Giving Slumlords a Bad Name

Winter Whittaker. Photo credit: Virginia Mercury

I tend to be sympathetic to renters and landlords in their disputes with problem tenants, many of whom can be irresponsible and exasperating. Some renters are deadbeats. But then I run across a shocking case like the one documented by renter Winter Whittaker and published on the Virginia Mercury.

Whittaker, a Richmond resident, called her landlord, Dean Parsons, to ask him to fix a leaky roof. We don’t know the history behind the phone call, which may or may not leave out critical context. Clearly, Parsons, who claims to oversee a portfolio of 375 apartments and rental units, was agitated about something. Whatever the possible extenuating circumstances, it’s hard to imagine any excuse for the racist and profanity-laced tirade he unleashed.

Responding to Whittaker’s threat of a lawsuit, he said, “I don’t give a shit about you. … I don’t give a good goddamn. You’re just another dumb ass n—— I got to go to court with and I go to court every damn day with them. It ain’t no big damn deal to me.”

You don’t have to just take her word for it. The Virginia Mercury provides the recording.

Bacon’s bottom line: Tenants-rights organizations use incidents like this to argue for changes in the law that shift the balance in legal protections from landlords toward tenants. Policy shouldn’t be driven by anecdotes that present only one side of the story. We’ve seen enough news furors blow up — the Covington Catholic high school boys and the Native American activist video may be the most famous — to know that videos and audios can be taken totally out of context. Still, Parsons’ tirade is seriously disturbing, and a reader’s instinctive reaction is one of disgust and outrage, fueling the conviction that something must be done.

There’s an even more fundamental question: Do we need to change the landlord-tenant laws, or can Whittaker avail herself of laws already on the books? Does she have a valid legal case against Parsons? If so, isn’t the issue a matter of ensuring that she has the means to pursue her case in court?

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29 responses to “Giving Slumlords a Bad Name

  1. One of the biggest problems in Virginia is the insularity of the descendants of Pocahontas or whatever you want to call the fops and dandies descended from the former plantation elite. Over the centuries it has been this despicable elitist minority that has controlled Virginia and conspired to deny democratic coverage to the people of Virginia. They established constitutions that not disenfranchised women and Virginians of African descent but also white men from what was then the western side of the state. They were the architects of Virginia’s role in the Civil War, the Byrd Machine and they are still mired in their cloistered elitist social circles drinking bourbon and branch water on the Antebellum verandas of their self-absorbed imaginations. They are legends in their own minds and they are still running the state … for now. If you ever hear a positive reference about “the Virginia Way” you are listening to one of these self-appointed guardians of Virginia tradition and society.

    What does all this have to do with landlords and tenants? I thought you’d never ask …

    The insular elitists in the General Assembly need to compare Virginia to other states. Is that so hard a concept in the days of the internet? There are 49 other experiments occurring right now regarding how to balance between landlords’ rights and tenants’ rights. Where does Virginia sit along the major axes of choice in this area? If we are outliers in various areas … why? Are our elected officials really so much smarter than everybody else that they’ve developed a unique superior plan that others haven’t considered? Hint: Not a chance in hell.

    Where is our state government with a reasonable comparative analysis of the other 49 states and our options in this area?

  2. Another childish, intemperate, ad hominem attack on stereotypes. You are back to making a fool of yourself again, Don.

  3. An ad hominem attack is “an attack directed against a person rather than the positions they are maintaining”. I attacked no individual person.

    Oligopolies, patriachiraries and insular organizations who maintain power through immoral and extra-legal means are reality. This has been true for centuries, especially in Virginia. The Byrd Machine was a typical example. However, the racist and corrupt Byrd MAchine was far from an isolated incident. By the 1820s Virginia was only one of two states which limited voting to landowners. This was conscious disenfranchisement of white men outside the plantation areas. Representation was by county rather than population. This further disenfranchised the people of the more densely populated western parts of the state. This was not just racist and sexist white men vs women and African Americans. It was also the eastern elitist plantation owners against the yeoman farmers in the western parts of the state. Within 40 years the elitists from eastern Virginia would no longer have the people of the western part of the state to abuse. They would become residents of a new state – West Virginia. They left for many reasons … all involving the imperious domination of the state by a very small number of self-proclaimed elitists.

