Two SWAC area newspapers ... two opposite reactions to a supervisor trying to listen to the people and work his way through the current issue of citizen outcry over outrageously inflated real estate assessments in Augusta County.
The Waynesboro News Virginian has supported Pastures Supervisor Tracy Pyles in his (so far futile) quest to get the other supervisors to listen and roll back assessments rates to 2004. Last week's editorial gave him a thumbs up for his stand with the people.
To read the Staunton News Leader's thoughts, one would think a supervisor should sit in his cushy leather chair in the Government Center and walk lockstep with the rest of the supervisors. In their editorial last week they criticized Mr. Pyles for standing before hundreds of citizens to listen to their concerns and answer their questions. They criticized him for urging those citizens to turn out at the Board of Supervisor meetings to show their citizen activism.
Shouldn't they be patting him on the back? Newspapers, after all, propose to be for the people and all about transparency in government.
Their concern, the NL said, was that by listening to the citizens Mr. Pyles would not be able to work with "them" -- "them" being the other six supervisors. These are the same supervisors who have excoriated him publicly in BOS meetings ... the same "them" who shut him out from speaking at a meeting last fall ... the same "them" who shun him at meetings. (See News Virginian articles, below, dating back to September 2008 on this subject.)
Isn't it nice to have democracy, freedom of speech, and an elected official who actually listens to the people?
Background News Virginian articles on assessments:
- Pyles proposes delaying assessment for 2 years
- Preliminary assessment values show rise
- Break needed for taxpayers
- Reassessment delayed until end of year
- County seeks extension
- Consultant delves deeper into Augusta County economy
- State budget woes being felt locally
- Supervisors seek a more flexible reassessment cycle
- Economy offers opportunities
- Reassessment update to be given to board
- Say yes now to lower rate
- Reassessments raise debate
- Heed Pyles, us
- Reassessment notices to be sent Friday
- Reassessments frustrate many
- Homeowners appeal assessment
- Mass appeals
- Augusta needs lower tax rate
- Attorney wants rollback or he'll sue
- Editorial: Put brakes on assessment
- Supervisors tighten belts for next year's budget
- Roll right on back to 2005
- Meeting to address reassessments
- Property owners protest increase
- Opinion: Present times draw memories of the past
- Editorial: Three thumbs up, three thumbs down
[Editor's note: I had posted the News Leader's editorial here but was asked to remove it and leave only the link which will be active for about three months. I was trying to make it convenient for folks but will not risk copyright infringement by leaving it up. I apologize for the inconvenience.]