The New 800 Pound Gorilla

When Corey Stewart attended the V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized  for Interfaith Community Engagement)   symposium on October 5, 2008, he refused to work with V.O.I.C.E. on  housing and county dental care and was quite up-front about it.   He did say he would help set up meetings.  He then stepped outside of the agenda of V.O.I.C.E.’s meeting and said that there was an 800 pound ‘moral’ Gorilla in the room and implored that V.O.I.C.E. help him end the scourge of abortion.

Stewart received more than a few boo’s and hisses that day for saying no to the goals  of VOICE and for trying to push his own agenda on a group who were clearly meeting over a totally different set of objectives.  There were church representatives from all over the county and Northern Virginia who were meeting over the housing crisis.  Corey’s attempt at deflection was not met with good humor. 

Read More

New Kid in town–Cafe Rio

There is a new kid in town–Cafe Rio, that opened recently on July 13 on Sudley Road in what is known as the K-Mart Shopping Center.  Cafe Rio is in the old Hollywood video  building, near BB&T Bank. 

Cafe Rio is part of a high end chain that originated in St. George, Utah in 1997.  This restaurant does not have freezers or microwaves so all food must be brought in fresh daily.  The lines stretched around the building last weekend, even at 7:30.  People are eager to try the new cuisine.  For those who don’t have time to dine out, carry out is easy.  Call the store and pick up your meal in 15 minutes.  The store has 2 dedicated employees to provide excellent service for curbside. 

What I found interesting is reading the Northern Virginia blogs. I read all sorts of sneering and jeering about ‘another Mexican restaurant’ opening up in KMart Shopping Center.  The tone was not one of anticipating a new high end restaurant.  In fact, what I was reading sounded like bloggers were anticipating a dirty spoon type of establishment.  The joke is on them.  I saw the lines while I battled my enemy–the BB&T ancient ATM.   They were long.  The line I saw reached around to the back of the building and included a diverse population. However, if pressed, I would have to say the majority of those waiting in line were Anglo.  So the joke is on the nay-sayers. 

Read More

Monstrosity on Silver Lake!

Check out this monstrosity being built on Silver Lake, County property, leased by the Rainbow Riding Club.   Citizens are wondering why there are no building permits for this construction.  So we called, and this is what we were told…………………………….”since this is county property, we will not cite ourselves for improper building practices”. 

WHAT?????????????????????  So, what this tells us is that only regular citizens like you and I are held to a county standard.  Really?  

What may be most troubling, is WHERE was the legally required public hearing when this contract was created?  Citizens were denied the right to comment on what would happen with THEIR public park land, public park land we all paid for through the Dominion Vally rezoning process.

This construction is on county PUBLIC PARK land that was leased to Rainbow Riding, but who is financing this building?  If it is Rainbow Riding, well, they are a private entity LEASING public land, since when were they allowed exemption from building codes?  Furthermore in their contract with the county, it states the exact opposite.

Pursuant the contract:

p2 b. All such improvements shall be constructed in a good and workmanlike manner, in accordance with all applicable governmental laws, ordinances and regulations, pursuant to approved site plans and building plans and therefore (if applicable ordinances and regulations require the approval of such plans), and after licensor obtains all required permits thereafter.

Where is the Environmental Impact Study?  Where is the Public Facility Review?  Where is the building permit?  WHAT is this facility for?  Is this just for private use by Rainbow Riding or will they charge a fee to rent it out for bigger horse events?  If so, was there a traffic impact analysis completed?

What is very worrisome, when reviewing the contract with Rainbow Riding club, is that our county has basically given our public land away with little to no restrictions of what uses are allowed on County land.
Read More

Washington Post Review: “9500 Liberty”

The Washington Post reviewed 9500 Liberty for its upcoming MTV Premiere this Sunday Night. Perhaps this is the best review I have seen of our hometown film.

Washington Post staff writer David Montgomeryguides his reader audience to the point in the film where we see film maker Eric Byler testifying before the U.S. Human Rights Commission in December of 2007, at which point we see Byler’s point of view. Rather than saying “Ah Ha!”, Montgomery leads us around this shift from neutrality to the fact that the film returns to showing both sides of this bitter debate. He tells us that those with strong opinion on either side might walk away not quite satisfied with the end result.

