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Archive for November, 2012

The Good Stewards prevailed in Monday’s vote and City council members will have to vote yes or no on individual projects in the CIP.

This is good for transparency in Manassas government and suggest that maybe the new initiative by the City to reach out and take Citizen input seriously is more than just a public relations campaign.

Three members of the council  – Aveni, Lovejoy and Way,  joined by Mayor Parrish, were willing to stand up and support putting their vote for or against each and every project that will be included in the CIP into the public record for everyone to see.

Three other members attempted to hide behind the crowd of proposed projects which will be included in the CIP, many of which, perhaps most, will be necessary and well crafted projects, but some of which will include controversial and not so well planned projects, like the notorious Wellington Bike Trail.

I’m not sure why the three council members, Harrover, Wolfe, and Randolph would want to be associated with an effort to obscure the public’s view and understanding of where and how their councilmen want to spend the public’s money, and I certainly don’t understand why they think detailing the merits of one or several ‘good’ projects justifies spending on other projects whose details are not known, but I do know one thing, after Monday’s Council vote, Manassas’ taxpayers  know which members are comfortable with citizens knowing more about how their money is being spent and which members prefer citizens know squat.

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Well folks it’s the Know-Nothings vs the Good Stewards. Today’s City Council meeting is shaping up to be another entertaining affair for Manassas residents who want a good laugh/cry on where and on what your councilmen want to spend your money.

In one corner we have The Know-Nothings led by Vice-Mayor, Blogger Andy Harrover who argue that while it might be laudable to know exactly where and  on what the City Council wants to spend your money, it’s not that important.

It’s not that important to wait and see what the Citizens of Manassas have to say about the  CIP projects during the City citizen forums the City is sponsoring (paying for), nor is it important to even have a detailed plan on how the funds being collected from the taxpayers will be spent.

What is important, according to the Know-Nothings is to convey the message to the whole world  that the City has millions of bucks, new tax revenue burning a hole in its pockets and the city intends to implement a drunken sailor budgeting strategy, wave the wad of cash and hope it ends up with a little more than just two guys  named Scott and Art smiling at you in the morning.

In the other corner we have the Good Stewards led by Marc Aveni, Ian Lovejoy and Jon Way(?) a former sailor, who seem to be saying, if we are going to pay for something could we at least see the plan for what we are paying? Surely with so much effort to build consensus and agreement within the community on CIP projects, we aren’t going to tell Manassas citizens , money first, consensus whenever.

Where: City Council Chambers

When: 26 November 2012 5:30 pm

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That is your assignment (my one reader e.e. fleshenbaum) for the Thanksgiving Holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!

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Congratulations to Corey Stewart for at least acknowledging that perhaps he needs to reassess his recent choice of acting roles, less Claude Rains, more Jimmy Stewart. Even the Sheriff of Nottingham is taking note.

One question I had reading Stewart’s Flat Tax Budget which included a proposal to close PWC Public Libraries two days a week is: Does that mean Manassas gets to cut 2/7 of our annual contribution to the system?   Personally, I agree with Derecho’s assessment:

“Closing the libraries two days a week is one of the most short-sighted cuts I’ve seen in a while and I believe that given the facility costs won’t decrease as the buildings still have to be maintained the “savings” are probably overstated.”

Furthermore, politicians reducing public access to the information and the resources libraries provide is a little suspicious, do the communities want an informed public or not?

And what about the homeschooling community? I suspect the small amount gained by closing the libraries won’t be worth the cost savings in the end.

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“What sluggards, what cowards have I brought up in my court, who care nothing for their allegiance to their lord. Who will rid me of this Mendelssohn Conductor.”

Obviously while attending Georgetown University Corey Stewart must have stopped at one too many drinking holes along M and Wisconsin on his way to the Kennedy Center to catch a show or two. I too must confess to missing quite a few great performances at the Kennedy Center while at Georgetown, the sirens calling out from the bars wrecked many well intended excursions to spend an evening with Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, or Chopin.

But, if not the drink, then what explains the sad current state of the Arts in Prince William County, and Manassas, which has been brought about by Chairman Stewart’s, until now, unrecognized role in silencing the Prince William Symphony Orchestra and its Director?

According to a letter sent to the News & Messenger, and briefly published before being pulled by a bumbling and possibly intimidated editor, the Orchestra’s Director laid out in a brutally frank missive, Mr. Stewart’s central role in what appeared to be a concerted effort by the county government to kill off the county’s own symphony orchestra.

Dr Montgomery’s Letter to the News & Messenger

Considering the current financial crisis, many people have wondered about the future of the Prince William Symphony Orchestra. The short answer is that the PWSO has introduced a new model for financial support and will continue its concerts as we gather the appropriate funding. In particular, we hope to open the new season at the new Performing Arts Center on September 18. However, we will not represent Prince William County by name as its Symphony until the County (specifically Corey Stewart) has found the moral courage to confront and correct the ethical lapses, conflicts of interest, failed promises, and (particularly) the favoritism that now characterizes County funding to the arts.

I personally have resigned from the PWC Arts Council. I do not expect this action to produce even a ripple, for I know this greedy little funding game by heart. But no matter how we have arrived at this point, when a relative newcomer (Councilman Mark Wolfe’s Manassas Ballet) can grab $55,000 in public money while a Symphony with 37 years of service (PWSO) gets only $11,000, then it is time for the citizens of this county to shut the whole thing down and start over.

Stewart seems pleased with such a misuse of taxpayer dollars, and he clearly is pleased to have funded organizations that are neither registered in Virginia, nor hold even a non-profit status anywhere in the U.S, as per the county’s own requirements. Illegal, you ask? Probably. Unethical? Certainly. Odious? You bet.

If this is how you want your politicians and their “liaison”(a Ms. Bentz) to manipulate County funds, then fine – that validates my decision and saves me further work. But if you want “Great Music, Close to Home” (our motto, and you know we can deliver it) for you and your children, then call me at 703 659 0103, and let’s talk about a new cultural future for this County.

Do you really want to drive all the way to the Kennedy Center, when you could simply muzzle our current political bullies and support civilized culture where we live?

Dr. David L. Montgomery

To be accused of misusing taxpayer money could not have been music to Chairman Stewart’s ears, the fact that the letter was published by the N&M and then quickly pulled after communication by the editor with a PW County official screams “censor most foul” to all but the most obtuse or corrupt observer.

So in the spirit of combatting the ugly spectre of censorship by local government and press(?) I Grant sanctuary to Dr Montgomery’s letter until Corey Steward’s henchmen come for me.

But be warned Stewart’s lackies, I know the Sheriff’s url.

(Yes, I’ve probably been enjoying the Sheriff’s site a bit too much, I’ll cut back during the holidays.)

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Mayor and City Council members hide your tutus and nutcrackers the Sheriff is coming!

Reblogged with the Sheriff’s Permission.

The Sheriff Hates Women, Men, Everybody, and the
Arts. Is There an End to the Hate?

Guest post and music provided by

DAVID MONTGOMERY

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

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