[Because of the length, I have edited the format, removed salutation lines, and shortened the “CC” list. All the text is accurately reported per the emails.]
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Jun 20, 2014, at 8:31 AM To: the Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: Re: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
R-Board: This letter to the Free Lance-Star was written by one of the participants from the June 13, 2014 meeting I hosted in Fredericksburg with Urban Ore.
From: Gary Snellings [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 9:03 AM To: Bill Johnson Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council, Vanessa Remmers Subject: Re: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Good morning, Suggest that everyone go to the Urban Ore web site and you will get the whole truth on their operation. They don’t take garbage, they only take what they can resell, sort of like Goodwill, Berkley has six landfills that handle everything else. They don’t call them landfills, they use another term. Interesting reading. Have a great weekend! Gary – Sent from my iPad
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 9:46 AM To: Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council, ‘Vanessa Remmers’ Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
I suggest that you reexamine their website with an open eye. It is true that they are not a landfill; they never claimed to be. Things are brought to their site, instead of going to the landfill, because their jurisdiction has a policy to try to divert things away from the landfill, instead of incinerating, dumping, etc., reusable waste. They have successfully diverted 7,000 to 8,000 tons of waste from being landfilled. It is a similar concept to the “too good to throw away” process that used to be at the landfill, except that many small businesses set up shop and take in the things that they can sell. Things like tires, ceramics, construction debris, and on and on.
That is the concept for Zero Waste. You presort things that might have a life after being discarded instead of being dumped into a hole or incinerated. Their operation is the type that Stafford and Fredericksburg could implement very simply. It would significantly reduce the demands on the landfill, while creating lots of small businesses and jobs. All you need is to implement policies that require a better type of garbage pre-sorting.
You are exactly correct in stating that their operation is sort of like Goodwill, except it handles all sorts of things that we dump into the landfill today. Many of the things we dump today can be reused, repurposed, recycled, restored, etc., instead of becoming fodder for an incinerator. Drive by the landfill and see the beginnings of this type of operation. As you approach Eskimo Hill Road from Route 1 you will see a company that says it will buy all metal. Get closer to the landfill and you will see a sign asking for lawnmowers, followed by another that says “drop off washers and dryers here”. That is exactly what Urban Ore does. So could Stafford and Fredericksburg.
It is a far better solution for the health of our residents, and it significantly reduces environmental pollution. Incinerating everything will cause toxins to be very highly concentrated into a small area. Think of it this way, implementing such policies has allowed the City of San Francisco to reduce its landfill needs by 80%, with a goal towards 90%. That would be done here as well.
Let’s keep an open mind and do what is right, economically, health-wise, and environmentally. Have a great weekend! Bill Johnson
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 12:50 PM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council, ‘Vanessa Remmers’ Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
colleagues i was born in Santa Cruz and spent some time over the years in Berkley please dont make Stafford a Berkley
All emails sent by (or to) a Stafford County Supervisor are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Due to the number and scope of FOIA requests submitted, all of my emails are now delivered to (and stored on) a County server and will be accessed and responded to in as timely manner as possible. I apologize that this new process, which is intended to reduce costs for those submitting FOIA requests, may result in delayed response. Please be assured that I will continue to be as responsive as before despite the increased bureaucratic process that this creates.
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:02 PM To: ‘Cord Sterling’; ‘Gary Snellings’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Instead, Cord, you would rather close the landfill? That’s what you said in the BOS meeting. That’s an interesting position. I assume your second choice is a pyrolysis-based, or gasification-based, or plasma arc-based incinerator? Would a Zero Waste approach come in dead last to your way of thinking?
I suggest that you think about how 25% of the waste gets into the landfill. Just to clarify, it is driven in by voters.
Why would you not be in favor of a solution that would create local jobs and small businesses, and would be environmentally friendly, and would not cause potential health and environmental risks if implemented?
