Yesterday, a group of us Young Democrats went to make our voices heard before the Republican Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. Our intention was to draw attention to the bad processes they're using to limit public input, overturn laws the previous board took great care to craft and implement, and ram through an extreme, pro-development agenda. Our message was simple but resonated with those in attendance: slow down, listen to the people, get the right feedback.
By every measure imaginable, the action was a great success. We held signs inside and outside the board room which caught the attention of the supervisors and others in attendance, a few of us spoke before the board and implored that they begin listening to Loudoun residents, other attendees adopted our theme and likewise pleaded with the Republican Board to actually listen and consider before making decisions on the issues they brought before them, and we even got Scott York to respond to our charges and make some statements that will enable us to hold the board accountable in the future.
We also were able to get the Loudoun Times Mirror to come and cover the action, as you can see here - we're happy to get press on this issue so we can begin to push back against this reactionary Board, but we need your help! Right now in the comments, the usual suspects have shown up to tear down our efforts and engage in personal attacks. I'm used to this sort of thing, but we can't allow them to engage in these sorts of tactics against some of our youngest Democrats, who are wading into politics for the first time.
Please, click on this link and tell these bullies to stand down! We're starting to push their buttons, which is why they've sent out their attack dogs, repeating some of the talking points Scott York introduced just yesterday. We have to let them know that we won't just stand by as they ram through their agenda and attack fellow Democrats.
The newly elected Republican Board of Supervisors has been making some drastic changes to the way it conducts business in Loudoun County. After only four business meetings, the Board is working to rescind many of the decisions passed down by our previous supervisors, and it is doing so while placing limitations on input from the community.
In these meetings, the Board has voted to revisit or overturn at least four landmark decisions of the last Board. One of these is a vote to limit public input by eliminating the senior e-comment program that allowed those seniors physically unable to attend meetings to visit their local senior center and record a message to the Board to be played during the next Public Input session. This decision was made with no consultation with the Commission on Aging, and no comparable solution has been put in place.
I've rarely if ever seen Jim Webb this angry, but I think it's totally appropriate given the outrageousness of Republicans' rhetoric in this campaign. Specifically, Webb is disgusted by a Loudoun County Republican Committee Halloween message that included an image of President Obama with a bullet hole in his head. Note that the chair of that committee, Mark Sell, has not resigned or apologized (other than a ridiculous, non-apology "apology") to this day. Nor have most Loudoun Republican politicians condemned Sell or demanded his resignation. That really says it all, wouldn't you say?
November 8th will be an interesting day in Loudoun County. There are a rather significant number of threads that, stitched together, form a fabric of pre-electoral corruption with post-electoral significance that will extend into the next decade.
Take the case of Loudoun developer and cable company owner MC Dean. MC Dean and company has spent twenty years building developments in Loudoun, thanks to their close, personal relationships with people on the current, and previous, Board of Supervisors. There's a funny thing about these developments, too. There's a monopoly cable provider - OpenBand - with exclusive rights to provide Internet and TV service to those communities. OpenBand is, of course, owned by the Dean family as well.
This year, the OpenBand cable franchise is up for renewal by the Board of Supervisors here in Loudoun County. Many of the communities who OpenBand serves are actually suing OpenBand, their experiences have been so bad. Of course, those communities and residents don't vote on the cable franchise renewal. The members of the Board of Supervisors do.
In his remarks, Areizaga-Soto talked about his background (Attorney, business, Obama administration, JAG, policy advisor to Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple). According to Areizaga-Soto, we need representation to "stand up to the extremism and demagoguery we see every day in Richmond." We also need transportation solutions, including a "dedicated source to fund them." "I believe everyone should have the opportunity for a world-class education...the opportunity to succeed and thrive." He promised to fight the "narrow-mindedness that threatens progress." "I want to go to Richmond and fight for our Democratic values."
Barbara Favola said she's running for two reasons: 1) her long career in local government (14 years on the Arlington County Board) and her local perspective; 2) she wants Richmond to be more progressive, more compassionate. She talked about the many successes we've had in Arlington, including connecting land use and transportation decisions ("that mindset I think will serve us very well in Richmond"). She believes we need to invest more in K-12 and higher education. She called for a dedicated funding stream for education. She noted her work on behalf of the environment and her endorsements by "Sen. Saslaw, Sen. Whipple, Sen. Howell, Sharon Bulova, David Poisson and others."
P.S. I haven't endorsed in this race, but am watching it closely and hope to do so in coming weeks. By the way, the primary elections in all these races will be on August 23.
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