Why PWC GOP Incumbents Don’t Have A Leg To Stand On With Their Lawsuit

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Arlington Circuit Court Judge Paul Sheridan ruled Friday that Prince William County Republican incumbents Corey Stewart (Board Chairman At-Large), Maureen Caddigan (Potomac Supervisor), Marty Nohe (Coles Supervisor) and Glen Hill (Sheriff) are not entitled to their choice of a primary for their method of nomination because County Republican Committee Chairman Bill Card did not file the requisite paperwork with the State Board of Elections in a timely manner per § 24.2-509 of the Code of Virginia.

I have to disagree with my friend Steve Albertson over at The Bull Elephant who argued that Sheridan got the decision wrong. In fact, Sheridan got the decision exactly right and here is why:

§ 24.2-516 Each chairman shall file timely written notice with the Board whether or not a primary has been adopted and identify each office for which a primary has been adopted. The requirement to notify the Board of the adoption of a direct primary shall be satisfied when the Board receives by the deadline (i) written notice from the appropriate party chairman or (ii) a copy of the written notice from an incumbent officeholder to his party chairman of the incumbent’s selection, pursuant to § 24.2-509, of the primary as the method of nomination.

That’s right, per the emphasized section the authority to notify the Board of Elections is NOT vested solely with the party chairman, but the incumbent officeholder also has the authority to notify the Board per the process above. These incumbents are equally at fault for not sending their notifications to the State Board of Elections and now they are attempting to sue their way into a primary.

Sorry, you had two bites at the apple — you could have kept on the party chairman to ensure that the paperwork was filed timely and you could have filed a copy of your written notification to the party chairman of your choice of a primary with the State Board of Elections yourself. You did neither, now you must live with those consequences.

DENIED!

This just in, the Prince William County Board of Elections has denied a request from a handful of Republican candidates to be included on the June 9 state primary ballot after the PWC GOP missed the Feb. 24 filing deadline with the State Board of Elections to request primaries in those races. Some of those candidates are now considering suing to be placed on the ballot in lieu of having to battle it out in so-called firehouse primaries run by the Republican Party.

The candidates impacted by this decision are Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (Potomac), Peter Candland (Gainesville), Marty Nohe (Coles) and Sheriff Glen Hill. While Candland would probably do even better in a firehouse primary than in a state-run primary if he were challenged, Caddigan and Nohe would be in great danger of losing in such an atmosphere (Nohe faces Paul O’Meara and Caddigan is currently unopposed, but this may draw out a challenger).

Even Stewart faces a greater threat in a party-run nominating contest as he has angered many party regulars with his non-election year antics of tax increases, cronyism and unrestrained residential growth — issues that Chris Crawford is using to go against him for the nomination. Hill’s GOP primary opponent, however, is a perennial candidate who was the right-hand man of the previous Democratic county sheriff.

For a county that likes to talk about “The Rule of Law” quite a bit, these folks make it appear that such a phrase is “for thee, but not for me.” The deadline was missed. There are consequences to that, even if they were not the cause. Furthermore, if one is truly a small government Republican, they he or she should welcome the party running its own nomination process and paying for it rather than saddling the taxpayers with the cost of a state-run primary.

Steve Chapman Rides Again!

You may recall former candidate for Virginia Delegate Steve Chapman’s disastrous 2006 campaign. We certainly do. In fact, going back through Virtucon’s archives, we’ve found some photos from his kick-off event:

And more here:

And who could forget him seeking “sponcers” for his campaign? Or him missing the filing deadline to run? That was a classic that Scott Jacobs’ recent imitation of was but a pale copy.

Well, Steve Chapman rides again and is now running for Woodbridge Supervisor and wouldn’t you know it, his old nemesis Black Velvet Bruce Li is back as well. Last go round, Chapman sued one of the bloggers behind that site and that case was ultimately dismissed. It appears that didn’t make him any friends with BVBL as it is roaring back with a vengeance with a series of posts about Chapman that starts off with “In today’s installment of Are you smarter than a bag of hammers?

Go make some popcorn. This is going to be a long show…

Whitbeck Slams Stimpson Campaign

Earlier this week, Susan Stimpson’s campaign for House of Delegates against Speaker William Howell sent out an inflammatory  email accusing the Republican Party of Virginia of endorsing Howell in their Primary.

A response to Susan Stimpson:
Susan,

Yesterday you alleged that RPV staff acted to secretly support a candidate in a nominating process. These allegations are not true.

As you know, the RPV has not endorsed either candidate in your primary and I have said repeatedly that neither I nor the Party will pick sides in a nominating process during my tenure. I vehemently reject your assertion that donations to the Republican Party will go to support tax increases. I have said that the RPV must stand for something, and in this case, that “something” is the Virginia Republican Creed. Any donations from any source will be put towards that effort.

