Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Promises Broken; Faith Lost: Chesterfield Government Breaks Down

If you think Washington is a mess; citizens of Chesterfield do not have to look past its own to witness complete arrogance and frankly ignorance. Those may appear to be strong words, but in the last few months we have seen elected officials on the Board of Supervisors spar with those on the School Board far too many times over such matters as the budget. Now, apparently the Chesterfield Planning Commission; a body of UNELECTED officials that are appointed by each member of the Board of Supervisors to represent each respective district has taken up the bat for its boss in the Board of Supervisors and swung it directly at the School Board as well.

Frankly, I have never witnessed such an arrogant display by certain leaders that are in effect not even elected by the people attack those officials that are elected by the general public. When an official unilaterally calls for the ouster of ALL 5 members of the School Board it is a bit over the top and in fact highly inappropriate.

What can the public do? Little. The Planning Commission which over the years and guided my such misguided Comprehensive Planning by the likes of former Chairman of the Planning Commission Daniel Gecker who now represents the Midlothian District as a County Supervisor basically serves at the pleasure of the Board and for the most part has historically been a rubber stamp of the Board of Supervisors agenda. Remember, the members of the Planning Commission do not answer to the people directly.

The School Board certainly has made many mistakes over these last few years, but in the end the School Board must always be reactive to what the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission orchestrate. In no place is this seen more than in school crowding for example. I do not recall anyone of these "Planners" calling for the brakes to be put on, including Supervisor Gecker when for over eight years he oversaw what has to be the largest expansion of growth and zoning approvals in Chesterfield history. Such policy resulted in many of the shortcomings we are experiencing in our school system today. At a recent meeting at Greenfield Elementary School, Supervisor Gecker went on record stating that Crestwood Elementary was not delivering the same level of education that it had in past years. Mr. Gecker should have the integrity to admit that it has been policies that he himself has endorsed and/or supported that has created those levels to be challenged. You cannot keep expecting growth to pay for itself, nor can you expect teachers across the County to continually be asked to educate larger and larger classes which are a direct result of poor planning.

I personally have lost faith in this government to work together and formulate a vision for the future for Chesterfield together with a united front. Instead, while Chesterfield has sought to be a First Choice Community, these leaders are well on their way of transforming Chesterfield into a second rate locality. While Henrico County continues to right its ship; Chesterfield remains bogged down in divisive squabbles that have more to do with personalities than issues.

As citizens we have witness promises broken time and time again and after todays display of government in action; why should anyone have faith in this government anymore to provide solutions when they are more concerned with declaring whose to blame for our condition?