Special prosecutor Theo Stamos has replied to a complaint brought by Loudoun resident Sally Mann, stating that 31 of the 36 alleged reporting violations Mann claims to have found in Scott York’s campaign finance reports are barred from prosecution by the statute of limitations, and the rest haven’t yet triggered a review by the registrar. Stamos’s letter spells out the law, explaining that there is no violation that can be looked into by a prosecutor until the registrar determines there is something improper in a filing. Even then, the registrar must notify the campaign, which has ten days to provide corrections.
In the event a campaign has filed an incomplete report, the general registrar shall notify the campaign in writing of the deficiency. The campaign has ten days to supply the missing information or it will receive a civil fine. If the filing remains incomplete for more than one hundred twenty days, the matter shall be forwarded to the appropriate Commonwealth’s Attorney unless the campaign is granted an extension. (from Theo Stamos’s letter to Sally Mann)
Theo Stamos must be getting kind of tired of Loudoun county. I don’t think I’m betraying any confidences when I say that she told me herself, during the Delgaudio-removal effort, that she had no intention of being used as anyone’s political weapon, regardless of party affiliations. Since York is running as an independent in a race that has a Republican nominee, I think our own Commonwealth’s Attorney, Jim Plowman, could have used his prosecutorial discretion and drawn the same conclusions Stamos has drawn, without any fear of being called partisan for it. At the same time, he’s running for re-election himself, so I don’t blame him for being particularly white-glove about this. (But I wouldn’t blame Theo Stamos, either, if she asks him to start sending this noise to someone else for a while.)
The two Loudoun County supervisors who live in Sterling don’t always agree, but they are on the same page in rejecting a supervisor candidate’s call for new residential development in the district.
Longtime residents Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) and Scott York (I-At Large) say the Sterling community does not need the type of redevelopment sought by Phyllis Randall, a Democratic Party nominee who lives in Lansdowne and is running for York’s position as Board chair in the November elections.
Among her suggestions for Sterling District, Randall recommended “redevelopment of some of their shopping areas to mixed use communities.”
In a newsletter earlier this week, Delgaudio said “‘redevelopment’ is the wrong word to use in Sterling.” He warned that Randall’s plan would mean density-packing of new residences, and a corresponding negative impact on schools, traffic and emergency services.
Delgaudio told FirewallNOVA that converting existing shopping areas to mixed-use “will lead to residential high-rises and apartments that will change the character of the Sterling community.”
York agreed that Randall’s suggestion to bring mixed-use developments is “very concerning.”
“Sterling doesn’t need to be redeveloped,” York said. “The shopping center needs to be revitalized. But other than that, I like the community the way it is. I’m not going to support any plan of hers to come in and try to density-pack Sterling.”
Randall’s fellow Democrat, Koran Saines, who is running against Delgaudio for the Sterling seat, sounded a similar note, saying he envisions “revitalizing” the district in a way that would “not take away from the character of Sterling Park.”
Republican members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors are all supporting Republican candidates in the November elections, which means none of them are supporting the Independent candidate for chair, the Loudoun Times-Mirror has revealed. The only Board member who is not supporting the Republican candidate for chair is Shawn Williams, who left the GOP last month when making plans to run as an Independent and is supporting Scott York, also an Indepedent, for chair.
The Loudoun Time-Mirror labels this turn of events a “curious political dynamic.”
Since the local press, god bless’em, provide fuller coverage of retail openings and closings than of local politics, far be it from us to dampen their enthusiasm when they do venture down this weird, perplexing road. We should, however, be willing to help smooth the path when possible.
These political parties are, in some respects, mysteries wrapped in enigmas wrapped in press releases, and thus inscrutable. In other ways, however, they are simple.
Let us attempt to untangle the Case of the Curious Dynamic.
A Mystery Surfaces
The roiling controversy did not spring up ex nihilo this week, mind you. It was actually born long ago, in the faint, hazy past of earlier this month.
At the Republican “unity” event in Leesburg on June 5, during the interview portion, the Loudoun Times-Mirror reporter noted the Republican supervisors were standing in support of Republican nominee for chair, Charlie King, instead of current chair, Scott York, the Independent. The reporter asked why they have “switched gears” to support King, when in the past they have praised York’s work on the Board.
Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) took a stab at it: “Because we’re Republicans.”
Not so easily turned aside, the reporter pursued: “That’s it?”
After a pause of two seconds that felt like 20, Supervisor Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) mercifully chimed in with a critique of York that went a bit beyond what Charlie King had covered in-depth ten minutes earlier, getting time moving again and the reporter off the hook.
How That Pledge, Such As It Is, Works
Since that lesson apparently did not sink in, we shall review the main requirement of campaigning under the Republican label.
Despite what we have already established about the overall bogosity of the LCRC pledge, one part is less bogus than the others, and that is where if you are a Republican candidate for office, you don’t publicly support non-Republicans running against Republicans. Nobody would likely go through the trouble of getting the GOP nomination if not prepared to jump through that particular hoop.
