An article on third page of the Prince William Extra in The Washington Post this morning, “Residents Given Reins to Improve Neighborhoods: Manassas Program Lets Neighbors Discuss Issues, Generate Solutions:


Check out the Neighborhood Leaders Group through the county also – their next meeting is Wednesday, March 11 from 7 – 8:30pm and is in the Occoquan Room of the McCoart Building.




34 Thoughts to “Neighborhood Solutions”

  1. Fire N Ice

    This is the very group that Chris invited HSM and BVBL to come to on the ground level, when these groups were first formed. Her invitation was removed by the blog owner.

    So much for trying to do things in a civilized manner. It is good to see that some ignored his lack of acceptance. Good luck to these people who are willing to try a new approach towards a stronger community. Sometimes it takes great courage to look at someone else’s idea instead of festering in one’s own way of thinking.

  2. Second-Alamo

    This is great if the goal is to bring the neighborhoods back to 1988 status, but I get the feeling that there would be great opposition. I hope that some of the problems related to the new immigrants and their conflicts of culture won’t become a platform to push for acceptance of their culture, but to push for their assimilation into our culture. In other words become Americans. If it just becomes a big pro-diversity discussion, then the neighborhoods won’t be improved. We’ve been discussing that for years. I guess the meaning of the word ‘improvement’ needs to be defined in terms of American standards, and not those of other cultures. After all, this is still America (isn’t it?).

  3. Is there a reason we need to bring ANYTHING back to 1988?

    Time waits for no one.

    Besides, I wouldn’t want big hair again.

  4. Moon-howler

    SA, you have to look forward. Shoot, I wish I could take ME back to 1988. A different demographic lived in our communities then. The one I notice the most is the absence of teenagers. My neighborhood has almost none. Now, that is not necessarily a bad thing…..

    Who wouldn’t want to be 21 years younger. What is so special about 1988 if I might ask?

    Neighorhoods have changed. How do you get new neighbors to be American if no one talks to anyone?

  5. I hope that some of the problems related to the new immigrants and their conflicts of culture won’t become a platform to push for acceptance of their culture, but to push for their assimilation into our culture. In other words become Americans. If it just becomes a big pro-diversity discussion, then the neighborhoods won’t be improved. We’ve been discussing that for years. I guess the meaning of the word ‘improvement’ needs to be defined in terms of American standards, and not those of other cultures. After all, this is still America (isn’t it?).

    I think this kind of sentiment is widespread among middle white america.

    They are the only ones who speak about ‘American culture’ as if they own it. As if it proceeds from them.

    They honestly do not see it as racist though it is. That’s why when they ask a person of color ‘where are you from’, and the response is ‘chicago’, and they follow up with ‘no, where are you really from’. What they’re really saying is ‘i grew up my whole life associating everything American and good with white. I never bothered to question what I was told. Please alter your whole life so my precious sense of entitlement is never challenged’. It’s only white people who consistently manifest a sense of entitlement like this while at the same time hypocritically saying they stand for freedom.

    When you open the American history books, most of what you will see is white faces and the stories of white people. People of color were always here. They always had a history here. But their story was simply never included since they never had their hands on the levers of power. So for people like SA, it really is a foreign culture although it’s anything but. But you’ll find their stories, if you try. They’re out there.

  6. Lucky Duck

    How would you have any inside knowledge about what is “widespread among middle white America”? You’re not white and as you put forth, that means you could never understand the “inside” of the other culture.

    That’s like me saying I know what makes the Hispanic community tick, and as you have indicated in previous diatribes, that’s not possible because I am not Hispanic.

    You can’t have it both ways…I think you just like to insult Whites. Which of course, takes away any legitimacy your statements rest upon.

  7. Lucky Duck

    The facts are that every culture that joined American Society has assimilated into the prevailing American culture, that includes language and other customs. Yes, the previous waves retained parts of their old country culture, but they entered into American culture.

    I understand what SA is saying..if you join the culture, adapt to the norms and mores of that society. Don’t try to force everyone else to change to meet your previous home’s rules. The norms here maybe different and you joined them, those here did not join you.

  8. YankeeForever

    I hated the “big hair” of the ’80’s too, but I agree that neighborhood life was much better then than it is now. In the ’80s, I know all the kids’ names on my block, neighbors hung outside in the evenings and chatted. That just isn’t all that common anymore in many places, maybe because the kids of the ’80s didn’t have so many computer and videogame resources to keep them inside, who knows?

    I know that there are very many nice Latinos out there, but unfortunately they didn’t choose to move into my neighborhood. When the ones who did come here started crowding up some of the houses, I made an effot to be friendly–waving and smiling when I walked my dog or whatever the usual neighborly courtesies. But I can tell you that I became less friendly when some of them began catcalling my daughters (and middle-aged me, for God’s sake), playing loud music at all hours and clogging up our street with cars and trailers.

