Another Proud Moment in Virginia Government

Where do they find these guys?
Mayor Richard Silverthorne. Where do they find these guys?

From NBC News:

The mayor of Fairfax, Virginia, has resigned following his arrest last week for allegedly trying to exchange methamphetamine to undercover detectives in exchange for sex, city officials said Monday.

Mayor Richard “Scott” Silverthorne … 50, was arrested and charged with felony distribution of methamphetamine and misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia after a sting operation that had been underway since July led an undercover detective to the mayor, who provided detectives with methamphetamine.

The detectives had contacted Silverthorne through a website, where he promised them a “group sexual encounter” with men in exchange for the drugs, according to the Fairfax City Police Department.

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29 responses to “Another Proud Moment in Virginia Government”

  1. LarrytheG Avatar

    what? no comment from our NoVA contributors! GADZOOKS!

    so … I wonder what the finances of Fairfax City look like and if there are similar issues to Petersburg when the have guys like this involved. 20,000 people live and pay taxes in that jurisdiction.

    Inquiring minds would like to know!

    It’s hard for me to believe that no one in Fairfax City Govt knew that this guy was who he turned out to be….

  2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

    It’s a sad situation all around. I’ve met the ex-mayor on a couple of occasions. He seemed like a smart and decent fellow who cared about his constituents. But, at the same time, he was apparently caught “selling” big-time drugs. The judicial process needs to work.

  3. Typical Virginia. Fairfax became a city in 1961 with a population of around 14,000. Under the Virginia legal concept of ”
    prodigiosum semper” this meant that the county seat of Fairfax County would no longer be in Fairfax County. But wait! A small area in the middle of the 14,000 person megalopolis was carved out and remained part of Fairfax County.

    So, now the voters of what could possibly be considered a town in any normal state (present population of around 24,000) get to elect a mayor and city council and pretend they are a city. Prodigiosum semper also requires (unlike any other state in the United States) that all towns masquerading as cities be removed from any systematic relationship with the county which surrounds the town – city. The so-called City of Fairfax has a police department. Apparently, they didn’t notice the mayor’s web site where he offered to trade meth for communal gay sex. Unfortunately for Mayor Breaking Bad Fairfax County also has a police department and they did notice the web site. So they arranged a meeting between Mayor McMeth and an undercover Fairfax County police office which resulted in the mayor’s arrest.

    The moral of the story is that Virginia’s system of politically fractured jurisdictions only helps the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond maintain their excessive level of power.

    Maybe Great Falls and McLean should split from Fairfax County and form a pseudo-city. It would have almost 3X the number of people of the “city” of Fairfax and I am sure we could find a few upstanding citizens to run the place – just like the City of Fairfax did.

    1. DonR, well said! Fairfax City was a product of the same era in the GA that killed the City of Richmond’s only chance at annexing a big chunk of Henrico, thus retaining an integral metropolitan area. Ironic, that contrast.

      1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        “Fairfax City was a product of the same era in the GA that killed the City of Richmond’s only chance at annexing a big chunk of Henrico, thus retaining an integral metropolitan area.”

        Might that explain the current dysfunction of Richmond – such as, for only one example, its inability to maintain the function, safely and upkeep of its own school houses?

        1. Or Petersburg? Still bounded and confined by a battlefield park marking the siege lines of 1864-65. And as Jim has pointed out recently, a financial marvel.

          1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            The tiny hamlet of Fairfax is a mouse that want to roar. Desperately, chronically, and compulsively little lord Fairfax wants to play with the big boys.

            Hence little lord Fairfax blows up his tiny little frame with hot air while dressing himself in big boy clothes – A City in the Commonwealth of Virginia, the Capital of Virginia’s only World-Class County – Fairfax City.

            Why this comical and compulsive urge, among other obsessive urges on the part of this urban midget?

            The profound answer my friends is found in the archives of this website. Which resident genius remembers where to find it?

          2. I thought perhaps it was to be found in the annals of the Stuart Commission. Or lost in the woods beside the Rust Curve. Or given your lead, “the answer, my friends,” might be blowin’ in the wind.

