The irony of yesterdays vote was that it was business as usual in Prince William County. Poor Pete Candland had a first row seat to the systemic sickness on our Board.
The amendments John Jenkins proposed were not integral to the problem of discretionary spending, and yet, with no due process, the amendments were passed. Lest we forget, this was simply an example of business as usual. Although Mike May voted yes, his tone was one of indulging a petulant child. He was the only one offering an explanation of how these amendments were simply reinforcing county policy for elected officials.
It is interesting that the events yesterday have brought to the forefront a problem that has existed for as long as I have been watching government in PWC.
How many times has an applicant come before the Board with last minute changes to a development and citizens would have had not time to review the changed and comment? The answer it too many to count.
One of the most egregious examples of cutting citizens out of the process was the recent Environment Chapter update.
Approval of these last minute changes allow input from one special interest group (developers) without providing an equal opportunity to all stakeholders, notably citizens and community organizations.
The effect of these changes is to shift the cost of stormwater management away from developers, forcing local residents to pay higher stormwater fees.
Corey Stewart, having proposed last minute changes from the Dias, was not even able to explain the consequences of those changes! We all can guess why, was he the original author, I wonder , who could it have really been? And yet, those changed occurred, weakening the rules for Developers. Why was the environment chapter important? Who pays for poor development practices when there is flooding? Yes folks, we do, the taxpayers. Who will pay for the fines levied by the EPA when we fail the Chesapeake Bay clean up requirements? Correct again, the taxpayers.
The examples are endless, the Parks and Open Space Chapter update, once again, last minute changes that allowed little citizen input.
The irony is that Pete Candland was hoping to create a more transparent process with greater citizen input, and yet, as the most real life example of how broken our process is in PWC, he was able to witness how easy it is to loop citizens out of their own government. Proposed last minute changes and offer no opportunaity for comprehsive debate or a reasonable to time to reflect of the consequences of those changes.
For me, this is simply the first battle in a long war to create a better government where citizens have an opportunity to become participants and not just powerless bystanders. I am tired of last minute changes that loop citizens out of government.
Keep up the honest approach Supervisor Candland, you have the momentum.