Shame shame shame on rudeness and borrowing trouble


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.

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3 PWC police officers shot, one fatally

Officer Ashley Guidon

One of three Prince William County police officers shot responding to a domestic violence call Saturday night in Woodbridge has died. It was Officer Ashley Guindon’s first day on the job.

A woman who lives at the house in the 13000 block of Lashmere Court off Ridgefield Boulevard was also shot and killed during the incident, which began at 5:37 p.m. as a domestic shooting call. A suspect is in custody. The two other injured officers are being treated at an area trauma center.

Officer Guindon, 29, had formerly been a police officer and had just returned to law enforcement after taking some time off, Prince William Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart said Saturday night. She was sworn in yesterday.

“This is just absolutely tragic,” Stewart said. “It just reinforces how dangerous it is to be a police officer. There was a domestic dispute and those are the most dangerous calls you can go on as an officer.”

“This is just a very sad day in the county and for the community,” Stewart said.

On Facebook Friday, Prince William police posted a photo of Officer Guindon and another officer sworn in that day, wishing them “safety, success and long careers” with the police force.

Stewart said police believe the woman killed inside the home was  dead when officers arrived.

Neighbors said the family who lives there has a 10-year-old son who was home at the time. He was physically unharmed and being cared for at the police station late Saturday.

What a tragic, sickening flow of events.  A young woman is sworn in as a police officer and the next day she is killed answering a call.  I am sure Officer Guindon got up, ready to start a new job, with all the excitement any of us starting a new job would have.  I am sure Officer Guindon expected to come home this evening–except she won’t.  Two other officers started their day like any other day.  They too expected to return home at the end of the day.  They are hospitalized.
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Al Alborn hits a homerun out of the ball park

sad elephant

Today’s MUST READ is from fellow blogger, Al Alborn, entitled “Supervisor Candland, you are no Corey Stewart.”  In his opinion piece, Alborn  explains the growth of Chairman Corey Stewart as a seasoned, political conservative who, despite some ideological bumps in the road, has landed on his feet and has guided the county through rough times politically and financially.  Alborn points out that Stewart is likeable and listens to everyone regardless of district.  Al is right.  Corey has become the face of Prince William County.

So why did Alborn attempt to compare and contrast Candland, a 1 term (thus far) supervisor from the Gainesville District to a 2 term chairman?  Why not.  Candland has made saber-rattling chairman noises since he first came into office, either directly or through his anonymous support blog that mysteriously sprung to life shortly after Pete was inaugurated.

The central theme of Alborn’s piece is that Candland is only 1 of 7–he represents only one District, the elite well-heeled Gainesville District, yet he expects the rest of the county to conform to Pete’s “my way or the highway” modus operandi.

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George Mason rebrands its science and tech center in PWC

gmu pwc

It looks like the George Mason University will drop the Prince William part of its name in the very near future.  This rebranding will take place in order to expand the  science and technology center of GMU.  According to the Potomac Local:

In a matter of weeks, the campus will soon be known as the George Mason University Center for Science and Technology. The school will drop the Prince William moniker used since the campus opened in 1997.

“We want to send a strong message that every time people talk about this campus that is it known fro [sic] the cutting edge work that is being done here,” George Mason University President Angel Cabrera told Potomac Local. “It will always be our location in Prince William, outside of Manassas for sure, but is sending a message on what we do here, and it’s part of our strategic plan where we are going to make our science and technology programs grow.”

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The tax assessments are in for tax year 2015.  What on earth has all the hype been over.  I was expecting to have to take out a second mortgage just to be able to afford the increase.  I had been eyeing the cat food for months now, figuring I was going to have to substitute at least a couple meals a week with the stuff because of PWC’s oppressive tax burden, imposed by all those “tax and spend” supervisors.

Such is not the case.  Back to hamburger and chicken.  The sky is not falling.  My tax bill increase, if it stays at the advertised rate hovers in right around $300 per year.  That’s about $25 a month.  I think I can afford that.  Oddly enough,  the tax amounts have gone down.   The assessment statement was much more detailed this year.

2013    $1.2562

2014    $1.2212

2015    $1.1936 (advertised)

Its pretty obvious that our tax amounts have decreased.  The actual housing assessments have increased which shows growth in the county.  You always want your house to be appreciating.  PWC housing assessments have always been low, compared to what you can get on the real estate market so things are even better.

The bottom line is, my taxes will go up a little bit more than they did last year.  My house is worth more.  My taxes were fairly flat for several years after the great recession so I am really not going to complain.

However, the tea party mentality people of the county will have you believe that our current supervisors have been fleecing us for the past 8 years.  That is simply a lie.

I live in an older neighborhood, Sudley, to be specific.  My house is about 45 years old.  Sudley has held its value fairly well and most streets still look presentable.  It’s not grand living though.  If you want granite countertops you have to remodel your kitchen.  If you want 10 foot ceilings you are pretty much out of luck.   If you want mature trees, you are in tree heaven.   Some of the people squawking the most about taxes live in much fancier digs than I do.  Perhaps some of them need to return to normal living if their taxes are too high.

