Nice web site. Now that it's up, I have a question. Do many of the Board Members live in the new Coles District?
The Mid-County Civic Association is a great group full of civic minded folks. Martin Jeter is a knowledgeable and dedicated leader (hand salute for your service, Martin). That being said, I never really felt that it represented folks west of the Prince William Parkway. With very few exceptions, issues have focused on Davis Ford Road and matters east of the Prince William Parkway (or, what is now part of the Occoquan District).
I believe that I am often (but not always) the only person from what is now the Coles District (or from west of the Prince William Parkway) in attendance. I know that The Mid-County Civic Association is in discussions with the Occoquan Land Use Committee... and that makes sense to me. On the other hand, that also increases competition for the Mid-County Civic Association's attention. Now that redistricting is complete, I question whether it is the right group to represent "me" and suggest that perhaps the County and the Coles District would be better served by smaller groups more familiar with the issues within that District rather than larger, monolithic Citizen Groups that finds itself too thin to cover all issues adequately. This would also benefit the folks who traditionally support and attend Mid-County Civic Association meetings (folks from east of the Prince William Parkway who live near or along Davis Ford Road). They deserve focused representation on their issues and perhaps have little interest in some of the issues facing their neighbors to the west (such as the Purcell Road Project). If in doubt, just remember how few folks show up regularly... and where they live.
I want decisions about my community and voting district made by people who live within its borders. I don't really care about cell phone towers along Davis Ford Road, for example; however, I do perhaps care about cell phone towers along Purcell Road (as an example). I also believe the culture might be a bit “different” regarding citizen opinions on the issues. A group that attempts to represent a constituency that is too large (such as multiple voting districts) will, by its nature, waste most of its attendees time most of the time as it discusses issues that most of the people simply don't care about
I suggest that redistricting is a good time to revisit The Mid-County Civic Association’s scope and perhaps focus on the Occoquan District.
Supervisor Nohe created The Mid-County Civic Association at the request of citizens who live east of what is now the Prince William Parkway to address Coles District issues. Considering the composition, history, membership (particularly board members and leadership), I would suggest now is a good time for the Coles District to create its own Citizens Group. I do not intend this as a slight or insult to the good folks who lead or participate in the Mid-County Civic Association... just a practical observation who believes Citizen Groups should be more focused and consist of the constituents they claim to represent.
Scaling groups up only dilute the Mid-County Civic Associations ability to represent all of their constituents. I think that the Mid-County Civic Association should use re-districting as an opportunity to reflect in what it wants to be and perhaps re-scope to focus on the new Occoquan Voting District, the source of its constituents.
Marty Nohe sent me the following correction - I don't think that it is accurate to say that I "created" MidCo. Probably more correct to say that I encouraged and was supportive of its creation. Once there was agreement among citizens that it was valuable, I stepped back and they founders did the rest.
Sorry for the unintended slight to the good folks at the Mid-County Civic Association.
Thanks, Al, for the first post on our new site. I think it is a good idea to continually re-evaluate the group's mission, and we will continue to do that.
Actually, MIDCO has been more involved lately with issues on the "other" side of the parkway, such as Purcell Road, the Geisler Project, Hellwig Park, etc. Our joint meetings with ODLUAC on common issues won't detract from work in our core mission area, which has always been and will remain the area roughly between Rt 234 and the Occoquan Reservoir, and between Hoadly Road and Manassas, which is now the Coles and western Occoquan magisterial districts.
I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future to keep residents informed in our neck of the county. Cheers!
Thank you for your quick reply. Since neither you nor any of the Members of the MIDCO Board actually live in the Coles District, I think this requires a longer conversation with broader participation by Coles District residents and perhaps Supervisors May and Nohe. It's a group decision (in this case, Coles District Stakeholders).
Perhaps this should be an agenda item for our next meeting. Both the folks in the Occoquan District (wishing continued focus on their issues) and the Coles District (wishing representation by resident stakeholders) might have opinions.
I notice the name is Mid County Civic Association, not Coles District Civic Association. I for one am glad to see a community group organized around a geographic area, not political boundaries. There is no reason for this group to consider shifting their territory just because political boundaries have changed. Less politics in land use is a good thing.
I think you misunderstand our mission. Our core function is informational. We monitor upcoming issues that affect quality of life in our community and try to make people aware of happenings in their area. We don’t “represent” anyone unless they ask us to, and even then we speak only for the MIDCO board. In other words, we follow community sentiment and listen to concerns, then research and analyze the situation before proceeding. If the concerns seem warranted, we will advocate for the residents.
Although we work with all the county supervisors, planning commissioners and staff, we are a citizens organization and completely independent from county government.
I think the residents from Bren Forest, Woodbine Woods, the Geisler Property area, along Purcell Road, the Grace Filipino Church area, the Hellwig Park area and the Harris Property area among others have spoken clearly that they appreciated our involvement and help, so we’ll continue to do that.
BTW, I’m hoping we can use this blog to have a healthy give-and-take on quality of life issues important to mid-county residents as they come up without getting too distracted on side issues that interfere with our work to inform citizens in mid-county. There’s too much to do and way too little time.
The web site is a big improvement... And appears to get better by the minute. Transparency, I'll admit, was (is) one of my biggest issues.
Keep up the good work.
A suggestion for the website... Publishing MIDCO bylaws would be a good idea. Folks like me are interested in process such as what constitutes a voting member and when the next annual meeting will occur (to vote for board members and officers).
I think a geographical group works well. It takes more than one vote to do anything in our county, therefore we need to watch over the area and not simply what goes on in one district. I think the meeting in June clearly demonstrates the effectivness of MIDCO by addressing pertinent issues.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.