The modification of the “Probable Cause” portion of the Immigration Resolution is good for Prince William County. A unanimous vote last night by the Board of Supervisors means that law enforcement here is no longer fundamentally unfair.

PWC Police Officers will no longer be required to check documentation status for minor traffic stops. Therefore equal protection under the law has been restored to citizens and legal residents who fit “probable cause” indicators such as language proficiency.

Police Officers are no longer in needless danger of being accused of racial profiling. Like most other counties in the United States, we will again check legal status only after arrest. Furthermore, legal status will be questioned for ANYONE who is arrested, thus dispelling the appearance of prejudice.

It is a great relief not to have to worry about a nightmare scenario where one of Prince William County’s Finest finds him or herself dragged into court, forced to explain that, “It wasn’t because of her skin color that I arrested a legal citizen who forgot her drivers’ license, it was the way she pronounced the letter ‘L.'”

High praise for Frank Principi and Martin Nohe for working together to outmaneuver Corey Stewart and John Stirrup. High praise for John Jenkins for bringing to bear on this contentious debate his years of experience working out the details of budgets and negotiations in the best interest of the county. High praise for Maureen Caddigan and Mike May. I’m sure it took long hours of soul-searching and ultimately, personal courage for these moderate Republicans to go against their conservative colleagues, Stewart and Stirrup. This progress would not have been possible without moderate Republicans and Democrats working across party lines for the common good. Thank goodness Wally Covington came around to join the moderates and abandon extreme partisan ideology. I will sleep tonight knowing that Corey Stewart and John Stirrup’s last stand has ended.

Thank you to everyone who spoke out on this issue, whether for or against the Resolution, whether for or against the change that was made tonight. I actually had some friendly conversations with people who supported the Resolution. Overall, the mood was much more civil, even neighborly, than the spectacle in October. I saw glimmers of the community that we once were before we became so divided. I get the feeling that many people, including some HSM members, would like to stop fighting and move on.

Some questions remain.

1) Will this change be enough to help Prince William County avert economic consequences of the Immigration Resolution that have already begun to set in?

2) Will immigrant communities, both documented and undocumented, and the net economic benefit they bring with them return to our county?

3) Will the reputation of Prince William County be restored, allowing us to successfully compete with other counties in the DC Metro area for new businesses and new investment?

Only time will tell. But this is an encouraging and significant step.

123 thoughts on “Probable Cause Amended, United Board Takes Important Step

  1. Censored bybvbl

    I think that many of these problems are caused because neighbors become afraid of demographic changes, particularly older( elderly as well as long-time) residents. When kids start congregating or a new ethnic group sits on the front stoop and shoots the breeze, the old residents often become scared and start to remain inside. That’s probably the worst thing to do. Residents need to get out and about – walk, garden, wash the car, go to the mail box, be seen. Claim your neighborhood, talk to the neighbors, greet the kids and get to know their parents. People who are up to no good would tend to want to move on if there is too much neighborhood activity, too much knowledge of what’s up. It’s difficult to turn the tide when neighbors have been reclusive for so long, but it can be done. If you’re afraid, get a couple friends to join you for your walk.

  2. Ruby

    Censored,
    Right again. Be VISIBLE it sends a message that you are out and about and aware of your surroundings. Talking to neighbors is not always welcomed by a few, and others are more than willing to chat. However, we are faced with problems where there are no neighbors to talk to. Our neighbors are banks. The banks and real estate agents don’t seem to give a sh!t about how these properties are kept. Now, who’d want to get out and look at a house with grass two feet tall. I know what we saw happen last year when the grass got cut a one house. The rats come and that takes numerous departments working to get rid of them. It took five different departments to get in all cleaned up. A huge part of the problem was they were in the sewers. The tide can be turned with community involvement. I live in one of the most accepting neighborhoods around. My block has always had a very diverse crowd. Decades(70’s & 80’s) ago about 6 different nationalities were represented on my block.