As you are aware, the RPV has sent out legislative district surveys for years. These surveys aren’t about getting anyone elected, they are about holding elected officials accountable. These mail pieces that ask constituents where they stand on issues. We want our GOP leaders to be responsive to their districts — that’s why we send them to Richmond. It may be easy for a legislator to ignore a phone call or email, but when RPV brings the opinions of several hundred constituents to a legislative office at one time (prior to the legislative session, no less) the impact is unmistakable.

I think your email should have contained the entire survey so I’ve attached the whole image below.

Not every legislator works with RPV on this project. The ones that do meet a strict standard. No mail is sent after the General Assembly Session convenes, and this particular mailing met that standard despite the post office delivering it several weeks late. The mailers contain no electioneering material, and they’re returned to RPV. That ensures that they will wind up in the hands of the legislators in question, and not be shunted off to some third party to harvest email addresses. Completed surveys are delivered during the General Assembly session for a reason — so our GOP members will have the thoughts and concerns of their voters in front of them when it matters most: while they’re casting votes.

While I disagree with your characterizations and the wrong information in your email, we will be revisiting existing standards for mail at our next Executive Committee meeting next week.

John Whitbeck, Chairman
Republican Party of Virginia

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Breaking : Geddes will not be a Candidate for office in 2015

Gerald Geddes wrote this wonderful email on this Martin Luther King Day, making it clear that he will not be a candidate for office.

Many in NOVA  exhaled in relief .

 

Happy MLK day, My Dream, Tax help, Open House 2/5/15
View this email in your browser
I am rededicating myself to my tax practice.
In 2014 my friends Jim McIntyre and Bob Patten handled most of my workload.
On April 11, 2011 I had life saving emergency surgery that inspired a dream in me. My dream is to use my extensive knowledge of taxes and taxpayer behavior to try to formulate a better U.S. tax policy. I took time off to write the Strategic Tax Reform Incentivizing Valuable Employment tax plan, a.k.a. the S.T.R.IV.E. for America tax plan. I printed a flyer of the plan and handed it out to 1,000 attendees at the 2012 Republican Convention in Tampa.
In order to try to get some interest in my tax plan I sought the Republican nomination for Virginia’s 11th Congressional District. I have been active on twitter and have over 12,000 followers at @lesstaxingcpa
I will not seek public office but I am not giving up on my dream of improving U.S. tax policy. I am putting the dream on hold to serve existing and new clients during this and God willing the next 15 tax seasons.
So if you need help with your taxes I’ve got the time to take on a whole lot of new clients. My daughter Megan is getting married in September so I need to pay for the wedding!
National Taxpayer Advocate Nina E. Olson released her 2014 Annual Report to Congress, which expresses concern that taxpayers this year are likely to receive the worst levels of taxpayer service since 2001.
If you need help with your taxes please consider hiring me.
I have been preparing tax returns since I graduated from Georgetown In 1981. I passed the CPA exam in November of 1981 and have been self-employed since 1991.
I purchased my office condo in December so If you live nearby: I am having an open house on Thursday February 5, 2015, 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm at 9695 Main St, Suite C, Fairfax, VA 22031. Please r.s.v.p. to lesstaxing@gmail.com.
If you would like a tax organizer I have a very thorough one that I would be happy to email to you.
For any clients that were serviced by Jim McIntyre or Bob Patten you can stay with them or return to me.  If you want to return to me please let me know and I will be sure to get your 2013 files from them.

 

 

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What’s Up With PWC’s Web Domain Address?

Prince William County government. Gotta love it if for nothing other than the entertainment value.

Want to find out more about it? Head on over to the county government’s official website at pwcgov.org.

What’s that you say? I mistyped their web address? It should be pwc.gov?

Well, one would think so, but apparently no one in the county government’s IT department ever bothered to apply for a .gov domain. In fact, to this day, that domain has gone unclaimed.

Our neighbors in Loudoun County have loudoun.gov, Fairfax County has fairfaxcounty.gov, and Stafford County has staffordcountyva.gov. Even Fauquier County has fauquiercounty.gov.

Apparently the OIT in Prince William County was too busy engaging in bid-rigging, fraud and embezzlement back in the 2000s to get around to registering .gov like everyone else was doing at the time. I suspect someone in the county was watching a Super Bowl half-time show when a sexy GoDaddy.com commercial came on and they decided to register the county its domain name. To their dismay, they discovered that not just anybody could register a .gov web address, so they registered pwcgov.org instead and hoped that nobody would notice.

