Establishment of Religion? Let the Reason Prevail….and stuff

MANASSAS, Va. — The Freedom From Religion Foundation erected a banner next to a nativity display at Nelson Park in Manassas.

The group posted this to our site:

A FFRF Winter Solstice banner has been placed by a local FFRF member next to the crèche scene in Nelson Park in Manassas, Va. FFRF received a permit from the city for its “Let Reason Prevail” banner to counter the religious exhibit. It will be displayed through Dec. 31.

FFRF’s 7½-by-3-foot banner states: “At this Season of the Winter Solstice, LET REASON PREVAIL. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth & superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.”

FFRF wishes that the time will come when it won’t have to put up its banners in this manner.

Nelson Park is located near the intersection of Sudley Road and Grant Avenue.

The group regularly posts a similar banner in the city each year, and the FFRF group obtained the proper permits from the city to erect the banner, said Manassas spokeswoman Patty Prince.

The city may only restrict time, place, and length of the display of banners through the permitting process. The city cannot control the content of a banner, other than to ban profanity on banners, added Prince.

Let’s see, which side do I chose…how about none?

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What’s up in the City of Manassas?


No election cycle is complete without checking out the action over in the City of Manassas.  Their elections are often more interesting than those in Prince William County.  Let’s do a little snooping across city lines!

In the spring of 2012, a small group of Manassas City citizens started a petition drive to place on the Nov. ballot a referendum to move all city elections from May to Nov.  By July, over 2200 signatures had been secured and the referendum was on the Nov. ballot.  Despite strong opposition from city Republicans, it passed by a margin in the neighborhood of 20% and all elections now are held in conjunction with State and national elections.  The group responsible for this change is Manassas Votes, a non-partisan citizens advocacy group.


The first election under the new guidelines was held in 2014 where Mark Aveni, Sheryll Bass and Ken Elston were elected to the city council.  This year, not only is there an election for president, but also House of Representative(10th CD), Manassas City council, school board and city treasurer.  Voters will have to wade through a lot of info about candidates in order to make informed choices.  Everyone should know who is running for president(Clinton/Trump) and HR(Bennett/Comstock) so let’s look at the local race.


For City Council:
Teresa Coates Ellis(R)
Ian Lovejoy(R) incumbent
Jonathan Way (R) incumbent
Rex Parr(D)
Pam Sabesky(D)
Mark Wolfe(D) incumbent
Michael Youlen(I)


For School Board


Scott Albrecht incumbent
Kristen Kiefer incumbent
Suzanne Seaberg incumbent
Peter O’Hanlon
Robyn Williams
Kim M. Jenkins Bailey


For City Treasurer
Patricia Richie Folks(D)
Russell Harrison(R)


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Manassas City Fire Department saves Christmas for a local family

Last week, a Fairview Avenue family lost their home and all possessions when Christmas tree lights ignited. The family was at church. The family had to relocate to a motel but Christmas looked dim for the children. All their presents had been lost in the fire.

Manassas City fire fighters didn’t have time to organize a fund raiser so they dug into their own pockets so this family could have Christmas. They organized a special event for the family.

What a great bunch of people! Manassas City Fire Department gets the classy award of the year!

Manassas City rules!

City Council results: special election vs general election

MANASSAS CITY – Member City Council
Candidate Votes Percent Graph
Marc T. Aveni
4,185 24.22%
Sheryl L. Bass
5,243 30.34%
Ken D. Elston
4,028 23.31%
Patricia E. Richie-Folks
3,704 21.43%
Write-in 122 0.71%

Yesterday’s election for local office was a first for the City. Heretofore, the council and school board elections were held in the spring in a special election. Last year, the citizens voted to have this election during the regular time in November. Did this change affect the results?

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Manassas City Council Trifecta


If you drive around the City of Manassas, most yards with political signs have the same three signs–Bass/Elston/Richie-Folks.  So what, you might ask? 4  individuals are running for City Council–2 Republicans and 2 Democrats. This trifecta is 1 Republican and 2 Democrats.   It seems that most folks, by an overwhelming majority, like this bi-partisan combination of leaders to represent them.

