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Bill allowing localities to move or alter Confederate statues killed by committee

The state Senate's Local Government Committee in Richmond killed a bill Tuesday that would have given localities the right to move, remove or alter monuments and statues within their own jurisdiction, regardless of when they were erected.

The bill, SB 444, was sponsored by Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun). The bill would have required a locality to vote twice on a new ordinance, with a 12-month gap between the votes. An extensive public hearing process on the new ordinance would have also been required, Wexton said, and any monument moved from its original location would have remained accessible to the public in its new location.

The bill was voted down by the Republican-led committee on a party-line vote, 7-6.

Speaking on the legislation, Wexton said her motivation for the bill came from the events that took place in Charlottesville and numerous conversations with constituents regarding the Confederate statue standing in front of the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg.

“Constituents came to me to discuss how they felt about the Confederate statue in Leesburg, a statue erected in 1908. Many people don’t feel it was erected to celebrate the valor of the soldiers of the Confederacy but was intended to send a message to a certain population of Leesburg, the African-American residents, that there would not be justice for them inside that courthouse,” Wexton said.

“Since Loudoun County cannot move the monument under the current code, I believe we need to allow localities, the government closest to the people, the ability to have an open dialogue with citizens about this issue,” she said.

Under state law, Virginia localities are not permitted to “disturb or interfere with” war memorials.

On Sept. 20, the Loudoun Board of Supervisors narrowly defeated a motion by board Chairwoman Phyllis J. Randall (D-At Large) to seek authority from the Virginia General Assembly in January to amend state law to give the county discretion to move or remove the statue in front of the county courthouse.


The motives behind planting the statue at that location, at that time, were clear.  Those motivations, by today’s standards, were sick, mean, and prejudicial.  The pendulum will not swing back.  If we currently have memorials celebrating, representing, and reflecting sincere motives of hate, race superiority,  and race suppression, and we allow those memorials to continue standing for the public, then we are tacitly supporting the hatred and bigotry.  Read our own Larry Roeder’s piece on school segregation in Loudoun County during the 50’s and 60’s.  Our elected officials actually were considering closing down our public schools to avoid “forced” integration with “the coloreds.”
The idea would be vouchers for private schools would be given to [white] students.  Hey, do you want to celebrate those who came up with that idea?

Agree with BobO….I do think Lincoln made all soldiers both north and south “US soldiers” as part of reconciliation and reconstruction…

Two more monuments to be torn down for their support of slavery - Morven Park Mansion & Oatlands Plantation.

The “white-washing” of what this statue represents is despicable, especially to the descendants of slavery and others who care about humanity.  I am not a liberal/democrat.  I am an American who cares about the future of our country.  We are living in a house divided and that statue/stain exacerbates this condition everyday it sits on that courthouse lawn.

At some point I hope we as a community could start with defining the problem so the recommended solutions were more related to the actual problem. There were both north and south soldiers in Leesburg during the Civil War. Both groups stood proudly as soldiers and both groups died in great numbers. All were sons of America so why not just place a similarly situated statue of a Union soldier in from of the current one so the interpretation of the statue is two soldiers facing off during a Civil War instead of the current interpretation of one side being praised while defending the courthouse and grounds where horrific activities occurred (grew up in New Jersey and have no sympathy for those who profited off the backs of slaves) Let’s just build another statue and change the narrative then we can move on to more important issues like removing the composite index, returning Dulles Airport to Virginia and making VDOT do its job in Loudoun.
Bob Ohneiser Esq.

Jennifer Wexton is a crazy liberal.

Good, one less thing liberals can destroy…

A whiff of “whataboutism” in the comments of those who oppose moving the statue off the courthouse grounds.  Here’s how wikipedia defines “Whataboutism”

Whataboutism (also known as whataboutery) is a variant of the tu quoque logical fallacy that attempts to discredit an opponent’s position by charging them with hypocrisy without directly refuting or disproving their argument, which is particularly associated with Soviet and Russian propaganda.

Let’s get past that.  Why not engage most of the suggestions of commenters looking deeper than the statue but get rid of the statue too while we’re about improving justice in Loudoun County.

Hilarious that someone would bring up Trump.  Darn him for putting up that statute 1908. 

While some point to the statute outside, again look inside.  Loudoun has 4 judges listed, guess how many are African American.  Guess the race of the Loudoun County Prosecutor.  Look at the picture on the Loudoun County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office facebook page and see how many African Americans are in the photo. Feel free to do the same for the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office.  I’m not saying to hire people just because they are African American, but I can’t believe there are none applying for the jobs, and the ones that do are unqualified.  If I were serious about a fix I would start inside and not outside.

Ditto the comments of McHale.

Let’s point out the real issues on race in LoCo:

1. Plowman doesn’t release bulk data on criminal cases including race to allow for bias analysis.

2. Schools are effectively segregated by zoning rules (both school board and BOS)

3. LCPS doesn’t supplement the federal Title 1 $ with its share for FRL students. Among other things, this means students outside high-% FRL schools (say 35% FRL school) gets none of the resources envisioned in the Title program.

Yet we hear not one word from BOS Chair Randall on any of these issues. Nor from any of the other BOS members. A few school board members have spoken out (e.g. Marshall) but many prefer things as they are.

We have Loudoun politicians who would rather grandstand than effect real change.

Good. Can we move on now? The Civil War ended 152 years ago. Maybe the Left can find other inanimate objects from THIS century to blame racism on.

Go ahead party of local control and go against one of your own principals, to protect the symbols of white supremacy.  Ask Tag and Randy, the job that got started in the last election will continue in the next.  Not making racist white supremacist voters like they use too.

Mr. McHale, I think some are arguing that a statue honoring Confederate soldiers who fought to preserve the institution of slavery is one of early things you’d fix if you were serious about improving the color-blind quality of our justice system…not something you’d do later.  It would be a signal that we’re now approaching things differently (and symbols matter…just ask Trump about his wall).

The justice system is slanted against African Americans, particularly the criminal justice system.  How about we try to fix and correct the system rather than pointing at a statute outside the building.  BTW - my view is I don’t care if the statute is moved or not as long as private funds are raised and used to move it.  That goes equally for any new statutes sought to be erected in the future. I’d rather see tax payer funds used for education.

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