Meet the Republican nominee for Woodbridge Dist. Supervisor, Steve Chapman, who was endorsed by Board Chairman Corey Stewart in today’s GOP firehouse primary.
By Tom Whitmore
Remember if you want truly effective government that serves the citizens well, you must Vote based on Performance not Personality. Don’t be roped into another “There you go again” moment!
-PWC has the highest county taxes in NOVA, period. They are among the highest few in Virginia. The PWBOCS tries to lull you with median and average tax bills of houses that cost more, but that’s B.S. The high R.E. tax rate is driving away big business and quality jobs to surrounding counties and we have to drive long commutes to get to them, 146,000+ of us daily.
-PWC is the only county with its own road building department in VA. Problem is you are already paying VDOT to build the roads but the PWBOCS is impatient so they charge you twice and do it themselves.
-PWC spends the least number of dollars per student of any other NOVA jurisdiction, 20% to 40% less, and it shows. Our kids have the lowest ACT, SAT and SOL scores.
-PWC has the most overcrowded schools in VA. Over the last decade we went from about 20 students to a staggering 31 per classroom because there weren’t enough funds to build enough new schools. Where did the money go, after all, we have the highest taxes? Roads, roads and more roads resulted in more houses, and more kids, which made our problems even worse. Ever heard of “Catch 22”?
-PWC has the lowest average wages paid in NOVA at $840.00 per week, well below Virginia’s average of $939.00, while Fairfax is at $1580.00, Loudoun is at $1244.00 and Arlington is at $1669.00 per week. PWC’s high R.E. tax and BPOL tax keep high paying employers from locating here.
The PWBOCS record is very clear. They brought us the highest taxes, worst schools, longest commutes, lowest wages and least opportunity, resulting in the lowest quality of life. We can and must do better! Do you really want more of the same, if not for you, how about for your kids?
Don’t be a prisoner. Break free of the Incumbent Re-election Protection Racket. Vote for really Lower Taxes, more High Paying Jobs, more Schools and a Brighter Future for Your Kids and community.
Now is the time when we must forget Right VS Left or Left VS Right and focus on Right VS Wrong!
I guess “maverick Republican” means a Republican who voted for Obama.
Scoggins says he’ll remain in the Republican Party despite his vote for Obama. “I’m not going to be driven out by people who shouldn’t be in the party in the first place,” he says. “Blacks looked up to the party when it was the party of commerce. But the party,” he adds, “has totally gotten away from that. It’s now about abortion, gay rights and guns. It’s frustrating.”
There’s a four way fight for the Republican nomination to replace Walter Stosch in Virginia’s 12th District. Former Delegate Bill Janis seems to be the candidate with the largest bullseye on his back given his past representation in part of the district and being the only candidate with elected experience. Vince Haley is making some great noise and appealing to a lot of the Tea Party groups and his Newt Gingrich associations aren’t too bad either (though he did get a ding for not voting in last year’s Cantor/Brat primary). Edward Whitlock is also running and not much is really known about him but in a divided field there’s a lot or room to sneak through and surprise people.
That leaves Dr. Siobhan Dunnavant, who is trying to carve out a position somewhere between Janis and Haley. She repeatedly beats the drum on typical Tea Party talking points: Obamacare bad, boo Common Care, and no Amnesty! Which isn’t a bad thing, even if it sounds canned and like she’s just checking off all of the boxes.
But with Janis being the elephant in the room, she’s taking an interesting approach by attacking “career politicians.” For example:
Just one problem with this line of attack: She’s from a political family herself. In fact, it was the focus of coverage when she entered the race:
But Dunnavant — an obstetrician/gynecologist and West End mother of four who also runs a small health care business with her husband — is not a newborn in the Republican political nursery. She is the sister of Del. Christopher P. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who is also a physician. Another brother, Ken, is the sheriff of Virginia Beach and a former state senator.
No to career politicians but hooray for political dynasties?
Now, there’s nothing wrong with having a political family. But can a candidate who will be the third member of this generation of her family to serve in the General Assembly really attack “career politicians” with a straight face?
Personally, I’d love to see her take a strong stand on issues such a life and women’s health. Dunnavant is an OB/GYN and would be a strong counterweight to abortion loving Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam who loves to brag about being a doctor so knowing better on the range of issues from Obamacare to Women’s Health. She mentions pro-life values on her issues page but as a bullet point.
