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Hold Your Wallet – Here’s Mark Again

By Greg L | 12 November 2009 | Manassas City, Prince William County | 106 Comments

Guest post by Howard Roark

I was astounded to read in the November 11 “News & Observer” that Manassas Councilman Mark Wolfe is again reaching for the wallets of taxpayers in Manassas and Prince William County. We know already that he padded his request for arts funding to get $55,000 of taxpayer money from Prince William County and additional sums from Manassas, mostly to subsidize the dance school he and his wife run. Much of that money went to his pals who run an orchestra in Annandale.

Now Wolfe and Creston Owen, Chairman of Virginia Civil War Events Inc. want hundreds of thousands of dollars from Manassas and PWC taxpayers to stage Civil War reenactments and other events tied to the 150th anniversary of the First Battle of Manassas. The Manassas City Council approved $100,000 with half of it contingent on Prince William County coming up with a fortune. Owen said, “I believe we have pretty good support from the county. We’re making a formal request to them for a quarter of a million dollars, and from all indications at this point, it looks like we’re going to get that support.” Owen thinks he is going to get $1 million from the State also.

The PWC funding would come through the Parks Authority; the same group that oversees Kathy Bentz’ Arts Grant Panel. That’s the panel that includes Mark Holcomb, a board member of the Annandale symphony run by Wolfe’s buddy Chris Hite. I suppose that Wolfe and his cronies figure that they got the $55,000 from PWC taxpayers so easily; might as well shoot for a quarter of a million this time.

On its web site, Owen’s Virginia Civil War Events Inc. describes itself as “in formation, intends to be a 501C3, not for profit corporation, dedicated to the promotion of civil war history, the education of what Virginia’s role was during this trying time for our country, and the preservation of historical assets of the commonwealth.” Aren’t those the reasons we finance the Manassas Museum? Why should taxpayers pony up hundreds of thousands of dollars for another such organization? Also, enthusiasts reenact battles frequently with no taxpayer funding. As I count the totals here, we’re up to almost $1.5 million in requests.

The article quotes Wolfe, “The citizens out there can very well question why we would spend $100,000 … an absolutely legitimate question particularly in these economic times, but the answer to that is we don’t have much choice.” Sorry Mark, but we do have a choice.

I support commemorating historic events, but are Wolfe and Owen completely insane? The exorbitant fleecing of taxpayers to subsidize Wolfe’s dance school was bad enough. This nonsense dwarfs that excess, however. Where is Corey on this? Why has he not yet disbanded the corruption-filled Arts Grants Panel? Owen seems to think the $250,000 from PWC is a slam-dunk. Where’s the PWC BOCS saying otherwise?

Government finances from the State to the County and the City are in shambles. The unemployment rate nationally is over ten percent, people are losing their homes, and governments are cutting back services and laying off public employees. Nonetheless, Wolfe, Owen and the Manassas/PWC elite think spending $55,000 from PWC (plus whatever Manassas taxpayers kicked in) on a dance school, and nearly $1.5 million on civil war reenactments and duplications of the services the Manassas Museum already provides is a good idea.

Have the inmates taken over the asylum?

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  1. Mom said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:12 pm:
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    For once, you’re right on the mark. Funding a new 100 grand line item for something that is a want and not a need, likely will be the epitaph on some supervisor’s or councilman’s political headstone. Given the budget cuts, salary freezes and diminishing revenue streams, its the wrong time and wrong economy for what screams of nothing more than a publicity stunt and quite frankly smells just a bit. Consider that in order to simply make up the county and city share of the expense, the event would have to generate at least 35 million in additional local sales.

  2. Robert said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:15 pm:
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    I actually like this idea and support it - we need a ground zero for the civil war and it well should be in Manassas!

  3. Mike Lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:17 pm:
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    Now, Howard, let’s not overreact here. Perhaps Wolfe’s ballet company plans to reward the community for its lavish generosity by providing the extras on set. After all, it’s a natural for tutus. In fact, why don’t we just stop babbling about the need to feed and house people during an international economic crisis and just spend all of our community funds on such spectacles? We could list it in the budget under “Project: high art from low politics”… Perhaps Wolfe’s friends Bentz and Holcomb could even film it and use the proceeds to finance another Fairfax arts group.

    Seriously, folks. When will our government put a stop to this madness? Or do these individuals have such power that they can no longer be stopped?

  4. Disgusted Taxpayer said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:29 pm:
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    Can Manassas residents demand that payment be stopped on the check? It’s hard to believe that the Manassas City Council did something this stupid. I’m in Prince William and will donate to the campaign of anyone opposing a supervisor who approves one more penny for any of Wolfe’s schemes.

  5. Conservative 2 said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:37 pm:
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    In a time of depression or close to it, low economy, many out of work, many who find it hard to make ends meet and Wolfe and Owens comes up with this?
    What jerks. Owens always has such off the wall ideas and all with taxpayer money. Tell them to use their own money!

    Just heard today Connelly is having a program to advise the people on Refinancing and or New Mortgages. He will have Mortgage Lenders there to help. Help what? Get poor people deeper in debt and get so far above their heads,they can’t get out. Guess this is to help promote Obamas finance, that has not been going well at all.

    Also Principi sent out thousands of notices for Meals at the Senior Center for his Thanksgiving Dinner for Seniors.But it is all paid by the taxpayer.If Principi wants to put on a Dinner, let him pay for it out of his Salary. Not the descretionary or the County Budget!

    Barg always did this and no one would answer where the money came from. Must have been the Taxpayers. Well this taxpayer and many I have spoken to,does not want their tax money going for this.

    Need to hit Corey on all of these things and he needs to stop it all now.

  6. Mike Lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:39 pm:
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    Wonder who will dance the part of Beauregard?

  7. Jebbie said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:48 pm:
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    Dance to the sound of the guns!

  8. Karla H said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:54 pm:
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    Greg, once again… great site! You’ve always got timely and pertinent news. Even when I am not commenting, don’t worry, I am reading. bvbl is one of my regular stops when I do my rounds for the news now.

  9. Plain Jane said on 12 Nov 2009 at 4:59 pm:
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    Well, I’m not very good with politics and silly re-enactments, etc, but aren’t we ashamed even to be thinking about celebrating such a hideous war, where people died horribly or were maimed for life, and when our county experienced one of its lowest standards of faith and unity - not to mention compassion?

    I feel just as disgusted as “Disgusted Taxpayer”! Get rid of politicians who use human conflict for their own purposes. If this is what Mr. Wolfe wants, then get rid of him, Manassas!

    With all that wasted money, we could really help our poor people. Then we, too, could be heroic, not just mock-heroic.

  10. mike lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 5:12 pm:
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    By the way, does anyone know why the Mayor of Manassas allows himself to sit on Mr. Wolfe’s Board of Directors? Sure seems like a “marke” of private interest.

  11. E. Lee said on 12 Nov 2009 at 5:20 pm:
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    A bit too critical here I think, please seperate your dislike of certain persons from this event. It is right to promote the civil war 150th event for so little funding and get the business and positive press that comes with it, have any of you been to Gettysburg?

    If you want to pick on something here is some red meat: the Manassas Museum gets almost a million dollars of city taxpayer money to do what exactly? If they had their act together over there we would not need to have a 3rd party step in and run an event like this - be mad about that, not 50K for this historic and important event that has shaped our country and community.

  12. Disgusted Taxpayer said on 12 Nov 2009 at 5:33 pm:
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    E. Lee - your reasoning doesn’t hold water. You say we have one organization, the Manassas Museum, that gets $1 million from taxpayers and is not effective. Your solution is let’s create another organization, give it $1.5 million of taxpayer money and hope it works better. This is Obamathink.

    How about we fix whatever problems you think the Manassas Museum has, let them take the lead, and organize volunteer reenactors? If Wolfe and Owen think this is so important, they can volunteer to help the Manassas Museum. Do you volunteer for the Manassas Museum? Quit complaining if you’ve done nothing to help.

  13. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 5:39 pm:
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    Mark Wolfe, had just one vote on this issue. So, I would cut him some slack on this issue.

    For those that are not aware of the local history and how it is tied to the City, I can understand why you might have doubt about the expense.

    However, this truly is a once in a lifetime chance to remember(yes, Plain Jane, we should remember the war on its 150th anniversary we are not celebrating the death and distruction, but the events that centered on this area for five years) the War. Thousands if not millions of visitors will come to this area over the next six years looking and expecting to see Battlefields, and other sites associated with the War. They will also have a boat load of money to spend. They will spend it in the City, if we give them a reason to come here.

    It would be foolish to just sit back and not do anything, while people will go to PW County, or Fairfax, or Fredericksburg to spend their money. Of course people will then complain why the City did not do more to attract visitors.

  14. Just the Facts said on 12 Nov 2009 at 6:11 pm:
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    I’ve posted before on Mark Wolfe’s financial shenanigans relating to his ballet and dance school. I smell another taxpayer fleecing coming in this case as well. Perhaps Wolfe has just one vote on the Manassas City Council but from the tone of the article he and Owen seem to be the leaders in trying to get more taxpayer money for this new group.