David Montgomery’s review is posted in its entirety:

Read More

Proposed Elementary School at SMS Site

Elena and I have agreed to print a guest post that will ultimately involve many of us here in Prince William County regarding the new elementary school proposal at Stonewall Middle. You will see this same post on The ladies who present you with this information made arrangements with both Greg and me to disseminate this information to as many people as possible. Please let me know if you need to contact them for more information.  The guest post does not necessarily represent the views of administration. 

Guest post by Allison K. and Chris P.

While there have been no new developments built in the Westgate/Sudley area for 25 years, the PWC School Board is proposing that a new elementary school be built at Stonewall Middle School where the track and the bus lot stand today. For a link to the Planning Staff Report, visit

There are three elementary schools in Westgate and Sudley that are all less than a mile apart – Westgate, Sinclair, and Sudley. Westgate is two short blocks away from the proposed new elementary school, Sinclair is approximately four blocks away, and Sudley is approximately 6 blocks away.

Read More

Corey, Corey, Corey…..more Macaca


Sunday’s News and Messenger had a great article on the Coffee Party entitled Still Brewing.  It featured Bob Settle, Bill Golden and Al Alborn  all sitting outside a Woodbridge Starbucks drinking coffee and explaining   the Coffee Party.  The men spoke  a little about their politics, which were surprisingly centrist and conservative. 

Jonathan Hunley, reporter for the News and Messenger,   apparently wanted to give Corey Stewart, the chairman of the Board of Supervisors,  a chance to clean up his act. He had been unflattering to the Coffee Party the previous week at their kick off meeting.   It didn’t work.  Stewart once again shot himself in the foot.  Poor Corey is running out of feet real quickly:

Prince William Board of County Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart isn’t buying that, however.

He said that if everyone in the Coffee Party was a “middle-of-the-road veteran” such as Alborn, he might have more respect for the group.

But Stewart said Byler and Park are just “ultra-left attention-seekers” who “despise” him and Supervisor John T. Stirrup Jr., who led the county’s crackdown on illegal immigration.

“This is just an ultra-left fringe group,” the Republican said.

Corey, Corey, Corey!  This kind of talk has no political capital.  The Coffee Party isn’t about you or John Stirrup.  The Coffee Party isn’t about Annabel Park or Eric Byler.  The Coffee Party isn’t about the 3 men who were interviewed for the story. 

I find it frightening that the only people Stewart seems to have respect for are ‘middle-of-the-road veterans’.  Does that mean that everyone else is an ultra-left attention seeker, a fruitcake, a nut, or crap? (his descriptors, not mine)

A review of the article will be forthcoming.  Chairman Stewart’s words, meanwhile, deserve to be handled separately.

Why does the Chairman continue to shoot himself in the foot making derogatory remarks about his constituents?  There are a bunch of people out there who see themselves as Coffee Party People.   They do not deserve to be called names, especially by the county Chairman.  This behavior sets a bad precedence.  Do we assume Mr. Stewart is a member of the Tea Party and sees the Coffee Party as competition or do we just assume he doesn’t want to be re-elected?  I can’t vote for anyone who gratuitously calls strangers names, not even knowing who they are.  

Mr. Stewart ought to find out who the people are and go shake their hand.  These are the people who want to be part of shaping their government.  Aren’t those  people the folks  we used to call a PATRIOTS?  What happened to that term?


Loudoun County Crowned the Richest

The Seal of Loudoun County
The Seal of Loudoun County


Loudoun County is #1 jurisdiction in wealth.  Prince William takes a paltry 14th place in national wealth, according to Forbes Magazine.   The rankings were done on the median household income from the 2008.  The following local counties are as follows:



Here are the  local jurisdictions in the top 25:


    1.  Loudoun County
    2. Fairfax County
    3. Howard County
    6. Fairfax City
    9. Arlington County
    10. Montgomery County
    12. Stafford County
    13. Calvert County
    14. Prince William County
    16. Goochland County, Va.
    21. Charles County
    23. Alexandria City

Dr. Stephen Fuller, economist at GMU, informed WTOP that one reason so many local counties made the top 25 list because unemployment in this area is low.

We’re getting richer and probably this reflects the fact we were less damaged during the recession. Our unemployment is only 6.2 percent, which is high for us, but it’s way down compared to the nation.”