It appears, if yard signs and talk tell the story, that most City folk reject extremist views and penny-pinching  when it comes to public safety, schools and overall quality-of-life issues.  The people of Manassas want some  of their money going to the arts and those things that make living in Manassas fun.  They want their leaves scooped up at the curb, their pot holes filled, their schools to attract and maintain quality teachers, and their  Old Town activities to enhance their lives.

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Common Sense prevailed in Manassas

Despite a marathon sideshow of misinformation being paraded before the Manassas City Council, in the end, common sense ruled the day.  To make a very long story short, after enough discussion to sink a battle ship, Councilman Mark Wolfe offered up a motion that protected the process of good governance.  It was seconded by Councilman Harrover and supported by Councilmen Way and Randolph.  Clinics that offer abortion services will not have to jump through special hoops nor will those types of clinics be pushed ahead of others.


Despite more than three hours of emotional testimony from about 85 speakers, two-thirds advocating against abortion, the Manassas City Council decided Monday against requiring special approval for new medical facilities – a zoning change some said could, in effect, limit access to abortion services.

Instead, the council voted 4-2 to proceed with a comprehensive review of the city’s zoning ordinance, which has not been substantially updated since the 1940s.

The decision will put to rest, for now, the question of whether Manassas would follow Fairfax city’s controversial decision to single out medical facilities with zoning rules that require a “special use permit” regardless of where they locate within the city.

Special use permits require a public hearing and separate approval by city or county officials, a process that can open applicants to public opposition. Abortion-rights advocates consider the process politically motivated and a means of “zoning out” women’s health clinics.

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Manassas Tea Party attempts to snare a Wolfe

arts building                      ballet                    symphony (Jeremy Borden):

A Manassas City Council member who is the executive director of the Manassas Ballet Theatre voted again Monday to fund the non-profit with $23,000 of city money.

Mark D. Wolfe (R) is the unpaid executive director of the ballet, and his wife, Amy, is paid $50,000 per year, Wolfe said. Last month, Wolfe did not disclose his position in the ballet — although he is well-known locally for that role — before a vote that gave a total of $142,500 to arts and human-services groups, including the ballet.

Wolfe said there was no reason that he could not vote on the funding package. At the request of Mayor Harry “Hal” Parrish II (R) the council took the vote a second time in order to discuss the issue and so that Wolfe could properly disclose his role in the ballet.

The 4-2 vote Monday was the same as in June, with members Marc Aveni (R) and Ian Lovejoy (R) voting against the allocations.

Parrish, who does not generally vote, and other members of the council said Wolfe had made a mistake by not disclosing his position on the ballet.

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Manassas City Theater in the Round: Epilogue

Manassas City Theater in the Round: Epilogue

The election has come and gone, but the theater continues. Those who have lost the most, try not to “wawl and cry” nor “mewl and puke” and instead have chosen to spin with much “pride, pomp , and circumstance,”  the post-election eulogy of their effort.  Much mirth we draw (not to mention laughter) in watching those who made such a noise for their chosen slate, try to salvage a faux victory from what is in fact a stunning defeat.

In some ways, the silence is deafening so, again, rather than charge into the fray, we have chosen to give our “ thoughts no tongue” for a time, let the dust settle, gather numerous perspectives on the election results, and develop what we believe to be a much clearer picture of what happened, and, what it all means.

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Spotlight on the Lady: Class Act



Much has been made of the intrigue the past few weeks on the various alliances and coalitions in the city election process.  Now that the dust is settling, we would like to salute the hot pink campaign, run by supporters of Sheryl Bass.  Actually, Ms. Bass didn’t run.  Her friends ran her as a write-in campaign.  Sheryl Bass supported the Republican ticket.   At last count, Ms. Bass received 1052  997 [Ed. Note:  correction given this afternoon]  votes and her name didn’t even appear on the ballot!  That means that Ms. Bass came in 4th without her running and without her name appearing on the ballot.

Ms. Bass should be proud.  She has good friends, the support and respect of  her community, and the friends of Ms. Bass did things the right way.  Several movers and shakers of this campaign had to resign from their political party to run the campaign.  THEY did the right thing.  Will they be readmitted?  Time will tell.  They knew the rules.  They followed them.  The Sheryl Bass campaign made a fine showing at the polls and everyone  showed a lot of class.

Ms. Bass has served her community and will be an invaluable resource for all the elected officials to turn to when they need advice and help.  A toast of our finest ale to Lady Bass and her ever- classy campaign.


