“The County Preservation Redistricting Plan”

By Loudoun Insider

I received this email (provided below the fold) from two different sources a couple weeks ago and was holding it for the right time for release, which has arrived now with the public blow-up between the Millers and Mike Turner, LCDC Chairman.  Since Turner seems to think that the Millers are LCRC spies, let me assure everyone that I did not recieve this from the Millers.  Please remember, folks, no one has been more critical publicly of Stevens Miller than I have. 

The email is about controvsery aurrounding now former LCDC Communications Chairman Ben Kelahan, he of Saint Consulting Group/HCA fame here in Loudoun County.  There is some very interesting back story there that I may share at some point, but for now let’s focus on the “County Preservation redistricting plan” as Turner refers to the controversial passed redistricting plan that Turner takes credit for.  Kelahan was instrumental in getting this passed, Turner says.  How?  Why?  Preservation for who?  Andrea McGimsey and Kely Burk and the fortunes of the LCDC apparently.  Too bad that ticks off nearly everyone else in this county.

Lowell at Blue Virginia just put up a new post about the implosion of the LCDC.  Miller not supporting this horrible plan has now opened up a huge rift in the LCDC that is set for DPVA intervention now.  Turner has put together an ad hoc committee to expel Miller from the LCDC and rumors are swirling of a mass exodus of members and candidates.  This will go down as the biggest political disaster in the history of already screwed up Loudoun County politics.  The LCDC is dead as a functional effective organization for this election cycle.

 From: Mike Turner [redacted]
    Date: April 21, 2011 9:17:12 AM EDT
    To: LCDC Exec  [redacted]
    Subject: Ben Kelahan

    All:  This past weekend, I very reluctantly asked Ben Kelahan for his resignation as Communications Chair.  This was a very difficult if not outright painful decision for me, because it was largely driven by what I can only describe as gossip in a fancy wrapper.  Never the less, in the interests of eliminating any unnecessary and distracting controversy before it had a chance to flourish, I asked Ben to take one for the team.  To his considerable credit, he didn’t hesitate to step down.
  
    However, Ben has a right to tell his side and respond to the rumors which were beginning to swirl about his business relationships.  You should know that Ben disclosed all of his outside business ties to me well in advance of these rumors.  It is also important to note that not a single LCDC member extended to Ben the simple courtesy of calling him directly to talk about their concerns.

    There is a lesson here for the LCDC which I hope is not lost.  Ben Kelahan (among several others) was instrumental in helping to pass and protect the County Preservation redistricting plan which we supported.  He did yeoman’s work behind the scenes.  As we leave the redistricting fight behind us and move forward into a difficult campaign season, we would do well to recognize, based on fact not rumor, who our friends are and who our enemies are.

    Thanks.

    Mike Turner


Comments

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Ben Kelahan figured prominently in Chaloux’ efforts to derail the CTP, as well. There are lots of emails on a variety of accounts between the two of them.

    His Saint background no doubt makes him an excellent behind the scenes guy.

    Taking one for the team? I like Kabuki.

  • Had Enough says:

    The whole thing has Kelahan’s fingerprints all over it. I’ve heard he has been bad mouthing Stevens Miller. At the meeting I noticed him smirking when poor Liz Miller was being inquisitioned. I also heard there’s another Supervisor who wanted Stevens Miller put in his place. She’s a vindictive thing. And I’m not saying that’s Andrea. Super secret meetings to kick out fellow members? You’ve got to be kidding me? Don’t we have rules that prohibit this?

    I hate what has happened to the LCDC. It’s being run by a clique that only listens to each other. They spend all their time on protecting their few and plotting how to get even with everyone else. It’s a horrible, horrible, way to treat members of a local political party. And needless to say, it will just destroy from within. They’ve done a good job of accomplishing that.

    I never thought I would be calling out the leadership of the LCDC on a Republican blog. But not one in that inner circle of arrogant jerks running the LCDC wants to hear it. I do know several others like me, who are walking out the door, Just like Liz Miller.

  • I have a great idea for you…I’m coming soon….

    http://tiny.cc/p25ll

    My name is Mike Turner.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I just invoked Joe Budziniski’s finely crafted blog editing rule, that some commenters can have their comments deleted just for annoying the blog administrator. Lovettsville “Lady” said a while back that she would never post here or at NVTH again. Multiple times on both blogs. Yet she still keeps coming back to both blogs to make snide remarks. Typical snide LvL comment about this not being a Republican blog just deleted, simply for being incredibly annoying. Instead of complaining about who should be her real target, the LCDC, she chooses, in typical LI-Hater methodology, to bitch about me and this blog.

