Citizen Oversight Panel

The newly-elected BoS was sworn into office on Friday night at an apparently pretty posh affair paid for by Suzanne Volpe (R – Algonkian) with unspent campaign funds.  The celebration was a break from the traditional ceremony held at the Government center but not from what I observe as a culture of triumphalism.  The newspapers are reporting that this new BoS has been very busy.  Most alarming was a Leesburg Today report that:

The board’s first meeting Tuesday, Jan. 2, will include the votes on the vice chairmanship and the committee assignments as usual, but the board also will follow through on the formation of the government reform commission. Supervisors said the appointment of members to that group would take place at its first meeting.

This action seems a bit hasty doesn’t it?  The BoS hasn’t even met.  They are actively developing a strategy to court new businesses but haven’t been outspoken about relationships with ordinary citizens.  In its “Choose Wisely” editorial, the Leesburg Today offers good advice regarding the government reform panel:

The work of the panel will only be successful if the right people are tapped to serve. This isn’t the place for political paybacks, partisan hacks or self-serving opportunists. This is an opportunity to get some of the county’s brightest people-students of government, industry experts and finance gurus-around the same table to examine the operations of Loudoun County government in detail, and identify ways to make it function better.

This is a good opportunity to ask the citizens of the county – not politically active people the supervisors already know – to step forward.  The least they can do is to try to appear to be free from the influence of “partisan hacks and self-serving opportunists“.

The OpenBand law suit doesn’t help their image.  The article reports that five of the Supervisors received large contributions from Bill Dean (OpenBand’s owner) and MC Dean (OpenBand Media’s parent company).  The law suit won’t be served if the BoS agrees to renew the cable franchise agreement which guarantees OpenBand (according to my hasty calculations) $400K/month in revenue.  This isn’t a bad return for $35K in campaign donations.  Will the recipients of campaign contributions recuse themselves from the franchise agreement vote?

We also have the Loudoun Delegation meeting with a highly anti-environmental Chamber of Commerce.   It appears that road building and opposition to health care reform top their priorities.

All this activity should raise a red flag.  The representatives are going to move fast to favor more of the same development and economic “growth” and political hackery.   Their momentum is high and they are taking advantage of the holiday season to sprint ahead of citizen oversight before they “officially” take office.  It’s imperative that we form a Citizen Oversight Panel (COP) as quickly as possible.  More to follow.

27 thoughts on “Citizen Oversight Panel

  1. Barbara Munsey

    Thank you, guys.

    If you’re praying men (or just occasional holders of directed kind thoughts) send a few out into the ether for a family whose Christmas is now marked by permanent loss–his friends lost plenty, but his family lost so very much more.

  2. Barbara Munsey

    Sorry guys, haven’t been around much.

    A good friend just died.

    Well, yes, Jonathan, my answer to that question is the answer I gave to that question.

    Hope that “clarifies”–lol.

    David, you sound peevish in your postmodern designation of the motives you assign to me–that may not be your intent, but that’s how it reads.

    I was remarking on the self-appointed designating themselves “COP”s. Given the liberties taken here with attempting to control language, meaning, morals for others, I would have concerns if you guys decided you were now the government police–not serious ones, but concerns.

  3. Epluribusunum

    No answer to a reasonable request for clarification – not a surprising response when you don’t have the ability to retract a poorly considered comment.

    It looks as if we have a new postmodern definition: Citizens watching and reporting on the activities of elected government = “vigilantism.”

  4. Pariahdog Post author


    Is “I thought you were against vigilantism” the answer to the question why “some people may find that [my serving as a COP] is a matter of greater concern than whether there is an official committee”?

  5. Pariahdog Post author

    Actually, I find it fascinating that you will be naming yourself a COP, and start policing things. Some people may find that a matter of greater concern than whether there is an official committee

    Why, Barbara?

  6. Barbara Munsey

    Jontahan, please reread my letter above. Reimaging what I’ve said and haven’t said into a projected strawman to attack is in no way different from the simple formula you’ve deployed since day one: you are entitled to attack, because you are a victim of these terrible things that others (didn’t, but for the purpose of our formula we’re going to say they did and you’d better believe it or you’re attacking us TOO) do.

    Golly, I MUST be fearful, since you say so! rotfl

    Actually, I find it fascinating that you will be naming yourself a COP, and start policing things. Some people may find that a matter of greater concern than whether there is an official committee, or even just a new name for the usuals.

