Your tax dollars at work

Welcome to Loudoun

While they were busily killing off programs that actually make Loudoun County an attractive place for businesses and residents the past few months (cutting the school budget, killing cultural and arts programs, killing the volunteer illegal-sign cleanup program), the newly ensconced all-Republican Board of Supervisors was making lots of noise about how they were going to invest in promoting the county with all sorts of very business friendly initiatives.

They certainly have the noise down pat: you can read all sorts of stuff on the very exciting new county website about “branding” and turning the Economic Development department into a “sales force.”

Pardon us for mentioning that it sounds an awful like old-fashioned government pork, goodies for friends and campaign contributors, and just plain old bureaucratic and political empire building.

For Exhibit A we have the “very successful” junket plus cocktail party—excuse me, the effort to capitalize on existing and potential international partnerships—led by our very own Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) to Germany last month. York has now provided a detailed report on the many successes he returned home with:

  • BRIEFING ON CHAIRMAN’S TRIP TO MAIN-TAUNUS-KREIS, GERMANY Chairman York provided the Board a briefing on his recent trip to Main-Taunus-Kreis, Germany. He explained that discussions were held with the new leadership of Main- Taunus-Kreis and commented on the continuing the partnership which had been in place for six years. He said that during the six years, over three hundred exchange students from Germany and Loudoun County had been involved in the program and had been very successful. He stated that the Loudoun group hosted a function in the Main-Taunus- Kreis’ government center for their Chamber of Commerce. He added that Buddy Rizer of Economic Development received four leads with respect to interested businesses in looking at Loudoun County. He stated that the trip was very successful and complimented Buddy Rizer of Economic Development and Patrick Kaler of Visit Loudoun who came along on the trip to discuss tourism within Loudoun County. He added that he would brief the Board further in Closed Session on items related to a prospective business.

You can’t get more successful than (a) holding a function for the Chamber of Commerce (b) discussing tourism and (c) getting four “leads,” at least one of which is so secret it must be discussed in Closed Session. Not to mention the fact that we can’t possibly expect a student exchange program to continue without the chairman of the Board of Supervisors periodically flying over to mention the fact of its existence.

Apparently it is still somehow slipping Chairman York’s mind that he brought along with him on the trip a major campaign donor who is seeking favors from the county for his as yet nonexistent extremely minor league baseball team.

Exhibit B in the don’t underestimate what your county economic development department can do for you department is their very impressive master plan to erect new welcome and “wayfinding” signs all over the county.

Of course you can’t have a business-growth plan without a new logo, as any CEO who doesn’t have a single original idea in his head can tell you, and so the county bureaucrats decided that as their first step to rebranding the image of the county they had to tear down the existing perfectly adequate “Welcome to Loudoun” signs (see above for their recent handiwork on the Berlin Turnpike) erected just a few years ago. The new signs may well have been designed by the students at Patrick Henry College too, for all I know. Actually they look an awful like those ridiculous and pretentious entrance signs to every new development in the county, so they’ll fit right in with the new “business friendly” look much beloved of the Loudoun County Republican machine:

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