If you can’t beat ’em . . . just slip ’em a slow-acting poison

Loudoun Supervisor and Man of Principles (he has one to cover every eventuality) “Ken” Reid (R-Leesburg), having been caught by surprise (so what else is new) by the outcry over his proposal to axe all funding for the Loudoun Museum, now “explains” he never really wanted to destroy the museum, just “help” it.

“Ken”‘s motion to kill the museum was going to be voted on at the last meeting of the Board before its well-earned two-month recess back in July, having already been approved by the Board’s finance committee, with Reid and others murmuring very businesslike utterances about what a bad business museums in general are. As “Ken” “explained”:

“Museums like this across the country are losing interest from a variety of sources. By giving them continued government cash, they’re just going to operate the museum as they’ve always operated it. They’re not going to raise money, they’re not going to do anything different. Trust me.”

We always do, Ken! “Trust” and “Ken Reid” are two phrases that just go pop up simultaneously in our minds all the time—sort of like “Kincora” and “Scott York”!

“Ken” also “explained” that the $8,000 the museum was spending a year on bookkeeping was an outrageously profligate expenditure, since as an extremely accomplished businessperson himself, he spends less than that on bookkeeping for his own business, a completely shrewd and insightful comparison even if his own business is apparently defunct. (The museum’s director explained that the bookkeeper handles many other tasks besides simply bookkeeping, but never mind: Ken as a very experienced businessperson knows the value of labor to a penny.)

But anyway, Ken and his very businesslike colleagues were all set to eliminate the $63,000 the county had budgeted for the museum as an obvious waste of taxpayer money, unlike the $2 million of your money they approved 9–zip to hand to the Washington Redskins very-for-profit professional football team in return for the incredible boon to Loudoun County the team is providing by vowing to keep its corporate offices here for another three years while moving its training camp away, and unlike the tens of thousands of dollars spent to send Chairman Scott York (R-Kincora), Vice Chairman Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge), and county staff on very important official missions to Germany, Korea, and other points around the world which they believe might contain businesspeople eager to hear about Loudoun County on a personal basis from an actual elected county official.

But the vote was delayed out of deference to the often-absent Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), who was absent, no doubt getting an early start on his well-earned two-month recess.

Now the Board as a whole apparently has had a change of heart—this has nothing whatsoever of course to do with the resulting  public outcry— and is prepared to vote tomorrow to give the museum a whopping half of that $63,000 while it monitors further progress.

Among the very businesslike conditions the Board is demanding as a condition for its generosity is an apparent continued insistence that the museum display 100% of its collections at all times. Various museum experts have tried to explain that this is, to use the technical term, goofy: no museum displays all of its collections all the time; part of a museum’s job is conservation of historically priceless artifacts; and among the Loudoun Museum’s holdings are a large number of historic textiles that deteriorate if left constantly exposed to light, so they can only be shown on a rotating basis. Moreover, being able to change displays and offer new exhibits keeps visitor interest alive. But no matter: our Board says if they’ve got the stuff, they want to see it.

As part of this brilliant idea the Board has raised, they have also suggested moving the museum  from its current location in a historic downtown Leesburg building to space within a “government building” where all 100% of its artifacts could be displayed all the time—and presumably which would be closed on weekends, a great way to reach visitors.

A skeptic might be forgiven for suggesting that this kind of “help” just might be a poison pill  . . .

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