Leesburg | Confederate monument Leesburg 1

The Confederate monument in downtown Leesburg.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is supporting legislation to give Virginia localities authority over war monuments and memorials.

The board passed the measure with a 7-2 vote Tuesday during its first business meeting of the year. Supervisors Tony Buffington (R-Blue Ridge) and Caleb Kershner (R- Catoctin) opposed the motion made by Vice Chairman Koran Saines (D-Sterling).

"To me this is simple: People in Richmond should not be making decisions on what localities do regarding monuments, memorials and properties owned by localities,” Saines said. “It's our property. We and our constituents live with them daily, and we as local leaders should have the ability to respond to our constituents to make changes where we feel necessary when it comes to monuments and memorials on our county-owned property.”

Localities are prohibited from "disturbing or interfering with" war monuments or memorials, according to Virginia Code 15.2-1812. Lawmakers in Richmond are considering amending state code to let local governing bodies decide if they want to remove such monuments.

Supervisor Kershner said he fears if monuments are removed people will forget the country’s history and past generations' struggles.

Kershner said, “Certainly things that are highly offensive should not be something that we tolerate in any way either as a state or as a county, and I would certainly support those sorts of things, but when it comes to history — and I think the Heritage Commission has done a very good job in describing how we can go about putting up various statutes and various memorials to memorialize different aspects of our history — I think it's important for children to know those aspects of history, and it is incumbent upon teachers and those of us who lead and guide them to help them understand all the flaws any man or any woman or any particular movement.”

Broad Run Supervisor Sylvia Glass (D) and Chairwoman Phyllis Randall (D-At Large) disagreed. Sharing remarks on how her family fought against segregation, Glass said the monuments make her feel as though her family isn't a part of local history.

“If we all decide that we don't want those monuments, then we should have the opportunity to say they shouldn't be here,” Glass said.

Randall added, “We remember history where history should be remembered — museums, classrooms — but a statue is a glorification of something, and the idea that you take it down or else you forget it, I do not think anyone's going to forget slavery or the Confederacy because Confederate statues come down."

Elsewhere on the board's legislative agenda, supervisors moved on a party-line vote to support legislation that authorizes the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to issue driver privilege cards to applicants that may not meet current license, permit or identification card requirements.

Dulles Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R) spoke out against the driver privilege cards, saying it's a “workaround” for the federal government and a way to “ignore the problem” of illegal immigration.

“I would prefer a comprehensive approach to this issue that actually addresses the problem, and to me, this is just sort of a Band Aid,” Letourneau said. “I would not argue in this case that it isn't relevant to us. I think it is. So that wouldn't be my argument here. I would argue, though, it is probably not the best place for us to be putting our legislative resources.”

The board then voted 9-0 to support legislation that provides counties with equal taxing authority for cigarette taxes, transient occupancy taxes and admission taxes as provided to cities.

Supervisors also unanimously supported HB 523 and similar legislation that would better position the county to address toll rate examinations on the Dulles Greenway. HB 523 is being introduced by Del. Suhas Subramanyam (D-87th).

The board also voted 8-1 to oppose House Bill 296 and similar legislation that would allow a town with more then 50,000 people to seek city status. Leesburg Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D) voted in favor of the motion, while state Del. Wendy Gooditis (D-10th) is introducing the related legislation.

With well more than 50,000 residents, Leesburg is the commonwealth's largest town and has expressed interest in the past in becoming a city.

Additionally, the board voted unanimously in favor of seeking legislation that allows a presiding officer discretion to be called “chairman,” “chairwoman,” “chair,” “chairperson” or “chair at-large.” Currently, it’s against the law in Virginia to refer to a female head of a governing body as anything other than chairman or mayor.

The initiative failed last year when five men—Republican Dels. Keith Hodges, Riley Ingram, Joseph McNamara, Charles Poindexter and Christopher Stolle—voted against more inclusive titles.

Randall said she feels confident the bill will pass this year. Dels. Ingram retired after 12 terms and Stolle lost his re-election contest.

The Loudoun board is also supporting the push to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. “The Equal Rights Amendment will deal with pay equity, domestic violence laws ... pregnancy discrimination, paternity and maternity leave issues and equal access to health care. So, as you might imagine, I feel very strongly about this,” new Supervisor Juli Briskman (D-Algonkian) said after making the motion.