    If you want to state over and over again that you won’t be back you subject yourself to such derision. Stick to your promises, or don’t make them in the first place.

  • Ben Kelahan says:

    TC, you failed to post the rest of the email, so to be absolutely accurate, here is the rest of that email some real loyal Democrat in Loudoun gave you

    From Ben:
     
    “Mike,
    In an effort to clear up any mistaken perceptions about my businesses and my volunteer activity for the Democratic Party and its candidates, I though this information might be helpful to you in answering anyone’s questions:

    The Casey Group, LLC was formed in September of 2010 in the business of strategic communications, government relations and public relations by Ben Kelahan and David D’Onofrio.  The Casey Group (sole proprietorship of David D’Onofrio’s) had been in business for a couple years previous, and still remains in existence to service clients that existed prior to our LLC.  They are not my clients and never have been.

    The clients, affairs, employees, services and other issues related to the former Casey Group are of no business of mine.  It was obviously led by a strong Republican in Loudoun County with no business ties to a Democrat.  As such, it had the luxury of doing business without concern to candidate activities.  It does now and thus a separate business entity, the LLC was created.
    Dave D’Onofrio’s support of Republican candidates in Loudoun, in any capacity, does not reflect an endorsement of nor any financial, intellectual or other support to those candidates by The Casey Group, LLC or me personally.  Dave works hard to elect Republicans.  I work hard to elect Democrats.  I work to see candidates he supports lose.  He works to see candidates I support lose.  It’s pretty simple actually and these business relationships on the communications side have existed for as long as anyone can remember.

    I will not and do not support any political campaign activity through The Casey Group, Democrat, Republican or otherwise.  It does not perform any political services for candidates.  Any administrative, political contribution, or other official records that reflect the The Casey Group being involved with a Republican candidate, issue or mission is linked to the previous entity that IS NOT The Casey Group, LLC.

    I am an owner in a Democratic campaign consulting business with an old colleague and friend, Greg Lane, called Next Generation Strategies, LLC.  NGS neither has nor seeks local level campaign races in Loudoun County and won’t based on communications work I perform in Loudoun County.  If Greg or any other associate had a preexisting business arrangement with any candidate in Loudoun County it has not been transferred to Next Generation Strategies.  I have no part in those arrangements, and won’t.

    To my knowledge, I have informed the Loudoun County Democratic Party of all my clients in Loudoun proactively on my own volition to avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.  I have received no feedback about any conflict of interest issue as it relates to my communications business. 

    Born to a family of labor and Democratic party activists and locally elected officials, I have been helping Democratic candidates get elected to local office since I was in elementary school.  I’ve also been actively involved in the issues and missions that reflect Democratic core values for some time – protecting collective bargaining/worker’s rights, voter registration, tolerance, minority representation, equality, energy efficiency/renewable energy and other issues. I have also served on the advisory and core operations committees of Democratic candidates in Northern Virginia, including one of the first elected Latino County Board members in Virginia, doing outreach to communities for Democratic congressional and county board chair candidates, media, message and coordinating volunteers.  I will continue to be. 

    In the course of my lifetime I’ve had (like many) issues with the direction of the national, state and local Democratic parties at the time, always resulting in a stronger resolve to help the party and its candidates.  Over all, I’ll put my service to Democrats up against anyone.  If anyone believes I’m aiding and abetting Republican candidates through my business affairs at The Casey Group, they’re flat wrong.

    With a constant goal in mind of getting Democrats elected to office, I gladly agree to step down from the Communications Chair role and Executive Committee to avoid distractions.  I also understand where people have questions about being in the professional communications business and also serving Democrats – it comes with the territory, I’ve been doing both my entire career.  Although I’m disappointed with not being able to serve on the Executive Committee, sharing some ideas I’ve learned in past county coordinated campaigns and having to defend myself against those that question my Democratic integrity (without speaking to me at all about it directly), I’ll find other ways to assist candidates and the party I am sure, whether people like it or not.

    Thanks for your efforts Mike. 

    Best Regards,
     
    Ben

  • Lovettsville Lady says:

    Get over yourself, I didn’t say one word to you or about you. I simply stated the truth, this is no longer a republican blog.

    I never say never!

  • Ben Kelahan says:

    Oh, and I wasn’t at the LCDC that night to smirk at Liz…

  • Former LCDC member says:

    The idea that Stevens or Liz are Republican spies may be the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard. The LCDC has gone downhill so badly (and that is saying a lot because it’s never been good in my experience) that Democrats deserve to get humiliated this year. They definitely wont get any support from me until there is a leadership change and a public apology to the Millers.

