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Prince William Supervisors to Consider Eliminating Board Proclamations

| August 5, 2020 | 0 Comments | News

Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland speaks at the Aug. 4, 2020 Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting.

Controversial proclamations that divide citizens may soon be a thing of the past for the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

Gainesville Supervisor Pete Candland (R) proposed, Tuesday, that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors no longer hold votes on board proclamations, explaining they have become too political, causing strife among board and community members.

He suggested, instead, individual supervisors make their own proclamations during Supervisors Time. His motion to discontinue proclamations will placed on the consent agenda for the board’s next meeting.

The new board has entertained controversial proclamations, including supporting Black Lives Matter, commending the local police and celebrating LGBTQ+ month. Such proclamations have created a divide between Democrats and Republicans and even led to physical fights among citizens.

“I do think this has just torn this board apart over the past six or seven months. Republicans will do a proclamation then the Democrats will come and do a proclamation.” And so on and so on, he explained. “We’ll get all of our bases drummed up to come out here….We then use it as campaign speeches, and we’re all guilty of it.”

I do think this has just torn this board apart over the past six or seven months. Republicans will do a proclamation then the Democrats will come and do a proclamation.” And so on and so on, he explained. “We’ll get all of our bases drummed up to come out here….We then use it as campaign speeches, and we’re all guilty of it.”

Board proclamations are meant to be celebratory, said Candland, and debating highly political issues undermines that purpose. Additionally, such proclamations attract a great number of speakers to Citizens Time, which lengthens meetings and distracts from local business, such as land-use applications and department funding.

Candland acknowledged Supervisor Margaret Angela Franklin (D-Woodbridge) previously recommended eliminating controversial proclamations. Both supervisors promised to abstain from voting on all proclamations going forward, regardless if they agree with them or not.

“[We need to be] getting away from particularly political proclamations that have caused consternation among the board and really the public,” Franklin said, noting they should focus on, “the business of the people.”

Supervisors Victor Angry (Neabsco-D), Angela Bailey (Potomac-D) and Yesli Vega (Coles-R) agreed there is merit to Candland’s proposal. Chairwoman At-large Ann Wheeler (D) said she hesitates to apply the ruling to all proclamations, noting some are apolitical, such as recognizing exemplary employees.

Candland said he is proposing the board eliminate all proclamations since what might be, “commonsense,” to one person can be controversial to another.

Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye declares the board recognizes August 9-15, Unity Against Hate Week. He is joined by a member of the Prince William Interfaith Council.

The discussion arose after Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye (D) proposed the board recognize Unity March Against Hate Week, August 9-15, the Unity March Against Hate in August, and commend those who traveled to Charlottesville for the United Against Hate Caravan on Independence Day weekend. All three are a response to the Charlottesville, August, 12 2017, “Unite the Right Rally” in which a neo-Nazi extremist drove into a crowd of people, killing counter-protesterHeather Heyer, 32. Two Virginia State Police officers also died in a helicopter crash, responding to the white-nationalist protests.

The United Caravan Against Hate caravan was bipartisan, Boddye and others explained, and recognized unity among people of different races, religions, sexual orientations, identitie and different abilities. It was supported by the Prince William County Interfaith Council and both Democrats and Republicans participated.

Boddye said he brought it to the board at the request of constituents, but he understands the need to reevaluate proposals going forward. Boddye’s proposal to recognize Unity March Against Hate Week passed 5-0-3. Supervisors Candland, Franklin and Brentsville Supervisors Jeanine Lawson (R) abstained.

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