    I agree with Citizen of Manassas and others that the 150th anniversary of the battle should be commemorated and efforts made to promote it from a tourism perspective. However, we already have the Manassas National Battlefield Park (run by the U.S. Park Service), the Manassas Museum, and tourism bureaus in both Manassas and Prince William County (when they aren’t promoting Fairfax County restaurants ( http://www.bvbl.net/index.php/2009/11/02/cvb-promotes-fairfax-county/ ). In a time of economic crisis, budget cuts and layoffs let’s use the resources we have more effectively rather than concocting some new organization to throw $1.5 million at, especially when that money would be controlled by Mark Wolfe and his cronies.

    Moreover, the World War II Memorial downtown was funded entirely by private gifts, aside from the Park Service providing the location on the Mall. Former Senator Bob Dole and others established a private foundation to raise the funds for this project. If Wolfe, Owen and others don’t think the aforementioned resources and organizations are adequate, let them use the World War II Memorial funding model rather than try to pick the pockets of already strapped Manassas and Prince William County taxpayers.

  15. Love the U.S.A. said on 12 Nov 2009 at 8:13 pm:
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    I have mixed feelings on this. Why don’t they hit up the businesses around here for the money? Didn’t people know what they were getting when they voted for Wolfe? Also Councilwoman Bass is on the board of Wolfes ballet company too.

  16. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 8:21 pm:
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    Just the facts,

    I was at the meeting Monday night and every single member of the Council provided comments, along with their yes votes, so I’m not sure why Mark seemed to get the most attention in the article.

    This is a one time cost for the City, unlike the County “performing arts” center, so really there is no connection to the two.

    Yes, the Manassas National Battlefield is close by, but the City was the location of the 1911 fall Jubilee. We also have sites inside the City that are connected to the war so it makes sense for the City to provide money to an organzation that will bring people to the City for different events. There are going to be parades, marches, dances etc. Those people attending the events will need to eat, sleep, etc, and they will do that in our City if we are ready.

    If you have never been to a large reenactment, where there are 40,000 plus people who are there for one thing only, the reenactment, then you may not understand the impact this is going to have on the City. Now times that by 5, over five years, and you’ll understand, why this is going to be a very important time for not only our City but the County.

    The City has also protected itself and us taxpayers by putting in conditions for the remaining amount of money to be given. There will also be private donations, so it’s not as if the City is covering the entire cost.

  17. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 8:21 pm:
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    BTW, Mrs. Bass was not at the meeting.

  18. Just the Facts said on 12 Nov 2009 at 8:56 pm:
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    Citizen - I respect your sincerity but am still not convinced. The total proposed bill to Manassas is $100,000 and to PWC is $250,000. No way is this event going to generate enough sales, lodging, etc. to recoup that money in tax revenue, much less the $1 million Owen wants from Virginia. How will you get 40,000 people into Manassas and PWC at one time anyway? Only possibility is that most stay and eat in Fairfax County. Thus, we’re back to using Manassas/PWC taxpayer money to fund Fairfax organizations as Wolfe does with his buddy Hite’s Annandale symphony and the PWC Visitors Bureau does promoting a Fairfax restaurant. Enough is enough.

    I’m actually looking forward to the anniversary and will participate in some of the activities. In a previous life I taught college-level American history and strongly support these commemorations as educational opportunities for the public and our kids. I have no problem at all with organizing something.

    My concern surrounds Wolfe and the other usual suspects pan-handling for hundreds of thousands of public tax dollars. We just don’t need that! PWC turned over nearly $200,000 last year to Kathy Bentz’ Arts Grant Panel, which was packed with Friends of Mark and look what happened. Now we’re going create a new organization controlled by essentially the same crowd of Manassas and PWC elites, give them $350,000 and hope for a better result?

    A great commemoration can be arranged using the organizations and resources I mentioned in my previous post and private contributions. I could even go along with some supplementary, one-time funding for the Manassas Museum, the Manassas and PWC school systems or the tourist bureaus (provided we have proper controls to ensure they don’t use it to promote Fairfax County), but not hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    I’m a PWC taxpayer so I’m not going to tell those of you in Manassas what to do with your money. However, I will be among those ensuring that voters in 2011 remember any supervisors in PWC who vote to send my money to Wolfe and Owen.

  19. mike lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 9:09 pm:
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    Gotta go with “Just the Facts”, and thanks for the thoughtful formulation. Let’s hope the supervisors and council notice that just sitting back and letting a few friends run or influence things - either in the County or the City - is political suicide. These “few friends” are not endorsed by the people.

  20. weneedjobs said on 12 Nov 2009 at 9:33 pm:
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    Over 600,000 men died in the American Civil War. Manassas was the first major battle, not to mention the second battle. Let me be a little over the top, the average civil war tourist spends $ 48.05 dollars a day in our local businesses.

    I went to the website and saw that they were planning a 9 day event. So if I use the numbers quoted above of 40,000 people participating in the reenactment, and lets say that they bring .5 people with them, that gets us to 60,000. I will assume that with the marketing and promotion, let just assume that 100,00 of people like us, want to go and see this event. That would mean over 69,000 (million) in revenue for our local businesses.

    Now I feel these estimates are low as the American Civil War is one of the most studied parts of American history in the world. , but with these conservative estimates, the state would receive over 3 million in sales tax revenues. That is a 200% return on investment for the 1 million they are considering investing, Now I am not a CPA, but I will assume that anyone of you would make an investment like this.

    Now run the numbers if 200,000 people stop by, maybe 300,000 stop by…

    Our businesses would have to grow, hire people and help the local economy….

    This would help our schools….

    From their website www.wirginiacivilwarevents.org they state the 100% of the net proceeds will go to education, civil war commemorartion and historical preservation, so this could be what we have all been looking for..

    I have heard of the guy Owen, and he seems to be commited to helping the communinty and I do not think that he would be a part of what you all have accused him of. I Googled him and all I could find was good stuff.

    Not a sermon, just a thought..

  21. weneedjobs said on 12 Nov 2009 at 9:42 pm:
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    Hey, I have doen a little more research, and if you check out this link


    This is good stuff..

  22. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 9:52 pm:
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    Owen also was involved in Historic Manassas, I don’t think he is a fly in the night type guy. He has a good track record for helping the City.

    I understand the concern, and believe me if you’ve read this blog for anytime, you’ll know I’m not one who supports a lot of spending. This is not about Wolfe, and I don’t know why you keep bringing him into the discussion, other then an attempt to tie this effort into Wolfe’s arts boondoggle. That’s just not fair and a distortion of the facts.

    The reenactment of the Battle of the First Manassas is epected to draw 30,000 reenactors, that is not including the spectators which will be thousands of more. It’s impossible of course to come up with an exact number of what will be spent over the course of the five years, but it’s safe to say it will be in the millions. Every hotel in the City and the surrounding parts of the County will be booked solid. Every resturant will be packed, etc.

    I have no doubt people will go to Fairfax County and other Counties if they arrive in Manassas and find nothing has been done to keep them busy here.

    The State is spending a lot of money on the effort too, and of course they might be in worse finanacial state then we are on the local level, but they also realize the oppurtunity at hand and will put out the welcome matt for tourists.

  23. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:02 pm:
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    Here is a link that shows tourist dollars spent in Virginia in 2007. If the City and County get just a small percentage of that in 2011, we’ll be in fine shape. Of course we also have to keep in mind we are talking four years later and an event that is likely to attract even more visitors to the Commonwealth and our area.


  24. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:04 pm:
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    Here are the numbers for 2008. It appears there was an increase of a billion dollars spent over 2007.


  25. weneedjobs said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:06 pm:
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    It is nice to see someone who does the research before attacking people in the community. Hats off to citizenofmanassas….

  26. weneedjobs said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:14 pm:
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    Nothing against the citizenofmanassas… but the word has it, there could be 50,000 reenactors, and 300,000 people attending this event. Run the numbers on that and see how many poeple in Manasasss and Prince William County can get back to work..

    I am all about History….. but right now out people need jobs and….

    something that will keep them employed for many years to come…

    Have you ever been to Gettysburg? They have created 2600 jobs due to their civil war tourism… way can’t we???

  27. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:15 pm:
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    Thanks and you too. The old saying, you can’t make money without spending it comes into play here nicely.

  28. OWCguy said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:15 pm:
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    This is a private business person using his political connections to spend TAX dollars on something that the government will have NO oversight for whatsoever. The money gets awarded, and there is not accountability. Yes, the CW tourism will bring in dollars, but both Manassas City and Prince William County have govt. departments that have been planning on this commemoration for sometime. They are funded with tax dollars, thus ACCOUNTABLE. Let them handle this commemoration…they will do a fine job since its their careers and not just a rich person wanting to relive a childhood dream. Once this money goes to Owen…its gone and we just “pray” he spends it wisely…no govt. over sight what so ever…

  29. OWCguy said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:18 pm:
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    Plus, not ONE reenactment has ever made any money…its a pipe child hood dream. There is a reason why reenactments on this scale are not done anymore. And when they are done, they are done in the middle of rural countryside by people who have done them over and over…and know what they are doing. What a sad use of tourism tax dollars when we have a chance to educate our own citizens, students and visitors on the Civil War in PWC…We choose to have a reenactment, that no one will attend….

  30. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:20 pm:
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    The vote the other night was for 50,000 only. The other half will be provided by the City if certain conditions are met by the organzation. I’m sure one of the Council members would be happy to come on here and provide the particulars.

    On another note, I’m not sure how someone can get rich on $50,000 or even $100,000.