I have lived here a long time.  I expected my taxes to go up over the years.  They have not disappointed me.  They have.  This yearly occurrence is normal.  It is what happens.  If your taxes are too high, you either bought too much house for your income or you really shouldn’t be living in Northern Virginia.


WTF? 1.3% –The shame of Prince William County

Or let’s put it another way–Prince William County, you cheap bastards.

Today I listened to the budget presentation from the  Tuesday night BOCS meeting. I was appalled.  Tonight I looked at it online.   The new budget sickened me.

Prince William County is not a poor county made up of poor folks.  It is quite wealthy and has a lot going for it.    It’s also, by Northern Virginia standards, a fairly affordable place to live.  So why are some people, especially those in my district, clamoring for lower taxes?

For that matter, why would our Board of Supervisors agree to make libraries the untouchables in a draconian budget slashing caper?  Why would money be taken away from the performing arts? Why would poor children be denied dental services and drug rehab programs be eradicated?  It isn’t even our poor and most vulnerable who will lose services.  It’s everyone.

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More sleep…more sleep…more sleep for those in high school

From Channel 4 News:

Students clad in pajamas and draped in sleeping bags demonstrated outside school board headquarters in Montgomery County on Monday, urging support for later high school start times that would allow them to get more rest.

The “sleep-in” — replete with bathrobes, teddy bears and fuzzy slippers — came on the eve of a school board vote, expected Tuesday, on whether to shift school schedules at Montgomery’s 25 high schools, where classes now begin at 7:25 a.m.
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Crowd opposing power line path packed in like sardines


If you want to draw a crowd, contact Elena.  Seriously, great job of getting the word out and sounding the alarm, Elena. This sea of people all came to protest what they feel is the destruction of their community.

People came from as far as Richmond to protest the very idea of giant power lines slashing up the Rural Crescent, people’s neighborhoods and businesses, and generally uglifying that end of Prince William County.

The power line issue is coming to a head several years early in hopes of thwarting secret business plans to supply a sub-station for an Amazon data center.  Most of those opposing the power line path don’t oppose Amazon being there.  They oppose having their community ruined in order to supply Amazon its power.

As is evidenced by the picture, this threat is not going to be ignored by the people of Prince William County .  The Battlefield auditorium had standing room only and overflowed onto the stage and into the halls and parking lot.



Chairman Stewart prioritizes quality of life issues and education


Saying Prince William County residents are more concerned about overcrowded classrooms than their annual real-estate taxes, Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart proposed a change in local tax policy Tuesday that would focus more on raising needed revenue for schools and county services and less on capping tax hikes.

Stewart, R-At Large, floated the idea during a joint meeting of the county Board of Supervisors and School Board held at the Edward L. Kelly Leadership Center.

Pointing to the recent two-year county survey, as well as a separate survey his office conducted for political purposes, Stewart said increasing traffic congestion and school overcrowding are more immediate concerns for many residents than taxes.

“Regardless of your political stripes, people are more concerned about their quality of life at home than they are about keeping tax bills so low, I mean 30 percent lower than in Fairfax and Loudoun counties,” Stewart said. “There’s a price we are paying for that.”

Thanks goodness Corey Stewart sees that going on the cheap just isn’t a winning ticket for Prince William County.  He is correct.  Quality of life issues and education are important to the people of Prince William County.  People want more parks and open space, smaller classrooms, better roads, and  responsive public safety.

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County Employee, Ray Utz, Arrested

hello ladies utz

For those of us who heard the stories, who knew of the myriad of complaints that had been filed against Ray Utz, the common mantra today has been this…..”Wow, I am shocked but not surprised”

There use to be several women in the Planning dept several years ago, but. one by one they left until there were none.  I believe there is now one woman, and she is a secretary. Too many people in leadership positions were aware of these complaints, and yet, nothing was done. All were deemed “unfounded” and so the women left and Ray Utz stayed.

Here is the story from Inside Nova:

Raymond Utz, the second-in-command of the Prince William County Planning Department, has been arrested after police say he exposed himself to women while driving.

Utz, 49, was the county’s assistant planning director since January. Before that, he served 11 years as the county’s chief of long range planning. County spokesman Jason Grant said Utz is no longer employed by Prince William County, but would not comment on whether he was fired or resigned.

Utz was arrested Wednesday, Nov. 19, after two reported incidents of indecent exposure, one in Woodbridge and the other in Lake Ridge.

Just before noon, police were called after a 38-year-old woman reported that a man in a black Honda CRV lowered his passenger side window while both drivers were stopped on Gideon Drive and Smoketown Road.

“At that point, the victim noticed that the driver was exposing himself and making an obscene sexual display,” Prince William police spokesman Jonathan Perok said.

The victim was able to provide officers with the Honda’s license plate number, which was registered to Utz.


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Democrat Eric Young running for Brentsville District


Eric Young has announced his candidacy for the BOCS seat vacated by former supervisor Wally Covington.  Young is a life-long resident of  Prince William County  and grew up in Nokesville where he currently makes his home .  He will be running as a Democrat.

