The arrogance of power (Scott York department)

Loudoun Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) is being called out by some of the more grown-up members of his party over the bullying, threatening message he had his aide read to the Leesburg Town Council recently about the Outer Beltway project he’s been trying to shove down the throats of residents. The town council — like many local officials of both parties, including Congressman Frank Wolf (R)  — appears strongly opposed to the $2 billion developer giveaway known as the North-South Corridor a.k.a. Outer Beltway that state road officials and Governor Bob McDonnell (R), with the unanimous support of the very obedient all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors, have been lobbying very hard for.

As Congressman Wolf noted in a recent letter, and as many other officials have complained, the road — running from I-95 south of Washington smack up to Rt 7 just east of Leesburg — will do nothing to alleviate commuter problems, will exacerbate sprawl, and will dump unsupportable traffic loads onto Rt 7 and Rt 15 in our area. This road to nowhere will also take much needed funds away from projects crucially needed in the Leesburg area and elsewhere.

Wolf was particularly critical of the way the project was running roughshod over the normal public process, with state officials deliberately misleading the public and withholding information, and of the knowingly bogus justifications (like “freight to Dulles”) being advanced by York and other supporters.

But it’s been the No. 1 priority for years of the road paver and developer lobby known as the Northern Virginia Transportation Alliance (whose members also are major campaign contributors to York & co on the Loudoun Board, by the strangest of coincidences).

York’s message to the town council was not even subtle: it was an outright threat that if Leesburg dared to go on record opposing the Outer Beltway (thus showing itself to be “anti-road,” as he intelligently put it), he would see that the town lost its funding for other road projects. In other words, you’d better go along with a useless wasteful road you don’t need, or we’re going to kill the road projects you do need. York serves on the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, a state body that doles out road funds, so it was not an idle threat. (The NVTAuthority is not to be confused with the NVTAlliance, even though the ace reporters for our local “news[sic]papers” can’t seem to grasp the subtle distinction that they are two different things.)

Last week Del. Timothy D. Hugo (R) called on York to resign from NVTAuthority for his “schoolyard bullying” tactics. Hugo said of York’s attempts to intimidate the town council into going along or else, “I don’t think that’s proper. I say it’s threatening people. You don’t treat people like that.”

York responded by indignantly denying he had ever threatened anyone or engaged in bullying tactics. To prove it, he then repeated the identical threats and bullying:

“There was no threat in there,” said York. “I just said, if they’re going to be involved in an issue that [doesn’t affect] the town . . . then with so little funds available, I’m not going to support giving them money if they’re going to be anti-roads in the Leesburg area. Maybe the mayor and council members want to consider it as a threat. Well, that’s tough.”

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