Guest Post by Cindy Brookshire.

Cindy was one of the speakers at citizen time last night in the City of Manassas. She shares her reflections.

Disclaimer: All guest posts are the opinion of the poster and do not necessarily represent the views of administration. M-H

I was there for the full time of citizen comment. I was in the minority – only four of us spoke in defense of this shop owner: the attorney for KK Temptations, a patron of the MVC store near Kindercare on Mathis Ave, the owner of the Manassas Junction Bed & Breakfast and me, another woman-owned small business owner in the City of Manassas. I was the only one of the four who stayed for the whole 3+ hours.

And despite that, it didn’t have the feel of a pitchfork and torches event. I knew a good many people in the room – longtime residents of the City, parishioners of local churches, parents involved in their schools. There were counselors and doctors and those with careers in law enforcement. There were business owners in Old Town. There were people from my neighborhood watch, and the Chief of Police, Doug Keen.

I found many of the comments very eloquent – one elderly man spoke so beautifully about the love between a man and a woman, and he addressed the gathering more than to the council, that when Mayor Parrish had to interrupt him to tell him he was going over time, we didn’t want him to stop. Another young man got up and spoke and anyone would have been proud of him.

There were funny moments, too. A man overheard someone asking a city official during the break, “How did this happen?” and the answer was “It just fell through the cracks.” So he got up to speak about how when he was new to Manassas he parked his commercial vehicle in his driveway just so, and got a letter and a subsequent visit from a zoning official, who told him he was parked on a crack. So he admonished the council to go up to their own zoning department and “fix the crack.”

There were some threats – a business owner who said he would not renew his lease if this opened, representatives from the local Catholic school that they would stop allowing students to come into Old Town at lunchtime, and a question to the attorneys if it was legal to videotape people going into the shop and stream it live to the Internet.

There were some digs – who were these owners, why did they pick this location, why aren’t they opening it in Centreville, what kind of good neighbors are they, coming in when they know there’s this much opposition.

But the fact is, this store will open, they will have a sign up after it is reviewed by the architectural board, they can keep up the current temporary wording because there’s a precedent that the City has allowed other businesses to keep up their temporary signs. The council passed a resolution to study the negative secondary effects of adult-oriented businesses, both current ones and future. One council member tried to slip abortion clinics into the resolution, but they didn’t vote it in because they didn’t want it to dilute the key issue.

Del. Bob Marshall appeared at the end, long enough embrace his colleague, Del. Miller, and suggest roundabout ways to oust the business, like making sure their lease doesn’t get renewed.

It wasn’t easy to stand up and speak in defense of this store owner. But I’m proud that I did. She did everything legal and she has a right to open her shop. I still respect Del. Miller but I think he and others have mischaracterized this store and prejudged this business owner. I talked to several shop owners who said she met them and talked with them. She has been trying to be a good neighbor, but Manassas has not been welcoming.

There’s a memo that City Attorney Bob Bendall circulated that is for public release. It has good information in it if you want me to key it in, I can, but I have two meetings this morning and will have to do it later. I expected the headline in the News & Messenger to be his quote: “The pig is in the parlor. Now how do we get it out?”

25 Thoughts to “Reflections from the Council Meeting….”

  1. Thank you, Cindy.

    Cindy is always kind to others. I heard she did an excellent job last night. Kudos to Cindy.

    We had our people there. They didn’t speak. They listened and took notes. My husband was there and he felt that there were a few torches and pitchforks for sure. However, he said there were a lot of old folks, many who he would bet money had never been close to an adult boutique. Others told me there was a great deal of righteous indignation and hysteria from some. Still others came out of curiosity. The politicians were there. (surprise)
    One was even spotted lurking outside. I wonder if he was leafleting cars this time.

    It was a see and be seen kind of night.

  2. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    My favorite line: patron of the MVC near Kindercare on Mathis Ave.

    Do I smell a little field trip for the wee lads & lasses?

  3. Kids being dropped off at the Library race right on over to it. The Parkside kids don’t even take the bus home. They flock over to MVC.

    Kindercare is closer. They can go up to the light at Breeden and Mathis and cross right on over.

    My take is, its good enough for the 1100 Parkside (PW County) kids and the private daycare Kinder Care but don’t let any adult store, even one that isn’t a movie rental place, get near those sacred City kids at Osbourn or Elizabeth Ann Seton.

  4. Sorry Slow, I am feeling hateful right this minute because of the nastiness I am having emailed to me from another blog. There is simply no reason for any thug who makes a habit of calling women names to be calling Cindy names.

    No one individual does more for other people, expecting nothing in return, than Cindy Brookshire. She goes out and picks up trash out of public parks, helps feed the hungry and those who volunteer, she makes apple pies for the masses. You know, the things most Americans don’t want to do.

    Cindy is a well-respected leader in the City of Manassas. I don’t think the good City people will take kindly to one of their own being called names.

  5. City Attorney Bob Bendall’s memo, “Local Control Over Adult Businesses” has been posted on the City website. I encourage everyone to read it.

  6. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    Well, you’re pretty darn funny when you’re being hateful! I got a good belly-laugh over that!

  7. marinm

    I spoke to a friend about the zoning issue for adult stores in PWC vs. Manassas and noticed that it’s harder and more expensive to get a concealed weapons permit than it is to open up an adult business in PWC. Sure both permits are ‘shall’ issue rather than ‘may’ issue but the adult business requires a yearly background check on the owner, fingerprints and a $400 fee..

    Let the free market reign. Pistols and porn, I say!

