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December 12, 2019 · OPINION

As year ends, Fauquier remains a strong county

By Christopher T. Butler
Board of Supervisors Chairman

This has been a productive year for Fauquier County and its citizens. We continue to see moderate revenue growth from real estate, personal property and sales tax. Unemployment is significantly lower than state and national averages. Increased interest from commercial developers has helped to spur the local economy.

Some other major developments include:

• The county has maintained its Triple-A bond rating, allowing us to borrow money for capital projects at significantly lower interest rates.

• The board of supervisors’ commitment to provide adequate broadband services to its unserved and underserved residents is becoming a reality through the county’s incentive agreement with DataStream Mobile Technologies. Service is being provided to the Casanova and Goldvein areas. Plans are quickly moving forward for Hume, Calverton, Catlett, Bealeton, Vint Hill and Marshall.

• The long-anticipated Central Sports Complex is expected to be completed and opened by the summer. This facility will provide increased recreational opportunities and a state-of-the-art venue for the county’s youth. The county’s successful application for millions of dollars in state and federal funding has made possible the construction of a new aviation terminal at the Warrenton-Fauquier Airport, which will open in 2020.

• The county’s continuing commitment to provide Rappahannock River access to its residents was achieved this year with the donation of property for Riverside Preserve in the north and continued progress toward access in the south.

• The board’s 2019-20 budget has focused on the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and the fair compensation of our public servants. Additional fire and rescue personnel were authorized in order to provide better staffing at our stations. Replacement of the county’s public safety radio system for better coverage and faster response is nearing completion. The county continues to work with its state legislative delegation to support stricter penalties for distracted drivers. Funding was appropriated to support the coordination of school security efforts between the sheriff’s office and the schools. Over 400 county employees and a number of citizen groups were trained in providing critical care in an active shooter situation “until help arrives.”

• In affiliation with a number of other rural Virginia counties, the Fauquier County Board of Supervisors has discouraged the General Assembly from enacting any law that diminishes or infringes upon the rights of its citizens to legally and constitutionally possess firearms.

This has been a busy and exciting year for our great County. I have no doubt that 2020 will bring with it new opportunities and challenges. I look forward to working with my fellow board members, staff, and citizens to address them. It has been my singular honor to serve as your chairman. God bless us all as we move forward into a new year.

The writer lives near Remington and represents Lee District on the five-member county board.
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JonhStar · January 2, 2020 at 5:42 am
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Matthew Smith · December 26, 2019 at 9:14 am
Chairman Butler and BOS, you all are doing a fantastic job. Thank you for your continued efforts that support keeping Fauquier County agricultural/rural but also for your efforts to bring more businesses into our Service Districts that strengthen our tax base. Also, a huge "thank you" from many in unserved/underserved parts of Fauquier for your continued efforts to bring us broadband. Keep up the good work!
Rusty Wheel · December 18, 2019 at 4:13 pm
i didnt read it wrong i read it the same way you do

simply different countries and more of them recognize this right

no free market in the emergency room

health care lottery in the us has less respect for health care that doesn't bankrupt the average family ... $10k for a bike accident isnt right
jim goodwin · December 18, 2019 at 10:33 am
"i read this to say we have a right to health care but some of our govt varies in its respect for that right"

Well, you read it wrong.

Rusty, in your opinion, how is a government's "respect" for a right measured?

I measure it by how they treat their citizens when they pursue that right in the free market.

Both the U.K. and the U.S. have government-run health care systems. Both "respect" the right of their citizens to pursue their right to health care in the free market. But both RESTRICT access to health care through their government-run programs:

Wikipedia - Health care in the United Kingdom:

"In 2014 about 48,000 went abroad for treatment and about 144,000 in 2016. This may be driven by increasing waiting times for NHS treatment, but will also include migrants who may return to their home country for treatment, especially childbirth. It also includes fertility services, dentistry and cosmetic surgery which may not be available on the NHS."

