at Youth for Tomorrow facilities in the county – the Commonwealth of Virginia made PWC give money to YFT.

Let’s rewind things 3 1/2 years to then state Attorney Gen. Ken Cuccinelli’s opinion banning state grants to charities as unconstitutional. Following this Virginia could no longer provide direct grants to any charities not controlled by the state. The system that was put in place in order to meet constitutional scrutiny allows localities to award grants to charitable organizations on a competitive basis.

So, there you have it. Any attempts by Chairman Stewart to claim that Virginia forced or directed the county to give grant money to YFT is pure bunk. In fact, grant money provided by the state to the county was sat on by the county for quite a lengthy period of time before the county made the decision to award it to YFT.

Again, we have no quarrel with YFT itself or its Christian mission. The last thing that we want to see is this organization harmed by someone so willing to throw them under the bus in order to preserve the tattered remains of his political career.

PWC Supervisor Candidates Show Their Fundraising Totals

Following is a list of current candidates for the Board of Supervisors in Prince William County and their fundraising totals from Jan. 1 through June 30.

Chairman:

Corey Stewart
Starting Balance: $2,544.22
Raised: $70,051.77
Spent: $9,103.04
Cash On-Hand: $63,492.95

Stewart ramped up his fundraising machine to bring in a decent haul this period and kept his spending down. While $63K+ is a respectable total to have on hand at this point, should Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland jump in the race or a proven monster-fundraiser such as former Del. Jeff Frederick throw his hat in the ring, Stewart will have to do much better than this. Frederick already has $15,451 sitting in his Virginia’s Future PAC that he could tap to kickstart a campaign. In his 2011 race against Toddy Puller, Jeff spent a total of $629,886 and won the PWC part of the district (which is the more Democratic part of PWC), but fell short in Puller’s home territory of Fairfax County.

Brentsville:

Jeanine Lawson
Starting Balance: $24,590.27
Raised: $14,257.65
Spent: $15,283.82
Cash On-Hand: $23,564.10

Scott Jacobs
Starting Balance: $0
Raised: $26,319.86
Spent: $17,799.97
Cash On-Hand: $8,519.89

While Jacobs outraised Lawson this quarter, that isn’t surprising given this was his first fundraising reporting period while she was in her second. The more important numbers to look at are the cash burn rates and the final cash on-hand numbers. Jacobs spent 68% of all the money he took in and is behind by nearly a 3-to-1 margin in cash on-hand. That is significant since the special election date has not even been set yet for this seat. While Lawson spent more than she raised this period, the percent of funds available that she spent was somewhat lower than Jacobs at 60%. More importantly, Lawson is showing strong support from individual donors within the district while Jacobs can only point to 4 individual donors who live in the district and gave over the $100 threshold for itemized reporting.

Coles:

Marty Nohe
Starting Balance: $21,786.96
Raised: $1,000.00
Spent: $590.00
Cash On-Hand: $22,196.96

Nohe’s sole contribution this period was a $1,000 donation from “Covington for Prince William County Board of Supervisors” made on 06/23/2014. Should PWC GOP Vice Chairman DJ Jordan jump in this race with his national GOP fundraising connections, this could make for an interesting (and expensive) contest.

Gainesville:

Peter Candland
Starting Balance: $12,287.29
Raised: $21,264.00
Spent: $3,038.10
Cash On-Hand: $30,513.19

Candland has begun ramping up for his next race and has been judicious in his expenditures. This next period and whether he decides to run for reelection or challenge Stewart for Chairman will determine just how much money he will be raising.

Neabsco:

John Jenkins
Starting Balance: $47,880.84
Raised: $0
Spent: $2,855.00
Cash On-Hand: $45,025.84

Jenkins either thinks he’s untouchable or is preparing to hang it up. With him, you never know (and he may not, either.)

Occoquan:

Mike May
Starting Balance: $43,591.17
Raised: $6,845.00
Spent: $4,481.17
Cash On-Hand: $45,955.00

May added slightly to his overall cash on-hand total during this period, just barely outraising Caddigan in the Potomac District.

Potomac:

Maureen Caddigan
Starting Balance: $20,904.84
Raised: $6,348.74
Spent: $2,971.43
Cash On-Hand: $24,282.15

While never a prolific fundraiser, Caddigan managed to secure just 10 contributions of $100 or more that were itemized. Two of them were from her employees in her supervisor’s office while a third was her husband who lists as his occupation that he is her campaign Treasurer. This number would look even worse if it weren’t for Nohe, Principi and Jenkins who basically didn’t do any fundraising.

Woodbridge:

Frank Principi
Starting Balance: $6,236.74
Raised: $100
Spent: $1,099.80
Cash On-Hand: $5,236.94

This is simply horrible on all counts. Principi must think that the Democratic-tilt of his district will carry him. A well-funded GOPer or a likable Democrat could certainly give him some real problems.

