Regarding the epidemic of name calling that is raging through Rappahannock, I am replying specifically to Demaris Miller’s contention that the Board of Supervisors demonstrates “arrogant disregard” by scheduling regular monthly meetings at 2 p.m. on a weekday when, she claims, most county residents are working and unable to attend.
First off, public hearings ARE held at night.
Secondly, the board has been holding its routine monthly meeting on a weekday for decades. Four decades, at least, since I covered my first session. I haven’t checked the records, but this alleged “arrogant disregard” likely started well before that, maybe with the establishment of the board of supervisors. That’s a long time to maintain arrogance and, given the changing membership of the board, a lot of people who developed that worrisome “arrogance upon election” virus.
And that arrogance bug seems to be infectious, since the boards of supervisors in surrounding counties also meet during the day.
By the way, most of Rappahannock’s supervisors, now and in the past, are working men, too, and they manage to make the monthly daytime meetings despite the demands of their jobs.
And also by the way, based on in-person observation of local government, meeting times have no cause-and-effect impact on attendance. To borrow a phrase, it’s the agenda, stupid.
When contentious issues are under consideration, people turn out, for day meetings or night meetings.
For almost three decades that I worked for the paper, unless something controversial was being aired or acted upon, meetings drew two or three people — at most — besides the Rappahannock News reporter.
That applied to the night meetings of the Planning Commission, the School Board, the Water and Sewer Authority, the Washington Town Council and the Rappahannock-Rapidan Planning District Commission as well as the day meetings of the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Zoning Appeals.
Be nice, it’s easier.
Editor’s note: The writer is the former editor and general manager of the Rappahannock News