Insulting and belittling a city that is trying to do the right thing is a cheap shot, intended to divert others from thinking about this as a bona-fide solution. Take some leadership and champion something that is good for everyone, regardless of party affiliation. This affects Libertarians, Republicans, Tea Partiers, Democrats, and Independents. Everyone.
Why don’t you hold multiple County/City Town Hall meetings in every district, advertise that you are discussing solutions to the landfill financial crisis, including possible solutions like pyrolysis, gasification, even Zero Waste, etc., and also that you intend to follow up with this on a referendum. I am sure that two local non-profits, Virginia Organizing and the Rappahannock Sierra Club, would be amenable to discussing helping advertise the events.
I know a lot of people who know a lot about Zero Waste. I suspect you would learn how feasible it is, how scalable it is (up and down), how sensible it is, and a host of other things.
After you notify the public, hold a City- & County-wide referendum on whether citizens want to bar any of the proposed solutions from being awarded, like for instance, barring thermal solutions like pyrolysis, gasification plasma arc, etc. I would be fairly certain most people would not want something like that. Citizens need to know about all the risks each approach poses, and creating a highly-concentrated toxic ash for the landfill is not a good solution. A referendum would alert your constituents that they can get involved and help move us towards a better, sustainable future.
I’m glad you reminded me of this: All emails sent by (or to) a Stafford County Supervisor are subject to public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Due to the number and scope of FOIA requests submitted, all of my emails are now delivered to (and stored on) a County server and will be accessed and responded to in as timely manner as possible. I apologize that this new process, which is intended to reduce costs for those submitting FOIA requests, may result in delayed response. Please be assured that I will continue to be as responsive as before despite the increased bureaucratic process that this creates.
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 3:52 PM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
close landfill, prison, and airport and let someone else host them think how clean stafford would be without the trash, criminals, and noise! we still get the service, but someone else hosts
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 4:06 PM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
and just to be clear regarding this constant request for town halls–in case you missed it we have two town hall meetings every month. one on the 1st tuesday and one on the 3rd tuesday. they are also conveniently held at—Town Hall (or in this case we call it the County Admin bldg).
at that meeting citizens are invited to speak on any subject they want, as well as speak on every public hearing.
who belittled Berkley? I just asked my colleagues not to make Stafford a Berkley. If i wanted to live in Berkley, i would move to Berkley. Why do you want Stafford to be so much like Berkley?
WHY are you so insistent on dumping trash in Stafford and critical of suggestion that it be moved elsewhere? what if the dump was next to your house? I am very disappointed!
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Friday, June 20, 2014 4:28 PM To: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
I combined both emails. For your first one, shutting down the dump, the prison, and the airport:
Interesting! How many jobs have just been lost by that approach?
- 30-40 jobs at the landfill are lost
- 3 businesses near the landfill are affected (the metal company, the lawnmower guy, and the person who requests that you leave washers and dryers on his property.
- How many at the prison?
- How many at the airport? And what the heck do we do with that runway?
Think how dirty Stafford will be when the 25% of people who drop their garbage off at the landfill have to drive miles and miles away to get rid of their garbage. The R-Board was concerned that instituting a fee at the gate would increase the number of illegal garbage dumpsites. So, how much more garbage would be found everywhere in Stafford and Fredericksburg if you close the landfill down completely?
When was the last time that someone escaped from the prison? And the noise? You voted multiple times for the EEP incinerator solution where they would operate lots and lots of machinery for 16 hours per day. I forget, was it 7 days per week?
As for the second email:
No, I haven’t missed it. BOS meetings, while informative, are held at times when most working people are at work. The R-Board Report was discussed at the 3-5 session, before most people came home. There are lots of things on the schedule so there is a multitude of different items to focus on. However, a Town Hall meeting, based on my recent experience with Mr. Snellings, is for one thing, and one thing only. He told me so. So I suggest you have a Town Hall meeting in your district specifically on the landfill issue. That would be interesting, I am sure. You could tell everyone your plan to shut down the landfill, the prison, and the airport, and how long they could collect unemployment. You could tell them there are other alternatives, of course, but the shutdown is the one you favor.
