DeRail the Trail’s

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BOS – Botetourt County

deeply entrenched in suspiciuos behavior

Opening Comments:

When DeRail members first approached the BOS in February, we were told that there wasn’t anything they could do. “It’s a state project, not a county one, and we have no control”. Since then, Derail has obtained email records thru a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act), that proves the county administration pursued the trail.

If an admistration can actively pursue the trail, then they indeed have at least some control over its course. Some of the emails pertaining to this was carbon copied to both Bailey and Scothorn(see below).

So why the denial? They either knew about the pursuit of the trail, or they aren’t doing their job reading emails. Either way, it’s discraceful behavior from our BOS.

In the summer of 2022, the BOS appointed John Williamson to be chairman of a committee for the Trail. Its purpose was to stay informed

about the trail and mitigate questions the public may have. We find out as time goes on, how much of a farce this is.

Gary Larrowe is the county administartor. He is appointed by the BOS and so he works for the BOS.  His involvement with the trail and surrounding issues are listed below.

What is pointed out here only pertains to the Trail. Can you imagine the suspiciuos behavior that is among all the county happenings.

Dr. Richard Bailey:

Mr. Bailey is the current supervisor of the Fincastle district where the proposed trail is to be in. Residents of Oriskany contacted Mr. Bailey to come to a town meeting and speak about the trail, and he refused to do so. He claimed he knew nothing, and would have no answers. Say what???? Hmmm.. he was emailed at times (FOIA) concerning the trail. Why did he proclaim it to be such a good thing(newspaper source) if he knows nothing about??

Yet he has nothing to share???

He has no time to speak with his voters???

He doesnt want to hear their concerns???

A few residents eventually was able to arrange a meeting, but only if they came to him, and there was only to be a “few”.  At this meeting he let others do the explaining of the trail, mostly VDOT and John Williamson. The only time he spoke was when he was directly asked if he was “for or against” the trail.  His response was “I had no involvement with obtaining the funding”. It was an odd answer to the question. I guess the administration he is in charge of, that was pursuing funding, doesn’t include him. I guess an outside entity, the Roanoke Regional Partnership, that Botetourt County is a member, doesn’t count as him(a supervisor) as pursuing funding. However he did praise their ability to get funding (newspaper source).

It would be our conclusion that Bailey is for the development of the trail. It would follow his track record of development throughout Botetourt County. He is stepping down from the BOS, allowing Don Obenshain and Brandon Nicely vie for the position.

From our point of view, its not a good thing that Mr. Bailey is funding($250.00) and endorsing Brandon Nicely’s campaign. See our page on Nicely to understand more of the problems with him.

Bailey does have time to reply!!! Just not to us!

We have directly sent letters to our supervisor Bailey and all we get are “formed” generic letters back. However, he replied to an editorial. Maybe we should start putting everthing there.

Dr. Mac Scothorn:

Mr. Scothorn is the chairman of the BOS. It’s his job to know what’s going on in the big picture. There were emails carbon copied to him in regards to the trail and pursuing funding for it (via FOIA). Is he not telling the truth about “not having a say in it” or is he just not doing his job when it comes to reading emails on behalf of Botetourt County?

Time for a change in leadership.

Mr. Scothorn endorses Brandon Nicely’s campaign. Nothing like the good ol’ boys club. Just more of the same. Brandon’s been primed for 32 years to be included in this club. See our page on Nicely to understand more of the problems with him.

 

 John Williamson:

Mr. Williamson was appointed, by the BOS, to be the chairman of the Trail committee in July of 2022. In a press release January 31, it was said that committes(both counties involved) were formed to mitigate questions the public may have and have been meeting regularly. Yet, there was no such thing established by Mr Williamson at that time. At that same time, John Williamson wanted to fast track several sections of the trail, revealed thru a FOIA.  Again, another example of the local government’s desire to push thru their wishes, before the public would even know what’s going on.

And a reply to the above, by Robert Furman, with the attitude of development before the opposition can start figuring out whats going on.

It wasn’t until the beginning of May that the committee was actualy formed and brought together. They have only met twice(as of 10-27-23), yet it is always reported they meet monthly/regularly. There has been no attempt to mitigate questions to/from the public thru this group. It has never been listed publicly who is even on this committe. So what is their function? It’s just another item that is required so they can say they have gone thru the proper process. But done in such a way that benefits the trail that is wanted by governement in charge. It surely is not representing all sides fairly.

When finally created, the committee itself is stacked in favor of the trail. It was suggested to be such, as revealed again thru a FOIA.

With the email below, and the others, there is a reocurring theme that starts to develop that shows John Williamson and Robert Furman have favoritism for the trail.  When all the people that are placed into positions that make decisions and have been selected for a particular outcome…..that is stacking the deck.

