A Time for Choosing (in Prince William County)

Fifty years ago, back in 1964, Ronald Reagan gave a speech that came to be known as “A Time for Choosing.” One of the most famous quotes from that speech is:

You and I have a rendezvous with destiny. We will preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children’s children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done.

On October 1, 2014, voters in the Brentsville District of Prince William County will have their own “Time for Choosing” in selecting the next county supervisor to represent that district. Only two Republicans have filed and no Democrats, so the winner of the GOP nomination contest being held this coming Wednesday will be the next supervisor who will help determine the course of the county’s future.

The two candidates for the seat are Jeanine Lawson, who is the Virtucon-endorsed candidate, and Scott Jacobs. The main difference between the two candidates is Lawson supports a much more balanced approach to growth, one which relies upon vastly increasing the commercial real estate sector so as to bring greater equilibrium to the county’s tax burden by attracting professional businesses to locate in the county.

Currently, the county’s commercial sector accounts for only about 15 percent of tax revenues with the other 85 percent coming from homeowners. The dirty secret is that 15 percent is mostly retail and hospitality (and that is mostly fast food restaurants) plus it includes apartment complexes as commercial rather than residential even though unlike other commercial entities they rely upon residential services such as the county’s public school system.

Making the problem even worse, most of the new homes being built in the county are what are termed “tax negative” in that their assessed value brings in real estate taxes below the amount of county services that they consume (police, fire/rescue, schools, parks, etc.) Gainesville Dist. supervisor Pete Candland has been the main stalwart against this disturbing trend. His most reliable ally on the Board right now is Occoquan Dist. supervisor Mike May. They sometimes get help from other varied members of the Board depending on the particular issue or project, but no one who is considered consistently reliable. They need Lawson to join them.

On the other hand, Jacobs comes from the real estate sector and is being heavily supported by the residential home building industry. There is nothing wrong with building homes and I certainly do not subscribe to the philosophy that we need to stop building homes now that I live here. However, the builders doing business in the county want to squeeze as many homes as possible onto as little land as possible in order to maximize their own profits. That is the very recipe for “tax negative” housing.

Over at The Derecho blog, they have up a message in support of Jacobs from the Development Director of Brookfield Homes (which is based in Fairfax County, not Prince William, so they could care less what happens to residents here after they sucker them into buying a home here).

We need your help in keeping this District “Builder and Business friendly”. Due to projected low voter turn-out, local elections will be decided by a very slim margin. We are asking our friends and partners to find out if they have employees within the Brentsville voting district who are willing to make a difference in the upcoming primaries and election. Thank you in advance for your help.

. . .

Further information regarding Candidate Scott Jacobs can be found at http://www.scottforbrentsville.com. He is currently seeking campaign donations. Larger donations are encouraged, but donations under $99 will not be disclosed.

Note that you do not need to be a registered Republican to vote in the primary. However, in an effort to control the vote, non-Republicans may be harassed at the door. They may even be asked to sign a pledge to vote republican in the future, which is non-binding. Due to the importance of this vote, we ask you to put up with this minor inconvenience to make your vote count.

Can you say “scumbag” boys and girls? I knew you could…

First of all, I know of no instances in this county of anyone being harassed by the county Republican Party. Maybe that is the way they do things in his industry, but certainly not the PWC GOP. For proof, just read the guest op-ed on InsideNOVA.com from the PWC GOP on the nomation process. Second, his comment about donations under $99 not being disclosed sounds like he is giving a wink and a nod to people on how to avoid having their names associated with Jacobs on campaign finance disclosure statements.

The nomination held on October 1 will set the stage for next year’s elections in PWC, particularly the many anticipated primary challenges within the Republican Party for supervisor seats. If Lawson prevails, then there is hope for the county that we can begin to get our fiscal house in order and start working to dismantle the ticking tax time-bomb being planted by the vast increase in tax negative housing and work to diversify our tax base by increasing the commercial sector. That in turn will provide hope that the 2015 Republican primaries will produce additional allies for Candland, May and Lawson so there will be a pro-commercial economic development majority on the board instead of a pro-housing developer majority as there is now.

If, however, Lawson does not prevail and Jacobs secures the nomination, then we will have taken the first step into a thousand years of darkness and the last best hope of man (and woman) in Northern Virginia will have been extinguished as we head down the same path as Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax into the high tax abyss…


One thought on “A Time for Choosing (in Prince William County)

  1. There’s also the issue of several residential developments in Brentsville coming before the Board this fall. These are big developments that will have a major impact on quality of life, to be decided at a time that the residents will not have a voice on the Board. Lawson has said that the votes should be delayed so that the residents have a voice. Jacobs, on the other hand, does not want votes delayed. He’s more concerned that the developers might have to wait than that the people he seeks to represent will have no say. If Jacobs is already publicly putting the interests of developers ahead of his constituents, how much worse will it be if he does get on the Board.

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