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    Editorial | Wednesday, Apr. 22 2 comments
    EDITORIAL: Baking soda
    How much will the Silver Line cost Loudoun taxpayers?

    That’s a legitimate question that public officials would rather not answer. Or can’t.

    One Loudoun citizen thinks fellow taxpayers ought to know. She filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking the Capital Funding Agreement (CFA) and other documents the Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority has provided to county government.

    Initially, the county’s FOIA officer invoked an exception to the open documents law that suggested the documents are protected.
    “The requested record, the proposed CFA, is being withheld because the custodian has exercised his discretion to withhold the record in accordance with Va. Code Section 2.2-3705.1, paragraph 12,” wrote Jennifer Grimmell, the county’s FOIA officer. “The public record withheld is a copy of an unexecuted draft of a proposed Capital Funding Agreement for FY2016 - FY2021 which is currently subject to negotiation.”
    No charge, she wrote.
    Grimmel’s response was a spurious interpretation of both the situation and FOIA exemptions that are discretionary. Accordingly, the citizen again pressed the county for release of the documents, citing a more accurate accounting of facts. Grimmell’s next response was to provide a published advertisement of WMATA’s required notice of public hearings.
    That was like spreading baking soda over an offensive smell.

    We editorialized weeks ago that the Silver Line is runaway train. While it is a vital cog in the economic development of the county, the potential for corruption is enormous. The $5.9 million public works project is already beset with extensive cost overruns and delays. Loudoun is investing heavily in the line – an estimated $20 million to $25 million annually – just to pay for operational costs.

    One problem is that we don’t fully know who’s making decisions. Another is the extent to which the public can participate in the process, to have input before agreements are negotiated and passed.

    Watchdog groups suggest a third problem. They contend that county staff – the custodian? – have also withheld the WMATA documents from the county’s Board of Supervisors.

    You don’t have to be a chemist to know there’s an unmistakable odor coming from the process to fund Metro. Taxpayers and watchdogs are asking legitimate questions. There’s too much at stake for public officials to cover the smell with baking soda.

    Editorial | Wednesday, Feb. 25
    EDITORIAL: The perfect flip-flop
    Editorial | Wednesday, Feb. 18
    EDITORIAL: The reporter and the chicken thief
    Editorial | Wednesday, Apr. 15
    EDITORIAL: Riding side-saddle into the future
    Editorial | Wednesday, Apr. 8 1 comment
    EDITORIAL: Runaway train
    Editorial | Wednesday, Apr. 1 1 comment
    EDITORIAL: When law enforcement is more than a matter of faith
    Editorial | Wednesday, Mar. 25
    The women in the room
    Editorial | Wednesday, Mar. 18 1 comment
    EDITORIAL: The tragic flaw
    Editorial | Wednesday, Mar. 11 1 comment
    EDITORIAL: Conduct the public’s business in public
    Editorial | Wednesday, Mar. 4 2 comments
    EDITORIAL: Diversity must come out from the shadows
    Editorial | Wednesday, Feb. 4 5 comments
    EDITORIAL: How would you spend $2 billion
    Submit a Letter
    Three and out: Coach asks QB McAuliffe to call an audible, change the play
    Wed., Apr. 22 | 12:36 PM
    1 comment
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Telling all our stories
    Wed., Apr. 15 | 08:15 AM
    Cultivating healthy children
    Wed., Apr. 15 | 08:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Economic benefits of Silver Line fade as tax-exempt development plans emerge
    Wed., Apr. 15 | 07:20 AM
    Hallowed ground at risk
    Wed., Apr. 15 | 07:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: New world, new issues require astute leadership
    Wed., Apr. 8 | 08:30 AM
    A natural gas fleet?
    Wed., Apr. 8 | 08:00 AM
    1 comment
    Everyone can be a philanthropist
    Wed., Apr. 8 | 07:30 AM
    Skeptical of Dominion’s claims
    Wed., Apr. 8 | 07:00 AM
    Dominion project is harmful
    Wed., Apr. 1 | 08:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Dominion’s toxic power over Virginia
    Wed., Apr. 1 | 08:00 AM
    1 comment
    The “Just Say No” scenario
    Wed., Apr. 1 | 07:30 AM
    Broken trust
    Wed., Apr. 1 | 07:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: In praise of Loudoun’s dirt roads
    Wed., Mar. 25 | 05:39 PM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: The “Clueless” scenario
    Wed., Mar. 25 | 05:14 PM
    1 comment
    Prejudice is byproduct of nation’s melting pot
    Wed., Mar. 25 | 05:01 PM
    1 comment
    A “perfect” look? Or unhealthy example?
    Wed., Mar. 25 | 04:59 PM
    1 comment
    County misses the links in its transportation plan
    Wed., Mar. 18 | 01:45 PM
    1 comment
    Underlying factors lead to crime
    Wed., Mar. 18 | 01:43 PM
    1 comment
    The perceptions of Muslims in community must change
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 10:00 AM
    1 comment
    Effects of vaccines require study
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 09:45 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Holding tax rate is responsible position
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 09:30 AM
    Diversity decisions
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 09:00 AM
    A richness of culture emerges
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 08:29 AM
    Out from the shadows
    Wed., Mar. 11 | 08:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Political ethics, public service are compatible
    Wed., Mar. 4 | 09:30 AM
    A good choice for circuit judge
    Wed., Mar. 4 | 09:00 AM
    Tax rate obscures underfunding schools
    Wed., Mar. 4 | 09:00 AM
    COMMUNITY VIEW: Tuscarora Crossing rezoning defended
    Wed., Mar. 4 | 08:30 AM
    1 comment
    Community has made strides, but discrimination, racism linger
    Wed., Mar. 4 | 08:00 AM
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