  31. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:24 pm:
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    There is more than just the one reenactment planned. These large scale reenactments are held all of the time, they follow the actual years of the war. This year was the 145th anniversary of the Cedar Creek, etc. IN 2008, the 145th Gettysburg reenactment was held. 2011 will be the start of the “new” cycle of reenactments.

  32. mike lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:24 pm:
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    I guess it’s all about the money. Viva! I’ll look somewhere else to raise my kids.

  33. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:24 pm:
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    There are more event planned then just the reenactment.

  34. citizenofmanassas said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:26 pm:
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    It’s not just about the money. It’s about history and providing events for people to participate in who are going to come here to visit the many local sites connected to the war.

  35. mike lasouris said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:29 pm:
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  36. plain jane said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:44 pm:
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    Mike, it’s not really just about the money. It’s about power, too. I just wonder how much of this is about us? Is it really so important, in the grand scheme of things, to “remember those who died” (dear me, how often have I heard that old platitude)? How about remembering those who are still alive - or at least, are still trying to remain alive.

    Shame on you all, who think of the “money it will bring” (if, indeed it will bring any money at all). I’ll bet not a single penny of the winnings will be spent on those who really need it.

    I wonder how many women really want to “remember” the grisly part of life without changing it for our own times. … or am I wrong … is war really about the “brave”?

  37. OWCguy said on 12 Nov 2009 at 10:52 pm:
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    citizenofmanassas = someone involved in Virginia Civil War Events Inc. Again…tax dollars given out without any over sight. Let the organizations in place handle this work, they are accountable to the elected officials since they are govt. agencies. Both the County and City have these groups ALREADY formed! Reenactments do not make money…and should not be funded by govt/public money. If Owen and his friends want to relive the Civil War, they should do it at their OWN cost, not public money that could go to educational events, not celebrations.

  38. Justathought said on 12 Nov 2009 at 11:04 pm:
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    Just a thought What if they all show up? Will we be ready? Manassas and the county has an opportunity in a certain time frame to capitalize on history. The tourist dollar is the best dollar you will ever get, about 90% stays where it is spent. Thank you Manassas City Council for having some forsight. Their are so many do gooders that are going to do something but what! They study things for months sometimes years and still don’t have anything that is concrete. God Bless and Idea. I for one will attend, who knows maybe as a re-enactor or spectator, who needs lunch and something to remember the event by.

  39. plain jane said on 12 Nov 2009 at 11:10 pm:
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    Yuk. I guess I’ll just do the dishes, too. You’ll help, I suppose.

  40. Conservative 2 said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:41 am:
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    Has anyone really seen these re-enactments? Our County can do this without giving a Million to Owens.
    Had friends who use to follow the re-enactment crowd across the country,as part of being an re-enact participant. I will tell you,the ones who participate don’t stay in Hotels. They camp out as if they are campers. Most of these are held in wide open areas,far outside town limits.

    So how much money do you really think we will reap.

    Just another hairboned idea of Owens.

    Let the County Plan a Celebration,if they choose and then the money is accounted for and a record.
    We can’t keep giving it away.

  41. cuddy said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:43 am:
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    Gee….I can only imagine what kind of gigantic eyesore Gaudencio Fernandez will have erected just in time for the commemorative festivities….all those people…all at one time….You can bet he’ll have a production of his own going on out there…

  42. cuddy said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:52 am:
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    Will Manassas Park be contributing as well or are they already overdrawn?

  43. weneedjobs said on 13 Nov 2009 at 5:47 am:
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    OWCguy - you need to get some facts before you just spout out information that may not be accurate.

    First our tax dollars have been spent for years commemorating our veterans. Ever been to

    Second, this new organization would have a Board Of Directors and if you go to their web site www.virginiacivilwarevents.org and click the Board Button, you see a group of people that really impressive. They have 4 past presidents of the Prince William County Greater Manassas Chamber of Commerce, and 1 past city councilman.

    Our City Council has had to make many hard decisions over the past 45 years or so that Manassas has been a city.

    1)- The building of Lake Manassas
    2)- The building of the Manassas Airport
    3)- The creation of The Manassas Museum
    4)- The building of the Loy E Harris Pavilion in Old Town
    5)- The building of the Walk Way in Old Town
    6)- The opening of The Center For The Arts
    7)- The building of the Parking Garage in Old Town
    7)- Assisting with the funding on the creation of the VRE and Omni Ride
    8)- Assisting with the funding of the new Hylton Performing Arts Center
    9)- Assisting with the funding of the operational cost of the Freedom Center at George Mason

    All of these decisions were hard at the time, but now we as citizens are glad they did or at least I am glad they did. It was hard decisions like this that make Manassas better. To the guy that is thinking about moving, I will help you pack your stuff.

    Hats off to, Parrish, Harrover, Wolfe, May, Randolph, Avini, for taking a position and voting to support this wonderful project. If you build it they will come.

  44. weneedjobs said on 13 Nov 2009 at 6:26 am:
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    Just The Facts …. I am not trying to be argumentative here but your question…”How will you get 40,000 people into Manassas and PWC at one time anyway?”

    It happens 35 times a year. It is called Nissan Pavilion. Did you know we have hosted the Presidents Cup at Robert Trent Jones three times???

    Old Town Manassas had 50,000 people attend the Fall Jubilee in October and 40,000 attend the Railway Festival.

    I think your question would be spot on if you had added a zero. “How will you get 400,000 people into Manassas and PWC at one time anyway?” Now, you have a valid point…

  45. weneedjobs said on 13 Nov 2009 at 6:38 am:
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    Conservative 2 …. Get off the reenactment. It is only one small part of the 9 day event. I just found this site that links off of the other one listed above…http://www.manassascivilwar.org/

    First, if you watch the You Tube on the home page..it is powerful… but if you hit the button for Planned Events, it seems like their, or what you have said, “Just another hair boned idea of Owens” look like the whole county will be included, with a major focus on Old Town Manassas.

    This could be great for our citizens, our businesses, our region.

    I personally commend Owens for getting this thing going. His vision will push the local people that have been working on this for TWO years, to get up and really get into action. From what I have heard, he has created quite a frenzy, and look at us, we are talking about it. Seems Owens plan is working already.

  46. weneedjobs said on 13 Nov 2009 at 6:51 am:
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    OWCguy..(a paid staff of the city or county)..you just don’t get it. The way I see it, if the existing organizations, and I am sure they are great people..have had the two years to produce. I for one have heard nothing about the 150th until this article hit the paper.

    Your comments on reliving the Civil War is hideous. Who in the right mind would want to put our country through that again. Your word “celebration” is sad. Nowhere on their web site is that word used, Anyone that wants to celebrate this event should be flogged.

    Anyone that wants to “commemorate” this event should be applauded.

    It seems that this commemoration is pretty important to this area and for that matter the entire county.

    Google “Civil War Commemoration” and see how many hits you get. It is unbelievable.

  47. Citizenpfpwc said on 13 Nov 2009 at 6:53 am:
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    The state, County and City are already a part of the state wide CW 150th Commission. Check out www.virginiacivilwar.org for programs etc… This is just Owen wanting to play with public money. If he wants to do this so much, he should take his own millions and not rely on government money to fund the party. Why is a Civil War commemoration going to focus on Old Town Manassas? It was not even in existence in 1861!!! The County should NOT spend its money to promote Manassas and HMI. They surely shouldnt spend MORE than Manassas is spending!! How is that justifiable! Virginia Civil War Events is just an arm of Historic Manassas Inc. The County would be better served to not spend a cent more to promote city interests. Reenactments do not bring in money…..anyone in the history field can tell you that. Sadly, most of them are govt. employees and are not allowed to speak their mind. Yes, CW tourism is big money, but why spend public funds to support a reenactment that will be put on by people who have NO experience doing it. Spend that money in the govt. agencies that already exist, have experience doing these sort of things and are ACCOUNTABLE to the public officials. Once this money is given…its gone and Owen’s group can do what they want with it…

  48. Repub said on 13 Nov 2009 at 6:56 am:
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    I have a great Prince William Civil War Heritage Trail brochure here that seems to have been produced by the City and County…I wouldn’t say they haven’t done anything??!!! This commemoration is about education and tourism…not cheesy 1961 type reenactments. Let HMI run the Fall Jubilee…let the historians do history. If Virginia Civil War Events wants to do a big hokey reenactment with music and fireworks etc…go ahead and do it, the business interests in HMI have the money to do it, dont do it with public money.

  49. OWCguy said on 13 Nov 2009 at 7:01 am:
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    No, Mr. Weneedjobs, not a County or City employee…just more informed on this issue than you realize. The local group has done work, a brochure and programs. There are plans to do other events as 2011 nears. Just NO one in their right mind who is in the history field, knows the logistics and the negatives would do a reenactment. You should stick to running the City of Manassas and not get involved in historic reenactments. There is a reason the NPS is no longer involved in them. We all know you will get your money because of your connections. Have fun wasting away public money with your big, self serving festivities. The people are coming here anyways in 2011…with or without the War of 1812 Overture! lol

  50. PWCtaxpayer said on 13 Nov 2009 at 7:24 am:
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    Ineresting debate. Looks to me like we have a group of big government types that argue everything should be done by existing public employees, some political party operatives who will never like the vote of certain folks (Mr. Roark who started this blog, in particular) and some business folks who appear to be seeking a public-private partnership to stimulate the local economy and, yes, put Manassas tourism back on the map. To argue that the City Council acted inappropriately is politics as usual. Me thinks there is some jealosy by other local history groups evident in the comments too. Communities invest in their economies through services and through football stadiums. I am all for Museums and landmarks, they remind us of our local history and who we are, but this commemoration is also an opportunity to bring a lot of folks and a lot of money to the community - and maybe some jobs over the short and over the longer term. What is the problem with that?