Furman’s statement in this email: “As long as the group itself doesn’t become negative because of a majority-scenario.”

With the chosen word negative, it implies that the group needs to be positive. What is negative and positive referring to here? To us, negative is referring to those against the trail, and positive is for the trail. And it is claiming it needs to stay “pro trail” by the words “a majority” rule.

This all coming from John Williamson as chair and Robert Furman as vice chair.

And a recommendation by the Parks and Recreation dept (Mandy Adkins). And yes he is now on the committee.

Here is the final outcome of members:

Mr. John Williamson (chairman, pro trial)
Mr. Robert Furman (vice chair, pro trail)
Mr. Hal Bailey(adjacent landowner, brother to Richard Bailey district supervisor where this project is located)
Mr. Greg Hannah (adjacent landowner, farmer, but also employed in the Botetourt gov’t).
Mr. Warren Clark(Greenway Trail Rep.)
Mr. Steve Vaughn (past BOS candidate?)
Mr. Butch Carter (adjacent landowner)
Mr. John Mays (owner- twin river outfitters of Buchanan and has a shop at James River Scenic Trail. He is on the BOCO parks and rec. bd. )
Mr. Jim Kern (bicycle enthusiast)
Mr. Steve Lambert(adjacent landowner)
Mr. Pete Pearl(Past Botetourt chamber of commerce. Also a lawyer in the same law firm as the Botetourt County lawyer)

Staff to the Committee:
Ms. Mandy Adkins (Botetourt Parks).
Mr. Kelly Dunn (VDOT)
Mr Tommy Digiuliani (VDOT)
Mr Jon Lanford, assistant county admin who created the Jackson Rver Trail in Allegheny County.

Mr. Gary Larrowe:

If you ever had any doubt of Mr Larrowe’s intent. He wants to develop ALL of Botetourt county. He is appointed by the BOS, yet the BOS don’t know what his intentions are? 

Do you suppose it has gotten “little fanfare” because it’s NOT WANTED. Wake up and hear what the residents want.

Mr. Jon Lanford:

Of course we can’t forget Mr. Lanford, who was brought here for an assiatant county administartor. Interesting tidbit is he was the lead man in developing the Jackson River Scenic Trail in Alleghany county.

Hmmmmm……makes one wonder.

As of 11/15/23 he has resigned from his position and moved on outside of Botetourt government.

 

BRANDON NICELY

TERM:  Jan 1, 2024 to Dec 31, 2027 

Our BOS have been over developing, overspending, and not listening to it’s voters for too long. We sure hope Nicely isn’t more of the same.

He has been entrenched in Botetourt politics for 32 years, most recently on the Planning Commission. He has been part of the reckless overdevelopment we are all experiencing. This developing has not helped our situation with bringing in more revenue to bring down the debt our current BOS are responsible for. A debt of aprox 75 million dollars. Botetourt spends 1.00 for every .70 cents it takes in as a result of  newly constructed roofs/households. Every resident in Botetourt County is in debt aprox $3600.

 

The current BOS have been ignoring the wishes of it’s residents and instead are focused on pleasing the funders of their campaigns. These funders now have their attention on Brandon Nicely.  It has already started. His recent comments (shown below) in regards to the trail being built shows that he sees only one side. There seems to be no compassion, what about fighting for landowners rights? It’s just “you will find a way to cope”. His voice reflects more of the same  from our BOS’s way of thinking, does it not?

Roanoke Leadership Fund:

An outside entity. Why are they allowed to manipulate our elections?

John Williamson:

Appointed by the BOS to be Chairman of the Citizens Trail. He wanted to “fast track” sections of the trail. See his information above, listed separately.

Richard Bailey:

Mr. Bailey is the district supervisor the trail is in. See his information above, listed separately.

The rest of them:

All have been funding past BOS elections. They all want what has been happening in Botetourt. They all stand to gain from development.

 Nicely’s comments from Facebook:

 

Notice the ever present slant to how its “all good”, his ever present “develope the county” nature shows thru. It might be fine that someone has a “positive” outlook on things, but there is also a “reality” that needs to be held. There is something to be said about improving a quality of life, rather than grow just for the sake of growth. He never considers the bad there might be in talking with this person. No acknowledgment. Is there any sorrow or sympathy? NO! Lets just push this thru.

What response will you get when you have an issue to discuss? Will it be more of the same old cold “talk to the hand” sentiment that has been so prevalent in the past decade? We need change!

If he was listening, he would know that this trail is unwanted by the majority in his district. That he should be fighting for those he will represent. But why isn’t he? Could it be that regular, ordinary people can’t fund his campaign????

 

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