  7. Pariahdog Post author

    Thank you for telling us what to do and for telling us how awful we are for informing citizens that their elected officials deploy campaigns of misinformation, fear mongering and yes bigotry. We appreciate your use of the “Weintraub’s called me a bigot” argument. Very creative. Maggie Gallagher would be proud.

    You may want to check your database. The Herndon day labor center controversy occurred in 2005. You may also want to check a map. Herndon is in Fairfax County. In spite of that, because the center location bordered Loudoun, the entire Republican BoS delegation crossed the county line testify against the decision to open the center. If we follow their example of cross-county activism, then we can agree that *all* citizens have the right to oversee *all* elected officials.

    Fair enough. But you seem to be fearful of the very idea of the COP. Why?

  8. Barbara Munsey

    David, did I respond that if you really wanted to effect change in Sterling, you needed to be able to vote there? You’re right, nothing new. That was about the time of the day labor center in herndon, wasn’t it? I recall people in the Sterling area being THRILLED with the folks who came from out of district to tell them what bigots they all were over that, too. Including you guys. No, nothing has changed.

    Just as this is not about free speech or anything else at the courthouse, but another way to start talking about Delgaudio.

  9. Epluribusunum

    Barbara, Pariahdog wasn’t referring to a letter to the editor from you. He was referring to your online comments to a letter I wrote well before the election, about a 2002 Washington Post article exposing Mr. Delgaudio’s hate group and his defamatory statements about the LGBT community. Your comments were personal, unfounded and disparaging, just as they are today. Indeed, there is nothing new under the sun with respect to that. From that first exchange in 2003 until now, your pattern of behavior has been exactly the same: Defending anything and everything Mr. Delgaudio does, no matter how morally indefensible, and personally attacking anyone who criticizes or exposes him. Only you know what your relationship to him actually is, but that is objectively what you do.

  10. Pariahdog Post author

    “nothing changes under the sun AT ALL, in eight years!”


    At the time of that letter, I held an image of the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Toto pulled the curtain away and the Wizard said:

    “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!”

    You’ve been protecting Supervisor Delgaudio with that tack since our first encounter. Why hasn’t anything changed? Why have you been protecting him for all this time?

    By the way, many things have changed. Can’t you at least admit that it has become increasingly difficult for you to “do your job“? If you can admit that, can you explain why?

  11. Barbara Munsey

    The same thing you selectively referenced as “exposing Supervisor Delgaudio’s anti-gay activism and corruption”, in response to a letter of mine that commented on two editorials, neither of which mentioned Delgaudio by name, but merely the election resulting in a Republican majority.

    I posted here the edited version that was printed–the original made more detailed reference to claiming Republicans were fundamentalist Christians with Nazi tendencies–nothing changes under the sun AT ALL, in eight years!

  12. Pariahdog Post author


    Your letter said:

    “…and sing the one-note song that Republicans are in favor of annihilating all individual rights and freedoms.”

    That was in reference to, what?

  13. Barbara Munsey

    Jonathan, I looked up my letter, which was in response to an attack of David’s on a letter of mine that had NOTHING to do with Delgaudio or gay rights.

    After the 03 election, I wrote a letter on the editorials in the LTM about “6-3, deal with it” and the supposedly “Republican” tornadoes that were visited on the fairgrounds.

    Here is my response to David’s attack:

    “> To the editor:
    > Mr. David Weintraub’s impassioned letter on
    > behalf of the First Amendment is a wonderful
    > illustration of the leeway free speech grants: By
    > misrepresenting my opinions via recombinations,
    > omissions and sweepingly generalized insinuations in
    > the form of questions, he gets to mount once again his
    > own preferred soapbox, and sing the one-note song that
    > Republicans are in favor of annihilating all individual
    >rights and freedoms.
    > Not quite. My letter of November 19, which I
    > thank this paper for printing, quoted the editor in
    > saying that we must all simply “deal with” the results
    > of the election. That is not just my opinion. It’s a
    > fact.
    > By choosing to ignore my comments on the second
    > editorial of November 12, in which the Times Mirror
    > perhaps playfully implied that Nature sent tornadoes
    > because of the sweeping electoral losses of VSS, is
    > Mr. Weintraub supporting the concept that the supposed
    > anger of the earth-gods is viable political comment?
    > Is turnabout fair play, as objective journalism and
    > free speech suggest? Or are those qualities reserved
    > for those who need a platform to continue to vent
    > their frustration that the majority of the county
    > chose to vote for themselves, in their own districts?

    Wow. Nothing new under the sun at all, is there?

