The Commonwealth Iconoclast

A site dedicated to covering issues relevant to the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nation at large, plus other interesting things too, as I see fit...

Sunday, January 08, 2006


Back in November, the Commonwealth Iconoclast first broke a developing story in Prince Edward County involving fundamental questions regarding local government accountability to its citizens. This story evolved from ongoing controversies with the County's mishandling of certain land-use and zoning matters.

Today (January 8, 2006), that developing story continues to evolve in the pages of the Richmond Times-Dispatch in the form of a story entitled "Housing bid creates divide."

While it is impossible to know if the Iconoclast is on the regular reading list of RTD editors or writers (maybe wishful thinking), it is kind of cool to see that the same story first broke here in the Iconoclast back in November is now emerging in the "big time" state-wide, printed media.

Of course, I should hasten to add that this story has been covered since last summer by the local news papers including The Farmville Herald and The Crewe-Burkeville Journal and that they have contributed valuable background for the Iconoclast posts over the past several months. But while traditional local news outlets have focused on the basics of who, what, and when, the Iconoclast has tried to focus on the "why" and analysis part of the story. In doing so, the Iconoclast has exposed some of the more unseemly aspects of Prince Edward County government. The idea here is to expose bad government practices so that improvements will be made.

But in any event, the Richmond Times Dispatch is breaking new ground by adding some interesting "nuggets" of insight. The most amazing insight comes from new quotes from Prince Edward County Planning Director Jonathan L. Pickett. In the past, citizens have complained loudly that County officials have failed to provide accountability for seemingly illogical decisions. Well... Planning Director Pickett now seems to be the vangard spokesperson for Prince Edward County trying explain things so that citizens will finally understand what is going on in the minds of Prince Edward County leadership.

In one quote Planning Director Pickett explains that "It's the fact that they [Farmville residents] would be voting on things that don't directly affect them..." as the reason why Farmville residents would be banned from Planning Commission membership in a newly adopted County policy. Oh! That clears things up nicely! How could citizens of the Farmville portion of Prince Edward County have been so confused to have thought that the approval of a $50 million dollar development deal located literally in their back yards could possible have anything to do with their interests? Citizens are just so goofy at times...

Also, just because Farmville and environs is the "epicenter" of nearly all significant development in Prince Edward County there is certainly no earthly reason for Farmville area citizens to think that the County Planning Commission might have any effect on their lives. No, no, Director Pickett implies; these citizens must be confused.

But seriously, this incredibly stupid quote by the top paid official for Prince Edward County's planning program is just another example of what citizens of Prince Edward County have been complaining about for months: Prince Edward County government officials are out of touch with citizen concerns and unaccountable for their actions.

It should be obvious that the leadership in Prince Edward County government should be scrupulously protecting the concept of fairness and equal treatment for all citizens within their jurisdiction. So, why are County bosses so intent on denying basic rights of fair representation to a sizable segment of Prince Edward County's population? What is the motive for this obviously ill-conceived idea? I suspect that time will reveal the answers to these questions.

My compliments to Jamie Ruff of the Richmond Times Dispatch for his important contributions to this expanding story. The Iconoclast will continue to follow the story and, as always, welcomes reader contributions. I would be especially interested in hearing from County bosses in Prince Edward County who can explain why democracy has been suspended for certain County residents who live in the Town of Farmville.

Happy new year to my friends in Prince Edward County! Stay tuned!


  • At 1/09/2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Here's a little nuggett - just to demonstrate just how insane Prince Edward BOS policy to deny those County residents (who also live in the Town of Farmville) representation on the Planning Commission, I took a look at my County of Rockingham. In Rockingham two of the five PC members live within the jurisdiction of a Town (Bridewater and Broadway)

    So what's the excuse for PE?

  • At 1/12/2006 8:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It's now official: five supervisors are "out to lunch" or worse. Check it out in the Friday's Herald.


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