Tag Archives: Loudoun County

Loudoun Responds – Supporting Clean Streams

Paddocks keep livestock and waste out of our creeks

Paddocks keep livestock and waste out of our creeks

The former Secretary of State Madeline Albright has said that what oil was to the last century, water will be to this century, in terms of quality and sufficiency.

We focus on the “nutrients,” the waste that flows into our rivers and streams, and then the Potomac and Chesapeake Bay.

On the other hand, we struggle to avoid and stem erosion, as it takes a thousand years to make rich top soil, so it’s nothing to waste.

Virginia has devoted a million dollars to Loudoun County to underwrite voluntary efforts by farmers and landowners to follow best management practices (BMPs) to keep the water clear and the soil rich close to home.

Days ago, at the last monthly meeting of the Loudoun County Soil and Conservation District, the Board authorized $580 thousand dollars to underwrite the cost of best management practices (BMPs) for Loudoun County farmers and landowners. Continue reading

The Insights of Senator Tim Kaine

Virginia’s US Senator Tim Kaine visited the rural lands in Loudoun County, and came by Leesburg in the early evening, to endorse local Loudoun candidates, and, among his observations, gave us a report on the ongoing impeachment inquiry from inside the belly of the beast.

No surprise, he said, telling those gathered to listen, and you may not be surprised to discover that the Senators don’t care very much for Mr. Trump.

But it is inconvenient to Republicans to risk Trump’s base, weighing that against the facts as they continue to develop. This is a challenge to any Senate Trial.

Tim said we have to do the right thing, because no one is above the law, because the constitution sets forth what we are to do, what we must do to meet our obligations under the law and constitution. Continue reading

Statement on the Loudoun County Public Schools “Equitable” Assessment

Our County is discussing a report about how “equitable” are our Loudoun County Public Schools.

The Report says that we have not been “equitable” or “sensitive.”

After all this nation has gone through on civil rights, how is it possible that Virginia still is trying to figure this out at this late date, so long after the war between the states?

Eric Williams, the Superintendent of our billion dollar school system, concluded that the school staff has “a low level of racial consciousness and racial literacy.”

Amazingly, the report says, in this day and age, that “people are unclear and fearful on how to participate in conversations about race, let alone respond to racially charged incidents.”

I taught High School for several years in the late 60s and 70s.

There is nothing mysterious about how to be fair and impartial to students unless you are neither fair nor impartial.

The Report makes it clear that there has been disproportionate discipline for students of color but especially African-American students.

Students reported that they were the targets of “racist comments and acts of violence from both their peers and teachers.”  Not just other students but their own teachers.  What kind of teacher treats a student this way?

And here’s the rub.  “Nothing happens!”  So, the aggrieved students report.

White kids use the n-word and deny they did.

Persons of color are humiliated about their skin color and their hair.

One student said the teacher “told me to go back to my country.  I was in shock, I was born here.”

This is not computer science.

This is common sense.

Sanction the students who use the n-word or threaten other students with assault or abuse.  These offenses are serious infractions and there must be punishment up to and including expulsion.

The teacher who told a student to go back where he came from, well that case is simple, fire that teacher.  The teacher and student will both learn something from such punishment.

If persons can get away with this kind of misconduct without any rule or regulation or discipline that punishes their misconduct, we can expect more of the same.

The schools must act firmly and quickly so that this misconduct ends now.

This report is a shame and a disgrace – it scars the reputation of this County and its citizens.

We have to clean up this mess and now.

Scrub the Water, Enrich the Soil

The Potomac from the Virginia side

The Potomac from the Virginia side

The Chesapeake Bay carries a load of “nutrients,” waste, that compromise the Bay.

Virginia has recently decided to devote $73 million to underwrite voluntary efforts by farmers and landowners to follow best management practices (BMPs) to keep the water clear and the soil rich close to home so that our streams emptying into the Potomac don’t compromise the Bay.

This soil and water conservation program is for farmers and landowners in Loudoun County.

There are similar programs across Virginia, in Maryland, and in every state across the nation.

Loudoun County has been assigned $1 Million to do what it can to make a difference; this is a serious effort; last year the allotment for Loudoun County was about half that amount.

So this is a great opportunity for property owners to make a real difference for the better in Loudoun as the waters here flow into the Potomac and then into the Chesapeake Bay. Continue reading

End the Development Mania!

trafficDON’T DEVELOP EVERY SQUARE INCH OF LOUDOUN – that’s what the developers want – and some Supervisors are trying to figure out how they can serve these masters of dystopia and fool us all into thinking this is the best we can do, and that they did the best they could with a difficult set of facts. Nonsense!

