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Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Update: I accidentally left off a sentence from the Committee of 500′s position.

It is: However, if the county is unable to reasonably achieve a minority-influence district with seven districts, C500 would likely encourage the county to consider an increase in the number of districts.

Hey! Hope you’ve had a nice holiday. I took a few days off to be with my children while they’re out of school. So, coming back today, I wanted to mention a few things:

In today’s paper, Chris Folger and Beth Malmquist have an op-ed about the county’s trailways plan. The commentary previews a Jan. 5 public hearing with the Planning Commission. The piece does end with a wrong URL for the county website, so here’s the correct one:

The Tidewater Trail roadwork has been rescheduled. It is now expected, weather permitted, to be Jan. 4 and 5, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Road work will be between the intersections of Josephs Mill Drive and Bend Farm Road. Traffic will probably be backed up on State Route 2, so you may want to find an alternate route.

Also, we’re coming up to New Year’s, so here are the government closings:

Government offices: Closed all day on Friday, Dec. 31

All County convenience sites and the Livingston Landfill:

Closed all day on Saturday, Jan. 1

Finally, in a previous blog post, I wrote about special interests groups and their views on redistricting. At the time, the Committee of 500 had not adopted a position. But they since have:

The Committee of 500 believes that the 2011 redistricting plan should ideally include seven supervisorial districts, as opposed to the nine-district solution other groups have suggested. We think there is little or no benefit to smaller districts, and that the disadvantages outweigh the advantages. Smaller districts would not necessarily lead to better constituent-supervisor communication because a constituent should be able to reach his or her supervisor just as easily in a district of 17,000 (the approximate population with seven districts) as 13,000 (the approximate population with nine districts).  Other Virginia counties operate successfully with seven or even five districts, and most have district populations greater than 17,000.  Adding districts would cost the county money and would have a detrimental effect on operations, because there would be nine “bosses” instead of seven.  Finally, we believe that each of the four identifiable communities of interest (minority, rural, urban, and rural/urban mix) must have fair representation, and that this will hopefully be achievable keeping seven districts.


  • Steve Thomas

    While we would certainly welcome the C-5s taking a stand on the issue- and this is indicative of the need to have more citizen involvement in the process- their central arguement is just incorrect on its face.

    To claim that you can keep up with the needs of 13000 people the same as with 17000 people is just not true. Especially in the more spread out districts- and 3 of ours are bigger than Arlington county- you need some degree of compactness to ensure constituent representation.

    Further, having 2 more people to ask questions of the bureaucracy can only be a help in the cause of keeping government efficient and small.

  • bhaas

    Correction: In my previous post on Ms. Umble’s previous blog post, I erred when talking about the number of Counties with more than seven BOS members. Please add Wise County (Pop 41,773) with 8 BOS members. That brings the total to eight counties that have more than seven BOS members.

    Now a question.

    What is the process, by which Spotsylvania must abide, to change the number of BOS members? Is it the same process required to change the “form” of County government?

    In any event, should Spotsylvania consider MORE than just adding some BOS members? Such as, as Larryg suggested, changing the “form” of our County government?

  • D.J. McGuire

    So . . . the C-5′s are happy with *fewer* people having *more* power? That’s not exactly in line with more open and transparent government.

  • Steve Thomas

    Here is one part of the debate: it takes a candidate about 6-7 months to walk the districts at their current size. At 13,000/district, it would only take 4 months. This is good not only for citizens to know their reps but also for new candidates. It encourages more citizens to be involved in the process as well as diminishes the corrupting influence of money in elections.

  • bhaas

    Question……In reality how many candidates and/or supervisors actually WALK their districts. I have lived in three districts and have never seen one candidate or supervisor walking around; let alone actually knocking on my door.

    Sorry, Steve, but I think you present a argument that, in reality, very seldom happens.

  • Steve T.

    Actually Bill, every GOP candidate since 2007 has walked their district. See, we believe in being responsive to the citizens of the county.

  • bhaas

    I hate to disillusion you Steve, but since 2007 I have been retired and lived in the Livingston and Courtland districts and I have seen NO candidates or elected persons in my neighborhoods.

    On the surface, your claims sound good; just like all political claims today. However, stop and think about this. Without the aid of a GPS map plotter attached to ones back, or at least in ones car, it would be impossible to know you have covered every square foot of a district.

    Now, have some candidates gone out to their neighborhoods and glad handed the folks? SURE, but that is a far cry from your all encompassing claims.

    Do you guys ever stop campaigning?