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Why hasn’t anyone rectified that situation yet? (After all, you CAN have multiple domains that all point to the same website without having to duplicate any content whatsoever — see Stafford’s .us domain for example.) Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that things have improved much over there at OIT according to this post on BVBL:

If the county is actually paying $1,000 per office chair, $350 for a friggin’ telephone and an astonishing $2,500 for a 12 port network switch (that should cost less than $60), we have a much bigger problem in the county than where supervisors have their offices.  We’re actually running dedicated fibre lines to supervisor offices (costing $5,500 to install them) instead of signing them up for Comcast or Verizon internet service for about $60/month, which could also provide them with phone service through a VOIP provider?  Either there’s another massive embezzlement or bid-rigging scandal just waiting to be uncovered at the Office of Information Technology, or these figures are outright lies.

The more you look under the rocks in Prince William County, the more of a complete joke you see it to be.

UPDATE: BVBL has turned over some other county IT rocks as well — this time relating to the website for the Brentsville District and the latest county attempts to screwover new supervisor Jeanine Lawson.

Ray Utz Court Dates Set

In November, we wrote about former Prince William County assistant planning director Ray Utz’s arrest Nov. 19 on charges of indecent exposure in two instances (as well as why we were not the least bit surprised about it.) Since the initial article that appeared on InsideNOVA.com about the arrest, there hasn’t been a single mention of the incident (we didn’t even get a published mug shot, just his county headshot.)

Well, thanks to an article on InsideNOVA today about another indecent exposure incident, I decided to track down where things stand in the legal process for Utz.

Case # Defendant Hearing Date Hearing Time Charge Action
GC14014821-00 UTZ, RAYMOND ERNST 04/16/2015 09:00 AM INDECENT EXPOSURE
GC14014822-00 UTZ, RAYMOND ERNST 04/16/2015 09:00 AM SIMULATED MASTURBATION
GC14014823-00 UTZ, RAYMOND ERNST 04/16/2015 09:00 AM SIMULATED MASTURBATION
GC14014824-00 UTZ, RAYMOND ERNST 04/16/2015 09:00 AM INDECENT EXPOSURE

Now, here is the interesting thing about it. According to court records, Utz was set to be arraigned Dec. 2 on all four charges and was scheduled to have a motion hearing on Jan. 8. Hearings on Jan 22 and Feb. 19 have already been continued until April 16.

We’ll be keeping our eye on this since justice in Prince William County can be of a questionable nature to put things kindly…

Maurer is in for Rock Hill

In Stafford County Wendy Maurer has announced her intentions to seek the Republican nomination for the Board of mauerSupervisors to represent the Rock Hill District.  Last week, current Supervisor Cord Sterling announced he would not be seeking re-election to the seat.  It was widely speculated that Maurer would become a candidate and heir apparent to the Rock Hill district on the Stafford Board of Supervisors.

No other candidates have yet come forward to seek the Republican nomination.  There have been no Democrats rumbling their intention to seek the seat.  A frequent visitor and speaker at public meetings in Stafford County known for colorful speeches during public comment time at a number of boards and commissions appears to planned to make a run at it.  Paul Waldowski who often dresses in costume, t-shirts with clever quotes and hats with messages announced at a recent School Board meeting that he will be running in the Rock Hill district this year.  Over the waldolast several months he has set his sites on 2019 to run in as many as three districts simultaneously (legal or not).   With the vacancy created by Sterling’s departure Waldowski’s plans to seek public office have accelerated.

Maurer currently sits on the Economic Development Authority in Stafford County.  She is a small business owner and has served on a number of boards and commissions in the county over the last 13 years.  Maurer and her husband have three children that attend Stafford County public schools.

Maurer should be a strong candidate for the Republican nomination, and considering the Rock Hill district is a solid Republican district the general election should already be set to likely Republican.

Fredericksburg.com and Potomac Local have more on Maurer’s announcement.

Corey, Fool Me Once, Shame on You…Fool Me Twice…Shame on Me

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2015 is here.  As we shake off the holidays, take down the decorations, and bundle up to keep warm, many of us will contemplate New Year’s Resolutions for a new “Me” which will be an improvement over last year’s “me.”  Did you know that health clubs and fitness centers have the highest enrollment in January?  If you haven’t received the mailers yet, you will.  Perfectly toned 20-somethings waiting to help you become the “you” you are meant to be.

 

And as 2015 rolls on, it appears that PWC’s Chairman-at-Large, Corey Stewart is also looking to improve over 2011-14 Corey.  2015 is a time for him to get back to his conservative roots, deliver fiery orations at town halls, and vote down Stone Haven to prove to everyone that Conservative Corey is back!  Heck, he even took the stage with Mr. Candland AND Mrs. Lawson at the Town Hall to show everyone how he is in lock-step with the two reigning conservatives in PWC and even told the crowd of 1,000+ that “Hey, we do actually get along” (insert nervous laugh at end of sentence).

