Archives

Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

Share
RSS feed of this blog

Community Forums

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

The Committee of 500 will host a series of community meetings:

Creating Our Community:

What Kind of Community Do We Want? Where Do We Invest?

LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD

Speakers will provide food for thought for small-group, facilitated conversations among the citizens.  Your input is essential; forum results will be communicated to the Board of Supervisors.

When:  Sundays, April 3, May 1, and June 5, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. at the Salem Church Library

April 3rd—What Makes a Great Community? How Does Spotsy

Measure Up?

Panelists:         Dave Anderson, Consultant, Placemaking PLLC, and Tim Davey, Chairman,

Richmond District Council, Urban Land Institute

Dean Lynch, Deputy Executive Director, Virginia Association of Counties

Lloyd Robinson, Administrator, FAMPO,

(Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization)

Doug Barnes, County Administrator, Spotsylvania County

May 1st—What Kind of Community Do We Want? Where Do We

Invest?—Part 1

Panelists:         Jobs/Economic Development:  Keith Segerson, Managing Director,

Mason Enterprise Center, George Mason University

Tourism/Historic Preservation/Recreation:  Pamela Goddard,

Chesapeake and Virginia Program Manager,

National Parks Conservation Association

Fire/EMS: Willie G. Shelton, Jr. CEM, Director,

Virginia Department of Fire Programs

June 5th—What Kind of Community Do We Want? Where Do We

Invest?—Part 2

Panelists:         Education:  Dr. Brenda Seals, Asst. Superintendent of Human Resources,

Spotsylvania County Public Schools

Green Infrastructure: Laurel Hammig, Regional Planner, GWRC

(George Washington Regional Commission)

Transportation, Al Harf, Chief Executive Director, PRTC

(Potomac and Rappahannock Transportation Commission)

Moderators:  Dr. Raymond Bell, Jr., Committee of 500 Board member

Cristine Lynch, Committee of 500 Chair

Contact:          www.committee500.org; Cristine Lynch, vacristine@aol.com, 540-898-8698

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/spotsygovt/2011/03/28/community-forums/

  • http://rightwingliberal.wordpress.com/ D.J. McGuire

    At the risk of being rude, does anyone else notice the deficiencies in these panels?

    Where is the local Chamber of Commerce?

    Where is the Spotsylvania Landowners Association?

    Where is the local chapter of the Farm Bureau?

    It appears – and I stress, *appears* – as if the C-500 just sent the invites to other residents in their center-left echo chamber.

    If the C-500 doesn’t wish this to become irrelevant from the get-go, they’d break out of their bubble and expand the panels, pronto.

    Otherwise, this has the whiff of an orchestrated performance.

  • John Gustafson

    Academics and non-profits are not the ones who build our communities, who market and sell our properties, who supply the materials and fixtures for our communities, who finance our communities, or who buy and occupy the homes and businesses in our communities. We should involve the private sector people and companies who directly create communities, and not restrict this to those who simply opine on what makes a community. Unlike the government, the components that make a community must be profitable, or the community will decay. A community dream will never become a functioning reality unless it makes business sense, and it is the business community that should be involved in this discussion.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    Will these meetings be televised and/or recorded and come with a head-count, so as to differentiate between public interest in where Spotsylvania County wants to take its citizens, and the VESTED interest of those who ARE partnered up with Spotsylvania County and its elected officials to find consensus among those not in attendance at these very important meetings?

    Looks and sounds like the same strategy that was used to join the ranks of VRE and its Master Agreement, or joining the GWRC/FAMPO TOLL ROAD AUTHORITY where elected officials meet to plot their course in what THEY believe to be in the REGIONS best interest; Fredericksburg City and Spotsylvania, Stafford, Caroline and King George counties. And lets not forget how the 2005 Referendum went, when THEIR meetings were boycotted by County Education, and came up short on transportation County agendas and cost by 45%.

    By design, how can the Committee of 500 justify their role in County Government? Are they now the voice of Spotsylvania County and elected officials, while hiding behind their cover of non-partisan political alignments. Are they now the engine that drives the Spotsylvania County BOS and their strategiscally placed PARTNERS who conduct County business through their FOCUS GROUP meetings, without minutes, or recorded membership.

    This is with my understanding the County’s FOCUS GROUP does exist, but without public participation or knowledge of it’s existence nor the members from County Planning Resources and Commissions currently in place in County government. The balance of this roster is occupied by “citizens” who have ONLY a very real financial interest in the out take of development that serves only in their best interest, not the citizen population of Spotsylvania County. If that were not the case why are the County’s FOCUS GROUP meetings such a secret?

