Posted on | August 2, 2012 | 17 Comments
First they came for the farmers. . . as was demonstrated at the Warren Green Building in Warrenton, Virginia. Previous reporting here. It was a pleasant summer day in what looked to be a quaint rural Virginia town. Not the kind of place you’d expect to be ground zero in the current national discussion of whether individual liberty matters in the face of the all-powerful regulatory state. Matters of zoning are as cogent as ObamaCare, we quickly find.
In the matter before the Board of Zoning Appeals on August 2, Fauquier Zoning Administrator Kimberley Johnson violated Virginia law in citing a Paris, Virginia farm for selling farm products grown and produced at the farm. Virginia law protects the rights of farmers to sell what they grow and agricultural value-added products such as hand-made soap, bees wax candles, jelly/jam, peach pie or even alpaca gloves or yarn.
“Fauquier County has crossed several lines by violating sensitive private property rights and individual liberty. The County is breaking the law, and is trespassing on the rights of farmers, wineries, and their patrons from and visiting the Commonwealth of Virginia. Perhaps even more egregious are the County’s Orwellian allegations that a pumpkin carving and a birthday party for eight 10-year-old girls transgressed the County’s zoning ordinance, and constitute grounds to cite and fine farmers.”
The Tea Partiers sang various paeans to Ms. Johnson, “Hey! Ho! Kimberly Johnson’s got to go!”
Former Virginia Governer and U.S. Senator George Allen did not have enough advance notice to attend in person. The depth of his concern for Constitutional issues such as private property and liberty was more than adequately expressed, though. Former U.S. Senate candidate E. W. Jackson delivered spirited remarks. Check back tomorrow morning for them.
The crowd was of sufficient size that the hearing room was filled to capacity, leaving the bulk of the 50 or so Tea Party protesters outside, where, in contrast to #Occupy events, no one fretted personal safety.
By around 2:40 PM, a despondent group of protesters filed out of the building, the Orwellian nature of the judgment weighing on them. Kimberly Johnson had found the farm in violation, inviting an Angela Corey comparison. Stay tuned as the effort to save liberty from bloody-minded, petty bureaucracy moves to the courts.
Here are a few other photos from the protest, as I shift to editing video.
The Northern Virginia Tea Parties are as about as dead as a Chick-Fill-A buycott. Kimberley Johnson, one anticipates, is going to find her position much less comfortable as this case unfolds.
Update: thank you, Instapundit!
Update II: linked at EBL.
Update III: linked at The American Thinker