Fuller says most of the local counties are also fueled by duel incomes

The Forbes Magazine link shows all 25 of the richest counties/jurisdictions. Some of them are surprising. Virginia and Maryland certainly came out with the most winners.

Congratulations to all the winners.  Does everyone feel like they are just rolling in dough?

Carlos Castro: From Illegal Immigrant to Community Leader

Today’s edition of the Washington Post features an article on FOA (Friends of Anti-bvbl) Carlos Castro. Carlos is known to many of us and is one of those community leaders we meet in the film 9500 Liberty. Originally from El Salvadore, Carlos left his war-torn country at age 24. He paid a coyote $800 to smuggle him to the USA over 30 years ago. He got caught, detained and deported crossing the border but soon snuck back over.

Now a citizen of the United States, Mr. Castro tells of his journey from illegal immigrant to president of Todos Supermarket, which specializes in foods and services to immigrants from Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa at stores in the eastern end of the county.

Carlos Castro explains what has motivated him:

“We were very poor, and I had this great desire to break the cycle of poverty . . . I love to read, and as a teenager, I purchased a book by Dr. Robert Schuller called ‘You Can Become the Person You Want to Be.’ I got really inspired by that in my early years. I programmed myself to succeed by understanding that success does not come that easy, that you have to go the extra mile with that goal in mind of breaking that poverty cycle.”

He gives further advise to those who aspire to break the cycle of poverty:

To succeed, people “need a strong work ethic . . . Many of our children have no idea how to go about getting things on their own, how much hard work it takes to accomplish the good things in life. I explain to them that inheriting wealth can actually work against you if you don’t know how to handle it. In order for them to succeed, they need to prepare themselves with a good education and work habits.”

Carlos can be found at most community meetings. He continually lends his quiet courteous leaderhip to others. Prince William County is fortunate that there has been a pathway to citizenship for Carlos Castro.

Full story at


A Real American: Are You One?



John Bonfadini, of Christmas decoration fame in Sudley also writes for the NOVEC magazine, Cooperative Living. John has sat on the co-op board for years and was a professor at GMU. His kids have all gone through Prince William County Schools.

I occassionally glance at the Co-op Living Magazine. It often has some good articles and the classifieds are great. This month John had a great article under his Food for Thought column.  I hope you enjoy.



A Real American: Are You One?
by Dr. John E. Bonfadini, Ed.D., Professor Emeritus, George Mason University

John Bonfadini

Recently, I received an e-mail with an attached letter. It was one of the many political commentaries floating around on the Internet these days.

The letter, written by a teacher, expresses her concern for the direction America is heading. She used the term “real American,” implying that some Americans are real and others counterfeit. She obviously believes that her position is that of a real, and not a counterfeit, American. I thought about her use of the term real American and wondered if I am one; so I sought out a definition.


Read More

National 2009 Neighborhood Program of the Year–Weems!

Members of the Weems Neighborhood Watch accept “National 2009 Neighborhood Program of the Year” award at a recent Manassas City Council meeting. What a great job this group has done towards neighborhood improvement.

The entire story is posted from the News and Messenger. Congratulations to all involved!

By Keith Walker

Published: June 14, 2009

Volunteers filled up four city trucks with old mattresses, yard waste, gasoline, used motor oil and old paint from Landgreen Street in the Weems neighborhood in Manassas.

They mowed 12 yards, cleaned the property around six vacant homes, spread mulch around trees at Byrd Park in Manassas, and reinstalled a mail box at a “for sale” property during the “Weems Neighborhood Watch Week of Hope.”

For all of that, members of the Weems Neighborhood Watch won national awards from Neighborhoods USA as the “National 2009 Neighborhood Program of the Year” and “National 2009 Neighborhood of the Year.”

The Manassas City Council recently presented the awards, that came with $300, to members of the neighborhood watch.

Members of the watch organized the cleanup on Landgreen Street in June 2008 because Khawaja Ahmed, a local cab driver, was murdered there in February 2008.

Watch member Cindy Brookshire said the goals of the project were to show the watch’s presence as a crime deterrent, abate the blight that had demoralized the neighborhood and bring neighbors together to solve the problems and build community.

Read More

Viva Cinco de Mayo!

A little history this morning to usher in a splendid Cinco de Mayo.