    The self-proclaimed “first families of Virginia” have run the state for years. They still cling to power in too many ways. These people will look you in the eye and claim they are direct descendants of Pocahontas. If you believe that then you are next asked to believe that somehow that makes them special.

    In 1924 Virginia’s elite passed the Racial Integrity Law. Every person born in Virginia had their race recorded at birth. The “one drop” rule applied. If a person had “one drop” of African or Native American blood they were considered African American or Native American. They could not legally marry white people. One day a self-proclaimed descendant of Pocahontas must have realized that they were no longer considered white by polite society in Richmond. Uh oh! The “Pocahontas Amendment” was passed which allowed people with 1/16 or less Native American blood to be considered white. This is not some ancient or colonial matter. The law was passed less than 100 years ago. It would stay on the books for another half century.

    It would be nice to say that Virginia’s elite oligopoly saw the light and repealed the Racial Integrity Law. That would be giving far too much credit to the oligopoly. The law was crippled by a 1967 US Supreme Court decision in Loving vs Virginia. However, some of the aspects of the law remained on the books until 1975 when the Virginia General Assembly finally repealed the rest of the Racial Integrity Act.

    It took until 1979 for the General Assembly to repeal the related Sterilization Act (see also: Eugenics). 1979? And you’re proud of the people who ran this state?

    In the 1980s our sitting Governor was nicknamed Coonman and had a picture of a person in blackface and another in Klan clothes on his yearbook page. Our sitting Attorney General admitted to wearing blackface during the same period.

    You may be proud of the historical leadership of this state but I am not. Since Virginia’s founding fathers went off to national roles this state has been a disgrace. Run by a dishonest planter class that held it back for centuries. Sadder still, the repercussions of the elitists controlling the state were felt throughout the 20th century. Our supposedly brilliant and unique one term governor rule didn’t stop racist Harry Byrd from running the state for decades after he was no longer governor.

    I contend that you can still see and feel the effects of this planter class anti-democratic and repressive elitism in our current constitution and the attitudes and behaviors of the General Assembly.

    Feel free to live in denial. I will not.

    • Dear Don,

      Your outburst against FFVs is no different from any other bigoted rant that people who hate other groups do. I’m sure the slumlord in question can “justify” his hatred of all Black people by appealing to various misdeeds of some and then smearing all Black people. We’re all sinners, you, as well.

      In addition, the Founding Fathers themselves rejected democracy. Do you also reject them? If you don’t like this state, then move somewhere where you will be happier. White racists who hate Blacks but live in areas with large Black populations should, too.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

      • It’s not the FFVs but the attitude that there should even be such a concept. I’ve met people with FFV names who tell me in the first meeting that they’re members of the First Families of Virginia. Why would I care? The attitude that there are certain people who possess some special traits because their ancestors were here before others? I’m guessing that the FFV’s are either entirely or almost entirely white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants. And make no mistake … it’s FFV names that you see over and over again throughout Virginia history – Byrd, Jefferson, Berkeley, Lee, Bolling, Page, Fitzhugh, Washington. I’m guessing there are some Native Americans who might contest the First Families of Virginia designation.

        Is Virginia really a pseudo-aristocracy where people supposedly descended from an original European settler should be held in higher regard than others? Does our former Lt Governor get special credit for being named Bolling? Is that why he got to write his own job description at JMU after being on the Board of Visitors? Different rules for people with FFV names?