  3. Not Me, Bubba

    Well talking to your neighbors, being visible, being Mr. Joe Community every day isn’t an option for those of us who commute to and fro all week – yet still maintain to keep our homes up. Out at 7AM, back by 6 PM, dinner for the family, kids to bed and before you know it, it’s 9PM. Not a whole lot of time for community bonding. Us people who work and commute EXPECT our neighborhoods to remain nice and not get overrun by the unwashed masses and converted into 3rd world conditions – kind of the point of a HOA, but since those are withot teeth; the local police won’t do anything, the local zoning persons won’t do a thing, your neighbors don’t care – as SA stated, SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE.

    There is a basic level of respect you expect from your neighbors, is there not? Keep your lawn mowed, the weeds to a minimum, the dogs messes confined to a fenced-in yard or cleaned up, quiet late at night and parking in your driveway – not on the lawn and NOT in front of an empty driveway, and trash taken out on trash day (not to be left scattered about the yard or piled up as if Manassas Park was the New Naples Italy).

    And frankly, between the banks and RE agents – they have done MORE to keep up their properties than the slobs who previously occupied them. They send out, on a bi-weekly basis, a lawn maintenance crew to mow. Same can’t be said for the people who are (thankfully) being evicted soon, or who just don’t give a damn. Banks and RE agents also have a vested interest to keep those properties looking nice because they do not wish to be the mortgage holders for long – it is in their best interest to sell the homes and make a profit.

    Like I said, in our neighborhood, the banks and RE agents are keeping up the homes. Its some people who aren’t…

  4. Censored bybvbl

    Not Me, Bubba, do you have a local group (committee, sub-committee, architectural review board?) on site. IOW, does a group of homeowners report to the corporation that collects the dues? Can they put forth a stronger request for maintenance? Can this group be voted out if they’re not pushing enough for neighborhood clean-up? (I ask because I’ve seen it done when a large corporation wasn’t involved.) Could this group go to the WaPo and embarrass the maintenance corporation with an article for the Saturday RE section?

    I’ve lived in bedroom communities too. It is harder to get people involved. It’s hard to get people involved in a lot of things because of long commutes. But that’s probably what needs to be done because government services are never going to be funded well enough to address all these problems. (The resolution would never have solved my neighborhood problems because the troublemakers were all home-grown types. That’s why the problems themselves need to be addressed and not the immigration status of the people.)

  5. Casual Observer

    Not me Bubba wrote:
    You can make all the calls you want. We’ve called the cops before on neighbors who park in front of their driveways or firehydrants on the street. We’ve called our HOA on overcrowding, lack of home maintenance (Grass a foot high, more weeds than grass, trash on the lawn, animal feces littering their front lawn because they’re too damn lazy to walk the dogs they have) and parking on the lawn…

    Bubba: Those problems will continue, as the Resolution offers no remedy — and, in fact, may worsen these problems as more families who are here legally (and there are many, many, many) continue to bail on our county. If they’re upside down on their mortgage, or simply cannot sell, they will abandon their homes. That’s happening all over the country, regardless of race.

    Your only recourse remains the same: contact Neighborhood Services and report a code violation. They are understaffed, so expect longer response times — especially as grass grows taller, homes start to deteriorate structurally, and rodents and bees/wasps/hornets move in.

    Again, the Resolution does nothing to address these issues. Frank Prinicipi suggested funding 3 additional FT inspectors for Neighborhood Services, but the BOCS rejected that motion as well.

    Our neighborhood (no HOA) has repeatedly reported several code violations over the past 12 months (including multiple unregistered junk cars, falling exterior gutters, garden and tree refuse, illegally parked commercial vehicles, etc.) — all in homes owned and lived in by families who happen to be WHITE. None of these violations has been corrected. Not. A. Single. One.

    The resolution is doing nothing for our neighborhood.