Yes, Chairman Stewart has found his soul once again….or so it would seem.  And it’s working!  The Derecho blog pointed out on 14 January, that ” Chairman Stewart spoke passionately in opposition to Dominion’s proposal and for a brief few moments reminded me of the Occoquan Supervisor I once supported in his battles with Chairman Connaughton.  Time will tell whether the new/old Corey has any staying power but it was refreshing, at least for the evening.”

1 down…a few more to go..

But…something just doesn’t add up…

Corey clenched his fist in opposition to Dominion Power and promised to do anything in the county’s power to stop them from harming the Rural Crescent.  He even relayed that he had signed into law a provision that purchased land by the county which cannot be seized by immanent domain by Dominion Power.  Applause erupted…but this law doesn’t seem to actually stop the power lines.  I digress…when asked about possible solutions and changing the zoning, Stewart said a current BOCS cannot undo former BOCS decision. It’s the law.  Or the county would have to pay a penalty.

Wait, what?  Well how much is the penalty?  Corey had no answer.  This is ok.  Nobody has all answers, but he didn’t offer to find out and nobody called him out on it, because…I can only surmise…this is the new and improved Corey. Conservative Corey who has the back of the people!

But then…Corey became Chameleon Corey.  Changing when nobody is looking, or sometimes even when they are, and voted on the 14th at the 2PM BOCS session to spend 12.1 Million dollars (MILLION!) to bury power lines on a one mile stretch of road.  This writer does not know how much it would have cost the county in a penalty, but I will wager good money and Corey’s seat that 12 MILLION would have paid the fine AND bought the parcel back from the company-who-shall-not-be-named (Amazon) for a profit if needed and pointed them to Innovation Park.

So, now we are back to Costly Corey (this now officially reminds me of the Paranoid Rob Lowe commercials).  The guy who argued for the 1.158 tax rate INCREASE (~6% to you and me) and trotted out all of his democratic allies last April to support it.  The guy who spends and spends and spends so he can tax and tax and tax.  Because why?  Because nobody likes to be told they don’t get their stuff.  And not getting stuff loses votes.  So Costly Corey raises the taxes and redistributes our money for votes.

 All this to say, I will not be fooled twice.

With Deterrents Gone, PWC Supervisors Return To Their Free-Spending Ways

 

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Remember the good ol’ days of the Cold War when the American nuclear arsenal (and later President Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative) had the deterrent effect of keeping the Soviets in line? The threat of mutually assured destruction (M.A.D.) actually made the world safe in an ironic sort of way.

The same applies politically. When it is an election year and elected officials face potential primary challenges, they tend to get religion pretty quickly and try to race as fast as they can back to their party’s base in order to survive. If they do, you can count on them reverting to their old ways 9 out of 10 times as survivors of these political deathbed conversions rarely keep their newfound faith for it was merely the threat of a challenge that kept them in line.

Witness today’s vote of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors to rescind $12 million previously approved by the board to bury power lines along a one mile stretch of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

For nearly two hours [Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Peter] Candland contended that defunding the power line project was the right move, and said that funding could be better spent on adding additional classrooms to crowded schools, purchasing new buses for the Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission, expand the county’s jail, or build six new miles of sidewalks in neighborhoods known for their incomplete pedestrian pathways, or “sidewalks to nowhere.”

“When you come up here and this Board says ‘we just don’t’ have the money,’ weight that on the burial of the power lines,” said Candland.

In the end, only Candland and newly-elected Brentsville Dist. Supervisor Jeanine Lawson voted to rescind the money so it could be put to a higher priority use. Both of the board’s Democrats and the other four Republicans – Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisors Marty Nohe (Coles), Mike May (Occoquan) and Maureen Caddigan (Potomac) – voted to keep this spending project in place. Never mind that this is something VDOT and not the county should be paying for or the fact that the county has much greater unmet needs that they are always talking about how we do not have enough money to cover and therefore we must endure tax hike after tax hike. (At last count, the county’s 5-year plan envisioned a 25% property tax hike over that period of time.)

Now, by way of my reference of the Cold War I’m NOT calling Caddigan a communist (as that would imply that she actually held some ideological core beliefs and subscribed to a set political philosophy, things no one would ever accuse her of) or any of her colleagues on the Board. But it is interesting that for the past six months or so the Potomac Dist. Supervisor had seemed to have found the conservative religion when Virtucon’s founder and local community leader Jim Riley had been gearing up to challenge her in the 2015 Republican primary. Unfortunately, last week Riley had to take himself out of contention due to work considerations. It only took until the next Board meeting for her to revert to form.