I am glad to see Mr. Young throw his hat in the ring for this race.  Even though I cannot vote for him, all supervisors influence the county.  There was just something about that other race that wasn’t quite meeting all requirements of my sniff test.

Mr. Young has taken the pledge to take no developer money.  Now there’s a switch.  It isn’t that Young is anti growth or even anti development.  He seems to want decisions based on what is best for the county, rather than who can throw the most money at each supervisor.  Novel concept, eh?

Stay tuned.

Mr. Young’s website:



Why the assessment hysteria?


The county assessments are out.  You can find yours at the county website.

Despite the dire warnings I have read on Internet and on blogs, my real estate assessment didn’t go up all THAT much.  At one quick glance I determined that if the $1.158 published tax rate goes through, then I might be paying about $13 [editorial correction from earlier amount] more dollars per month in real estate taxes.  That is not going to break the bank.

The hype and scare that some politicians are trying to work up in the Gainesville District  are simply that, hype and scare.  I heard about all the mock concern for the working class people (read:  those who don’t live in a McMansion)  That would be me.  I am not whining.  I live in a perfectly ordinary older home in a 40 plus year old neighborhood.  Lots of Prince William residents do.  I would say my assessment is pretty typical.  I did notice my house went up 9k more than my neighbor’s house that is the same model.  Maybe it was the bathroom upgrades and the new roof.

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Chairman calls for more police (this is the Corey I like to see)


Chairman Corey Stewart held a press conference earlier in the week to announce a needed crackdown on crime because of a recent spate of serious, more violent crimes in the area.   Chairman Stewart addressed crime, rather than more divisive factors in his press conference.

Stewart today called a press conference in his office in Woodbridge and called for answers from the county’s police department on what’s causing what he called an “uptick” in local crime. No law enforcement members were present at the meeting when Stewart announced he wants Police Chief Stephan Hudson look for trends, or possible commonalities on what’s behind a recent rash of violent crime. Recent incidents like a rape, sexual assault, and a bank robbery in Nokesville were also cited as part of a rise in crime.

“It’s too early to know if there is an underlying cause, or if this is a beginning of a trend, but crime did go up substantially in 2012 and I think it’s going to go up again when the final numbers are ready for calendar 2013, as well,” said Stewart.

He’s basing his concerns on anecdotal information given to him, he told reporters.

This is the Corey I like to see! He didn’t single out any demographic groups to target. He aimed at the problem–CRIME. Addressing this problem now, rather than waiting until it gets its foothold in the door is a good thing. Public safety should always get top billing here in Prince William County. It’s just how that top billing is presented that has been a problem in the past. Chairman Stewart is going about this the right way this time. He is going directly to the Chief for his data and solutions.

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Stewart defends PWC Revenue Stabilization Fund

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Sometimes events happen and the earth screeches to a halt on its axis, then abruptly starts rotating in the opposite direction.  Today was such a day.  Hold on to your seats.  Mistress Moon  and Elena agree with Corey Stewart.

Corey defended the practice of saving money.  Is it possible to over-save?  Is it possible to save too much money for a rainy day?  For an emergency?  For when times aren’t as good?  Corey says no.  It is fiscally responsible to save more than you need.  I only heard one person disagree with him.  That was Pete Candland.  Pete not only disagreed with him but he rolled his eyes, shook his head and made facial gestures.  To me, the behavior  was disrespectful to his colleagues.  Additionally, what Pete proposed or questioned showed his lack of understanding of how large municipalities are run.   He appears to miss the complexities of a budget this size.

Corey was right.  In fact, he sounded downright reasonable and responsible.  He was back to being that old eagle scout.

In order to keep the AAA bond rating, we must have $10 million in the contingency fund.  That is 1% of the annual budget.  Prince William County, because of the unknown variables involved with sequestration and with the state requiring more from localities for VRS,  is erring on the side of caution with what might appear to some to be  more savings than are needed.   We have about $20 million or 2% of total budget in the Revenue Stabilization Fund, twice as much as required to have the AAA bond rating.  Great that we can handle emergencies.  That is the fiscally responsible thing to do.   If we do have contingencies, then we won’t dip below the designated level.

For Pete to criticize the county for saving too much money sounds out of touch and  and frankly, fiscally irresponsible.  Saving more than is needed is what my mother used to call a fine fault.

FACTS about Prince William County Government


It’s time.  I was going to wait until July 16 to put up a thread about budget woes of the county because I believe in working with facts rather than with rumor and gossip.  I will continue to wait.  However, a lot of people have something to say about this latest event which as I understand it, is a matter of under-budgeting.  You know, one of those nasty little mathematical human error types of mistakes.  No one has stolen anything or tried to gip the taxpayers out of their hard earned dollars.

There is a certain contingency in the county who want to fry various county employees and supervisors.  There is another contingency who hate a witch hunt and who want facts.  This is a spot for facts about the county and how you want it governed.

Please, send us you FACTS.
From Channel 4 News 11:00 PM 7/2/13

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