  51. John Gunningham said on 13 Nov 2009 at 7:44 am:
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    I think yo’ all have it all wrong! History and landmarks in particular are financed by the tax payer. Virginia Civil War Events Inc it trying to get history to pay for itself! Prince William (PW) as so many counties had over 14,000 homes go to foreclosure in 2008. Since PW has depended on tax revenue from mostly revenue tax dollars, we need another tax revenue source. Developing Tourism is a means to gain a new source of this revenue. Way to go PW!. There are other cities that make a substantial impact to their revenue intake by using tourism ( i.e. Gettysburg, Baltimore, Washington DC, and more). Lets give them time it is a successful model and we do need other tax revenue sources other than just real estate tax dollars.

    John Cunningham

  52. citizenofmanassas said on 13 Nov 2009 at 8:00 am:
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    Why are you only focused on the reenactment? There is much more to this then just the reenactment of the 1st battle of Manassas. Yet, you just focus on that while ignoring all of the other planned activities. Why? Not all reenactors stay in the “field” during the events, and many if not most spectators stay in hotels. The fact is that people will be in town all week in 2011, and will be back in 2012 etc.

    I love how people throw out the 1 million dollar figure in attempt to scare people into not supporting this effort. That simply is a lie, you know it, but still keep tossing it around.

    The organzation has state it plans to work with the State and the County. However, they are planning to do events not planned.

    The Museum has not put out anything close to this, and if they have or had, then I might see some of the points here.

    The National Park Service does not do large scale reenactments or even smaller ones because they do not want them done on Park land, which they feel should not be used for such activities. They do allow small numbers of reenactors for camp displays etc. You simply don’t know what you are talking about.


    Others are bringing up money, as in the City should not spend it. I would argue the City has a responsibility to attract tourists, which will help the budget.

  53. PWCtaxpayer said on 13 Nov 2009 at 8:34 am:
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    I think I am sorry I engaged in this debate because now I am searching the web. The State - with NEH funding- committed just under $1 billion to provide Civil War DVDs to the schools and Libraries of VA. Now, that seems nice, but its a lot more one time money that could have also been used to stimulate this kind of public-private investment that can should will result in recurring income streams in the area for a wide range of investments. I am willing to take them at their word - with oversight - that “all proceeds” will be used for preservation and education. I also hold the City and the County for its responsibility to review the 501c3 filings and financial statements to be sure that noone is unduly enriched. The key and really the only issue here is whether this public money — City, County and State — is enough to generate significant private investment into our community. With matching grants from other Federal and private sources, there are significant opportunities for real capital expenditures for existing historical assest and to preserve our local and threatened battlefield and landmarks. I guess my view is that we have a choice..PWC.. we can finaance the expanded parking lots, the reconstruction and maintenance of our historic buildings, buy more pamphlets and DVDs - most of wich wil be trashed within the year — or we can make a small investment now in the hope that it stimulates new tourism based tax revenues and direct non-profit investment into those assests.

  54. Mom said on 13 Nov 2009 at 8:47 am:
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    “We can make a small investment now in the hope that it stimulates new tourism based tax revenues and direct non-profit investment into those assests.”

    And therein lies the question/problem. Typically and historically this type of “investment” in economic development never results in the anticipated return either because they overestimate the amount of “revenue” it will generate or underestimate the additional expenses that will be incurred by the local jurisdiction, advertising, police overtime, negative impact on some non-tourism supported industries (by additional traffic, street closings, etc), etc. It may well be all good in theory but likely a bad idea in practice given the current enconomy.

    Moreover, when this years budget discussions are underway and difficult/unpopular cuts are made or salaries frozen for public safety personnel, I hope those in support of this funding will sack up and explain to the patrol officers how spending this money on the celebration is more beneficial. I can’t speak to the city as I’m not a resident but I would suggest that after cutting funding for things like a senior center and transportation, if the PWC gives them a quarter million, someone will have some ’splaining to do.

  55. PWCtaxpayer said on 13 Nov 2009 at 9:27 am:
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    Mom, shame on you. This is not the one more bomber for the the national defense versus a thousand more meals for the hungry argument that big government advocates typically play at budget time. I read this as a funding decision, one that pits public commemoration dollars — or no comemoration dollars — against stimulus investment dollars and the opportunity for private investment into those same assets. Is it really your view that Manassas and the County should not nvest at all in the 150th Anniversary of the 1st and Second Battles of Manassas, Bristoe Station or Kettle Run? Is it your view that Manassas and PWC should not prepare Liberia, Cannon Bluff or Mayfield Fort for this event or that they should simply let the NPS do their thing - riding right past most of Manassas and PWC. Let’s be clear here, my family members are local PWC businessmen and local PWC public employees. We know all about the budget issues. Its a risk we think we need to take.

  56. Mom said on 13 Nov 2009 at 9:34 am:
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    Let’s be clear here, while your family members are local PWC businessmen and local PWC public employees (that explains a lot) my family members are local PWC TAXPAYERS and we are sick and tired of funding things like this while core functions are stripped or more density allowed, all in the name of economic development, a set of policy decisions that have almost universally failed in PWC as the BOCS fails to understand what the county is and tries to make it into something its not. I’m not opposed to funding such things in better economic times but I am opposed to spending one thin dime on things that are wants instead of needs or in the name of potential economic development in this economy. If you’re comfortable with the risk, you take it, or better yet get the Chambers (or Chamber) to fund it if they believe they will benefit from the funding.

  57. citizenofmanassas said on 13 Nov 2009 at 11:24 am:
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    It’s not a want to attract people to our area. It’s not a want to show off our local history. It’s a must. Maybe you’ve not noticed but a lot of local businesses have closed. That means the tax burden is shifted onto you and me and away from tourists and businesses. Now, you might be fine with that, but I’m not. I want to attract people to the area and have them enjoy our history, and spend money here, not else where. That means lower taxes for us.

    Tourists spent 19 billion dollars in VA last year. I have no doubt if the County and City did nothing you and others here who object to the spending, would complain the County and the City did not do enough to get a piece of the pie, and complain why did they pass up on the chance to attract much needed visitors.

    Density can be controlled in part by being able to generate taxes from other sources, such as tourism.

  58. True That said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:03 pm:
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    The Museum has not produced on this or any other issues for that matter, it is the real waste of tax money not the $100,000 being spent for this event that stimulates the private sector to do something for a lot less money. I don’t need to volunteer there to say that it is nothing more than a pet project of an elite few board members who bully and threaten weak council members for money and resources and it needs to be cut back drastically (check the staff they have and make your own conclusion), we could use that money elsewhere and get more done.

  59. Just the Facts said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:28 pm:
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    WOW - catch the elites with their hands in the public cookie jar and look at their vociferous response. I have some family stuff to do today so I can’t make a lengthy post. However, if you want to believe the claims of how much positive economic impact this spending will have, being made by the people who will either get the money or decide how to spend it, I have some swampland in Florida I want to sell you.

    Manassas and Prince William County are not going to become the next Gettysburg, regardless of how much we give Wolfe, Owen and the other rich “leaders” wanting our money to spend on their pet projects. Neither will this event generate the projected tax revenues. Look at projections presented in support of the Olympics elsewhere or any other major events. MOM hit the nail on the head on the this issue. This will be taxes paid by working people turned over to the rich as play money.

    The issue is not whether we will have a commemoration of the battle or not - obviously we will. The question is whether we hand over hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to unaccountable groups that include members who have abused public funding for their pet projects in the past. The other concern is cost. Give us a realistic budget and use existing resources wisely.

    I’m not the only person who will be watching this closely. Any supervisor in PWC who votes for this spending should expect to account for that vote on election day in 2011. I hope taxpayers in Manassas watch over their money and how their elected officials spend it also.

  60. Dave Core said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:32 pm:
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    Where is Historic Manassas Inc. in all this? To me, it would make sense for Creston Owen to advocate for that organization of which he is President. Granted HMI is mostly dedicated to revitalization of Old Town but that in conjunction with the Museum could accomplish the objectives that Mr. Owen wishes to set forth with his new organization. Mr. Owen has been one of the most active and committed business leaders in the City and he doesn’t live in the City. It could be that as an entrepreneurial, Type A business owner, he feels that he could accomplish the most by leading his own organization. His skills seem well suited to that. I’m in favor of the City’s decision. The War Between the States and the Peace Jubilee are the historical underpinnings of Manassas — that and the Jennie Dean Industrial School — and I see this as a good investment. My concern is: will there be further requests as projects are undertaken and they need the extra $ to complete them? I don’t know what was proposed to the Council, but when you apply for grants you have to submit projected budgets. I hope this just wasn’t a blank check for $50,000.

  61. Dave Core said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:53 pm:
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    I have read the Agenda Packet for the November 9 meeting. It includes a 4-page letter from Virginia Civil War Events, a time-line of potential events related the commemoration, but not a budget (to be forwarded later to Council). Two offices are expected to be established and staffed, I imagine. I would think a budget should have been submitted with the funding request especially since this organization does not have a history of operation behind it. But it seems a lot of thought has gone into the kinds of events planned and it’s going to take a lot of initiative and volunteer work. Thank you, Mr. Owen and all the volunteers, for undertaken this effort.

