Alphin ‘blew it’ in Isle of Wight

Published 8:13 pm Saturday, May 13, 2017

To the editor:

As the date for the Republican primary for the office of Delegate for the 64th District grows closer, I have read many of the supportive letters here for candidate Rex Alphin.

I would like to offer a personal viewpoint.

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My family was the subject of a very public county debate in the last five years over the right to use one’s own land as one sees fit, without injuring any other party. Isle of Wight County staff came down on us over the issue of camping here on our farm.

Through this incident, we learned that it is illegal for us in Isle of Wight to ever camp, even one night on our own land, without a “commercial campground permit,” which costs $1,350 just to apply for.

Public opinion was generally heavily against such an infringement of our private property rights, and justifiably so.

My husband made six appearances at county meetings over eight months to plead our case. County staff dominated those meetings and spoke at length to defend this policy, while limiting speakers supporting a change to three minutes. They also made snickering comments at those meetings.

The ordinance has not been reversed.

Rex Alphin was on the Board of Supervisors during this time, serving as chairman for some years. He was asked to publicly support the restoration of this right to Isle of Wight Citizens. He was also asked to support us privately.

He refused and has never even made a motion of support. Apparently, he is OK with denying this simple freedom. In his version of America, camping out at home should be denied unless more bureaucracy and fees prevail.

Alphin’s literature and supporters speak of conservative values, “rural culture” and “unleashing freedom.” In my opinion, those values have not been demonstrated here in Isle of Wight County on this very simple issue.

He could easily have been a leader here and fixed this travesty, but instead he sat there and let the hired county staff intimidate the elected officials we voted for. He allowed them to oppress the citizens. He had a chance to do the simplest thing for a taxpaying Virginia family and other county citizens, and he blew it.

We do not need another go-along-to-get-along representative in our state legislature.

If Rex Alphin is elected, what other rights will be lost with his consent?

Carol Ferguson