Monthly Archives: April 2012

Look busy!

Great news for the agoraphobic:

Our fearless Board of Supervisors is (weather permitting) plunging ahead this week with its unfunded chemical assault on the great outdoors. According to a press release from the county (see below), 9 parks will be hosed down with hundreds of gallons of a pesticide called Talstar P, part of the local Republican campaign to pretend to be doing something about Lyme disease.

As reported previously, the local Republican party has for very strange reasons fallen under the spell of a fringe group that goes around spreading scientific misinformation and promoting quack treatments for this tick-borne infection. An essential part of their campaign is to grossly exaggerate the number of cases that occur and to spread hysteria and panic about it.

The Board spent its first three months in office going through minute line items in the county budget to find highly fiscally conservative cost-savings, which culminated in axing a series of $500 or $1,000 grants to arts, literacy, community, and cultural organizations. But when it came to approving $20,000 to spray parks, the Board decided it didn’t even have to include the cost in the budget at all—adopting a resolution stating that the cost “is yet to be determined.”

Apparently when you spend that kind of dough without budgeting for it, you also don’t have to do even the most rudimentary cost-benefit analysis. Continue reading

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Board hails failure as success in sign cleanup effort

As one of its very first gifts to the real estate development industry that put them in office, the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted back in January to eliminate the very successful volunteer program that had been cleaning up illegal signs along Loudoun’s roadsides.

A small sample of the fruits of the board's Keep Loudoun Ugly campaign.

At that time, Ken “Ken” Reid (R-Leesburg) provided a classic Orwellian rationale for the board’s action: he explained that the very success of the program was its failure—since the 50,000 illegal signs the volunteers had cleaned up had added to the stream of paper, wood, and “paint chemicals” choking the county landfill.

In place of the 100 or so volunteers who were able to attack the problem all across the county and do so on weekends when the developers blanket the roadsides with hundreds of their illegal eyesores, the new “program” the board adopted to replace it consists of a single county employee who devotes one weekday a week (with a break for lunch).

Having defined success as failure, it’s probably no surprise that Ken’s fellow board members have now added the nicely symmetrical argument that failure is success.

County staff reported to the board’s land use committee last week that the new sign cleanup effort had so far bagged a mere 300 signs, versus 1,800 collected under the volunteer program during the same period last year. Continue reading

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More “news” letters from Moscow Central

It may of course be entirely a coincidence, but why is it that every one of the very personable news[sic]letters from our all-Republican cast on the Loudoun Board of Supervisors contain one or more of exactly the same items, phrased exactly the same way?

In perusing the latest communications from Shawn Williams (R-Broad Run), the perpetually confused Suzanne Volpe (R-Algonkian), the insect-obsessed Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), and the very business-friendly Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) and Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) one finds repeated plugs for a private group that wants to establish a tax-payer funded “charter” school in Loudoun, verbatim quotation of a series of bogus and inflated statistics about Lyme disease from a local activist group that promotes fringe science and quack medicine, and the same very nice appeal for prom dresses for the Junior Woman’s Club.

The newsletters even all look the same, which makes one wonder if perhaps the Loudoun County Republican Committee is providing them ready-made to take some of the onerous burden off of our hard-working elected representatives (or rather, off of the Patrick Henry “College” graduates who fill their personal staffs).

Or is it just that to be a Loudoun Republican in the first place these days you have to think so much alike on every issue that it is a spontaneous and unsurprising result that even your prose style and news judgment is identical?

Takes one to know one, Eugene!

Continuing with their highly efficient efforts to eliminate citizen involvement in local planning, the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors this week unanimously endorsed Supervisor Ralph Buona’s very business-friendly proposal to allow big-box stores to be built by-right in the county.

Alien life form and Sterling supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, captured here in his natural business-friendly habitat

The fact that developers of commercial real estate and related industries donated half a million dollars to the campaign coffers of local Republicans during this past election cycle had absolutely nothing to with this.

It was, the supervisors explained, merely a matter of letting “the free market” and “consumers” decide where 75,000-square-foot stores should henceforth be built.

Under an amendment adopted by the previous board, a special exception hearing was required for such mega stores, giving citizens a chance to have their views on the compatibility of plopping down a two-acre-sized retail outlet in their neighborhoods at least considered. Continue reading

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Where the rubber stamp meets the road (or maybe not)

As part of its extremely considerate effort to spare the citizens of Loudoun County the trouble and frustration of having to inform themselves about local issues, take time out of their busy schedules to present public comments, and then endure the disappointment of having their views summarily ignored by their elected representatives, our new all-Republican Board of Supervisors swiftly approved a series of measures in its first few meetings in January, voting 9–0 with no public notice, comments, or discussion, to pass a nice package of initiatives sought by the developer and road builder interests who funded their campaigns.

Among these was an amendment to the county transportation plan to expand to six lanes a segment of current 2-lane roadways—Belmont Ridge Road and Northstar Boulevard—that just happen to line up with the longstanding plans of the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance and other developer lobbyists for an Outer Beltway running smack through our county.

The Board was so keen to get this done before anyone noticed that they put it on a special fast track; the Planning Commission approved it 9–0 ten days ago and sent it to the Supervisors for final approval this week.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the rubber stamp. On Tuesday a large contingent of rather irked neighbors of the proposed highway showed up to denounce the plan; many took aim at that the bogus claims for why we need this road offered by the lobbyists who spoke (and who tried to insist with a straight face that it had nothing to do with the Outer Beltway). More than 100 comments were also received by the Board by e-mail as of Tuesday afternoon, all but 1 opposed.

The rattled Supervisors have now put off a vote until May.

Maybe the citizens who were asleep back on Election Day are starting to wake up!

 

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