Interview: Tony Barney, The Man Who Would Take On Delgaudio

Tony and Marlene Barney
Tony and Marlene Barney on election day, November 4, at Rolling Ridge precinct. Tony wants to challenge incumbent Eugene Delgaudio for the Sterling district seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Tony “Coach” Barney is on a mission. His one-and-done game plan to defeat Eugene Delgaudio hinges on emphasizing fiduciary responsibility and promoting a different image – a “more positive direction” – for the Sterling community, building on his two decades’ history and ties here. (This is first in a series of candidate interviews at Firewall NOVA ahead of the 2015 elections)

During a recent conversation (click here to skip ahead to interview), Barney’s key themes were openness and return on investment. In a nutshell:

Sterling wants to grow and Loudoun wants to grow and the only way we can grow is to work together on real issues, and be open and listen to people, and be able to compromise and negotiate, and invest in the future, and always ask the question – what is our return if we do invest?

Barney first needs to secure the Democratic nomination to challenge incumbent Republican Delgaudio in the November, 2015 elections for the Sterling district seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS).

If he can win the nomination, then defeat Delgaudio, after serving a single four-year term on the BOS, Barney would pass the baton to a Democratic – or Republican – successor, having “cleared” the office.

In what is certain to be one of the most closely-watched campaigns in the coming year – and not just locally – Delgaudio once again will build on his own long history in the Sterling community while fending off slings and arrows from those who disagree both with his work as supervisor and his day job as an advocate on controversial political issues.

Democrats will try to follow up a “recall” movement aimed at forcing Delgaudio from office mid-term, led by his failed previous Democrat opponents, which fizzled when dismissed by a judge. (As Barney notes in the conversation below, his personal opinion is: The way to remove Delgaudio from office is through the ballot box).

Barney’s task will not be easy. Delgaudio first won election to the Sterling supervisor seat in 1998 – making him one of the longest-serving supervisors in county history – and has beaten back fierce challenges in each subsequent contest.

In the Democrat wave election of 2007, following a Republican primary challenge and under vigorous attack by Democrats and other interest groups, Delgaudio was one of only two Republicans on the board to prevail in the general election, defeating longtime Sterling resident Jeanne West by a little more than 200 votes.

Then in 2011, Delgaudio increased his margin of victory and beat the combined vote total of two challengers: a spirited Independent and the Democrat Al Nevarez. The Democrats made an unforced error in putting up the weak candidate: a recent transplant to Sterling, “Occupy” cheerleader, Daily Kos contributor, and self-professed union activist who claimed the U.S. middle class is actually funded by the federal government.

For more background on Delgaudio, click here for a round up of stories at Firewall NOVA, and click here for an in-depth interview from the 2011 campaign.

Firewall NOVA met with Barney on election day, November 4, while Barney and his better half – Marlene – were working at the Rolling Ridge precinct. Your humble correspondent was handing out sample ballots on behalf of the Republican Party, and the Barneys for the Democrats.

Having worked across from Tony Barney at this same precinct for years, your correspondent can report that, for a Democrat, Barney is a congenial fellow – easy going and plain spoken in demeanor, who seems moderate on the ideological scale. Through the long election days Barney can be generous in sharing suggestions and observations about conservative policies and Republican Party tactics, all of which, your correspondent can assure you, are received politely and with fathomless gratitude.

In your opinion, what is the number one issue for the 2015 election?

Continue reading “Interview: Tony Barney, The Man Who Would Take On Delgaudio”

Delgaudio Unbowed

Eugene Delgaudio as superman
Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio appeared optimistic at his October 4 campaign kickoff

In case you were worried the unpleasantness of the past year might have hampered Eugene Delgaudio’s exuberant style, you can put that concern to rest.

The Sterling district supervisor was back in vigorous form at his campaign kickoff and fundraiser last weekend at Joe’s Pizza in Sterling, with about 80 attendees over the course of the two-plus hour event. Looking primed, rested and jovial, he seemed at full speed on the campaign trail already, and said he is extremely encouraged by what he’s hearing from constituents.

At least from Delgaudio’s side, the 2015 election season promises to be a barnburner.
Continue reading “Delgaudio Unbowed”

Delgaudio Working Hard… in Michigan?

How would you suggest a pro-equality (that’s “pro-gay,” to you religionists) candidate for public office answer this question?

I will Oppose attempts to add “Homosexuality,” “Transexuality,” or “Pedophilia” as protected classes or statuses under Michigan’s Anti-Discrimination Law.