        Again, it’s not the people or the names. It’s the attitude. Insularity pervades the ruling class of Virginia even up to this day. Arrogance too. Who can forget Attorney General Mary Sue Terry saying, “Evidence of innocence is irrelevant”? That was in the 1990s. In Virginia, prisoners were barred from introducing new evidence more than three weeks after sentencing. I guess when God-like creatures in the General Assembly elect other God-like creatures to judgeships there can be no mistakes. DNA proved that the God-like creatures were mere mortals after all but how many innocent men and women rotted in jail because our arrogant leaders thought, “Evidence of innocence is irrelevant”? And guess what … it wasn’t the elite rotting in jails. Just the little people who Virginia’s elite have looked down upon for the last couple of centuries.

        As for me not liking the state … I don’t like the elitist bastards who run the state. Kind of like how General Washington didn’t like the elitist bastards running the colonies. He didn’t leave. Nor will I.

        • “I’ve met people with FFV names who tell me in the first meeting that they’re members of the First Families of Virginia.”

          I don’t doubt you. But I have to say that I have never had that experience — and I live in Richmond, for pete’s sake! Among my acquaintances, I’ve found that very few people talk about their ancestry unless we’ve gotten to know each other very well. But, then, I’m not part of the blue blood set.

          Again, based on personal experience, I would say the FFVs are largely irrelevant now. They don’t run the show politically, and they’re not even terribly prominent in the business community anymore. Like most aging elites, they’re fading away. I don’t bear those people any ill will at all. I just don’t think they matter.

    • Contrary to your assertion, your explosive outburst of hate was and is directed against people living and dead, people who you characterize by stereotype quite frequently and chronically on this blog, a very large number of people, most of whom you’ve never met, and know nothing about, others of whom you frequently put into false categories so as to call them ugly names and attack them without valid reason or understanding whatsoever. This is what bigots do, Don. What makes your apparent outburst of bigotry here so fascinating is that it exploded into whole groups of other people in direct response to the words and acts another apparent bigot. This ugly episode of another apparent bigot you mirrored precisely by your own ugly conduct. This is telling. This was a key ingredient to the Charlottesville riots in the summer riots of 2016. Bigots, fascists, political haters, race haters and race-baiters, and haters with or without collective agenda, come in all sorts and varieties. Bigotry is found everywhere. It is a key part of human nature. It shows its ugly head irrespective of race, class, color, or education. Hate often comes suddenly, explosively, and typically it perks and feasters before it chronically explodes to the surface, from time to time, again and again. This is not the first time for you Don. You need to tend to your problem.

      • I am bigoted against white Anglo-Saxon Virginians? Guess I better go kill myself and rid the state of one more.

        Am I bigoted against people who maintain an indefensible attitude of smug superiority and who have used inappropriate means to control other people? Yep. By that definition I am bigoted against Nazis, followers of Pol Pot, etc.

        Am I bigoted against people who believe they have some hereditary right to be in charge of Virginia? Guilty.

        This had nothing to do with the landlord. He’s irrelevant in the bigger picture. But how does Virginia end up with 5 of the top ten slots for eviction cities in the US? Arrogance from our “governance class”. An arrogance that reaches back through Virginia history. The arrogance of a small group who hold themselves to be superior to others, not by what they have accomplished but by their social connections. The rules don’t apply to these people. Arrogant, insular, unaccountable, aristocratic attitudes still pervade the governance class of this state. This has been a common theme throughout the post-Revolutionary history of Virginia.

        Many of you can’t imagine how today’s African-American Virginian can see systemic racism in Virginia. Really? It’s all over the place. Who do you think is getting evicted in those Virginia cities? Disproportionately African-Americans. Why is Virginia the epicenter of these evictions? Racism in the General Assembly? Probably not. More like insular arrogance in the General Assembly. A bubble wrapped indifference to the people they are supposed to represent. It took an article in a New York newspaper to even wake up the elected elite to the problem. Why? Because they are today’s version of the insulated gentry. They just don’t care. We need to break down the belief that there are first families of Virginia who were born to control the state or Byrds who ran their machine while the people braayed like sheep. It’s still there, in the General Assembly, in the executive offices of Virginia corporations …

        This Fall is a good time to kick the elitists out of office once and for all.

