City's Schools Uninspired
I taught in the Manassas city school system at Osbourn High School for 12 years. I left the school system at the end of the 2004-05 school year, along with several other teachers I had worked with for more than five years. Where did we go? You might imagine we left for high-paying corporate or government jobs. Instead, we are still teaching, some of us for less money, in Prince William, Loudoun and Fairfax counties.
Part of the reason we left was exactly what The Post reported: a lack of inspiration from the Manassas school system's leadership.
I applauded the School Board's decision to fire Superintendent Chip Zullinger. The Post reported that Zullinger claimed to have visited four to six (of only seven!) schools a week. Well, my classroom overlooked the main hallway and main office, and I certainly did not see Mr. Zullinger at Osbourn once every week or two.
In fact, at a back-to-school night two years ago, I approached him in the hallway to offer assistance in finding a classroom. He looked like a lost parent. Another teacher had the same experience elsewhere in the building that evening. At that time I realized how little we knew about our superintendent and how little we saw him. (Yet his office is just across the street from Osbourn.)
During the all-district faculty meeting before school two years ago, he was the final speaker. He started his comments by stating that his staff was making him talk to us. Is that inspirational? Only if you are looking for reasons to leave. So I did. My only regret is that things are probably looking better now that he has left.
Taking Credit Not Due
The epitome of hypocrisy arrived in my mailbox Tuesday! It was a four-color brochure extolling the virtues of Del. Robert G. Marshall (R-Prince William) in meeting the transportation needs in our area.
Surely this can't be the same Mr. Marshall who voted no on the recent bipartisan tax increase enacted by the General Assembly to keep Virginia solvent and its highly valued triple-A bond rating. Surely this can't be the Del. Marshall who has offered little or no leadership in meeting the fiscal needs of the state. Surely this must be the same Mr. Marshall whose main mission in Richmond has been to attempt to write Catholic dogma concerning abortion into state law. That, of course, would mandate that every woman of childbearing age in Virginia would have to follow the dictates of the Vatican concerning her own body!
His brochure is cleverly presented. It features four-color photographs of transportation work in action, as if he had anything to do with any of it. The accompanying letter features such phrases as "we directed" and "we designated" such and such. What he is saying, however, is the General Assembly enacted the enabling road legislation. The record clearly shows that Del. Marshall voted no on the GOP-Democrat-sponsored tax increase and appropriations measure that provides the money to make such road work possible!
It is obvious that his generally extremist political stance is causing him a bit of trouble in running for reelection. He even cites Gov. Mark R. Warner (D) and Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William) in his mailing. He even mentions Del. Harry J. Parrish (R-Manassas), who was the only member of the Prince William delegation to vote for the tax increase and appropriations bill. (Parrish quickly became the target of ultra-conservative Republicans to defeat in the upcoming election.) The whole Del. Marshal mailing is a cleverly conceived campaign piece that flies in the face of reality, if not ethics.
Nice try, Mr. Marshall. But I suspect Prince William voters are too smart and sophisticated to be taken in by such not-so-subtle trickery.
William E. Henry
Leave Landowners Alone
The Prince William Conservation Alliance just doesn't get it.
Charlie Grymes, alliance board chairman, believes private property owners should be denied the right to own land along perennial streams, and only homeowners associations should control these areas and are the best entities to protect the Chesapeake Bay through Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act Resource Protection Areas (RPAs) [Prince William Extra, Oct. 9].
RPAs are strict land-use restrictions placed on private property supposedly along "perennial streams" (constantly flowing) to restrict runoff. Grymes claims that placing control of RPAs in the hands of homeowners associations should "allow homeowners to build swing sets and sheds in their back yards without any government permits, protecting property rights."
In other words, to best protect the Chesapeake Bay and property rights, no homeowner should be allowed to own land along a perennial stream and such lands should be under the full control of quasi-government homeowners associations because only they can protect the environment!
In lieu of building citizen trust with private property owners and seeking voluntary solutions and financial incentives to protect natural resources on private property, similar to federal farm conservation programs in place since 1936, the alliance wants to avoid private property owners altogether and place nearly all environmentally sensitive lands, especially RPAs, in the hands of homeowners associations. Homeowners associations are entities the alliance can better influence and use to dominate, even more, the lives of private citizens.
In the end, perhaps the biased hierarchy of the alliance needs to get off their high horses and include some conservatives on their board of directors who find swing sets along backyard streams on private property tolerable. Denying children the right to swing along a stream in their own back yard within the arms of Mother Nature is simply an elitist-induced miscarriage of principle.
Robert T. Molleur
Attacking Our Freedoms
Want to protect your constitutional rights?
So does the group Prince William County Concerned Citizens.
Americans have enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, stability and freedom in large part because of our Constitution. The Prince William County Concerned Citizens advocates our unique constitutional architecture that was designed to protect our American values from foreign threats and to limit the abuse of governmental power. This is even more pertinent today in Prince William County.
The current focus of this peril is local confiscation of homeowner property under the false pretext of environmentalism. Unfortunately, our legitimate environmental interests have been hijacked by a separate political agenda. Our bona fide American environmental movement has largely been commandeered and moved away from ecology to redistribute wealth.
This principally came about after so many disappointed champions of Marxism moved to the green movement when "communism" and "Marxism" became unfashionable terms of a now-defunct Soviet system. For example, Mikhail Gorbachev, in his hasty reconfiguration from "leading Marxist" to "leading environmentalist," exemplified this extraordinary political phenomenon. True to their Marxist design, their collectivist philosophy successfully infiltrated the legitimate environmentalist movement to the point that it now remarkably resembles the agenda of the defunct Soviet regime.
Using environmentalism as a Trojan horse, Gorbachev and his colleagues refashioned the green and environmental movement to focus more and more on government intrusion into the private lives of people.
Most damaging of all in Prince William County is the dawning awareness of this new role of environmental zealotry in confiscating homeowners' private property as "environmental" resource protection areas. So what turned out to be the great failure in the Soviet Union has now reared its ugly head in Prince William County in the form of local governmental property confiscations under the pretext of environmental Resource Protection Areas (RPAs).
These RPA easement confiscations from homeowners are threats that have devastating results in terms of unconstitutional attacks against American homes and the deprivation of homeowner private property rights across the board. In this regard, RPA easement confiscations by local government are deemed as an ingenious attempt to distance it from, and avoid, the U.S. Constitution's Fifth Amendment (i.e. eminent domain) by attempting to veil these takings as "environmental regulatory buffers" that are exempt from due process and compensation.
But what these radical environmentalists and the politicians who endorse and support them do not realize is that the vast majority of Virginians are not hesitant to defend their freedom, homes and property rights. We are fully capable of rising to the challenge of this new kind of peril.
Prince William County citizens are aware of their power to go to the voting booth to get rid of elected scoundrels and to the courts to remedy local governmental abuses. When local elected officials are not affected by decisions that affect the rest of us, we have good reasons to distrust them.
Furthermore, when elected officials' so-called environmental confiscation policies benefit powerful developers at the expense of the people, this only further lends credibility and greater impetus to vote them out of office. Local elected officials who do not respect our constitutional guarantees of private property and protections from governmental intrusions are put on notice that their services will not be continued after the next election.
As such, these acts by politically motivated environmentalists and politicians represent a fundamental attack against America's core freedoms. What did not work in Soviet Russia for 70-some years is not wanted here in Prince William County.
Prince William County