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...

Friday, March 24, 2006

CUMBERLAND COUNTY PROTEST


APRIL FOOLS DAY PROTEST RALLY

ASKS HARD QUESTIONS
ON ROLE OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND
EMINENT DOMAIN

DO THE ENDS JUSTIFY THE MEANS?


Who gets fooled? Who are the fools? Those are the questions for April Fools Day in little Cumberland County, Virginia with the scheduled protest rally involving the County’s current efforts to take land by Eminent Domain. See local media report.

Readers of the Iconoclast may recall the story about little Cumberland County in Southside, Virginia and their efforts to take back a property they sold as surplus only three years ago to John and Mary Meeks, local real estate investors.

The property previously known as the Luther P. Jackson Elementary School includes a complex of former school buildings and 20 acres of land on U.S. Route 60 in Cumberland, Virginia. Three years ago, County officials determined that the vacant and functionally obsolete property was surplus and sold it at public auction for $110,000. See previous Iconoclast article.

Now, County officials have determined that they want the land and buildings back for the purpose of…guess what… school facilities!

Problem is, there seems to be a slight difference of opinion concerning the value of the land. The County wants to pay the Meeks’ $200,000 for the land and buildings and the Meeks’ want something in the range of $2 million for the land and buildings! One might say that the two parties are “light-years” apart on the question of property value.

So, why doesn’t the County take their business elsewhere, buy a new site at a reasonable price and build the needed facilities? Wouldn't the County have other options? Good questions? Problem is... the County needs school classrooms right now! There is no time to build new school class rooms. So the old school seems now to be an attractive option... especially since they didn't plan ahead for any other options.

Why did the County end up with this self-inflicted crisis in the first place? Who is doing the planning for the County's school needs? There are lots of questions but few answers.

While the Iconoclast is certainly sympathetic to the needs of education, we wonder if the underlying issue is about the honorable ends being inappropriately used to justify otherwise offensive means…in other words… doing bad things to achieve good results. Should local government be doing this?

To find out who gets fooled and who the fools are, keep your eyes on the protest rally in Cumberland, Virginia on Saturday, April 1, 2006 (10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon).

The Iconoclast will be watching.

30 Comments:

  • At 3/25/2006 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good for the Meeks, I think this is a wonderful idea. It sounds as if the local government really has their heads up their asses on this issue. I'm sure the last thing the County government wants is more exposure.

     
  • At 3/25/2006 8:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Good for the Meeks, I think this is a wonderful idea. It sounds as if the local government really has their heads up their asses on this issue. I'm sure the last thing the County government wants is more exposure.

     
  • At 3/25/2006 9:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Here is a suggestion. Since the County is stuck with no practical option except the old school building, why don't they rent the facilities back for what ever time it takes to get the work done to develop the needed facilities.

    But the idea of condeming the property they just sold as surplus is rediculous. The County leaders responsible for this mess should be looking at alternative employment I would think.

     
  • At 3/25/2006 9:52 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'VE GOT AN IDEA: LET'S VOTE OUT EVERY MEMBER OF THE COUNTY'S SCHOOL BOARD WHO SUPPORT THIS IDIOTIC ABUSE OF POWER...

    ALSO, WHO IS SUPPOSE TO BE IN CHARGE OF FACILATY PLANNING FORTHE SCHOOL SYSTEM?

    THAT WOULD BE SUPERINTENDANT JAMES THRONTON,

    MR. THORNTON, IF I WERE YOUR I THINK IT MIGHT BE A GOOD TIME TO LOOKING AT UPDATING YOUR RESUME

    I WILL NOT REST UNTIL THE INCOMPOTENT COUNTY OFFICIALS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THEIR POOR JUDEGMENT, AND THUGGISH LIKE BEHAVIOR

     
  • At 3/25/2006 9:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    OH, SORRY, BY THE WAY I CAN'T SPELL WORTH A DAMN! MAYBE I COULD BENEFIT FROM A NEW SCHOOL BUILDING TOO?!

    AND BY HE WAY, THANK YOU WILL FOR PAYING ATTENTION TO THIS ISSUE!

     
  • At 3/25/2006 10:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cumberland County School Board Contact Informaiton - Please, if this abuse of power by the SB troubles you - regardless of where you live, call a member of the SB and discuss it with them, I'm sure they would be glad to talk to anyone about this matter.

    Mrs. Lois Arthur - Vice Chairman
    105 Royal Oak Road
    Columbia, VA 23038
    (804) 375-3448

    District 2: Mrs. Patricia Bickel
    178 Deep Run Road
    Cartersville, VA 23027
    (804) 375-3838

    District 3 Mr. Herbert Goodman
    349 Sunnyside Road
    Cumberland, VA 23040
    (804) 492-4086

    District 4: Mr. George Reid, Jr. - Chairman
    2371 Cumberland Road
    Farmville, VA 23901
    (434) 392-6386

    District 5: Mr. Carl Robinson
    P.O. Box 38
    Farmville, VA 23901
    (434) 392-6084

     
  • At 3/25/2006 10:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cumberland County School Board Contact Informaiton - Please, if this abuse of power by the SB troubles you - regardless of where you live, call a member of the SB and discuss it with them, I'm sure they would be glad to talk to anyone about this matter.