  4. Somehow, DJ, this particular landlord doesn’t strike me as the scion of a major FFV….perhaps I’m wrong. He’s not a Lee, a Carter, a Randolph or even a Byrd….And his poor behavior I’m sure is replicated on a daily basis by landlords of low-income projects in New York, Philly, LA….all those cities of course have Emily Post-trained property managers, and all their units are in perfect condition, and none of their tenants EVER fall hopelessly behind on the rent…..Hell, you were just pointing out the other day that Trump is just a typical NY real estate mogul.

    And plenty of Virginia property managers would never behave that way, yet he taints them all. The guy’s an idiot if he doesn’t realize in this day and age everything gets recorded and circulated….he knows it now.

    Yep, it sucks to be poor. Kinda knew that. The Virginia Mercury story makes the more important point, that firm and swift enforcement of all the property codes can leave the tenant on the street with no other choices. I don’t know how you provide more supply of lower-rent options, how you create incentives to upgrade existing units, but that’s what is needed. Until then the bad landlords have an edge. But if you think its always the landlord and never the tenant at fault, I invite you to inquire further….I’m amazed what people do to property where I live, and these are high-priced condos! Just had an email circulate yesterday looking for the idiots who let their dog loose their bowels in the halls….

    • It’s not the slumlord. He’s a single guy who can only make his poor tenants miserable. It’s the laws on the books in Virginia. And the insular General Assembly that passes those laws. We know that cities in Virginia comprised five of the ten highest eviction rates for cities in the United States. It’s fair to assume something is probably wrong with what we are doing. How would a reasonable organization react? A reasonable organization would compare Virginia’s approach to the approach being used in the other 49 states. Where are we significantly out of kilter? Maybe the other states know something that we don’t. Yet that never seems to be the approach. This lack of an outward looking perspective is epidemic among the governance class in Virginia. There is this long held belief in “the Virginia Way” that is an unending excuse for insularity. Why is our governing class so arrogant? I believe insularity and arrogance are baked into the culture of Virginia. This comes from a long history of a small minority of elitists controlling the state. Now, if that minority had done a good job one might see them as a benevolent oligopoly. But they haven’t done a good job over the years. In fact, they have done and embarrassingly bad job. Yet we persist in believing that our arrogant insistence in being different (and presumably better) than everybody else somehow is a benefit. It is not.

      1. Only state with a one consecutive term term governor rule.
      2. One of two states that let the legislature elect judges without a merit commission.
      3. One of only four states where there are constraints on political contributions.
      4. Fifth most gerrymandered state.
      5. Hardest state for an independent to get on the ballot.
      6. One of a couple of states to hold off year elections.

      The list goes on and on.

      If Virginia didn’t have DC on its north eastern border and a great harbor in the south east it would be a complete basket case. We’d be the state West Virginians used as the butt of their jokes.

      This is not a well run state, not historically and not now. Still too much insularity, opaqueness and too much of “the Virginia Way”.

      The first question our governance class should ask when we uncover a problem specific to Virginia (like evictions) is – what is everybody else doing? Yet that question never seems to get asked. I guess the aristocracy who runs this state were imbued with God given powers not available to rest of us. No doubt the Lord is whispering the answer to the eviction problem into their ears right now while we mortals wait for their wisdom to be revealed.

      • Dear Don,

        Rather than spew forth, why not do the very the thing you are advocating? Why don’t you get together a group to study precisely why this is the case. “Light a candle, don’t curse the darkness!”

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

        • Andrew:

          Fair point. I don’t remember when I posted my first comment on this blog but I suspect sometime around 2004. Over the intervening 15 years a lot of good people have come and gone from participation (EM Risse, Hydra, etc). I’ve held a lot of hard positions on this blog. Sometimes I was right, sometimes I was wrong. But I learned. Risse convinced me of the importance fo human settlement patterns. Bacon convinced me of the moral requirement to pay for social externalities. LarrytheG pushed me to a much more enlightened view on Social Security. There have been many more lessons learned.