Wikipedia - Health care in the United States

"Medicaid, which is available for those under certain income levels, does not guarantee access as physicians may elect to not accept Medicaid patients due to slow reimbursement, complex regulations, too much paperwork, and the necessity for extra staff to process the excess paperwork."

So, in either system, one has the right to health care. If one uses the free market to seek that health care, one is more likely to obtain it. If one exclusively uses either of the government systems, one more likely to run into restrictions on access to the resources that are controlled solely by the government.

Rusty Wheel · December 18, 2019 at 8:29 am
i read this to say we have a right to health care but some of our govt varies in its respect for that right

in addition, most other govts respect this right more than they do guns "rights"

all you are doing is making the argument that views of rights vary, not that your judgments are correct judgments
jim goodwin · December 17, 2019 at 11:26 am
BTW, Rusty, North Korea has in its bill of rights that citizens have the right to freedom of speech. They certainly have the right to speak freely. But they are going to pay a hefty price if the government doesn't agree with what they say.
jim goodwin · December 17, 2019 at 11:11 am
"if 'rights' are not respected by govt (and others like your neighbors, who elect the govt), they will not function as should 'rights' - which deserve respect and enforcement and whither for lack thereof"

I agree.

"rights vary worldwide - each govt has a different view on free speech or say guns"

Again, I don't believe the rights vary. I believe governments and cultures vary in their support for different rights.

"why do the gods unevenly distribute free speech between nations? or gun rights?"

They are not unevenly distributed. They are unevenly recognized and supported by governments and cultures.

"and of what good is a 'right' not generally respected by your govt?"

Whether a right is respected by the government is not a judgement about the quality of the right (whether it is good or bad). It's a judgement about the quality of the government.
Rusty Wheel · December 17, 2019 at 9:47 am
if 'rights' are not respected by govt (and others like your neighbors, who elect the govt), they will not function as should 'rights' - which deserve respect and enforcement and whither for lack thereof

rights vary worldwide - each govt has a different view on free speech or say guns

why do the gods unevenly distribute free speech between nations? or gun rights?

and of what good is a 'right' not generally respected by your govt?
jim goodwin · December 17, 2019 at 9:00 am
God-given/natural/human rights are universal. What you're talking about are legal rights.

Constitution's Bill of Rights says nothing about bestowed rights. It talks about pre-existing rights that the government must not violate.

So if they're not bestowed by government, where do they come from?

The thing you're confused about is that you think just because a government power can TAKE AWAY one's rights it also means they are BESTOWED by the government. That's false.

You have the right to power your home with electricity. The electric company has the right to turn off your power if you don't pay the bill. You have not lost your right to power your home. You can put up solar panels. You can put up a wind turbine. You can run a generator.

The government (OUR government) is prohibited from violating your rights unless you have violated someone else's rights.

When government has the power to bestow rights, it can then dictate the quality of what is given. For example, if health care is merely a government right, government can determine every facet of how that health care is delivered; who, what, when, where, how and why. Your choices are limited by government, not by your freedom in a free marketplace. In a free marketplace, your choices might still be limited but they are limited by your personal circumstances, which can be changed. But if the government decides it will only deliver 5000 appendectomies per year and you are number 5001, you're SOL. But they'll make sure you're first on the list next year. Obviously, that's not a realistic scenario but it is meant to characterize the types of decisions that have to be made.

I will concede that my use of "Constitutional right" certainly doesn't bolster the argument that the rights enumerated therein are God-given. But I still believe, and I'm pretty sure the founders believed, that rights pre-exist government and they sought to limit the power of government to infringe on those rights. The Ninth Amendment: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

You asked which rights are bestowed by gods and which by government. Now that I've thought more about it (thank you) there are NO rights bestowed by government. All rights pre-exist government. Anything beyond that is either governmental or non-governmental entities exercising their power to restrict them.

