Without dissent the Warren County Board of Supervisors authorized advertisement of its proposed $107.8-million Fiscal Year 2019 budget, including a one-cent Real Estate Tax increase and a 10-cent hike to the Machinery and Tool Tax. The increases would raise the Real Estate tax rate to 66-cents per $100 of assessed value; and Machinery/Tool tax to $2.05.
As explained in more detail below, the combined tax increases will produce about $575,000 in additional revenue. That coupled with $1.1-million in cuts and the use of nearly $2-million in General Fund reserves will balance a total budget proposal of $107,826,301, requiring $76,251,417 of local revenue. The FY18 county budget was $105,626,234, requiring local revenue of $73,955,107.
The unanimous Tuesday, March 27 vote on a motion by Tom Sayre, seconded by Archie Fox, came despite an early budget process commitment by the supervisors to approve an FY19 budget with no tax increases after last year’s divisive 3-cent real estate hike. However, as Royal Examiner reported in the wake of March 23 budget work session discussion a perfect storm of financial variables made that impossible while maintaining viable county operations.
Those variables included: employee health insurance rate increases of 12% to about 20% for public schools; a public school budget including wage hikes to keep teacher salaries competitive after a decade of floundering to do so; unanticipated increases in the Sheriff’s Office budget to accommodate additional school security personnel in the wake of the Florida and Maryland school shootings in the last six weeks; and a combination of revenue losses totaling about $1.6 million.
Primary in the negative revenue column was the double whammy of the loss of over $570,000 in tax revenue from the Dominion Power plant due to a pollution-mitigation equipment exemption ruling by the State Corporation Commission and the loss of over $1-million in State Composite Index (which judges a community’s ability to fund its public schools) revenue. County Administrator Doug Stanley observed that the composite index rating that decreased State contributions to the county’s public schools included that $570,000 in Dominion tax revenue the County no longer receives. It is a situation that will not be corrected until the next budget cycle.
“We would have been in good shape without the Composite Index and Dominion tax revenue losses,” board Chairman Tony Carter observed at the March 23 work session of that double lost-revenue hit.
During that work session the county administrator traced cuts to the budget totaling $1,123,468; as well as the use of nearly $2-million in General Fund Balance reserves to help balance the coming fiscal year budget. Additional revenues from the tax increases total about $511,850 on the real estate side – $404,850 from each penny hike, plus another $107,000 in Real Estate tax-based fees, primarily to Dominion Power – and an estimated $63,000 from the Machinery & Tool tax increase.
The total FY19 Warren County budget is now $107,826,301. That number is up about $1.7 million from an originally-projected $106,051,279. However, that $107.8-million number includes all revenue sources, state, federal and schools. The total of local County General Fund revenue necessary to balance the budget is $76,251,417. That is up just over $1.8 million from original estimates. The final proposed local appropriation to the public school budget is $25,849,992, up $2,428,828 from an optimistically penciled-in flat projection from FY18.
School security costs explained
Prior to the March 27 meeting and budget advertisement vote, the supervisors met with Sheriff Daniel McEathron to discuss details of the numbers submitted to meet additional School Resource Officer (SRO) needs to beef up security at the county’s public schools. The sheriff was absent from the March 23 work session at which Schools Superintendent Greg Drescher presented a request for another $326,905 in the sheriff’s office SRO budget to enhance school security. That increase included $169,525 in personnel costs, $40,562 per new SRO deputy and $7,277 for increases to SRO administrative staff salaries.
The plan is to add four school resource officers so that each elementary school will now have a full-time SRO presence. Currently there is one SRO assigned to each of the county’s two high schools and two middle schools, with one SRO circulating among the five elementary schools.
While North River Supervisor Dan Murray questioned the necessity that one of the SRO’s be a higher-ranking, and paid, lieutenant at the March 23 work session, he also observed, “I have been the most outspoken against a tax increase but to save the life of one child is worth it.”
And Murray and his colleagues appeared to accept Sheriff McEathron’s explanation on the necessity of adequate command staff – a lieutenant – to oversee the massive responsibility of providing security for nine schools, their students and staffs – “That’s huge, I know you’re responsible for the whole county, but that’s a lot,” the sheriff said of the SRO staff’s responsibilities.
The sheriff pointed out that he had reduced a captain’s position elsewhere in his department, and that a sergeant would be moved into the SRO lieutenant’s position, so that it was not an entire lieutenant’s salary that was being included in the SRO increase. The SRO sergeant’s position already exists and that officer also serves as an on-site School Resource Officer.