          As a systems engineer one question always bugged me – why does Virginia keep electing leaders that lead it down the rabbit hole? It’s been happening for centuries. But why? There must be a systemic flaw. False arrogance and the worship of insularity were the answers I developed. That arrogance and insularity keeps the state from moving forward at an appropriate speed. We’re too willing to drink the Kool Aid being served from Richmond. Nothing changes until catastrophe hits. It took a federal indictment of Bob McDonnell to finally get after the absurd gift rules that everybody knew were wrong. Other states didn’t allow their politicians to engage is such corrupt behavior but we did. Arrogance and insularity.

          The first step in solving a problem is admitting there is a problem. We’re not there yet. The issue isn’t Republican vs Democrat or liberal versus conservative. It’s old school, arrogant, insular and opaque vs modern, open to new ideas, outward looking and transparent. But I see the change happening, at least in Northern Virginia. Blue Virginia casts off its Democratic uniform and goes after the Minority Leader of the State Senate – Dick Saslaw. Why? Because he deserves it. A young woman with civic experience but no elected office experience goes after the ethics and independence of Barbara Favola in a Democratic primary. Why? Because she deserves it.

          I’m going to spend the time between now and this Fall’s elections continuing to make the case that arrogance, insularity and a lack of accountability in Richmond are our problems and a new crop of General Assembly members is the solution.

          If there’s enough of a change in the General Assembly this Fall then I’ll consider convening groups to analyze Virginia’s issues – with a special emphasis on how other states solve these problems. If there isn’t enough change I’ll have more time for running, skeet shooting, fishing, hunting and golf.

          • Andrew Roesell

            Sounds good, Don.

            I once had the goal of implementing German or British land-use policies in America. The Piedmont Environmental Council’s founder, B. Powell Harrison, Jr. and the National Historic Trust flew the Boards of Supervisors of Loudoun & Fauquier counties to Britain to learn things were done there. They engaged British planner, Graham Ashworth as a consultant. But they eventually realized that property rights laws were too strongly established. This was back in the 1970s. Now they rely on conservation easements, downzonings, and “new urbanism” in a market framework. I have also lowered my own expectations and tried reprioritize my life to see the salvation my soul as the important thing I can do something about. I still follow these things, but at a reduced intensity as befits my reoriented sense of priorities.

            Sincerely,

            Andrew

          • AR, you say, “they eventually realized that property rights laws were too strongly established.” You mean over there, or back here in the U.S.? I for one would be delighted to see in the U.S. something like the English tradition of established walking rights given continuing priority over private property to allow greater pedestrian access to the countryside. Yes, at least we have folks trying to accomplish the same here through easements and “new urbanism” though with limited success by comparison. One reason I so enjoy living on the water is that the public’s right to travel about on the water is generally unquestioned — as long as you have a place to land your vessel.

  5. Oh … Andrew ….

    Lest you think all I do is bitch about the state government in Virginia … I worked this out with Scott Surovell and Paul Krizek. They were instrumental in getting the matching funds and putting the deal together with Cox.

    https://www.delmarvanow.com/story/news/education/2015/09/18/bridging-digital-divide-fairfax-county-students/72430584/

    • Awesome! You should have profiled the initiative in B.R.!

      • I thought about that. There was even a news feature covering it (although I guess Channel 9 deleted the video from their website by now). I felt it would have been too self-congratulatory. That’s the neighborhood where I grew up and I really wanted to do it for the kids.

        Del. Krizek and Sen Surovell were great … instrumental in making it all happen.

    • Don, you are surely right about how “Arrogance, insularity and a lack of accountability” too often plays an adverse roll in Virginia’s progress.

