novatownhall blog

Where you are held accountable for your convictions and record

In a singular demonstration of professional collegiality, Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio and the woman he defeated for that office in the November 2007 election, Jeanne West, were the key spokespersons in the WUSA Channel 9 news report aired tonight at 11:00 pm. Both went on record to denounce zoning violations that have persisted in Sterling.

Click here to watch the video on the WUSA site.

The backdrop for the story was this scene at the intersection of Johnson and Beech – which is right across the street from Jeanne’s house – where digging equipment and cable for the Verizon FIOS installation project have been illegally stored on a neighborhood street.

It was quite a surprise to see Eugene and Jeanne as the co-subjects of the news piece, but I think the profusion of zoning violations in Sterling has brought us to the point that everyone in the community needs to come together to seek a solution. Congrats, and THANK YOU, to the two of them for finding this common ground.

The news story did not touch on whether this was the same equipment that had been parked across the street from MY house several weeks ago. In fact, I am not sure if they even mentioned Verizon by name. But it’s a good start to bringing public awareness to this problem, which I definitely plan to continue pursuing.

The video is priceless and quite flattering to both of these esteemed public figures.

I just got word that local television station WUSA 9 is filming in the neighborhoods of Sterling right now, focusing on blighted houses and Verizon equipment parked on our streets. The report will likely be aired on the late news tonight.

UPDATE: Heh. Here is what Channel 9 was filming.

 

Verizon equipment parked in SterlingApparently a group of residents from neighboring houses came out to see the camera crew, and told them that there were indeed people working on the Verizon FIOS project living here.

This is around the corner from my house, about 1/4 mile away from “House A.” I wonder, now that everyone got kicked out of House A, if some of them just moved around the corner. I’m going to go by in a little while and see if any of the same trucks show up. In any case, it looks like the tactic is to just move the equipment to another street and hope nobody notices.

Being on the street, this violation should be addressed by the Sheriff’s Office, and hopefully someone will call it in or maybe some deputy will see tonight’s report. Then, it will be moved into a driveway, and it will be the Loudoun County zoning enforcement team’s turn to shine.

Ahem.

For those who are not caught up, here are my reports from

June 23

July 2.

In addition, here is my letter in today’s Independent:

Enforce the Zoning

I read with interest your front page story on “eastern Loudoun initiatives” under consideration by our Board of Supervisors. For residents of Sterling who wonder why our zoning laws have been so flagrantly abused the past few years, with overcrowded houses allowed to persist and commercial enterprises allowed to operate out of neighborhood homes, I may have found part of the answer.

I recently did some research as a result of a “problem house” on our street which, once again, Loudoun County Zoning refused to do anything about. I wrote a story detailing this case on June 23 at novatownhall.com. It turns out that the only member of the Loudoun County zoning enforcement team who speaks Spanish – and therefore, for obvious reasons, the point person for inspections of overcrowding and other complaints in Sterling – told a college publication last summer that in addition to working for Loudoun County, she is “continuing to help immigrants though part-time work for an immigration law firm.”

Of course, there is no stigma whatsoever in advocating for “immigrants” and every American should have the freedom to take civic action on matters he or she feels strongly about. But there seems to be a blatant and unconscionable conflict of interest when the one person who is supposed to be Sterling’s chief enforcement officer is also doing legal work on behalf of those so often involved in the alleged violations here.

Most Sterling residents who have attempted to file zoning violation complaints are familiar with the excuses the county’s zoning personnel give us for doing nothing, such as “Virginia’s laws are not strong enough” to allow more rigorous enforcement. But think about this: In the neighboring town of Herndon, when the new mayor and town council first took office in July, 2006, the town had nearly 90 cases of unresolved zoning violations. As of a couple months ago, that number was hovering between five and ten, because Herndon hired additional Spanish-speaking zoning inspectors, some on a part-time basis, with the charge to get the problem fixed.

It appears what is really lacking in Loudoun County is the will to enforce the zoning laws and, at least in regard to Sterling, our county government does not really want to fix the problems.

Maybe Loudoun County Administrator Kirby Bowers should make a phone call to Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis. I am certain “Mayor Steve” would furnish some references of zoning inspectors who could bring an attitude adjustment to our Department of Building and Development.

Joe Budzinski
Sterling

Another blogger passed on this weekend, as reported by Eric, longtime blog friend, virtual drinking buddy and Tom Waits brother in arms. This blogger, Winston Rand, I did not know, but if he was a friend of Eric’s I am sure he would have been a friend of mine.

It highlights the fact the blogosphere opens a new element of history and memorialization, that a public diary or collection of essays can stand as one’s monument, one’s epitaph or eulogy.

When the Acidman died a couple years ago, this fact really hit home with me. I read Rob Smith’s blog regularly, but not carefully enough to know he had any serious health issues, so his sudden death (in the midst of blogging, if I recall correctly) was a shock. Right up until the end he was writing cogent, biting, personal essays. He had done this for a long time, and, per his wishes, his blog has remained online as family members have been recycling his posts (because there are so many gosh darn good ones), so that his son will have a place to go to learn about his dad. Click here to follow his last week.

Acidman’s traffic is on average still higher than ours at NVTH, which says something, since we are roughly seven guys who are still generally alive and writing.

It evokes the question of what sort of legacy each of us is leaving on our respective blogs. If I fall dead on the keyboard tonight I would not be overly concerned with the NVTH sitemeter stats two years on, but I wonder if all this written material I’ve left would tell the accurate story for my kids and potential grandkids. They’d definitely be able to glean the fact that “Grampa was angry,” but what else?

