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Thread: Improperly (I believe) asked to disarm at Workhouse Arts Center

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Improperly (I believe) asked to disarm at Workhouse Arts Center

    I posted this in the NOVA thread, and Citizen suggested it might be worthy of a new post, so this is a copy. Interested in others' opinions.
    Tess


    Ok, let me list my mistakes up front:

    - Failed to carry my voice recorder, though in my defense I've OC'd there several times before
    - Phrased my response badly -- I did not ask "Are you aware this policy, and you, violate state preemption laws through your policy and current request?"

    So point out more.

    I was at the Workhouse Arts Center tonight for a Fairfax County-sponsored concert and fireworks display. I set up my chair and went to the shaved ice truck for snacks. As I was eating, I noticed staff in vests were wandering through the crowd as if looking for something; I maintained my awareness of them but did nothing. When I was seated, the sidearm was not visible.

    After I finished my snack, I took the cups to the trash and saw a friend. I spoke with her for a couple of minutes and invited her to join us. As we walked to our chairs, I told her (half seriously) security was looking for me. When she asked why, I said because I have a gun on my hip. We hadn't been seated more than a few minutes when Mr. Ned Hogan, Director of Development and self-identified "Manager of the Day" informed me the campus is a weapons-free zone and that I'd have to put my sidearm in my car. (Let's not even go in to the logic of firearms, in his mind, being allowed in a car, onthe campus of his weapons-free zone. And we know that it's county property; of course I can have it in my car.)

    I informed Mr. Hogan that the site, as a county property, was covered by preemption and he informed me the policy, which "has been vetted at all levels in the state" was no firearms. (Discretion being the better part of valor, I did not succumb to the temptation to ask him to take the microphone and ask everyone who was carrying a "weapon" to leave.) I told him then that I would leave, but that he will see a formal complaint. I did not ask to see a copy of the policy, but will request one formally on Monday.

    I was not prepared to face arrest and a trespassing charge - even if I'm pretty sure it would be dropped - today. There was a significant police presence outside the venue (NB: as we were leaving, one police officer with a vest was entering the courtyard).

    So here's my plan:
    - Formal request to John Mason, CEO of the Workhouse Arts Center, for the cited policy, including the names of any and all officials up to state level who have approved it.
    - FOIA for any police calls from 7-8 PM requesting assistance at the Workhouse Arts Center.
    - Request for a formal apology for causing my son to miss the concert and fireworks unnecessarily.

    I also plan to publicize this through my blog, my mtvernon.patch.com blog, my facebook page, and possibly a letter to the editors of the local papers (not the Washington Post, unless I get the policy and apology.

    I'm open to other ideas, and to criticism of my action. I know I could have refused and faced the charge; I could have returned the firearm to the vehicle; I could have returned to the vehicle, concealed the firearm, and returned (I suspect he'd have requested I be searched, and would have to refuse, which would lead to larger legal issues).

    All I had with me were the old VCDL cards that expired last week; I did leave one of those with him - along with my thanks for ruining our evening - but wished I'd gone to the gun show today to pick up some new ones.

  2. #2
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Apparently their webpage is down. I can't get it to load. All I can find quickly is a Wiki page entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workhouse_Arts_Center

    Who owns the property where the event was held? I'm not sure we've seen any situation where a local government sponsored event was held on private property.

    ETA: This Wiki article states: "On July 15, 2002, Fairfax County received title to the facility."

    TFred
    Last edited by TFred; 07-06-2013 at 10:03 PM.

  3. #3
    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFred View Post
    Apparently their webpage is down. I can't get it to load. All I can find quickly is a Wiki page entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Workhouse_Arts_Center

    Who owns the property where the event was held? I'm not sure we've seen any situation where a local government sponsored event was held on private property.

    ETA: This Wiki article states: "On July 15, 2002, Fairfax County received title to the facility."

    TFred
    Odd. I got to it earlier when I got home; it seems to be down now.

    "Manager of the Day" Ned Hogan did verify it is County property. In fact, tonight it was hosting the Fairfax County "Mount Vernon Nights" concert.
    Last edited by Tess; 07-06-2013 at 10:09 PM.

