Board Not Open To Leaner Government
Who promotes wasteful spending and higher taxes? To find the answer, one need only review Tuesday's session of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors' meeting.
Supervisor Corey A. Stewart (R-Occoquan) proposed a directive to have the county executive identify approximately $4 million of the least effective, lowest-priority spending in the proposed budget. Would the information help to lower taxes? We will never know. Supervisor Hilda M. Barg (D-Woodbridge) led the opposition and "called the question," effectively ending any further discussion.
Opposing the report, Chairman Sean T. Connaughton (R) and Supervisors Barg, Maureen S. Caddigan (R-Dumfries), W.S. Covington III (R-Brentsville), John D. Jenkins (D-Neabsco) and Martin E. Nohe (R-Coles) voted nay. Only Supervisors John T. Stirrup Jr. (R-Gainesville) and Stewart went on the record as wanting to identify the means that might have produced leaner, better governance.
Center Offers Solution To Chaotic Situation
The day laborers in Woodbridge and their neighbors need assistance to address a problem that has grown almost beyond control.
Unemployed, hard-working, would-be U.S. citizens need work every morning. And scores of employers want to hire them for short-term work. The situation results in traffic problems and citizen complaints.
The police and Southland Corp. have done an excellent job in dealing with the problems temporarily. But some orderly solutions need to be developed. A plan developed by a citizens committee calls for a central employment center staffed with up to two county employees. The county would provide seed money of $150,000 to get the program underway. This type of subsidy is similar to the millions of dollars the county provides to corporations annually as incentive to come to Prince William.
The center would serve as a place where day laborers and employers could match up. The plan makes sense and has the potential to bring order out of chaos. Unless something is done, it is clear the chaotic conditions will continue.
These types of community centers are being developed all over the nation -- from New York to California, Texas to Washington state -- and there are several in the Washington area. They provide:
A safe gathering space where workers can connect with employers.
Pedestrian and traffic safety.
Relief from storefront and parking lot congestion.
Basic hygiene and sanitation.
Protection from the elements.
Reduction in community tensions.
Stability and strength to emerging communities.
Stronger local economic development.
A focal point to find out how to learn how to become "legal."
The center also has the makings of a social and economic hub. With federal and corporate grant money available, the center can develop into a place where newly arrived people can learn English and find out how to become citizens. And, in the longer term, the investment will enable them to become literate taxpayers.
The county provides millions of dollars in grants and tax relief annually to corporations that are finding a home at Innovation@Prince William in the western part of the county. It would seem only equitable that the county provide assistance to resolve the day laborer problem in Woodbridge.
This would reduce the chaos, bring order to Route 1 and facilitate the hiring of lower-wage people who also pay taxes.
Kevin M. Raymond
A Scripted Hearing On a Volatile Issue
It's no surprise the day laborer task force voted, 10 to 3, to leave intact its demand that county taxpayers fund the proposed center in Woodbridge.
The recent public meeting concerning the task force was far from a public showcase of the task force's draft recommendations. The meeting was nothing but a scripted farce, perpetuated by a planned consortium of "reluctant" speakers, who just had to stand to respond to the alleged hate speech coming from those who support legal immigration.
With such a volatile issue at hand and so much opposition, you'd think more openness would prevail. But, then again, if the plan is to ramrod this down the throats of Prince William taxpayers, why not hold a public meeting so you can say you did, and script pro-day-laborer speakers to smear the opposition as racists, hatemongers, anti-Christians, anti-immigration and bigots to take the focus off the illegality of the day laborer endeavor?
Robert T. Molleur
Big Brother's Reactionary Response
Look out folks! Big Brother is alive and well and getting ready to stalk the halls of the Virginia General Assembly to tell you what you can't do for your incapacitated loved ones even on the advice of medical professionals!
Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) and his reactionary buddies apparently are going to introduce legislation to prevent any wife, husband, close family member or doctors from making medical decisions about the treatment of loved ones who are not able to speak for themselves.
Of course this is the right-wing reactionary's answer to the Terri Schiavo imbroglio, which was a national disgrace. Mr. Marshall and the other ultra-conservatives want to prevent the withholding of water and/or nourishment from a dying person if the person's wishes aren't in writing. (Another boon for lawyers.)
What they are really saying is that as a spouse or other loved one who has lived with the individual years on end, and competent medical professionals, have no say in the matter. Only Big Brother in Richmond can decide such issues. Certainly this isn't another attempt by Mr. Marshall and the conservatives to write more religious dogma into state law?
It is interesting the juxtaposition of this position by Del. Marshall and his stand on new and vitally needed new taxes two sessions ago. He and four other Republican members of the Prince William delegation adopted a no-new-tax stand even before they went to Richmond to hear any facts or see any figures about the fiscal state of the commonwealth. (In fact, they even voted against the appropriations bill that just divides up the money among accounts.)
That's really representation, isn't it? Why didn't they just mail in their vote and save taxpayers money for their travel to and from Richmond!
Perhaps it is time for Prince William voters to make a change in the people we elect. Wouldn't it be nice to have delegates who go to Richmond, listen to the facts, study the issues, check with their constituents and then cast a vote based on knowledge and information instead of party and/or religious dictates. How novel! Representative government!
William E. Henry