  6. Censored bybvbl

    Casual Observer, I wonder how that agency has grown as the county as grown. Has it kept pace in the staff to citizen ratio? I think it isn’t doing as good a job as it had done in the past. I don’t know whether they’re more short staffed now, whether they’re in some way legally stifled, or what. The City does an occasional sweep of all the neighborhoods, I believe, and cites people for just the problems that you’ve mentioned. It would be nice if the county could take a few neighborhoods at a time and do the same. Of course, it would have helped to have those three extra inspectors.

  7. Ruby

    Censored,
    The county does sweeps too! Maureen Caddigan just requested it for a neighborhood in the Dumfries District. Loch Lomond got there initial visits in March, and changes have been seen.

  8. Not Me, Bubba

    Censored:

    “IOW, does a group of homeowners report to the corporation that collects the dues? Can they put forth a stronger request for maintenance? Can this group be voted out if they’re not pushing enough for neighborhood clean-up?”

    Yes. And the only thing they have managed to do is raise fees. And I know this from the “newsletter” that is sent out monthly. Raising fees is the only solution they have come up with. As one often reads: “If neighbors don’t do X,Y and Z we’ll be sending inspectors out to assess fines…if fines are given, they must be paid within 10 days, if not paid, fines will DOUBLE, if still not paid, fines will triple! And if still not paid…well….YOU’LL BE SORRY!”

    “The resolution would never have solved my neighborhood problems because the troublemakers were all home-grown types. That’s why the problems themselves need to be addressed and not the immigration status of the people.”

    Well, since the resolution has been enacted a house full of people who were tied to drugs (whether they dealt them or just did them en masse is still up for speculation) left overnight. They rented. They did no home maintenance, cars came and went at all hours of the night, the police paid a visit every now and then and routinely you could see people parked in front of their home smoking pot from a pipe (I saw this MYSELF). And they were Latino. Funny, they left ASAP when that resolution was enacted. Were they legal? Illegal? Who knows. And frankly I don’t give a damn. But I do know that the neighborhood has had PEACE since they all left.

    Ironically, on another note, the landscaping vehicles that used to clutter both sides of our narrow street are greatly reduced in number – and as opposed to before, lawns are NOW being mowed….

    The police weren’t doing their jobs, the HOA wasn’t doing their jobs, the city zoning dept. wasn’t doing its job…talking to these people was going NOWHERE fast…yet the resolution passes, the lawns get mowed, less overcrowding, no more druggies down the street, and homes are actually beginning to sell again. Forgive me if I take a slightly different view as to the effectiveness of the Resolution.

    Frankly, the bottom of it is, the fact those people should never have been given loans in the first place, loans they obviously couldn’t afford – hence all the foreclosures. That is the real crime. But, aside from that the resolution helped get rid of a few renters who were quite problematic, and perhaps even a few owners. And as we are seeing on our street – if the resolution didn’t apply to them, the mortgage crisis would. Our Guatemalan neighbors are undergoing foreclosure as you read this. Their ARM re-set and they cannot afford the mortgage. We will be sad to see them leave, but they were going to stay (and did stay) after the resolution was enacted – but finances have forced them to leave.

    Frankly, I believe that if we weren’t undrgoing a massive mortgage meltdown and ALL SORTS of people lose their homes, you wouldn’t be seeing so many people leave and have the resolution to point to as the reason why. The Resolution took care of those who had the most to lose and pushed them to leave. Legal, law-abiding citizens and residents have/had nothing to fear. It just looks like the Resolution has had a HUGE impact because so MANY people are losing their homes due to dubious lending practices, and in some cases risky, irresponsible behavior on part of home-owners.

  9. SecondAlamo

    Elena @ 7:39

    I just agreed with your description. I never said anything about filth. Besides, just suggesting something is much milder than the names I’ve seen thrown around here.

    This morning I was attempting to give a description of Resolution history, but as usual you choose to belittle an honest attempt at dialogue and launch into a personal attack instead. So much for open discussion!

