Letter: Chris Manthos, Leesburg

Editor: It’s no surprise the Board of Supervisors continue to push for less transparency when it comes to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. Your recent article highlighting the board’s hostility to the public’s right to know was concise and alarming. The reporting mentioned there are 147 exemptions to Virginia’s FOIA, leading a reasonable person to question, how is that possible? 

If anything, it’s likely a conservative count. I reviewed the FIOA law, and was appalled.  There are exemptions to exemptions, along with counter exemptions to the exemption. It’s mind-boggling. It’s clear that’s exactly the way Richmond and Harrison Street like it.

To be fair, there are common sense exemptions such as information regarding juveniles, legal proceedings, security data, health, financial and tax information, all of which a normal person understands. Yet the amount of pure, “we don’t have to tell you nutin’ and we don’t care” is so astonishing, it leads one to believe why even have such a law if government is doing all it can to show contempt for it. 

This should be a concern for every citizen regardless of ideology. It demonstrates the ever-growing canyon between our public servants and the people at large. 

Our property tax records are listed online. Therefore, why would democrat Del. Wendy Gooditis put up a bill hiding public official newsletter recipients from the public? Why would the board support this? 

Like many, I’m on multiple elected officials’ newsletters. They’re publicly financed newsletters providing public information to the public. Something’s not quite right. Could it be to protect these elected servants from disclosing extremist hate list groups they reside on, or participation in other unethical activities? For now, we’ll never know. 

Lack of transparency begets suspicion. Suspicion breeds hostility. There’s that nagging feeling that these elected servants don’t much care for us—more likely, loathe the people at large for their own selfish power-seeking agendas. These individuals are not our friends. We should return the favor and kick secretive control freaks to the curb come Election Day. 

Chris Manthos, Leesburg       

6 thoughts on “Letter: Chris Manthos, Leesburg

  • 2021-05-19 at 11:34 am
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    Government, at all levels, exists to increase the power and reach of government. FOIA laws threaten that power and reach and those running government know that and will exploit that to prevent “we the people” from holding them accountable.

    There should be term limits on virtually all elected county positions. And we need a better way to hold elected officials accountable for outrageous decisions on development and special projects that dump massive debt on county residents yet yield dubious “benefits” to the community.

    We don’t need to rename the county and every road, building or school mascot in it. We need to focus on real issues that matter to residents in our daily lives.

    In short, we need a return to the idea of a “Cincinnatus” serving on the county boards and an end to the self-serving politicians currently entrenched in these same boards.

  • 2021-05-19 at 4:33 pm
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    “Lack of transparency begets suspicion”.

    The writer nailed it!

    We haven’t trusted the board for years and the FOIA issue is just ONE of many reasons. Loudoun voters are busy trying to raise a family and pay the bills. A lot of them are not aware of the corruption going on in Loudoun.

    We need to educate our neighbors and BOOT these guys from office.

    We don’t trust the School Board either . Their marxist , pornographic , corrupt CRT teachings to ALL age groups is alarming. Their Enemies List is criminal.

  • 2021-05-19 at 5:38 pm
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    Mr Mantos, –I think that you were referring to FOIA, the Freedom of Information Act when you wrote “FIOA”. “To be fair, there are common sense exemptions such as information regarding juveniles, legal proceedings, security data, health, financial and tax information, all of which a normal person understands. Yet the amount of pure, “we don’t have to tell you nutin’ and we don’t care”** is so astonishing, it leads one to believe why even have such a law if government is doing all it can to show contempt for it. ** care to be more specific about ‘we don’t have to tell you nutin and we don’t care?’

    You then question why Delegate Gooditis does not want to release the names of those who subscribe to her newsletter and go on to make some pretty wild charges as to why. I think that you should ask her “why” directly instead of trying to find something nefarious about this right to privacy.. By the way, can you tell me which newsletters you subscribe to and include your name, address and email in your response? YOU WROTE: “I’m on multiple elected officials’ newsletters. They’re publicly financed newsletters providing public information to the public. Something’s not quite right.” I agree that something’s not quite right …

  • 2021-05-20 at 3:02 pm
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    I second the comments made by Tony Fasolo. Before making assumptions, why does Mr. Mantos not attempt to determine the reason for any exemptions or proposed exemptions to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act? He claims that “For now, we’ll never know.” We will certainly never know if we don’t ask. Is it possible that if Mr. Mantos were to learn that there are good reasons for these exemptions, he would not have this excuse to attack elected officials?

    Often, something specific happened that gave rise to the exemption. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the decision that an exemption is the appropriate remedy, it does not mean that there is anything nefarious going on. I note that Mr. Mantos provided many examples of what he considers to be appropriate exemptions. Nevertheless, he is appalled that there are so many exemptions as to make the law meaningless but provides only one example of a proposed – not enacted – exemption. If he indeed reviewed the FOIA, he ought to be able to provide examples to support his attacks on elected officials.

    • 2021-05-20 at 8:38 pm
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      “2. Working papers and correspondence of the Office of the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, or the Attorney General; the members of the General Assembly, the Division of Legislative Services, or the Clerks of the House of Delegates or the Senate of Virginia; the mayor or chief executive officer of any political subdivision of the Commonwealth; or the president or other chief executive officer of any public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth.”

      That’s a big one Ms. Maslinoff. Please be better and attempt to spell my name correctly in the future. I fully understand Fasolo misspelling my name, but would hope you’d be more civil.
      Certainly, you didn’t miss the news of elected school board members, at least one elected supervisor, and the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney being participants in an extremist hate list group targeting citizens? Are you comfortable with such actions? They all knew better, but didn’t care. Know why? Because they thought it was a secret. They thought they’d get away with it. Have you seen a single one of these “elected” servants say they’re sorry? Me neither. These people have no remorse, or regret. They have no sense that it’s wrong to participate in compiling hate lists of people they don’t like (try having a hate list in school, and see what happens). They’re mad they got caught.
      Imagine what they get away with the Virginia Code in their corner?

      Perhaps that’s why, in 2021, only 24% of Americans trust the governmnet, according a recent Pew Research Center poll. It’s been a downward trend for years now, and we all should be concerned. A factor is the ever increasing lack of transparency.

  • 2021-05-26 at 11:44 am
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    Loudoun needs an independent Inspector General for handling these matters, and many more.

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