Tito Munoz — also known as “Tito the Builder” — is instantly recognizable from his hard-hat days introducing such luminaries as former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin back in 2008 with his “Born in Colombia, but Made in the USA!” speeches, emblematically representing working-class conservatives across the nation. Munoz has continued to remain active in Virginia and local politics in his home county of Prince William.
During the 2011 storm season, Prince William County experienced a devastating flood in Holly Acres Home Park. This flood and primarily the county’s reaction caused over 300 people to be homeless. It was sad and overwhelming.
During the process of evaluating the damages and investigating the possibilities of which homes could be saved and what personal property could be rescued, I sought the cooperation with Mr. Stewart, Chairman of Prince William County Board of Supervisors.
Yet instead of helping the Holly Acres community, Chairman Corey Stewart led the offensive to evict the homeowners who owned their mobile homes and to regulate the use of the land from the property owner. Someone in the county ordered the electric power company to remove all the electric meters including the meters for the homes not affected by the flood.
I have to wonder. Why?
People in neighboring counties and in Alexandria also were close to flood situations, but there was no news of unaffected homes in other counties also having electric meters removed.
Many Holly Acres’ families whose homes were minimally affected by the floodwater and whose homes are ABOVE the flood-designated elevation by FEMA, were told by Prince William County that they could not clean, fix and rebuild their homes. The county condemned these homes without proper evaluation by the inspecting authorities, violating Virginia Construction Code, FEMA construction standards and Virginia State Code.
The owners of these homes appealed to the Board of Appeals and unanimously won their right to fix their homes and go back to their property.
Yet Chairman Stewart was relentless and fought against the community’s efforts to return to their homes in spite of the Zoning Board’s ruling. County officials used all means at their disposal to intimidate and discourage these homeowners from forever fixing their homes. Mr. Stewart then argued and convinced the BOCS to sue the Board of Appeals in order to prevent the homeowners and their families to return to their homes.
Many of the arguments used by Mr. Stewart and county officials to pursue public support cannot be substantiated in any FEMA publication, Virginia State Code or Virginia Construction Codes.
Yet after a year and half battle and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees from the private property owner, and over $2 million in property lost, the county finally settled with the landowner of Holly Acres.
In the settlement agreement, it was made clear that the county’s malpractice allowed the destruction of some private homes that were indeed salvageable.
Preserving property rights is central to our values as conservatives and Republicans. Working as followers and practitioners of limited government is primary for conservatives who want to show the contrast from big government.
Corey Stewart used all the power and authority of the local government and led the Board of County Supervisors in violating the rights of the Holly Acres community.
Throughout the ordeal, residents were displaced from their homes and many individuals had their Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights violated. Corey Stewart should have defended their rights, but instead he proved he does not stand in defense of the constitutional rights for all citizens — and therefore Stewart is unfit to serve as our candidate for Lieutenant Governor.
Voters need to inform themselves as to who Corey Stewart really is. Uninformed voters are a problem for the preservation of true liberty in America.
Tito Munoz lives in Prince William County, Virginia.