    9-0. I see how you’re dealing with that.

  14. Barbara Munsey

    Um, wrong again, elderberry.

    They published no map or any specific stated bounds that identified what land the ordinance changes would apply to, saying only “most of the western part of the county”, which turned out to be two thirds of the square mileage.

    The judicial opinion called it “deliberately false and misleading”.

    Another section of the opinion noted that “Conservation Design”, which comprised an antire section of the plan with NINE subsets, was not defined in any way, which was another colossal omission.

    You have swallowed the fiction that it was a simple error akin to a typo, but it was much more than than–the published notice was so poor the court threw out the whole thing before ever getting to the meat of any of the policy complaints.

    Look up the opinion. Seriously.

  15. Elder Berry

    Barbara what got the ordinance thrown out was a SINGLE advertising error. A single mistake in a single advert in a several year process. You sure do spin a good story though. Do you actually believe it? Are you that deluded?

  16. Pariahdog

    Our engagement in politics in Loudoun didn’t begin until 2003. I remember it very well. David wrote a LTE exposing Supervisor Delgaudio’s anti-gay activism and corruption and Barbara Munsey immediately jumped on him. The pattern of her defense of the indefensible is consistent and long-lived.

    More importantly, there has always been a real-estate lobby oversight panel, a corrupt business (e.g. Shockey Concrete) oversight panel, and a “values voter” oversight panel. The fact that the Democratic majority BoSs have been historically inept at implementing policy isn’t purely due to stupid mistakes. The elite special interest oversight panels helped.

    I’m hoping that we can put together a citizen oversight panel that is just as effective at representing the 99% as the elite oversight panels are at representing the 1%.

  17. Barbara Munsey

    elderberry, the transition team was appointed BEFORE the 99 BoS took office, and the team’s (pre-written) report was ADOPTED as soon as they did.

    The plan revision thus outlined was rammed through in a year, with such poor process that it was thrown out in court (void ab initio—as if it had never even occurred).

    Yes, there was plenty of public comment—mostly against, by the private citizens whose land was subject to takings for “viewshed”. The paid speakers on both sides were about even.

  18. Elder Berry

    Barbara Munsey they are going to appoint a commission to handle a vital task without even publicly soliciting applicants. Whoops indeed. I don’t need to look it up. There was plenty of public comment before the ordinance was passed wasn’t there.

  19. Barbara Munsey

    elderberry, maybe you didn’t live here then: look it up:

    Al Van Huyck’s report was written Oct 1999.

    The election was held Nov 1999.

    The report of the transition team was presented AND ADOPTED jan 00.

    And all three documents were near-identical, and sections appeared verbatim in the comp plan.

    Whoops your self.

    Seriously–look it up.

  20. Elder Berry

    They had a transition team in 1999 and they passed an ordinance in 2001, you say. How many years is that. How many workshops and meetings and hearings and notices and all the rest of the legal process. So if that was an agenda it was one done with other than lightening speed. Sort of like Congressional Republicans now passing jobs bills. Lightning speed.

    Right? Whoops. Sorry.

    Then there was the next board coming in and at its first meeting turning over the whole board apple cart and doing an et tu brute on Scott York. was there a public hearing about that first, or even a single board meeting, I guess no. Lets see how much time goes on then before this new board starts voting on its own “agenda” which will appear immediately out of thin air.

    Question is will it be on some corporation’s letterhead. Economic development, man.

  21. Barbara Munsey

    Guys, did you live here yet (David and Jonathan, not you, elderberry) when the 99 BoS took office?

    They already had a transition team, which submitted a report right after the election and BEFORE they took office, based on a white paper written by Al Van Huyck right before the election, which was adopted at their first meeting, and subsequently became the blueprint for the Comprehensive Plan revision of 2001 (touted endlessly as so open! so full of citizen input and approval!).

    The Transition Team consisted primarily of PEC and VSS employees and members, i.e. special interest lobbyists and political backers.

    It remains the benchmark for pre-existing legislation in the last 20 years, but you can be forgiven if you weren’t here yet and so did not know about that.


    Nice name!

  22. Elder Berry

    Yes but now they are.

    Isn’t it a miracle how the right wingers manage to sit down at the first meeting with a tidy and specific agenda already worked out when they’ve “never met”. Jesus must be on their side.

  23. Epluribusunum

    “The BoS hasn’t even met.”

    Oh, I wouldn’t assume that at all. Since only two of the incoming board are sitting supervisors, they were not, before being sworn in, subject to any public meeting rules.

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