OPINION: Prince William BOCS Chair 'Shill for Corporate Raiders'

Letter to the Editor, Concerning PW Digital Gateway


My name is Bill Wright and I live in Gainesville.  I oppose the Prince William Digital Gateway. 

Chair Wheeler has labeled those objecting to runaway data center development “opponents of progressive change.” But being a shill for corporate raiders looking to exploit our community is not progressive.  It’s a self-serving sell-out and a con as old as time, and I’m proud to obstruct it.

You’ve already read about her progressive conflict-of-interest principles. The Virginia Public Access Project shows that Chair Wheeler spent over $387,000 in her 2019 campaign, more than three times her nearest competitor and more than $6 per vote.  Now she’s actually fundraising off her constituents’ efforts to recall her.  Interesting marketing strategy.

VPAP also shows that she and her family have contributed over $166,000 to her campaigns for Supervisor.  That’s an awful lot to chip in for the opportunity to serve the public. 

The question is who’s really being served. VPAP also shows us that, beside herself, Chair Wheeler’s principal donors are technology and real estate companies.  I imagine they’re looking for a return on their investment.

Chair Wheeler’s easy ethics have laid out the welcome mat for opportunistic predators who have run amok under her regime.  This whole deplorable CPA process is rife with indications.  Example.  During public comment time on May 24th, a Pageland Lane resident referring to the Prince William Digital Gateway CPA, said, "the county has taken us down this path”, “Some residents have already secured properties” and “We need you to take us all the way."

Was there some coordination of effort and were the landowners given some type of assurances from the board?  What has transpired between you that has given a privileged few such exalted expectations?  This resident said out loud what most of us already believed.  

And how many have already forgotten that oily Pageland Lane charitable foundation very possibly concocted with the tacit encouragement of government officials?

Chair Wheeler is clearly in the pocket of landowners and developers and has cynically exploited social divisions and simmering grudges to advance their mercenary aims.  If she is working for citizens of this county, it is an exceedingly small, well-heeled minority.  Her violation of environmental principles and blatant advocacy for moneyed interests make her an embarrassment to legitimate Democrats. 

I have a checkbook, a keyboard, an active mind and extensive volunteer labor to offer to any legitimate challenger who can send Chair Wheeler on permanent vacation and restore integrity and trust to our party and our government.

Phony progressives like Chair Wheeler we can do without.  Take a stand for honest government and reject her shameful pay to play agenda.

The article is solely the opinion of its author, not necessarily that of Bristow Beat, LLC.  Bill Wright made these comments at the  Aug. 2, 2022 Prince William Board of County Supervisors meeting and shared them with Bristow Beat. 

Ann Wheeler, PW Digital Gateway, Prince William County, Chair, Board of County Supervisors, PWCS, VPAP, campaign finance, donors, campaign, Virginia, chairwoman, supervisor, supervisors, data centers, Bill Wright, letter to the editor


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  • jprinva

    This “gentleman” retired to the gated community of Heritage Hunt just 3 years ago after selling his Fairfax Co. residence (and one would certainly assume for a tidy profit as well). In case you weren’t aware the gated community he resides in today WAS ONCE A 700 ACRE FARM. Almost everyone who lives on Pageland Lane (93%) chose to apply for re zoning of OUR FARMS & OUR PROPERTIES (myself included) at which point he and his neighbors (1800 + homes) now have the arrogance to cry foul and feel encroached upon ?! And just to be clear he opposes a project that based on the PW Co Finance office projections will raise $4.2 BILLION in commercial tax revenue over 20 years (57.23% of which will go directly to our schools). Did Mr.Wright raise his family in PWC and therefore need to access our school system? No. Does he have Grandchildren that need to be educated in OUR system today? No. Does he have family that may be teachers or first responders in OUR county? Again no….but he does want to dictate to the rest of us who do need to access these services what level of increased funding these groups should or shouldn’t receive. PWC is short 100 to 200 police officers county wide (ask the chief), we have huge personnel shortages in the school system, and our pay scale for our teachers and first responders is not competitive relative to neighboring counties so we constantly lose talented individuals. Go ask a teacher or a first responder if you don’t believe me.