  • DC Beltway Bandit says:

    Ben, Your response is utter garbage. Do you care to respond to the Casey Group LLC or LLP or what ever iteration it is now. Or how these companies to include your Next Generation & Patriot Consulting have only recently registered with Loudoun, VPAP, VA SCC or the state of Delaware?

    How in the hell are you and David D’Onofrio trying to fool, do you really think the general public is that stupid to buy your snake oil? As I have said before The Casey Group has is playing both sides, you and David are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • LloydTheIdiot says:

    LvL, I’d delete your most recent post comment, too, but this isn’t my post.

    Your snide comments add nothing to the discussion. Follow your mother’s advice and keep them to yourself.

  • Verbal Kint says:

    Wow. So Turner defends this Kelahan guy and says the accusations against him were rumors yet initiates a secret committee to investigate Stevens Miller? Turner says no one had the courtesy to talk to Kelahan about their complaints, yet Turner doesn’t bring his issues up regarding the Millers and instead forms a secret committee to investigate Turner?

    I think it just became clear why Mrs. Miller was happy to resign. This Turner guy is off his medication.

  • Verbal Kint says:

    And regarding the various Casey Groups, none of that makes any sense whatsoever. I seriously don’t understand what that’s all about. There are two Casey Groups operating in Loudoun?

  • Library Lil says:

    Here is Casey group, LLC
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Casey-Group-LLC/112291058827203

    Here is Casey group
    http://www.thecaseygroup.us/about.html

    Next Generation strategies filed in April (April 6)2011 (Mr. Turner’s letter is dated April 21, 2011)

    https://cisiweb.scc.virginia.gov/z_container.aspx

    LL, what people are missing, is that this is a Republican blog — and the democrats are flocking here to flee their leadership.

    I do wonder, however, why Republicans aren’t questioning Casey group more. This Ben guy is taking the heat, but David shares guilt as well. They are both advising political candidates on opposite sides of the aisle, and Ben “was instrumental in helping to pass and protect the County Preservation redistricting plan ….. He did yeoman’s work behind the scenes.”
    What does that mean?
    Do their candidates know that a partner worked on this crazy, gerrymandered plan? Perhaps David was advising a candidate that he didn’t want to run against a candidate that his partner Ben was advising? Perhaps they influenced it to make sure that their lobbying interests either were or weren’t in a particular supervisor’s district.
    Even if none of this is true and This guy really is straight up — Mr. Turner should have seen “conflict of interest” potential written all over this guy and shielded him and the committee from even the appearance of a conflict…but what the hell do I know!

  • Patriot says:

    Turner looks to be really obsessed with redistricting. LI, does the preservation plan substantially benefit Democrats or anyone in particular?

  • BYE BYE STEVENS MILLER says:

    This is true Stevens fashion. If you can’t have your way, try to take the whole organization down with you. He did it on the Board, now since nobody wanted him to run for anything else, he wants to do it to his party. The State didn’t want Stevens to run for Senate. They don’t want him to run for re-election. The Party doesn’t want Stevens anymore. His childish antics have no place here. I’m glad his wife resigned. The world doesn’t revolve around her! Politics shouldn’t be about one’s own political ambitions. It should be about helping people other than yourself. The Democrats are not falling apart as you might believe…they are getting stronger, more united. Stevens was the only real bad apple and this should be a message to the rest. I have one message for Stevens and his wife…Bye. Bye. The board will be a better place without the likes of Stevens and Delgaudio. Only, you Republicans can’t see the value in having respectable people on the Board. Running Delguadio will be your demise. You might not like the idea of “County Preservation,” but maintaining a Democratic Board of Supervisors is in the BEST INTEREST OF THE PEOPLE LIVING IN LOUDOUN COUNTY. DEMOCRATS have lowered taxes since four years ago, they’ve built schools, and they’ve focused on expanding the tax base to grow the job market. Republicans want to go back to the ways of letting developers run rampant over the county, adding more and more traffic to our gridlocked roads, putting up speculative projects that further increase economic problems, and SQUEEZE OUR SCHOOL SYSTEM SO IT STARVES OUR CHILDREN TO DEATH! NO THANKS! Tell your candidates that we won’t let them stack the Board and the School Board so John Wood, Scott York and Ralph Buona can steel our tax dollars and then lie about it. WE WON’T LET THAT HAPPEN. PERIOD!

