ROBINA RICH BOUFFAULT

Open email letter to Winchester City Council regarding the potential renaming of Jubal Early Drive.

I have been following the referenced matter with interest, noting the well-intentioned city online survey, which apparently received responses from both residents and non-residents alike. In City Code and policy, there also does not appear to be any single, defined method for changing street names.

We are told that the name change would only effect businesses, as there are currently no residents on Jubal Early Drive. Your tax assessments indicate that there is currently a total of 71 addresses, owned by 51 businesses, plus 3 unbuilt city properties located at 600, 701 and 705 W. Jubal Early.

Let me tell you a story: a few years ago, when I was on the board of the regional SAAA (Shenandoah Area Agency on Aging), our board felt that the name was somewhat out-of-touch with the current view of wellness for our seniors. We wanted to change it, to give the agency a “new look” so to speak, more aligned with the times. We asked staff to look into the cost of changing the name — which included all stationery, brochures, advertisements, our website, our bank accounts, the logos on our Meals on Wheels vans, etc. Staff, the following month, duly reported that it would cost in excess of $75,000. As a charity funded primarily with taxpayer dollars, we felt that spending that amount of money on a name change was not justified. It did not happen.

The Jubal Early businesses involved are not as large as the SAAA, but the cost to them of the address change could still be substantial.

There are, I believe, two main questions concerning this, and any other potential street name change:

Financial aspects

I believe that your first survey concerning the name change should go to those who will apparently have to pay for it, i.e., the 51 businesses located on Jubal Early Drive. Some of the businesses are small ones — a cost of even $10,000 could negatively impact them.

Unless, of course, you plan on having the city pay for it, i.e., our tax dollars. But why should taxpayers pay for a purely politically motivated change done under pressure by any individual or individuals?

Legal aspects

If the city, with a simple resolution, approves a politically motivated name change, how can they not approve the next person who comes along and wants to change, for example, Cameron Street? Or Braddock?

Such a resolution would be setting a highly questionable legal precedent. May I suggest that you obtain a formal legal opinion from not only your attorney, but a qualified, specialized independent law firm before proceeding any further.

A referendum might protect you to a certain extent. You could put it on the November ballot. Your attorneys should be able to advise you on that aspect.

Councilors, I urge caution in this matter — beware those unintended consequences. Look before you leap.

Speaking as a business person, I would not like to see Winchester labelled as a city not friendly to the business community. It would certainly cool any economic development potential for the future.

Robina Rich Bouffault is a resident of Clarke County and a Winchester property owner.

(19) comments

Journey2goremtns1

@Jason Murray - "I shall know you by your acts." Absolutely correct! Now I am sure I know you: Radical Socialist

Spock Here

"radical socialist"? Do please inform us radicalsocialistwannabes why you came to that conclusion.

Doc Samson

The fact that you even have to ask that question, ala the Nuri, is evidence that no amount of proof will "prove" anything to you. smh, the complete and utter lack of self-awareness from the Left is... complete. We are the Twilight Zone...

we66

If we change the names and remove monuments of things named for people who believed whites were superior to blacks and thus call raciest, then we will remove the Washington monument and My Vernon and change the name of the city. Most of our leaders in the early days of our country believed that whites were superior to blacks so some would call them raciest. They believed what was then the consensus of the community just as we now have a consensus that all are equal. The early leaders should be recognized for their good work building this country and not denigrated because they believed the consensus of the community. The name changing mania is doing more damage to our community than good.

Jason Murray

we66 - Please enlighten me as to what were the good works Jubal Early was responsible for or participated in? I am pretty sure he is known only for (1) Being a slave owner who became a traitorous Confederate General (2) a prolific advocate for white supremacy until his death with his works serving as the philosophical foundation of Jim Crow and (3) for being a spokesperson for a crooked lottery that scammed poor white folks.

That said, I have not actually said that we should remove any veneration of the founding fathers now have I? As such, please refrain from speaking on others' behalves because you have no idea what others think on that subject.

With that said, I personally believe there are some key differences between the founding fathers and a figure like Jubal Early. Yes, many of the founding fathers were far from perfect if not outright shameful in some of their behavior and beliefs (including being slave owners or even white supremacists who raped their slaves). However, this is not the only things they are known for or why they are remembered. They are remembered for founding The United States of America rather than rebelling against it. They are remembered for establishing a system which, while flawed, has the capacity for change, and is slowly inching toward achieving its ideals of freedom, liberty, justice, and equality for all. This is most certainly not the same thing as Early's wartime service to a would-be government established expressly upon white supremacy. Service to evil, even if many folks didn't recognize it as evil at the time, is not really acceptable for remembrance and never was. Indeed, the only noteworthy thing about lost-cause propagandists like Early is that they did such a good job at revising history (lying), and entrenching their false narrative (again lying), that even today there are people around still trying to defend their lies.

Bottom Line: Early is known primarily for promoting hate in word and deed. The Founding Fathers are known primarily for establishing the most free and prosperous state in the history of the world.