Murray seemed amendable, if somewhat resigned, to the fact that as he said “like everywhere” the SRO department might be to his liking, a bit “top heavy”.
But with the specters of the Parkland, Florida and the St. Mary’s County, Maryland school shootings and fatalities over the past six weeks still looming large on everyone’s minds, the full SRO budget request of $692,997 appears to have survived the county chopping block.
Town staff backs off of Liaison discussion of cooperation on EDA situation
There was little substantive discussion on two crucial Front Royal-Warren County Liaison Committee agenda items Thursday evening, January 23. Both related to the present and future of the two municipalities relationship to their joint Economic Development Authority created in the late-1960’s.
Those relationships, particularly it would appear on the Town side, have reached stress points in the wake of the financial scandal that has resulted in dueling multi-million-dollar civil litigations, as well as 34 felony financial fraud indictments against former EDA Executive Director Jennifer McDonald, among other criminal charges against multiple defendants.
The topics were “Working Together Regarding the EDA Civil Suit” and the Town’s initiative to the Virginia General Assembly seeking authority to become the first municipality in Virginia history to be allowed to create a second EDA while its first, co-created EDA still exists.
As the first of those two topics was reached, Town Attorney Doug Napier noted that there was a motions hearing scheduled the next day regarding the Town’s now $15-million civil litigation against the EDA for recovery of lost assets.
“Loose lips sink ships,” Napier offered of public discussion of the Town’s claim of $15 million in lost or misdirected assets involving Town-generated funding of EDA projects.
Earlier in the day, Napier told Royal Examiner he expected Friday’s motions hearing to be brief, as Judge Bruce D. Albertson would rule on the Town’s request that it be allowed to continue to amend its civil action against the EDA as new information became available.
But Napier also verified that the Town has not yet submitted any documentation to support its financial claims against the EDA. That claim was initially made at $3 million, then amended to $15 million. At issue during what ended up being a conference call among the judge and attorneys at their respective offices Friday morning may be whether the court will want some supporting documentation of the Town’s claims against the EDA prior to authorizing further amendments upward to its existing $15-million claim.
That a rift may exist between Mayor Eugene Tewalt and his former council colleagues and administrative or legal staff regarding those topics became apparent during discussion of the EDA situation.
“The sooner we resolve this without going to court, the better,” Tewalt said following County Liaison representative Tony Carter’s observation that it would be to both municipalities benefit to work together on the situation, rather than at operational or legal odds as appears to now be town council’s preference.
“We don’t want to undermine the EDA, or at least I don’t,” the mayor added during discussion of council’s unprecedented attempt to be authorized to be party to two EDA’s at the same time.
Council is currently refusing to pay an apparently undisputed principal debt of about $8.4 million to the EDA on the Front Royal Police Department construction project as it ponders what it believes the EDA may owe it in misdirected Town assets.
EDA officials have said they will become financially insolvent, unable to pay existing debt, at some point in March without some changes to its current financial situation. However, it has been verified by both County and Town legal staffs that an EDA cannot declare bankruptcy or cease to exist while it has existing debt.
Of the potential of a second EDA being brought into the mix as the existing EDA tries to recover $21.3 million in alleged lost or defrauded assets and right its financial ship, County Supervisor Tony Carter called it an apparent duplication of costs – “To me it makes no sense,” Carter told the Liaison Committee of the Town initiative to be authorized to create a second, unilateral EDA.
County Board Chairman Walter Mabe joined Carter on the County side, along with County Administrator Doug Stanley. Councilman Chris Holloway joined Mayor Tewalt on the Town side, along with Interim Town Manager Matt Tederick and Town Attorney Napier. Also present observing the Liaison Committee meeting were County Board Vice Chair Cheryl Cullers and Town Councilman Letasha Thompson.
As he has previously, Tederick asserted that the town council had not committed to creation of its own unilateral EDA while still claiming partnership in the existing EDA, but is only maneuvering to keep that option open were the existing EDA to fail.
Town Attorney Napier has suggested the Town not consider separation from the existing EDA, in order to maintain claim to half the EDA’s real estate or other assets were it to fail. Of course, the Town would be jockeying for position with several banks and the County in such a scenario.
