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Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Board Chair McKay urges more action on equity

A group of about 30 protesters march along Route 50 by Annandale Road Monday evening. A bystander reports that a police officer escorting the marchers took a knee, eliciting cheers from the crowd. [Mercedes Var]
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Jeffrey McKay issued a statement in response to the protests over the homicide of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and announced plans for an effort to “double down on our commitments” to equity. 

Here’s the full statement from McKay’s June 1 newsletter to county residents:

“Over the weekend, millions marched the streets across the United States mourning the death of George Floyd and rightfully protesting the injustices and systemic racism experienced by generations of African American men and women in this country. 

“I’m angry and disgusted that today, for the third time in as many days, we saw peaceful protesters tear gassed and shot with pellet guns as they chanted for peace and change. Simultaneously, COVID-19 continues to showcase and exacerbate the disparities that exist in our most vulnerable communities.
“Now more than ever, we know it is the role of our local government to achieve true structural change in our communities. We in Fairfax County must honestly ask ourselves, what actions are we taking? What voices are we lifting up? And for me, as your chairman, are our policies affecting systemic change in our community?
“We are lucky to live in Fairfax County. Our government has a team of employees who dedicate themselves to making us better every day. Our residents are diverse and challenge us to do more. Each member of the Board of Supervisors believes that we can always improve.
“It is our commitment to our diversity that created our One Fairfax policy, which makes equity a requirement and recognizes that disparity is a fact. The Board of Supervisors and School Board adopted it to ensure that it is intentionally applied to all the work we do – not just reflected on when we are in crisis. In the coming days, I will announce a blueprint to double down on our commitments.
“We have work to be done. In the days, weeks, and months ahead of us, we will continue to listen, encourage healthy dialogues, and have the courage to fight for what’s right.”

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), who represents much of the Annandale/Mason District area and chairs the House Government Operations subcommittee, demanded documents from the U.S. Secret Service regarding disturbing reports that federal agents were “involved in, and may have directed, the use of tear gas and rubber bullets against peaceful protesters outside of the White House for the purposes of facilitating a photo opportunity for President Donald Trump.”

The incident Connolly refers to is a photo opp of the president holding up a Bible in front of an Episcopal Church near the White House on June 1.

“While the Secret Service is tasked with protecting the President of the United States,” Connolly wrote to Secret Services Director James Murray, “it is not a tool of fascism, and the conduct and operations of the Secret Service cannot be allowed to infringe upon the constitutional rights of the American people for the purposes of serving the President’s personal vanity.” 

3 comments:

  1. Mr. McKay is unable to grasp the inequity to all of us in his desire to maintain business as usual during a pandemic. The massive development effort in the name of "economic development" is accomplishing nothing but making all the land use attorney's and developers richer while the rest of us are left with a deteriorating quality of life. I have never seen a more wrong-headed approach than the one fueled by the Gartner report. It's been 5 years of overreaching and affordable housing still lags behind. Indeed, Mr. McKay... what ARE you doing?

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  2. I am really disturbed by Mr. McKay's statement “Now more than ever, we know it is the role of our local government to achieve true structural change in our communities...." What the hell is he talking about? It sounds like a threat to me. I can only judge Mr. McKay's intentions by his past and current actions. Recently he has disregarded residents' objections to the county acting on land use issues during the pandemic. He thinks he knows best, and, unfortunately, there is no one else on the Board who speaks up for residents or even asks questions. They just vote yes to his commands. I know he gets angry and impatient after a little discussion. Does that remind you of anyone else? I always appreciated Supervisor Linda Smyth. She wasn't always right, but she always was the one to speak up with reasonable and thoughtful questions and positions from the residents' point of view. There is nobody else speaking up now. So far Mr. McKay firmly believes that land use development is the one trick that will bring about economic equity and success. He wants to destroy single-family housing neighborhoods so that more people will be able to crowd into a single-family housing neighborhood. I'm sure he must know that this will not bring about equity/equality. Developers will purchase houses and then subdivide them into apartments thus destroying the neighborhood's character and quality of life. These apartments will have nothing to do with creating affordability for those with lower incomes. Even if he got this zoning ordinance approved, the rents for the apartment will be determined by the owner of the house not the county. If somehow he thinks the county could enforce some regulation that required lower rents on some who would enforce those. Of course the County's Code Compliance department which is sad but laughable. Code Compliance can't enforce the zoning regulations currently on the books. What must Mr. McKay do to show he is legitimate in his desire to be bring about equity? The only thing he can do is to show residents he is listening and by inviting us in to participate in his big plan for equity long before he unveils it to the public. Pretty sure that's not going to happen. Carol

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  3. "Double down on our commitments to equity." Sounds good, but what does that really mean? Whenever I hear the word equity I think it means measuring the success of government programs by whether there are proportionate number of whites, blacks, Hispanics, Asians, women, men, etc., etc., and certain (but not all) roles. The way to "ensure" equal outcomes is by incentives, and when that doesn't work the government must resort to force.

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