Likewise, last week Candland decided against a run for county chairman and it is all but certain now that former Del. Jeff Frederick will also pass on a 2015 primary challenge to Stewart. Nohe dodged a bullet when D.J. Jordan decided the time was not right for him to enter the political fray (although Nohe may still be in for the fight of his political life against Paul O’Meara whose background makes him a sort of conservative doppelgänger to Nohe.) May has announced he will not seek reelection and instead will run for Commonwealth’s Attorney.

So, with Candland, Frederick, Jordan and Riley all dropping their expected primary challenges to incumbents on the Board, the deterrent factor keeping them in line has just evaporated. Prince William’s Board has returned to its free-spending ways. While no one should be shocked by this, we should all feel embarrassed that these charlatans are the best that we can do here.

King is in; York is out; Buona and others “assessing risk”

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Longtime political activist and Leesburg attorney, Charles King announced his intention to seek the Republican nomination for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.
Within hours of Leesburg Today breaking the news of King’s candidacy, current Chairman Scott York, who had already announced his intentions to seek reelection, dropped out of the race.
Although many people were surprised, the political reality is just this simple: “York has no real base in the local party and he knows it,” say party sources who declined to be named, “insiders knew that Scott could not sustain an intra-party challenge.”
Ralph Buona, Vice President of Telos Corp and first-term Supervisor from Ashburn, is said to be “taking the weekend to consider a run” himself, now that York has backed-out.  But for Buona, party-watchers note that this is a high-risk move, giving up a super solid seat in Ashburn where is popular and unlikely to be challenged, to run in a primary against a well-liked, highly respected, long-time party guy like King and then (if he prevails) face a tough general election against attractive and articulate Phyllis Randall.
Buona isn’t known to be a risk-taker and he clearly likes being on the Board, how he decides to proceed will be interesting.

Stafford Political News

Continuing to report on local political news we move to Stafford County where the Board of Supervisors held their first meeting of the year this past week and had some changes in store for us.

In the surprise news file Supervisor Cord Sterling (R-RockHill) announced that he will not be seeking re-election this year. cordster Sterling, during his announcement, informed the public that he has accepted a job on Capitol Hill as the Deputy Staff Director for the Senate Armed Services Committee, and the requirements of the job will not allow the time required to campaign for office in the coming year.   The announcement brings intrigue to the Rock Hill district on who will be on the ballot in November.   The names that have been mentioned in several circles are local GOP activist and member of the Stafford County Economic Development Authority Wendy Maurer, former Supervisor Robert “Bob” Gibbons and Stafford GOP Chair Steve Albertson.   In his announcement Sterling indicated he plans to serve out his term, which will conclude in December 2015.

What was not surprising was the board selecting Supervisor Gary Snellings (R-Hartwood) as their Chairman for 2015.   Supervisor Snellings has served a total of 10 years on the Board and this is his first time taking the gavel.   The surprise in the election of board leadership was the promotion of Laura Sellers (I-Garrisonville) to Vice Chairman.  Supervisor Sellers who was elected as a Democrat, but has since parted ways with the Stafford Democrat Committee remains as the sole Independent-Democrat leaning member on the board.  It is surprising that a board that is made up of 5 Republicans, 1 Independent who typically sides with Republicans and Sellers, choose the sole Democrat leaning member as Vice Chair.   There is certainly cause for concern in Stafford County as Sellers has established a record of not opposing development and has proposed significant real estate rate tax increases.   It is a significant departure from the trajectory of a board that has in the last 6 years cut 9 taxes and fought mandates on what would amount to increased development that were pushed on localities by the state at the urging of the Virginia Homebuilders Association.

It is looking more and more like former Delegate Mark Dudenhefer will have a clear path to the Republican nomination to reclaim the 2nd District in the House of Delegates.  With a Democrat yet to announce to seek the seat, with the announcement by sitting Delegate Michael Futrell will seek the 29th District Senate seat, Dudenhefer remains the only announced candidate in the race.  Although Prince William County Democrats claim they have a candidate who will be announced soon.

In the 28th House District the contest between former member of the Board of Supervisors and former Chairman of the Board Susan Stimpson and current Speaker of the House of Delegates Bill Howell continues to heat up.   Stimpson has pushed the accelerator in  her aggressive campaign against Speaker Howell.   The Speaker has remained relatively low key and appears to be focused on the upcoming session of the General Assembly.  It should be interesting to watch what the session brings and the battles Howell chooses to highlight against the Democrats and Governor McAuliffe.

Stafford, like other jurisdictions, is shaping up to have an interesting political year in 2015.

BREAKING: Candland Announces He Will Seek Re-election As Gainesville Supervisor, Passes on PWC Chairman Challenge

Gainesville Dist. Supervisor Pete Candland announced tonight that he will run for reelection rather than seek the county chairmanship in a GOP primary against incumbent Corey Stewart. Candland stated that he will seek to build a 5-vote coalition on the Board to change the course of government in Prince William County and will endorse in other races, including challengers to incumbents.