See these discussions and updates on other business of mutual interest to the Town and County in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
A ‘New Direction’ for the County’s Front Royal Golf Club municipal course
An aggressive management proposal for the County-owned Front Royal Golf Club was presented to the Warren County Board of Supervisors under the watchful eyes of the Golf Club Advisory Committee at a January 21 work session. The County took over ownership and management of the course and property from a private management entity in 2005. The land was part of a 63-acre parcel gifted to the community by William Carson Sr. and family in memory of their late son Billy Carson as one of, if not the first, Virginia public golf courses and recreational use areas.
New Direction Golf Management President Mike Byrd took the lead in presenting his company’s three-year management proposal at a cost of $100,000 per year to County officials.
And while a $300,000 commitment to the historic, if money-pit, municipal golf course might seem exorbitant on the surface, there appeared to be multiple positives for the County.
In response to a question from North River Supervisor Delores Oates, Byrd said that his company would be responsible to cover capital improvement costs for the duration of the management contract. And County Administrator Doug Stanley noted that the County invested $300,000 in the course last year and the New Direction contract would cap the County’s annual investment at $100,000, which has often been in the neighborhood, if not lower than the County’s annual costs to cover club operational expenses.
It was noted that last year’s investment included major upgrades to the condition of the course, which had been allowed to deteriorate over some period of time. “The course is looking better than it has in 15 to 20 years,” Stanley observed of the result of the capital improvement commitment made by the County last year.
While County officials explored alternate uses for the property in recent years that included abandonment of the golf course as a use, that effort was abandoned in the wake of local attorney Nancie Williams telling the supervisors in 2018 that she would aggressively help the club membership and potentially Carson family heirs, fight such an initiative in the courts.
Despite the positive impact of last year’s course maintenance effort, Byrd indicated that he had ideas for further physical alterations to the course to increase its playability and attractiveness to golfers.
“Greens are the key to course health,” Byrd said. And after playing the course he said the course greens tended to be fast and rolling, raising their difficulty level even for experienced golfers, and being a discouragement factor for new and youth players taking the game up. And with expanding the municipal course’s player and membership base being a key aspect of their plan, Byrd suggested a facelift for the greens would be in order.
“Our plan is to attract new golfers and rejuvenate old golfers’ interest in the game,” Byrd said. In response to a question he said existing club memberships would be honored under New Direction management. It was observed that the club’s membership, currently at 146, had been largely faithful in recent years despite the course maintenance issues.
A part of the New Direction plan is bringing a PGA Youth Golf “junior” League into play in the community and at the municipal course. It is a plan the company has a track record with at a Stafford County course near Fredericksburg known as “The Gauntlet”.
Byrd said that introducing a PGA Junior League at The Gauntlet resulted in 300 kids participating last year – “If you have a youth soccer league, you should have a junior golfers league,” he told County officials. And if Stafford and Fredericksburg have a larger population base, around 100,000 to draw from, the numbers are still encouraging when transferred to Warren County’s 40,000 population.
Byrd said the Front Royal Golf Club could also benefit from becoming a sister course to PGA-friendly Gauntlet course about an hour away. County Administrator Doug Stanley told the board that the Stafford County and Fredericksburg City governments “highly recommend” New Direction’s golf course management.
While his company is new, founded in January 2018, its directors have 33 years experience in the golfing industry, Byrd said. And he said despite reports of the demise of golf as financially-successful recreational endeavor, he believes the sport “has never been in a better place” for expansion of club’s like the County’s municipal course.
He listed positives and negatives for the club, and cited past management mistakes the County has made in trying to deal with revenue shortfalls. Chief among mistakes was lowering fees to try and attract golfers from the many private courses it competes with locally. On the downside were “108 holes” the Front Royal Golf Club’s nine holes must compete with nearby.
However, he noted that the club’s four-dollar fee to play “tells you something is wrong with the product – and nothing is wrong with the product (at least that can’t be easily fixed like those tough-playing greens)” Byrd enthused over the Front Royal Golf Club’s potential. He said nine-hole courses are more common now than they have been in several decades.
Other pluses he sees are that it is a public course, open to all; the course’s proximity to a nearby commercial area and hotel; its physically beautiful setting at the river’s edge, which also has the downside of the threat of flooding that could jeopardize the health of the course; the hiking or running trail that runs through the property, and even the fact that a train runs through the course.
“And not many courses are on the National Registry of Historical Places,” Stanley added, noting the property was part of the 1864 Civil War Battle of Guard Hill.
“The clubhouse looks good – in 1998,” Byrd joked of another renovation facelift he sees in store for the club.
