Home » Government »News » Currently Reading:

Why Launch www.JimBurton.org?

June 5, 2012 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Government, News No Comments
Jim_Burton_cropped

By Jim Burton

From January 1, 1996 until January 1, 2012, I served on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors. During this period, the County underwent the most dramatic changes in its history. The population grew from approximately 120,000 to over 320,000 as thousands of acres of farmland were converted into sprawling suburban subdivisions. Loudoun became one of the fastest growing counties in the nation, at times even the fastest growing.

The school system grew from 17,000 students in the mid-1990’s to over 67,000 in 2011 as 46 new schools were built and opened. A predominantly all-volunteer fire and rescue system painfully changed to a system dominated by career firefighters and EMT specialists. Demand for playing fields and other recreational facilities soared. Traffic came to a halt.

Old Loudoun slowly faded as a new Loudoun emerged.

Building the infrastructure to support such an explosive growth in population was – and continues to be – a challenge. The need for new schools, libraries, firehouses, community centers, jails, ballfields, and roads, mostly funded by long-term debt and all requiring new staff to operate, has led to a continuing upward pressure on homeowners’ property taxes. During this period, the long-term debt went from $150 million to $1.2 billion and the average homeowners’ yearly tax bill grew from $1,900 to over $5,000. Yet, many residents could not – or would not – make this obvious connection. Some had significant financial stakes in a “business as usual, growth at any cost” mindset. Others were committed to an ideology of absolute property rights and laissez-faire economics. Still others were busy with school schedules and career calendars, with no time and energy to pay attention to what their government was doing. Some residents, however, did make the connection between growth and taxes and worked hard to change the system. I was one of them.

Pendulum politics has been the result of these pressures. Over the past 16 years the County has seen entire Boards turnover every four years as a pro-growth Board of Supervisors is replaced by a slow-growth Board, followed by another pro-growth Board, and so on – back and forth from one extreme to the other. Issues visited by one Board were reversed by the next Board and then modified yet again by the following Board. Questions about ethics and transparency emerged; front page news stories reported on the spectacle. Lawsuits were fought and settled. The pressure to locate public facilities – somewhere, anywhere – led to fierce debates between neighbors and the bitter ending of more than one friendship. It has been an interesting time.

During this tumultuous period, I published a steady stream of newsletters, citizens’ alerts, analyses, presentations, and briefings, which dealt with the issues and controversies as they unfolded. Most were posted on my County website; with my retirement, the County removed them from its website. However, the issues they addressed continue to be debated and several people suggested that I find a new home for these documents, so that the history they report and the analysis they provide would not be lost. Hence, the primary objective for this website is to provide an archive of sorts for those who may be interested in researching the history of that period or who continue to be active in the political debate. However, as new issues unfold or new wrinkles on old issues surface, I will occasionally add to this archive with my thoughts and comments or even some new documents.

The first of these additions, unavailable elsewhere, is a searchable compilation of the campaign finance reports for the winning Board of Supervisors candidates in the 2011 elections. Since the County website has changed format, these materials are no longer available online, except for the shortened form available at www.vpap.org. My wife, Lina, has twice requested that the links to this information be made operational, but as of this writing, that has not yet been done. It is important that this information be available to the public, and the lack of its availability on the County site is troubling. Fortunately, she had downloaded these materials prior to their disappearing from the County site, and has compiled them for inclusion here.

The second of these additions concerns Political Action Committee (PAC) donations to the winning Board of Supervisors candidates. Using the www.vpap.org website, Lina analyzed the donations from the PACs and put them into a searchable database so it is clear exactly where the money donated to the candidates through PACs came from. It’s an eye-opener, and unavailable anyplace else.

Finally, although this site is not intended to be a forum and will not offer a public comment functionality, I would be happy to hear from individuals with questions or ideas. The site contains a link to my email address where anyone who wishes can contact me.

Jim Burton’s website will be on the air on or about June 15 and can be found at www.jimburton.org.

Comment on this article


By commenting, you agree to abide by our Terms of Service.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

Ice house, Hot House and Mad House

noerpel_new

Recently, I was asked: “I know we are putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and scientists say that will warm the planet but there were also ice ages and warmer climates in the past before humans so what caused those …

Sugar Crash

Lunde new

Sugar runs inside our body and fuels our very being. In biology they teach us that sugar is really glucose which is broken down in the body to produce ATP (adenine tri-phosphate). So why bring this up? Well, sugar is …

The Art of Memory

moore-sobelnewmug

By Samuel Moore-Sobel Still Alice. A movie that not only elicits tears, but naturally incurs reflection. This heartrending movie was the starting point of a personal wrestling with the implications of human memory. Remembering can bring us back to a …

Living in Debt

Michael_Pic

Dr. Mike, My husband has issues with money that are hurting our relationship and family. He makes a lot of money, but he spends more than he makes and we are in debt. He can’t just have a luxury car, …

June in the Garden

juneingarden flowers

Conserve Water, Beat the Heat and Keep Things Blooming By Andrea Gaines It’s getting hot out there. And, there’s nothing more discouraging for a gardener that to come home after a weekend away – or miss a regular watering schedule …

Potoma Wayside

potoma wayside

My advice is: Don’t look straight down; the combination of rushing highway traffic a couple of feet away and, what’s – to me, anyway – a dizzying height, can produce some unsettling sensations. I came to this conclusion after walking …

Editorial

Grief and Greed

blueridge2

By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Oh No, It’s the Christians!

