Guerrilla Warfare!

What do the people involved with Friends of Route 15 and its successor organizations have in mind for those opposed to their radical agenda?

As we discussed in the last post, the no-growth special interest groups have played a major role in local politics for decades and have used that influence to prevent all meaningful improvements to the road. We’ll write more on the current political landscape in future segments, but today we want to finish with Friends of Route 15 by publishing the minutes of their meeting and calling out what they have in store for anyone opposed to their agenda. Keep in mind that some of these people are still active in the PEC, JTHG, the Lucketts Ruritans, the Catoctin Coalition, the Catoctin Route 15 Alliance, and other groups with similar missions.

Now let’s see what the juiciest takeaways from this meeting were. Here is a link to the meeting minutes document: http://fixroute15now.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/FOR-15-1986-Guerilla-Warfare.pdf

At the bottom of page 1 and top of page 2, Chairman Henry Brown lays out six principle activities to be undertaken. Activity 6 is the aforementioned historical designation. Activates 1, 3, and 4 are pretty innocuous. However, activities 2 and 5 show the level of desperation and lengths these people are willing to go to in order to achieve their goals.

#2 – “Submit ideas for guerilla warfare against those interested in improving Route 15”

#5 – “Seek a lawyer/lobbyist to act as guerilla warfare “Boss”

These statements mostly speak for themselves, but does this sound like a community outreach group to you or does it seem like the behavior of wannabe mafiosos willing to do just about anything in order to get their way? Should disagreement over infrastructure policy involve hiring lawyers to go after your opponents, their livelihoods, or their families? In a sick sort of way, we guess this group was ahead of its time as this is similar to the behavior we see from social media mobs today.

On a related note, we have noticed the comments on our page attacking us for remaining anonymous. Now everyone knows why we are sticking with that decision. Are these the people you want representing you when it comes to Route 15? Should these groups be consulted by government officials about how to improve the road when they have made it known that they are against all meaningful improvements?

Contact your elected representatives and tell them to stand up to these people and

FIX ROUTE 15 NOW!!!

Next up we will discuss how some members of the Route 15 Stakeholders Committee violated their oath and acted to subvert the outcome through non-disclosure agreements and the formation of the shadow group Catoctin Route 15 Alliance.

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Shadow Groups Part 1

The concerned citizens here at Fix Route 15 Now have been holding some special documents in our back pocket, waiting for the right time to unveil them. In advance of the next BOS meeting, where once again improvements to Route 15 will be on the docket, it’s time to let the wider community see who is behind blocking said improvements and what these people really stand for, in their own words. Welcome to our multi-part series on the incestuous and radical relationships between various special interest groups, their members, and local government officials.

First, a little history. For more than 30 years, various special interest groups, usually consisting of the same small group of people and their spouses and/or relatives, have been formed specifically to block improvements to Route 15. We talked about a few of them in previous posts:

However, we specifically left two of them out in anticipation of publishing this article at a later date. The first, ironically named Friends of Route 15, was the original no-growther group working against Route 15 improvements and was founded back in the mid-1980’s. This group’s members, many of whom are still alive and speaking out against improvements as part of the various other current groups mentioned above, held a meeting on June 25, 1986 and kept some very interesting minutes which we would now like to share with the community. The full document will be published with our next bombshell installment, but for your reading pleasure, here is a taste of what is in this juicy file.

How did the Route 15 corridor nearly become a Historical District against the will of local residents?

Friends of Route 15 was the first group to push for this bogus historical designation. They did this specifically to block any future improvements to the road. Ironically, in such a “historic” area, they limited their initial idea to the road itself and everything within 500 feet of it. We guess the history of the area must have all occurred within 500 feet of the current road. What an amazing coincidence. Out of this meeting, Mr. Powell Harrison was tasked with beginning the push for the historical designation. Mr. Harrison also happens to be the founder of the Piedmont Environmental Council. Once again, as we’ve shown in past posts, these groups are all interconnected in both membership and mission.