See Byrd and New Direction Golf Management associate Kayla Weaver’s full pitch of their plan to rejuvenate the Front Royal Golf Club, and County discussion of their plan, in this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Town/County Liaison Committee Meeting – January 23, 2020
The Town and County held their liaison committee meeting on January 23, 2020 at Town Hall. Mayor Eugene Tewalt chaired the meeting. County Supervisor Chairman Walt Mabe, Supervisor Tony Carter and County Administrator Doug Stanley represented the County. Mayor Tewalt, Councilman Chris Holloway, Town Manager Matt Tederick and Town Attorney Doug Napier represented the Town.
The agenda included the following items:
1 – Review Liaison Committee Mission Statement and Policies
2 – Development Review Committee
3 – Boundary adjustment request from Chris Ramsey
4 – Blighted and Derelict Structure Program
5 – Building inspector software
6 – Data Center
7 – Warren County In-Town Projects
8 – Working together regarding the EDA civil suit
9 – Resolution to General Assembly to allow Town to establish its own EDA separate from existing EDA
10 – Update on Happy Creek Road Project
11 – Discussion on Vehicle Decals
Watch the discussion on this exclusive Royal Examiner video:
Town given okay to amend its civil suit against EDA, with some explanation
Following a conference call with involved attorneys at their respective offices at 8:45 a.m., Friday morning, January 24, Judge Bruce D. Albertson granted the Town of Front Royal leave to amend its current $15 million civil filing against the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. The Town has 30 days to file an amended suit and the EDA will have the option of filing a demur to dismiss the amended suit as not factually supported legally.
The Town initially filed its suit seeking the return of $3 million of its assets believed to have been misappropriated as part of the EDA financial scandal, on June 21, 2019. That filing was described by Town Attorney Doug Napier at the time as largely precautionary to prevent any statute of limitations deadlines from being passed on yet-to-be-determined fraudulent EDA transactions utilizing Town assets.
Just over three weeks later on July 12, the suit was amended to $15 million, as previously reported, still without any elaboration on the sources of that number.
Of the January 24 judicial okay to again amend its suit, Town Attorney Napier said any coming amendment would “have to be legally cognizable” – or accompanied by legally supportable documentation. Napier said the Town had a scheduled meeting with its contracted auditor, Mitchell and Company, next week. That meeting may shed light on which direction, and how far in either, the Town’s amended civil suit against the EDA will next go.
The EDA’s civil litigation against what has grown to a total of 14 human and business entity defendants currently stands at $21.3 million. And despite his being dropped from the list of EDA civil case defendants in the wake of his death last spring from a possibly self-inflicted gunshot wound, electronic computer and phone records of former Sheriff Daniel McEathron have recently been subpoenaed from his estate in the EDA civil suit.
The initial amendment to the original Town claim against the EDA coincided with the Town’s pulling back from participation in the “EDA Reform Committee” and three-way EDA-Town-County joint meeting efforts geared toward fixing what had gone wrong to allow the alleged misappropriations and embezzlements circling the former EDA executive director, Jennifer McDonald, to happen over a number of years.
At the helm of the EDA for a decade prior to her December 20, 2018 resignation, McDonald has been the central figure in both the civil and criminal cases brought as a result of the Cherry Bekaert investigation of EDA finances begun in September 2018. She currently faces 34 financial felony charges brought by the special grand jury empaneled to investigate potential criminality tied to EDA finances in recent years.
Stated justification for one publicly voiced Town financial dispute with the EDA, the 4% bond interest rate the Town has been asked to cover on construction of the new Front Royal Police Department headquarters, has pointed heavily at “promises” made by McDonald. Those promises revolved around anticipation the FRPD project would qualify for the New Market Tax Credit Program offered municipalities for economic growth capital improvement projects.
However, as a non-job creating project the FRPD construction did not qualify for what would have been a 1.5% interest rate over the 30-year life of the bond issue with funding through the NMTC Program. As that dispute festers on the edge of Town-EDA litigation, the Town has refused to pay what appears to be an undisputed $8.4-million in principal payments bill the EDA has submitted to the Town on the FRPD project.
Written references in a Memorandum of Agreement and Resolutions of support of the NMTC funding cite “anticipation” of the program’s funding and support of that funding being pursued.