    And I certainly don’t think I objected to those behaviors because of some warped sense of “white entitlement.” Expecting common courtesy is not “white entitlement,” it’s just expecting common courtesy. Acting like a pig in your neighborhood isn’t acting Latino, or black or anything of the kind. It is simply acting like a pig. We have a right to expect people to behave in ways that maintain our property values and our right to a safe, friendly, attractive neighborhood. I think that would be my definition of “assimilation.” Cook what you want, speak whatever language you want, listen to your music (but not at all hours), but respect your neighbors, as you would expect them to respect you if they were visiting or living in your native country.

  9. Moon-howler

    I think that YankeeForever is simply asking people to be good neighbors, regardless of their ethnic background. Seems fair to me.

    As I read Mackie’s response, I thought about some of my black friends who have said pretty much what SA, Lucky Duck, and Yank said. How does that fit in to my white entitlement?

  10. Second-Alamo


    It’s ‘American as hot apple pie’ NOT ‘American as Cinco de Mayo’! Get with the program.

  11. @Moon-howler

    Non whites are perfectly capable of absorbing the bigotry in society and internalizing it. Blacks oftentimes engage in bigotry against other blacks.

    That’s how it fits Moon-howler. Any other questions?

  12. Censored bybvbl

    No one ever seems to successfully describe just what “American culture” is. It differs by socio-economic status, locale, often times religion, education, race, etc.

    What I see changing in some neighborhoods is economic status. Sub-prime loans made a lot of migration to and from neighborhoods possible and with that migration came culture/class clash in some instances. A group of single men, whether frat boys or construction workers, living in a house without a female to whip them into shape pretty much elicits the same level of annoyance from neighbors when there’s no one to yell – Put the toilet seat up! Take out the trash! Pick up your beer cans/mess! (Yeah – it’s a sexist remark.) Their culture as singles sharing a house may have more in common regardless of their ethnicity. It’s the American culture of Animal House.

  13. Lucky Ducky said,

    The facts are that every culture that joined American Society has assimilated into the prevailing American culture, that includes language and other customs. Yes, the previous waves retained parts of their old country culture, but they entered into American culture.

    No. Their differences were beaten out of them.

    Blacks lost everything, even their own names. American Indians who weren’t murdered had their kids forcibly placed in boarding schools to learn ‘the white mans ways’ and prohibited from speaking the language of their parents. Asians never had a large enough presence and tried to assimilate, but even they were relocated to concentration camps. Germans and Italians stopped speaking German and Italian during world war 2 out of fear (remember the little old lady in this video at the BOCS ).

    On and on, down through history. The same cycle.

    But this time is different. Finally.

    We open our history books and read about what a great man George Washington was. But it’s harder to find americans who know about the letters he wrote where he gave orders to commit genocide against native americans. Orders that could have just as easily come from a Waffen SS officer wiping out a slavic village on the eastern front.

    We are a melting pot in spite of ourselves. Because all the waves of immigrants persevered in the face of bigotry. Not all of them made it. But enough did. Now white america wants to take the credit! Haha. Read the real history books. It’s all there. In fact, it was written on Fernandez’s Wall.

  14. “No. Their differences were beaten out of them.”

    Mackie, to some extent, I agree with you.

    That said, there should be a balance, a give and take, from everyone. Keep your culture (black, white, Hispanic, Italian, Jewish, Asian, and anyone else), yes, but wave at your neighbors and pick up your trash as well. Those are things we expect from EVERYONE no matter what their ethnicity.

    Note, these irritations have nothing to do with immigration, but there are those who would have us believe they do.

  15. Alanna

    If we are truly a melting pot then it seems that we too might incorporate something from their culture.

  16. Lucky Duck

    Alana, I agree completely agree with your comment. Elements of all the different cultures are evident in our society and our County. In business, food, governmental actions (bilingual information) and of course in the people. This is the point I made earlier, that parts of the immigrating culture enter into American society, but they don’t “take over” or overwhelm the host culture. Their parts add to and enhance the common culture.

  17. Moon-howler

    Mackie, that sure takes some of the ‘white’ out of ‘white priviledge.’ I honestly don’t see how you stand to live in this country as much as you seem to hate it. Frankly, I am just beginning to find this blog horribly tiresome because of some of your off the wall comments about white people and about, perhaps unknowingly, about Americans.

    Alanna, I think America has been soaking it up, all along. I say that as St. Patricks Day comes beating down on us. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. It has become a fine old American tradition to celebrate a wee bit o Ireland on such a fine day.