Fast forward two years. On December 29, 1988 a story written by Mr. Steve Bates appeared in the local paper entitled “Proposal for Historic District meets resistance in Loudoun”.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/1988/12/29/proposal-for-historic-district-meets-resistance-in-loudoun/dcd1e49f-dcd0-4a50-8761-57b031580eb3/

The gist of the story is that the Friends of Route 15 group, against the will of most local landowners, pushed for this historic overlay designation behind the scenes and in secret. Only when it was about to be approved did local residents figure out what was happening and succeeded in achieving a last-minute block of the decision. Now, you may be asking yourself – how did such a proposal get past local government representatives without so much as a whimper of outreach until it was nearly too late? Well, it just so happens that the chairman of Friends of Route 15 was Mr. Henry Brown. Mr. Brown was married to former Catoctin District Representative Betsey Brown(D). Ms. Brown is quoted in the article as saying “there has been no request for the board to consider”. Now, this is definitely a politician’s response since she must have known that the organization she was a member of and that her husband was chairman of was working behind the scenes to do that very thing.

After this defeat the group shifted it’s focus to the much easier obtained “National Scenic Byway” designation and then later pushed for the “Limestone Overlay District” which together in the end achieved the similar result of blocking improvements. In addition, this group and its successors are also behind the “2-lane rural road” designation which further impedes safety improvements like widening and adding wide paved shoulders.

Keep an eye out for our next segment when we show what this group had planned for anyone who dared to speak out in favor of improvements to Route 15. Hint – It isn’t pretty.

FIX ROUTE 15 NOW!!

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Dereliction of Duty – Supervisor Higgins sits on the Route 15 Safety and Operations Study (April 2019)

Geary Higgins has intentionally “sat on” the Route 15 Safety and Operations Study since it was finalized back in April.  He directed the Department of Transportation and Capital Infrastructure to NOT release the report until July 18th Board Meeting – which is coincidentally timed for AFTER the state senate primary on June 11th.


Supervisor Higgins is comfortable with “blood on his hands” by not releasing this report ASAP so that the Board of Supervisors could have taken decisive action to FIX Route 15 Now!
What are your thoughts (as you sit in Route 15 traffic this Memorial Day weekend)?  Does Geary Higgins deserve your vote in the June 11th state senate primary?

*** The Route 15 Safety and Operations Study was provided to Fix Route 15 Now via a FOIA request by a concerned citizen. Here is the report dated April 12, 2019.

http://fixroute15now.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Route15SOS_Report_041219.pdf

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Who Owns The Point of Rocks Bridge?

Supervisor Higgins has swallowed the bait – hook, line and sinker!
And the good supervisor washed it all down with the “Special Interest No Growther” Kool-Aid! Higgins believes that the Point of Rocks Bridge is owned by Maryland BECAUSE the “Special Interest No Growthers” have pedaled this false narrative so long that everyone just believed it to be the truth! But alas, once the average citizen takes a closer look at their deceitful story (and also the length of their noses), it becomes apparent that they have LIED YET AGAIN!

The Point of Rocks Bridge is jointly owned by Maryland and Virginia! Just take a look at the joint agreement signed July 22, 1929 that is in a separate post.

So that means that both the State of Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia can seek federal highway funds to improve Route 15 AND the Point of Rocks Bridge. It is a shame that Supervisor Higgins did not do his homework to validate the many false narratives put forward by the “Special Interest No Growthers”.

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Higgins Has Abandoned Lucketts!

Word has leaked out about the Route 15 Safety and Operations Study. The conclusion is that there will not be any widening of Route 15 north of Montresor Road up to the Point of Rocks Bridge. This is over the objections of more than 80% of the survey respondents who stated 4-lane widening with shoulders plus a center-line median strip to prevent head-on collisions was their top priority and choice.

Right before Supervisor Geary Higgins cancelled the Route 15 Stakeholder Committee, and at it’s last meeting on October 22, 2018, a question was asked of Higgins by one of the stakeholder representatives: “at what point does safety take priority? We all like our rural land and development opportunities, but at what level is safety prioritized?”

Higgins response was, “safety is the top priority, followed by congestion mitigation. The county is also trying to apply both safety and congestion relief in a context sensitive manner. They may not be in direct conflict but need to be coordinated.”

