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Dummy Of The Week: Supervisor Maureen Caddigan

By Greg L | 16 March 2013 | Prince William County | 6 Comments

I really appreciate independent local media, otherwise when local elected officials display utter stupidity it probably wouldn’t get reported.  Here’s a case in point: Potomac Local is reporting that Supervisor Maureen Caddigan wants to establish a new locality recognized by the Postal Service called “Potomac, Virginia.”

Notwithstanding that there already was a locality by this name incorporated into the City of Alexandria in 1930, confusion between the name of a magisterial district and a locality was the precise reason why the Dumfries Magisterial District was renamed as the Potomac Magisterial District in the county’s last redistricting in 2011.  Confusion reigned as people living outside of the Town of Dumfries thought they were also not within the Dumfries District when they actually were, especially when they had a Woodbridge postal address but weren’t within the Woodbridge District but instead in the Dumfries District.  It was a complete mess for many voters and the lack of foresight in this naming convention was a major, longstanding screw-up.

Perhaps I could be more forgiving here if this perfect example was located far away from Maureen Caddigan and she was entirely unaware of the problem, but this is the district she currently represents on the Board of County Supervisors.  In fact, Caddigan tried to take credit for fixing this district naming problem when it was in fact Southbridge HOA President Jim Riley that suggested the change and pushed to make it happen.  Not only was she aware of the issue of having confusing district names but she tried to politically profit from having it solved by others while she did absolutely nothing to address the issue other than vote on the final redistricting plan.

And it gets even dumber than that.

Caddigan this month said she’s working with Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Fairfax, Prince William, for congressional approval for the name change.

It’s hardly any surprise that Connolly wouldn’t have any clue that recreating the mess we only recently extracted ourselves from would be a phenomenally bad idea, but Caddigan should darned well know better.  Of course the ignorance doesn’t stop there, as Connolly would be of no help whatsoever in getting a locality named.  That’s not what Congress does.  For some actual knowledge, let’s turn to Jim Riley who actually knows the district and the challenges it faces as well as the actual mechanics involved here.

This isn’t something that the local or federal governments have control over. Our HOA got “Southbridge, VA” adopted by the Postal Service as the mailing address for our part of the 22026 zip code by going through the Postmaster for this area. There are certain requirements that must be met in order to get such a designation, including a minimum number of homes, listing of all street addresses (numbers, not just street names), etc. It took us quite a while to provide them with everything that they needed. Potomac Shores won’t have the requisite number of homes to qualify for a couple years. After we got official recognition from the Postal Service, we then proceeded to get recognition from DMV, the Prince William County Public School System (which now lists Swans Creek Elementary as Southbridge, VA), and various private entities including UPS and FedEx. 

At least we can find some comfort in that fools with bad ideas aren’t typically very effective in implementing them.  Still, with all the challenges that the Potomac District faces you’d wish that the Supervisor representing that district forgot about silly, counterproductive geographical naming issues for developments that haven’t even been built yet and instead tried to help clean up the Route 1 Corridor and get some business development going on there.  That’s a far more pressing issue.

That’s if she had a prayer of actually getting anything done, which with her legendary effectiveness at implementing non-solutions is darned unlikely.

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  1. Al Alborn said on 16 Mar 2013 at 7:29 am:
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    Sorry… I’m with Ms. Caddigan on this one. I have a Manassas address… and I don’t like it. Apparently, some folks who actually live in Manassas don’t like the fact that folks who don’t live their claim it as their home. I get that.

    It turns out that it is quite possible to what Ms. Caddigan and several folks who live in her District want to do. If that’s what they want to do, why should anyone else care?

    Mail is about zip codes. The name of the locality could be left off completely, and mail would still get there as long as you have an address line. In fact, you could probably just change your locality and no one would notice as long as the zip code was right (but I’m just guessing)/.

    I would prefer that my mail simply be delivered to Prince William County, VA, instead of Manassas. I am proud to live in Prince William County, and prefer to self-identify as such. I notice that Chairman Stewart already does that for his official office address. His address is:

    1 County Complex Court
    Prince William VA 22192

    This is on my “don’t care what other folks do” list. In this particular case, I hope she succeeds because i’d like to be next.

    Sometimes I agree with you… sometimes I don’t… this time… I don’t.

  2. Greg L said on 16 Mar 2013 at 1:15 pm:
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    So Al, you’re in favor of deliberately confusing voters about what district they can vote in?

    Back when there was a Dumfries District, Caddigan worked hard to cement her base in the Town of Dumfries. Town residents voted at a higher rate in the district than folks outside of the town, and part of the reason was due to confusion about what District they could vote in. Some people in the Dumfries District, but living outside of the town limits thought they were not eligible to vote in an election where a Supervisor was on the ballot. They knew they were not in the Woodbridge District, they thought (incorrectly) that they were not in the Dumfries District because they didn’t live in the town, and thought the election didn’t have a candidate on the ballot they could vote for.

    It wasn’t a huge problem, but it was enough of a problem among the casual, generally “low information” voters that it easily could have swung a close election. Caddigan did practically nothing to address the problem and because she worked the town pretty hard she benefited from the problem.

    Voter disenfranchisement by adding unneeded complexity to elections is something everyone really should stand against.

  3. Al Alborn said on 16 Mar 2013 at 2:01 pm:
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    @Greg L If I lived there, I’d care. Since I don’t, I’ll leave it to the folks in that District to decide. They know where to find Caddigan, and what to do in 2015 if things don’t work out.

    Your points are well taken; however,your issues belong to the Board of Elections… And “low information voters” who show up unarmed to participate in the process.

    I’m not always a fan of Ms. Caddigan (and wear my “Dispicable” label with a bit of pride); however, I think she is on the right track here if this is what the people in her District (emphasizing her District) want to do.

    That’s just me. I’m guessing she’ll pull it off.

  4. Jim Riley said on 17 Mar 2013 at 5:08 pm:
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    I’m not opposed to the development having its own mailing address and given that Potomac Shores will not be an incorporated entity with its own municipal officials (as was the case with the Town of Dumfries), there will not be a similar issue. The points I raised still stand, however. They simply do not understand the procedure for accomplishing this. Plus, the mention of Triangle being part of this makes no sense, either, as they are in a different zip code (I believe it is 22172) and they have their own post office.

  5. Anonymous said on 18 Mar 2013 at 7:13 am:
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    I think she is just trying to serve her constituents, however confusingly.

  6. Dittyman8 said on 18 Mar 2013 at 12:38 pm:
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    Coming from my presceptive as someone born in New England where towns have been incorporated since the 1600s, I think that the main problem is that most of the land in the County is unincorporated. So as a result, the same location can be called several things. For example, I live in Woodbridge, but I get mail addressed to me as Woodbridge, Lake Ridge, and Prince William. There is no standardization due to the lack of incorporated entities with well defined boundaries. There needs to be a consistent plan for the whole County.

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