Business friendly, citizen unfriendly

In its never ending effort to increase opacity in government, the all-Republican Loudoun Board of Supervisors voted unanimously the other day (to find a record of this action by the Board, simply go to the Board’s award-winning user unfriendly local government website; click on “Board of Supervisors”; click on  “Board Documents”; click on “Board of Supervisors Business Meetings, Public Hearings and Special Meetings”; click on “Business Meetings, Public Hearings”; click on “2013”; click on “09-04-13 BOS Meeting”; click on “09-04-13 BOS Action Reportrv”; download the extremely convenient pdf file; open it on your pdf reader; and scroll down to Item 17 — it’s as simple as that) to eliminate the nuisance of writing up minutes of the Board’s meetings, starting this coming January.

Explaining that it is a terrible burden on the poor overworked staff to actually have to prepare and make available to the public a summary of the Board’s deliberations, public comments, and votes, the Board concluded that when Virginia statute asserts that all local governments must keep and publish minutes of meetings, including a record of members absent and “a summary of the discussion on matters proposed, deliberated or decided, and a record of any votes taken,” it didn’t really mean that they had to actually keep a record or make it available to the public.

The Board instead concluded that their extremely convenient video webcast archive performs the same function. After all, how difficult is it for a member of the public to watch hours of video and listen to the verbatim droning and gobbledigook of our obfuscating politicians to find out what actions they actually took?

And then, of course, there is also Chairman Scott York’s extremely informative e-mailed “Action Reports” he sends out, which consists of happy talk about local community events and even an occasional mention of action the Board has taken on uncontroversial matters, while studiously avoiding mentioning the other 95% of the Board’s votes.

If 95% of your votes are providing political favors to the developer special interests while screwing the taxpayers and citizens, this is a wise strategy.

Also, if like Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin), you are absent a great deal of the time, it’s nice not to have the fact highlighted in a conveniently read format, such as printed minutes that are prepared in accordance with the requirements of state law.

By the way, as a public service, realloudoun is happy to tell you how to find the details of the Board’s actions the other day giving away several million dollars of taxpayers subsidies to Toll Brothers (vote: 9-0) and their kin (vote: 5–3–1) by so helpfully rezoning some of their commercial property to residential, thereby adding hundreds of new homes that must be served by new schools and other services:

Simply go the county website, click on “Board of Supervisors”; click on  “Board Documents”; click on “Board of Supervisors Business Meetings, Public Hearings and Special Meetings”; click on “Business Meetings, Public Hearings”; click “2013”; click on “09-04-13 BOS Meeting”; click on the little hidden p 2 link at the top right; scroll down to Item 25b “University Center Parcel P-1”; and download the extremely convenient pdf file.

Do the same to find Item 15 “Avonlea Reserve.”

Then, to find a record of the vote, just refer back to the pdf of the “09-04-13 Action Reportrv” file you previously downloaded by following our simple earlier directions.

If you want a summary of the discussion and public comments, however, you won’t actually find the minutes yet since they aren’t posted anyway in anything like a timely fashion.

But you can always settle down for three or four hours of exciting viewing of the Board’s archived video webcast. What better way to spend a relaxing evening — nestled on your comfy couch, watching your all-Republican Board of Supervisors engaging in democracy in action, with your favorite beverage at hand.

You’ll need it.



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