Provocative Blog Spawns Its Anti-Blog in Pr. William

By Kristen Mack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 4, 2008

It took Alanna Almeda a few weeks to realize that she had been removed as a contributor to Black Velvet Bruce Li, a conservative blog that has played a role in Prince William County's immigration debate. With no other virtual place to go, Almeda recently decided to create her own space.

Almeda dubbed her blog Anti-Black Velvet Bruce Li. Although she started the site anonymously, she is holding a party tonight to introduce herself as the voice behind the blog ( http://antibvbl.net).

The addition of Almeda's musings on Prince William politics enlivens an already vigorous local blog scene. Like many blogs, Black Velvet Bruce Li ( http://www.bvbl.net/) attracts a loyal, if narrow, following that averages 1,400 hits a day. Its creator, Greg Letiecq, has helped elect political allies, punish opponents and shape local public policy through the blog.

Almeda decided she wanted to attempt to do the same, from the other side of the political spectrum.

"He was the one driving the whole issue," she said of Letiecq's role in the county's decision to direct police officers to check the citizenship status of criminal suspects who might be in the country illegally.

"It started off with moderate comments, but they got more emboldened and brazen. They feed off of each other over there, without anyone to rein them in," said Almeda, a Prince William native and stay-at-home mother.

When Letiecq removed her comments, posted under the heading "compassionate conservative," Almeda realized that she no longer had a voice.

Letiecq said he does not have time to babysit comments, as is true of many blogs. But he said he does "block people that [upset] me or anyone who attacks me personally."

David Mastio, who said he tracks 200 Virginia political blogs on his http://Blognetnews.com, said Letiecq is the most influential conservative blogger in Northern Virginia. Letiecq has used his blog to sign up members for his anti-illegal-immigrant organization, Help Save Manassas.

He said the organization and the blog are distinct entities. Black Velvet Bruce Li is his alter ego, Letiecq said. He said he wants it to be controversial to attract viewers.

"Diplomat Deane meets with foreign agents," was the title of one recent posting, referring to Prince William Police Chief Charlie T. Deane's decision to hold a community meeting with the Mexican Consulate to explain how officers would enforce the county's immigration policy. "Mexican government comes to lecture us," another entry about the meeting read.

At Anti-Black Velvet Bruce Li, a posting is titled "Chief Deane forewarned us," a reference to the police chief's having advised county officials of potential problems with enforcing the immigration policy. An entry extolling the advantages of living in Prince William was titled "All that's good in PWC."


CONTINUED     1        >

© 2008 The Washington Post Company