Scott Jacobs – The Rob Wasinger of Brentsville

Earlier this year, Rob Wasinger ran for the nomination to replace Frank Wolf in Congress and provided us with plenty of unintentional laughs with his poorly run campaign. (Who would have thunk it since he is a ’94 grad of “Harverd” and a “Rebublican.”) He was unheard of inside the district before the race and had to work hard to raise his name id and prove his credibility. To that end, he released a press release with the endorsement of former CRFV state chair, Michael Cogar. While Cogar is a solid well respected activist, the endorsement fell flat as Cogar was also Wasinger’s consultant. When you have to resort to publicizing the endorsement of your own consultant, you have to wonder about the strength of a campaign.

Last week, Scott Jacobs running for Brentsville Supervisor released a similar press release which was picked up by the Bristow Beat. Much like Wasinger, Jacobs was largely unknown in the district until he decided to run for office. The press release touts Jacob’s small business support. The heart of the endorsement is a quote from Gary Desilets, a local business owner, supporting Jacobs and slamming his Republican opponent Jeanine Lawson. However, Gary Desilets is also the father of Joe Desilets the consultant for Scott Jacobs.

When the only person you can get to go on record talking about their support for Jacobs is the consultant’s father, much like Wasinger you have to wonder about the strength of the campaign. Wasinger came in fifth with 2% in April. While Jacobs will do better than that (it is pretty hard to finish lower than second in what is shaping up to be a two person race), we’ll see how well he does on election day when he has such a hard time showing support.

Quid Pro Quo Results in Unaccompanied Alien Children Being Shipped To Prince William Co.

As if the political situation for Prince William Co. Chair Corey Stewart wasn’t bad enough already, we’ve been handed this smoking gun by one of our regular confidential informants…

Recall several years ago during the budget battles, Corey fought against and got all the Youth Shelters closed, ostensibly to save a few hundred thousand dollars. Pure [expletive deleted]. It was a quid pro quo to Gary Jones, the longtime Executive Director of Youth For Tomorrow and the YFT Board for donating bunches of money to Corey’s campaigns. Those kids had to go somewhere. They did. All the troubled youth in PWC were and continue to be placed at YFT. It was and remains an exclusive source contract. (source redacted). YFT has grown substantially as a result of this sole source contact. They aren’t just on Bristow Road anymore. They have eight locations in PWC, the others being single family residences.

Long story short, these troubled kids, not just the recent UAC’s, when placed at YFT have to have medical attention as they are all essentially neglected in every way. The kids qualify for Medicaid and YFT arranges for these kids to be medically cared for at, guess where: The GPW Community Health Center, (source redacted). All of this is completely legal and of course, above Board.

But here’s the tie-in to Stewart: the YFT Board has a sole source contract with the Virginia state Board of Social Services also. Over the last month to month and a half, YFT has had about 120 of these UAC’s placed with it, meaning being housed in their facilities and every last one of them have come to the GPW Community Health Center to be medically treated. (source redacted) I want to be explicitly clear it is not the responsibility of the CHC to confirm or verify legal status of any youth sent over by the YFT to be medically treated as the contract is with YFT, not these individual UAC’s. But the fact is YFT is fully aware these children are UAC’s and I have to wonder if being YFT has a sole source contract with the County if the County knows of these UAC’s being housed by the YFT. In the course of the (source redacted), I said “[expletive deleted], can you image the political embarrassment Corey Stewart would get if people found out the County is directly responsible for these 120 UAC’s being in PWC?”. Well, now I wonder if the County is in fact aware of all this, what the political and career risks are to Melissa Peacor too!

While Stewart has no control of this, his “actions” have directly resulted in these UAC’s being placed with YFT here in PWC. He rants about illegals being released back into the general population yet his own actions are directly resulting in about 120 UAC’s being housed in PWC.

[Expletive deleted] indeed!

Culture of Corruption Continues – PWC Fills High-Level Position Without A Competitive Search

The following is a guest post from a long-time VV reader, The (Fringe) Observer:

When Prince William County Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Pete Candland raised the issue of ghost employees to pad the budget, PWC Chairman Corey Stewart and County Exec. Melissa Peacor both claimed among other things that all vacancies are publicly advertised and filled competitively. Stewart said that at least on one occasion during a Board meeting.

At the same time Stewart and Peacor were making this claim, they quietly promoted Ray Utz to Assistant Planning Director. As Long-Range Planning Chief, Utz was already being paid in excess of $100,000 per year and was one of the County’s highest-paid employees. They did not advertise the Assistant Planning Director position. Senior level, high-paying planning jobs like this one are highly sought after. Jurisdictions normally not only advertise locally for candidates, but also in the job vacancy listings with the professional associations, and their journals and websites. Had PWC followed that normal procedure, we would have had a boatload of good candidates from which to choose. Finding someone far superior to Utz would have been a cinch.