We are exercising our right to freedom of speech not because our government GAVE us that right but because our government is expressly prohibited from restricting it.
Rusty Wheel · December 16, 2019 at 2:14 pm
how could you think otherwise?

rights vary worldwide with differing govts

they may be useless to you but many rely upon rights

you have a funny idea of rights, but let's humor you and ask which rights are bestowed by gods and which by govt?

you call some "unalienable" and "shall not be infringed" - aren't those phrases from govt docs and don't they only apply in the country that recognizes them?

you called a right "Constitutional" meaning it is in our govt's constitution - how is that not a govt granted right?
jim goodwin · December 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm
Okay. I can see we're not going to agree on that. I believe rights granted by government can be taken away by government and are therefore useless. Rights protected by government come from a higher authority, whatever that is. They are "unalienable" and "shall not be infringed".
Rusty Wheel · December 16, 2019 at 11:59 am
"in this case, we're defending a Constitutional right; a God-given right"

your words

rights come from govt, vary around world
jim goodwin · December 16, 2019 at 7:28 am
I'm not trying to trick you. I just want to be clear about where you stand.

"still this is not the question you raised, which is your falsity about God writing second amendment, which was inartfully written by man, not anyones god"

Did I say that God wrote the second ammendment? No.

Let's assume rights don't come from God. Where do they come from? Do we each just decide what our rights are? Or does government decide what our rights are?
Rusty Wheel · December 16, 2019 at 7:17 am
im old but not so rusty that i can be tricked with questions like yours

nothing is free - all has costs

question is how to pay - do we pay like we do now (divine health lottery w/ private insurance for some, govt insurance for others, like veteranss, politicians, etc) or should we expand govt insurance for all? (govt insurance funded thru progressive tax)

which way to pay is question, Iwe should all get what congress gets, that must be best

still this is not the question you raised, which is your falsity about God writing second amendment, which was inartfully written by man, not anyones god
jim goodwin · December 16, 2019 at 5:34 am
Rusty, do you believe that government should provide free health care, education and housing for everyone?
Rusty Wheel · December 15, 2019 at 9:50 pm
harvest your organs steal your books move into your house?


quite the progression here ... get a grip

you actually put guns over health, education, roof

speaks for itself

blacksmiths endowed us with guns

you laid out your priorities in your comment

pity that
jim goodwin · December 15, 2019 at 6:16 pm
Just a reminder, Sammy, that was the Declaration of Independence you're quoting:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

But notice the phrase "among these are". Do you think every human right MUST be enumerated in order for it to be protected from government tyranny?
As for the bible verses, spare me. There are plenty of others that advise to take up arms.

Rusty Wheel - First, what do you know about my priorities? Second, what's your point about "which church in town helps you get a gun if you need one?" The right to keep and bear arms is not a right to be GIVEN a firearm.

One's right to health care, education or housing is NOT the right to harvest my organs, steal my books or move into my house. So when we demand that our government give us free health care, education or housing because we have a right to those things, how does that transaction take place? It can only happen by TAKING, with threat of force, the resources of some entities and distributing them to others. If you're happy with that, I pity you.
Rusty Wheel · December 15, 2019 at 12:12 pm
surprised first commenter thinks God puts guns over education, health care or housing ... which church in town helps you get a gun if you need one?
Sammy · December 15, 2019 at 11:31 am
Goodwin, the God-given rights are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

the Constitution was written by men and men interpret it and enforce it. Confusing man with God is a mistake, sheer hysteria.

doncha think that if it was God-given it would've made the first writing of the US Constitution and not an afterthought reserved for the Second Amendment?

Matthew told us 'Jesus said to him, 'put your sword back into its place, for all who take the sword shall perish by the sword' and Romans reminds 'Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord" and "Wisdom is better than weapons of war," Ecclesiastes.
jim goodwin · December 15, 2019 at 6:25 am
Mr. Butler,

Appreciated your comments at the end of the the 12/12 meeting. With respect to your reservations regarding supporting "sanctuary" type resolutions and how it might foment more of the same from the left, that's understandable. I think we should keep in mind that, in this case, we're defending a Constitutional right; a God-given right. It is not the type of "right" that is often demanded of government like "free" education, "free" health care or "free" housing. It is not like asking for sanctuary for "undocumented immigrants." The distinction is very clear and the latter can and should easily be rejected.
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