More to come…

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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

Corey Stewart Commits Political Hara-kiri; Where’s the Tylenol?

InsideNOVA is reporting the following:

Prince William leader floats idea of eliminating real-estate tax cap

Saying Prince William County residents are more concerned about overcrowded classrooms than their annual real-estate taxes, Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart proposed a change in local tax policy Tuesday that would focus more on raising needed revenue for schools and county services and less on capping tax hikes.

Why are our schools and roads overcrowded in Prince William County? First and foremost, the fault for this can be laid at the feet of those who have voted to rezone property from commercial to residential and increase the zoning density for residential properties while simultaneously keeping developer proffers artificially low. This has increased the demand for county services — schools, roads, fire/rescue, police, etc. — without bringing in an equal amount of tax revenues or adequate developer proffers needed to accomodate the demand. That is what we call tax negative housing — homes that consume more in county services than what they pay in real estate taxes. The construction boom of townhomes and apartments (which are actually considered “commercial” property by Prince William County even though people live there) has resulted in an ever increasing disparity in the tax base.

Stewart goes on to defend his proposal by saying,

“Regardless of your political stripes, people are more concerned about their quality of life at home than they are about keeping tax bills so low, I mean 30 percent lower than in Fairfax and Loudoun counties,” Stewart said. “There’s a price we are paying for that.”

The tax bills themselves are lower because home values in Prince William County are lower. People moved to PWC because they could stretch their dollars further than they could in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.  The percentage of tax that homeowners in the county pay on the actual values of their homes, though, is the HIGHEST in Northern Virginia and now Corey Stewart wants that percentage to go even higher. How does all that impact their quality of life at home? That translates to less money for groceries and clothes in the family budget let alone any other luxuries above that baseline.

There is little evidence that the county has cut back its spending on things that are not necessities, whether it be its little-used membership at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club or workplace toga parties where school employees use instruments to measure genitalia. Until the county gets it priorities straight, they should not come back hat in hand begging the taxpayers for even more money.

The Derecho blog had two excellent posts last week on this very issue as it relates to taxpayers. In one, it is shown that “if you apply the tax rate in place at the time, on average, PWC property owners are paying 2.2% more in 2014 actual taxes for properties that have lost 32.7% of assessed value.” That same post also states that “Real Property Tax Revenues as Share of Total FY 2015 General Fund Revenues, Prince William County, 65%, the highest among local jurisdictions, 5% higher than even Loudoun to which the BOCS often compares us.”

The second post by The Derecho demonstrates that “[Per Capita Personal Income] for PWC fell 2.31% for the period 2012-2013.”

So, home values in the county have yet to fully recover, personal income in the county is down, what we are paying in taxes in terms of real dollars is up, the tax rate is the highest in the region (again that means we are paying the highest percentage in taxes on the value of our homes) and the county has the highest reliance upon real property taxes of any jurisdiction in Northern Virginia. That is a recipe for economic disaster.

Prince William County’s fiscal house is a complete mess (its current bond rating aside which has only been maintained by smoke and mirrors) and the ticking time bombs planted by two decades of neglectful public policy are about to go off.

Mind you, Corey Stewart is a Republican and self-proclaimed conservative yet he is advocating eliminating this much needed taxpayer protection mechanism in the county intended to make county government behave more effectively and efficiently. That doesn’t sound very conservative or Republican to me.

It is time that citizens say no more. It is time that we say you are done here. It is time for Prince William County Republicans to say, “ABC — AnyGOPer but Corey.”

clark-griswold[1]

Hey! If any of you are looking for any last-minute gift ideas for me, I have one. I’d like Corey Stewart, our County Chairman, right here tonight. I want him brought from his happy holiday slumber over there on his 18th century estate and I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, hopeless, heartless, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey excrement he is! Hallelujah! Holy moly! Where’s the Tylenol?

 

Why Boehner Really Won’t Cancel Obama’s State of the Union Invite

From FoxNews:

Boehner not nixing State of the Union, calls it chance for Obama to be more ‘unpopular’

December 04, 2014

Looks like the State of the Union is on after all.

House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday rebuffed conservatives who had been urging him not to invite President Obama to deliver the State of the Union address, in protest over his executive actions on immigration.

Boehner reasoned that giving Obama the floor would hurt, not help, the president’s cause.

“The more the president talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes,” Boehner said. “Why would I want to deprive him of that opportunity?”