Stewart and Peacor did this despite Utz’s well-documented incidences of gender harassment and mismanagement. The new Planning Director, Chris Price, has not been as much of a rubber stamp for the developers as was his predecessor. Utz has always done as he was told, and was protected despite his behavior because he has always carried out instructions from Stewart and Peacor.

My guess is that Chris will be pushed out at some point and Utz installed as Planning Director as a payoff to the developers who fund Stewart, Nohe and other Board members. The “national search” for a County Executive a few years ago was nothing more than a figleaf designed to provide cover for Stewart to hire Peacor, which he had already decided to do prior to the search. In the recent case of Utz being promoted, they must have figured that no one would be watching and that they could get away without even the pretense of a competitive process to fill the job.

Score one more for corruption at McCoart and developer interests, and one more loss for taxpayers and honest citizens.

RUMOR: Feds May Relocate Illegal Aliens To Prince William Co. Fairgrounds – UPDATED!

UPDATE:We have been informed by a credible source that 120 unaccompanied alien children (UACs) have already been placed in Prince William Co. over the past month and a half. The Virginia State Board of Social Services, which has sole source contract with Youth For Tomorrow, has been placing these childen in YFT housing facilities in the county. These children are being treated for a variety of maladies at the Greater Prince William Community Health Center, which has been informed that they could see more of these UACs being treated at their facility.

This just came across my Facebook feed and while it remains unconfirmed, this bears watching given recent events across the country. It isn’t just Texas, Arizona and California where they are relocating illegal aliens. They’re in Oklahoma, Massachusetts and there has already been one attempt to locate them in Virginia.

URGENT: Just rumor, but they may be re-locating illegal aliens to Prince William County Fairgrounds. We need to:

1. Stop the internment of people like Democrats did in WWII

2. Defend our community from the tyranny of the obama

3. This may be your day, you up for it? I am

4. Let’s roll

Why would they try to intern them in Prince William Co. the way that they did Japanese-Americans in California during World War II? As has already been written here:

When the kids are apprehended (in reality, willingly surrender) at the border, they aren’t being shipped off to states at random to be housed. They are being sent to states where they have family waiting. That is why the Feds wanted to send kids to the small town of Lawrenceville in rural Southwest Virginia to be housed at the closed St. Paul’s College – their parents and relatives are waiting for them here in Virginia from the last wave of illegal immigration a decade ago when the U.S. economy was booming.

japanese-internment[1]Japanese-American Internment Camp during WWII (Photo from the National Archives)

Prince William Co. was ground zero in Virginia for the debate about illegal aliens nearly a decade ago, so by this logic it would make sense to bring these kids here. Even if their families are no longer in the county, they are most likely nearby.

One also has to wonder if placement of illegal aliens in Prince William Co. might not be a direct slap at County Board Chairman Corey Stewart who has made illegal aliens his political bête noire in his campaigns to cover-up his tax and spend ways and is gearing up to do so again for his 2015 reelection. Later today, Stewart plans on bringing a motion before the board to fund an expensive FOIA lawsuit against the federal government to find out what happened to the illegal aliens the county detained and turned over to ICE. Can you say “publicity whore” boys and girls? I knew you could…

 

PWC GOP Sets Nomination Method for Brentsville Dist. Special Election

Monday night at the monthly Prince William County Republican Committee meeting, committee members voted on the method of nomination for the special election that will be held for Brentsville Dist. supervisor when incumbent supervisor Wally Covington’s appointment as a district court judge is finalized.

After an hour or so of debate, the committee settled on a mass meeting to be held on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening two weeks after Covington secures his judgeship. The nominee will only require a plurality to win, meaning just one ballot will be needed to select the party’s standard bearer. The committee made known its preference for Patriot High School to be the location of the meeting given its central location in the Brentsville District, but ultimately left the decision to committee chairman Bill Card in the event Patriot was not available on either of the specified nights. The filing deadline for candidates seeking the seat will be 7 days before the meeting.

Currently, there are only two candidates on the Republican side for the seat – Jeanine Lawson and Scott Jacobs. If it remains that way, the plurality provision for nomination is moot. However, some committee members immediately began mumbling that the plurality requirement, intended to foster participation by voters and speed the process that evening, could open the contest to shenanigans.

At issue is increasingly unpopular county board chairman Corey Stewart who recruited Jacobs to run against Lawson as she would join Stewart-nemesis Gainesville supervisor Pete Candland as a strong reformer on the board of supervisors. The concern is Stewart may recruit one or two other minor candidates to jump in the race in an attempt to siphon votes off from Lawson by running to Jacob’s right, perhaps with backgrounds in education to counter Lawson’s strong support based on that issue. If we see any other candidates with such profiles jumping in this race, we’ll know who is behind it and the reason why.

Lawson is clearly the superior candidate in this race in every way and Virtucon has strongly endorsed her for this position. We urge all voters in the Brentsville Dist. to learn more about Mrs. Lawson because the more you know about her, the more likely you are to support her for supervisor.