  18. YankeeForever

    Part of the problem lies in our bonehead politicians. Take the City of Manassas, for example, when they tried to define “family.” That had failure and potential litigation written all over it from day one. After something stupid like that, everything starts to look like a witchhunt.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way in favor of illegal immigration. We as a nation need to do something, but it needs to make sense.

  19. Moon-howler

    Some folks might want to note that the Neighborhood Improvement Groups are the old generic study circles, all grown up. I hope to see more articles on these groups. Wow!

  20. Elena

    But what is Amerian SA? It isn’t like we are indigenous for centuries. We all came here with a heritage and many of us maintain that heritage. We can all still love our various backgrounds,be proud of whence we came AND still be 100% American. Even Corey has a scottish flag up in his office I believe. Do I believe that everyone should attempt to learn English, you betcha, but for some older immigrants, that may be more difficult. @Second-Alamo

  21. Elena

    Hi Lucky, I agree,mostly with your premise. But what is American culture? There are pockets of cities that look very little like your typical “america” whether they are asian, middle eastern, etc. Being American, to me, is more than just apple pie, alot more, it is a belief system, a belief in the Declaration of Independence, a belief in a bold new experiment that ties us all together, reglardless of where we our ancestors were born. @Lucky Duck

  22. Second-Alamo

    The American Revolution. That’s American culture. That’s where it started. Go to Williamsburg and see for yourself. British colonies started this country. That’s the main American heritage. As much as those who fear political correctness hate to admit it, but yes America was started by Anglos. I would imagine that history will some day be rewritten to avoid that bit of information. So all those that bitch about white people should realize that, like it or not, Anglo culture is the original American culture!

    There, now you can all start with the racism comments. I’m just getting tired of every other countries imports putting down anything that has to do with the accomplishments or ‘culture’ of the white majority. To me that’s America, and that is what past immigrants have aspired to assimilate into, not to supplant as is being done today.

  23. Censored bybvbl

    SA, I, for one, am glad American culture evolved beyond landed white guys having total power. Your complaints as a white guy don’t elicit a lot of sympathy because the majority of people in this country or their relatives have been on the short end of the stick in the past – that majority being females and males who weren’t/aren’t white or European. Using your gauge for American culture, my ancestors – who weren’t British but German, Irish, and Finns – would have contributed nothing of importance or nothing “American”. One of the Finns worked on a project that saved America’s butt though probably wasn’t an overall positive contribution for mankind.

    Neighborhoods evolve. Mine went from a seasonal playground to permanent residences to slummy crime capital to a relatively calmed-down mixture. Zoning, animal control, the police department, the health department, etc. have taken care of the problems when I’ve called them. I haven’t called the BOCS and asked them to deport all the druggies, the mentally ill, the good ole boys.

    Jeezy peezy, what a bunch of whiners some of you white guys have become when you’ve had to sample a bit of what the majority of us have lived with or experienced in the past. Thanks goodness that younger people have moved beyond some of this crapola!

    Slap my hand, Moon-howler!

  24. bubberella

    Actually, there were already many cultures on this continent when the British got here.

  25. Moon-howler

    Sensored, I can’t slap it. Big part of me agrees with you.

    I believe women and blacks came to America the same year. Neither of these groups had any power to speak of. Therefore, technically, SA is correct. Anglo men formed government of the United States. However, other groups contributed to the cultural aspect of what has made America. Much of the culture also depends on where you live.

  26. Second-Alamo

    I’m reciting historical facts, and from the sound of the responses I was correct in that given a chance you would delete it from the history books. What exactly do the 13 stripes symbolize on the American flag? Look it up if you don’t know. Give credit where credit is due. This country began as British colonies, and so there is where America got its start. Not German, Swiss, French, India, Africa, Mexican, or Asian colonies, but British colonies. Sorry that the founding fathers of this great country weren’t minority members, but then that’s just how it is. Can’t change history, rewrite it maybe, but can’t change it. Here’s one for you Censored, how many more generations are we going to have to listen to people whine about being victims hundreds of years ago? That part of history you’ll never delete will you? Fly that American flag proudly, I do!

  27. Second-Alamo


    War cemeteries around the world are full of whining white guys as you so nicely put it. Think about that for a moment before you start trashing an entire race. The vast majority of the people who have fought and died defending this nation were whining white guys. If anybody can be accused of whining, it sure ISN’T the white guys!

  28. Moon-howler

    In fairness, there are some black guys, asian guys, Native American guys, who fought and died in our wars. There are even some females in those cemeteries.

    And speaking of women, Barbie is 50 today.