This kind of thinking will ravage our community already suffering from density, traffic jams and a loss of lifestyle.

There are 45,000 homes in the existing pipeline.

We don’t need these – and we don’t need anymore.

The communities from one end of the county to the other have said STOP THIS DEVELOPMENT.

We get a head nod – like we’re being heard – they say we’re being heard – but we are “instructed” by our reps that we just have to have more housing.

So much for representative government.  We said no but they bow to the arrogant development community that wants more, greedy, not satisfied with what they already have.  They want more.

We are overrun with lies and deceptions about “what we need.”

SEND A MESSAGE TO THE BOARD – lean on them – say “WE WANT NO NEW HOUSES.”  Enough already.

Tell our Supervisors if any of you vote to bring on new houses, then we vote to have new supervisors – to over-ride what you’ve done to destroy this county and our way of life – and we do this without regard to party – as this is about how we live where we live.

If you’re really our friends, elected to represent those of us who live here, then hear what we’re saying, and if you really care for us – stop this boondoggle right now.

As for my friends and neighbors, tell everyone who will listen to you at the water cooler or a parent teachers meeting, that each of us citizens in Loudoun County is going to demand that any candidate for the board say where he or she is on this issue.

Let’s make it crystal clear that we really mean what we’ve been saying for years – at every step of this manipulative “evolving” process that has tried to get us to bow to what we know is wrong.

If a candidate for the board doesn’t have the right answer, cashier him or her.

If the candidate has the right answer, support him or her.

Let’s make this hard for the developers who care not at all what we say or may suffer and make this easy for us.

Let’s get to work!

Farms Fight to Prosper Despite Residential Development

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

A controversial proposed residential development model in Western Loudoun

In recent days, Chairwoman Phyllis Randal said, “The [Loudoun County] Board of Supervisors ha[s] made it a priority to preserve our farmland and support those who are putting their land to great use.”

A recent USDA report concluded that, as of 2017, Loudoun County had 1,259 farms covering 121,932 acres.

There is good and bad news in this USDA report.

The bad news is that the number of farms are shrinking and we are losing acreage.

The good news is that there is an uptick in farm income, even as there is a loss of farm acreage and despite a serious reduction in federal funds that previously supported Ag in Loudoun County.  Continue reading

WV Board of Educaton Tells Rock Wool “Not So Fast”

Rockwool_protest

The Jefferson County Board of Education (BOE) has announced its intent to seize the Ranson, WV land where the Rockwool Plant broke ground, so that it may build a student center instead; in response, Rockwool has filed a civil rights action in federal court last Friday to stop the seizure so that it may remain where it is and open shop sooner rather than later.

From Ranson, WV to Maryland to Loudoun County, citizens have been concerned about the fallout from the Rockwool plant in Ranson, WV; there are estimates that there may be as much as 392 tons of pollution headed east to Loudoun from Ranson, WV when (and if) the plant is up and running.

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

392 tons of pollution from WV’s Rockwool “coming our way.”

Continue reading

The Board of Supervisors Favors More Development Over Math and Science

A simple Algebra problem

A simple Algebra problem

I was in the Lovettsville Library the other day, looking at a 3 D pair of plastic glasses made on a state of the art printer at the Leesburg library, and a library patron asked if I’d heard that the County had killed a state of the art math and science library for the County.

It’s true, they have.

Our elected leaders almost always favor development that covers and destroys open fields and trees and wild life so developers can build more roads and small artificial parks where once were rolling fields and trees.

In this dystopic world of excess development, one tragic irony is that our Loudoun County Board of Supervisors has decided to steal funds dedicated to a science and tech library and to spend it instead on roads and parks!

Could we possibly make worse choices in this County, that passes itself off as a high tech community, and among the wealthiest in the nation, than to disfavor advancement in science and math?

America has been steadily sliding in global education rankings for decades. Continue reading

A Step Forward to End LGBTQ Discrimination

Ayala Sherbow

Ayala Sherbow

Several years ago, Lovettsville’s Ayala Sherbow said she “made a commitment to [herself] and to [her] children (one of whom is gay and one of whom is transgender) to work toward tolerance and understanding.”

Ayala has been part of a coalition of parents and teachers and community leaders to make that difference in our school system where teachers must conceal who they are if LGBTQ persons and students who may be bullied for the same reason.

