Shifting Philosophy at ASAP?

By. Neil Williamson, President

Mark Twain once said, “If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything”.  This quote came to mind Sunday morning as I sipped my coffee reading Jack Marshall’s opinion piece in The Daily Progress.  Mr. Marshall is the President of local population control group,  Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population.

Mr. Marshall’s piece, tepidly headlined “University’s role deserves close look” was paired with an essay adapted from University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan’s speech at the 96th annual Chamber Dinner headlined “Thoughtful growth at UVa”.

Mr. Marshall has argued that if the University is to grow it should do so elsewhere via satellite campuses while Dr. Sullivan outlined her belief that as they grow UVa “wants to be a good neighbor”.

Mark Twain came to mind late in Mr. Marshall’s piece, when he wrote:

No one is proposing a reduction in the size of UVa or the population of the Charlottesville/Albemarle area, even though ASAP’s footprint analysis reveals we’re in severe ecological deficit.

Wait a minute, didn’t this same Jack Marshall present to both Charlottesville City Council AND Albemarle County Board of Supervisors indicating a desire for population reduction?

Knowing Mr. Marshall to be a thoughtful person and an exceedingly careful writer, I went back to the Free Enterprise Forum blog and found my October 18, 2010 post, Depopulation – Where’s the Outrage?:

In a front page article in today’s Daily Progress by Charlottesville Tomorrow’s Brian Wheeler, a local population control group calls for the depopulation of the region.  Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP) President Jack Marshall is quoted directly:

“We must, if we care about having a sustainable community for our grandchildren, we must consume less and simultaneously we must stabilize our population size or even reduce the population size of our community,” Marshall said. [emphasis added-nw]

While ignoring the internal inconsistency of having a sustainable community for our grandchildren where new members of the population are not welcome (wouldn’t that be our grandchildren),  Mr. Marshall expressly called for population reduction on The Daily Progress front page.

Recognizing that this may actually be a shift in organizational philosophy, the Free Enterprise Forum simply asks Mr. Marshall which is it? 

Does ASAP want to start building the moat to prevent people from moving here?


Does ASAP, in their “reasoned, informed”  tone, wish to build the moat and reduce the current population? 

Regardless of ASAP’s current position, The Free Enterprise Forum’s philosophy has remained consistant and intellectually honest — government should stay out of the population control business entirely.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil Williamson


20070731williamson Neil Williamson is the President of The Free Enterprise Forum, a privately funded public policy organization covering the City of Charlottesville as well as Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna and Nelson County.  For more information visit the website


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