Opposition A No-Show At Loudoun Supervisors' Meeting
The Tuesday, September 4 meeting of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors was supposed to be a wild public affair, but the circus never made it to town.
The authorities were well-prepared. Several officers each from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office and Leesburg Police Department were posted around the government building - seven or eight more than you'd see at a typical Tuesday morning meeting. The entire area fronting Loudoun Avenue was blocked off with yellow tape, apparently to ensure the crowds filed through a narrow corridor where several law enforcement personnel were on gatekeeper duty. Parking meters all the way down Harrison Street up to Tuscarora Mill were bagged to keep the street clear.
Everything hinted at the expectation of busloads of attendees pouring in.
And the expectation was not without reason.
After the Loudoun Board unanimously passed an immigration enforcement resolution on July 17, leaders of two local advocacy groups opposing the resolution essentially admitted they were caught flat-footed, and they promised a vigorous response at the September 4 meeting.
Both Mukit Hossain, president of the Virginian Muslim Political Action Committee, and Laura Valle, Executive Director of La Voz of Loudoun, told reporters they were going to bring large numbers of people to the hearing:
Two of the groups leading the charge against the board's efforts are La Voz of Loudoun, a Hispanic outreach and advocacy nonprofit organization, and the Cascades-based Virginian Muslim Political Action Committee...
Hossain's group and La Voz are rallying supporters to attend the Loudoun supervisors' Sept. 4 meeting. At that meeting, the board is expected to hear from county staff members about which services can be cut off to people without legal status and what the financial effect on the county might be.
More from the Connection:
VALLEâ€™S LA VOZ and other groups opposed to the possibility of restricted county services said that they are focusing on educating residents and those with questions about the realities of illegal immigration.
"The goal is not to say they are right or wrong to want to do something," Valle said. "But we want the Loudoun citizens to be involved in this."
Mukit Hossain, president of the Virginia Muslim Political Action Committee, said he is also concerned with making Loudoun residents civically engaged. Hossain, along with other immigrant groups, recently formed the American Dream Alliance, which will work on voter registration and campaigns that support the immigrant community.
"These sort of issues should be dealt with in the ballot box," Hossain said. "I think if you can create activity leading up to the November election, I think we can alleviate the situation."
As it turned out, there were no crowds opposing the resolution, and the audience for the hearing consisted overwhelmingly of immigration enforcement supporters, including at least 10 people wearing "Ahlemann for Sheriff" T-shirts. (Speaking in support of immigration enforcement were Mr. Ahlemann himself and Senate candidate Patricia Phillips).
Although Ms. Valle attended the hearing she did not speak during the public comment portion, and only two of the 14 or 15 people who testified on the issue spoke in opposition to the proposed immigration enforcement measures - and neither of the two seemed to be part of any coordinated opposition.
Whatever the reason, the reversal is a notable shift in tactics from a month ago.
UPDATE - Laura Valle of La Voz responds:
I told no reporter at no time that we (La Voz) was going to try and get a large show at the Board meeting. Our effort to get people involved was the August 16 Panel presentation and the August 26 community meeting. Over 300 people showed up to those meetings. Those are some good numbers.
I did not speak at the Board meeting in part because I was very confident that there would be no action with out further review.
Also, the media misreported when they stated that La Voz is leading the charge against the Board. I am sure you are aware that the media does not always get it right. We have repeatedly stated that we support the Board's effort to look into the issue.
Also I was contacted by Ricardo Juarez (Mexicans Without Borders) in late July at which time I told him that La Voz would not support protests, boycotts, etc. La Voz actually deserves some credit that Loudoun has not experienced what Prince William has over the past few weeks. We have been very outspoken against extremes. We held a meeting at the Sterliing Community Center to get input from the community about what La Voz could/should do in reaction and though we recieved a lot of suggestions to protest and coordinate with other regional groups, we did not pursue any of them as they contradict the stated purpose of our organization which is to integrate and to unite the community.
And no- La Voz has nothing to do with La Voz de Atzlan. (I still have no idea what that is). That's getting old. There are dozens of organizations that use the name La Voz, most of which are Spanish language newspapers, and we are not affiliated with any of them. Please refer to my op ed in the LTM for more on that.
As for the next Board meeting, I am encouraging people to come and speak, but I do not care what they say. 15 people was a pathetic turnout on an issue of such importance.
I cannot speak for Mukit Hossain as I have only met him once but after following all the links it appears he expects people to act at the polls and not during Board meetings.
So Joe, if you are going to continue to write about La Voz at least take the time to get it right, and don't belive everything you read in the media unless it is a direct quote,a nd even those can be taken out of context. I would think as a conservative you would be more sceptical of the media, in particular the Washington Post.
There is no coordinated opposition in Loudoun County that I am aware of. There need not be. The suggested actions brought forth have raised enough questions and concerns all by themselves, as the County Board acknowleged on Tuesday.
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