      Week before last at a 6.30 am Cracker Barrel breakfast in the Shenandoah Valley, I asked an IT migrant from Northern Virginia to an old Virginia town there in the valley why his old town was so unchanged and tired looking from the old one there that I remembered from nearly 30 years ago, and even knew so well from 60 years ago. It was a set up question. I knew the answer, a fact he didn’t know, or suspect me to know. Still, by way of immediate explanation, the guy paraphrased your words “arrogance, insularity and a lack of accountability” on the part town leaders.

      “The town leaders didn’t want progress,” he said, “they didn’t want change, didn’t want any strangers moving in, particularly outsiders like him coming in from Northern Va., so they didn’t welcome him when he arrived there 5 years ago, a hardworking guy, now married there with wife and children.

      So, for me, remembering the town, nothing 5 years ago had really changed there since the 1960s there. In fact that town has been obviously ripe for major first class new town development since the 1990s, yet mostly nothing has happened since then, despite several wonderful opportunities thwarted as far back as 30 years ago, including one I was heavily involved in.

      The good news is my breakfast partner week before last said the times there are now changing, and changing rapidly, for the better. The old guard is breaking up by reason of age, the demographics of newcomers, and the pressure of renewed market forces happening all around. An altogether new Virginia is coming into view. A place of great opportunity. Old dams built by culture and recessions past are falling apart. Pent up demands will soon be growing even more rapidly. And this time, things surely will be different, and far better for progress.

      • The last paragraph of Virginius Dabney’s “Virginia: The New Dominion” published in 1971 (p581) …

        “Thus, centuries after the first settlers planted their colony at Jamestown in blood suffering and death, Virginia torn in the Revolution and crushed in the Civil War, is on the move. The New Dominion is challenging her sister states and showing evidences of youthful vigor and resolve. It seems altogether probable that the now-developing Virginia will be a a blend of the old and the new such as few states can provide – a modern civilization in which the gracious manners of the antebellum days will be combined with a forward-looking spirit, and a determination that no worthy citizen of the commonwealth shall lack the opportunity to realize his full potentialities. The great Virginians of the past strove mightily to found a nation and provide blessings for their posterity. They would, it seems safe to say, applaud the vital and alert commonwealth of today, so rich in promise for all her people.”

        Dabney had his faults but that paragraph is pretty damn good. Optimistic from a timing perspective but “directionally correct”. If I can see his words full realized in my lifetime I’ll be very happy.

      • Dear Reed,

        I disagree with you on this one. I live in Fairfax, the epicenter of “Progress” so called. There is no community; there are shadows of community, but that is all. Your zeal for Capitalism, friend, is at war with your Conservatism. In short, if I might, you are split-minded, as are many others. True progress is incremental not dissolving, and say that “it” is inevitable is just boast of despair. I will not bow down before Golden Mammon.

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

        • Andrew – thanks for your comment.

          I am not a fan of Fairfax, either, but as I see it, it’s not the people who are the problem, it’s the culture, the system of ill governance, and the leadership. I view the close minded leadership of that Virginia town I visited no differently than another version of NIMBY ism in say Arlington, or large parts of Northwest Washington DC.

          People cannot long with good health when they close themselves off from other people and ideas, and instead live in a closed circular society cast in amber. In parts of all places that is often a typical problem and end result. Berkley, California is a classic example of a claustrophobic sick and dying place, as is Charlottesville, both right up there with the most insular Virginia town.

          Healthy places, just like healthy people, require hard work, constant attention, circulation, fresh air and effort by all involved. Then magic happens. Do you remember such places? Can you name them? What made them? How long do they last? How do we keep them alive, well and changing? These are tough issues? Do you know these places when you see them? How do we built them? And keep them? Those are hard key questions. Their answers hold solutions, maybe, temporary as they may be.

          • Reed Fawell 3rd

            If one of your answers is changing a town or place gracefully, building well on, and respecting, its past and its people, while understanding that past in all its strengths and shortcomings, and incorporating that past and its learning and lessons into its future, then I am with you. Unfortunately, this far too often today is very hard to do, because we are an ignorant and impatient people. Perhaps this is the central challenge as folks like Edmond Burke knew so well, and we don’t.

