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Renowned Property Rights Expert and Attorney Mark Fitzgibbons Challenges VACo to a Debate on HB 1219

January 31, 2014

Mr. Larry Land
Director of Policy Development
Virginia Association of Counties

1207 East Main Street, Suite 300
Richmond, Va. 23219-3627

Dear Larry,

I issue this opportunity and challenge to you or anyone from the taxpayer-subsidized Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) to a filmed or broadcasted debate with me on HB 1219, the bill introduced by Delegate Bob Marshall giving citizens remedies for county abuses of land use (zoning) powers.

I also call on VACo to release to the public its financial statements and tax returns showing the amounts and sources of its revenues, its expenditures, and the taxpayer-subsidized salaries of VACo’s officers.  Additionally, I call on VACo to release documents showing its tax-exempt status from the IRS.

HB 1219 creates remedies of parity and fairness equal to the fines that counties seek to unlawfully impose on citizens, plus actual damages and attorney fees.  These remedies are basic restitution consistent with longstanding American legal precedent, which are Biblically based.  HB 1219 would help prevent the need for litigation by making counties more attentive in their land-use ordinance drafting and enforcement. In other words, it creates better county accountability.

Just as citizens face consequences for their violations of law, which act as additional disincentive against violating the law, counties should face consequences when they act lawlessly against private property and other constitutional rights.  Counties, after all, must follow and obey the supreme, fundamental and paramount law, the Constitution.

Counties currently have an unfair advantage over citizens in land use enforcement, which leads too often to bullying to reach extortive results.  Most abuses are not covered by the news media.  Counties administratively enforce land use policies under rules that allow subjective and discriminatory violations of basic due process and evidentiary guarantees.  When abusive administrative enforcement occurs, it drains citizens of resources, leaving them unable to protect their rights.  HB 1219 helps level the playing field, and empowers citizens to protect their rights.

County officials even sometimes exceed their powers under the law.  Citizens fear retaliation for challenging such awesome powers over their most private, personal and basic property rights against fulltime bureaucrats and county lawyers or hired guns.

HB 1219 provides county government employees whistleblower protections.  Currently, county government employees fear retaliation by their bosses, and are too often forced by their bosses to engage in acts that they know are wrong.  It is typically their bosses who make the decisions to abuse land-use laws, and to enforce them unlawfully and in discriminatory ways against citizens.  HB 1219 therefore helps protects conscientious, law-abiding county employees.

Counties have litigation insurance, but the citizen-victims of county abuse of zoning laws typically do not.  Abusive administrative enforcement against citizens can cost tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees before they even set foot in court on appeal under this system skewed in favor of counties.  Even on eventual appeal to courts, the Virginia Code allows judges to disregard evidence presented by citizens.  Citizens can go bankrupt protecting their basic rights.

In county governments, as in any walk of life, there are good apples and bad apples.  We who support HB 1219 will defend our family members, neighbors, church members and others who work in county government and who are the good apples.

Rather than VACo’s operating in the shadows of Richmond and issuing questionable or even misleading talking points to your collaborators, let’s debate this bill in the open.  What say you?

Very truly yours,

Mark J. Fitzgibbons

cc:  Mr. James D. Campbell, Executive Director, VACo

P.S.  Here’s a link to my article explaining the bill:


About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog. Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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