Republicans are going to support Republicans publicly, almost every time. That is not a piece of shocking news. Any Republican candidate doing otherwise would be shocking, not to mention enormously inconvenient for the candidate.
That’s what would constitute a news flash.
And anybody bothering to read this political blog is probably saying to themselves, “Well, duh.” (Except at the LTM, where I imagine the reaction is: “The hell you say!”)
To be sure, there are curious aspects to the 2015 campaign for Board of Supervisors, in that the local Republican Party was split over the sheriff primary contest last month, and one faction in that battle is tied closely to the campaign of Charlie King. Oaths were uttered, suspicions raised, charges of treason tossed around, and some say bridges might have been burned. But that is inside-inside baseball. Even in that cloudy picture, most of the GOP will be pro-GOP for public attribution. If you want to report that story, you will have to dig deep into a thicket of anonymous sources.
But the question of whether any Loudoun Republican nominee, anywhere, is going to publicly support Scott York, is about as newsworthy as mosquitoes biting in summer.
After a decade of unprecedented growth, Loudoun County faces a new phase of changes and opportunities. Phyllis Randall believes it’s time for fresh leadership, and a new tone of openness and ethics in county government.
The Democratic Party nominee for chair of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (BOS), Randall has a twenty-year history of volunteer service in roles of increasing responsibility, including her current position as vice chair of the Virginia Board of Corrections. Throughout her time in public service, Randall has also maintained a career in the mental health field, which she intends to put on hold if elected to the Loudoun BOS.
In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, Randall set forth a clear policy agenda regarding education, development, attracting businesses, and the need to revisit the county’s Comprehensive Plan. On education, for instance, she’s committed to increasing science/math/technology and vocational instruction, and establishing a more cooperative relationship between the BOS and the School Board. She has specific ideas about the Loudoun Gateway and Ashurn Station Metro developments. She wants to improve the transportation grid to make the county more business-friendly (a proposal echoed the other day in Reston with regard to the Silver Line).
In the area of politics, Randall takes exception to the idea that Sterling’s Eugene Delgaudio is attracting Democrats to vote for him.
Moreover, beyond politics and policy, Phyllis Randall thinks it’s time to put a new “face” on Loudoun County. The current chair, Scott York (whom we interviewed earlier this week) has held the office since 2001. Randall wants to apply her own leadership experience to make the government more open, and “build a respectful relationship that honors the job we have been elected to do for the citizens of the county.”
FWN: For Loudoun residents who don’t know about you: I think of you as a “moderate” Democrat. Is that true, and what does it mean?
Barring any disqualifications, the candidates who will be listed on Loudoun County voters’ ballots on the November 3, 2015 elections have been set. Despite rumors to the contrary, no new candidates for sheriff filed to run. And Shawn Williams did NOT throw his hat into the ring to revive his previously announced run for chair of the Board of Supervisors. (The day after Williams was reported to be making calls to build a campaign team, this happened.) The Democratic candidate for chair, Phyllis Randall, states that she shares Scott York’s wish to revisit the county’s Comprehensive Plan.
Chairman Scott York thinks the decisions facing the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors over the next four years are too important to be used as on-the-job training.
Having served as Board chair since 2001, York was planning to leave public office when the current term concludes at the end of the year. But after being on the receiving end of an “outpouring of concern for the quality of leadership” from constituents, he reconsidered, and is running for a fifth term.
York is running for the office once again as an Independent, as he did prior to the current term, and will face declared challengers Charlie King (Republican), Phyllis Randall (Democrat), and Tom Bellanca (Independent).
In a recent interview with FirewallNOVA, York discussed the key upcoming challenges and opportunities for the next Board, his message to voters of all political persuasions, fellow Sterling resident Eugene Delgaudio, York’s endorsements for county offices, and various other issues. (This is part of an occasional series of candidate interviews prior to the November 3 elections. FirewallNOVA plans to interview Republican nominee Charlie King in the near future. Democrat Phyllis Randall and Independent Tom Bellanca have not yet made themselves available for interviews.)
By not participating in the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC) convention, York is again able to launch his Independent bid without having broken the LCRC “pledge” – the same tack he took earlier in his political career when leaving the GOP. Though he took criticism from LCRC Chairman Mike Haynes, York said the current group of candidates for chair “is simply not qualified to lead the county.”
York believes any voters who “do their homework” or talk to the other candidates will come to the same conclusion.
After serving for four years as Sterling District supervisor, York was elected chairman in 2000 and has held the office ever since. Last month, recognized as “Citizen of the Year” by the Loudoun Times-Mirror and the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, York was praised for his “steady presence” over the four terms, whose “leadership was critical to the historic change in residential and business growth.”