There’s a lot there for Dr. Dunnavant. But these canned approaches and “career politician” attacks that ignore her own family history don’t do her justice.
Guest Post by Tom Whitmore
The State of the County a Factual Review of Prince William County
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors paints a rosy picture of the state of PWC. Let’s take the tinted glasses off and look from a factual perspective. Over the past decade our county has drifted into a very serious decline by most meaningful measures. Whether it is higher taxes, lower wages, lack of quality jobs, low VA DOE composite scores, out of balance commercial to residential development, high classroom populations, low SOL and SAT scores or traffic congestion to name a few, the PWBOCS has failed it’s citizenry miserably.
The Board claims our Real Estate taxes are 30% lower than the rest of NOVA. True, if you are comparing a PWC median value house of $319,000.00 against a Fairfax median value house at $500,300 or one of Arlington’s at $627,200. In reality the PWC tax rate including fire and rescue is higher at $1.22 per hundred of valuation, Fairfax is at $1.09, Arlington is at $0.996 and Loudoun and Alexandria are at $1.135 and $1.043 respectively. This claim gives a false sense of security while the county picks the citizens pockets. Additionally, this high tax rate poses a very real impediment to attracting large employers to PWC.
Most people buy as much house as they can comfortably afford in the location that is right for them and suits their requirements and priorities. A $319K home in PWC with a $3663 tax bill would be taxed $3270 in Fairfax and only $2988 in Arlington, with Loudoun and Alexandria incurring lower tax bills also. The truth is our tax rates are among the highest in the entire commonwealth.
The Board is proud of the high median household income in PWC, currently at about $95,000.00. Looking closer we find it is not a result of their efforts but rather a lack thereof, resulting in the necessity for 146,000+ of the 200,000+ workforce to commute outside of the county each day for jobs and be able to earn those higher paychecks. PWC has just over 116,000 jobs mostly service related and lower paying. Of these approx. 60, 000 are filled by commuters from other jurisdictions. The average wage in PWC is about $840 per week while the average for Virginia is at $939 per week. The other jurisdictions in NOVA are substantially higher with Fairfax at $1580, Arlington at $1669, Loudoun at $1244 and Alexandria at $1368 in weekly wages.
One may think that the Cost of Living in PWC might be lower since home prices are less, but there is only a slight difference. With the U.S. average COL index at 100.00, Arlington comes in at 137.7, Fairfax at 135.4, Loudoun at 133.6, Alexandria at 136.7 and PWC has a 132.5 COL index. This high cost of living forces many households to have two or more wage earners just to get by, which of course also helps to boost the high median household income.
A December 2014 George Mason University Center for Regional Analysis study notes that for a jurisdiction to maintain a healthy economy and be able to provide necessary core services without over burdening the residential taxpayer it must have a substantial part of its tax base in commercial properties. They state that commercial property is revenue positive as it only uses $0.35 to $0.40 in services per revenue dollar, while residential properties are revenue negative since they consume $1.20 to $1.60 in services per revenue dollar. In Arlington the commercial/residential ratio is 49.5/50.5, in Fairfax it is 21.1/78.9, in Alexandria its’ at 42.5/47.5, Loudoun is at 25.4/74.6 and PWC has a 17/83 ratio.
GMU notes that these residential numbers do not include multi-family and apartment units as most jurisdictions report them on the commercial side. To get an accurate picture of revenue positive/negative mix and demand for services they should be included with the residential properties. PWC has 95,700 single family houses, town houses and condos along with 35,000 apartment and multi-family units which represent 28% of the total housing units. This high percentage of multi-family and apartments effectively reduces PWC’s actual ratio to 14/86.
Many experts assert that a commercial to residential ratio of 30/70 or better is ideal, making it easier to fund the schools and core services. Obviously PWC falls far short of this which has resulted in higher tax rates and road congestion as citizens look outside the county for jobs.
The Board often mentions the 56.75/43.25 % revenue share arrangement with the school district as being a positive, but actually it has a negative impact on funding other core services like fire & rescue, police and public welfare. The NOVA jurisdictions with a higher percentage of commercial property are the ones with lowest revenue share percentage with the schools and the highest per pupil dollar allocations which result in lower student classroom populations and higher test scores. Arlington shares 45.9 % of revenue with the school district which equates to $17,041 per student annually, Fairfax has a 52.7 % revenue share at $ 13,519 per student, Loudoun shares 46.00 % at $ 12,195.00 per student while PWC’s 56.75 % share only yields $10, 365 per student.