  10. SecondAlamo

    Censored bybvbl @ 9:05AM,

    Why do you think we have law enforcement people? Because some people will break the law no matter how much you talk to them. How do you suggest we ‘talk’ to the folks with the billboard so that they will remove it? How do you politely ask 10 of the 20 people living in a house to move out? In a perfect world we wouldn’t need rules, and simple talk would be all it takes to ensure conformity, but when that fails then stronger tactics are necessary. Besides it’s hard to carry on a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand the language.

  11. SecondAlamo

    admin @ 8:35AM,

    Check the small paragraph in the Wapo about the Manassas law suit. You make it sound so simple. Twenty guys in a house, just pick up the phone. Well, maybe you should help Manassas figure out how to end overcrowding since you have all the answers. My guess is that you would have been rooting for the people suing Manassas anyway.

  12. Elena

    SA,
    I apologize, I thought you were suggesting that we were MWB.

  13. Censored bybvbl

    SecondAlamo said on 1 May 2008 at 9:18 pm:
    Censored bybvbl @ 9:05AM,

    Why do you think we have law enforcement people? Because some people will break the law no matter how much you talk to them. How do you suggest we ‘talk’ to the folks with the billboard so that they will remove it? How do you politely ask 10 of the 20 people living in a house to move out? In a perfect world we wouldn’t need rules, and simple talk would be all it takes to ensure conformity, but when that fails then stronger tactics are necessary. Besides it’s hard to carry on a conversation with someone who doesn’t understand the language.

    SA, I’m the daughter of a federal law enforcement agent. No lecture on why they’re needed is necessary.

    I think you’re expecting a “win” on the billboard (sign). If you didn’t look at it (the sign’s presence) in that manner, it probably wouldn’t bother you as much. It’s as though you have a personal stake in its removal. The City will move along with caution as “free speech” is an issue here. I think that the sign probably would have been gone by now if it hadn’t gotten the reaction that it has gotten.

    My personal experience with overcrowding, junk cars, etc. has been that I’ve outlasted the problems. People who disregard community standards in home maintenance often disregard many things which makes their financial situations precarious so they are often transient.

    My advice to people who want to make a complaint about overcrowding, etc. is to make a factual (no exaggeration, no outright fibs) unemotional report. Get all your data together and present it rationally. No name-calling, no threats to the inspectors that if you don’t do this, I’ll…. I’ve only had a problem with one zoning inspector who tried to blow me off when I relayed that a neighbor was running his business off the side of the road. I said, “Let me make sure I understand this. Are you saying that XXX can leave containers of chlorine, hoses, and tools in the road right-of-way in front of his house as he loads and unloads his truck each day rather than having to store them in his shed?” He was cited within a week. That was probably the bluntest I had to be.

    Overcrowding is probably the most irritating, least easily solveable problem. The onus to prove that the resdients aren’t related will fall on the complainer.

  14. Not Me, Bubba

    “My personal experience with overcrowding, junk cars, etc. has been that I’ve outlasted the problems. People who disregard community standards in home maintenance often disregard many things which makes their financial situations precarious so they are often transient.”

    And could that not be a key reason why PWC is seeing an exodus of its Latino population instead of the resolution? If you do some research on RealtyTrac as to whose homes are in pre-foreclosure, foreclosure or bank-owned you will see that the overwhelming majortity of names linked to these properties are Latino/HIspanic (My search was in Manassas/Manassas Park). The same people who have been lumped in with the overcrowding/home neglect issues that have concerened PWC for the past few years.

    In researching my own neighborhood, just my small area – EVERY SINGLE HOME that is in pre-foreclosure/auction/bank-owned was mortgaged to a Latino family/owner. The public records are there for anyone to view. The majority of these homes were neglected AND overcrowded (note I said majority, not ALL).

    Pretty darn coincidental, no?

  15. Michael

    Moon-howler at 11:15.