    Informed sources have described this clandestine group as NOT UNCOMMON in local governments and that their is nothing illegal about conducting County business in such a way.

    Simply said, what and who ever shows up at these meetings to get public imput is nothing more than how the County wishes to find consensus, under the guise of “DUE PROCESS.” Said another way, any expectations the public may have about what to invest in, is clearly going to be a one way scripted conversation.

  • http://www.spotsygop.com Steve T.

    I was thinking of going to these, but if all it is consists of warmed-over leftism being preached to us… I can think of better things to do on a Sunday afternoon.

    One thought has been going through my head lately. The C-5s were founded to bring Spotsy down to 2% population growth. OK, fair enough- but their policies have had a monopoly over county politics for half a decade- and now we’re in an economic crisis, our property taxes are second-highest in the region, our wages are the lowest in the region, have 3500+ unemployed, and a commercial vacancy problem.

    It sounds like the C-5s have done enough damage with their original mission, and now they are in search for a new one. How about the rest of the community step up and relieve them of this burden.

  • Bill Haas

    The Committee of 500 has become irrelevant.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    So, does this mean Spotsylvania County’s elected officials, County staff members and their pro active partners and development affiliations have also become irrelevant? Hasn’t the Committee of 500 become so intertwined with local and state partisan agendas, that it’s hard to recognize a member of our elected BOS from a constituent member of the Committee of 500 (really somewhere in the range of 80 viable members)? Has the Spotsylvania County BOS “privatized” a large part of it’s County governing responsibilities over to the Committee of 500 and their FOCUS GROUP members, that conduct County business behind closed doors, without identity or minutes of their scheduled meetings.

    Could it be that our No. 2 blogger, John Gustafson (Planning Commision), is selling the same dust and with some measure of confidence that there is only one way and a single means to create success in a developing community? He gets to attend FOCUS GROUP meetings but nothing ever makes it way from his attendence at these meetings to the public trough and public input. I have to ask myself what Mr. Gustafson is trying to say when he makes reference that “A COMMUNITY DREAM will NEVER become a functioning reality ULESS it makes business sense and it is the BUSINESS COMMUNITY THAT SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN THIS DISCUSSION.”

    Who’s “Community Dream” is he refering to? Is this a community of Spotsylvania County’s citizen population, or another kind of community and/or committee that claims to speak for the County and all its constituents?

    The “Business Community” is in charge while sitting at the same table as the County’s FOCUS GROUP, that does not allow the other kind of citizen (public) to attend and take their own kind of copius notes for lack of a GROUP member taking meeting minutes. Simply said, as with the developing agendas surrounding 2 UDAs that County elected officials have yet to adequately described to its citizen population, the County BOS continue to move forward without the details necessary for citizens to make INFORMED DECISIONS on what lies ahead much less what to invest in, while in attendence at these upcoming meetings the Committee of 500 have developed and scripted for the County’s elected officials and development communities. So, who else do you think is going to show up at these meetings, but the BUSINESS COMMUNITY, who have already carved out their market share and current land holdings to the tune of another VRE station, but without any sign of taxpayer monies being designanted to the cost of Education, Water/Sewer, Impact Fees, Transportaion Infrastructure and UDA plans designed to build 8-24 living units PER ACRE in the Lee’s Hill District? Just how many people and cars come with this “investment” proposal by County elected officials and the Committee of 500?

    Be assured they (COUNTY and Committees) have already done the math, but IT has little to do with THE REALITY OF OVER CROUDING, DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES THAT DO NOT PAY FOR THEMSELVES, AND MORE GRID-LOCK ON AND OFF THE INTERSTATE HIGHWAYS AND COMMUTER TRAFFIC.

    Is GROWTH going to happen? YES it is. So, why can’t County Government and their committee affiliations PROVIDE THEIR IMPUT, instead of asking citizens what they want, without a clue what that might be or entail? Just how many more GO-BONDS does Spotsylvania County need to buy for their partners, so as to keep pace with development’s demands, while the public has no reason, rhyme or cause to question what’s coming with these advertised meetings and moments in Spotsylvania County history that have already been decided, BEFORE anyone shows to listen to a one sided conversation.

    The glue that holds these meeting together, after everything is said and done, are the provisions of DUE PROCESS and a check off list elected officials will count on to support their reasoning that they represent the best interest of all those living in Spotsylvania County

  • http://www.spotsygop.com Steve T.

    Marty- anyone who thinks that the Spotsy Democratic Committee, oops I mean the C-500, is representative of the community is living in 2003.