The president last month announced a set of executive actions, including moves to give temporary legal status to up to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Obama Opening Illegal Immigrant Processing Center in NOVA, Hiring 1,000 New Full-Time Permanent Employees

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has uncovered this U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) bulletin announcing a new facility right here in Northern Virginia to process President Obama’s executive amnesty order:

USCIS is taking steps to open a new operational center in Crystal City, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, to accommodate about 1,000 full-time, permanent federal and contract employees in a variety of positions and grade levels. The initial workload will include cases filed as a result of the executive actions on immigration announced on Nov. 20, 2014.

More can be read here and here.

Warner’s Near Loss Already Spooking Tim Kaine

It would appear that Mark Warner’s political near-death last month has seriously spooked his senate seatmate Tim Kaine. After Warner and Kaine both voted against Harry Reid remaining as their Senate Democratic leader (joining only Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill on that vote), Kaine has given off another signal that he knows Virginia isn’t a safe bet for Democrats running statewide. He is already raising money for his 2018 re-election campaign. Yes, you read that correctly — 2018…

Kaine 2018

Please join Senator Tim Kaine for a cocktail reception in support of Kaine for Virginia on Monday, December 8th, from 6:30-8:00 PM at Diageo House in Eastern Market.

Location:
Diageo House
310 Sixth Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003

Suggested Contribution:
Host: $5,200
Sponsor: $2,600
Friend: $1,000
Guest: $500

To RSVP or if you have any questions, please contact Mary Tabaie at (202) xxx-xxxx or xxxx@kaineforva.com. Thank you for your support of Senator Kaine.

Mary

 

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.

 

Parisot vs. Johnson This Friday In Race To Replace Comstock (UPDATED x2)

This Saturday, Republicans in Virginia’s 34th House of Delegates district will choose their nominee in the race to replace Congresswoman-Elect Barbara Comstock:

The canvass (also known as a firehouse primary) will take place at Colvin Run Elementary School, 1400 Trap Road, Vienna, Virginia, 22182. Voting will be conducted from 10:00am to 2:00pm on November 15, 2014.

Craig Parisot and Al Johnson are working hard to get out the vote before Saturday’s primary to determine who will challenge Democrat Katherine Murphy (who lost to Comstock in 2013) in the January 6th Special Election.

Craig Parisot came out earlier this week with endorsements from Gov. George Allen and Rep. Tom Davis. Said former Senator and Governor Allen:

I’m proud to endorse Craig Parisot in the special election for the 34th House of Delegates district. As a family man, veteran and successful entrepreneur, Craig has the experience and background to help grow our economy and create jobs. Craig will be an energetic and strong voice for Virginia families in Richmond in the hardworking tradition of Barbara Comstock and I respectfully ask you to join me in supporting his campaign.

Al Johnson has the endorsement of his son in a column at National Review:

Putting familial bias aside, anyone in Virginia’s 34th district looking for a representative that upholds Barbara Comstock’s legacy should consider Johnson at this Saturday’s firehouse primary. Comstock and Al Johnson (I mean, dad) have résumés with many similarities: They both have private- and public-sector experience, have raised a family in the district and know the community well, and have been committed conservatives for years.

Johnson’s endorsement by Susan B. Anthony chair Jane Abraham backed up a National Review comment concerning the Johnson campaign polling on social issues. The other comments attacking Craig Parisot and George Allen show how contentious even short campaigns can be.

While the race will come down to turnout, Craig Parisot has an edge on social media with more Facebook likes and Twitter followers while Al Johnson’s Facebook page seems to get the most engagement in Guatemala. While not an exact measurement of enthusiasm or momentum behind races, it’s an odd tidbit with the election being tomorrow.

Check out both candidate’s websites for more information:

Craig ParisotFacebookTwitter

Al JohnsonFacebookTwitter

UPDATE: Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity has endorsed Craig Parisot for Delegate:

Now that we have Barbara Comstock elected to Congress, the focus shifts to making sure we have a great replacement for her Delegate seat. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 15th, there is an important firehouse primary election taking place at Colvin Run Elementary School between 10am and 2pm. You must live in the 34th House of Delegates district to participate in the firehouse primary,

I am fully supporting Craig Parisot in this primary. He is a leader in the community and a successful businessman who understands how to create jobs and grow Virginia’s economy.

If you or someone you know lives in the 34th House of Delegates District, which covers parts of McLean, Great Falls, and Loudoun County, please get (them) out to vote for Craig Parisot on Saturday, November 15th between 10am and 2pm at Colvin Run Elementary School at 1400 Trap Road in Vienna. You can check which district you are in at this link – http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

UPDATE x2: Word in the 34th is Al Johnson’s campaign and surrogates are allegedly contacting potential voters and saying that Craig Parisot is not pro-life and is weak on taxes. There is nothing to back up the statements critical of Craig Parisot — in fact, Parisot’s website is the only one to address abortion:

PRO-LIFE:
Having just welcomed my son Jackson into the world, I understand the importance of life. We must work to strengthen our families, support systems and give parents more rights.