Ayala is the first to say that many people from Lovettsville and across the County have been pulling and pushing to favor tolerance and understanding.

At the outset of this push to recognize and protect LGBTQ teachers and students, Holly Patterson came before the School Board, waved her iPad, and said her 16-year-old transgender student tried to commit suicide, because the School Board did nothing to protect him from bullying.

The highly regarded “Journal of Adolescent Health,” after a survey of almost 32,000 students, concluded the failure to include LGBTQ persons in an anti-bullying school policy meant a 225% increase in the likelihood that they would attempt suicide.

Another study found that LGBTQ students hear derogatory slurs, on the average, 26 times a day.  Some of this happens in front of school staff who stand by doing nothing. These children therefore can’t trust the staff to protect them.

Finally, last week the Loudoun County School Board approved a new policy – in a 5 to 4 vote – to protect LGBTQ persons as follows:

“The Loudoun County School Board is committed to providing for an equitable, safe and inclusive learning and working environment.

“The Loudoun County School Board affirms a commitment to this principle for all persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, age, or genetic information.

“It is the intent of the School Board of Loudoun County that every policy, practice, and procedure shall reflect this commitment. Behavior that is not unlawful may nevertheless be unacceptable for the educational environment or the workplace. Demeaning or otherwise harmful actions are prohibited, particularly if directed at personal characteristics, including, but not limited to socioeconomic level, sexual orientation, perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Ayala said, “It’s a pretty complete victory, hard fought, and will have to be played out in policy.  But it’s a big step.”

Ayala said, “When I started to work toward this outcome, I had a transgender daughter who was in school system.  The principle that concerned us, however, remains.  What this policy does is affirm the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ persons and guarantee to them the same rights and protections as everyone else.  Without this policy, you could have been fired as a gay teacher.  There have been plenty of Loudoun students who have testified over the years who had heard homophobic statements from faculty as well as students.  Now, with this policy, you can hold people responsible and accountable for any inappropriate remarks.”

As for the objection to such a policy, Ayala said, “It’s mostly fear and misinformation.”

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Dave LaRock spreads fear, misinformation

Among the most prominent elected official to object to this policy reform was the Delegate from the 33rd Delegate District, David LaRock.

In 2016, Mr. LaRock introduced legislation against the designation, transgender, in HB 431 and HB 397, insisting a person’s sexual designation was restricted to what a birth certificate said, and the only discrimination, including what a transgender person might suffer, could only be based on that same certificate.

Last year, Mr. LaRock said, “If you create a right for people on the basis of their sexual behaviors, then you are taking away the right of someone like me  … to say, ‘I choose not to rent the place that I have to homosexuals…”  Mr. LaRock added that he thought transgender people have a mental disorder and should not hold “role-model positions” in schools.  Mr. LaRock fears “social contagion.”

This year, anticipating the School Board’s new policy, Mr. LaRock circulated a petition against any change to what was the current policy.

Dave LaRock's petition

Dave LaRock’s petition

Ayala said, “Mr. LaRock has made no effort to hide the disdain he has for LGBTQ persons.”

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

Dave LaRock at the School Board meeting

On his FB page, Mr. LaRock objected that the new school policy recognizes “homosexual and transgender behavior as normal and healthy.”

Ayala said, “But it is normal and healthy for LGBTQ persons.”

Candidate Mavis Taintor, hoping to challenge Mr. LaRock in the General Election, has objected that he has “spoke[n] … gainst equity, dignity, and inclusion for all in Loudoun schools.”

Are Women Equal?

Do you support the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) for Women?

Equality_silouhette“Yes,” a Lovettsville woman said.

A few moments passed.

“Is that a trick question?,” she asked.

If the Virginia General Assembly supports the Amendment, constitutional experts agree, this ERA Amendment, first introduced in Congress in one earlier version in the 1920s, would finally become part of our U.S. Constitution.

Thirty-Seven states have ratified the Equal Rights Amendment, one short of the Thirty-Eight states needed for passage.

The Lovettsville woman added, “Virginia should be the State that makes passage possible.”

In Virginia, in the past, the upper House, the Senate, has supported the Amendment, but not the lower house.  There is a push to change that when the legislature convenes in January.

Opposed to the Amendment, the Vice Chairman for the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors, Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn), blocked any consideration of the Amendment, and said, “The General Assembly doesn’t care what we think.”

“If that’s true,” said one ERA supporter, “then why do they send any requests to the legislature.” Continue reading