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Posted May 9, 2012 | comments 11 Comments

Jail protesters effort to lobby McDonnell dashed

By Joe Beck -- jbeck@nvdaily.com
A group of 15 protesters hoping to plead their case against the planned RSW Regional Jail to Gov. Robert F. McDonnell Wednesday came away disappointed when he canceled an appearance in Front Royal.

The protesters, all but two of them from Shenandoah County, gathered at the entrance to the DuPont automotive coatings plant at the northwest corner of Winchester Road and Shadow Drive around noon, a half hour before McDonnell was scheduled to arrive.

Their mission was to seek McDonnell's intervention in a campaign to reverse the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors' support for the estimated $89 million jail project.

"This is a boondoggle, and it's going to profit the big shots in Richmond," said Mark Prince of Toms Brook, who has been one of the most outspoken jail opponents in Shenandoah County.

But a surprised Prince learned from a reporter that McDonnell had decided to skip his scheduled appearance at the Dupont plant. Prince said he believed the governor made his decision after learning about the protest.

"I think he got wind of it, and he didn't want a confrontation with us," said Prince, who quickly noted the protest was peaceful.

But Jeff Caldwell, the governor's press secretary, denied the protest had anything to with McDonnell's change of plans.

Caldwell said earlier stops in the day at Winchester and Middleburg and other factors led to the cancellation in Front Royal.

"It was a matter of timing and logistics and the bad weather that came in crunched in the travel time," Caldwell said. "We didn't know anything about any protesters."

Nick Bukowski, a member of the Warren County Republican Committee, said he knew of other committee members who also opposed the jail. The jail, which is only a few weeks away from groundbreaking at a site a mile or so away from Wednesday's protest, has drawn little opposition in Warren County where Sheriff Daniel T. McEathron has been a strong supporter.

Nevertheless, Bukowski, like others at the protest, said he believed the project will cost more than current estimates.

"At a time of impending fiscal collapse, it doesn't make sense to spend more tax dollars," he said.

While the governor was a no-show, the protesters waving their homemade poster board signs did attract the attention of some passing motorists who honked their horns in support. They were also noticed by three members of the Warren County's Sheriff's Office, including McEathron, who stopped to check on what was happening.

"Did you all check to see who's property this is?" asked Deputy Tom Hodges.

Hodges also telephoned the County Attorney's office to find out whether the protesters needed a permit.

While he waited for an answer, the protest began to disband just before 1 p.m.

The protesters and deputies bantered good-naturedly with each other and McEathron welcomed them to Warren County.

But he also delivered a blunt message to them.

"We're glad to have the regional jail here," McEathron told Prince. "It's happening. You have to adjust to that."

11 Comments | Leave a comment


    I think the Sheriff might need to re-read his OATH of Office, and if he's unclear on what the Constitution SAYS - He may want to seek employment elsewhere...The People are waking up; that county needs a CLEAN SWEEP, they don't Need another jail. They simply need to Release anyone who has not committed an actual crime. Unless an Individual INJURED another PERSON, or their Property, they are not supposed to be incarcerated at All. That would open up enough cells to jail the Public Officials in at least 2 or 3 surrounding counties who ABUSE their Authority and violate STATE and Federal codes DAILY...then Expense item it for re-imbursement from the Taxpayers who are not paying Any Attention at all.

      Yeah, the PEOPLE (all 15 of them). Maybe if they had any insight they would ahve planned to be at more than 1 place the GOV was going to be at. They chose Front Royal however he chose Winchester and Middleburg. Guess these folks (15) from Shenandoah don't know there are multiple localities in the Valley

      Guess under your definition of a crime, if I plant and bomb and it doesn't hurt anyone then I can't be put in jail? Wow.............are you a lawyer? And how exactly do I injure property. Does it have to cry first? Do you eat meat? If so if the animal cries can I put your @ss in jail?

      This group may have a point or points however with you as their spokesperson you now know why the minority loudmouths are being laughed at. Did you vote in the recent election or were you bloviating too much?

      If memory serves, it was Shenandoah County Sheriff Tim Carter that first supported a regional jail. He claimed his jail was so over crowded and in such disrepair, the regional jail was the only way to go. Now it appears that political winds have blown him in a different direction. So it is one of those, he was for it before he was against it situations. Well you cannot have it both ways, supporting the jail, while sitting back with clean hands claiming to be the only one looking out for the best interest of the public. The fact is the jail is being built, where were all of the protesters when it was not too late

        I don't think your memory serves you well. Carter has been against it from the get go. He has consistently said he favors a local jail which by most estimates can be built cheaper and is cheaper to run than the regional jail.

          Are you one of the 15. Bet your a 99% too.

          April 10, 2001
          Supervisor Murphy asked if a Regional Jail would help that situation?
          Sheriff Green said a Regional Jail probably will be the answer in the future. Whether that Regional jail will include Page, Warren and Rockingham and Page, all jails are experiencing the same problems, the overcrowded issue.
          Minutes of meeting: May 12, 2009
          Conrad Helsley speaking about a conversation with Sheriff Carter.
          Shortly after I came on the Board I received a call from the Sheriff saying he needed some improvements, if you recall, in your Department. As our discussion proceeded we talked about the possibility of a regional jail. In fact I offered to try to set up a meeting between Mr. Poling, the Sheriff and myself and also the Chairman of the Board in Rockingham County, their County Administrator and their Sheriff and we had that meeting. We went up there and looked at their jail and they gave us a complete tour. The conversation as I remember it between the Sheriff and I was that he wanted to get out of the jail business, do you recall that?

          As you can see this conversation started many years ago and Sheriff Carter does not always say the same thing publicly that he does privately. Once it came to the point the county was obligated to the two other counties involved, it was too late.

      So are you "Kingdom" or "rUSA"? Just curious................

    Good find Christina, Carter was for the jail at first!! Mohawk Man you're funny...lol

    The taxpayers may not be able to stop the jail, but we sure a d hell can vote out those that voted for it. This includes dumping Sheriff Carter and his brass staff on the streets next election.

      Oh yeah, that'll work! Vote out one sheriff only to be replaced by another one who is bound to enforcement activities that don't aggravate the voters. As long as the chief law enforcement executive is tied to obtaining votes to keep their job, true a-political law enforcement will not occur. Let the regional jail come! Let the sheriff get out of worrying about staffing a jail and put those resources on the road and in the community where they belong.

    Right on about the good Guv. He wants to stay on the VP short list. Local government can control the situation. Let them build the facility and then deny them a water and sewer hook up. Sorry that the Sheriff is on the wrong side of this issue. Maybe he is also on the short list.

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