  62. Mom said on 13 Nov 2009 at 12:53 pm:
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    “Will there be further requests as projects are undertaken and they need the extra $ to complete them?”

    In PWC, nah, never happens, oops, forgot about the Park Authority, one of the parties that will be involved in this. Let me see if I remember this correctly, in order to open Silver Lake and run it properly they needed another quarter million (seems that number is popping up a lot lately), money the BOCS didn’t want to give them. Weeks pass, the park opens, no further discussion of funding or improvements, the issue has disappered for the time being. Flash forward a couple of months and suddenly the Park Authority is seeking to build a soccer complex complete with a stadium on the Wiita tract, what, suddenly there is enough money for that, where did it come from and if they can afford to build that then can’t they afford to finish what they already started at Silver Lake.

    Don’t trust any of them, its all smoke, mirrors and relationships, all on the public dime.

  63. Just the Facts said on 13 Nov 2009 at 1:11 pm:
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    No wonder we’re broke, laying off police and other public employees, and slashing needed public services.

    If you are rich, well-connected, run a ballet or something, and pack a “grants panel” with your friends and supporters you can get $55,000 from PWC with no questions asked.

    If you are rich, well-connected, pull together some buds and form a corporation, you can get $50,000 with another $50,000 on the way from Manassas with no budget detailing how you will spend the money.

    I can’t tell you how infuriated I am! I have a mortgage, kids going to public school who need to go to college later, and other normal middle-class expenses and this s*$t is going on with my money!

    PWC - 2011 can’t come soon enough!

  64. PWCtaxpayer said on 13 Nov 2009 at 2:11 pm:
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    The Museum is a National, County and City treasure, whether you are a history buff or not. The million that goes there is a sunk cost. I continue to view this event and the money needed to get things rolling as an opportunity to not have to chose between police or Museum or fire/Rescue. I want both - er, all three, without raising taxes. I also believe that missing this opportunity to put Manassas and PWC back on the historic tourism chart would be irresponsible by our public officials. What I hear from those opposed to this action is lets clearly have less and lets have it supported from taxes. Yes, folks choose. Choose more taxes or a chnace to increase revenues and investment. Choose between the public option’s history of smaller efforts and the non-profit /volunteer based partnership that this Owen is offering - and from what I read here - he is a local community activist with a history of having his heart in the right place. Anybody else here want to volunteer to do it — then hold your peace. Look, the VA Tourism Board estimates that every dollar invested in VA tourism yeilds $5 dollars in public tax (local and State) revenues - plus and additional $135 in general economic stimulus - that is jobs folks - maybe not public jobs or union jobs, but jobs, job security and long term business growth. So choose - penny wise or pound foolish. I still think that it makes sense and will vote accordingly.

  65. citizenofmanassas said on 13 Nov 2009 at 2:33 pm:
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    Just the facts,

    Again, why are you making this to be just a Mark Wolfe issue? He was just one vote. Trying to compare this to hosting the oympics is not only stupid but is like trying to compare oranges to apples. You look pretty foolish making those statements. Of course we are not going to become Gettysburg. But, we can take more than the share of the 19 billion dollars being spent by tourists in our Commonwealth. Unless of course you want additional tax increases, because there are fewer businesses and the County and the City have to make up for the loss of tax income by looking at home owners.

    Private/Goverment projects are becoming more and more common, because it saves money for the Government and provides for the private sector which turns out to be a win win for both.

  66. Sue said on 13 Nov 2009 at 2:56 pm:
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    would you have voted for it Dave?

  67. Mom said on 13 Nov 2009 at 3:39 pm:
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    Hold on there COM, the success of public/private partnerships is far from a given, particularly given the relatively short period of time they have been acceptable. I would suggest that those facing higher tolls on the Greenway, opponents of HOT lanes and those in the Richmond area that will have to pay for failed PPPs south of Richmond would take issue with your stance. Bear in mind that when PPP’s fail, the only one left to pick up the pieces (and pay for the cleanup) are governmental entities which translates into additional tax burdens.

  68. PWCtaxpayer said on 13 Nov 2009 at 4:35 pm:
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    Mom, again shame on you. That is not what we are talking about here and I think you know it. When a community wants a major capital asset - like a road, and does not have the capital necessary they have often turned to private financing. The private sector then finances the capital project in return for out year and long term financing aggreements - tolls. No public expenditure is free — be it the USS Consitution, the railroads in the 1800s, wastewater treatment plants or the HOT Lanes - and, as best as I can tell, that is not what is going on here. Here, the community has provided some up-front capital to engage a non-profit to help put on a series of commemorative events that were not otherwise planned and probably would not otherwise have been available to large numbers of local folks, much less encourage tourism growth/spending for the next what 5-10 years and create more and new sources of capital for local preservation and education. Did I mention jobs! No, not the same thing at all. The risk here is minimal given the 150s, our current transportation system between 95 and 66 and access to the larger metropolitan region. On the other hand, the opportunity for substantial new revenues streams to the community directly and indirectly seem dramatic. My guess is that economics is not your strong suit Mom, your political opinions or self interest are clouding your ability to see the opportunity for Manassas to hold a major commemoration as a public service, while generating a new economic opportunity for the community. A TV add on how great we are would cost more than this. Given the potential ROIs - this is cheap!

  69. Mom said on 13 Nov 2009 at 4:55 pm:
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    Hmm, I guess we can add members of a civicly minded non-profit to your list of family members who are local PWC businessmen and local PWC public employees, and you have the stones to accuse me of having self-interests that cloud my judgement. As to the economics, explain to me how a one-off event has long term economic impacts, all the hot-dog vendors and carneys needed to staff the event will be gone by the Sunday after. I will however concede that you probably do have some understanding of economics but that it is your self-interest that forces you to diminish the opposition as it would appear that such opposition has a potentially negative economic impact for you and your family. Lastly, which is the greater public service, holding a major commemoration designed largely to provide unattainable benefits in the name of economic development or providing for the needs of local senior citizens. They both cost roughly the same number of dollars, you make the choice.

  70. Citizenofmanassas said on 13 Nov 2009 at 8:25 pm:
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    There is more than just one event. You simply do not understand or will not admit the impact the anniversary is going to have on our area. Your last point is pretty laughable. Do you really think the cost of taking care of senior citizens in both the County and the City is capped at 350,000? For a lifetime? I hardly think so.

    You are also ignoring the tax revenue that will be collected by the City and the County between 2011 and 2015. Again, what do you not understand about the 19 Billion dollars that were spent by tourists last year in the Commonwealth? You can bet every other County that has battlefields, and other sites will be out there advertising their local history in the coming years. However, only Manassas can say we have the Battlefield where the first major clash took place. Only Manassas can say we had the 1911 Peace jubilee.

  71. Anonymous said on 13 Nov 2009 at 8:33 pm:
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    Let’s see, I went to the re-enactment of Cedar Creek with a family of four, there was no charge for watching and I spent maybe $20 at the country store in Middletown. With the economy in turmoil I cannot imagine a record crowd would show up, too much worry about just paying for food and a roof overhead. How about an application of common sense to this issue.

  72. Citizenofmanassas said on 14 Nov 2009 at 8:46 am:
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    Yes, how about some common sense. Again, you, like others here are focused on the reenactment alone. There are going to be other events that week, but you and others can’t or won’t admit to that. I suspect you do so, in order to try to down play the number of people that will be coming to the area, in order to justify why the money should not be spent.

    For those that are upset about the group getting money, would you have the same opinion if the Museum were to get the money? Or, if the City organized the events?

  73. Carol G. said on 14 Nov 2009 at 4:05 pm:
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    Well I like the idea a lot and plan to contact Mr. Owens and the city and county with my kudos, its about time we did something to promote our civil war heritage in this area in such a grand manner, thanks for the forward thinking ladies and gentleman!

  74. Dave Core said on 14 Nov 2009 at 7:58 pm:
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    To Sue: I found out that the new organization (VCWEI) had to be set up in order to attract County support (the County might not support two organizations so heavily tied to the City). The new organization is hoping to generate revenue to be an on-going concern. A budget was included as an attachment (that I have not seen). I would like the new organization to return the city’s seed money once it generates enough revenue to do so. And I would have voted “yes.” I’m excited about what may happen and the opportunities to get us all focused on something apart from the “gloom” of recession.

  75. Bristow Bristling said on 15 Nov 2009 at 8:07 am:
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    Although I have to work and cannot stay to chat about this issue, I do want to agree with Mom. I will be back later though.

    For those who feel that spending taxpayer money during these harsh economic times to attract tourism and its revenue to the Battlefield, where is all the tourism and generated revenue from past endeavors. The Battlefield is already a well known tourism site. Remember the national debate when the government condemned the tract of land that had been scheduled for commercial and residential development. It caused quite a bit of “free advertising.” Then we had the Walt Disney debacle that drew lots of attention to the Battlefield. Honestly, over the years the Battlefield has hosted and highlighted tourism, but I have found no real tax revenue related dollars generated - especially long-term revenue as is the case in Gettysburg.

    I am unclear how this one-time project is going to make any significant long term contribution to tourism dollars for PWC/Manassas.