    Mr.Wright may I suggest you either spend more time accessing that gated community golf course that you have available to you or run for local office and take a shot at solving the problems I mentioned above. Your never ending conspiracy theories and witch hunts are counter productive and tiresome.

    Wednesday, August 3 Report this

  • BeeKay

    To jrpinva: you certainly do not have your facts together -- First, you have a lot of nerve criticizing someone who served his country and moved into an existing retirement community and is committed to the environment and what is right. You should know that he fought for you.

    You do not have all the facts. The County has been bought by Blackstone/QTS and Compass....bought the BOCS.

    Further, , the budget estimations you quote are not accurate and they do not reflect the cost to the county to build the infrastructure to support the Digital Gateway. You only hear what the county BOCS Chair Wheeler and the developers Blackstone/QTS and Compass want you to hear. After the fact you will face increased budgets to support the additional infrastructure...you likely will have polluted water...and the electrical grid will not support the additional data centers. The noise from the data centers will be overwhelming...oh wait....you are probably a land owner who will leave PWC with lots of cash in hand and leave the rest of us behind.

    Those of us in retirement communities pay taxes that support the schools -- we are not exempt. We are paying for your children to go to school.

    Get the facts! I support Mr Wright and his willingness to sludge through the lies and get to the truth! You should do the same.

    Wednesday, August 3 Report this

  • PWCTaxpayer

    PWC tax rate on computers and peripherals--$1.65

    Loudon tax rate on computers and peripherals--$4.20

    We do not need to tear up sensitive areas of the watershed, historical resources, or hallowed ground to better serve our county, we just have to apply a reasonable tax rate to an industry that can more than afford it.

    Since the lines on Pageland are dedicated to Loudon data centers, how much is it going to cost the PWC taxpayers to get PWDG online? What kind of noise mitigation measures will be taken? How much will those cost? What will be the cost to the county of the mass exoduses out of the neighborhoods that are inundated with the relentless hum that is keeping people awake and irritated?

    Ask the residents of the Great Oak Community in Manassas what kind of neighbors data centers are and how they feel about Navy Captain for 25 years and Department of Homeland Security for 19 years Bill Wright's efforts. His seems like a life of service to others that is still continuing to me, but then I don't live on Pageland Lane.

    Thursday, August 4 Report this

  • jprinva

    PWCTaxpayer you’re right about at least one thing which is you don’t live on Pageland so you have zero perspective for where we’re coming from so please feel free to sit quietly. It may come as a shock to you but there are many veterans in the Pageland corridor who I’m proud to live amongst and have as neighbors but their service to our country, nor Mr. Wright’s, isn’t relevant to the discussion. He has publicly taken his shots at those veterans by collectively referring to them as parasites, pigs at the trough, greedy and my personal favorite fake altruistic patriots. The reality is the facts of what the PWDG will do for the ENTIRETY OF PWC have not changed…per the PW Co finance office the project will generate $4.2 BILLION in tax revenue over its first 20 years (schools automatically get 57.23% of that) and incidentally taxes are already slated to be raised on a stair step basis in the years ahead on “peripherals” so the numbers from the PWDG will just continue to balloon.

    Friday, August 5 Report this

  • PWCTaxpayer

    Thank you for the invitation to sit quietly, but I would prefer to participate in this public process that does indeed affect all of Prince William County.

    Yes, I've seen the step schedule for tax increases. I'd say that they support the need for Mr. Wright's and others' advocacy. Raising the tax rate on data centers is such a simple and elegant solution that actually would benefit everyone with the cost rightly being on the developers and not on the citizens. I bet that solution would quiet Mr. Wright and myself right down.

    Saturday, August 6 Report this