WOODBRIDGE — An effort to rename Route 1 — Jefferson Davis Highway — in Prince William County failed to gain the support of multiple elected leaders, Tuesday night.
Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank Principi wanted to change the moniker of the highway, named after Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The Democrat said the highway’s name represents “bigotry and oppression.”
“My intention is not to ignore or to erase history…These names are haunting, and they serve as a reminder of a time of great pain, suffering, and great loss,” said Principi.
His motion failed to gain a second, and that drew the ire of many who came to speak to the Board of Supervisors in favor of the name change.
The group shouted “shame, shame, shame” before Chairman Corey Stewart; At-large ordered the audience out of the Board Chambers.
Others also shouted at John Jenkins, a long-serving Democrat on the board, for not supporting his fellow Democrat’s motion.
“You call yourself a Democrat,” cried one person as the audience got out of their seats to exit the room.
After the audience cleared the room, a video of the meeting captured Potomac District Supervisor Maureen Caddigan’s displeasure with the crowd.
“I can’t believe this. This is what it has come down to?” she asked. “They’ve got to start obeying our rules…they are the rudest people… I’ve been on a lot of boards but this…”
The crowd was extremely rude. Organizations have their own rules and procedures. The BOCS is no different. Corey was right to clear the room rather than dealing with petulant, ill-mannered, insulting behavior.
Shame on Frank Principi. Why compare us to Charlottesville? We don’t have the same problems Charlottesville has and has had. I feel he invited trouble. The road names Principi discussed are state controlled. School names come under the auspices and jurisdiction of the School Board and the fire house is a semi-private entity. Frank needs to deal with things over which he has control, not things beyond his control as a supervisor.
The BOCS was correct to reject his knee jerk, opportunistic reaction in the form of a resolution to a horrible event in Charlottesville. Principi was sneaky. He took a resolution renouncing a repugnant concept (white supremacy) and tried to work in all sorts of other issues that will eventually demand action. The supervisors saw right through Frank and soundly rejected his sneakiness.
The crowd advocating for Frank’s resolution needs to learn some manners and a more effective way to demonstrate their displeasure. Bullying behavior rarely works. Name calling and insulting the supervisors makes the outcome they want less likely to happen as folks tend to dig in their heels. So will most of the community.
I find it ironic that coincidentally, the statue of Stonewall Jackson in the Manassas Battlefield was vandalized the night following the meeting. That statue has been there since 1940. Has it been vandalized before? I don’t believe so–only weathered. Perhaps this is what happens when we borrow trouble.