Thursday, July 12, 2012

9 R's What went wrong?

A public input session is just that, a public input session and a poll of people who are in no way connected financial, has no value, none. It is not the equivalent to a public referendum or a ballot referendum. 

If this is an assertion that some members of this board want to cling to, then let me remind them that what will happen when they look out at a group at a public input session who is there to demand full funding of their pet project. 

Supervisor Letourneau and anyone else who wants to assert the public has spoken on Metro, insults your intelligence. Supervisor Suzanne Volpe and the four other pro-rail supervisors denied the public an opportunity for a true referendum. They also voted together to stop discussion and negotiation of the Higgins "Terms for Considerations." 

July 10, 2012
Loudoun Opt Out is not for or against any current members of the Board of Supervisors. We favor policies that are good for the taxpayers and future of our county, and oppose policies that are destructive of our ability to enjoy our God-given rights to life, liberty and property in Loudoun County.
This was our sole motivation in opposing the Dulles Rail Project, and remains our reason for trying to correct the mistakes of the July 3rd votes.
The best path forward for Loudoun County is:
·         Supervisor Reid and another supervisor insert a placeholder item (possibly “Transportation Improvement Solutions Consideration”) on the July 17th Board Meeting agenda. Supervisor Reid would then use this to make a Motion to Reconsider the Dulles Rail vote to reverse his vote on the project, and Loudoun will be Opted Out.
·         Supervisor Volpe and another supervisor insert a placeholder item (possibly “Taxpayer Bill of Rights Consideration”) on the July 17th Board Meeting agenda. Supervisor Volpe would then use this to make a Motion to Reconsider her July 3rd vote against the “General Obligation vote by the people of Loudoun County for the fall election” and Loudoun voters will vote on the issue in November. If/when the proposed tax districts do not raise the revenue for Loudoun Taxpayer’s $1.6 billion expense related to this project (not including parking garages, road improvements, etc.) taxpayers county-wide will be on the hook for this expense, so this is the proper course of action.

Additional information continues to come to light, indicating that there are better ways to move forward. The reasoning for this reversal of votes is as follows:
·         It recently came to our attention that the Dulles Toll Road Permit and Operating Agreement Section 606 is very clear that it requires MWAA "...use its best efforts to achieve substantial completion of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project by December 31, 2015..." and Section 15.01(h) makes it clear that "best efforts" is the main factor. The underground station, 10% union preference, Board Member controversy, etc. would seem to be contrary to "best efforts" and could be used by Gov. McDonnell and Sec. Connaughton to retake the DTR if the political will is there.
·         Kaine and Obama are already getting credit for Dulles Rail moving forward, despite both of them failing when it counts. Obama is providing no funding for Phase 2, and Kaine’s Toll Road give-away is going to make traffic worse as MWAA tolls off tens of thousands of toll road users. We need to expose their failure on this issue, and Opting Out because of the horrible funding arrangement is the best way to do this.
·         Item #1 FY 13-FY18 Secondary Road Six Year Plan and FY13 Budget Priority List in tonight’s Public Hearing agenda illustrates the desperate need for additional funding for our roads in Loudoun County. Rail station area road needs exceed our total funding options, and will consume any CIP funding for roads for the foreseeable future. A better option is to opt out and dedicate a portion of increased revenues from new development towards road infrastructure.
·         Supervisors Reid, Buona, Williams, and Letourneau continue to say they had to vote for rail because their constituents (in Reid’s case, the Leesburg Town Council) wanted it. Besides the fact that this is based on anecdotal web polls and emails rather than scientific surveys, such assertions indicate that they adhere to the Delegate Model, rather than the Trustee Model of representative government.

Trustee vs. Delegate (from PoliSci 101)

A major issue that must be considered when we think about the way we want the people who we choose to represent us to behave is whether they should act as trustees or as delegates.  These two styles of representation are radically different, and the choice of one or the other could mean radically different legislative outcomes for a representative’s constituents.  First off, let’s define both terms; a delegate is a representative who listens to his constituents, records their views and then regurgitates their opinions in whatever legislative body he is a part of.  In contrast, a trustee listens to his constituents’ ideas, takes them into consideration and then formulates an opinion of his own and acts upon that opinion.  Both styles have merit, but John Mill’s views on liberty provide a strong and compelling argument for trusteeship.
These diametrically opposed methods of representation have the capacity to drastically impact the way people are represented in their legislatures and can put the US style of government anywhere on the spectrum from true democracy to oligarchy.  It is debatable which style is preferable, but judging by his views on individual opinions, John Stuart Mill clearly prefers a trustee to a delegate.  Mill writes, “A person whose desires and impulses are his own…is said to have a character.  One whose desires and impulses are not his own, has no character, no more than a steam-engine has a character” (Mill, pg. 622).  Mill denigrates the delegate by implying that he has about as much character as a steam engine and is in fact just as much of a human being as a steam engine.  In chapter 12 of his writings on representative government, Mill makes a more specific argument.  Talking about the general populace he says, “they cannot be expected to postpone their particular opinions, unless in order that they may be served by a person of superior knowledge to their own.”  This showcases Mill’s view that if a representative is more knowledgeable than his constituents, he has the right and the responsibility to use his own judgment and opinions when representing the voters….
Mill, however, might argue that the constituents elected this particular representative because they thought he was smarter and better informed than they were, and by merely regurgitating their uninformed opinions he is actually doing them a disservice.  On the other hand, while a trustee is better informed than his constituents, he is willing to ignore peoples’ opinions in order to do what he thinks is best for his district and the country as a whole.… John Mill is a vehement defender of the trustee style of representation, and it appears that this style is generally advantageous to the legislature as a whole… Note: Excerpt from Mill’s Representative Government taken from

See also Federalists 35, 51, 57

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