          • Andrew Roesell

            Dear Reed,

            Of course communities can become unhealthy and stagnant. I enjoyed spending a few weeks in the northern German town of Zeven, with a population of some 12,000 souls You could ride a bike safely around town. It was attractive, and bordered by dairy farms, forests, and peat bogs. Thr people were intelligent & well-mannered. It launched my interest in land planning. Two years later, I ran across a Washington Post article on Powell Harrison & the PEC and volunteered against the pro-development GOP Board Chairman, Jack Herriot. As the Left became ever more aggressive, I switched my emphasis to opposing them; but I have an abiding interest in land use, and see that we have made important improvements, though the mania for “growth without end” remains.

            Sincerely,

            Andrew

  6. “It’s old school, arrogant, insular and opaque vs modern, open to new ideas, outward looking and transparent.” Interesting and apt choice of words. “Old school” refers back to the old school ties of the British aristocracy and, some might say, its plebeian hangers-on, to whom such ties matter more than modernity. Here we are in Virginia still dealing with those who hang on to those old school ties and all that implies. But I really don’t think such arrogance is unique to Virginia, or any other southern State. Having gone to school some in New England I’ll venture to say it’s no less so there, especially in greater New York, where connections plus money occasionally equals insufferability! Indeed it’s those who have spent a lifetime of resentment on the margins who end up winning labels like “just a[nother] typical NY real estate mogul.”

    You say, “Over the centuries it has been this despicable elitist minority that has controlled Virginia and conspired to deny democratic coverage to the people of Virginia.” I submit an alternative construct: raw political power is the same everywhere; but raw political power exercised behind a veneer of civility and good manners can sometimes get even further, accomplish even more for good or bad, can sometimes even deflect the penetrating reporting, the public criticism, the legislated constraints, that the more crassly brazen behaviors of real estate moguls and the like among us would quickly bring down upon their heads. As you point out, what is the Virginia Way but a thin veneer of “trust me” spread over the exercise of raw power in and by the GA? “Other states didn’t allow their politicians to engage is such corrupt behavior but we did.” Really? Consider this, with particular emphasis on PA: https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-and-analysis/blogs/stateline/2017/07/19/lobbyist-gift-giving-at-issue-in-more-states ; or more generally consider this:
    http://www.ncsl.org/research/ethics/50-state-table-gift-laws.aspx Virginia is not alone!

    • Acbar – I think you nailed big truth here. Human nature remains at play everywhere, only its costumes and gestures change.

      • Dear Reed,

        But isn’t embedded in this discussion the premise that “the newcomer is always right”? Just as the refrain of “the customer is always right”? And isn’t this in turn based on the Capitalist assumption that ONLY quantity counts for anything, but not the quality of things. The Capitalist, of course, only professes this in their public life; privately, they indulge in quality, after all, why else accumulate quantity if not to also gather up quality, too? The “NIMBYs” have a quality, I.e. community, that they value more than the proferred disruption; for this they are reviled by the bringers of quantity, who see themselves as “progressive,” superior to the yokels. Is that not arrogance? Is it not, too, the germ of “nation-building” that we see in our foreign policy? Ultimately, I would argue, that most social criticism by Liberals of the Left and Capitalist is derived from a desire at expansion and profit. When they cannot persuade, they subject to endless criticism, mockery, and disdain. And they wonder why people are suspicious of them. I favor private property, but not the ideology that places mere increase as the supreme good.

        Sincerely,

        Andrew

    • Dear Acbar,

      In regards to your earlier comment about. The PEC’s abandonment of its 1970s support of European land use policies, it was due to Virginia’s private property laws. By the way, I have a publication describing their British trip published by the NHT. I also have pubs of the PEC from that time which are fascinating about land planning. Brit Graham Ashworth is featured in one or both of those. UVA helped with one, which focuses on the ethics of land-use; one of the contributors was prof. Of religion at the school. Good stuff in all three of the works.

      Sincerely,

      Andrew

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