Despite late 2017, early 2018 recommendations of then Town Manager Joe Waltz, Finance Director B. J. Wilson and People Inc. NMTC Program Administrator Bryan Phipps that a guaranteed bank-offered 2.65%, 30-year interest rate would be preferable to competing with multiple municipalities for limited NMTC funds, a council majority chose to hold out for the NMTC financing the FRPD project ultimately did not qualify for.
However, some Town officials have pointed to verbal promises made by McDonald that the funding was in place, as a basis for the Town claim it should not pay more than 1.5% interest rate tied to those promises.
A “legally cognizable” argument on one Town claim against the EDA?
Time will tell.
Front Royal defines its digital truth
The American court system has struggled with solutions for the unprecedented increase in crimes involving digital fakes or forgeries. This national struggle hit the Town of Front Royal, Virginia when a $650,000 forensic audit was conducted of the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA). What this audit uncovered was astounding. Over the course of the last ten years, it is alleged that the EDA’s Executive Director, Jennifer McDonald, and possibly others, embezzled millions of dollars. McDonald is currently charged with 28 felony indictments stemming from alleged fraudulent activity; additionally, in an effort to recover money stolen, the EDA has slapped a $21.3 million civil lawsuit on McDonald and others in hopes of recovering some of the alleged embezzled and misappropriated money.
Committed to never letting something like this happen again, the Town of Front Royal is again on the front lines of this nationwide battle against digital fraud, this time as one of the first localities in America to start independently archiving its “Digital Truth” while taking proactive steps to eliminate future embezzlement schemes by utilizing cutting-edge technology.
“When the bills [for the forensic analysis] started rolling in, I think all of our jaws just about hit the floor,” recalls Doug Napier, Front Royal’s Town Attorney. “This wasn’t some outside rouge hacker attacking our community through the Internet, this was a trusted neighbor, a fiduciary, who had authorized access to digital files and contracts. We have seen first-hand the extraordinary cost of what embezzlement, through digital fraud, can cost. So far between the EDA, the Town and the County we have exceeded over $1.2 million just in accounting and legal fees and legal discovery through the court system hasn’t even started yet.”
Like tens of thousands of other local governments across the United States, Front Royal is transforming from an all paper world to one where vital records like contracts, official meeting minutes, public notices, or development agreements are now a mixture of hard copies, scans, and digitally generated and electronically stored files. As these documents move between the various entities and systems throughout local government, local officials must protect both confidentiality and originality at the same time. To do this, Front Royal turned to Trokt from Des Moines, Iowa, to run a pilot project on a unique blockchain-based application for local governments.
“Towns like Front Royal need a cost effective way to ensure that any file, whether it be a PDF, scan, video, image, or Word document, can be instantly validated as real no matter who shares it, where they store it, or what it is renamed,” says Trokt Managing Director Chris Draper.
“Using the same cryptographic technology as the National Security Agency (NSA), we capture what can be likened to a digital thumbprint or the file’s DNA, and permanently store that thumbprint in a distributed neo-public network. At any time in the future that file or any copy of that file can be instantly validated as an original. If the original were altered in any way, even as small a change as moving a decimal point, it could be instantly proven as a forgery.” Draper adds, “Instead of paying hefty fees and the complexities associated with digital forensics when a file is questioned, our technology provides validation accepted in any court for as little as fifty cents.”
Trokt has quietly spent much of the last decade becoming widely trusted within the LegalTech community for its nimble, user-friendly approach to protecting legally sensitive files as they are developed, shared and negotiated between multiple parties, locations, and organizations.
Looking to the future, Front Royal’s Director of Information Technology, Todd Jones, sees a freedom in Trokt’s platform that fits into his vision of an ongoing digital transformation strategy for the Town.
“We see value in piloting this technology based on the very human-centered and simple design philosophy, while incorporating the power of blockchain’s distributed ledger technology”, says Jones. “Of course, not everyone in today’s workforce was born a digital native. We decided to pilot this technology based on its ease of integration and flexibility to adapt to our current and future workflow processes. Based upon what has happened in our community with the EDA scandal, we have to get this right and never allow document fraud again.”
Trokt (www.trokt.com) provides digital collaboration and enterprise blockchain solutions to define Truth within Digital Transformation. The Trokt neo-public blockchain network is a unique, patent-pending architecture catering to the confidentiality and privacy needs of the LegalTech sector. Trokt is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa.
Citizen militia debate rejoined at Tuesday County Board meeting
During the second Public Comments portion of the meeting, the debate over the advisability of Warren County passing resolutions authorizing enactment of an armed citizen militia was revisited. The first four of six speakers divided evenly on the topic.