  76. Anonymous said on 15 Nov 2009 at 8:24 am:
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    Both Manassas and Gettysburg are steeped in Civil War history but one has to look at why they are successful and other Civil War battle locations are not nearly as popular. Largely due to Lincoln speaking and the large amount of injured and dead. The battle was like the perfect storm.

  77. Mom said on 15 Nov 2009 at 9:47 am:
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    Hmmph, interesting, there seems to be considerable support from those with a chip in the game, and yes COM that means you, and considerable opposition from what appears to be that portion of the residential tax base that actually follows the budget debates and program cuts. The most telling indication of where the divide lies comes from those supporting the program, if you carefully read, they base their arguements on state tourism numbers (apples and oranges vis a vis Manassas and an arguement likely brought up by members of the chambers of commerce) and let slip that they view this as an ongoing endeavor. The latter point is the one that truly concerns me as we would then not be talking about a one off budget line item but ongoing support for a program that has no historic basis for success. Sounds like simply more of the feel good, hurrah for us look what we did crapola that has marked local government for a decade.

  78. Citizenofmanassas said on 15 Nov 2009 at 12:44 pm:
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    You simply do not get it. Of course I have a “chip” in the game, as a tax payer of the City, I want to see the tax base expanded so that less of it is on me and my yearly tax bill. I want to see more businesses opening in Old Town rather then more businesses closing. Now, you might like having to pay for more, and that is fine, but I think most people would look at new ways to expand the tax base that does not involve adding to their current tax bill.

    The fact you have to incorrectly make people out to be members of the Chamber of Commerce is pretty funny, you can’t argue facts, so you just make up what you feel might score points.

    I follow the budget, you might know that if you had not just shown up on this blog. But, you’d rather just try another failed attempt at painting people who are supporting this effort to be out of touch.

    It’s not apple and oranges to compare State and local tourists, since people who come to Virginia visit all parts of the states and will go to areas of the State that have attractions they want to see.

    The 50th anniversary did very well, so again your statement this program has no basis for success is wrong. The President showed for it and spoke and the Jubilee was seen as a healing of the Nation from the war, that is why it was called the “Peace” Jubilee.

    The anniversary is going to attract people who have never had interest in the War, have never been here, etc. Those people are going to come here and if they like what they see, there is a good chance they will continue to come back over the five years and beyond. Just as the Ken Burns Series, you most likely do not even know what that is, did in bringing attention to the war to millions who previously had no interest or very little interest, the 150th anniversary will have that same impact. That is the ongoing endeavor. There was not talk about the City providing 100,000 every year, this was a one time agreement. So, again you don’t know what you are talking about.

  79. Just the Facts said on 15 Nov 2009 at 2:43 pm:
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    The issue again is not whether Manassas and PWC will hold a commemoration of the 150th anniversary but how it will be done and how much we will spend. Perhaps several events are proposed but it will not be the engine of economic growth that some have portrayed on this blog. No one is going to build a new hotel, open a new restaurant, or start any business because of these events. That comes from long-term, sustained economic development. Existing businesses will do well for a few days, both in Manassas and PWC, as well as in Fairfax with the overflow crowd (if, indeed, 40,000 or more show up, which I doubt).

    The Hylton Performing Arts Center (note how they changed the name from “Community” arts center after they got the money) is turning out to be a disappointment from an economic perspective. Citizenofmanassas has commented on that extensively.

    The Southbridge project promised a revenue-positive town center and all we have to show for it are revenue-negative residential development and a big mud flat that used to be a unique, sensitive environmental area.

    On and on and on go the mighty promises of if only taxpayers will cough up this or that amount of money they will get these wonderful benefits.

    Enough already. Most of us know when we’re being sold snake oil. We must let our voices be heard by the Board of Supervisors. Maybe the people promoting this latest taxpayer scam are rich and support the supervisors’ campaigns. However, taxpayers are greater in number and have more votes.

    I am not willing to pay for Owen and however many of his friends to dress up in military outfits for a few days and play soldier. Let them pay for it themselves. We can have a much more tasteful and effective commemoration through the Manassas Museum, the Battlefield National Park and allocating limited but wisely-spent funds for tourism promotion through the existing agencies in Manassas and PWC.

    Any PWC supervisor who votes for this spending rather than use the money for schools, police or tax cuts, or other uses that directly benefit taxpayers and their families, will answer for that vote in 2011.

  80. citizenofmanassas said on 15 Nov 2009 at 9:18 pm:
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    Just the facts,

    First off, just a slight correction, I’ve complained about the George Mason arts center, not the Hylton center.

    The reenactors will have to pay to participate in the reenactment, which is always the case anywhere a reenactment is held, unless it’s a very small one or a living history.

    Of course no one can pin point the exact amount that will be spend by the tourists. However, it’s foolish to think nobody is going to show up. This area is going to be a focus for five years, and as has been pointed out will attract people beyond the five years. I’m sure businesses will be happy with the influx of customers and some businesses will open to cater with specific goods to sell to the those that come here. And again the 40,000 number was put as an estimate of the number of reenactors who will particpate in the reenactment. Everyone seems to keep forgetting about the other events that will take place.

    People are trying to bring in more visitors and revenue, and people are complaining about it. Would you rather just have your tax bills continue to go or having to take on more of the overall tax base because of a drop in the business tax?

  81. PWCtaxpayer said on 16 Nov 2009 at 9:25 am:
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    Just for fun, I went back and re-read all of the posting here. We continue to plow old ground. I have confirmed in my own mind my initial reaction… we have two interest groups here, the political opposition party along with senior citizen welfare advocates, who cover their concerns with police and fire concerns and then the economic spread and tourism revenue growth types that are for the big show in 2011 and beyond. Given what has happened to the welfare interests because of our reliance on the propery tax, I do not understand their opposition to tax and general economic growth as a solution to getting back on track,nor do I see any alternatives being offerred short of them wanting the existing pie cut differently. I am still for the idea and appreciate the City’s effort to try something different.

  82. citizenofmanassas said on 16 Nov 2009 at 3:54 pm:
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    Just the facts,

    Sorry, I did not realized the name of the “arts” center was changed. I’m against it, because the City is paying a boat load of money over ten years, and there is nothing we can do to get that money back. We also have our own Arts center.

  83. Frank said on 19 Nov 2009 at 10:14 pm:
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    I don’t know where to begin to shed some light on some of the falsehoods I’ve read. First of all, tourism is alive and well in PWC County, thanks to the efforts of the CVB and lots of individual historic, cultural, and even retail sites. Virginia Tourism Corp. figures for PWC County say Traveler Spending is More than $419 million, Travel Industry Payroll is More than $112 million, and Travel Industry Employees number More than 6000.

    Contrary to popular opinion, Owens is not the first to think about attracting visitors during the Sesquicentennial. A county-wide committee comprised of reps from national and state parks, historic sites, county government and educators has been meeting for 2 years, was allied with state committees early on, and has an extensive plan for commemorating the events. In fact, members have been meeting with reps in the highest levels of government to coordinate events of national significance.

    Again contrary to popular opinion, re-enactments always occur on significant–and not so significant–battle anniversaries with no intervention from government or private entities. Re-enactors live for these events and do not need to be prodded to produce them. It was the gung-ho, destructive re-enactment celebration at the Manassas Battlefield in 1961 that caused the Park Service to begin prohibiting re-enactments on park grounds. Government does not need to subsidize events that would happen anyway and be financed privately.

    The $100,000 payment to this Manassas committee in fact shifts funds from the city to a committee that does not seem to have to meet performance standards as city employees do. Because this committee will rely on existing groups to actually produce the Sesqui programs and events, the committee seems to be acting as a management arm. At a time when we are exhorted to be gearing up for the Sesqui, at least 2 part-time positions in programs/education at the museum–crucial to presenting these programs– are scheduled to be cut in June. Others may follow due to budget problems within the city.

    Concern among the officially sanctioned Sesqui group has always been that the commemoration be historically based, educational, and balanced. Highlighting the county’s numerous historic sites and receiving national recognition might urge more visitors to come here once the Sesqui is over. Producing Disneyesque events for a couple of weeks, thereby putting in jeopardy our ability to attract top government officials to dignified events, does not seem the most prudent way to attract a long-term tourist base.

  84. citizenofmanassas said on 20 Nov 2009 at 11:27 am:
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    It’s funny, that you and everyone else who is opposed just talk about the reenactment, as if that is all that is planned. You and others do your side no favors by talking only about the reenactment of the Battle and acting as if the group is not putting in time and effort.

    It’s not a “disneyesque” plan at all. We don’t know who from the Goverment is going to show up or not, but I doubt it will be based on your fears. Nobody is saying there are not tourist coming to PW County and Manassas. However, there are going to be more of them and a lot that have never been here before.

  85. CWhistory said on 23 Nov 2009 at 3:31 pm:
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    Here is another blog about this wasteful govt. allocation. http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/civil-war-memory

    It is a Civil War blog, but its called Civil War Memory and there is a stream on there as well. I think the lessons of 1961 have been totally forgotten and if you ask any Civil War historian (such as James “Bud” Robertson) they would agree that spending money on these big reenactments and splashy events is wasteful, never turns into a positive outcome. Lets spend this money on a serious, historically accurate and balanced commemoration that will put PWC in a GOOD light, so people will come BACK to spend money here. A big reenactment splash will just add to the negative backwoods impression people get when you say PWC. Lets educate not only our residents and children, but the county about the important role this county played in the Civil War. This should be a meaningful commemoration…the reenactors and flag wavers will put on a reenactment either way, why does the government need to subsidize it????