    Mrs. Lois Arthur - Vice Chairman
    105 Royal Oak Road
    Columbia, VA 23038
    (804) 375-3448

    District 2: Mrs. Patricia Bickel
    178 Deep Run Road
    Cartersville, VA 23027
    (804) 375-3838

    District 3 Mr. Herbert Goodman
    349 Sunnyside Road
    Cumberland, VA 23040
    (804) 492-4086

    District 4: Mr. George Reid, Jr. - Chairman
    2371 Cumberland Road
    Farmville, VA 23901
    (434) 392-6386

    District 5: Mr. Carl Robinson
    P.O. Box 38
    Farmville, VA 23901
    (434) 392-6084

     
  • At 3/25/2006 11:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I find all of you folks to be blowing this issue out of proportion. James Thornton is not a bad man, and the school board members are not as evil as you want folks to think.

    Maybe the school made a mistake by selling the surplus property? But let's keep this whole controversy in proper perspective. Afterall we are only talking about the rights of two people, this hardly warrants a protest at the Courthouse.

     
  • At 3/25/2006 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    It is sad to live and bring up children in a county that has no vision. Our children are are future and education pays dividends or education is suppose to pay dividends. Howerver, if you live in a county like Cumberland and Prince Edward, education is at the botton of the totem pole. The supervisors of Cumberland need a vision with reference to the educational needs of one of their most precious natural resouces, the children. Cumberland County has needed a new and state of the arts school for years. The old Luther P.Jackson school and the surrounding building should have never been closed. The school should have been renovated and used for a school years ago. It seems to me that the supervisors do not use common sense when it comes to the education of citizens of the county. Common sense should have told the supervisors that the land and buildings were worth more than 125 thousand dollars. Did the supervisor contact commissioner of
    revenue office to get the value of the property? Frankly speaking, this property was a give away. The property is prime property. Board members, you must admit that you made a big mistake, and you must do better in the future. You must remember that your decisions affect all citizens.

     
  • At 3/26/2006 1:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    If there is anything our supervisors should be minding to it is the schools. Ain't happening as we see now.

    Seems we got all kinds of money to fix up the courthouse and light it up like a christmas tree but our supervisors don't do what they should for the kids and the schools.

    These supervisors need to get their priorities straight and quit fooling around with some of the hairbrained stuff they are doing. If they would maybe we wouldn't be in the fix we are now with the schools.

     
  • At 3/26/2006 3:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    An earlier comment urges that we need to keep this whole controversy in proper perspective and suggests "Afterall we are only talking about the rights of two people..."

    Only two people?

    I'm wondering if this individual would think this way if he or she was the one whose rights were being trampled on by the county government.

    Honestly, whenever the rights of even one person are abused, it should be an affront to all of us. That is what responsible citizens do.

     
  • At 3/26/2006 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Rumor has it that your fellow blogger Lowell Fulk is going to work for the Kaine Administration. Check his independence!!!

     
  • At 3/26/2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    good for lowell, a great guy, we need more folks like him in public service, and less like matt lohr

     
  • At 3/26/2006 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Many people are blaming the Board for the selling of the old school. Please remember that it wasn't this board that actually sold the property. Also, if you were to look at the clasrooms that we are sending our children to now, you would understand why we need the new facility. This school board and this Board of supervisors are taking the brunt of the anger for this situation and I believe that the anger is misdirected. For many years we needed new facilities but our cries fell on deaf ears. At least this Board of supervisors is willing to see the need and address it. I believe the ones who we should be angry at are the previous boards. They knew the problem exhisted and were unwilling to even look at the problem. An earlier writer suggested that the planners were wrong, but I say this the planners knew this problem was here and addressed it with the previous boards. The previous boards chose not to act. The quote I remember was "I went to that school and I learned everything I needed to know, If it was good enough for me then it's good enough for these kids." How short sighted is that. Do I agree with the way this whole situation is being handled? No, not really. However, what options are left. The school needs that space, why are the parties not willing to go behind closed doors and strike a deal. This has gone on long enough.

     
  • At 3/26/2006 8:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    your insight into the logic of the boards' idiotic decision (2 years ago?) is interesting. but it still does not speak to the nature of this present predicament. Just because a past School Board (or BOS) made a poor decision, it DOES NOT give the present board the right to use heavy-handed tactics to reclaim - the property that they should have never sold in the first place - via eminent domain. The only solution to this present debacle is to either A) purchase the property from the Meeks at a much higher place than they are offering, or B) look for a new site alltogether.

    Hopefully the the present board can be convinced that running rough shot over the rights of private property owners is not the correct cousre of action to take in order to solve this problem, if if they aren't personally responsible for the problem...

