Dear Ms. Hubbard,
Your April 19th article on Teresa Altemus appears to be just one more in a long line of articles written by daily press reporters responsible for the Gloucester County area that are biased to say the least. It appears that you wrote the article with much enthusiasm directed at supporting Gloucester Point Supervisor Chris Hutson in his reelection efforts, the unlawful and very costly actions of the Gloucester 40 and Gloucester’s former Commonwealths Attorney, while casting a negative cloud about Mrs. Altemus; even though she and the other targeted Supervisors were all found not guilty of all charges. In fact it was not Mrs. Altemus and the other targeted Supervisors who costGloucester County hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees. It was a group of people, who were all associated with the same local civic organization (Rotary Club) that cost Gloucester Countyall of that money. Did anyone at the Daily Press ever look into why such effort was put into attempting to have Mrs. Altemus and the other targeted Supervisors removed from office? I think not. What were the Rotary folks trying to keep hidden from the People and who was directing them? Those are questions that still should be asked. It is also noteworthy that each of the individuals quoted in your article, except for John Walsh (the local Republican Committee Chair) has been discredited or rejected byGloucester voters. Perhaps it is that group which is continually looking in the rear view mirror rather than forward through the windshield.
There was absolutely nothing in your article about Mrs. Altemus’ views on anything that matters to the majority of the voters inGloucester County. There were no quotes from anyone supporting Mrs. Altemus, but there were numerous quotes from the other direction. In fact your article, in its own subtle way, tends to steer the reader away from Mrs. Altemus in favor of Mr. Hutson. What or who is the driving force behind Mr. Hutson having that privilege? It certainly cannot be a result of his track record as Supervisor for the Gloucester Point, Virginia district.
I personally contacted you via email on June 3, 2014 about Mr. Hutson’s conflict of interest in the Terrapin Cove Sewer project, but nothing was ever reported by the Daily Press. During the May 20, 2014 Board of Supervisors meeting, Mr. Hutson voted to approve the Terrapin Cove Sewer Extension project. Part of the project entailed installing public sewer along Laurel Drive at Gloucester Point at a total project cost of $773,638. The vote was 4 in favor of the project and 3 against it.
The following information was obtained from the GloucesterCounty online property database and is for property on Laureldrive that is owned by Mr. Hutson’s father and mother in-laws.
Property Owner: THE BREEDEN TRUST
PO BOX 122
GLOUCESTER POINT, VA 23062
RPC #: 32740
1672 LAUREL DR
Magisterial District: Gloucester Point
Tax Map #: 051C 5 C 5
Mr. Hutson should have abstained from voting on the Terrapin Cove sewer project in accordance with Commonwealth ofVirginia Conflict of Interest laws. Without publicly disclosing his interest in the project area property, Chris Hutson not only voted for the project, he also acted as the primary public body advocate during the design, review and procurement processes. Shortly after the BOS meeting this information was brought to the attention of all of the Supervisors via an email message. After the email notification was sent it was further realized that Mr. Hutson’s father in-law has served on the Gloucester Public Utilities Advisory Committee since 2004 and was reappointed for another four year term by Mr. Hutson in 2012.
During the June 3, 2014 BOS meeting the Terrapin Cove project was brought back to the floor for further discussion by Supervisor Ashley Chrisco, on the premise that funding was uncertain due to the Commonwealth not yet approving its budget. That in itself was a cover up. The Terrapin Cove project was not a Commonwealth funded project and the County’s ability to fund it was uncertain from the projects conception. Mr. Hutson knew this all along. The BOS voted to delay the project start up and to pull funding from it until the Commonwealth approved its budget. Then, upon the recommendation of At Large Supervisor John Meyer, the Board directed that a certified letter be sent to each property owner within the project area asking the owners for a binding commitment to hook up to the sewer system if the project moves forward. This and other steps should have been accomplished before any other money was spent to design the sewer expansion. Due to the project area resident’s lack of hookup commitment, the Board ultimately voted to terminate the project with Mr. Hutson finally abstaining from the vote.
At issue here is not only Mr. Hutson’s excessive spending practices, but also and most importantly, the conflict of interest votes he made. Mr. Hutson went so far when caught in the deception that he blamed his wife. His comment during the July 1, 2014 board meeting was, “I’m married, my wife doesn’t tell me anything.” What is even more curious about Mr. Hutson’s claim is he used the same excuse convicted former Governor McDonald was using at the time. One cannot help but wonder what else Mr. Hutson is hiding from the People with the assistance of the Daily Press.
In your article Mr. Hutson speaks about transparency. During a public hearing on October 7, 2014, Mr. Hutson essentially stated that the only way the Board of Supervisors knows what the People and Citizens want is through comments made at Board of Supervisor meetings during citizen comment periods. What about emails to the Board or to ones district representative, or phone calls, letters and face to face communications? I can honestly say Mr. Hutson has never responded to a single email I have sent to him and I live at Gloucester Point off of Terrapin Cove Road.
In your article Mr. Hutson touts how well the current Board is doing for the People of Gloucester, yet he has voted in opposition of the other board members on numerous occasions. The most recent occasion was his vote against the recently adopted 2016 County budget. Yet your article said nothing about Mr. Hutson’s voting record or his desire to raise Gloucester’s real estate tax rate from $.65 to $.72.
My question to you is; why did you write and why did the Daily Press publish such a biased article?
Kenneth E. Hogge, Sr.
Gloucester Point, Virginia