Talking the Talk, Walking the Walk

It seems a lot of what  we hear on the Manassas blogs is a lot of bitching about Georgetown South, either implicitely or explicitely.  Some City residents have even suggesting bulldozing the place over every time there is an incident over there.  reports the flip side of all that negativity:


Shovels, post hole diggers, rakes, brooms, trash bags, gloves, garbage cans and wheel barrows were the tools for the day on Saturday in Georgetown South.

Volunteers, many from the Manassas Assembly of God, showed up for the inaugural Georgetown South Community Cleanup to help tidy up the townhouse community off Grant Avenue in Manassas.

Pastor Doug Dreesen said the Manassas Assembly of God had “kind of adopted Georgetown South as a neighborhood we want to help.”

Church member Rich Rosene said he came out to help clean up “out of obedience to my lord and savior, Jesus Christ.”

This is what we call Talking the Talk and Walking the Walk.  Hats off to the Manassas Assembly of God as well as the many  other volunteers for Walking the Walk.  I bet Cindy was over there somewhere also.  Its just so refreshing to see and hear the folks with the solutions.   Neighbors got out and met each other and lent each other a hand.

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The Conscience of a King, Act IV

The Conscience of a King, Act IV:     The Final Act?

As we enter act IV of our play, a few minor happenings in the wings are worth noting. Please consider these, as we make a few scenery changes behind the curtain, in preparation for act IV.

Late yesterday, we received reports from our ever vigilant roving ‘Howlings reporters. First one in was a report of hot pink flyers being delivered to homes and handed out at spots throughout the city. These flyers encouraged voters to “Write-In Sheryl  Bass” on the front, and gave a very detailed listing of her very impressive record of service to the citizens. No attacks on the other candidates. Just a positive plea by the campaign to consider Bass, as they head to the polls. We Howler ladies have to say, the way this campaign has been conducted reflects the grace and poise that Bass herself has exhibited over the years. Classy. Very Classy.  

Contrast this with a very nasty piece put out by some anonymous pitchfork bearer (or would that be pitchforker?)   that was delivered to other residents of the city. This nasty piece, full of errors and negative-spin, did nothing but attack Mark Wolfe. What we find downright hilarious is the flyer asked voters to pull the lever for Lovejoy, “Carnahan”, Way. (Is this like pull the joystick for the non-existent candidate?)

Last up, a flyer we assume was produced by Doug Brown, because it is being distributed by ABTF and linked to at bvbl, while better written, has its own bit o’ spin: Jerry Carman’s business experience has risen from that of middle management to the “corner office with a view”: He claims Carman “Managed a Fortune 500 Company”.  And what company might that be, that he was president or Chief Executive Officer of? But when you are nothing but the “Alleluia Chorus” for the House Aveni, credibility and intellectual honesty are minor considerations.

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The Conscience of the King, Act II: The Convention


“Eye of newt, and toe of frog,
Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,
Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,
Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing,–
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.”







The Conscience of the King, Act II: The Convention

“By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes”.  MacBeth, Act IV, Scene I

Yesterday, we Howlets set the stage for what may well prove to be the greatest community (political) theater we’ve seen in years. Just to recap:

-Jerry Carman, Independent uber-conservative materializes out of the mist, and begins a shadow campaign.

-Doug Brown launches “A Bridge Too Far” (ABTF) and begins catapulting [Rhetorical and Theatrical license here] everything from “severed heads” to “diseased cattle” over the MGOP castle walls, and engages in verbal sword-play with GOP chairman Steve “By the Books”Thomas.

-Baroness Aveni,  inadvertently exposes her husband’s support of the usurper, Jerry Carman. (Out, out damn spot!)

So let us now take you back to the convention held on January 28th, 2012. Before doing so, we need to say that neither of us is a member of either party’s “machinery”.  Some of the “in’s and out’s” of convention politics are very difficult to decipher, and it took quite a bit of research to figure out just exactly what happened. That said, we feel pretty confident that our account is fairly accurate.   The up side is that, we have the scenarios from so many sources.

