Put anger aside and help us help county

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT. -

The Rap­pa­han­nock Cit­i­zens for Com­mu­nity Em­pow­er­ment, a/k/a “RCCE” Board of Direc­tors (Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Page Glen­nie, Vice Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Mar­ian Bragg, and Sec­re­tary/Trea­surer Thomas Wool­man) would like to re­spond to the let­ter to the editor in last week’s pa­per, ti­tled “Walk It Like You Talk It.”

RCCE was founded in 2015 by a group of Rap­pa­han­nock County cit­i­zens who were con­cerned about the dis­turb­ing trend in lo­cal govern­ment to ig­nore one of the bedrock prin­ci­ples of democ­racy: that govern­ment at all lev­els, but es­pe­cially lo­cal govern­ment, is the ser­vant of the peo­ple. We be­lieve that peo­ple are the source of power and that an in­formed cit­i­zenry is crit­i­cal to a healthy democ­racy.

With these prin­ci­ples in mind, RCCE was or­ga­nized to (i) es­tab­lish and foster good govern­ment at the lo­cal level in Rap­pa­han­nock County; (ii) in­crease the gen­eral pub­lic's and lo­cal of­fi­cials’ knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of and re­spect for the Con­sti­tu­tion of the United States of Amer­ica, the Con­sti­tu­tion of Vir­ginia, and other laws aimed at pro­mot­ing open and hon­est govern­ment in­clud­ing the Vir­ginia Con­flicts of In­ter­est

Act, the Vir­ginia Pub­lic Pro­cure­ment Act, and the Vir­ginia Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act; (iii) con­duct sem­i­nars and train­ing for lo­cal of­fi­cials; and (iv) when ap­pro­pri­ate, in cases of vi­o­la­tions of said Con­sti­tu­tions or laws, take ap­pro­pri­ate cor­rec­tive and remedial ac­tion. RCCE was granted IRS recog­ni­tion as a char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion un­der IRC 501(c)(3) in 2015. RCCE meet­ings are open to the pub­lic, and we in­vite ev­ery­one to par­tic­i­pate.

Last year, RCCE mem­ber­ship grew by 300 per­cent, we pur­chased video equip­ment, es­tab­lished a web­site [www.rap­pcce. org] and YouTube chan­nel [RCCE Rapp Record], and recorded and posted videos of pub­lic meet­ings.

This year, we are work­ing on a FOIA train­ing sem­i­nar and a sem­i­nar on the Con­flicts of In­ter­est Act. In ad­di­tion to rais­ing pub­lic aware­ness of cit­i­zens’ rights, these sem­i­nars ben­e­fit ev­ery­one in lo­cal govern­ment who are re­quired to have an­nual train­ing, and also save tax­pay­ers money. We are also im­prov­ing our web­site to bring cit­i­zens valu­able re­sources to help them stay abreast of lo­cal govern­ment.

Like many other char­i­ta­ble or­ga­ni­za­tions, in­clud­ing the NAACP, the ACLU, and lo­cally, RLEP, RAAC, and Foothills Fo­rum, our mem­ber­ship list and donors are not pub­lished. Keep­ing this in­for­ma­tion con­fi­den­tial is de­signed to pro­tect the names of mem­bers and donors from per­sonal at­tacks. Rather than dis­cussing the is­sues and chal­lenges that face our county, some peo­ple just want to dis­credit and blame the mes­sen­ger.

The charges about Mike Biniek’s ap­pli­ca­tion for mem­ber­ship are false. We wel­comed him with open arms. How­ever, he changed his mind and de­manded his ap­pli­ca­tion back.

We un­der­stand that some are up­set by the chang­ing lo­cal pol­i­tics. We hope they can put their anger aside and work to­gether to help our county. We en­cour­age open and hon­est de­bate on the is­sues and chal­lenges, be­cause that’s the best way for our Rap­pa­han­nock County com­mu­nity to find the best so­lu­tions.

We be­lieve that peo­ple are the source of power and that an in­formed cit­i­zenry is crit­i­cal to a healthy democ­racy.


Note: Foothills Fo­rum’s con­trib­u­tors are pub­lic: foothills-fo­rum.org/con­trib­u­tors-2/

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