In the coming years, that leadership will be just as crucial, according to York. The next Board will need to handle numerous important policy issues, including: oversight of critical transportation improvements; a long-overdue review of the county’s Comprehensive Plan; Silver Line Comprehensive Plan Amendments, initiated by the current Board to study land uses surrounding the new stations; as well as address school budget funding, new school construction, and requests for all-day kindergarten.
Michael Haynes, chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee (LCRC), observed that “after days of rain and gloomy weather, the sun came out to welcome our candidates,” an appropriate backdrop for Friday’s GOP “Unity” event in Leesburg. Joined by Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck, it served as an unofficial kickoff for the 2015 campaign, a chance to clarify positions on Independent candidates, and an opportunity to smooth over differences from the recent LCRC convention.
King took two Independent candidates to task: Scott York (Board chair), who left the Republican Party, and Steve Simpson (sheriff candidate), who pledged to support the 2015 ticket, and then broke the pledge for a second time since 2007.
Regarding Simpson, King said that for police, “reputation is everything”:
Based on an officer’s word, people will be convicted of crimes and sent to jail. How can Steve Simpson possibly lead the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office when he cannot honor simple promises to play by the rules?
But King focused most of his condemnation on York, his opponent for Board chair. He characterized York’s change of heart about seeking another term as “waffling”:
Loudoun County needs a decisive leader. If Mr. York takes months to make a decision while reversing himself over and over, how can the voters believe he is capable of making the many tough calls the next Board will have to make?
The GOP nominee for Broad Run supervisor, Ron Meyer, highlighted nuts-and-bolts issues showing the Republican ticket unified on “conservative values to make people’s lives better …. Better commute, better schools, better cost of living, a better place to be.” Meyer noted the economic potential of Metro locations coming to Loudoun, and said commercial development will allow the county to continue increasing school funding and road improvements.
Meyer said the best way to seek lower fees on the Greenway is by expanding alternatives to the Greenway: “Take it to their pocket book so we can bring them to the table.”
Northern Virginia’s main Republican Party insider blog, The Bull Elephant, yesterday capped a series of increasingly bold assertions by predicting Loudoun Supervisor Scott York (R-At Large) will run for re-election as an Independent this fall. York has said he is not running for office at all.
Previous Bull Elephant articles have in effect shown Sheriff Mike Chapman the door out of the GOP in suggesting his own run as an Independent, with York’s recent endorsement of Chapman boosting The Bull Elephant’s contention that “Loudoun’s Chairman of the Board and the Sheriff are likely to team up and run as Independents.”
In yet another display of faux surprise, the information-challenged bloggers at The Bull Elephant are reporting that, despite being “widely rumored that Scott York would not run for re-election,” he, uh… is.
Scott is one of the most successfully secretive men I’ve ever met. Rumors spring up about him all the time, for the good and simple reason that he can keep a secret. Rumors are what some people use to fill an information vacuum. (Or, in this case, what some people use to make an unremarkable announcement seem oh-so-shocking.)
But, buried in TBE’s dismissal of York’s potential as a Republican nominee (“In 2015 there will be no hug for Scott York from Loudoun Republicans,” probably referring to his infamous embrace with Eugene Delgaudio, four years ago), is this quiet rewrite of history:
In his 3 prior runs for chairman, York ran as an independent.
Not according to the State Board of Elections. In 1999, York ran for, and won, the chair as a Republican. Loudouners should remember the scandal of the “Tulloch” board, which effectively replaced York as chair with vice-chair Bruce Tulloch, after York offended the Republican party with his 2003 win as an independent. (Without telling anyone else, York got Del. Tom Rust to pass a law that makes what Tulloch and company did illegal, which itself is politically interesting because he could have done that any time during the four years Tulloch held York’s gavel. Instead, he waited until a Democratic majority kept its promise to give it back to him on the next elected board, to repair the damage his Republicans had done.)
So York is running again, and, perhaps, will ask conservatives who think he has better Republican credentials than Eugene for their support. It will be telling indeed, to see whom the local right-wingers prefer.
The source of the advice to, “never pick a fight with someone who buys ink by the barrel,” is disputed, but its wisdom is not up for debate. Three first-term members of the Loudoun county board of supervisors might be excused for not heeding it, but Scott York leading a pack of four is surprising. Their joint letter (about the board’s spending policies) to the Loudoun Times-Mirror makes a few valid points, but, even as ink is being replaced by electrons, it may not have been their best move to tackle the LTM’s February 26, 2014 editorial on the LTM’s own Web site. Editors have a way of getting the last word in front of their readers, which York should know.
But, wise or risky, perhaps a more intriguing question created by their letter is this: How did four out of nine members of the board of supervisors write a joint letter about spending the county’s money when the Virginia Freedom of Information Act forbids more than two of them to meet, even electronically, while discussing public business?
Ignoring good advice is one thing. Ignoring the state’s transparency laws… that’s another.