  4. #4
    Regular Member TFred's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tess View Post
    Odd. I got to it earlier when I got home; it seems to be down now.

    "Manager of the Day" Ned Hogan did verify it is County property. In fact, tonight it was hosting the Fairfax County "Mount Vernon Nights" concert.
    We all know we aren't lawyers, but it sure seems to me that a county sponsored event, hosted on county owned property is cut and dried.

    Of all your plans, I think the most interesting will be to see who he comes up with as the names that "vetted" the policy. My prediction: like roaches when you turn on the light, they will scatter, and suddenly be "missing".

    TFred

  5. #5
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    The FOIA for the policy might be the only thing you get.

    It sounds as if a formal complaint on up the food chain to, eventually, the County Manager is going to be your course of action. Do be kind and give each employee above "Manager of the Day" Ned Hogan a chance to both explain and remedy things before crawling (politely and in a socially acceptable manner) up their backside to the next rung.

    Welcome to the club whose members are much more obsessive about turning on the voice recorder as we go out the door, and making sure we carry extra batteries. (I go out the door with fresh batteries in, and a set of fresh back-up batteries. Even though I know my recorder will record for 36+ straight hours on high def, I check the status periodically. I have been known to hit the "stop" button without realizing it. )

    IMHO apologies and explanations are never things to be asked for, nor to be accepted. Request coipies of all correspondence and announcements of training events held to clarify the law and how the agency is to comply with the law. You could be a real thorn in their side and ask for attendance rosters showing who was trained, and when they received the training, or sign-off logs showing who read the notice(s) and when they read them. In other words, get documentation that the employees were actually trained in what the law is and how the agency's policies conform with the law. Hold on to that documentation in case there is ever a "next" time. Proof that the employee knew better makes it so much more fun when determining civil damages for intentional malfeasance.

    Discretion is always a factor to be considered. You have family responsibilities and may not have had alternative ways of getting your son back home. That by itself is reason enough not to push the envelope and risk getting arrested. (Some of us without those constraints may be more willing to poke the beast with a sharp stick right from the beginning. Some of us delicate flowers require so much care and attention that the jails just are not set up to deal with and are willing to take the risks of what may/will happen until our special needs are met.)

    The VCDL cards did not "expire" - the information about preemption on "last year's" carrd is just as accutate as what's on the July 1, 2013 cards.

    You may not have won the first round, but the only way you can lose is to throw in the towel.

    stay safe.
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  6. #6
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Sorry Tess!

    What Skidmark said.

    I would insist the Manager of the day be fired. They won't do it but it forces them into disciplinary and education action of some sort.

    Now you know why I'm always harping about putting teeth in laws. It's great PR to brag about laws but unless there is some way to punish those that break them, it's pretty lame.
    Last edited by peter nap; 07-06-2013 at 11:45 PM.

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    Regular Member paramedic70002's Avatar
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    If I KNEW I was in the right, I'd offer the buffoon to have me arrested, which would be followed by a Denial of Civil Rights lawsuit that would be settled in my favor. If I just THOUGHT I was right, I'd leave but let him know that a Denial of Civil Rights lawsuit was forthcoming, which would be settled in my favor.
    "Each worker carried his sword strapped to his side." Nehemiah 4:18

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    Paramedics With Guns Scare People!

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    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paramedic70002 View Post
    If I KNEW I was in the right, I'd offer the buffoon to have me arrested, which would be followed by a Denial of Civil Rights lawsuit that would be settled in my favor. If I just THOUGHT I was right, I'd leave but let him know that a Denial of Civil Rights lawsuit was forthcoming, which would be settled in my favor.
    You and me, brother! I know that incarcerating me would create a metric [expletive deleted]-ton of difficulties for the authorities even before we get to discussing my personality and penchant for making people play by the rules they themselves have written.