I don’t want Stafford to be like Berkeley, never said one way or the other. Don’t know enough about it as it is today.
Garbage created in Stafford should be Stafford’s problem. We shouldn’t shirk our responsibilities and try to pass it off to someone else. The dump isn’t next to my house, but it is close enough that if you put an incinerator at the landfill, it will hurt the value of my house and all the neighborhoods close by. If you adopt policies that are clearly anti-jobs, and against solutions that are good for the landfill, the surrounding areas, the environment, and the health of citizens, while also offering a good and necessary service to the community, you should reconsider.
If you don’t, I’ll be disappointed.
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 7:49 AM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
You failed basic math. The jobs did not go away, just transferred place of performance. Amazing that your economic development plan is based on trash and prisons. I never voted for the “incinerator”. If your research and facts are wrong on that, can we really rely upon the information your provide on any issue? Thank you for the dialogue.
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 8:49 AM To: ‘Cord Sterling’; ‘Gary Snellings’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Not sure where “basic math” comes in here. Fire all the County workers at the landfill, fire all the employees of the prison, and fire all the airport employees, eliminates a lot of jobs and a lot of tax revenue in Stafford, while at the same time, drains the unemployment insurance fund. Are you saying this won’t cause a hardship for those people or do you simply not care?
And where will the garbage go? Into illegal dumpsites, or along the roads? Mr. Snellings stated at several BOS meetings that people dump trash, including tires, anywhere they can find a place where no one will see them. So your solution will turn all back roads in Stafford into mini-dump sites. Great solution!
Your memory is very selective. You seem to be conveniently forgetting what you don’t want to remember. So denial in the face of facts lowers your credibility, not mine.
Some important details on your voting record: You voted “yes” in 2013 multiple times to change the rules on permits at the landfill so that residents would not know what the BOS was doing, and to issue and award an RFP that resulted in the tire burning incinerator that EEP proposed. Forget that? You voted to reissue an RFP that clearly allows an incinerator solution to a fake financial crisis. Forget that?
As for jobs transferred? The landfill jobs will be lost to Stafford, with absolutely no guarantee that those people would get jobs anywhere else. It is amazing that you intend to fire 29 County employees who have succeeded in making the Eskimo Hill Road landfill one of the best in Virginia. So if people do a great job, your version of a reward is to fire them. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these types of good, middle class jobs. Your concern for their welfare is touching.
Same with the prison and same with the airport. If those jobs move beyond a reasonable commuting distance, say to Scranton or Dulles, those people will either have to move or collect unemployment. So instead of people contributing to the tax base of Stafford, they are forced to use unemployment or move out of the County. You can’t hide the fact that your solution causes maybe 60 people to lose their jobs. Absolutely incredible that your jobs plan is to fire a slew of employees, and then attempt to cover it up with a “transferred” excuse! Amazing!
I am enjoying this dialog as well. So are a lot of people. Check out my website, www.StopTheStaffordIncinerator.com. Bill Johnson
From: Fred Howe [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 9:34 AM To: ‘Bill Johnson’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Mr. Johnson – while the dialogue is healthy without question and is encouraged from the voting public – force feeding a solution is not – and will only serve to diminish the very option(s) you are trying to present for consideration, in my personal opinion.
The way I remember leaving the R-Board energy decision as I step down from service was that we have a current priority need to do two things; 1) balance the R-Board budget to ensure continued service to both City and County residents and businesses 2) explore solutions to the landfill’s continued Capital expense expansion and ultimate build-out projected for the year of 2062. Additionally, as a departing member of the Board, I also remember that we made no decisions on priority #2 and were in an exploratory process as any good Board should and would be expected to do. With that said, no decisions have been made by a long shot at this time and you like all of us will have an opportunity to continue to present your ideas and solutions in an open forum for consideration as this progresses; eventually the R-Board will be presented with additional options for their consideration and for public consumption, review and final decision making.
