Tonight’s Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting has quite a bit on the agenda as reported in the Loudoun Times-Mirror. They highlight 6 items, many of which are of interest to all Loudoun Citizens. In that spirit, here’s how HoodaThunk? weighs in on the issues:
- Public displays on the courthouse grounds. The previous policy in place where 10 displays are permitted on the lawn on a 1st come, 1st serve basis is just fine and should be allowed to continue. Christmas displays and, in particular, nativity scenes have been erected at that location for literally decades without incident. The only time it gets political is when people only interested in playing politics with what has always been a peaceful public expression of a particular group’s religious freedom decide to make it political by deliberately erecting some intentionally provocative display. I know all about the judges’ concerns that somehow, after decades of incident-free displays, that someone, somehow will put up a display that might, maybe be construed by some overzealous ambulance chaser as being pertinent to an ongoing case. Hogwash. Be scrupulously ethical inside the courthouse and no one will question whether something outside the courthouse is affecting cases.
- The Chesapeake Bay Protection Act Ordinance. I’ve already addressed this in an open letter to the BoS and I renew that today. Nothing has changed since this was brought up the first time. Nothing has been brought to light that shows that even the original CBPA has had a measurable impact. Certainly nothing has been brought up to show that enacting a CBPO here, so removed from the Bay, will do any better. With our budgetary constraints being what they are, we are having issues paying for the functions of government that we’ve already established. We cannot continue to create one regulation-generating organization after another; we simply can’t afford it. To expend this kind of time and money on an endeavor of such dubious value is irresponsible. This should be set far, far back on the set of burners and not even discussed until we don’t have law enforcement and safety agencies being told to cut their budget request for a lack of money.
- Additional school funding. Speak of the devil. The LCPS wants another $4.5 million so they don’t have to enforce the furlough days over the Thanksgiving break this year. I continue to question the LCPS’s spending. Schools spending represents more than half of Loudoun’s entire governmental budget, more than all other functions of government combined. Every year it’s the same thing: they need 10-15% more than they got last year or your kids will all SUFFER!!!! Please. Not this time. The plan is in place to handle this “shortfall” and we should see that through. And then, members of the BoS, you should take the funding that someone was dreaming about for the CBPA and hire an independent auditor to go through the LCPS budget and spending. A nice, big report should be posted on the County website with recommendations on where we’re spending money that we shouldn’t be or could avoid. I’m confident it’ll be a fairly long list. Prove me wrong: audit and then post the results.
- Staggered terms for Supervisors. As it stands today, all 9 members of the Board are up for re-election every 4 years. (The next one is in 2011 – and can’t happen soon enough, in my opinion.) The idea here is to make it so only half of the Supervisors come up for re-election at any one time. The reasoning goes that it would a) make it harder to create massive shifts in the governing strategy and direction if only half the board could be replaced at any one time and, b) that it would better preserve the “institutional knowledge” of the Board. OK, for starters I consider it to be a feature and not a bug that we can remove an entire board in 1 shot. Supervisors governing in good faith with their constituents and demonstrating that they are diligent representatives for them on the Board don’t need to worry about being dumped. Supervisors who have apparently forgotten that they represent constituents in a District and, instead, consider themselves part of a ruling council, removed from the riffraff, deserve to get retired, en masse if necessary. As for the institutional knowledge, that’s what the Country employees are for. Institutional knowledge might be important on a Board of Directors at a major firm but not in a representative government. At least, not important enough to enact an “Incumbent Protection Ordinance.”
- Western Loudoun sheriff’s substation. I don’t know what the sheriff coverage out there is like but we’ve put in new stations out here in the east. No reason the west shouldn’t have them.
- Towing advisory committee. A request has been made to create a citizen advisory committee to make sure fees charged by towing companies in Loudoun are “fair.” Apparently there’s a wide variance in prices being charged. I have no issue whatsoever with a citizen advisory committee. The more involved the citizens are in the governance of the County, the better. However, shouldn’t the market deal with that? Of course, there’s very little incentive for the people inconvenienced by people parking their vehicles in places they shouldn’t to see that folks aren’t being charged too much to get their cars back. (Assuming that’s what’s at stake here.) Some might see a high towing price as a justified punitive expense. There’s something to the notion of making sure that doesn’t get out of hand but perhaps the better solution is to publicly post the prices for all of the towing companies in the area so that HOA’s and localities can make more informed choices about which firm to engage for the service.