Last week I accidentally discovered a blog post – “Loudoun County in Virginia going Gay, Lesbian and Transgender” – published shortly after the Board of Supervisors voted to revise the county’s Human Resources Policy Handbook in 2010.
Written by Vivianne Rutkowski (pictured at left), a local Realtor affiliated with Keller Williams in Leesburg, the post made the offensive, ridiculous assumption that prohibiting discrimination against LGBT county employees would have a negative effect on the Loudoun real estate market. It also contained very ignorant and defamatory language of the sort one hears from hate groups obsessed with public restroom use. Ms. Rutkowski’s response to criticism only made things worse.
I want to immediately say that the responsiveness of Keller Williams to this situation has been outstanding. None of Ms. Rutkowski’s superiors at the agency were aware of this post, and are very grateful to us for calling it to their attention. This has been treated as a very serious matter with the potential to do real damage to their reputation and that of the real estate profession as a whole.
We may have found a new standard for effortless advocacy.
It isn’t really news that people sometimes lie to get their way, but is it my imagination that there has been a sharp uptick in the sheer brazenness of the lying? I’m not talking here about the weaselly, defensive type of lying that public figures often engage in when caught in compromising positions (yawn). I’m talking about utterly making things up with the intention of compromising other people, wholly fabricated things that the liar knows are demonstrably false, but doesn’t care. Things that the liar wishes were true, but are not. So the liar just goes ahead and says they are anyway.
Things like claiming that the Girl Scouts of America “promote abortion”, or have a “partnership” with Planned Parenthood, or encourage girls to have promiscuous sex. People dedicated to promoting these and other lies about the Girl Scouts have produced a media campaign that has the fingerprints of hate groups like American Family Association all over it, and are going after, of all things, Girl Scout Cookie sales.
Can you imagine if a Loudoun Realtor were to argue that they were helping home buyers make an “informed decision” regarding their home purchase by mouthing derogatory slurs about African-Americans and Jews, and complaining that the local government has required desegregation? Because this is the equivalent of that. Professional Realtors have a code of ethics, in part, due to awareness of how such bigotry has been practiced in the past.
Vivianne Rutkowski is a Realtor with Keller Williams on Catoctin Circle in Leesburg. I have contact information for her Broker and Regional Director, but I don’t want to publish it here. Contact me offline if you wish to communicate with them regarding this matter. Miss Rutkowski is bound by the code of ethics adopted by the National Association of Realtors.
I stumbled by accident across this wildly inappropriate, offensive post (it’s captured as it appeared Wednesday, January 25 at approximately 12:45 am) on her professional real estate business blog. I left a comment indicating that I would make sure no one I know would ever use her as an agent, and telling her why. Here are some screenshots of what she thought was appropriate content for a blog on which she presents herself to the public as a Realtor:
This was really supposed to happen yesterday, but yesterday I was working for Choice in a different way (the NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia C3 Board met).
Today I’m going to blog for Choice by asking all my pro-Choice readers in the MD-VA-DC region to buy a ticket to this Thursday’s Roe v. Wade Anniversary Dinner.
Over 60 anti-abortion, anti-birth control, anti-women statutes were enacted last year. This year, as many or more are being introduced. Please help us save women’s lives, help us keep abortion safe, legal, and RARE by buying a ticket, attending the dinner, and working to make every baby that is born a welcomed and wanted Choice.
There has been considerable chatter about the news that Newt Gingrich captured 44% of the “Born Again or Evangelical Christian” vote (to the relatively anemic 21% each for Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney; CNN exit polling).
But I haven’t heard much about the news that Gingrich was the choice of only 6% of voters who say that “Strong Moral Character” is the “Most Important Candidate Quality.”
The Board of Supervisors last night unanimously adopted my amendment to temporarily ban those ugly atheist billboards on the Courthouse lawn (and other ‘unattended displays’ ) until the Supervisors issue a new policy on religious and other holiday displays. This is not a ban on the creche of Christmas tree, as the Board also issued a request that its Finance Committee (on which I serve) devise a new policy to allow government sponsored holiday displays, including the nativity scene and Christmas tree — but NO private displays, which would allow for things like the skeleton Santa nailed to a cross. It is my hope the full Board will adopt a new policy by spring.
Mr. Reid had previously stated his support (along with Scott York) for the constitutionally permissible policy of a single, county-sponsored Christmas tree. This is a solution that almost everyone could support, including the Atheist groups. The reason is that a Christmas tree has been found by courts to have a legitimate secular purpose related to the federal holiday, and is not a religious symbol. It could be a joyful community focus for the holiday season, and would eliminate both the antagonism associated with the limited public forum and the risk of lawsuits.
I gave Mr. Reid the benefit of the doubt. I didn’t express my suspicion that he would do exactly what he is now doing. I sincerely hoped that I was wrong. I defended him publicly for supporting a sensible solution, in spite of his sometimes inflammatory rhetoric in doing so. I can’t say I told you so this time, because I refrained from telling you.
What Mr. Reid is now telling us is that he doesn’t want a solution, he wants a lawsuit. It’s unfortunate and disappointing.
While all agree that some traditions should be honored, others must be put to rest as our national values and notions of tolerance and diversity evolve. At any rate, no amount of history and tradition can cure a constitutional infraction.
Now this is really getting interesting. The new Board of Supervisors is apparently considering a motion to kill the volunteer illegal sign removal program, and it is not going over well with LI. I happen to agree; the program seems like a perfectly sensible way of dealing with the vexing problem of road spam.
“So in keeping with the overriding theme of this Board, paybacks, one of their first acts will be to kill this program as payback to those who helped fund their campaigns – the builders and developers and David Ramadan, and Godfather Dick Black as well. Here is the link to the staff report for this item, pay special attention to the motions at the end. They’re not doing this to keep things the way they are. This program costs Loudoun very little in minimal staff oversight, and provides its citizens with a great service – keeping our roadways safe and free of trash. But does that matter to this Board? Apparently not – this program ticks off their masters, so it must be done away with.”
The very first action taken by the newly elected Loudoun County School Board was this:
Regarding the Virginia Human Rights Act:
“I move to amend the Board’s previously adopted Legislative Program by removing the recommendation to expand the protected classifications contained in the Virginia Human Rights Act, Code of Virginia §2.2-3900 and §2.2-3901, to include gender orientation and gender identity and to further amend the Code of Virginia §22.1-78 to allow local school boards to similarly expand the protected classifications contained in local school board policies and regulations and that Staff be directed to make such other changes to the Legislative Program as to conform to the Program language of this motion.”
[from page 5 of the adopted Legislative Program]
Motion: Mr. Kuesters
Second: Mr. Fox
Vote: 6-3-0 (Mr. Reed, Mrs. Bergel, and Mrs. Sheridan opposed)
The only reason for initiating such an action is ideological, and the idea in play is that gay, lesbian, bisexual and/or transgender and gender variant youth are not deserving of having their human rights protected. The Wisconsin School District that was the subject of the film Bullied found out the hard and expensive way that this is not a good position for school boards to take. I hate to being up money when this is a fundamental moral issue, but unfortunately that’s the only language some people seem to understand.