    Obviously you didn’t understand what I said.
    Minor traffic stops IS how you find these subversive terrorists. They are usually laying low and not breaking any other laws ON PURPOSE, until they are ready to accomplish their mission. They are discovered “illegal” (after the 9-11 commission report investigated how they got in) at minor traffic stops, but in the past have been released with no check of their legal status until they blow up a building.

    http://www.cis.org/articles/2003/back603.html

  16. Censored bybvbl

    Not Me, Bubba, the overcrowding situations that I know something about have involved whites. One is a large family with a stay-at-home husband who is clueless about yard work. The family’s dog is the only one running loose in the neighborhood and their driveway and part of the cul-de-sac are crammed with cars. The other concerned people who had a preference for spending their bucks on drugs and had marginal skills. The one man who worked steadily had a job in construction with its typical impacts, the housing market and weather.

    I think that the downturn in construction, the interest rate increase for ARMs, the threat of the resolution, the escalation in food and gasoline costs are all contributing factors in foreclosures. People were allowed mortgages for prices and terms that any sane or savvy person would have run from.

  17. Not Me, Bubba

    Well censored, in my neighborhood I have proof that it isn’t the whites who are foreclosing. And the majority of those who are foreclosing were/are the slobs. You don’t stay in homes/neighborhoods you have been foreclosed upon.

    And FYI – the foreclosures started/began a year ago, well before the resolution, high gas prices and at the onset of the construction downturn.

    But I think you said it best, slovenly people who don’t give a darn tend to be transient and fiscally unsound. Seems to me PWC has had its fair share of them and is NOW paying the price. Legal/Illegal…doesn’t matter. But a whole lot of people who shouldn’t have been given mortgages were – and it just appears that in my neck o’the woods those people were the Latinos – the landscapers, day laborers, etc.

  18. Not Me, Bubba

    Oh Michael – now the Latinos are subversive terrorists? Tell me, how many inmates at Gunantanamo were apprehended via a minor traffic stop??? ROTFLMAO.

    Yeah – a report from 2003 sure is relevant to today’s cunundrum….

    Please.

  19. Censored bybvbl

    “You don’t stay in homes/neighborhoods you have been foreclosed upon.”

    Not Me, Bubba, maybe the banks are stricter here because we (general “we” as some jurisdictions have been hit harder than others)haven’t had the foreclosures California has had, but someone I know said her nephew and his family are facing foreclosure but because there are so many foreclosures in their area, they’ve lived in their house for more than a year without making any payments. The bank would rather have the home occupied and taken care of than vacant. What a deal.

  20. Not Me, Bubba

    “but someone I know said her nephew and his family are facing foreclosure but because there are so many foreclosures in their area, they’ve lived in their house for more than a year without making any payments. The bank would rather have the home occupied and taken care of than vacant. What a deal.”

    Well, I’m sure squatting is a nice way to live – and squatters do a neighborhood good!

    I am sure some banks would like their homes occupied, but on our street you can clearly see the lockboxes and signs in the windows. And frankly As a mortgage payer, I’d rather have those homes empty than freeloaders living it high on the hog while I work and pay my dues. People on our street started abandoning homes about a year ago – all due to foreclosures. Sorry they found themselves in dire straits, but such is life.

  21. Censored bybvbl

    Not Me, Bubba, the family I mentioned had to make a real sacrifice (sarcasm alert). They had to sell the SUV and sports Beemer, take the kiddos out of private school and private piano lessons, had to end the overseas vacations and designer clothes. But they lived mortgage-free for a year. That’s what flukey financing will get you…at least in that area in California.

  22. Elena

    Michael,
    Does it concern you that all the information you post continues to be connected to FAIR?

    “Center for Immigration Studies
    Origins, History, and Impact

    The Center for Immigration Studies was founded in 1985 as a spin-off of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Another FAIR spin-off is the Immigration Reform Law Institute, which functions as the litigation arm of FAIR, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.”

  23. Michael

    I see both sides slanting everything. I read both sides and come to my own conclusions about who is lying more. In this case I think the SPLC is lying more. You cannot deny the videos, but you can slant them as is being done by both sides (9500 Liberty for example)

    The truth is somewhere left of full right, not right of full left, which is where I think the stuff published by SPLC is.

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