As I leave office I have taken note that the vast majority of voters are absent in the public dialogue of such issues as outlined above, with their elected officials – we now have a very small minority of voters (sometimes only 1 or 2) who seek to drive the thoughtful political process of their elected officials, in their decision making. While you are an engaged Stafford voter to be sure, I would encourage you to seek out other like-minded voters in much larger numbers and express your desires in a non-adversarial communication methodology to maintain the dialogue you seek to foster on this very important issue we face with a majority of the voter representation supporting your desires following the democratic process, as should be the rule for any significant decisions.
We need and must work together to find viable solutions for our City and County and both sides of this and any argument need to be presented in a factual based case that makes good business sense and provides a direction that’s supported by a significant “majority” of the voters affected.
I to will be a Stafford resident in the near term and will continue to engage in the discussion and possible solutions, where possible.
Just my 2 ½ cents – Fred
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Saturday, June 21, 2014 10:16 AM To: ‘Fred Howe’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Mr. Howe, I agree the dialog is critical to ensuring that Stafford and Fredericksburg residents know about and understand what may befall them. Just because I am the pretty face behind these emails, don’t think that I am the only one thinking this way. In the coming months, you will see residents in Stafford County stand up and fight an incinerator, many of them, not just one or two.
As my Op-Ed shows, I believe that the financial crisis can easily be overcome, if the R-Board takes the necessary actions to deal with it. Closing the landfill is a stupid, job-killing move that cause significant harm to Stafford residents, much the same as building an incinerator.
Force feeding a solution is exactly what the R-Board tried to do last year, when they changed the permit process from CUP to By-Right. It nearly resulted in Stafford’s becoming the “Tire Burning Capital of the US”. That move, all by itself, forces residents to become suspicious and wary.
The BOS/R-Board are afraid of having Town Hall meetings on this very subject. I suspect it is because they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if residents become aware of the R-Board’s intent to build an incinerator, we will fight tooth and nail to defeat it, or them at the next election. Mr. Sterling’s statement that BOS meetings are equivalent to Town Hall meetings is specious. A town hall meeting involves dialog between BOS members and the public, give and take, which is clearly not the same as what happens in the BOS meetings. There, the public speaks for 3 minutes and when all speakers are done and the public portion is closed, BOS members get to state that the speakers are full of baloney, without any chance for the public to respond. At BOS/R-Board meetings, my experience is that several BOS/R-Board members act bored, laugh at speakers, and follow up with denigrating comments. Try that at a Town Hall meeting!
Given the record of the R-Board and BOS, I am not optimistic that anything but an incinerator will be the ultimate solution. I can hope that it isn’t true, but I, and others, will continue to press for citizen involvement in this potentially disastrous process. I will continue to press for real Town Hall Meetings on this subject, to allow everyone to weigh in. It is clear that the Stafford BOS and the R-Board are afraid of that happening, or they would see the justice in it, and do it.
At the Pre-Proposal Conference, one of the venders asked something like “Given the public reaction last time, do you plan to include a citizens group in the proposal evaluation?” The answer from Mr. Dayton was an unequivocal “No”. No thought to allowing public input on the recommended solution, either. If the BOS decides to do so because of public outcry, I would think that you should not be one of the citizens who participates, because of your record of voting in favor of the R-Board decisions on the incinerator, and what might be perceived as a possible conflict of interest because of your company, Utility Pros.
As you leave office, we thank you for your service. I look forward to your participation at Stafford County meetings. It will be interesting to see whether you continue to favor the chance of an incinerator at the landfill or not.
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 11:55 AM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
are you working on commission?
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Cord Sterling [mailto:CSterling@staffordcountyva.gov] Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 11:52 AM To: Bill Johnson; Gary Snellings Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
so, just to clarify–when i suggest that we close the dump and send it elsewhere according to you I am bad, anti-job, disconnected–or something like that. when Berkeley does the same as reported by “urban ore”, they are visionaries for sending… or how did you put it “shipped to out-of-city landfills”.