blueridge2

By Nicholas Reid In the hours and days following every massacre perpetrated by radical Muslims, there is one unifying theme across most news coverage of the massacre, wherever it may …

Dear Editor

Thank You Purcellville Voters

kelligrim

I would like to thank you, the Purcellville voters, for your tremendous support of my campaign for Town Council.  I appreciate that so many of you put signs in your …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

blueridge2

Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Student News

Four Scouts Achieve Eagle Scout Rank

3 Feb 2016

eaglescout

Joel Gicker, Kyle Siecker, Sam Soltis and David Watson achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at Blue Ridge Bible Church in Purcellville on January 9. The four Eagles are members of Troop 711 of …

(Be the first to comment)

8th Grade Writers Honored At Blue Ridge Middle School

2 Jul 2015

blueridgemiddleschool

Sixty-seven Blue Ridge Middle School eighth graders have been honored for their writing during the 2014-2015 school year. Many students had their writing selected for publication by Creative Communication, a program for student writers, while others won county-wide writing contests. …

(Be the first to comment)

Ben Kellogg Achieves Eagle Scout

1 Jul 2015

benkellog

Benjamin Robert Kellogg achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at a Court of Honor conducted at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Purcellville on March 29. Friends, family and troop leaders attended the celebration, including his parents, Robert and Deirdre Kellogg. …

(Be the first to comment)

Calendar

June 2016
M T W T F S S
30

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

31

Sea & Sky – an exhibit by copper artist Anne Jordan and mixed media artist Karen Watson

1

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

2

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Free Gardening Lecture

3

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

4

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Yard Sale

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

PAUL REISLER TRIO WITH LEA MORRIS AND MARSHALL KEYS

5

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

6

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

7

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

8

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

9

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

10

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

11

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

19th Annual Cajun Festival & Crawfish Boil

12

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

13

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

14

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

15

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

16

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

17

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

18

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Goats at BRNP

19

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Bring Dad to North Gate Vineyard

20

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

21

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

22

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

23

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

24

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

June Fourth Friday at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

25

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Love, He Called It

26

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

Sip & Paint at Breaux Vineyards

Love, He Called It

27

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

28

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

29

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

30

It’s a Beach Thing . . . featuring lamp-work glass artist Julie Bahun and abstract painter Karen Hutchison

1 2

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

3
Current Print Issue:
Sign up for our email newsletter:

Recent Comments

Lifestyle

Troy and Paula Haag Perform at Old Stone School

9 Jun 2016

troy and paula haag 1a

Troy and Paula Haag, will appear on The Gap Stage at the Old Stone School on Saturday, June 18. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Dinner will be sold by Big Mike’s BBQ, drinks will be sold by the glass, and there will be desserts at intermission. Troy and Paula will be joined by Max Haag …

(Be the first to comment)

Here’s To the Colorists, Manicurists and Blow Dry Mavens… Thanks for Listening!

1 Jun 2016

hair color

Sunday, June 26 is Beauticians Day, celebrating the cosmetology and other experts who keep us looking and feeling our best – whether it’s with a haircut and style, a facial, a manicure, or just some quiet and light conversation.

(Be the first to comment)

Wait. Something That’s Really Healthy Can Be Really Fun … Too?

1 Jun 2016

poolsafety2

Parents of small children, and property owners with pools, ponds and other water features know that swimming safety is a must. You need to have clear rules about how ponds, pools and other places are to be used, and when. Safety equipment needs to be up to date and accessible, and it is critical that there be a responsible adult …

(Be the first to comment)

Around Virginia

HUD Awards $2 Million in Housing Counseling Grants To Virginia

Kaine

Sens. Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine (both D-VA) announced today that Catholic Charities USA, headquartered in Alexandria, will receive $951,150 in federal funding, and the Virginia Housing Development Authority, located in Richmond, will receive $1,040,918. This nearly $2 million grant by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) …

(Be the first to comment)

Four Hop, Skip and a Jump Local Destinations

morven

Last month we encouraged our readers to consider visiting any one of five great destinations within just a stone’s throw of Loudoun’s history-lined borders – Berryville and Harper’s Ferry among them. This month we feature four destinations – two right here in our much-celebrated county, and two just over the …

(2 comments)

Out and About Loudoun and Beyond

The Plains’ charming restaurants, shops and sidewalks.

Five Stone’s Throw Spring and Summer Destinations By Andrea Gaines Bordered by the Potomac River to the north and beautiful mountains to the west – and with easy access to Rt. 95, the Dulles Toll Road and Route 66 – Loudouners have no short list of fun spring places to …

(Be the first to comment)

Sports

The Lady Vikings Earned Back-to Back Conference Title

1 Jun 2016

lvhs

The Lady Vikings earned the back-to back conference title with a 4-1 win over Heritage in late May. The team earned a first round playoff bye finishing first in the conference and then went on to defeat Rock Ridge 12-0 in the conference semi-finals. The Lady Vikings ended their regular …

(Be the first to comment)

Big Baseball Coming To Fireman’s Field

1 Jun 2016

purcellville cannons

Got Your Father’s Day Gift Lined Up Yet? The Purcellville Cannons’ Brett Fuller couldn’t be happier. He’s the owner of one of the most popular teams in the Valley Baseball League. The team, up until recently was called the Charles Town Cannons but now calls Purcellville its home.

(Be the first to comment)

Archives

  • +2016
  • +2015
  • +2014
  • +2013
  • +2012
  • +2011
  • +2010
  • +2009