The June 21 meeting of the Fort Monroe Authority was very disappointing.
On June 13, David Stroud, the Historic Preservation Officer at Fort Monroe issued letters of his findings to the Board. His task was to determine the impact to nearby historic properties if the Arch is removed or altered. His task also included reporting on what would be required to minimize or mitigate any adverse effects to historic properties if the Arch is removed.
In the letter of his findings, he answered the first question, but left the second question open for a second survey. I am asking you to answer this second survey. It is due by next Saturday, June 29, 2019. An explanation and link to the survey is below.
Basically his conclusion to the first task stated that removal of the Jefferson Davis Arch would “have an adverse effect on historic properties”. I have copied his finding from the letter below:
“Determination of Effect
After considering the direct and indirect effects for the undertaking and applying the principles provided in Stipulation III.D.4.vi) of the MOU, the FMHPO has determined that the proposed undertaking will have an adverse effect on historic properties by altering directly and indirectly characteristics that qualify them for inclusion in the VLR and/or the NRHP.”
The entire letter can be found on the Fort Monroe website, but I have attached a pdf copy of the letter to this email.
On the surface the letter seems to be in favor of leaving the Arch intact. That is misleading.
At the June 21 FMA Board meeting, David Stroud read his letter to the board. He made no other comments, other than a rather dry reading of his letter.
After the meeting, I approached Mr. Stroud as to how much weight his findings would have on the final decision. His answer to me, was that the next steps would be determining how to minimize the adverse effect upon other historic properties – when the Arch is removed, not if.
I want to emphasize to you that his replies to me were very guarded and formal. But everything he said indicated that he was studying impacts of when the Arch is removed, not if.
I questioned him several times about the impact of the answers to the survey. Incidentally, the survey was not mentioned at all during the proceedings – as if it never happened. He said that when he makes his final report, he will place all of the pro survey replies in one folder and the cons in another and turn them over as part of the report.
When I continued to press him as to how much weight the survey answer would have on any decision, he repeatedly answered, “They will be considered”. He refused to elaborate any further. Frankly, I am not sure if Mr. Stroud was afraid to say any more, because our conversation was certainly being observed.
I learned from my discussion with Mr. Stroud, and by re-reading the wording of the second survey, that it is asking only for concurrence or disapproval of his “determination of effect” from removing the Arch. Which he considers to be, if you agree with his finding as to the Impact to other historical property, not if you agree with removal. After probing him further, he kept reiterating that the real intent of the survey is to determine how to “minimize or mitigate any adverse effects to historic properties” when the Arch is removed.
He also said that he had already received some “creative” suggestions on how to minimize the impact. He did not say anything further as to the creative suggestions, but it makes one wonder if they suggested putting up other wording to replace the current wording, “Jefferson Davis Memorial Park”. Mary Bunting, Hampton City manager had suggested at the April meeting to remove the lettering on the Arch. Knowing the hatred some of the activists causing this issue have spewed in public, I can imagine how degrading some of the suggestions could be.
Although the surveys are not geared to count votes for or against removal, it is important to show a strong public opinion against the removal or any changes. These survey results may be important in future meetings or discussions, possibly even in at the General Assembly or in court.
I suggest that your comment on the survey should say, in your own choice of wording, that: The Arch and Park should stay, exactly as it is. The Arch should not be removed nor altered in any way.
The survey itself is very simple. But, it appears to be purposely organized to confuse. You are required to give your:
Name, Mailing Address, Email Address and to make a Comment.
Do Not give your Organization! The survey will kick back if an organization that it does not recognize is entered. Remember that you are giving your opinion as a Citizen, not as a member of any Organization!
In the comment section, answer in your own words that you feel that the Jefferson Davis Arch and Park should not be removed nor altered in any way.
The website address is:
Push the “Learn More” button in the Tan Box showing the picture of the Arch. This will take you to the survey.
The Fort Monroe Preservation Officer is asking the public to answer this second survey by NEXT SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 2019!
It is obvious that everyone on Fort Monroe is taking Governor “Blackface” Northam’s letter seriously, and is working diligently to find every loophole possible to subvert Virginia Law and allow him to destroy the Arch and remove all reference in history to it and the Park.
This will only be the beginning. Once the radical Left makes this first hurdle removing a little known memorial, Virginia’s law against removing war memorials (15.2-1812) will effectively be ineffective. The current Attorney General certainly won’t defend it. Next the Left will go after every Confederate memorial in Virginia. The radicals won’t stop at that, soon it will monuments to any of the founding fathers who can be associated with slavery in any way. Then any monument or building with any religious context will be desecrated.
After you complete the survey, I suggest that you make every effort to contact every General Assembly Delegate and Senator that you can contact.
After sitting in this FMA meeting, I have become convinced that the Virginia Executive department will conclude that removal of the Jefferson Davis Memorial Arch and any reference to the Park will be within their right. The Governor is frantically trying to make amends with the Left over his blackface incident. The Attorney General, who is also under racial bias scrutiny, will agree.
The only force left to challenge this aberration is the Virginia General Assembly. Please make them well aware of this attack on Virginia’s values!
Contact for General Assembly House Members
Contact for General Assembly Senate Members
Senate Phone Numbers
I would appreciate, if you would let me know that you have written. That way I will have a rough count of comments submitted to save the Jefferson Davis Arch from demolition.
Thank you! You may share this letter, with any family or friends, who will help us!
Christine J. Gergely