College student Sarah Downs and Paul Gabbert came down against, with Dusty Lipinski and Craig Anderson calling for County action authorizing what they feel is a citizen right inherent in both the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions.
Downs, a student of political ideology at Shenandoah University, first thanked Chairman Walter Mabe for his caution in approaching a previous request the board authorize a citizen militia in Warren County. She then expressed fear of what she called a historical tendency for such militias “to assimilate and acclimate to a certain political ideology that usually identifies with an extreme” philosophy, be it of the left or right politically.
She called for a trust in law enforcement “to do their job in protecting all rights within our county”, adding a call that “all gun holders are protected through the support of local law enforcement providing educational and training classes”, as well as “the enforcement of laws that protect all citizens, especially those most vulnerable to violence of any type, like children, women and those who fall into a minority group”.
Following Downs to the podium, Lipinski attempted to distance current militias from the “previous image” of extremism that Downs referenced. He said such local protections are needed because “the government in Richmond is going to pass laws anyway” that 2nd Amendment advocates see as unconstitutional infringements on their right to own firearms without legal restrictions of any kind.
Local enabling of citizen militias would offer citizens “further protections against any further unconstitutional laws” passed in Richmond Lipinski told the board.
Second Amendment advocates in Virginia have upped their alarm over what they believe are unconstitutional gun control bills on the table in the state general assembly since Democrats last year took their first majority in both houses since 1996. In fact, Tuesday was the final day of a five-day State of Emergency declared by Democratic Governor Ralph Northam in reaction to law enforcement intelligence and FBI arrests of seven members of a radical, racist, anti-government neo-Nazi group known as The Base last week.
At least some of those Base members arrested were believed to be planning to attend an annual gun rights rally on Monday, January 20, at the State Capitol in an effort to turn the demonstration into a violent, politically destabilizing one.
Next up was Gabbert, who told County officials, “I’m not looking to take guns away from people,” but adding, “We don’t need a militia – ever.”
He said he worried that militia members called to duty by local laws would be legally immune to prosecution if they killed someone during that deployment.
Gabbert also disputed a speaker from an earlier board meeting who called gun ownership “a God given right”.
“No, the only God given right is you obey the 10 Commandments and you get to heaven. The rest are government given rights,” Gabbert observed.
Noting that he had lost a brother to a shot from a .22 caliber gun, Gabbert also questioned a previous meeting 2nd Amendment advocate’s contention that modern, semi-automatic assault weapons were “no different than a .22”
Final guns debate speaker Anderson said he had been at the Richmond gun rally the previous day and assured the Warren supervisors that the armed demonstrators who did show up across the street from the State Capitol grounds were “loved” by the on-duty police, one of with whom Anderson said he joked, “When are we going to tar and feather that …” – a possible reference to Democratic Governor Northam.
“What better way to honor Martin Luther King,” Anderson asked, than to have a pro-gun rights rally on his birthday. His point seeming to be that King wasn’t allowed to possess a gun or have a conceal-carry permit during his lifetime, and if he had one, perhaps he wouldn’t have been killed at long range by James Earl Ray utilizing a sniper’s rifle.
Anderson predicted that Democratic leadership and their soft stance on illegal aliens would mark an end to Constitutional law and freely elected presidents within the U.S. He also broached the possibility that the Shenandoah Valley and other parts of the state might be able to leave a Democratically-controlled Virginia to become part of West Virginia in order to avoid what he called “intolerable restrictions on the 2nd Amendment – I won’t mention all the other Amendments that are going to be violated … and this isn’t all just some pipe dream,” he told the Warren supervisors.
Anderson also expressed disappointment in a recent conversation with Warren County Sheriff Mark Butler, whom Anderson said, told him law enforcement was the American militia in the modern world.
Of the potential of red flag laws being passed by the state legislature and enforced locally, Anderson added, “Those red flag laws should terrorize everybody – you can be prosecuted if anybody doesn’t like you; your weapons are seized and you have to prove you are innocent.”
And so the debate rages over conflicting political and philosophical perceptions of gun rights versus the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness were you to be on the wrong side of the next mass shooting in Virginia or the nation.
See the above speakers’ full remarks, as well as additional public comments speakers Greg Harold and Harold Baggarly, between whom there was some confusion when Chairman Mabe called Harold’s name to speak, in the linked Royal Examiner video: