The Jefferson Area Tea Party is pleased to announce that on Wednesday, September 7, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 to rescind its participation in the Cool Counties initiative it adopted in 2007. The JATP led the effort in opposition of Cool Counties, as it did for paid membership in ICLEI – International Council for Local Environmental Issues, and once again our activism has proven successful. Congratulations to everyone involved!
On a disturbing side note – without provocation, Supervisor Dennis Rooker waged some inappropriate, incorrect, and insulting accusations at the JATP following the vote. These comments are transcribed below from the audio pod cast recorded by Charlottesville Tomorrow. The entire Cool Counties discussion, vote, and post-discussion can be heard via this link:
(Supervisor Rooker’s comments about the JATP may be heard beginning at time marker 23:50)
“But, you know, I mean, where we’re going now, is, in my view, is in a direction
where we’re afraid to be perceived as environmentally committed because,
you know, I guess, the tea party has told us that’s it’s a bad thing
and they can put another notch on their gun and send out an e-mail to all of their people
saying we got Albemarle County out of ICLEI,
and we got Albemarle County out of Cool Counties.
There will be an e-mail that goes out nationally today or tomorrow on that issue
because it’s a notch on the gun.
And that’s what this is about. A notch on the gun.”
JATP chairwoman Carole Thorpe has issued the following response:
The JATP has stated repeatedly that it stands FIRMLY in favor of reasonable, responsible stewardship of our resources and maintenance of a healthy environment. We trust our community can be environmentally committed and perceived as such by operating under scientifically sound policies and practicing common sense solutions executed within the bounds of the proper role of local government. It is unnecessary to ally ourselves with dangerous, politically-motivated organizations (such as ICLEI) or participate in scientifically inaccurate initiatives which set arbitrary goals (such as Cool Counties). In fact, the oft-repeated motivations cited by Supervisor Dennis Rooker and Supervisor Ann Mallek to gain positive “perception” by national and international environmentalists while creating a gateway to receive grant money is seemingly, as much if not more, the reason they support these programs. In my opinion, the dangers of bad alliances and bad policy should outweigh the benefits of outsider perception and grant money.
There is no “tea party gun”. I sat incredulous as Supervisor Rooker spouted this figment of his imagination which was both uncalled for and highly inappropriate. His imagery of a “gun” in association with the JATP was inflammatory and irresponsible. The tea party movement has been and remains a non-violent expression of citizen concern which operates within the confines of civil discourse and the rule of law. Its members are taxpaying constituents who have every right to respectfully petition their elected representatives for desired action, just as members of many other organizations do. Neither Supervisor Rooker’s politics nor frustrations
entitle him to misuse his prominent position on the Board of Supervisors to cast disparaging remarks against those with whom he disagrees.
The JATP advocates for public matters as guided by adherence to its principles – not in exercise for self-aggrandizement to ”put another notch on their gun.” Supervisor Rooker asserts; “And that’s what this is about. A notch on their gun.” This ridiculous
statement is born out of his obvious and mounting resentment of the JATP to win the arguments and votes necessary to defeat the ill-advised policies he champions.
It is the reasonable, common response of any organization that affects the change it seeks to share its good news with others. This is especially true with all-volunteer groups like the JATP, where the personal satisfaction earned for many hours of hard work is part of the reward. I typically notify our members, state and local media, and area tea party organizations of our successes – but there is no rash “e-mail that goes out nationally”. If news of anything we do reaches national awareness, it is the result of the unsolicited effort by other groups to forward the information.
In conclusion, I am profoundly offended by Supervisor Rooker’s unwarranted attack on the JATP. It is not the first time he has made bizarre accusations against our organization – such as his allegation of our possible attempt to ”infiltrate” local government. I have remained relatively silent up to now, but this level of destructive rhetoric demands reaction and sharp rebuke.
I call on Supervisor Rooker to reconsider his remarks and offer a public apology. He has an obligation to serve his constituents, the Board of Supervisors, and our community in a rational, responsible, and more professional manner.