Talk about your total political meltdowns. Yesterday’s Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting was one for the ages. Supervisors are discussing various proposals for the FY 2014 budget ranging from flat tax bills advocated by Chairman Corey Stewart and Supervisor Pete Candland to significant tax hikes put forward by Supervisors John Jenkins and Frank Principi. Rational people can disagree over the size and scope of county government as well as its priorities without descending into slugfests. But this is just plain bizarre.
However, Candland found himself involved in another conflict on the dais, when Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan delivered an impromptu speech condemning Candland’s citizen’s committee.
“You talk about your budget committee,” said Caddigan. “They are the bloggers; many are associated with your office. These are the people who have crucified our county executive and defamed each member of this board. We do know them by name. We do know who they are, and it is disgraceful that they are going to twist our arms, get us out of office, so they can get people who can support Candland, so he can run for chairman. I don’t mean to be a small person here, but your budget committee is despicable, and I will not be listening to your budget committee.”
(You can view the full rant here.)
Despicable? Really? Citizens volunteering their time and talent to try and find cost savings and efficiencies that will benefit all county taxpayers? The only blogger I know of on Supervisor Candland’s budget committee is Al Alborn who is one of the most calm, sedate, rational voices in the blogosphere. In fact, he is now a Contributing Editor for PotomacLocal.com, a local news website covering eastern Prince William and Stafford counties. Alborn by his own count has served on at least four budget committees, so he brings experience to the task.
Caddigan was dead on when she described what she was about to say as something coming from “a small person” because she deviated from policy and politics and turned this personal. Small people talk about other people. Great men and women talk about ideas, policy, and philosophy. I can honestly say that in the nearly 12 years that Caddigan has been my supervisor (the first 9 or 10 of which I was a strong supporter of hers who volunteered on her campaigns, held events for in my home, invited to address my community on multiple occasions, and defended from the right including on this blog) that I have never associated her with ideas, policy or philosophy.
I will not stoop to the level of making this personal about her, but I certainly will offer critiques on her actions in office and public policy. Let’s talk about what is truly despicable.
Misuse of taxpayer funds
$5,000 to the Hylton Performing Arts Center
$600 for commemorative bricks at the Marine Corps museum
$300 on a political campaign advertisement
Using staff on county property during business hours for campaign work
All while poo-poohing a 32% tax increase on businesses as no big deal.
And let’s not forget the conversion of campaign funds into personal funds funneled through her husband
You know what else I find despicable?
Violating your word
When you run on the Republican Party line in Virginia, you pledge to support the party’s general election nominees. Apparently, such pledges mean little to her given Caddigan’s repeated support for Democrats and independents over Republican nominees. (Of course, most of the time she just completely ignores the rest of the GOP ticket and doesn’t lift a finger to help them one bit.)
And another thing that I find despicable —
Turning a blind eye to possible corruption
Quashing an internal audit of the VRE despite the fact someone later pled guilty in a separate case to receiving $200,000 in kickbacks
Finally, one last item that is just as despicable…
Hypocrisy — “These are the people who have crucified our county executive”
Our county executive. That would be Melissa Peacor who was promoted from within county government by the BOCS in 2009. I seem to recall back around that time Caddigan telling me that she opposed Peacor for this position (and voted against hiring her, along with one other supervisor whose identity I shall keep to myself, during the Board’s closed session straw poll — thus violating the confidentiality of Executive Session by telling me that), that she thought Peacor didn’t dress appropriately for such a position, that Peacor’s personality was somewhat flighty and did not have the gravitas required for the post, and that she wanted the out-of-state candidate for CXO to be tapped to fill the role. Apparently Caddigan was for crucifying Peacor before she was against it. The two of them deserve one another as far as I’m concerned. (Someone please make sure that Ms. Peacor is informed of all this — particularly about her being a bad dresser and flighty.)
Claiming she had nothing against the former name “Dumfries” for her district when in fact she had gone around for years badmouthing it and its namesake town. Then there was her flubbed subsequent attempt at revisionist history to try to claim credit for the new name of “Potomac.”
Yes, there is much that I find despicable about my supervisor’s official actions and what that says about her character and fitness to hold office. But these criticism are based upon ideas and policy, not the realm of the personal. If she cannot distinguish between the two, then she has an even thinner skin than I thought.