  86. citizenofmanassas said on 23 Nov 2009 at 7:49 pm:
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    I guess some people can’t read. Does Gettysburg have a “backwoods” impression? I don’t think so. You are just silly, if you think having a reenactment, which again, is not the only event, is going to have a negative impact on the opinion of the County.

    By all accounts, this is going to be a historically accurate commemoration. But, you continue to believe what you want. The people behind the event have a proven record in the local community, but again you seem to miss that point too.

  87. PWCovertaxed said on 23 Nov 2009 at 9:35 pm:
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    Actually, to be honest…not many attend the Gettysburg reenactment you speak of thats NOT promoted or paid for by the local government or National Park Service. The CWPT tried doing a reenactment to raise money, they lost TONS of money and ended up getting a lot of their good people fired (see Dennis Frye at Harpers Ferry for details). Ask the organizers of the First Manassas event in Leesburg a few years ago…again, another logistical pain and no money seen in the local economy. Facts….

    The proven record you speak of is running a visitors center at the train station…this is an HMI attempt to take the attention of the nation and put it on Manassas City (which didnt exist in 1861). Why should PWC pay the HMI board (reconstituted in this VCWE) to bring tourism money to the city when the County is being asked to foot a larger portion than the city?

    The reenactment is the biggest lion share of this whole thing. What are you doing in the schools? (a real attempt is already being made with local schools by the local committee you refuse to credit) What will you do to give an honest and balanced view of the war? Who will you account to?? Not the taxpayers who would be paying for the party. Go ahead and do you plans and events…just NOT with government money. Reenactments happen all the time, why subsidize it with govt. funds when Manassas Museum is cutting staff and other local historic sites face stiff budget cuts? You want to bring all these people here but if the money you get cuts the attraction budgets, then what are these tourists going to see? Closed and limited museums and sites?? Funny….

  88. CWhistory said on 23 Nov 2009 at 9:39 pm:
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    Agreed….these events can be subsidized with private money. Governments should not be be paying for large scale reenactments so a limited number of enthusiasts can have a fun weekend playing war. Also agree on not being opposed to the events you want to do, though I feel many are outdated and will cast this COunty in a bad light…but am mainly opposed to the County, City and State funding these events. Money can be spent on preservation, education and assisting the local museums to survive to great the thousands/millions who will be coming to Virginia anyways in 2011…with or without the events of Virginia Civil War Events Inc.

  89. commonsense said on 23 Nov 2009 at 10:09 pm:
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    Just saw this thread….Agree with previous comment. Reenactments are fun and all, but shouldnt be government subsidized. Especially with all the budget cuts the City and County are facing. The other events sound ok, but I think it can be done with private funds…not public funds

  90. Thomas said on 24 Nov 2009 at 8:32 am:
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    For those interested in what Prince William County and the City of Manassas has already been doing with the CW 150th, check out these links. The first is to a County wide brochure that was developed by the committee for tourists to highlight ALL of the CW sites in the County and City. The second is the link to their information page. For those who think they local group didn’t exist or didn’t do anything, this is good proof that they have done work…and good work at that! You can get a copy of this map/brochure by contacting the Prince William County CVB. Lets hope the County BOS doesnt give away the CVB’s money to a private group so they can keep distributing this brochure and promote the County as a whole as a culturally rich and diverse place to live and visit.



  91. citizenofmanassas said on 24 Nov 2009 at 6:14 pm:
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    I think you are not be honest when you say not many people showed up at the Gettysburg reenactment. There were thousands of people, I don’t know the exact number of course, but you can bet the events bring in money, otherwise the local Government would not keep supporting the events and providing permits for them.

    HMI is more than just the rail station, but in an attempt to belittle them I understand why you have to distort facts. Of course Manassas as we know it did not exist in 1861. But, the junction did, and that was a major land mark in the war. HMI is trying to get people to come to the City and the County, but want more people to know the Junction played a part in the war, and in particular Second Manassas. There are events planned for the County.

    Exactly what events do you feel are negative for the City?

    Again, like others, you focus on the reenactment, not the balls, not the local tours, not the Jubilee. The only thing funny is you and others who don’t know what you are talking about.

  92. PWCovertaxed said on 24 Nov 2009 at 9:01 pm:
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    The fact that you mention Civil War Balls is proof that you are stuck in a by gone era….not sure how many people are going to come to PWC to dress up in petticoats and Confederate officer uniforms to relive the “good ole days” of Scarlett O’hara! You plan on having the wait staff be “historically accurate”? Geez…what a song and dance show that is straight from the 1960’s.

    As for Gettysburg supporting the reenactments…the local govt issues a permit, not DONATE $250,000!! I think there is a BIG difference….go to Gettysburg National Military Park and ask any of the historians or park staff about reenactments, balls etc… You will get a chuckle. The usual response from a serious historian to these type of things

    The local tours are ALREADY happening! I went on a great tour this past year. This money would be better spent in the schools educating the youth of this county about their history…not putting on “Civil War Balls”. Again, not against your group’s events and activities…I am sure some will enjoy them. But, dumping government money into I think is the wrong way to go.

  93. citizenofmanassas said on 25 Nov 2009 at 5:24 pm:
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    You are a dolt. The balls are for those people that want to attend a dance an that is it. Just because you’ve got a small mind and a political agenda, don’t cast it onto anyone else. I have heard a lot of funny things, but I’ve never heard a dance was racist. Is that the type of history you want to be taught? Is it also your opinion that anyone who hires blacks to be on their wait staff must be racist? Really, are you saying that? Or, just making a fool of yourself? I guess to you anyone who dresses up in a Confederate uniform must be racist.

    The reason Gettysburg issues the permit is because it brings money into the local community.

    A serious historian knows dances were very common during that period and a part of everyday life and to not discuss them, is not only wrong, but stupid. The last time I was in Gettysburg, earlier this year, there was a Confederate Artillary unit on the battlefield doing a living history. There was also a music show at the visitors center. Ya, that shows they look down on reenactors and dances. You simply do not know what you are talking about. Keep talking, because the more you do, the more it makes you and your side look like fools for not wanting people to come and spend money in our area.

    Schools already get enough money. Though, I bet you fall for the “fully funded” bs line all the time.

    I’m not a part of the group.

  94. PWCovertaxed said on 25 Nov 2009 at 10:33 pm:
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    I dont think music at the visitors center is the same as an out dated Scarlet OHara Ball. I dont have a small mind nor have I resulted to name calling as you have here. That is the first sign of someone who has nothing to back up their argument…name calling. Adams County issues those permits because its legal…they dont seek out to issue the permit. People are coming to Gburg by the thousands with the reenactments or not…just like they will here in 2011….with government money or not.

    Again, instead of name calling go up there and ask the Staff Historian for NPS…ask James “Bud” Robertson who is considered widely the state expert on the Civil War and who saved the 1961 commemoration. Just facts from EXPERIENCED people…not name calling

  95. Citizenofmanassas said on 27 Nov 2009 at 9:54 pm:
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    Sorry, but you engaged in name calling first, implying people who supported the balls were racist. Sorry, you got called out, maybe next time, you won’t start something you can back up. The facts are the facts. This is going to be huge event, and people like you, who badmouth it are going to look pretty stupid.

    Adams County does not have to issue the permits by law since they are special permits, they can turn them down.

    And, once again I’ll point out, there is more than just the reenactment going on, but you just seem to be focused on that. A bit narrow minded to be sure.

  96. PWCovertaxed said on 27 Nov 2009 at 10:28 pm:
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    Never called you a racist, you assumed something that was not stated at all….Again, issuing a SUP is something governments do when an application is “inside” of the law. Either way, Its WAY different than giving away $200,000 in public funds. I focused on the other big event, the “ball” last time. Again, other events are already happening and will happen…with or without your group involved. There were no facts in your post…so I assume you dont have any to share. Talk to the experts, not the hobbyist historians who are part of this group. And since its just us going back and forth….this is about as much of a waste of time as giving away public funds for a celebration of war.

  97. Just the Facts said on 28 Nov 2009 at 8:24 am:
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    The only “agenda” in play here is from those who want $100,000 (Manassas) and $250,000 (PWC) of our money to stage reenactments, balls and duplications of services and programs provided by organizations that are already funded for this sort of thing.

    I support fully promoting tourism and history, and commemorating the anniversary of the battle. However, I oppose strongly handing over $350,000 (and perhaps $1 million from the state) to a private group that doesn’t even provide a detailed budget of how they will spend the money.

    KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF MY POCKET! Any supervisor who votes for this will account for that vote on election day and have to explain why schools, police and other vital public services are being cut in order to fund a private group of rich people who want to dress up, have parties and play soldier.

  98. Citizenofmanassas said on 28 Nov 2009 at 4:54 pm:
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    Yes, you did imply people who might attend the ball are racist. I’m not part of the group, another lie on your part. But, then again, I’m not shocked. Of course if you had any knowledge of the topic, you would know this group is working with PW County to plan and hold the events. The City has provided $50,000 so far and has indicated another $50,000 will be given to the group if certain conditions are met. I’m not sure where you got the $200,000.00 figure, but I suppose you have to lie in order to make your “points”.