I believe today calls for a good frozen margarita.

And from a little different perspective that is a little less historical and a little more cultural:

So there you have it. Carpe Diem.

Does anyone have a special recipe or special plans?
Do Latinos who are not Mexican celebrate Cinco de Mayo?
How did Cinco de Mayo get to be such an important holiday?

Wishing everyone the best–Today EVERYone is a little bit Mexican.

Neighborhood Improvement Circle Coming to Westgate!

Congratulations to Cindy B and Chris for procuring a meeting place for the first WestGate Neighborhood Improvement Circle. This will be the first of its kind in the County. City of Manassas Neighborhood Improvement Circles have been very successful.

The group will meet in the Hope Lutheran Church at the corner of Sudley Manor and Gardiner on Thursdays on the following dates:

, Thursdays, May 7, 14, 21 and 28 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

Congratulations and thanks, ladies for all your hard work in this most important area. When you get neighbors together who care, things improve. This group will accept 15 participants from the Westgate area. Contact Cindy if you want to join.

Not sure what a Neighborhood Improvement Circle is? Leave your questions or comments here for Cindy or Chris. They can leave a response for you.

[ED: Cindy has informed me there were other county meetings. See her comment below. Sorry for relaying inaccurate info.]

Ghost Busters Proclaim Evidence of Paranormal in PWC

It seems that here in Prince William County, things can definitely go bump in the night. Every once in a while it’s good to set the politics aside and check out what else is going on in the world around us, or in the netherworld around us in this case. What better on a snowy Sunday than a good ghost story or two!

I have long heard people talk about apparitions and strange occurrences happening out in the battlefield. Stories have been featured on the History Channel and other cable spots about ghostly happenings at the Stone House which served as a hospital during the Civil War. It makes sense that war and death might create the perfect setting for specters and paranormal events.

However, today’s News and Messenger takes us to the other side of the county to the Weems-Botts Museum in Dumfries for our scare of the week. All sorts of tales from the dark side are supposedly happening over there—so much so that a team of ghost busters was brought in last fall to investigate and document some of the paranormal phenomena.
Read More

Register Now for City’s Nov. 15 Neighborhood Conference

Thanks to Chris for submitting this announcement:

Regina “R.J.” Blair, an upbeat and motivating Neighborhood Coordinator from Fort Worth, Texas, will be the keynote speaker at the City of Manassas’ Second Annual Neighborhood Conference on Saturday, November 15, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Carteret Mortgage Boys and Girls Club, 9501 Dean Park Lane, Manassas (behind Jennie Dean Elementary School).

Blair, who says of city employees, “We should picture ourselves standing in the driveway and seeing things from a citizen’s point of view,” holds three degrees in architecture and city planning and leads the Sunrise Edition Redevelopment Organization, a non-profit capacity building organization in Fort Worth.

The theme of the conference is “Neighborhood Power – Building Community Connections & Partnerships.” Participants can choose to attend two of these workshop sessions:

· When Sparks Fly – Resolving Neighborhood Conflict

· Gangs, Graffiti and Good Neighbors – Starting a Neighborhood Watch

· The Future of Your Neighborhood – The Manassas Next Initiative

· Stand Up and Be Heard – How to Communicate With Your City Leaders

· Know Your Rights – Fair Housing to Traffic Stops

· Show Me the Money – How to Get Funding for Your Neighborhood Projects

Enjoy a Block Party box lunch and vote for your favorite “Divine Desserts” from local churches. Luncheon remarks will cover “Fair Housing is Everyone’s Right.” A Marketplace of exhibits and booths will be open all day. Talk with Special Guest – News & Messenger columnist and “Short Cuts” Cookbook Author Mary Ann Kauchak, from 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. Girl Scouts and other local youth will be helping with this program, from on-site registration and speaker introductions to offering children’s activities for ages 6 and older. There is also a special technology room for teens. Stay to the end for the Best of Neighborhood Awards, door prizes and free apples and pumpkins to take home. Register now at or call 703-257-8240. If you live or work in the City of Manassas or Prince William area, you are welcome to attend. Cost of admission: Free, but everyone is encouraged to bring a can of food to donate to the SERVE food pantry.

Press please contact: Kisha Sogunro, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, City of Manassas, 703-257-8240