A Lesson in Arrogance

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A Lesson in Arrogance

School Board meetings are usually sparse affairs with only the board members, some staff members, a local reporter and a parent or two attending. This was certainly the case in Prince William County until Wednesday. Then, perhaps because of the recent announcement regarding the dismissal of the well-liked Freedom High School principal, a large and alarmed crowd filled the meeting until there was, quite literally, standing room only.

I talked to many in attendance. They noted that they were there to learn the truth regarding the action and wanted to show support for Principal Dorothy McCabe. Much to everyone's surprise, they learned a different sort of lesson, regarding arrogance and abuse of power.

Because most of the people at the meeting did not know of the board's administrative requirement that they call in advance to reserve a place during citizens time, the board chose to ignore the crowd. Then, before the lucky few who could speak began, they were warned in a stern manner that discussion of pending administrative matters (the firing) was prohibited and punishable (by some ambiguous, if not ominous means). No one was allowed to mention, ask about or provide input regarding the firing, its inherent unfairness or its possible basis in age or racial bias.

As I left the meeting determined to bring this matter to the public's attention, I heard a song on the radio in which the rock group U2's Bono sings, "You gotta cry without weeping, talk without speaking, scream without raising your voice."

It is just a bit more challenging when you are hobbled, blinded and gagged by the board.

Robert Lang


RPAs Are Not Legal

I resigned from the Citizens Resource Protection Area (RPA) Review Committee in March because the chairman refused to acknowledge that RPAs are unlawful regulatory takings of private property rights without just compensation and wants residents to simply accept RPAs as legal and the committee as valid.

I was directed to place my concerns in the appendix of the committee's final report, under "minority opinion."

Unfortunately, even residents who appear to be against RPAs are, in part, accepting them as legitimate, because they don't have all the facts.

Jaime K. Morgan stated, "Under the Chesapeake Bay Act, RPAs were intended to be environmental buffers along major waterways such as the Potomac River, Broad Run, lakes and significant perennial streams" [Letters to the Editor, May 14].

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