  8. marinm

    My comments are in error according to Cindy’s link. Looks like the ordinance in PWC was gutted. Sorry for any confusion.

  9. Andy H

    @marinm – that’s correct. Half of the PWC law died in federal court and the balance is, more or less, a clarification of established law….

  10. Welcome Andy H.

    Please everyone read the memo handed out by Mr. Bendall. I was too lazy to go scan it and post it last night. I am glad it is posted.

    It clears up a lot of misinformation.

  11. Big Dog

    All had been said in the first hour, but not by everybody – that took three
    more hours.

    Midway in the process the Mayor suggested if someone agreed with the person
    speaking before them “just say ditto” — number of the next two dozen
    speakers who took his advice — zero.

  12. @Moon-howler
    Even though I don’t agree about having the store in Old Town, I can say that Cindy ROCKS! She is one of my role models for staying calm and focused when discussing issues like immigration. If I had a fraction of the patience and verbal restraint she has, I would consider myself a better person. Cindy is very articulate, kind, talented and community oriented. I can’t say enough good things about her!

  13. Big Dog, probably because there are just too many people who are in love with their own voice and their own sense of righteousness.

    There is never a shortage of self righteous.

    Does the city do like the county does and make the non residents wait until after all the residents have spoken?

  14. LOLOL! Oh, this is rich. Is there some kind of scale being used to determine the criteria set forth (below)? Are there tests being run somewhere to determine what a “shameful or morbid interest in nudity” is?

    “…but a movie or other item is obscene only if
    considered as a whole, [it] has as its dominant theme or purpose an appeal to the prurient interest in sex, that is, a shameful or morbid interest in nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, excretory functions or products thereof or sadomasochistic abuse, and which goes substantially beyond customary limits of candor in description or representation of such matters and which, taken as a whole, does not have serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

  15. Big Dog

    Residents and non-residents are treated the same at
    City of Manassas public comment times. Nobody
    is pushed to the back of the line.

  16. Big Dog

    And Kudos to Cindy for having the courage to state her views in
    front of a large crowd that was strongly expressing a very different

  17. I guess that is egalitarian, Big Dog. The county moonhowlings folks remained chose not to speak because we weren’t city folks.

    I know some of our city friends resented to idea of country folks telling the elected officials we are right behind you when it wasn’t their jurisdiction who stood the chance of getting sued for taking a wrong legal step.

    I agree, obviously, with you about Cindy. I was disappointed to see another blog calling her names. It just wasn’t necessary. We can disagree without singling out one individual who had the courage to stand up and exercise her first amendment rights.

    Shame on Greg for doing that. Yes, he had the right to do it, but was it wise? decent? polite? gentlemanly? Cindy has more courage in her little toe than he does in his whole body. She stood firm when she didn’t have a pep rally surrounding her.

  18. I have had several long, protracted conversations with one of the local politicians involved in this issue. I have not posted my conversation with him on this blog nor have I revealed any of the he said/she said that went on. The conversation was between him and me.

    I could have come running on here and said “so and so said this, and so and so said that.” I didn’t do that because I feel that kind of behavior lacks honor. It turns a fair fight or disagreement into something dishonorable. Singling out Cindy lacked honor and I would hope that City of Manassas people, regardless of their position on KK Temptations, would let the person know about it.

    We can all do a dust-up over things we disagree on. And when that dust settles, we all have to live in the same community. We need to remember that as we do our dust-ups. That should govern the rules of engagement.

  19. Elena

    You were very brave, to be in a crowd so overwhelmingly in oppostion to your view. Thank you for being you, in being so gracious in your assessment of last nights event.

  20. Elena

    I just wanted to add that whomever “patty” is on the other site, she should be ashamed of herself. She reminds me of those middle school girls that thought they were so much better than us regular kids. You know, the ones that look down their nose at you as you walked by, not bothering anyone.

    Cindy Brookshire has one of most giving “reputations” that I know, she never says a bad thing about anyone, not even in private, and really LIVES her life by the most important rule….The Golden Rule. Maybe some people are so caught up in “rule of law” they forgot the Golden rule. We can have different opinions, but it is HOW we express them that makes all the difference.

  21. Cindy even defended her sorry a$$, Elena. Cindy Brookshire talk the talks and walks the walk. The person you are talking about just talks the talk. Isn’t that what false prophets do?

    Shame on the crowd that bible thumps while castigating their neighbors for exercising their first amendments rights. WWJD?

    Cindy is never unkind to people. The thumpers should try to emulate her behavior.

  22. AndyH

    BigDog is right, we accept comments from all. I do admit to a certain bias towards the City folks but sometimes thems that ain’t neck deep in something have an interesting viewpoint so I try hard to keep an open mind.

    It always helps if you outsiders keep an even tone…;)

    btw, I don’t know that I agree entirely with Cindy but she’s got guts…

  23. Indeed she does. And she shows it every day, not just Tuesday night.

    You make an interesting point about sometimes the outsiders see something from a point of view the insiders can’t see because they are too close to the situation.

  24. Lafayette

    Andy & Big Dog,
    I’ve always found the City Council to be quite welcoming to us “county folk”. I think the county is too to so degree. The marathon Citizens’ Time meeting made those that didn’t live in the county go last. I feel those from the two cities should have been in the line up with county citizens.

    I hope the city will be welcoming when I come over to speak on the Reopening of Lake Manassas. I want to take my daughter fishing there like the other three generations of our family had up until 10 long years ago.

    Bravo to your bravery to stand up and speak out.

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