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Tax Referendum and "Private" Meetings

September 13, 2002

TONIGHT IS PATRIOT'S NIGHT

I will be at the first home game of the Park View High School Patriots tonight at 7:30 p.m. when they play Urbana High School of Maryland.

LAST NIGHT HEAVENLY

Last night, I greeted or my volunteers met over 1,000 families at 3 elementary schools. It was a great evening for all. Thank you for saying hello to me, if you did.

OFFICIAL PROPAGANDA

This communication is entirely produced by me at no cost to the taxpayers. As such, I do NOT claim to represent everybody and everything. This is a particulary Sterling-oriented communication in many ways--- especially in Republican ways.

The current newspaper ("Loudoun Citizen Update") that came in the mail at taxpayer expense with my name along with the names of the other 8 Supervisors is not a fair or accurate reprentation of what the Loudoun County government is doing and I condemn it in the strongest terms as propaganda and clearly embarassing attack on my good name.

I expect non-partisan service and both sides presented fairly and accurately from the government when it reports decisions. There is no balance to this Loudoun Government newspaper. To take one big lie to task: there is no $250,000,00 savings to taxpayers. This board has voted to pass exploding budgets and tax increases (repeat tax increases) routinely.

FREEDOM OF PRESS UNDER ASSAULT

And another thing: The newspapers and the media in this county and in this country have reported only a fraction of the crazy and absolutely looney policies and actions of this board. This government newspaper is an attack on the news media's independence and ability to report the truth.

NON-ESSENTIAL SPENDING MUSHROOMING

Finally, add this $40,000 expenditure (staff time, postage and printing) to the many millions in non-essential spending (trips around the world, hosting non-Loudoun Citizen delegations from everywhere, pdrs, land banking, etc.)

RESOLUTION INTRODUCED

OFFICAL SUPERVISOR INITIATIVE FOLLOWS

On Monday, September 16, 2002, I have introduced an action item, Number 11, for the Loudoun Board of Supervisors meeting on the SUBJECT of the Sales Tax Referendum. Here's all the information that is in the public record and that I have requested be posted on loudoun.gov :
" (Quote) BACKGROUND:
The Board of Supervisors voted earlier this year to not support the placement of a referendum on a sales tax on the November 2002 Ballot. Then a phone survey and a subsequent ratifying vote at a later Board of Supervisors meeting supported the placement of the sales tax referendum on the November 2002 ballot.

Supervisor Delgaudio, who opposed placing the referendum on the ballot, opposes the actual referendum and considers the current board position to be in favor of the sales tax referendum. The staff has placed brochures and statements on the website that Supervisor Delgaudio feels are expressions of partisan support for the sales tax referendum as well.

Finally, in spite of explicit actions on the part of the county board and staff in support of it, Chairman York and others have stated that "there is no position" taken on the referendum.

ISSUES:
(If known)Citizens are discussing the issue and recall the Board's endorsement of the placement of the referendum on the ballot.

Citizens remember many members of the BOS saying they are for the actual referendum and others saying they had not yet made up their mind. To avoid a position now is to undermind the basis for endorsing the placement of the ballot referendum in the first place and call into question the crediability of the referendum itself. To take a position is to follow through on the debate earlier in the year.

DRAFT MOTION:
Be it Resolved that the Loudoun Board of Supervisors goes on record opposing the Sales Tax Referendum for Northern Virginia on the November 2002 ballot. (unquote)

PRIVATE MEETINGS VERSUS PUBLIC MEETINGS

During the August Recess (which was really a work month for all of us) the County Administrator distributed a 3 page announcement to the BOS detailing the arrival of a large delegation from Colorado. This all day meeting and conference was to take place in the County Government Center's main board of supervisors room and the agenda was in 24 point (large) type on two sheets of paper. There was no indication that this "public meeting" announcement involving Chairman York and Vice-chairlady Elenor Towe was actually a "private" meeting. My staff member, members of the news media and several citizens were barred. On Monday, I will propose (item 10) a formal action item to get on the road to solving the confusion --- on the part of the County Administrator --- on how to include the public rather than exclude.

ACTUAL TEXT OF ACTION ITEM TEN FOR MONDAY'S MEETING

" (quote)# 10. SUBJECT: Public Meeting Policy

BACKGROUND:
The Board has received complaints, and there have been published reports, about an incident involving the closing of an all-day briefing in conjunction with a lunch and dinner with a delegation from Douglas County, Colorado.

In order to allow for public access and to clear up some confusion about procedures for allowing the public to witness major briefings for visitors from out of the county, state or country, the Board should direct the county attorney to establish guidelines for these types and similar types of meetings.

ISSUES:
The Guidelines can be simple and deal with the obvious areas of concern that have come up with this incident.

A threshold for the amount of money, number of staff, number of visitors, the use of facilities and the number of visitors in the outside delegation can be determined or decided before meetings are considered significant or of enough importance to open to the public.

The goal here is to provide guidance for staff to follow when hosting delegations from out of state. It is conceded that many meetings would not be significant enough.

FISCAL IMPACT:
Needs to be estimated, including staff time hosting the delegation, briefing the delegations, exchanging ideas, meals and travel costs (busses, cars or other means.)

DRAFT MOTION:
Be it resolved that the Board of Supervisors asks the county attorney to draft a policy for public meetings with delegations from outside the county or country that allows the public to be invited in certain circumstances.

And be it further resolved, that the Board directs the county attorney to include language in this policy for setting a standard for determining that a private meeting is no longer a private meeting but actually determined to be a public meeting. The county attorney should define the makeup of outside groups and set a minimum threshold for going from private to public meetings: more than one elected official from any one state, non-elected but executive or appointed to any governmental commission at a county, state or federal level. He should set the amount of money being spent by the County of Loudoun to host the delegation as "any amount over $1,000" to include meals, staff time, travel, printing and use of a government facility. " (UNQUOTE)

That's it for now. See you tonight or Monday.

Where is your "yes" response to coming Tuesday, September 24, to the Pacific Rim?

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