____Yes ____No

Come on, come on, it’s one or the other. What’s your answer? Well, okay, don’t answer at all, if that’s the best you can do (you coward).

Of course, Eugene Delgaudio–who sent that question to Michigan state house candidate Josh Derke–doesn’t expect a pro-equality candidate to answer it. Obviously, “yes” is out as it would approve of the third item in Delgaudio’s carefully drafted list. Likewise, “no” would conflict with a pro-equality candidate’s commitment to protecting everyone’s rights, including the first two listed groups. So the only safe play is not to answer, right? Well, Eugene’s been doing this for a very long time. He knows better than to give you that kind of an easy out. So, after the question, he warns you thus:

Responses… will be reported to the members and supporters of Public Advocate of the U.S. — even if you fail to respond. Sadly, experience has taught us that a candidate’s silence on pro-family legislation is usually a warning of future abdication to the Homosexual Lobby.

So “yes” is out, “no” is out, and not answering is also out (since Eugene decides what you are thinking for you, if you don’t answer). What’s a candidate to do?

Well, despite Delgaudio’s commitment to, and experience with, avoiding the truth, Josh Derke beat him at his own game and found a fourth alternative. He answered Delgaudio and, instead of letting Eugene decide what he could say, Derke answered in his own words. And they are beautiful words. Mr. Derke’s public statement about it includes these comments:

I elected instead to send a letter. Their survey was hurtful; I have family, and many friends, that are LGBT. They’re not immoral, and they’re not seeking special privileges. They want equality–they want to be treated with respect, and dignity, just like any other person does. I think that they deserve that, without reservation. Groups like Public Advocate would like people to believe that there’s some great conspiracy, that a powerful and monied group of people is trying to usurp special rights and take away American values and destroy families. It’s a lie, of course. A rather malicious one that seeks to make certain citizens second class.

Following that is his full letter to Delgaudio. Read it. If you like it, send him one yourself. Josh Derke probably doesn’t know, or didn’t when he wrote that fine response, that “The Public Advocate of the United States” is little (if anything) more than a front for Delgaudio’s full-time job of raising money by peddling retail hate. A letter like his won’t make a dent in Eugene Delgaudio’s dislike of equal rights because, as far as anyone has been able to ascertain, Delgaudio doesn’t give a damn about equal rights, neither pro nor con. “Public Advocate” is a source of income, not an arm of his ideology. Eugene Delgaudio has no ideology.

However, Delgaudio has a soul, at least as much as anyone else does. From time to time, it shows. It mostly shows when he is confronted with the consequences of his own bad actions. When the Loudoun Board took down his staff and budget, it showed. When he had to go to court and answer for why he asks potential employees about their religious beliefs, it showed. When his local government passed a law that makes what he has done in the past a crime, if he does it again, it showed. Being held accountable hurts Eugene Delgaudio. He may try to laugh it off when his critics have him dead to rights, but it shows that, in his soul, it hurts.

Read Josh Derke’s amazing letter. Then write one to Eugene yourself and, if you do, post a link to it here, or on your Facebook page, or anywhere you can. Mr. Derke didn’t let Eugene Delgaudio limit his answers nor force him into silence. Mr. Derke spoke for himself, and spoke the truth to Delgaudio when he did it.

So should we all.EugeneR

 

What Does Joan Kowalski Know?

Virginia’s county governments rely heavily on volunteer citizens to serve on advisory boards and committees. Mostly, they receive appointment to those committees pursuant to a vote of their local board of supervisors. The custom, if not the rule, is that seats assigned to magisterial districts are filled by citizens nominated by those districts’ individual supervisors. Anyone can apply, of course, but you don’t serve if you’re not voted in, and you’re not voted in if you’re not nominated. In, we assume, the pure spirit of public service, one Sterling resident has stepped up, according to this from the next board meeting’s agenda:

Joan Kowalski has expressed interest in serving on the Joint Committee-Volunteer Citizens Work Group as a Sterling District Representative. Her resume is available upon request.

Which would only be admirable, if not remarkable, were it not for this…

Continue reading “What Does Joan Kowalski Know?”

Wither Delgaudio? (Part 3 in series)

Eugene Delgaudio

Longtime political activist and chief executive of a conservative non-profit organization, Eugene Delgaudio is also one of the longest-tenured supervisors in county history.

He seems, from one perspective, a surprising fixture on the board of supervisors, considering Loudoun voters’ tendency to flip it’s political polarity every four years.