As I approach 50, as the years pile up, dropping dead on the keyboard is no longer a distant possibility but a growing likelihood. I hope not soon, but certainly more likely with each passing year. Taking the long view I have to wonder if the legacy here is all I would want to leave.

Massachusetts State Senator J. James Marzilli Jr. is accused of sexual harassment, according to the Boston Globe. The opposition wants him thrown out of office.

The problem is, Marzilli is under indictment only. We should not be forcing politicians out of office because of allegations. Doing so opens the door for politically-based accusations and indictments.

[UPDATED BELOW]

Finally. Times reporter Jason Jacks provides a balanced treatment in this article.

The reporter for the Loudoun Times Mirror has a new report addressing the problems in Sterling – our community in the easternmost part of the county.

A Loudoun supervisor, known for being outspoken with respect to the issue of illegal immigration, is drawing criticism for comparing the district he represents to a sewage pit…

In the nearly eight years she’s lived in Sterling Park, Anne Lawver said her neighborhood has become dotted with boarding houses. Vandalism and litter are also common, she said, as are groups of Hispanic men who “hang about and shout at women driving or walking by.”

“Sadly, I have to agree with Mr. Delgaudio,” she said. “We still love Sterling but are deeply saddened to see it becoming a cesspool.”

Go read all of that.

Somehow they always seem to find an angle to criticize Eugene Delgaudio for what is wrong in Sterling, while also nailing him for SAYING what is wrong in Sterling. It puts our supervisor in sort of a no-win position.

What we need are more citizens speaking up about the situation in Sterling. Send an e-mail to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors at the following e-mail address:

bos@loudoun.gov

… if you have an opinion on how to fix the problems in our community.

UPDATE: Well, the fecklessness of our Zoning Administration division and – apart from Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio – the Board of Supervisors’ failure to even recognize the problem, is indeed causing a brewing tempest in eastern Loudoun. Following on my June 23 post about a case in point, here is coverage in today’s Examiner.

The problem has been building for years, but up until recently the citizens of Sterling have been relatively mute. Now, I think enough people are realizing that something is seriously wrong, and our supervisor has been making public statements on the problem, picked up by local media, which are galvanizing public opinion, or providing a focal point for public opinion. Judging by the blithe, head-in-the-sand attitude of the other eight supervisors, however, I think it is going to take a mob with torches and pitchforks marching down Harrison Street before anything gets fixed. With the August break approaching, my prediction is they sweep this under the rug and hope we all shut up and go away by September.

UPDATE II: Un-frickin’-believable. ACTivist just informed us that Juanita Toriello – the zoning “inspector” I opined is a major reason zoning enforcement is nonexistent in Sterling – recently checked back in on one of the longstanding “problem houses” on my street (this would have been “House B” mentioned in the June 23 post), with a reported “apologetic tone” to one of our neighbors who filed the initial complaints long ago. This was a house where the owner moved to another part of the county and turned the residence into a boarding house, which at one time had a family upstairs and up to 23 people living in the downstairs, which also had a kitchen illegally installed. Originally, Juanita “inspected” and found no violations except the stove, which she reported would be removed (it never was). So now, perhaps as a result of recent public discussion, Zoning Administration decided to do an actual inspection and guess what: Everyone moved out.

If this indicates the beginning of a trend – namely, Zoning Administration doing its job in Sterling – it will make a HUGE difference. Now, let’s just consider what might have happened if Zoning had been doing its job all along. For starters, by having the laws on the books enforced the residents of Sterling would have enjoyed the quality of life the local government was supposed to be already facilitating. As I explained in the June 23 post, removing the flophouse piece of the illegal employment structure would have dealt a fatal blow to the whole house of cards. If the workers could not be boarded cheaply (and illegally) the corrupt businesses would have had to either start hiring legally or moved somewhere else or found another solution like building their own bunkhouses. I guarantee you Help Save Loudoun would have never been formed, the entire “illegal immigration” controversy of 2007 would not have arisen, and a whole bunch of people who moved out of Sterling Park would still be living here … all as a result of one county agency doing what it was supposed to have been doing.

Thus far this is hearsay and only one house, so we’ll have to wait before declaring any major problems solved, but if more Sterling residents realize how they have been getting the short end of the stick from the county government, it just may be torches-and-pitchforks time.

I first met John Berlau at Dulles Airport in January, 2007 – I think I got his interest with my swastika armband … or it could have been my Townhall.com ball cap – and he told me about his then-new book, Eco-Freaks.

Eco-Freaks by John Berlau

[Note to the world: If you want Joe to comment on your book, you need to allow some serious lead time.]

I was preoccupied with other extra-curricular stuff, along with a very consuming day job, so it has taken this long for me to begin to post on the topic of environmental alarmism, about which Eco-Freaks should be required reading. The footnotes alone are worth the cost of the book. If not for the issue which crowded our consciousness here in Loudoun County the past couple years, this is the one I would have been most passionately involved in all along.

Eco-Freaks is an essential primer on the most damning moral and intellectual failure of the modern age. “Science” has been so throughly corrupted by the grant process that political correctness has trumped objective research and analysis. Tracing back to Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, an anti-human ideology has become normalized and institutionalized in popular culture, resulting in an outrageously negative – and wholly unnecessary – impact on mankind.

The topic is going to span over numerous posts at NVTH of which this is only the preamble.

continue reading…

Yowch, that’s gonna leave a mark.

Referred by Blogger of the Year.