Fairfax County Supervisor Gerry Hyland sent out an interesting “invitation”.  In it, he noted something new — an admission charge of canned goods for United Community Ministries.

I wrote asking whether he was simply promoting a very tasteless joke or actually charging admission to an audience with a public official — a serious lapse of ethics and an electoral issue, in my eyes.

Later he sent out a notice stating:

Some folks have challenged my “tongue in cheek” requirement that admission to the event is a can of food for the hungry.  Not to worry, this was my erstwhile attempt to emphasize the desperate need to help United Community Ministries feed the less fortunate.  Obviously, I have no legal right or desire to deny anyone admission to the Town Meeting, nor would I ever do that.  Lest there be any doubt, there is NO requirement for anyone to bring food for admission to the Town Meeting.  However, any help you can give will be sincerely appreciated.

Now, let’s apply junior-high-learned analysis.  The fact that “tongue-in-cheek” is contained in quotation marks can say one of two things — one, that the quote comes from elsewhere, or two, that it does not have the meaning one would normally associate with it.

How many of us really believe this was a tongue-in-cheek request?   I don’t, because the original message also said that if you “forgot”, you could promise to make that donation within a week.

Make a stupid mistake, such as requiring a donation – even for such a good cause?  Forgiveable.

Implying that is not what you meant?  Typical politician.

Explaining my faith (?!) in elected officials

Earlier I posted about the issues with entering Fairfax County courthouse – a taxpayer-funded, publicly owned building – with a cell phone, recorder, camera, etc.  I sincerely do NOT understand how this makes anyone any safer, where the authority to ban these items comes from (though I quoted the code sections that are posted), and I wrote my supervisor.

The supervisor’s aide answered, with poor grammar and spelling.  I posted that as well, and invited him to read that post.

Now it appears I should accept the staffer’s word because he is or was a Captain in the Marine Corps.  Whether he thinks I should be shamed into accepting his position out of patriotism, intimidated by a (big-shot, I suppose) Captain, or simply impressed by a lot of words after his name, I don’t know.

Looks like spell check didn’t run before I sent the e-mail.  I believe all cell phones and PDAs will be restricted in the future since most have cameras on them in order to protect the identity of people testifying in court.  Feel free to post this online as well.
Semper Fi,
Captain Brett W. Kenney, USMC
Operation Iraqi Freedom

Still hasn’t answered the question about how the ban makes us safer.  Still hasn’t responded to what gives the authority; I asked how these code sections give authority for a ban.

Now, somewhere in this answer is a response I could almost understand – protecting the identity of those testifying.  That is not the cited reason, however, in either their first response or the posted code sections.   It would justify, in my mind, a ban on video – perhaps even audio – recording in courtrooms, but not in the courthouse as a whole.

‘Nother question.  Should a Marine be using his official title in conjunction with a paid position as a staffer?  I think it unethical, if not contrary to regulation.  Might have to check that one out.

By the way, I tried to copy my response to Supervisor Hyland.  His e-mail is not listed; clicking on his e-mail link takes one to a form.  Please, if you’re so inclined, you might also request of Supervisor Hyland a response.

Response from Supervisor Hyland

I wrote Supervisor Hyland regarding the issue of phones/cameras in the courthouse.

A staffer responded; Hyland apparently doesn’t care.

The response:

“Ms. xxxxx – I have shared your email with the Court.  The Chief Judge in cooperation with the Clerk to the Court and the Sheriff propogate rules to keep our resident’s safe at the Fairfax County Courthouse Complex.”

Aside from not answering the question, expecting me to buy the security theater answer, and blowing me off, he blew me off with a staffer who can’t spell and doesn’t understand the rules of grammar.

The word is “propagate” and the plural of “resident” is “residents” — no apostrophe.

If this isn’t a “shut up and color” response, I don’t know what is.