Republicans aren’t the only ones opposed to data centers, say Democrats

We are Democrats, neighbors and fellow Prince William County citizens who find ourselves on different sides of an issue that has pitted your fellow landowners along Pageland Lane against a large majority of residents in the county and surrounding jurisdictions .

We respect the right that you and the other owners have to your personal financial interests in this matter, and we hoped that you would show others the same respect.

Trying to turn this into a partisan political issue, a racial issue, or an anti-school issue is completely dishonest. Your attempt to cast Hung Cao, the Republican candidate for Congress (Va.-10), against equal opportunity, property rights, businesses, schools, students, teachers, government employees and first stakeholders is unbalanced.

Your letter to Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors, the Planning Commission and others recasts your differences with Mr. Cao and the vast majority of county residents, in the way the most self-serving and hypocritical imaginable.

And, for the record, you dishonestly characterize a screenshot of an email message from the HOA Roundtable as being a Hung Cao campaign flyer. This is simply untrue and another example of the dishonest PR campaign you are running.

Congresswoman Wexton has herself raised concerns about the impacts of such an aggressive expansion of data centers into areas selected primarily for the economic gain of landowners rather than established land use policies. by professionals who place these facilities where they minimize impacts on surrounding communities.

In her January 25, 2022 letter to Prince William BOCS, Congresswoman Wexton noted the concern of former Manassas Battlefield National Park Superintendent Brandon Bies regarding “…the effect of increased traffic, noise pollution, deforestation and degradation of waterways and water quality of the park…”

She is right to have these concerns, as is Mr. Cao, and we look forward to continuing to work with both of them on these issues.

As Democrats working alongside Republicans, we’re not against data centers, and neither is Mr. Cao. We support broadening the commercial tax base to balance the tax burden for every homeowner in Prince William County.

We believe that properly placed data center developments can increase the business tax base, but they cannot be placed where environmental impacts devastate the watershed, where noise makes adjacent homes unlivable, where property values ownership is significantly eroded and where the current infrastructure simply does not exist for power generation or distribution for most of these new industrial monoliths.

We understand the financial windfall you and a small number of property owners wish to receive, but you have no right to demand that everyone else around you voluntarily have their property values ​​reduced to enrich your financial situation.

When located in appropriate locations in Prince William County, data centers can be a valuable tool in balancing the tax burden of homeowners. But such an impactful industrial development must be implemented with a reasonable tax policy comparable to that of surrounding jurisdictions.

The county absolutely should not give a 60% tax break to the world’s wealthiest corporations at the expense of Prince William’s taxpayers. Once taxed fairly, there is no longer a need for the excess 27 million square feet of industrial data centers that the PW digital gateway would bring, and the citizens of our county will not be supported for your largesse and those of major technologies.

And, as residents representing diverse financial means and jobs, we support data center workers and the unions that represent them. Adding union representatives to your letter clearly shows how you are deliberately misleading others when the real issue is the amount of money you will receive if this personal land grab works.

While you claim a desire to expand public spaces and parks, the gymnastics you do to sell a lie that data centers will save the county from a deficit of needed parks is absurd. To try to make Prince William’s families believe that the pathways between gargantuan industrial buildings, surrounded by security fences, represent “hundreds and hundreds of acres of permanent public spaces and parks” is laughable.

The PW digital gateway is proposed between a national park and a national forest. How can you claim to increase parks while destroying the surroundings of two major parks in the process?

The truth is that the current panorama of Manassas Battlefield National Park (MNBP) will be destroyed forever by the proposed data center corridor on Pageland Lane, and the rural crescent that has been the land use tool the most effective ever adopted in the State will be torn down. A four-lane divided industrial highway will become the much-dreaded Bi-County Parkway that even the County Board of Supervisors removed from any planning documents precisely because of its negative impacts on the entire county.

Your characterization of the rural crescent as a theft of your property rights 23 years ago is a practical rewriting of history for you and some of your neighbors when just two years ago you personally extolled the virtues from the rural crescent while the Bi-County drive would have reduced your property value significantly.

You have publicly argued that the Bi-County Drive would only be a means of expanding subdivisions in Loudoun County, which would threaten the Rural Crescent designation in Prince William County.

You then fought for the Rural Crescent, and in the blink of an eye, you condemn it as a segregationist relic. It’s a practical 11-hour conversion to line your pockets with millions at the expense of an entire culture that has actually suffered the worst in our nation’s history. Some of us have stood with you and fought for the protection of the Rural Crescent.

You’re recorded – and we can scroll through the videotape of the press conferences.

Additionally, you supported the former Chairman of the Board, who scared people of color into advocating for 287(g) migrant enforcement policy with ICE. Only now, when millions are at stake, have you chosen to embrace equity and inclusion, in name but not in practice.

What is true today is that you and your neighbors have found a unique opportunity for you to participate in the land sale lottery, as a group of large multinational data center companies are willing to pay a high premium for the land where the location of data centers serves their economic interests, not the interests of the communities and landowners affected by these decisions.

None of these data center companies would have even thought of promoting the historic and environmentally vulnerable Pageland Corridor without your personal promotion. Do not try to benefit anyone other than yourself and a few of your neighbors.

Those who oppose the PW Digital Gateway are not exclusively “Republicans”, and the fact that a Republican Party congressional candidate has acknowledged the importance of this issue and its impacts on the MNBP, the watershed of The Occoquan, which serves much of Northern Virginia homes and national security interests in Ft. Belvoir, makes it much more than a local land use issue.

The HOA Roundtable, whose messaging image you intentionally misused, is made up of tens of thousands of homeowners of all political stripes who have one common goal: to protect our homes, our communities, and our quality of life. Your cynical attempt to make this a Republican versus Democrat issue is clearly dishonest.

Neither Hung Cao nor Prince William County Republicans are against expanding the commercial tax base in Prince William County, and they fully support Prince William County schools, its students, teachers, employees. and its first responders as much as you. As part of a strong bipartisan coalition, we support all property rights of landowners – including our land and homes – and the right we have to protect the value of our properties from personal exploitative decisions that benefit a small number of people at the expense of hundreds of people. thousands of owners.

Finally, you claim that your vision for data centers will result in “billions in investment”. A responsible land use and tax policy will produce exactly the same results, without the devastating effects of the misplaced data center corridor you promote for your own economic benefit.

Hung Cao sees through your selfish ambitions and, like us, knows that you are far from the self-proclaimed righteous protector of Prince William County’s future.

We appreciate Mr. Cao and his principled position on the PW digital gateway. His views represent the courage and commitment emblematic of the selfless service he rendered selflessly to the nation during his storied military career. We thank him for supporting us as we work to prevent Prince William from being bulldozed across a vast industrial estate.

Sincerely,

Prince William County Democrats:

  • Deshundra Jefferson, Treasurer of the Democratic Potomac Committee
  • Ruth Balton, former chair of the Gainesville Magistrate District Democratic Committee
  • Bill Wright, former Treasurer of the Gainesville Magistrate District Democratic Committee
  • Gainesville District resident Roger Yackel
  • Gainesville District resident Sue Yackel
  • Gainesville District resident Erik Brown
  • Gainesville District resident Brigette Wilson
  • Gainesville District resident James Ryan
  • Gainesville District resident Jacqueline Ryan
  • Elena Schlossberg, Executive Director, Coalition to Protect PWC, resident of the District of Gainesville
  • Paula Daly, Board of Directors Prince William County HOA Roundtable, Member Gainesville Citizens for Smart Growth

Ramon J. Espinoza