          3. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Acbar – If I could remember myself I’d tell ya where to find it. Maybe Old Bacon remembers.

          4. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            ACBAR –

            Damn if I didn’t just find that missing old article and comment. See my comments on Virginia’s political development in the Bacon’s article found at:


            I now suggest these comments of mine found therein help us to better understand the deep roots that feed and underpin the dynamics of Virginia’s modern local political entities, systems, and traditions as they are so brilliantly explicated below by the comments of DonR. below on August 9 at 7.01 PM

    2. LarrytheG Avatar

      re: ” The moral of the story is that Virginia’s system of politically fractured jurisdictions only helps the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond maintain their excessive level of power.”

      I thought Don was the one that wanted “home rule” for counties and cities in Va!!!

      Here you have Fairfax City which has more local authority and control than Fairfax County does by virtue of it’s city status and Don blames this on the State!


      and beyond this – the entire concept of people electing those that govern them – the widespread complaints that govt is beyond the reach of voters…. if 20,000 people can’t keep their elected mayor accountable – – at the lowest, most granular level of elected governance – what next?

      It’s almost impossible for me to believe that no one in Fairfax Govt suspected this guy of less than honorable antics… some of them had to know – and they just kept quiet…

      1. Fracturing the localities into neighborhoods masquerading as cites and then being the only state to separate all the cities from the counties that surround them weakens local power. Virginia has 143 cities and counties. Pennsylvania (50% bigger by population and 4,000 sq miles larger) has 124.

        However, as always, the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond mis-calculated. The key question of independent cities was that of annexation. The theory was that as independent cities grew the nearby county-based suburbs would become more city-like than county-like, especially in regard to municipal services. The 1902 Constitution provided for a 3 judge panel to hear city annexation proceedings whereby cities would annex part (or all) of the adjacent county. The vast majority of these cases were decided in favor of the cities. At first, this didn’t really threaten the rural power base of the ultra-corrupt Byrd crime family. However, the increased urbanization of Virginia began to give rise to cities and suburbs with sufficient heft to really threaten the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond’s power. Keeping cities and counties separate helped weaken local power so long as the cities didn’t start annexing suburbs and creating behemoths that could stare into the cold, empty eyes of the state legislature and demand power sharing. So, the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond did what it always does – lied, cheated and stole their way back into total power. In 1987 the Clown Show passed a “temporary” moratorium on annexations while they “studied the matter”. After several renewals the moratorium is still in place and will stay in place until at least 2018 – 31 years after the “temporary” moratorium was passed so the matter could be “studied”. No doubt it will be extended again in 2017.

        Now, nobody has ever accused our General Assembly of being bright. Devious – yes. Dishonest – yes. Corrupt – yes. But not bright. However, you’d think that 31 years would have been long enough to “study the matter”. Instead, they have decided that the state constitution which gives the cities the right to petition for annexation to a 3 judge panel can be ignored indefinitely.

        Meanwhile, the failure of cities to be able to annex urbanized parts of adjacent counties has cost Virginia dearly. If you go back 30 years you’d find Richmond and Charlotte very comparable cities – at least from an economic perspective. However, North Carolina continued to allow annexations while our General Assembly “studied the matter”. Today, Richmond clearly sucks hind teat compared to Charlotte. However, the Clown Show doesn’t have to contend with a muscled up city vying for power.

        As it says over the door to the General Assembly chambers, “Screw the little people who inhabit Virginia. Let them eat cake.”

        1. Exactly so! Charlotte = (Richmond + Henrico + Chesterfield) + lost synergies.

        2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
          Reed Fawell 3rd

          Don –
          That is a brilliant analysis of Virginia’s state and local government. One that fits perfectly into commonwealth’s immature cultural and governance history and practice as inflected through its hyper-frenetic legal traditions. These elements, when mixed together in practice, now work to feed and confuse one another into a governance stew of grandiose posturing combined with a fixation on process and power that inevitable results in gross incompetence.