Both candidates commit to lowering taxes on their issues pages.

In a short campaign span of a week and a half, misinformation goes a long way. One would hope that campaigns could commit to an honest exchange of idea and discourage smear tactics among fellow Republicans in any election, but there are plenty of elements at play here that go beyond Parisot and Johnson.

Virginia’s Winners and Losers

VV lists Virginia’s Winners and losers from Election Night. Did we miss someone? Feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below:

Winners:

1) Dave Brat – Out performed Eric Cantor last time out (percentage wise) and had more votes than any other Republican congressional candidate in the Commonwealth thanks in part to district but also not messing up a sure thing once he had the nomination.

2) Barbara Comstock – Turned a “competitive race” into a blowout. Ran a flawless campaign (good work, Susan Falconer!), weathered the Clintonites coming to town, handled national attention, focused on the issues, stayed positive. Is she the new leading light among Virginia Republicans?

3) Tim Kaine – Mark Warner’s wounded, Terry McAuliffe is Terry McAuliffe, Herring and Northam are runner ups right now, leaving Tim Kaine as the champion of Democratic statewide office. As Warner struggles, Kaine gains.

4) Virginia’s Republican Delegation – Part of this is the national wave, but Democrats were hoping to challenge Rigell and even Hurt yet neither of those opposition campaigns were able to get off the ground. Hopefully the Republican Reps took the opportunity to work on their networks and ground games for future runs because this was live exercise and 2016 will be different.

5) Ed Gillespie – Mark Warner spent millions trying to define him on an issue that most people don’t even remember. Ed’s within a point and well positioned to have run for another statewide office should he want it, even if he would face a challenge from his right.

6) Republican Party of Virginia – It’s been a rough couple of years for RPV. But a solid operation this year helped assist where it could and was absolutely mistake free. Candidates were helped, volunteers were utilized, operations were perfect.

Push:

1) Mark Warner – For the most popular and highest approval rated elected official to be this close to losing what should have been a safe seat (and without a macaca moment) is something Warner and his entire campaign should be ashamed of. It smacks of arrogance and a complete disregard for the people Warner supposedly represents. But he still won, so he stays out of the loser category.

2) GOP Grassroots vs. Establishment – Both sides came together for the most part to try and beat Mark Warner and help Brat win the 7th and Comstock with 10th. While the battle isn’t over, see what we can do when we work together?

3) Terry McAuliffe – Barely won last year, did nothing too audacious this year to rock the cart one way or another, he’s just there.

4) Ken Cuccinelli – Absent in Virginia. And after a string of primary losses for Senate Conservative Fund, absent across the nation. But lives to fight another day.

5) Bill Bolling – Also absent on the trail, but rooted for the right guys. Overall electorate showing was less than far right which may give Bill hope for a return, but tread carefully…

Losers:

1) John Foust – Turned a “competitive race” into a blowout. One of the worst run campaigns this cycle, wasted millions (including half a million of his own money), and set Democrats in the 10th District back quite a bit. And he lost his own Supervisor district by 6 points, meaning he has to watch his tail next year.

2) Democratic Party of Virginia – These guys were riding pretty high after last year’s sweep. But now? Yikes. Talk about asleep at the wheel. These guys were floundering out the gate, showed no messaging, no real effort, really gave up before the gates opened.

3) 7th District Democratic Committee – Is there one? Yes, this is a red district, but Bob McDonnell owned the headlines most of the summer, Dave Brat was an untested general election candidate, and the best they could do was Jack Trammell and not even a lackluster effort even then. Not that this was winnable, but they could have made Brat (and Gillespie) sweat. And they didn’t.

4) Bob McDonnell – Looking at the Gillespie/Warner numbers, one was to wonder how many points McDonnell’s trial took out of the Republican brand. Even if it was 1%, that’s the difference right now.

5) Arlington County Democrats – A jurisdiction that gave over 70% of its vote to Mark Warner chose a Republican endorsee for County Board of Supervisors. That’s an epic fail. When Ben Tribbett can call you a bunch of out-of-touch elitists, and be right about it, you have a serious problem.

6) “War On Women” – Foust tried it against Comstock, Connolly against Scholte, Democrats across the nation. It didn’t move the needle one bit – actually, it may have pushed it to Republicans.

7) Polls – From Cantor’s primary loss to Gillespie’s close race to Comstock’s blowout of Foust, no polling saw any of that coming. Turnout models were junk, methodology was questionable, and the public is quickly seeing polls as what they are: not true measures of public sentiment but as tools to create said sentiment.