By Michael Spragins, Stafford County Democratic Committee Issues Committee Chair
You know when you have been sued by the Trump Justice Department over discrimination that the problem must be unbelievably bad. Stafford County was sued last year by the U.S. Department of Justice and the All Muslim Association of America because of actions taken by the Stafford Board of Supervisors to stop a Muslim cemetery on Garrionsville Road. In brief, Stafford County Supervisor Crystal Vanuch led the effort by the Supervisors to prevent the cemetery from opening. She happens to live across the street from the proposed cemetery. She claimed that there was danger to wells and drinking water by the proximity of the cemetery. The Virginia Dept. of Health recommended a 100-foot setback. However, Vanuch and the mostly Republicans Board of Supervisors approved a 900-foot setback. This was, strangely enough, large enough to encompass the entire proposed cemetery and prevent it from being developed. Last August, after spending $35,000 on a study, the Board amended the setback to 656-feet. Vanuch voted against it. The lawsuit has not gone away either. The county has spent $523, 945 fighting it so far.
Is bad water the only reason Vanuch does not want a Muslim cemetery across the street? The Free Lance-Star of Feb. 2 reported that Supervisor Tinesha Allen said, in a deposition filed in the case, that Vanuch told her that she “doesn’t want to see a [expletive] Muslim cemetery across from her and she would rather die before she allowed her husband to be reminded of those people.” Vanuch denies that she said this, but her actions on the Board speak otherwise. It appears, due to their approval of the 900-foot setback, that the Republican Board probably agrees with her.
Regardless of the reasons for the Republican Board’s decisions, the result is that the county is being sued and must defend the suit or settle it. Either way it will cost us all potentially millions in unnecessary expense. We need to replace these expensive, prejudiced Republican supervisors at the next election.
This is a post by a member of the Stafford County Democratic Committee. This post does not necessarily reflect the views of the Stafford County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party of Virginia, or the Democratic Party of America.