     
  • At 3/27/2006 11:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I don't think anyone would disagree that the schools need improvement and have needed improvement for a long, long time.

    But, make no mistake, this new board of supervisors has some responsibility for the current problem. What have the current supervisors been doing this past two years to avoid this current crisis? Also, could the use of eminent domain be done without the support of the supervisors?

    It is interesting that the supervisors seem conspicuously silent and invisible on this current crisis. Where is the leadership? What exactly is the position of the supervisors on this matter?

     
  • At 3/27/2006 3:07 PM, Anonymous Mary Meeks said…

    Thanks for all the wonderful comments. It is not the rights of 2 people it is the rights of all America we are fighting for. This will not end. Do you own land that has good road frontage, close to a town, a property that could be used for a landfill,golf course, a property intown where new developement is going, well, someone can go by your property and say I want your property. It is mine and I will get it. I will find away. It is called now Eminent Domain. We all need to rally together and fight this. We need to take this issue back to the Sureme Court now and have this changed.

     
  • At 3/27/2006 3:25 PM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Ms. Meeks, be sure you get lots of good digital photos this coming saturday so we can post them here on the blog!

     
  • At 3/27/2006 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Not to change the subject, but arn't our supervisors currently planning to do a big lake up on the north end of Cumberland County?

    The supervisors will need hundreds of acres of land for a lake and eminent domain will be a great tool to get the land cheap, fast and easy. After all, we are only talking about the rights of a few people up there and they probably won't mind getting ripped off.

     
  • At 3/27/2006 4:12 PM, Anonymous Mary Meeks said…

    I will take pictures. Please anyone that can come please do. 500,000 immigrants showed up to protest for their rights. We all need to stand together for our rights. We are calling the Lt Governor, senators, congressmen and women, delegates. The Governor asked us to get this information to him. We will have petitions to sign and orgnizations fighting for Citizens Rights.

     
  • At 3/27/2006 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Are the School Board Members in Cumberland elected or appointed by the BOS?

     
  • At 3/27/2006 5:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    This whole thing has got me worried. We got a dump coming too. The Sups. will need land for that. Are we going to see eminent domain again for the dump?

     
  • At 3/28/2006 8:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The Board of Supervisors, "conspicuously silent?" This board is taking a cue from the current administration in Washington! The citizens don't have the "right to know" what's going on in the county. Citizens have no right to get information on the landfill! They don't want to "upset" anyone unnecessarily with the proposed location! I am sick of Cumberland county's leadership! The citizens DO have a right to know, and they should demand it! But, unfortunately most citizens are sitting back and complaining in silence while they let both Boards continue their shell game, playing with people's lives and livelihood! As for the schools, why did they not need Luther P Jackson property LAST year for classrooms? What has changed in just one year? I hope the Meeks' win! This is roughshod government at it's worst! And if anybody believes the Supervisors' chairman Osl when he says he did not know about Allied Waste having a conditional use permit already in place in Appomattox county, well, they need to get their heads out of the sand! I can't wait to see those Allied Waste trucks rumbling through the courthouse! Thanks, Mr. Osl!

     
  • At 3/28/2006 8:47 AM, Blogger Will Vaught said…

    Please if anyone would like to write a post in regard to this issue in Cumberland (or say the landfill) please e-mail me at commonwealthiconoclast@yahoo.com and I will post it. All that I ask is that your tone is civil and your points well-reasoned.

    Also, if you desired I will keep your identity confidential. Just let me know in your e-mail...

     
  • At 3/31/2006 8:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What's the deal with Jeremiah Heaton of the Cumberland Board of Supervisors resigning all of a sudden half way through his term?

     
  • At 4/03/2006 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I GOT AN IDEA...LEARN TO SPELL

     
  • At 4/05/2006 12:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Proper spelling is always good. But, what is your point?

     
  • At 11/21/2009 10:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
    Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!

     
  • At 12/01/2010 9:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    now the idiot James Thornton is in OUR school district, mecklenburg county, trying to close the NUMBER ONE elementary school. the one thats got the highest SOL scores. the one with distinguishes title I honors since 2005... yup he wants to close it, relocate our kids to 4 other schools, which will OVERCROW all of the schools, then build a new school to rezone and RELOCATE OUT KIDS AGAIN all so his numbers look sgood. and yet the states unemployment rates will soar bc our small county has NO spare jobs to offer- i applied for one the other day that had 38 total applicants. thanks james, idk how youre still in a school district but i hope you crawl under a rock and dont come back out again!! idk how you can sleep knowing youre screwing the future of these kids and their teachers!!! lets cut your job to save our county money!!

     
  • At 12/16/2010 12:28 PM, Anonymous Bill Bruce said…

    The last person who recently posted about Thornton I live in Cumberland.I wanted to Thank Mecklenburg for taken that A hole out of here. He dragged this county in to a 50 million dollar debt that people are now can't buy medicine over losing thier house from unpaid taxes. The taxes went up three ways this summer and they raise other fees and water cost etc. That man will destroy your county.

     

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