The Central Virginian did a good job of capturing where the County’s Broadband project stands in last Thursday’s edition. The Broadband Authority is not happy with their consultant’s progress, and supervisors opposed to Broadband want the Authority to change their bylaws, allowing them to appoint members from outside their district.
And while they did report that the Broadband Authority voted 5-0 for the exact opposite, they failed to connect the dots between those facts and boards’ actions. Like how Troy Wade, the Board's chair re-stacked the deck in January after replacing both Supervisors on the Authority.
Apparently convinced that if he paired a radical like Duane Adams, who has never made any bones about his opposition to Broadband up with the boards most notorious get along to go along, that it would change their votes. Meanwhile Tommy Barlow, the other supervisor showed some unexpected sack after appointing Tim Layne, the founder of the Louisa Residents for Internet FB group to the Authority.
Despite the unanimous rebuke by the Authority, such impertinence won’t keep Wade and Williams from using the expiration of the Broadband Authorities member’s terms in June as another excuse to reshuffle the deck. Reportedly, one of them told his representative that he would “consider their re-appointment” if they voted to change their bylaw’s to allow supervisors to appoint members from outside their voting district.
Evidently, they plan to split the Broadband Authority 4-2 along ideological lines knowing it would increase the odds of 3-3 stalemates should another member flip. Nor will there be any chance of a tie breaking vote unless Jim Ogg’s status is resolved in their favor.
Authoritarians have always prospered by keeping their thumbs pressed on the scales of governance. Nor are these deeds happening in isolation; like the Adams-Koren Supervisors race last year which saw rivers of outside money and negative mailers come pouring in.
It’s a safe bet that Republicans will attempt to replicate that success in 2019, starting with deposing Willie Gentry and keeping Wade and Williams in office. Like last years Mineral district race, the Cuckoo district seat is eminently winnable for anyone with an R behind their name and it flips the Board from 4-3 for, to 4-3 against.
Over the course of these past few months, these supervisors have given us an object lesson in how a minority can abuse the system at every opportunity. And they will do so with impunity should they become a majority in 2019. Given how far away this election is; the best prospect of slowing their roll is to work with the Broadband Authority members committed to the project and outvote them in the Broadband Authority meetings.
Then outvote them again at the Board of Supervisors meetings on Broadband and many other issues all the way to the 2019 election. After that our only hope lies not with Obi-Wan in a far away galaxy, but with the residents of the Louisa, Jackson, and Cuckoo districts voting for change.