    But Tess has other responsibilities, concerns, and issues that led her to decide not to push for full-on confrontation at that moment. We need to recognize and accept that. Her "reputation" is solid on 2A and this does not deminish it one bit. Give her support as she goes through the process. Give her advice/ideas and point out what she may have missed in attacking the issue. Because it is not about how we would have dealt with the matter. It's about how she did deal with it and what happens next.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

    "No matter how much contempt you have for the media in all this, you don't have enough"
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    Activist Member Wolf_shadow's Avatar
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    Go get em Tess.
    Yes I carry a Bible and a Gun, your point.
    Vindiciae Contra Tyrannos (meaning: "A defence of liberty against tyrants")
    Benjamin Franklin said, "A government that does not trust it's citizens with guns is a government that should not be trusted."



  10. #10
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    I'm not close friends with Tess but I know her well enough to say she handled it properly. She's pretty much no nonsense and would stand up for her rights as well as the rights of others, any day.

    But given the circumstances, she had priorities that made her decide to fight that particular battle next week and in a different arena. Sometimes we just have to bite out tongues and wait for a better position before starting the fight.

  11. #11
    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post

    The VCDL cards did not "expire" - the information about preemption on "last year's" carrd is just as accutate as what's on the July 1, 2013 cards.
    True, but my understanding is that 18-2.308 was reorganized, so the citations will be wrong. I could be mistaken; I just returned from vacation on Friday and have yet to do the research.

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    The website appears to be working again.
    http://www.workhousearts.org/


    I noticed this at the bottom of the website:

    The Workhouse Arts Center is a program of the Lorton Arts Foundation.
    All Images and Content Copyright 2012 Lorton Arts Foundation, Inc. | A 501(c)(3) Corporation
    Does that mean the property is 'owned' by the Lorton Arts Foundation? Or its just 'managed' by them? Or....??

    I would assume that the county doesn't run/own the Lorton Arts Foundation.... ???

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    An interesting article about the Lorton Arts Foundation:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...5oV_story.html

    Snip
    Awash in $53.7 million of county-endorsed debt, the foundation responsible for renovating the complex and running the arts center is now fighting for survival. County taxpayers are paying more of its bills, to the tune of nearly $3 million a year.

  14. #14
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    And this from Guidestar :


    http://www.guidestar.org/organizatio...oundation.aspx

    Annual Revenue & Expenses Additional Information

    Fiscal Year Starting: Jan 01, 2011
    Fiscal Year Ending: Dec 31, 2011

    Revenue
    Total Revenue
    $1,470,374

    Expenses
    Total Expenses
    $4,536,958

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    Campaign Veteran MSG Laigaie's Avatar
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    Revenue
    Total Revenue
    $1,470,374

    Expenses
    Total Expenses
    $4,536,958

    ???????? Who is running this checkbook? Sounds more like Federal gov with that kind of upside down revenue
    "Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution itself. They are the people's liberty teeth (and) keystone... the rifle and the pistol are equally indispensable... more than 99% of them by their silence indicate that they are in safe and sane hands. The very atmosphere of firearms everywhere restrains evil interference .When firearms go, all goes, we need them every hour." -- George Washington

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    Founder's Club Member Tess's Avatar
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    I believe (and could be wrong, but haven't found contrary information yet) is that the Workhouse Arts Foundation manages it on behalf of the county.

    The event I attended was county-sponsored: http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/parks/p...WebAdFINAL.pdf

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    Property looks to be owned by county, leased to group

    From reading the above noted Washington Post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...5oV_story.html

    "The Fairfax County Park Authority took over most of the land, and there is now a golf course, a high school and private homes. The Lorton Arts Foundation leased the 55-acre workhouse site on Ox Road and set to work preserving and reinventing the complex. County officials joined the foundation in celebrating the Workhouse Arts Centerís opening in 2008."

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    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeff_h View Post
    From reading the above noted Washington Post article http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/...5oV_story.html

    "The Fairfax County Park Authority took over most of the land, and there is now a golf course, a high school and private homes. The Lorton Arts Foundation leased the 55-acre workhouse site on Ox Road and set to work preserving and reinventing the complex. County officials joined the foundation in celebrating the Workhouse Arts Centerís opening in 2008."
    Boom! They are leasing the site then they have say as to who can carry? Sort of? Maybe?

  19. #19
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    Boom! They are leasing the site then they have say as to who can carry? Sort of? Maybe?
    Well yeah...but if the County is putting on the show they must be leasing it back
    This is very confusing........