    Just the facts,

    Nobody is playing soldier, and what are these parties you talk of? If you support history and bringing people then you should support the private/public partnership. Furthermore, if the County spends the money on their own activities, would you still feel the same? Would other services suffer cuts if they decided to spend it?

    Where are these events that are already funded? Where are the votes from the City Council and the County BOS that dedicated money to the already planned events?

  99. PWCovertaxed said on 29 Nov 2009 at 6:59 pm:
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    Citizen -
    Again, your over the top negativity to other people’s opinions is sad, I wish open commentary and opposing views would be accepted and not shunned so easily!!! The $200,000 amount is not a “lie” or anything, it is the amount VCE is looking for from the County…a fact. To your other point, the BOS and City of Manassas has funded some CW events and programs through the budget process to the County’s historic sites and the Manassas Museum. That money, some of which is TOT money (that is being seeked by VCE) has paid of CW programs this year, and years to come. One such event is an educational event at Manassas Battlefield next year. Its just one of programs that have been planned and have already taken place. I am sorry you were not aware of these things. Also, contact the CVB for tourism information and how this past year was a banner year for PW tourism and the state as a whole….all this WITHOUT government money going to a private group with no accountability. People are coming to PW in 2011, whether or not VCE exists…and there will be good, quality programs offered for them…even if VCE didnt exist.

  100. Just the Facts said on 30 Nov 2009 at 8:14 am:
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    Citizen - $250,000, not $200,000, is the amount Owen, Wolfe and their group want from PWC. Go back and read the “News and Messenger” article linked in the original post. Public Finance 101 - if government spends money on one thing it must take money away from something else or tax someone. We have many more pressing needs in PWC such as schools, police, firefighters, etc., which have all suffered in the recent recession. Even transportation for low-income, elderly people was eliminated last year and some people are trying to get that restored. ANY of these uses is better than handing over public funds to a private organization that does not even present a detailed budget.

    Regarding paying for this through additional taxes, as I wrote before, KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF MY POCKET! I don’t care where the events take place, I refuse to pay for them and will help ensure that this is an election issue in 2011 against any supervisor who votes for it. Regarding Manassas, I’m a PWC resident/taxpayer and if Manassas residents want to be fleeced by a bunch of rich people to pay for their fun, that’s their business.

    By the way Citizen, you seem to think that this is so important, let me ask how much of your own money you have voluntarily handed over to Wolfe, Owen, et. al. to finance their schemes? I support fully allowing people to pay for whatever activities they want with their own money. Charge a fee for admittance. If you plan something I might enjoy, I’ll pay my own way to participate.

    PWCovertaxed - thanks for pointing out some of the many events for which planning is underway and taxpayers have already funded.

  101. citizenofmanassas said on 30 Nov 2009 at 10:45 am:
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    I’m sorry, but you do not want to see my point of view. You and others who are against this effort, have lied, smeared the people involved in the effort, etc. You are the ones who do not want to listen to any other opinion but your own. The only people who are being negative are you and others who do not want tourists to come here and spend money, and think any effort of a public/private partnership is bound to fail.

    This group is not planning events that are already in place, or planned to take place. That is why they are working with the County and the City in order to not duplicate events, which I agree would be an issue.

    Before this group was formed, there were no plans to have a reenactment, a peace Jubilee, or dances. There were/are plans to highlight local landmarks, and to have tours of these places.

    Just the facts,

    Again, do you support the County spending money on attracting people to the area? Do you support the County spending money on events? Do you support the efforts the County has made to this point and future efforts to preserve our history?

    Your continued attacks on people who want to bring money to the area is over the top, and just makes you look silly. Agian, Wolfe was just one vote, but you continue to ignore that, because it does not fit your narrow minded attacks, that you feel will only work if you only focus on two people and engage in class warefare. Do you even know who else is on the board of the group?

    If you are so concerned about how much money is being wasted by the County, where have been before this came up? Where has your outrage been over the illegal aliens and the money the County has spent on people not paying their fair share of taxes? I don’t think I have ever seen you post on this blog before this issue came up.

    The Washington Post ran a story last week about this effort and detailed the fact the group is working with the County and the City in order to come up with the best possible plan to make it a success for the area. This is not as you and other have suggested some fly by night group of “rich” people just looking to have some fun.

    I’m sure I will donate money at some point, because I support the effort.

  102. PWCovertaxed said on 30 Nov 2009 at 4:39 pm:
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    Well…the three things you mentioned in your post are the three things I have been focusing on and you have belittled me for doing so (reenactment and CW Ball). You said this was WAY more than a reenactment, yet you make it the point of your argument? No one is smearing anyone personally. I just dont think government should be involved in financing a reenactment and CW Ball, when they both can take place WITHOUT public funds. I dont know of anyone who travels long distances to attend a CW Ball….

  103. Citizenofmanassas said on 30 Nov 2009 at 4:53 pm:
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    Because you and others have gone from one argument to another including attempting to say there are going to be duplicate events, I was just pointing out that is not the case, and provided specifics. There are other events planned, but of course you don’t want to admit that, or can’t. You would rather just focus on two events, which of course is your right, but that is only part of the picture.

    You and others have played the class card, have accused the group of just wanting to play soldier, have only their interests in mind, etc.

    Just because you don’t know anyone who does not travel for such events does not mean there are not. Unless of course you feel you know everyone involved in the hobby.

    The bottom line is this group does have a plan, has experence in helping the community, has former elected officials on their board, and is working with the City and the County. There is nothing wrong with that. The City has only provided 50,000 so far. There is not just providing money to a group of rich people and then not seeing how or where it is spent.

    Again, it seems you simply do not like this type of history and because of that feel why should anyone else.

    The County and the City have attempted to save and promote as much of our local history as possible and I believe this is just an extension of that.

  104. PWCovertaxed said on 1 Dec 2009 at 8:24 am:
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    Again, we just fail to see eye to eye on this issue. I do know many in the “hobby” and know many professional historians personally and know how these things are looked on by credible people. I just hope the money going to this group is VERY limited, that they are required to work along side Manassas Museum and the PW Historic Preservation Division (not in competition with them) and there is A LOT of over sight with this money. Also, I hope and pray that this group listens to the professional historians (not the elected officials…having them on the VCE Board doesn’t mean it will be an accurate historical commemoration…just means politicians trying to put a feather in their cap…seriously) and put on a REAL list of educational events, not full of CW Balls, War of 1812 Overture concerts and reeactments. Again, that is 1961, NOT 2011. I have never said the people involved were not helpful to the community, I just think their aims in all of this are misguided when this money could be going to places like the Manassas Museum where they will be cutting staff in 2010….I just think its funny that this group wants this money to promote local history, and the very places they say they want to promote will either be closed or have reduced hours (and staff) due to no money….

  105. PWCtaxpayer said on 1 Dec 2009 at 1:44 pm:
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    Ok, I’m back. You know, I thought this was a self proclaimed conservative blog, but it seems we have a lot of social democrates here and few - not enough - conservatives. I don’t see any objection to public funding of public celebrations and I don’t see any objection to social welfare funding by the City. I see some subtle defense of the establishment historical community - and the funding provided to the museums and other government agencies - but I see less and less defense, as a conservative, of public-private partnerships designed to stimulate economic growth. I see concerns for the way the pie is being divided and related concerns that my piece of the pie might be shorted somewhat by this effort (in the short-term), but very little talk about how the city or county can responsbily increase the size of the pie. I doubt many public jobs are really in jeopardy here by this funding, but if any are, there is also a better than even chance that many other local jobs are going to be created by the effort - in both the short and long term. I see acknowledgement of other related public activities in the schools and in the museum, put on by public employees, but nothing larger that will really attract outsiders or result in long-term tourist development. I also took note of the elitism in the reference above to how historians view reenactments - a chuckle. I note a lot of argument about Gettysburg, but remember Gettysburg is a for-profit operation that should not be supported by government , not a 501c3, with a commitment to invest in local historical assests - our otherwise publically funded & maintained assets. But mostly, I take exception to the subsidy argument. I do not find this, as an economic matter - to be a operating subsidy or grant. It seems to me to be a reasonable part of a multi-year public investment strategy - with an expectation of significant returns - that is being implemented through a public-private partnership designed to stimulate economic growth and create althernative sources of future funding for what are locally owned and operated historical assets. The returns from this one-time investment over the next 10 years to the community, in terms of events, related tourist dollars spent, private capital investments and even removing the need for budgeted/publically funded investments over the long-term seems to loom large. Given that so many in opposition to the plan have also revealed their support for their own subsidies, I really cannot take them seriously. If they have a better investment strategy for the city or county, I would like to hear it and then have them explain how that takes advantage of the opportrunities presented by 150ths in either the short or long term.

  106. citizenofmanassas said on 1 Dec 2009 at 3:04 pm:
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    There are just as many if not more people in and out of the hobby who support this effort. I find it hard to believe people who have a real love of history and in particular, this period of history would be against efforts to educate and bring in new people to the history.

    No, having past elected officials on the board is not the end all, but it does provide evidence the group is not just some fly by night outfit. Of course they are working with the City and the County in order to put forth the best effort possible. I know both the SCV and the USUV are planning to come here for the anniversary. They would not plan to be here otherwise.

    Had the Museum stepped up and had plans to do these events, then I would agree with you, there should not be a duplicate effort. However, it appears there are no such efforts and so there was a void to fill. Besides the Museum does not just do War Between the States events.

    Well, the World would be a pretty boring place if everyone had the same opinion.

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