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 1:37 PM To: ‘Cord Sterling’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
Oh nice! 2 emails for me to reply to, again! And especially fun ones at that! Let me address the “commission” one first:
- No, I am not in any way associated with anyone who might ever bid this RFP. I have not, and will not receive any money from anyone on this. I am simply motivated to prevent people like you from ruining Stafford County by putting an incinerator here and making economic decisions that hurt residents.
- However, what about you? I was wondering whether the $2,000 campaign contribution you received from a far away recycling company has influenced your vote in any way. Just curious…
Part 2: Just to clarify: When you suggest that the dump be closed, you eliminate 29 jobs. When you suggest that the prison be closed, you eliminate over 300 jobs. I still don’t know how many jobs you eliminate at the airport, but let’s say 10. So your suggestion eliminates approximately 350 jobs in Stafford, plus hurts multiple small businesses on the way to the landfill. The landfill in Berkley was closed in 1983, over 30 years ago, so their solution was clearly visionary back then. It was visionary because they created a recycling and refuse transfer station that still operates today. And they are constantly improving what that site does, as is shown by reducing, by 44%, the garbage that is transported to landfills. So, while some jobs were lost, others replaced them.
Where you lack vision is that you have no solution other than to close the landfill and eliminate jobs. Closing the landfill might be a good idea if you proposed any alternative that creates replacement jobs, and which would handle the waste and recyclables currently delivered to the landfill by Stafford residents.
Increasing tipping fees might cause haulers to take garbage elsewhere, but that would be their choice. Those haulers that continued to bring garbage to the landfill would actually pay their fair share of the cost to operate the landfill, not get subsidized by taxpayers.
If they did take their garbage elsewhere, the landfill could shrink in size and only handle garbage delivered by residents. That would reduce landfill jobs, but opening a City/County-sponsored recycling and transfer station at the landfill would replace those jobs, and add a lot more. It would extend the life of the landfill a lot longer than any other solution proposed, and would create small businesses and many, many jobs.
This forum isn’t like when you sit at BOS meetings, let the rabble speak, and then you try to denigrate what the public just said – your version of a Town Hall meeting. The give-and-take here is my version of a Town Hall Meeting, where I get to respond in the same manner that you do, with ridicule if appropriate, and by pointing out the inaccurate things you say.
You haven’t responded logically to anything I have said; you just hurl insults and cast innuendos that try to malign my character. Why don’t you try logical arguments instead of insults? If you do, I won’t have so much fodder to mock your arguments with. Or is that the only way you can operate?
From: Cord Sterling Sent: Tuesday, June 24, 2014 2:16 PM To: Bill Johnson Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
I never voted for the “incinerator” “EEP” or whatever you want to call it but you keep saying i did even after i pointed out your error…and even after i made the motion to revoke leasing authority.
given that, i dont see how any of your facts hold any credibiility based solely on your declarations. If you make up “facts” based on the interpretations of your “book”, how do i know that your “book” is not innacuarte on so many other things that you put forward? I dont.
you can yell at me, call me names, say whatever you want, but when you lie…yes lie as defined by Mirriam Webster as “to create a false or misleading impression” about my actions, you have gone too far
I respect people who come before me with different opinions, but dont tell me things that are untrue–particularly about me
[Eliminated the “public disclosure” statement]
From: Bill Johnson Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2014 11:03 AM To: ‘Cord Sterling’ Cc: Stafford BOS, Stafford R-Board, and Fredericksburg City Council Subject: RE: LETTER: Stafford nowhere near landfill capacity
WHEREAS, the Rappahannock Regional Solid Waste Management Board (R-Board) is considering an innovative proposal for a private company to convert solid waste to electrical energy on land at the regional landfill; and
WHEREAS, the Board believes that conversion of solid waste to electrical energy is a desirable and environmentally responsible public service, and can be an integral part of the operation at the regional landfill as a by-right; and