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Patriot, the passed “LCDC Plan” was designed to keep Leesburg intact for Kelly Burk, and to create an almost entirely new district for Andrea McGimsey so she wouldn’t have to face her current constituents in her bid for re-election.

    Boy that last comment sure sounds like Tom Bellanca! Loudound Dems are stronger and more unified than ever??? Really?

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    BBSM, if it’s about helping people, then it sure looks good to chase out a constant volunteer. Yep.

    PR firms that take a variety of clients? And….? How is that different than a law firm or anything else that takes on a job for a customer? Unless they are specifically advertising as political only, R or D only, then it makes sense to have people on both sides of aisles.

    As to “county preservation”, pardon me while I hurl. Especially after that stupid email leak that brought the usuals up to the ONE redistricting hearing to read the email talking points, I seem to recall that, while slamming the HOA plan as “Republican”, there was much huffy denial that the plan that was passed came from the LCDC.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    p.s.–ummm, the other guy at Next Gen is also Saint or former Saint, yes? Is this another Saint group effort with plausible deniability?

    Stock up on popcorn folks, it’s only going to get better here in Dodge.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I’ll deal with some of that in a later post, Barb.

    Meanwhile, the obsessed BPM continues to read this and comment elsewhere about this site. This gem is too crazy to pass up, from Common Sense:

    The Bulletproof Monk says:
    May 7, 2011 at 9:52 PM
    Interestingly, has anyone notice LI talking to himself in third person —and doing so from two other sock-puppets?
    The letter from Kelehan was crystal clear to everyone else who reads it….but if you absolutely have to “invent” a good story line, perhaps Ben’s clarifying post with the full context should be deleted. It makes Too Speculative look like an over-eager dunce.
    Once again, the pulse of Loudoun politicos beats here and other outlets….but not at Too Speculative.

    Since I know he will read this, we may as well respond here. There is nothing speculative about this post at all. It puts up a very interesting email talking about how lobbyist Ben Kelahan worked hard behind the scenes to get the horrible “County Preservation Plan” passed. I guess BPM feels a need to protect Kelahan because of who he is partners and pals with. You would think that BPM and LvL would be complaining about the Dems and their secret agent, instead of me. Yeah right, I’m the problem here in this county.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    I’ll also point out that I did not put up Kelahan’s email to Turner since it discloses a lot of personal business details. I did not think he and his partner would want all that out there. he emailed me asking why I cut it off. I told him that was why and told him he should post it up if he wanted it out there. So he did. That was his call to make.

    If he does want to engage in conversation here, I would like clarification on this part of Turner’s statement:

    “Ben Kelahan (among several others) was instrumental in helping to pass and protect the County Preservation redistricting plan which we supported. He did yeoman’s work behind the scenes.”

    What exactly did you do “behind the scenes” to “pass and protect the County Preservation redistricting plan”? And why is it called the County Preservation Plan? If the Dems were so for this plan, what work had to be done behind the scenes to pass and protect it?

    I wonder if all this comng to light recently is part of what led Burton to flip. I don’t think this kind of insider political BS appeals to him.

  • theoperative says:

    Just Wow. This is fascinating and truly horrifying. I have to say that despite all the “political maneuvering” he is accused of, I’ve always felt that Stevens Miller really voted his conscious and made a concerted effort to do the right thing by Loudoun County. Even after his support for the HOA plan (which would have averted this situation by the way), people were saying he did it just to set himself up for a Senate run, when in fact he was getting closer and closer to deciding not to run at all for anything. Now his wife has resigned from the committee.

    The bench is looking thin. The Preservation Plan has created a real mess and all this dirty laundry isn’t helping at all. LCDC needs to clean this up…pronto.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Welcome back again, Op. I think it’s about time for your return to the blogosphere. This will be an interesting year to say the least.

    But how could the LCDC bench be thin when you have Homebrew Moses as your candidate search guy???

  • Fickle finger of fate says:

    Interesting comments BBSM

    So basically, you think Stevens Miller and his wife deserved to be treated unfairly and outside of the LCDC rules. That secret discussions and a tight insider power hungry clique can unilaterally decide to filter them out. And, that your Chairman is entitled to humiliate Liz Miller in front of the whole group. One of the best volunteers I’ve ever seen at LCDC. And you think this because you’ve decided you don’t like him. Can you hear yourself?

    Your post is very telling. It’s petty, vindictive and it sounds like you and your group are in high school.I guess Stevens Miller was supposed to just fall on his sword and not care how his people were divided up. Leesburg was supposed to be more important to him than Ashburn? And why is that?