    I hate to use this phrase, but it seems to me they officially jumped the shark with these events. Now that Spotsy’s population is declining, not increasing, the original mission is moot- so they are in mission creep mode.

    Where are businesses? I agree they are not the whole community but you cannot build one without them! And only listening to the developers that line the campaign coffers of the C-500′s candidates does not count- we need to listen more to small businesses and entrepreneurs here.

  • Bill Haas

    The C 500 is irrelevant.

    The leadership in this county is perfectly welcome to listen to irrelevance, just like everyone else, if they so wish.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    Steve, who said anything about not building a community without the development community’s help. The only point being made here is whether the citizen population of Spotsylvania County is included in the discussion, which they are not, nor even allowed to attend development and County sanctioned meetings, without minutes.

    Bill, if the Committee of 500 is irrelevant, what does that make the Committee/Citizen Population of Public Participation? Hasn’t the County’s elected officials deemed Spotsylvania County citizens just as irrelevant as you would have the Committee of 500 be? If we were relevant, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  • Bill Haas

    Marty…..If you are comparing views of the entire citizenship of the county to the narrow purview of the few C-500 members you are sorely mistaken.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    Bill: I can assure you I’m talking about “apples to apples.” If you have any questions I suggest you tune into the latest coverage of the Committee of 500 and what’s next on their agenda they intend to sell at their next meetings “with the public.” They don’t appear to be anymore irrelevant that the citizen population of Spotsylvania County. From what I’ve seen so far the Committee of 500 does speak for the County and their elected officials. And YES, the Committee of 500 does control from their meager membership and influence with the Spotsylvania County BOS. Unless or until the FLS publishes the members of the County’s Focus Group members, how could anyone of us appreciate the fact WE have only small pieces of the truth, and not the whole story?

    By separate cover, I’m providing Ms. Umble with copies of the FOCUS GROUP’S May 21, 2009 meeting minutes which I am confident will confirm its existence, but morphed into what it is TODAY, without minutes or roster head counts.

    You have yet to acknowledge that I’m working with is the same information you have on hand, but fail to mention at this site or any other blog site over the past THREE YEARS.

    Simply said, I’m not comparing the views of the citizen population of Spotsylvania County, since, by comparison, they have made it abundantly clear they have no interest in the way they are governed. The same could be said of the REGION #16′s population.

    If you consider the “narrow purview” of the Committee of 500, why would that be any different than the citizen population of Spotsylvania County, or the citizens of REGION #16?

    Am I mistaken in my conclusions or, are you mistaken in yours? Simply said, neither one of us are mistaken, with the exception that you don’t wish to acknowledge that our government is nothing more than a minority without cause to include its citizen population in the decision making process.

    Simply said, the citizen population of Spotsylvania don’t have “a view.” If there should be any question about this, then tell me who’s showing up at BOS scheduled meetings, from one month to the next, and what their agenda is, or is not.

    As far as I can tell, we’ve come full circle AGAIN and nothing has changed in Spotsylvania County for the last 100 years.

    If this doesn’t qualify as a narrow purview, I don’t know what does.

    It remains nothing more than another rendition of “All In The Family” and the Committe of 500 is family and you are not. How much more relevant can I possibly be, but without the family ties?

  • Bill Haas

    Marty….I know you have the Focus Group May 09 minutes. I think you got them from me.

    I do not talk about it because I am really unconcerned about it. I certainly am not going to make a big issue of something that does not concern me.

    You believe that someone is not interested if they do not react as you do. Nothing could be further from the truth. Additionally, you have no way to know how other citizens feel just because they do not follow your footsteps.

  • mustang2

    Any organization that has promoted a concept like a minority majority district in a democratic republic is not one I would wish to be associated with. This is an anti democratic concept which promotes division and is just too enamored of identity politics. The more we Americans focus on nurturing our differences and listing our grievances the more we will be divided and any positive outcomes will not be forthcoming. The Committee of Five Million (just as accurate as the Committee of 500) is a statist big government group of leftists whose purpose is to micro manage the economy in order to stifle any and all growth and to increase government control of everything. Most of the leaders are big Obama supporters with a slavenly devotion to the Democrat Party. While a housing based developer dominant economy is certainly not diversified and therefore not really very healthy or desirable, the mindless meddling this organization has promoted does not help the local economy at all and just contributes to useless restrictions that choke innovation and production. It is certainly not surprising then that so many stakeholders are missing from the various meetings they are conducting. They are “community organizers” similar to someone we may be familiar with. No thanks.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    So Bill, where did all the other Spotsylvania County FOCUS GROUP meetings go, or must we work through Spotslyvania County’s Planning Commission meeting minutes to decipher what the Focus Group members are putting on the boards, under cover of “citizen participation?”