    SA, I think that you make a valid point that the 13 original colonies started out as British Colonies. However, NY was settled by the Dutch,
    PA had English and German settlers, and the Irish popped in everywhere they could. Perhaps they were British original colonies because Britain claimed them and backed up that claim with an army rather that anything else.

  29. Censored bybvbl

    SA, you’re lucky. My long response was eaten by my computer.

    Most white guys aren’t whiners. It seems to be limited mainly to older guys who’ve skated by on their whiteness. Not that they are/were lazy, but that they banned the competition for a long period of time and are now having to share.

    Florida, California, Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico didn’t start as British colonies. The US has evolved and will continue to do so. It’s had a mix of influences from the beginning. And, hey, didn’t we kick those Brits out!?

    Just address the residential problems for what they are – zoning violations, noise violations, or other offenses and quit concentrating on the ethnicity of the “offenders”. You can’t tell by looking at people whether they’re here legally or not. Don’t get so worked up about their immigration status being the “problem” and concentrate on resolving the actual violations.

  30. Second-Alamo


    I said the ‘vast majority’ of those who fought were white (not necessarily Anglo), not everyone.


    I’m all for discussing the problems, it’s just that sometimes people feel that blasting whites is Ok, but blasting a minority is taboo. Minorities are human also, as everyone here will attest, so they are fair game in that they have faults that need to be addressed without the term racism being used as a defense.

  31. Censored bybvbl

    SA, the problem was that instead of addressing the faults which all individuals and neighborhoods have, HSM came out guns ablazing after immigrants – whose status they had no way of knowing. Let’s face facts – the US is not going to deport everyone here illegally. Those who screech the loudest about sending all immigrants packing are usually those most likely to be penny-pinchers with their tax dollars. They simply will not be willing to pay for the effort to accomplish the task. So, the people will remain. Now what? It becomes time to quit bitching and work on common solutions. Locally the Study Circles/Neighborhood groups offer an opportunity to do just that – find a common goal or problem to be solved and address that.

    Their children – because of our school system – will be better educated and more likely to move right up the ladder and be contributing citizens. The parents may stay at lower paying jobs, but so do many native born citizens either because they refuse to relocate to areas which have better job opportunities, have limited educations, or a host of other problems/reasons. You and I pay taxes which support these people as well.

  32. Second-Alamo


    I’ve lived in the area since 1980, and know that the problems that surfaced were indeed related to the huge and sudden increase in immigrant population legal or otherwise. I don’t recall any marches in the streets, or complaints of overcrowding before their arrival. Just as we have reduced our standards of education to appease certain minorities, we are now expected to reduce our standards of living as well, and that is the beginning of the end of what I’ve worked for in raising my family in this community. Change is normal, but change for the worst must be stopped by any legal means possible, and if it means removing those that would destroy your surroundings then so be it. The problem is that they have everything to gain, and we have everything to lose.

  33. I don’t think you should have a problem with anyone just because they’re white.

    But you should have a problem with bigotry since it’s an indirect assault life itself.

    Sure, anyone can be bigoted but, in this country at least, it’s mostly whites who are in positions of power and can actually exercise their bigotry on a mass scale. That’s the inescapably crucial difference. You cannot have an honest debate and ignore that fact. Whites can work their will on their neighbors as they have in PWC. That’s the common sense reason why it’s their bigotry that gets the lions share of the attention. Will we reach a point where minorities will become the majority and exercise mass bigotry against whites? Perhaps, maybe someday 50 years in the future. If that ever becomes a problem, it can and should be addressed when it actually exists.

    But why would anyone worry about systematic bigotry that might or might not exist 50 years in the future? While ignoring the white collectivist mindset that leads to real mass bigotry in the here and now?

  34. Censored bybvbl

    SA, your neighborhood problems are probably caused more by sub-prime loans than by the immigration status of your neighbors. People were allowed to buy more house than they could afford. Houses are money pits – repairs, taxes, equipment for upkeep, insurance, etc. New homeowners usually don’t know just how expensive they’ll be so many are ill prepared for the cost and upkeep. If your neighborhood was already “affordable”, you probably got a large number of new homeowners or investors. As for surprise additions to the neighborhood – chickens, large work vehicles – you have to consider that some people may not know any better than to put these things in a residential area. First communicate with them and if that doesn’t work, you know who to call. But, it would be better for some older neighborhoods if residents could form a civic association or some form of community group which was open to everyone – some group willing to represent them before the BOCS. Block parties, meetings, etc. are a means of getting to know your neighbors and realizing that most of them aren’t all that scarey.

    SA, a good and needed discussion centers on whether we as Americans should expect to have a higher and higher standard of living and the toll that standard has on our small planet.

    Mackie is right in that if you don’t discuss who’s been in a position of power and how that power has been used, you can’t have an honest debate.

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