If the Republican-Democrat-Republican cycle of the past signifies anything, it would seem to be a vacillation between extremes, the equilibrium of a spinning gyre. The board’s other survivor is Scott York, also of Sterling, who is exactly the type of middle-of-the-road, self-reinventing public figure one might expect to remain standing amid political earthquakes.

And alongside York, there is Delgaudio the lighting rod, unlikeliest of political constants.

But will the cycle of waxing and withering now, finally, claim the man in the orange hat?

Continue reading “Wither Delgaudio? (Part 3 in series)”

Delgaudio Updates: Mateer’s “Igor” Claims Challenged; Stamos Back?

Eugene Delgaudio
Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio
 
Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio’s attorney, Charles King, said yesterday that Loudoun County records contradict former Delgaudio employee Donna Mateer’s claim to have spent substantial time working on Delgaudio’s “Igor list” of potential political donors.

The Washington Post reports King said that between September 2011 and her firing in March 2012, county records show that Mateer made a total of 107 phone calls to numbers on the list … for a total of 2.5 hours.

Theo Stamos, Arlington County commonwealth’s attorney who led the criminal investigation of Delgaudio in 2013, will be asked to try the case. The next hearing will be held on March 25 at 2:00 pm.

Delgaudio: Caught Between Sharia and Charybdis (Part 2 in series)

Did Delgaudio’s friendliness with the Muslim community heighten animosities against him?

A thus far unmentioned aspect of the sticky situation Sterling Supervisor Delgaudio has found himself in (or, brought upon himself, depending on one’s point of view) relates to the timing of the precipitating events.

In the run up to the 2011 elections, Delgaudio had two nemeses: pro-LGBT and anti-Sharia.

The first was a given. As noted in Part 1 of this series, as long as he holds public office, Delgaudio can expect constant rough sledding because of his decades-old job as chief executive of the Public Advocate organization.

But in a strange turn of events, Delgaudio managed to tick off a segment of what might have been considered his base because of his refusal to join the “no Sharia” campaign against candidate David Ramadan.

Continue reading “Delgaudio: Caught Between Sharia and Charybdis (Part 2 in series)”

Delgaudio Subpoenas SPLC

Eugene Delgaudio’s attorney is attempting use a subpoena to obtain records from the Southern Poverty Law Center that document their decision to name Delgaudio’s operation, the “Public Advocate of the United States,” a hate group. Read Delgaudio’s press release at, among others (and also others), ChristianNewsWire (a for-hire online service).

This is a questionable move as it risks documenting precisely one of the bases upon which the petitioners seeking Delgaudio’s removal claim he is unfit to remain in office. SPLC may seek to resist the subpoena, but if they don’t (or if that resistance is not successful), Delgaudio may be in for a whole new round of embarrassing revelations.

Diagnosing Delgaudio’s Troubles, Part 1

Last year, after the release of the special grand jury report on complaints against Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, more than a few local Republicans were heard to wonder: What happened with Eugene?

Delgaudio - Public Advocate

Known as a savvy politician whose advocacy organization Public Advocate – his regular job – did almost no member solicitation in Northern Virginia in order to avoid even the appearance of fundraising conflicts of interest with his role as a Loudoun County elected official, Delgaudio seemed unlikely to suddenly become as sloppy as alleged by former employee Donna Mateer.

On top of that, Delgaudio’s reputation as a boss was as one who gave young people opportunities for professional development in a less-than-rigid work environment. Like most of the county supervisors, Delgaudio has a full time job apart from his elected position and thus was not physically present during much of the staff’s work day. Publicly, he praised them – management 101.

Continue reading “Diagnosing Delgaudio’s Troubles, Part 1”

Retired Judge Paul Sheridan Assigned to Delgaudio Case

The online system that tracks Loudoun’s Circuit Court cases is a bit cryptic, but it has an entry that appears to show “Paul Sheridan” has been assigned by the state Supreme Court to preside over the rest of the Delgaudio removal proceedings:

Sheridan

If that’s the case, it would seem to be the Paul Sheridan now working with The McCammon Group, a “dispute resolution & prevention” services firm. Judge Sheridan appears also to have retired from the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Arlington, after serving on the bench for 18 years, the last five of those as Chief Judge of the court. It seems reasonable to assume that, as a retired judge, he has both the credentials and the time to devote to this important proceeding.

Nothing in the court calendar as yet regarding when the next court appearances will take place, but the statutory requirement that this type of matter take precedence is clearly in full effect. Stay tuned.