The Third Battle of Manassas



As I drove west on Interstate 66 out of Washington, D.C., it occurred to me that the suburbs of northern Virginia are a powerful testament to the American Dream. The counties south and west of the capital are home to nearly 2 million people—more than three persons for every one in the nation’s capital. At the center is Fairfax County, with a population of more than a million people, most of them living in pleasant single-family houses with trees and rich green lawns. Fairfax is the richest big county in the country, with a median annual household income of more than $100,000. The homeowners might work for the government, but they are more likely these days to be lobbyists, information consultants, or corporate executives of the many firms, such as General Dynamics and Hilton, that have moved their headquarters to be near their main source of both revenue and regulation. Closer to Washington are the smaller jurisdictions of Arlington, Alexandria, and Falls Church (the last two are independent cities under Virginia’s unique form of local government). The first was named after the estate of Robert E. Lee that was seized during the Civil War and was made (to the general’s great displeasure) the kernel of our most famous military cemetery.


Affordable Housing Illegal Immigrant Mortgage Loan Metro Area Homeownership Rate 
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Prince William and Manassas land use laws

  1. Brookings Institution, Immigrants, Politics, and Local Response in Suburban Washington (2009) (authors: Audrey Singer, Jill H. Wilson, and Brooke DeRenzis), http://www.brookings.edU/~/media/Files/rc/reports/2009/0225_immigration_singer/0225_immigration_singer.pdf.Google Scholar
  2. City of Manassas, Va., Zoning Code and Zoning Map,
  3. Prince William County, Va., Zoning Code, Zoning Map, and Related Documents,
  4. U.S. Census Bureau, Examining American Household Composition: 1990 and 2000, (2005).Google Scholar
  5. 9500Liberty (2009) (film by Annabel Park and Eric Byler).Google Scholar

Prince William County governmental reports

  1. Prince William County (2005), Housing Market Analysis.Google Scholar
  2. Prince William Housing Data (2005),
  3. Prince William County Comprehensive Plan (2008),
  4. Prince William Neighborhood Study Report and Consultant Recommendations, Oct. 7, 2008 (Community Planning and Design report Sept. 22, 2008), presented to County Council on Oct. 14, 2008.Google Scholar

Black Velvet Bruce Li

  1. Black Velvet Bruce Li,, entries on June 30, 2007; April 4, 2008; April 19, 2008; May 14, 2008; July 6, 2008; July 10, 2008; Oct. 15, 2008; Dec. 29, 2008; Feb. 26, 2009; March 20, 2009; Dec. 11, 2009.

Prince William repercussions

  1. John Gizzi, “Northern Va. County Confronts Illegal Immigration,” Human Events, July 30, 2007.Google Scholar
  2. Nick Miroff, “A Hispanic Population in Decline,” Washington Post, July 10, 2008, Scholar
  3. Eric Weiss, “Pr. William Employees Priced Out; County Wants More Affordable Housing,” Washington Post, May 4, 2004.Google Scholar

Manassas “Family” lawsuit

  1. Complaint and court papers in Equal Rights Center v. City of Manassas, l:07-cv-01037-TSE-TRJ (E.D. Va.) (filed Oct. 12, 2007).Google Scholar
  2. Elizabeth Kolbert, “On the Kansas Prairie, the Window to Dole,” New York Times, May 19, 1996, at 1, 10 (Bob Dole’s youth), Scholar
  3. Manassas Park memo, May 20, 2004, from William Armstrong to City Manager David Reynal, on Manassas city surveillance techniques.Google Scholar
  4. Stephanie McCrummen, “Manassas Changes Definition of Family,” Washington Post, Dec. 28, 2005 (Chavez incident), Scholar

Montgomery County incident

  1. Jack Carson, Letter to the Takoma Voice, Feb. 2010, Carol Morello, “Montgomery Urges Hispanics to Mail in Census Forms,”Google Scholar

Academic commentary

  1. Frank S. Alexander, “The Housing of America’s Families: Control, Exclusion, and Privilege,” Emory Law Journal 54 (2005) 1231.Google Scholar
  2. Jim Morales, “The Emergence of Fair Housing Protections against Arbitrary Occupancy Standards,” La Raza Law Journal 9 (1996) 103.Google Scholar
  3. Dowell Myers, William C. Baer, and Seong-Youn Choi, “The Changing Problem of Overcrowded Housing,” Journal of American Planning Association 62 (March, 1996) 66–84.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ronald D. Utt, Not in My Back Yard: Removing Barriers to Affordable Housing (2002) (prepared for Aspen Systems, Inc. and the U.S. States Department of Housing and Urban Development), Scholar

Copyright information

© Paul Boudreaux 2011

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