I would like to thank the Blue Ridge Leader for posting Mr. Bill Druhan’s speech at the Purcellville town council meeting on February 16 . At this meeting, former mayor and current member of the Purcellville Planning Commission, Bill Druhan, openly threatened Hirst Farm residents. Equally disturbing is the lack of outrage displayed by the Mayor and Town Council at Mr. Druhan’s dangerous speech. Our local government, the Mayor and Town Council members of Purcellville, have an obligation to reprimand Mr. Druhan and remove him from his position on the planning commission. They also have an obligation to provide a formal apology to Hirst Farm residents.
Devonshire Circle is a street in the Hirst Farm neighborhood. Mr. Druhan promises that the “perfect life on Devonshire Place is about to change.” What does that mean, Mr. Druhan? No one knows. Neither the Mayor nor the Town Council stopped him to demand that he explain the meaning of his threat. Mr. Druhan goes on to say, “For those hypocrites who believe the SCR is not needed but who find it necessary to cut/speed through Maple Ave. and/or 9th St., you will find yourself on YOUTUBE, FACEBOOK, TWITTER, MYSPACE and various other blogs.” Mr. Druhan’s inflammatory speech continues with another attack on Hirst Farm. He states, “So, to you self-important and blissfully ignorant folks on Devonshire Place, if you don’t want to be broadcast on the world-wide web, I suggest that you find another route out of town.” Again, the Mayor and Town Council quietly listened to this slander and threat.
Mr. Druhan, there is nothing more hypocritical than a former mayor, who, according to the Blue Ridge Leader, ran against the Southern Collector Road in 2002 and 2004; and who is also a current employee of the taxpayers of Purcellville, assuming the right to tell follow citizens which public roads they may or may not use.
To further underscore how serious his threat is to Hirst Farm residents, Mr. Druhan continues his speech. He gives a date, time, description and license plate of a vehicle that left Devonshire Circle and proceeded out of town via Maple Ave., Main St., and Rt. 287. Mr. Druhan’s details of the vehicle, including its speed on Maple Ave., show that he followed a driver from his/her home in Hirst Farm for approximately 2 miles. Presumably, based on his statement concerning use of the web, which he makes twice in his speech, he recorded video as well. At the end of his tirade, Mr. Druhan repeats his warning that “life on Devonshire Circle is about to change” and pulls out a radar gun noting, “by the way, it works in mobile mode”. This is not concern about traffic on Maple Ave. It is a deliberate act of aggression against Hirst Farm residents.
Mr. Druhan’s speech and actions are more than shocking and objectionable. They are abhorrent and dangerous. This video tactic is particularly heinous. How many pedophiles and kidnappers will benefit from Mr. Druhan’s broadcasts? One such person would be too many.
On February 23, I spoke to two members of the Purcellville Police Department. Neither one remembers a recent request for radar enforcement on Maple Ave. I do not believe that the police department would refuse a request from any homeowner on Maple Ave., particularly a request from the former mayor. Mr. Druhan deliberately attacked Hirst Farm.
What is it that Mr. Druhan wants? He told us in his speech. He wants the SCR completed. He appears willing to use any vile tactic to get it. The SCR is a divisive issue for Purcellville, and Mr. Druhan is attempting to divide Hirst Farm further. No matter what any person’s individual viewpoint of the proposed SCR; of the need or lack of need of the SCR; or of a citizen’s right to his land, home and means of income (farming) vs. a governments assertion that it can take land as it deems necessary; what Mr. Druhan is doing is wrong.
Mr. Druhan’s tactics of belittling, slandering, threatening, stalking and videotaping Hirst Farm residents is intolerable, unacceptable behavior. The Mayor and Town Council members did not take Mr. Druhan seriously. From watching the videotape, they did nothing except laugh when Mr. Druhan pulled out his radar gun and thank him when he finished speaking. The Mayor and Town Council members owe the residents of Hirst Farm a formal, written apology for condoning Mr. Druhan’s behavior. They also must formally reprimand and remove him from the Planning Committee. He is clearly not an objective, impartial member of that committee. For the mayor and Town Council to allow Mr. Druhan to continue in his duties is a slap in the face to Hirst Farm residents and demonstrates approval of Mr. Druhan’s aggressive tactics. As of Wednesday, February 24, there were no formal statements of apology on the Purcellville town website.
Mr. Druhan did not stop at the contemptuous tirade against Hirst Farm. He also submitted a petition in support of town wide transportation improvements at this same town council hearing. Unfortunately, Mr. Druhan uses this petition, which starts with a very good idea, a request for a Rt. 690/ Bypass 7 interchange, to attack Hirst Farm resident Ms. Kelli Grim. I cannot imagine that it is legal to write or to accept a petition that contains a specific person’s name. It is certainly unethical. Mr. Druhan is once again trying to divide Hirst Farm. It is clear to Hirst Farm residents when Ms. Grim is speaking on an issue as the HOA president and when she is speaking as a concerned citizen. Citizen Grim has expressed great concern over the approach the town has used with respect to Sam and Uta Brown’s property, Crooked Run Orchard. If I faced the trauma the Browns face, of losing home, land, and livelihood, I would welcome a neighbor’s interest. Empathy, concern and an insistence that proper procedure is followed are hallmarks of good citizenship in action. It is Ms. Grim’s, indeed any American’s, Constitutional right to question government legislation. In cases of local government, the citizen component of checks and balances becomes even more crucial, as local issues are not broadcast and debated the way national issues are. Good legislation welcomes scrutiny. It will pass the test.
Mr. Druhan, a town employee, is using the petition to harass a taxpayer. Once again, the Mayor and Town Council owe an apology to Ms. Grim and have another reason to reprimand Mr. Druhan. They also must refuse to accept the petition. To accept the petition would be to actively participate in this harassment.
On Saturday evening, February 20, my family participated in Cub Scout Troop 1162’s annual Blue and Gold Dinner at Emerick Elementary. Mayor Bob Lazaro also attended the Blue and Gold Dinner. He is a former Boy Scout, and was honored, along with President John Kennedy and astronaut and Senator John Glenn, as one of 100 distinguished Boy Scouts. Many of the Cub Scouts and families with whom Mayor Lazaro dined and socialized are like mine. We live in Hirst Farm. So, Mr. Mayor, are you still a Boy Scout? Will you do your duty to Hirst Farm residents and take action now, or will you wait until Mr. Druhan brings a gun of an entirely different sort into our neighborhood?