(32) comments

debbbie

Kershner is just speaking to the Repub donors that helped put him in office, and his incorrect thinking that he believes he is speaking to his Trumpian base (western loudoun is finally coming into the 20th century). He will be a short-timer if he keeps making those old-school/wrong-school comments. And finally, it just another example that lawyers like him will say/do whatever that puts their interests first, and not what what is right for the interest of the community.

Hillsboroharry

I am sure the fact that the Loudoun County BOS passed the ERA resolution will be all it takes to get this long dormant amendment ratified. And I had no idea it was illegal to call someone a chairperson. Another important piece of work!

Lawman

All those who don't like the direction Loudoun or Virginia is GOING TO GO, can leave, I am sure there are a lot of poor paying jobs, bad schools and bad health care in Alabama just waiting for you. But look at the bright side, they have good college football to take your mind off those things. See ya

Segeny

Been to Alabama? Beautiful state. Beautiful people. Beautiful America.

amerigirl

Have been to Alabama. Lousy education system, whites still trying to dominate blacks, social welfare sucks, pay rate can't even support government employees, lack of efficient medical facilities, etc. Places are pretty, just like in other states.

Joeespo01

First, ERA amendment expired 17 years ago. Woman are individually capable of

equal rights as are men.

Ask for a higher salary and get it or get another job, Men do it all the time.

There are so many laws protecting the rights of both men and woman.

This obsession with Confederate statues is as immature as sandbox disagreements

among children.

Keep destroying the past and the mistakes of the past will be repeated.

As a former Northern the sadness of this

sick destruction of Southern Heritage is mindless and idiotic.

Grow up you Progressive fools.

amerigirl

Man, I really hope that is your opinion because it is not fact based. The ERA has been revisited by congress every year since 1982 to keep it alive. That will be for the Supreme Court to decide, not you. Seriously, ask for a higher salary? Like that doesn’t happen? And you think only men switch jobs? Confederate statues memorialize those who fought against our country, which makes them traitors and did it to preserve slavery. Just lets us know you aren’t black. History will not change and kids will still learn of the civil war, no worries about repeating. Southern Heritage is much more than honoring traitors. Grow up yourself and look at how decisive it is to have those statues around.

Segeny

Amen, Joe. Amen.

jke

Women are perfectly capable of flexing political power: They make up the majority of voters in nearly every election. Sex discrimination is already forbidden under both federal and state laws, as well as by the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The ERA won’t add to those protections, but could be used to impose sex-sameness.

Men and women are different physically, psychologically and emotionally. And while often those differences aren’t relevant, sometimes they matter a great deal, including in situations where women’s safety can be placed at risk if they are treated exactly like men.''

amerigirl

Not all women can do all the jobs men do and not all men can do the all the jobs women do. But if they are doing the same job shouldn't women get the same pay? That doesn't happen now. en and women with the same employment characteristics do similar jobs, women earn $0.98 for every dollar earned by an equivalent man. In other words, a woman who is doing the same job as a man, with the exact same qualifications as a man is still paid two percent less. Unfortunately, this controlled wage gap has only shrunk by a miniscule amount of $0.008 since 2015.

amerigirl

Please read the 14th amendment. When the 14th Amendment passed in 1868, it was intended to give former slaves equal protection and voting rights under the law; it was not meant to protect women. In fact, it specified equality for male slaves, female slaves were excluded as were all women, regardless of race. Blacks weren’t even allowed to serve on many jurys. It also only gives equal protection under the law, not society. There is nothing forcing equal pay for women doing the same job as men. There is nothing saying that jobs can’t be restricted to men. It took almost 100 years before they would let women to practice law because the Supreme Court originally ruled that the amendment did not require states to open the legal profession to women. Scalia publicly stated that the 14th amendment does not prohibit against sex discrimination.

BobOhneiserEsq

Why isn't the issue of Virginia remaining a "DILLON" state challenged so Loudoun can make its own decisions? Doesn't the Union Cemetery across the street from the courthouse and a short distance north justify a Union soldier statue to commemorate those deaths as well? When the BOS gets done with highly partisan, political issues perhaps someone could enforce the efficiency required of LCPS per VA Statute 22.1-79 and show some resolve to fix the ridiculous traffic snarls on Route 15 north of Leesburg and reduce the tax rate closer to the state average of 79 cents per hundred! :-)

RandomName2019

Because keeping control at the state level for most items makes more sense. Allowing any locality to do whatever they like is what gets you a state like Pennsylvania...

AreYouKidding

Wow you ran for chairman of the BoS and don't even know that the BoS voted in July to widen Route 15 north of Leesburg? Also it seems strange for you to call for the BoS to do anything about it since usually you are on here ranting about VDOT needing to resolve all the road issues and not the county.