          I suspect this is the sad result of the Commonwealth’s failure to resolve the schizophrenic genius of its many founding citizens. Men like Madison, Jefferson, Marshall, Henry, Randolph, Mason, Pendleton, J. Randolph of Roanoke, and George Wythe. Their enduring legacy still remains vigorously in play and unresolved so as to be butchered up and cobbled together daily in camera by their “not so bright” inheritor autocrats who can’t match their brilliantly effective grandfather Harry Byrd whose machine actually did work.

          I propose a Distinguished Professor’s Chair in Virginia Political History be amply endowed in your name at the University of Virginia. Never there in four years back in the golden 1960’s did I encounter such a brilliance analysis in so few words as your here on Bacon’s Rebellion.

    3. TooManyTaxes Avatar

      It’s not just the GA in Virginia. Here’s what the 6th Circuit had to say today in a decision overturning an FCC order preempting state law restrictions on the provision of broadband services by municipalities.

      “The political subdivisions of a state are nothing more than that state’s ‘convenient agencies,’ and the state generally retains the power to make discretionary decisions for its subdivisions, just as a board of directors generally retains the power to make discretionary decisions for a company.”

      Tennessee v. FCC.

      1. A corporate board of directors (in the United States) has three key responsibilities:

        1. Understand and endorse the corporation’s strategy.
        2. Ensure a succession plan for all key management positions is in place.
        3. Mandate a process for clear and complete compliance with applicable laws and regulations.

        Only in times of crisis would a board of directors make discretionary decisions for the company. Given the size, governance structure and part time nature of a corporate board it would be a huge mistake for that entity to try to run the day to day business of a large company.

        I suspect that the 6th circuit court would be well advised to confine their random musings to the dusty halls of academia and the molly-coddled chambers of their courtroom while letting others define and describe proper corporate governance.

        When I read statements like this I have to ask – have any of the 6th circuit judges actually run a successful, sizable entity?

        1. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          The point of the 6th Circuit is that only states are sovereign and they can decide what a subdivision thereof can and cannot do. That’s a different question, IMO, than at what level of government should something be done. But even that one can only be decided by the state.

  4. LarrytheG Avatar

    Recursion!!!! Recursion!!!!

    1. Prodigiosum semper!!!!

  5. Fairfax City is just a few miles from my home but there is a thin slice of Fairfax County in between me and them, and that buffer zone provides pretty much complete isolation. Without local newpapers, there is not much sense of community. The structure of NoVA is such that we have large populations, without mayors or towns, and small sections like Fairfax City with a town center and government. I am mostly jealous that my area has no mayor or town structure, so we have no local fireworks, no local high school identity, no place for community band concerts, and so on.

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      That is because your heritage of place has been hoarded by older residences who do not know how to share. So they keep their aristocratic past to themselves, stored as if in a miniature closet, rather than toss their pearls out among the swine. Why? The barbarians who’ve crashed their gates now encircle them.

      1. LarrytheG Avatar

        @TMT – I think he’s talking about you being an aristocratic hoarder!


        1. Larry- you asked for NoVA input…so that’s all I had on it.

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            aimed at TMT – Tbill -not you.

            all things equal -and they never are –

            with respect to Fairfax County – not the city –

            given the large, transient population that is said to be disconnected from the politics of governance..

            one might think it would be a candidate for bad guys running amok because of a lack of citizen vigilance and involvement…

            but no – Fairfax County, by all accounts is a AAA -rated well regarded, well-run county reputed to be among the best in Virginia.

            I’m sure there are downsides but from afar – they look pretty good for a county with a huge number of younger, transients who don’t show much loyalty or ownership of the place where they live.

            So how did Fairfax get to be such a well-run county if not a whole lot of folks are watching that hen house?

        2. TooManyTaxes Avatar

          “Aristocratic Hoarder,” mind you. That’s probably the best thing I’ve been called in years!

          1. LarrytheG Avatar

            well you can THANK REED! 😉

          2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
            Reed Fawell 3rd

            Well, TMT, you’d likely admit that there being more lawyers in Fairfax City than potted plants was a major part of the problem!

      2. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
        Reed Fawell 3rd

        You go to a place. You inherit that place. That’s how normal healthy worlds and normal healthy places within normal worlds work. Fairfax City ain’t normal. Hence article, hence comments.

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