We got a glimpse of what a Pete Candland controlled Board of County Supervisors (BOCS) looks like on March 15 when the Mac Haddow/Pete Candland cabal snaked the absent BOCS Chairman Corey Stewart.
Snake [sneyk] Verb: To stab someone in the back by telling them you’re going to do one thing and then doing another to their detriment.
The Mac Haddow/Pete Candland cabal is the acknowledged master of the dark art of snaking in Prince William County.* Their modus operandi is to emit a constant stream of lip service pronouncements concerning good government, transparency, and conservative principles for the consumption of the busy public. But like the Pharisees of old, while they self-righteously hold themselves above others on these points, behind the scenes they reserve for themselves a completely different set of rules. To help mask their hypocrisy they use the cabal’s house organ, the Sheriff of Nottingham blog, to both misdirect the public on any given issue and discredit opponents through a vicious program of intimidation and character assassination unencumbered by the truth. Then to lure allies as needed, they sometimes applaud those outside the cabal, including prior victims of their character assassinations.
One example of the practical application of the Haddow/Candland cabal’s strategies and tactics was the March 15 BOCS vote on the removal of the Bi-County Parkway from the Prince William County Comprehensive Plan. Chairman Stewart had let everyone know that he wouldn’t be able to make the BOCS meeting scheduled for March 15, but given the importance of the subject, he wanted to participate in the discussion and vote on the Bi-County Parkway issue. So, at their March 8 meeting the assembled supervisors agreed they would proceed with the public hearing on March 15, but would not vote that evening and would instead wait for the Chairman’s return. As the video of the March 8 meeting makes clear, BOCS Vice-Chair Pete Candland took the lead in raising the issue of Stewart’s anticipated absence and of securing agreement that no vote would be taken during that absence.
Chairman Stewart knows the risks of trusting the devil, but even he had to be surprised by what happened on March 15. The trap had been set.
As the day and evening progressed on the 15th, Mac Haddow spread the word that members of the Haddow/Candland cabal would push for a Bi-County Parkway vote in Chairman’s Stewart’s absence. With Stewart gone they only needed one vote from outside the cabal, and Supervisor Caddigan, a long-time opponent of the Bi-County Parkway, was deemed persuadable. Supervisor Lawson, by her own admission, came to the March 15 meeting with a “bullet point” motion to call for the vote in the Chairman’s absence, despite the promises of the prior week.
The result was the sort of public display of dishonesty and procedural bungling that has embarrassed and bedeviled Prince William County since 2011, discouraging investment, business expansion, and confidence in county institutions. Haddow cabal stalwarts Pete Candland, Jeanine Lawson, and Ruth Anderson were joined by Maureen Caddigan in a 4-3 vote to remove the Bi-County Parkway from the county comprehensive plan. John Jenkins, Marty Nohe, and Frank Principi tried to remind their colleagues of the commitment made to Chairman Stewart, but Vice-Chair Pete Candland got a ruling from the county attorney that since no formal vote had been taken at that prior meeting to wait for the Chairman, the supervisors were not legally bound to do so. Ethical conduct be damned. Other arguments made by Nohe related to the removal of the Bi-County Parkway from the comprehensive plan, as well as his plea that taking a vote after assuring the Chairman and the public that they would not do so “flies in the face” of the promises of transparency the board had made, fell on deaf ears.
Regardless of what people think of the merits of the Bi-County Parkway, there was no denying that the stench of dishonesty emitted by the Haddow/Candland cabal was more publicly noisome than usual, and their house organ blog, no doubt prepared in advance, immediately went on the offensive with their standard combination of misdirection and character assassination to justify the cabal’s conduct. First, to elicit sympathy and perhaps co-opt longer-term support from the independent-minded Maureen Caddigan, they waxed effusively about what they called the new power women on the board. Then they tried to justify the betrayal of their fundamental promise to Chairman Stewart by insinuating that he had lied to them about the reason for his absence. Finally, they piled on Nohe and Principi with a litany of insulting characterizations and descriptions of their conduct remote from the actual events.
It was all a small glimpse at what a future Prince William County completely controlled by the Haddow/Candland cabal will look like. Hurry home Chairman Stewart!
Snake [sneyk] Verb: To employ the techniques of the Mac Haddow/Pete Candland cabal, especially dishonesty, hypocrisy, misinformation, and character assassination to elevate yourself politically regardless of the detrimental impact on your community and the public trust.
*Though it varies, the core members of the Haddow/Candland cabal include Upstream Consulting’s Mac Haddow, QBE’s Pete Candland, Jeanine Lawson, Ruth Anderson, and sometime-Candland staffer/Rich Anderson campaign manager/Ruth Anderson and Jeanine Lawson consultant Reece Collins.