LetSanityPrevail

How about the Loudoun board deal with real issues affecting Loudoun? Focus on our budget, support for first responders, parks and schools and leave the social warrior efforts aside.

amerigirl

Just because you aren't affected by it doesn't mean other Loudouners aren't.

Segeny

I am offended that these virtue-signaling snowflakes have appropriated the term of 'warriors'. STOP IT. Don't like a statue, don't look at it --- or put up another one that reflects YOUR sanctimonious viewpoint, but leave history alone!!!

RandomName2019

Statues are not synonymous with history. If they were, I suspect not many people would openly advocate for keeping the monuments erected to the Lost Cause of the South.

Loudoun4Trump

Randall doesn't get it....the Leesburg monument was to honor those who died during the civil war and I'm sure there were many Loudouners killed in battle somewhere and I would imagine some died as union soldiers and others as confederates....the monument is to honor soldiers who fought and died in the civil war.....pretty sure Abe Lincoln issued an order to make all soldiers who fought in civil war as US soldiers (north and south)...this was part of the reconciliation effort which it looks like democrats want to do away with and replace with divisiveness.....

AreYouKidding

Maybe her confusion stems from the plaque on the statue reading, "IN MEMORY OF THE CONFEDERATE SOLDIERS OF LOUDOUN COUNTY VA"

LoudounClear

When it comes to not getting it, she's not alone. The monument was erected nearly 40 years after Appomattox, put in place by the group that put monuments across the South in an effort to glorify the memory of those who fought to preserve slavery and to send a signal that Jim Crow was in full flower and the racist impulses that perpetuated "separate but equal" were running the show. Do you think it's just a coincidence that that thing is on the Courthouse lawn? Tell me, what's more devisive, pushing a "heritage not hate" argument or saying that it's more than past time to move on and relegate this to the history books -- not the Courthouse lawns.

Loudoun4Trump

I have no problems if Democrats want to remove the statue since it will remove the hate they caused with their KKK, slavery, jim crow laws...etc. Democrats erected the monuments and now Democrats are taking them down....how about this, leave the taxpayer out of paying or removing these statues big government democrats....

amerigirl

Loudoun4, Who care who pays for it if it restores the integrity of Loudoun? Seriously, how much could it cost?

amerigirl

Don't think all that died were confederate soldiers which is what that statue is. I never heard that about Lincoln, what was your source?In 1868, President Andrew Johnson pardoned Confederate soldiers, but did not grant them U.S. veteran status. Public Law 85-425 was passed 23 May 1958, entitling the widows of deceased Confederate soldiers (what few were left by 1958) to military pensions:

Loudoun4Trump

On December 8, 1863, in his annual message to Congress, President Lincoln outlined his plans for reconstruction of the south, which included terms for amnesty to former Confederates. ... The pardon excluded office holders of the Confederate government or persons who had mistreated prisoners....I know there was more to this. Also, my point was why do taxpayers have to pay to fund a monument and thn have to pay to take it down....and if we really want to be honest, can we remove our governor with a racist past who is a lot worse than a statue....

amerigirl

Loudoun4, please share your source for Lincoln's statement, I can't find it anywhere.

WesternSky

The beginning of the great Loudoun decline.

amerigirl

Or the end of the decline of the confederacy.

RandomName2019

Why are people still repeating the fallacy that 'if monuments are removed people will forget the country’s history and past generations' struggles"?

Our history classrooms are full of lessons that lack a tangible statue to represent them. So, let's be candid about why it's so offensive to some people that we remove these Confederate monuments, and stop hiding behind the absurd assertion that it hinders the ability to learn.

Perhaps Supervisor Kershner could explain how a statue erected in 1908, 43 years after the end of the Civil War, and that corresponded to a boom of Confederate imagery and Lost Cause movements, furthers the education of our country?

Segeny

Silly Random --- actually saying that our classrooms still teach "history" when anyone who has been in a classroom in the last 20 years knows that "history" has bent its knee to "social studies", more appropriately called "socialism studies" and "diversity cheering".

RandomName2019

Have you reviewed the history curriculum in our schools? Seems pretty thorough to me, although I'm not so biased that I believe that acknowledging slavery as the root cause of the Civil War (as outline in every secession document and the CSA Constiution) is "socialism studies"...but what do I know,

amerigirl

seg, have you been in a classroom? There is world history and geography, VA & US History and AP history

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