Knowingly allowing the special interest “no growthers” to meet with County staff with their plan and design to plant over 600 plant trees, which are intended to block the Route 15 widening, shoulders and medians between Montresor Road up to the Point of Rocks Bridge is unconscionable and feckless leadership!

Supervisor Geary M. Higgins should resign immediately for malfeasance and so should any other supervisor who knowingly allowed this tree planting plan and design to quietly go forward and be approved by the County staff!

Fix Route 15 Now!

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Playing Politics With Our Lives is NOT Leadership its Reprehensible!

Why has Supervisor Geary Higgins forsaken us by playing politics with our lives? 

Answer – Geary Higgins is all about politics and not constituent services.

Why will it take 10 years to widen Route 15 to Montresor Road?

Answer – Geary Higgins has gone on record stating that he “does not want to widen Route 15 any more than he has to.”

Why is there no project plan?

Answer – Geary Higgins has no experience managing (let alone advocating) capital projects for his district, unlike other supervisors.

Why is Supervisor Higgins sitting on the Safety and Operations Study north of Montresor Road?

Answer – Geary Higgins never cared about the safety of Lucketts residents (or anyone else in the northern corridor) and does not want to see anything improved beyond Montresor Road which won’t happen for 10 years!

Here are the facts:

  • Supervisor Higgins CANCELLED the Route 15 Stakeholder Committee last October BEFORE the final Route 15 Safety and Operations Study was completed.
  • Supervisor Higgins FAILED to show up for the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) public hearing on May 10, 2018 to ask for funding safety improvements along Route 15.  NVTA DID award Loudoun County $54M which IS at RISK because there is still NO project plan after almost a year of funding just sitting there un-used!
  • Supervisor Higgins FAILED to show up for the VDOT SmartScale public hearing on November 28, 2018 to support the $110M for funding requested for safety improvements along Route 15.  VDOT ultimately denied Loudoun this funding which NOW means Loudoun residents will have to fund the improvements north of Montresor Road up to Point of Rocks Bridge with COUNTY funds and NOT Virginia State funds.
  • Supervisor Higgins FAILED to push staff for a project plan even though the full funding of $79M to widen Route 15 has been in place since July 1, 2018.
  • Supervisor Higgins has FAILED to challenge the 10-year timeline to widen 3.5 miles of Route 15 between Battlefield Parkway and Montresor Road.
  • Supervisor Higgins has INSISTED on “roundabouts” when study after study has shown that “roundabouts” FAIL on roads with high volumes of one-way directional traffic similar to Route 15.
  • Supervisor Higgins also FAILED to make Route 15 widening and safety improvements a PRIORITY in the FY 2020 Adopted Budget earlier this month even after the VDOT SmartScale funding of $110M was denied by the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) in January.
  • Supervisor Kristen Umstattd has gone on record stating that Route 15 must be widened up to the Point of Rocks Bridge because of the need for safety improvements and congestion relief.
  • Supervisor Ron Meyer has gone on record stating that Route 15 must be widened up to the Point of Rocks Bridge because of the volume of traffic and the many accidents and loss of life on this road.
  • Supervisor Matt Letourneau has gone on record stating Route 15 is suffering from ‘paralysis by analysis’ and needs to be widened asap and not studied further.
  • Vice Chairman Ralph Buona has stated safety of our citizens is THE number one priority of any board member and NOTHING else matters and therefore we need to move forward on the safety improvements and congestion relief for Route 15!

Perhaps Geary Higgins is more interested in running his campaign for the Virginia State Senate than providing the project plan and driving an accelerated timeline to widen Route 15 up to Montresor Road or worrying about the rest of the Catoctin District north of Montresor Road and issuing the Safety and Operations Study.

Why don’t you email and ask Geary yourself at geary.higgins@loudoun.gov why there is STILL no project plan and why it will take 10 years to widen 3.5 miles of Route 15? Maybe he won’t respond to your questions at all…..

The above FACTS represent SHAMEFUL, FECKLESS Leadership!

Fix Route 15 Now!


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*** TRAFFIC ALERT **

Route 15 is closed… again. This time near White’s Ferry Road. This has happened during a relatively light traffic time considering many are on spring break. Should we have to deal with this road as-is for another 10 years? Maybe Supervisor Geary Higgins should provide a project plan to get this road fixed.