    If you can’t bring youself to be involved because you are “unconcered” about business decisions being made for and against you, and the citizen population of Spotsylvania County from behind closed doors, then you have merely confirmed my hypothesised conclusion. You and the public population of Spotsylvania County simply do NOT have a “VIEW” on how you wish to be govered, as long as you don’t have to know how you are being governed.

    Why would I want to expend any more of my energy so as to gain the following of any member of the County citizen population, when they have already acknowledged they too are unconcerned by virtue of their silence. Or, is that another one of those pills you can’t bring yourself to swallow.

    My agenda is focused on accountability and transparency in governance. My challenge is what local governments have to hide from its public and county constituents.

    Even MUSTANG2 wants us to focus us away from the issue at hand and trys to sell “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” as the foundation of local governments conducting business from behind closed doors. The REAL”stakeholders” Mustang2 references are not your next door neighbors, nor are they missing from any of the FOCUS GROUP meetings being being conducted from behind closed doors, without minutes.

    Mustang2 holds THEM out as “Community Organizers” who continue to conduct business for Spotsylvania County, but remain anonymous for reason’s more closely associated with THEIR own financial interest and not the citizen population of Spotsylvania County. Simply said,what do these Community Organizers have to hide from their constituents and citizen population? It’s a question, not an indictment.

    So, what greater divide can their be than those who conduct business from behind closed doors?

    The County BOS started years back to establish their own kind of oligarchy governance. It started when, for the sake of governing efficiency, the BOS eliminiated 12 public citizen/oversite committees so that the BOS would be beyond public oversite of their business practices and what Mustang2 refers to as “The more we Americans focus on nurturing our differences and listing our grievances the more we will be divided and any positive outcomes will not be forthcoming.”

    SO, the more questions WE have, without responses from our elected officials and their partners, the better off WE are. Slice here, there, or carve out any part of Spotsylvania County as your own, YOU will better understand, the public has no say in the dialogue of the County’s future, since it now follows the dictates of those who micro manage County business from behind closed doors. That’s one of the reasons the BOS chose to eliminate citizen and public oversite, for want of the power that comes with oligarchy governance and closed doors.

    For the record, Conservative, Liberal, Right, Left, Democrat or Republican are only targets of convenience and persuasion dialogues and has nothing to do with what serves in the publics best interest.

    If that were the case, we wouldn’t be debating this issue within the framework of mindless meddling, when all you can expect to get back from your elected officials is more lip service and an abundance of BS and nothing to support why WE should focus our attention on the detours being constructed by our local elected officials and being placed in our way, if only to confirm how easily we can be distracted, when someone comes to the podium waving the American Flag, and crying out to the top of their lungs that we live in a republic, where DEMOCRACY has been reduced to nothing more than a shell game. How much more can we continue be manipulated by the few who claim to speak for ALL? Or is that just another oxymoron?

  • Bill Haas

    The day that Martin Work is elected King of Spotsy is the day he can decide when, and on what, I can have opinions on.

  • http://MAVRICKinc7@msn.com Martin (Marty) Work

    Sorry Bill, but no one here is objecting to your opinions, for having an opinion, or dedicating your opinion to “best business practices” founded on your lack of concern in wanting or needing to secure appropriate and necessary information in order to make informed decisions for your kingdom’s serfs.

    I don’t decide anything for any other person’s freedom to say it like it is, I’m CONCERNED and you’re not, or would you want to recant your “UNCONCERNED” pledge? Just a question, not an indictment, or are we left to ASSUME what you really meant in the conrtext of your previous dialogue and contributions to this blog site?

    Why would anyone want to follow in my footsteps? All I’m doing is asking questions and looking for answers. Can you find any leadership qualities in asking questions and looking fo answers from Spotsylvania County leadership that can’t bring themselves to share with the public what goes on behind closed doors? I certainly can’t. So, where does that leave me?

    Still in the trenches and shoveling more dirt, for no other reason than to see what’s under all the years of lies used to cover up the truth with just more lies.

    And yes, I did dig a hole in the ground and found that my home was constructed over a failing drain field and 18″ sewer drain pipe, which took me 14 years to dig and discover our County leaders merely ignored/denied any involvement in the construction of our last home; aka The WALL. Their arrogance led them to be just as unconcerned as you would pretend to be
    over a matter of disclosure of who and what County business is being conducted behind closed doors; aka Spotsylvania County’s FOCUS GROUP, without minutes.

    My question to you is how many more matters of governance are you unconcerned about?