Jason Murray

I highly doubt some of these cost estimates. The next thing you know they will be claiming $300 an envelope that these businesses must replace. Suffice it to say that the council will not force folks to do this quickly, but most likely they will give businesses a year or more to make the change. They are also coming up with ways to make the change easier. For example, the council is already discussing how to adjust business license costs for affected businesses. I am certain that more ideas are also yet to come.

What is obviously going on here is that the supporters of white supremacy are grasping at straws to come up with literally any reason they can to preserve a street-name-monument to one of the most vile hate-mongers that ever visited this area. Indeed, this has nothing to do with cost, or history, or anything else. This is a desperate attempt, by the last of the die-hard confederate propagandists, to preserve public acknowledgement of their lost-cause myths. They are throwing up anything they can come up with to see what sticks.

That said, there is change happening all around Virginia right now and somehow that is able to be funded. History is clear about one thing though - change will come to Winchester too - whether they want it to or not.

shinyhappypeople

Spot on, Jason!

Conservative

So, because people take an economic viewpoint and you decide that you can label them as white supremacists. That's what is wrong with this whole mess. If your will is not carried out, then you just pull the race card. Ridiculous and not even worthy of discussing further. Don't get your way? Pull the race card and watch everything burn. Just plain stupid.

Jason Murray

@Conservative - What defines someone as a white supremacist is not my labels at all, but rather their observed behavior. If you work to glorify traitor-racists - whose clearly stated mission was to establish a state on the basis of white supremacy, then by extension, you are glorifying white supremacy. If we are to judge people by their acts, then reason demands that I classify those who work to glorify white supremacy, as white supremacists. Put another way, to others, you are what you do. "By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?" I shall know you by your acts.

Conservative

And if you want the change made, then you should pay for it. Put your money where your mouth is, or it's just an empty bunch of words.

Bernie Mac

Liberals are good at spending other peoples money.

Journey2goremtns1

If Jubal Early Drive is "renamed" What's next? You know the local marxist wil pick another target. Stonewall Jackson's Headquarters or Daniel Morgan statue? What about Judge John Handley? The benefactor of Handley High School and Handley Library. A recent internet search revealed a historical research paper titled:

THE PROBLEMATIC LEGACY OF JUDGE JOHN HANDLEY. On page 5 this is printed:

"John Handley appeared to the people of

Lackawanna County under conditions not favorable to a cheerful reception and an instant

confidence," recalled Holmes Conrad. In fact, during the Civil War some Pennsylvania residents

thought he was a rebel spy. The fact that he kept portraits of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall

Jackson in his home in Scranton was evidence to many of his sympathies for the Confederacy.

Upon his death, friends described him as "much misunderstood" by many of his neighbors, a

man "whose life was not a book open to all." Oh my! Judge John Handley a Confederate sympathizer? The slippery slope is getting more ice on it. Winchester, time to get busy on more new names!

Bryan.the.Nuri

*yawn*

shinyhappypeople

Giving an agency a new look is not the same thing as having a major city road named after a man who spent his life and time on earth unsuccessfully trying to keep Black people enslaved, and Robina should be ashamed for even pretending its the same thing. Perhaps she would understand more easily if her business were on a street named for the person who performed the first abortion, or a misogynist who believed all women are inferior in every way to men. It’s outrageous to spend money beautifying the city, synching traffic lights, and touting the city for tourism, yet leaving up the name on a boulevard of a man who thought and said the things Jubal Early did. This isnt about politics or history, this is about common sense decency. (Your Clarke county is showing, Robina).

Conservative

So, 30 years ago it was okay, but all of a sudden, it isn't? If the petitioner says change the street name, then the petitioner should pay the costs associated with changing the name. Period. I could care less if the name was changed, but I do care if tax dollars have to pay for some SJW pitching a hissy fit.

Robina5

Shiny - in view of what I said, your response is ridiculous. Public councils and boards have very well-defined legal parameters on what they are authorized to do, or not to do. And one of their first requirements is to be fiscally prudent and follow the law, in the best interests of ALL of their constituents and not succumb to the temptation to spend the taxpayers money unwisely just to be popular in the moment. The council should not try to be the moral arbiter of everything that has happened in Winchester's history.

shinyhappypeople

I dont know anyone who would have found anything “popular” ever about jubal early or his racist ideas. This is not a change needed because tastes have changed. This is a change needed because our city should never have allowed a racist to have a street named for him. Period. If Richmond can step up, and other cities all over the south (the Petis bridge even appears about to be renamed for Lewis) then certainly Winchester can adjust to this moment in time to do what is morally and ethically correct and get this street renamed for anyone except a lifelong racist and failed general. You should be ashamed for advocating for this to remain. We should all be ashamed that it was ever named this in the first place, and your lack of understanding how offensive this is says everything.

Conservative

Sanity.

Eredmon

Great common sense “food” for thought based upon experience. Refreshing, especially considering all the PC knee-jerking going on. When the casualties become more than feelings, and impact businesses barely holding on, as you say, Ms. Bouffault, who is the real victim?

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.