    Stevens Miller is now standing up for himself and his wife and he is operating within the rules of the Party. Good for him! I’d love to see some real scrunity regarding how they came up with their Loudoun Preservation Plan. A little sunlight shown on their “process.”

    The sooner we get some new, grown up leadership in the LCDC – the better.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    So Op, it is being formally imaged as “The Preservation Plan”?

    I guess after the election it may be known as something else–that’s something to look forward to!

  • theoperative says:

    Not even Bob Moses can work miracles. The people declaring are who they are. Even Moses would have to agree that he has little to work with right now.

    Babs – I’m not trying to formally image that plan as anything other than shortsighted. I’m trying to figure out why the Democrats would put so much work into a plan that so thoroughly screws themselves. Burton did them a favor by giving them one last chance to reshuffle the deck and instead of taking a sober look at their electoral fortunes, they chose to scoop up their needed vote from Eugene Delgaudio. Didn’t anyone stop to ask themselves why Delgaugio would back this plan? Loudoun politics is never boring.

  • Game Players says:

    This whole deal is all about Kelahan, McGimsey, and Metro and its associated developments.

    McGimsey is already hitting up developers for donations to Oatlands.

    Turner is too arrogant to know he’s been had.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Was Burton trying to give the Dems a chance, or himself?

    See L2Day’s new story:

    http://www.leesburg2day.com/news/article_98fa17a4-7a4f-11e0-92a6-001cc4c03286.html

    Purcellville + Brambleton + Kirkpatrick Farms + CBPO = Burton loses?

    Oops.

  • theoperative says:

    That’s an excellent point. In the current scenario I see Kelly Burk and Malcolm Baldwin as the only clear favorites aligning themselves with LCDC. Everyone else has serious handicaps going forward, including Burton. Isn’t it utterly bizarre that McGimsey and Burton would be the ones to stop the CBPO in its tracks? This might be the single most transparently political flip in Loudoun, well if we don’t count Scott York.

    Does anyone know when CBPO was introduced? By whom? And who voted in favor?

  • edmundburkenator says:

    The CBPO isn’t going to happen. But I bet it will become a Wheatland-like zombie item.

    Operative, this may have been the first inkling of the CBPO:

    http://www.loudoun.gov/controls/speerio/resources/RenderContent.aspx?data=028239a55d0c4f8a97d3488ba3dd784e&tabid=312&fmpath=%2fBusiness+Meeting+Packets%2f2008%2f12-01-08+COW+packet

  • theoperative says:

    Thanks edmund. The link didn’t work for me but it looks like its from 2008. Can you give us the answers to my above questions?

  • theoperative says:

    What is the story with Mike Turner and Susan Buckley personally thanking Eugene for his vote? Are we sure they aren’t trying sabotage the Dems this cycle?

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    Who knows – Turner is bizarre and Susan probably could really care less at this point. I’m she she just wanted it over and done with, although I don’t know why she would go out of her way to help the LCDC, which would probably expel her too if she was running again. Eugene loves this plan since it takes away Oak Grove, a logical Sterling precinct that is strongly Democratic, and gives it to the new Broad Run in another attempt to help save Kelahan’s pet project McGimsey.

  • Loudoun Insider says:

    New post at Doorbell Queen with searing comment from Stevens Miller:

    http://doorbellqueen.blogspot.com/2011/05/lcdc-members-im-not-asking-any-of-you.html#comments

    Will the Super Secret Committee To Punish Stevens Miller issue a bound report for all to read???

    And by the way, since this email was sent from Turner to the LCDC Executive Committee, which one of them is the “some real loyal Democrat” as described by Ben Kelahan? It certainly wasn’t one of the Millers.

  • edmundburkenator says:

    York and Kurtz asked staff for recommendations on better protections for Loudoun water quality. The CBA was one of the options listed among others.

    “Prior to making decisions on the priority of one Zoning effort over another, the Board indicated a desire to be briefed specifically on the options available to implement water quality protections. Staff worked with Chairman York and Supervisor Kurtz in developing the agenda for the Committee of the Whole meeting. At this meeting, staff from the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Division will present an overview of the Bay Act, the Program components and criteria, and options that Loudoun County has in potentially moving forward with such a Program. County staff has requested the Chesapeake Bay staff to focus a significant portion of the presentation on the “buffer criteria” portion of the Program, which would be the Chesapeake Bay equivalent to the former RSCOD.”

    There is no listed official sponsor…

  • [...] the guy who Mike Turner said was instrumental in getting the horrendous LCDC redistricting plan (“The County Preservation Plan”) pushed through that created McGimsey’s entirely new amoeba district that she’s now [...]

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