While Hugo Chavez is dead, his tactics and ideas live on right here in Prince William County, courtesy of folks like Milt Johns and Wally Covington. Dontcha just love it when Republicans show that beyond all the rhetoric, what they really want most is to be tinpot third-world communist dictators?
First let’s take a moment with our dear friend Chairman Milt Johns. The pool for the 12th High School wasn’t his idea, but since it’s a shiny new waste of away taxpayer dollars right there in Dr. Walt’s neighborhood and a convenient way to add another fringe benefit for the county’s highest paid employee, well by golly, it’s just got to get built. Now the rest of us were pretty aghast at the sheer madness of this crazy idea, especially given that class sizes are right at the state’s maximum, test scores don’t seem to be improving, and we still have overcrowded classrooms. Those capital funds need to go towards resolving the big problems we face, not adding a pool that nearly doubles the cost for this high school as well as adding a $1.5 million a year maintenance effort.
Chairman Johns, seeing this prize was in trouble because of widespread public outrage, reached into his philosophical toolbag and pulled out the Hugo Chavez tactic of finding some community group to rile up in support of the plan. He has been busy reaching out to families who have kids in competitive swimming leagues to come and lobby at School Board meetings as if they were an aquatic version of the Grizzlies, promising to lavish them with reserved times at this shiny new monument to his leadership if they’d just come support it. Oh, and by the way he’d sure appreciate it if they rewarded him for his loyalty in the next election.
This is precisely the tactic used by Hugo Chavez, who seized power in Venezuela by promising poor peasants taxpayer riches if they’d only be his loyal footsoldiers. Of course now Chavez is dead and what was once the strongest economy in South America is a shambles, but I’m sure it sounded just wonderful back then before the country went down the toilet.
The whole idea of borrowing the idea of a Bolivarian Militia for use in Prince William County was initially the brainchild of Corey Stewart and Wally Covington when they were trying to slam new development into the Rural Crescent with the Avendale project in return for campaign contributions from developers. They got busfulls of parents and kids wearing football jerseys to moan about how they didn’t have enough taxpayer funded sports fields for their private sports league, and sure enough votes on the BOCS flipped and some more of the county got paved over and our schools got a little more overcrowded. That’s not corruption by the way, it’s just complete serendipity that the same developers that benefit from these rezonings suddenly become interested in making unsolicited campaign contributions to the politicians that quite by happenstance are making favorable zoning decisions for them.
Now at least Covington, and perhaps even Stewart are behind a new iteration of the Bolivarian Militia tactic by telling the Grizzlies that they can get even more sports fields if they help to slam the massive Stone Haven project into the Linton Hall Corridor. It is an absolutely horrendous idea to rezone land to drop such a huge development into an area that already suffers significant traffic congestion and overcrowded schools, but preying on the naivety of parents by promising them all sorts of things that can’t happen is an atrocious nod to one of the most notorious dictators who ever misruled a part of the Western hemisphere.
The worst part of this Bolivarian Militia tactic is that massive residential developments cost more in county services than they provide in tax revenues, hurting the county’s finances and prompting tax hikes. But these are the fiscally responsible guys, right? That’s what they love to tell us. Yeah, these are the same guys that crow about how our commercial-to-residential tax base ratio is improving, but only because they’re counting apartment buildings as commercial properties now.
What a great model for economic and political sanity. Republicans borrowing wholesale the political and economic tactics of Hugo Chavez, putting them into play, and somehow hoping we’re not going to end up as poor and devastated as Venezuela. With Republicans like these, who the hell needs Democrats?
The last line of defense in all this might just be the local Republican party, which rose up in fierce opposition the last time this project, then called “Brentswood” was pushed by developers. The Gainesville District Supervisor at the time, John Stirrup, along with a huge swath of the PWCRC rose up in opposition and crushed this idiotic idea. Stirrup’s memorable battle cry at the time, referring to the transportation nightmare a project like this would invite was “if you have a problem with moths, the last thing you do is set up a big ass spotlight!”
The delegates at the Republican Convention at least tried to make a statement opposing some of the fiscal insanity that current BOCS suffers from, but since the resolutions were adopted (overwhelmingly) as a bloc the Chairman of the PWCRC decided they didn’t mean anything. That’s right, they passed overwhelmingly at a convention, but that doesn’t mean anything.
“I don’t plan on acting on them as I think that the block vote didn’t mean anything. It just meant people were tired and wanted to go home. It wouldn’t be appropriate given the circumstances to report that they had any support.”
I wonder who will be the first to make a pilgrimage to see Fidel Castro.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.
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