No wonder PWC has the highest classroom populations, having gone from approximately 20 students to 31 students on average per class over the last decade and the lowest ACT, SOL & SAT scores in the NOVA region.
The Virginia Department of Education “ability to pay” composite score affirms the unhealthy state of PWC’s economy. Arlington has a score of .80, Fairfax is at .68, Loudoun is at .56, Alexandria comes in at .80 and PWC follows the pack with a .38 score.
The Board often speaks of the myriad road projects it has financed, yet traffic still backs up, as so many of the projects opened up new areas for more residential development which just added more traffic and additional burden on schools and services. Quite often this additional traffic has made it necessary to do improvements on existing roads to handle the increased traffic at even more expense and inconvenience to the taxpayers.
The Board is especially proud of having the only road building department in Virginia aside from VDOT. Paying for both PWC and VDOT to build roads is a very expensive proposition and not very wise. Suspending the PWC road building program and allowing VDOT to build the roads, then using the saved revenue for the schools to catch up on their building program, thereby reducing class sizes and hopefully improving test scores is the more responsible thing to do.
Building more developer friendly roads and increasing the tax base with residences while hoping to relieve school overcrowding and road congestion is akin to trying to put out a fire with gasoline.
The Citizens of Prince William County are faced with some serious decisions this election year, do they vote for more of the same failed leadership or take their chances and vote for some new and hopefully more responsible leaders? Do they vote for more roads leading to higher taxes and more congestion and school overcrowding or do they vote for more jobs and smaller classroom sizes so their kids have a chance for a bright future?
This Saturday, Prince William County Republicans will choose their nominees in a series of firehouse primaries across the county. When they arrive, they’ll be asked to sign a statement of intent which simply says, “hey, you are choosing to participate in the Republican nominating process so it’d be nice if you’d pledge to support the actual Republican nominee come this November, whether or not it is your guy.” More or less.
Steve Chapman, who is running for the Republican nominee for Woodbridge supervisor, said he’s concerned voters could be turned off by the “statement of intent.”
“It would be terrible for the party if a bunch of people come in and feel disenfranchised because they have to sign a blood oath to the Republican Party or be turned away,” Chapman said. “That’s un-American.”
“Un-American,” he says. Like a Constitutional right to free association granted to political parties not by a Supreme Court decision or the highest document in the land but by our Creator himself?
Or how about the well documented series of great “American” acts like adultery, threatening a 9 year old girl, and just being a jerk as documented regularly by BVBL?
Mr. Chapman, Steve if you will, Steve-o if I may, who exactly are you trying to get and come vote for you that would be offended to say they’ll support the Republican nominee in November even if it isn’t you?
Also, you do realize it’s non-binding, right? No pin prick, no knife and bowls, no ceremony of any sort, no one checking your ballot come November and hauling you off to a reeducation camp for voting the wrong way (Republicans don’t do that, Democrats do /snark).
Get over yourself, Steve-o. And be ready for the people of Woodbridge to elect Lee Price to be the Republican on the ballot in November – and the next Supervisor out of Woodbridge.
And I do hope you’ll vote for him in November, Steve-o.
. . .
He’s shown a willingness to bend, to grow and to improvise
Those words alone, which Stewart wholeheartedly embraces on his own campaign website, are the very reasons why Corey needs to go after 9 years as County Board Chairman. Whenever a publication that tends to disagree with you says that you have “grown,” watch out. He is too willing to “bend,” too willing to “improvise” and too willing to go along to get along. That has resulted in increased spending on non-core functions of government and increased tax burdens on families. Our schools are more crowded and our streets are more congested than when he took office. Our commercial tax base is still anemic at best (and that is only propped up by counting apartment complexes as commercial and not residential.)
Prince William Times is wrong. Our county needs new leadership who is willing to stand on principle to redirect spending from luxuries to necessities so we have the necessary resources to reduce class sizes, increase teacher pay and hold the line on families’ tax burdens.
That person is Chris Crawford and that is why Virginia Virtucon has endorsed him in the April 25 Republican firehouse primary.
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.
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.
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:
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…
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:
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
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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…
In Stafford County Wendy Maurer has announced her intentions to seek the Republican nomination for the Board of Supervisors 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 last 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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…
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…
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.
Prince William Citizens for Balanced Growth