Fix Route 15 Now!

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Route 15 – Where Do Our Candidates Stand on Route 15?

Are you aware that Route 15 ranked as the single most congested and dangerous road in Loudoun County?  Do you realize that there have been over 100 accidents per year over the past 5 years on Route 15?  Are you tired of our local, state and Federal leaders ongoing failure to fix Route 15?  Are you tired of being ignored, wondering why it will take 10 years to widen only 3.5 miles of Route 15 or hearing the solution to fix Route 15 is to study the problem some more?  Many elected leaders and candidates neither have a position nor a plan.  You have an opportunity in the upcoming primaries and election this November to make a difference and support elected leaders that can determine the outcome of Route 15.  This is not about party affiliation, this is about basic services for you and your family.  Do you really think Route 15 should take 10 years to be fixed and that it needs to be studied some more?

Public offices, that touch the Route 15 corridor, that have elections this November, include:

Loudoun County Catoctin Supervisor 

Loudoun County Chair

Virginia State Delegate

Virginia State Senator

Our elected leaders need to be held accountable.  We will provide updates on where all the candidates stand on a regular basis.  Below is a list of candidates for each office.  Stay tuned for updates.

Fix Route 15 Now!

Loudoun County Catoctin Supervisor     

Forest Hayes (D)

Caleb Kershner (R)

(The Catoctin Supervisor has the greatest influence over the success of the Route 15 project by establishing the project tone and driving an accelerated timeline.  This office carries even more influence as the Virginia Department of Transportation has delegated the project management of Route 15 improvements to Loudoun County).

Loudoun County Chair

Phyllis Randall (D)

John Whitbeck (R)

Virginia State Delegate

Mavis Taintor (D)

Dave LaRock (R)

Virginia State Senator

John Bell (D)

Mike Buscher (R) – (Republican primary June 11th)

Geary Higgins (R) – (Republican primary June 11th)

Ron Meyer (R) – (Republican primary June 11th)

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Loudoun County at Risk of Losing $54M Route 15 Funds

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) approved funding of $54M last June 10, 2018 to widen 3.5 miles of Route 15 from Battlefield Parkway up to Montresor Road. At the public hearing on May 10, 2018 the opponents to the widening of Route 15 repeatedly advocated for “roundabouts” and NOT widening. This was the same hearing that Supervisor Geary Higgins did NOT attend to advocate for this project, the single- highest ranked road project of the 9 Loudoun County projects due to it’s heavy congestion and danger due to frequent accidents!

After having the funding for 10 months, there is still NO project plan for Route 15! The NVTA will revoke this funding and re-distribute it to one of the other regional members (i.e. Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Falls Church, and Prince William city-counties) if there is not a project plan with significant progress on this road.

The special interest “no growthers” are counting on these Route 15 funds being revoked by NVTA.

Why does Chair Phyllis J. Randall and Supervisor Geary Higgins not present a Route 15 project plan and why did they abolish the Route 15 Stakeholder Committee?

Do Catoctin Lives NOT Matter?

What are your thoughts? Visit our Facebook page and leave a comment.

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*** Traffic Alert ***

Our no-growth friends always like to point out how amazing Gilbert’s Corner is at moving traffic. It’s kind of hard to move traffic around the inevitable accidents that will occur in these roundabouts.

Did you know?:
– Gilbert’s Corner used to be a 2 lane roundabout but VDOT changed the design due to the high volume of accidents
– No-growth groups think single lane roundabouts (or even double but with no widening) will fix problems on Route 15 north of Leesburg

While this accident is not on the stretch of Route 15 that we are always concerned with, just imagine all the trucks/trailers navigating “Roundabout Hell” that makes its way into so many proposals. Would you want to be next to a trailer like this going through a roundabout? We would hope not but Supervisor Geary Higgins wants to dictate to VDOT what kind of traffic control should be implemented along Route 15 North of Leesburg. This is if it even gets done within the next 10 years.

Maybe Supervisor Ron Meyer or Chair Phyllis J. Randall could help the Catoctin District get things done.

Fix Route 15 Now!

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