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Jackson Miller Calls For Hard Decisions

By Greg L | 27 September 2006 | Manassas City, 50th HOD District | 3 Comments

Ed Note: This has article undergone revision to remove some inaccuracies that were reported in the Manassas Journal-Messenger and partially used as a basis for this post. Thanks to Andy Harrover for clearing these up.

Last Monday’s Manassas City Council meeting gave voters another opportunity to see Jackson Miller in action as a legislator. It’s easy to make policy statements on the campaign trail, but dealing with real issues means hard choices, and those hard choices can tell us a lot about how a candidate would act in the General Assembly.

Home-based small businesses are one of these tough issues. On one hand, these can potentially cause traffic, parking and quality of life problems if these businesses grow to the point they really should be conducted in a commercially zoned area. Think of someone’s small landscaping business that grows to the point of five or six commercial vehicles constantly coming and going in a residential neighborhood. Stand up for harming the character of residential neighborhoods, and your political career will be a short one.

On the other hand, home-based small businesses are the crucible of entrepreneurship, where business plans first get a chance to meet reality and business owners get a chance to see if their ideas will really work. Cut off this opportunity, and you effectively strangle the creation of a majority of small business development, as many of these risk-takers don’t have the initial capital to secure commercial space for a venture that hasn’t yet generated any revenue. Harm the engine that in many ways drives the local economy, and your political future will be uncertain at best.

Howard Daniel is one small businessman who is seeking a special use permit to operate a part-time business in his home. His neighbors are suppportive, he seems to have his request in order, and he went to the City Council in order to get a decision. Four members of the city council decided that they would also ask the Land Use Committee to figure out whether home-based businesses should be allowed in Manassas. Two members of the council opposed this idea of sending it to committee and instead want the council to make specific decisions regarding each special use permit: Marc Aveni and Jackson Miller.

The council should have the responsibility for making these hard decisions, as Jackson Miller stated, and they shouldn’t be afraid of them. That’s what the taxpayers elected them to do. It may be politically easier to defer, but it robs the taxpayers the opportunity to hold council members accountable for their decisions.

It would have been easy for Jackson Miller to just go along with this. He didn’t. Although we may come to miss that attitude on the City Council soon, it’s reassuring to see that Jackson Miller will bring that attitude to Richmond as our delegate. His record as a member of the Manassas City Council shows us time and time again that Jackson Miller has a rare moral courage which will serve the citizens well in the House of Delegates, just as it has served the citizens of Manassas.

UPDATE: Council Member Andy Harrover provides additional details on what happened at the council meeting in the comments section.

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  1. rev said on 27 Sep 2006 at 12:34 pm:
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    “Opportunity to see Jackon Miller in action as a legislator” you say? What action did he take? The only thing I saw was him trying to figure out what happen the last time something didn’t get voted on. He seemed more concernced with the fact that this issue would continue to show up on the agenda then deciding on the issue at hand one way or the other. It seemed to me it was an opportunity to see Jackon Miller avoid an issue.

    The only one who took action was Randolph which made a motion to approve the SUP.

  2. Greg L said on 27 Sep 2006 at 12:50 pm:
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    If Randolph made the motion to approve it, than how come the MJM is reporting that he voted to refer it to committee? Did they get this wrong?

    The SUP deserved an up-or-down vote, and only two council members voted against deferring it to committee. Jackson wants the council to retain the responsibility of deciding these requests on an individual basis based on the merits of the specific proposal. That means that the council will still be on the hook for making hard decisions with potentially tough political ramifications — which is precisely the responsibility they should have.

  3. Andy H said on 27 Sep 2006 at 1:07 pm:
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    After reading the article in the paper, I was afraid a misunderstanding would occur. Mr. Daniels is still owed a timely decision by the Council. Nothing about that has changed. Steve Randolph made a motion that the application be approved and his motion did not recieve a second. No other motions were made regarding Mr. Daniel’s application. It is my understanding that Mr. Daniel’s application will be on the agenda for the next meeting.

    The motion that I made regarding the Land Use committee will have *NO* bearing on this case or any other case currently under consideration. Mr. Daniel’s case has *not* been referred to the Land Use committee.

    My motion simply recognized that the planning commission and the Council have disagreed on special use permits in the recent past and it is time that we revisit the rules for these permits. No need to waste everyone’s time on these if the community doesn’t want them. If any change is made, it is doubtful that the rules would be altered to the extent that home-based businesses would be illegal.


    Andy Harrover

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