  20. #20
    Campaign Veteran skidmark's Avatar
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    Would you wannabe attorneys please stop trying to make a molehill out of this mountain.

    The Lorton Arts Foundation leased the 55-acre workhouse site on Ox Road and set to work preserving and reinventing the complex.
    Why did they lease the property? Did they lease it so they could operate as an agent of the County (substitute for Parks & Recs), or did they lease the property for the purpose of making money using assets of the County? (Non-profit or for-profit, if they are making money by using County assets they end up as an agent, if only as one that generates income for the County.)

    Either way they are classified as an "authority or ... a local governmental entity, including a department or agency" as enumerated in 15.2-915. Preemption applies.

    Cuccinelli's exemption to preemption applies to event-specific rental of local government assets, as opposed to leasing for the purpose of daily operation of the property.

    We know an attorney who could be talked into charging what SCOTUS seems to believe are "reasonable" fees in bringing this to court for equitable relief.

    stay safe.
    "He'll regret it to his dying day....if ever he lives that long."----The Quiet Man

    Because stupidity isn't a race, and everybody can win.

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  21. #21
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Would you wannabe attorneys please stop trying to make a molehill out of this mountain.



    Why did they lease the property? Did they lease it so they could operate as an agent of the County (substitute for Parks & Recs), or did they lease the property for the purpose of making money using assets of the County? (Non-profit or for-profit, if they are making money by using County assets they end up as an agent, if only as one that generates income for the County.)

    Either way they are classified as an "authority or ... a local governmental entity, including a department or agency" as enumerated in 15.2-915. Preemption applies.

    Cuccinelli's exemption to preemption applies to event-specific rental of local government assets, as opposed to leasing for the purpose of daily operation of the property.

    We know an attorney who could be talked into charging what SCOTUS seems to believe are "reasonable" fees in bringing this to court for equitable relief.

    stay safe.
    This one will be both interesting and educational!

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    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skidmark View Post
    Would you wannabe attorneys please stop trying to make a molehill out of this mountain.



    Why did they lease the property? Did they lease it so they could operate as an agent of the County (substitute for Parks & Recs), or did they lease the property for the purpose of making money using assets of the County? (Non-profit or for-profit, if they are making money by using County assets they end up as an agent, if only as one that generates income for the County.)

    Either way they are classified as an "authority or ... a local governmental entity, including a department or agency" as enumerated in 15.2-915. Preemption applies.

    Cuccinelli's exemption to preemption applies to event-specific rental of local government assets, as opposed to leasing for the purpose of daily operation of the property.

    We know an attorney who could be talked into charging what SCOTUS seems to believe are "reasonable" fees in bringing this to court for equitable relief.

    stay safe.
    I'm sorry, Skidmark if I offended you discussing this topic. Since I am not a lawyer I'll refrain from future discussions...

  23. #23
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    I'm sorry, Skidmark if I offended you discussing this topic. Since I am not a lawyer I'll refrain from future discussions...
    Don't let Skid hurt your feelings John. He sounds gruff but that's just exasperation at having to type

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    Regular Member JohnM15A's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peter nap View Post
    Don't let Skid hurt your feelings John. He sounds gruff but that's just exasperation at having to type
    I'm fairly tough so he didn't hurt my feelings. Doesn't hurt to get him to consider others feelings...

    I guess I don't understand that discussing this makes a "molehill out of a mountain"?

    Without more information about the relationship between the Arts Center and the county we don't know if a wrong has been committed.

    I stand ready to donate to go after this if it turns out to be a "wrong". For once I can be present for court hearings and such support as necessary.

  25. #25
    Accomplished Advocate peter nap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnM15A View Post
    I'm fairly tough so he didn't hurt my feelings. Doesn't hurt to get him to consider others feelings...

    I guess I don't understand that discussing this makes a "molehill out of a mountain"?

    Without more information about the relationship between the Arts Center and the county we don't know if a wrong has been committed.

    I stand ready to donate to go after this if it turns out to be a "wrong". For once I can be present for court hearings and such support as necessary.
    He's just herding the discussion toward the watering hole that isn't dry.

    After you've been here a while, you'll appreciate his candor....I think!

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