The way a convention works is people sign up to be “delegates,”  by filling out a form.  My dog Stoney used to get one in the mail each year.  Often those who want to run for office will get his or her supporters to fill out the  convention form so they can go vote for that person.  This form is returned by a specific date, and the MGOP checks the applicants to make sure they are eligible to vote in Manassas elections. That’s it.  Anyone who is an eligible City of Manassas voter can attend, according to the laws of Virginia. Once all the forms are collected and checked, a list is compiled and given to each campaign.

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The Little City Theater in the Round: The Conscience of a King, Act I

There’s a city election on Tuesday, May, 1st, and it may well prove to be one of the most interesting city elections any of us can remember.  This one might even out-do the ill-fated Steve Chapman challenge to Rep. Harry Parrish, about 7 years ago, as far as high political drama goes.

We here at Moonhowlings have been watching the developing political drama from the audience, rather than leaping into what is proving to be “Theater in the Round”.   We did have a guest post, but that was not our observations, but theirs.  We chose to observe, gather facts and opinions and wait until we had a clear picture of not only what is playing out on the public stage, but a good understanding of the “backstage dynamics” that are driving this political theater….and theater it is:

Current Mayor Hal Parrish is running unopposed for reelection. All of the excitement in this race was settled at the GOP convention, when Hal held off a challenge for the nomination from Andy Harrover.  We like both of these public servants, as it is clear to us that they place the best interests of the entire community as priority, rather than bowing to the pressure of a very vocal few.   Neither one of them carry pitchforks or torches.

The real excitement is in the city council race. Much more so than may be apparent to the casual observer…or even to those who consider themselves “informed.”   We would like to present a clear picture of what appears to really be going on, and we promise that our dear (and not so dear) readers will not be disappointed.   This “play” has intrigue and double-dealing, willing and unwilling and even unknowing participants.  Basically, it’s a “play” about power and retribution, pure and simple.  We here at ‘Howlings will narrate this from stage right (or left, depending on where you sit in the audience). So let’s get to it, shall we?

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After the Sesquicentennial?

Jennifer Buske has written an article about the area plans for the Sesquicentennial for the Washington Post entitled “As Civil War anniversary nears, Manassas sees a historic opportunity.”   In the Friday the 13th  article she writes what begins as an ode to deceased event planner Creston Owen and takes us though the history of the arriving at the Sesquicentennial.  Included in the article is a comparison between the Manassas Battlefield and Gettysburg.

Any attempts to compare the two battlefields ended about the time of the battles themselves.  Manassas is not Gettysburg and never will be, based pretty much on location, location, location, both then and now.  Gettysburg pretty much is a dedicated battlefield.  Manassas is a suburb of D.C.  And here is the gist of the problem.

According to the Washington Post:

Playing off the excitement of the sesquicentennial, Corey A. Stewart, the Board of County Supervisors chairman, said he wants to begin branding Prince William as a military history corridor where people can stop at the battlefield, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the future American Wartime Museum. That attraction is scheduled to open in 2014 and cover every era of war from World War I to Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Manassas City: Pay me now or pay me later

The News and Messenger  reports the over-all tone of the Manassas City public hearing for FY2012 budget.   The City is attempting to pass a $304 million dollar budget.  Those who attended the public hearing appeared to be split 50-50 pro/ con.  Of course, that number just counts those attending the budget hearing.

Citizens were divided over BPOL tax and its impact on business within the City.  Others appeared to be concerned over adding police and fire personnel and equipment.  The average tax bill was not projected to go up that much.  Single family homes overall were projected to raise the property tax on that home by $2.00.

The Tea Party was vocal and its leaders spoke of people falling on hard times. Many homeowners are still under water. 

Our very own Raymond Beverage put all of this in terms most of us can understand.  The tax increase for most families added up to a 6 pack and 2 bottles of Sam Adams.  

Another citizen summed things up nicely:

Mark Hempen said he wanted to make sure the city was safe, clean and well run, and he supported the budget.

“It isn’t just the tax rate. I think that we have to look at the whole picture. I think the city has done a good job in a lot of ways and I’d hate to see us not accept this budget and reduce the police force and reduce other services that are greatly needed to keep the city running and to keep the city growing and thriving and flourishing,” the Manassas man said.

What do our readers have to add on the subject?  Let us know what you think.  All too often we leave off what you guys think.  The City has had some horrific crime and at least 1 very bad multi-home fire. These events  have been punctuating some of the budget discussion.