Law and Order?
No doubt you have received an announcement for a fundraiser for Corey Stewart tomorrow.Â No big deal about that.Â I’m sure he needsÂ the money and may not be totally confident that, if he prevails in the nomination battle,Â the Connaughton war chest and donor network will shower doubloonsÂ in his direction.
Â The interesting thing to me is the venue forÂ Stewart’s kickoff:Â Tim’s Rivershore in Dumfries.Â As most of you know, Tim’s and the County have been locked in a nasty spat over code violations for some time now.Â The attitude of Tim’s Rivershore strikes me as defiance of demands for compliance withÂ County buildingÂ and health codes.Â If you go to the Tim’s Rivershore Website, you get a strong flavor of how fervently the owners have seen this as a political issue.Â Â Despite the political pressure, the county marched ahead with its enforcement activities. TheÂ County’s legal position was upheld this past MayÂ when Tim’s owner, Mr. Bauckman, was convictedÂ and given some stiff fines by the court.Â Â Mr. Bauckman is appealing those convictions.Â I’ve heardÂ that County officials still regard Tim’s as being non-compliant with certain site and sanitation requirements.
Enforcement of health, safety and building codes is a core function of theÂ County government that Mr. Stewart now aspires to lead.Â The past seven years have been ones where County officials and employees have worked hard to bring code enforcement up to the uniform standards that are the mark of any large, complex community.Â Tim’s is a long-timeÂ County landmark and, for many a quaint and popular link with a past that is fast recedingÂ (I’ve certainly enjoyed some long-ago evenings there).Â But enforcing local ordinancesÂ uniformly and predictably is tough, not particularly rewardingÂ day-to-day work that is a hallmark of a well-run local government.Â Is Stewart consciously or inadvertently (either way would be bad) endorsing Mr.Â Bauckman’s tactics and apparent unwillingness to play by the rules?Â Is Stewart unfamiliar with the history of Tim’s defiance of theÂ local law (that would be bad too)?Â Will other businesses that comply with local laws take exception to the appearance of this (that’s not so good either)?Â Will the local GOP be assumed to have taken sides against the County in the dispute, or is the impact limited to Stewart?Â Do Stewart’s endorsers know about this dispute and will their presence at the Fundraiser imply that they have taken sides against the County’s enforcement activity? Was the choice of Tim’s for this event sheer coincidence and the Stewart campaign just bumbled unaware into this dispute?Â Is Tim’s donating the venue at an attractive priceÂ as a means of promoting a candidate that might be more sympathetic to non-compliance?Â Or is this just the onlyÂ available venueÂ in all of PrinceÂ WilliamÂ County for that day and that hour?Â Was this a mistake, or was it intentional?Â If it was intentional, what’s the message re compliance with local law?Â
What do you think?Â I think StewartÂ should have tried to find another place.Â I myself am looking forward to going back to Tim’s whenÂ it’s all spiffed up and code compliant.Â But not before.Â Â
UPDATE:Â James Young and commenter Charles at Skeptical Observor haveÂ puzzlinglyÂ raisedÂ food safety issues re my post on Tims’ Rivershore.Â I have never heard of such problems.Â To my knowledge, the continuing issues between the County andÂ Tim’s relate to parking facilities and sanitation issues focussed on sewage storage and disposal.Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â