A Perspective

Fairness, equality, freedom, that’s what we Americans believe in and that is the reason we came here to form this most perfect Union, this experiment in democracy, this great United States of America!

Most people are naturally fearful of change, of changing the status quo, of something of which they are not familiar.  For this reason, whenever someone new comes to one’s neighborhood, one is a little apprehensive, a little nervous since they don’t know the person.  It is important for those of us who feel that way, to give that person a chance, to show that he is just like all of us.

To deny that person that chance, that opportunity, that freedom, that “pursuit of happiness” is Un-American and quite frankly is illegal for it is the basis of discrimination.

What I see happening with STRs is just that.  It is a fear and perhaps a jealousy in that often others who may be less fortunate or of lesser means can now access affluent neighborhoods albeit for only a weekend.  Some people may believe that they are saddled with long mortgages and rental contracts and for that reason they and they alone are entitled to reside in a particular neighborhood and that therefore access to all those individials not so financially encumbered should be denied.

Accordingly these fearful individuals lobby their elected officials and HOAs to erect barriers to prevent these “outsiders” who have not made the necessary financial sacrifice from entering their neighborhoods.  And since these elected officials, like all politicians, serve only to be re-elected, they find a way to please these few but very vocal fearful individuals.

It is incumbent upon all of us Americans to fight anything that is un-American at every opportunity, especially discrimination.  For discrimination goes against the core of what makes this country of imigrants so great.  Discrimination denys others the same freedoms we enjoy.  For what reason?  Ethnicity, beliefs, color, race?  Really?  Here in these great United States, the land of opportunity?  In the 21st Century?  No sir, not on my watch.  Those are fighting words and a clear call to action.

When I reported the discrimination that I observed with my STR to my own Mount Vernon District Supervisor Storck, he told me to my face that he will “not go there.” Deputy Zoning Administrator Pesto  said the exact same thing at an official Open House for the County of Fairfax.

That is totally unacceptable.  It is like telling a policeman that here is a mugging taking place and he tells you that he will “not go there.” That line of thinking, especially by government officials, must be completely turned around 180 degrees.  They should want to “go there.” Fortunately HUD and its state counterpart are investigating.  Remember, this is the government space, not the commercial space.  The commercial space works on a profit basis and therefore acts immediately, just ask Matt Lauer who was fired within 24 hours by NBC when it discovered his misconduct.  On the other hand, the government space is not results oriented, and as a huge bureaucracy is mired in political correctness and politics as the recent FBI Congressional hearing showed while it “investigates.“ I suspect that HUD will take a while, but the fuse is clearly lit.

The irony is that people splurging on special occasions is very common.  People make sacrifices to celebrate momentous occasions such as milestone birthdays, anniversaries, reunions, graduations, promotions, weddings and funerals.  For these reasons fancy restaurants, 5-Star hotels, and even Ferraris and Lamborghinis can be rented for a short period just like an STR.  There is nothing new here.  Yet nobody complains or tries to put a stop to this common practice.

These fearful individuals are looking at this all wrong.  Instead of being afraid, they should be happy.  Why?  Isn’t it obvious?  When I see a neighbor take care of his house and his yard and puts fancy lights on his trees and even drive a fancy car, that makes me happy.  Our neighborhood benefits.  When I go to a fancy restaurant to celebrate, I’m among others that are celebrating as well.  People who are celebrating are happy and joyful people.  Joy and laughter  are contagious.  We are all in a happy place.  That is good!

The exact same thing takes place with respect to my STR.  The visiting family is celebrating a special event.  The air is full of excitement, love and joy.  How wonderful it is to bring this wonderment right into our own neighborhood!  Love and laughter begets more love and laughter.

And it gets even better!  How?  It is because people from all over the planet are bringing this joy and celebration right into our neighborhood, served on a platter!  You can’t make this up!  The idea that a family celebrating a momentous joyful occasion  from the other side of the planet makes the enormous expense and sacrifice to bring that joy right into our neighborhood is totally amazing!  It blows my mind!  They bring family, they bring dollars to the local businesses, they learn about the greatest country that ever existed first-hand, and we learn about distant cultures and that they too love each other and celebrate in different ways.

To travel all over the world to experience what our neighborhood experiences for free would never be the same since when we travel others are not celebrating their most momentous occasions and of course, the price to travel is exorbitant.

And these visitors “from the other side of the planet” is just an example.  Many times our guests come from other “cultures” from within the United States such as California, Alaska, and Texas.  It is all good!  It makes me so happy to be an American, to be a Virginian, to be living in this County and neighborhood, and to be acting as an ambassador.

Virginia, like Texas, but unlike California, the District, and Maryland, is a property state, that is, it is big on property rights.  Just look at these links about STRs in Texas:

The next local control fight? Like Uber before, city regulations for AirBnB and HomeAway are in the crosshairs 

https://haysfreepress.com/2018/05/30/texas-supreme-court-sides-with-short-term-renters-likely-bolstering-states-fight-against-austins-ordinance/ 

https://empowertexans.com/quicktakes/texas-supreme-court-rules-in-favor-of-homeowners-in-short-term-rental-case/ 

Since it is my belief that the County is attempting to erect barriers to access into our neighborhoods for the reasons cited above, it chooses to look at not other property states like Texas, but Maryland, the District, and even California.  The County is even looking at other local jurisdictions in the liberal northern Virginia area to promote its agenda.

Of course, the discussion is not on whether to “regulate“ that is, to control and tax STRs, but in what fashion.  We all should be totally against ANY regulation that lessens our property rights to rent our property to whoever and for whatever period of time we wish.  And if our elected officials that are now in office wish to tax us with a third tax, a tax in addition to the income and real estate taxes that we are already paying, then they must be fair and tax ALL renters regardless of how long they rent and then hope to be re-elected.  The idea of taxing someone for an activity that lasts 29 days but for the same activity that lasts 30 days is totally asinine.  It is like buying 29 bags of mulch for one’s yard and being charged a sales tax but buying 30 bags of mulch incurs no tax!

The nice thing about fighting for what is right is that eventually you will prevail because right is might.