Resources For Our Community

Andrew Glover is head of a newly formed group called Conservative Parents of Lynchburg– who believe in opening school with face-to-face learning and giving parents a choice.   Last night he questioned City Council on the way in which a city news conference was called last month.  Here is Glover’s conversation with the MorningLine:

Here are his comments on FB:

Andrew GloverStlSndtpeprmtemrbsaer e1 aot n8dsf:Saoarfgrdnl19efe edPM  · “Ravaging the Community:” Mayor MaryJane Dolan and Lynchburg City School (LCS) Board Vice-Chairman Dr. Robert (“Bob”) Brennan conspire to use their public offices to hold last-minute city-wide press conference in order to influence public opinion and justify the shuttering of LCS face-to-face school plans.Recent FOIA requests reveal that the Lynchburg City press-conference held on August 3rd was not held at the request of the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), or even by Lynchburg General Hospital (Centra Health) Leadership, but at the bequest of Lynchburg City School Board Member Robert Brennan. Brennan, while being a doctor with a specialty in the field of infectious diseases, holds no formal leadership role, policy making role, or public relations role, within the Centra health system or VDH. Despite this he called Mayor Dolan on the morning of Friday July 31st to request a press conference because he was, “concerned that we are becoming complacent” and that numbers were indicating a potential increase in COVID-19 case counts. As a part of his request to Mayor Dolan, Brennan specifically asked that LCS School Superintendent Crystal Edwards be in attendance at that meeting. Demonstrating that, in making his request, Brennan was actively trying to tie the press conference to the decisions that would be made at the school board meeting scheduled the following Tuesday.Dolan emailed City Manager Bonnie Svrcek requesting the conference be held – even before consulting with VDH, Lynchburg General Hospital, or Centra Health Network (Friday July 31st, 10:04am – Email). This instigating/initiating email was only discovered based on information provided by City manager Svrcek, and was NOT supplied by Dolan when the FOIA request was made. This was either a MAJOR oversight by Mayor Dolan in responding to a FOIA request surrounding the events of that press conference, or potentially indicates that Dolan was trying to cover up the origins of the press conference.12 minutes later City Manager Svrcek then relayed the plan for the conference to JoAnn Martin, Director of Communications & Public Engagement, via phone call (Friday July 31st, 10:11am – 3 minute phone call). Svrcek would then go on to hold a (presumably) clarifying phone call with Dolan at 10:15am (Friday July 31st, 10:15am – 5 minute phone call). The FOIA documentation only indicates that phone calls were made, and not what was said on those calls.Two and half hour and a half hours later, after Dolan inquired into LCS’s attended at the conference, City Manager Svrcek recommended against including superintendent Edwards in the press conference to avoid putting LCS “In the crosshairs” (Friday July 31st, 12:29pm – Email). Demonstrating that the City management was very aware of the impact the press conference would have on Lynchburg City Schools.Based on additional FOIA requests a large portion of the rest of the day involved the logistics of arranging a press conference the following business day (Monday morning). However, of note, at 11:36am, a mere hour and a half after the Dolan/Brennan’s instigating email City Council members were “informed” of the press conference, rather than consulted on. Based on the FOIA documents not one single council member was asked if it would be worth holding a conference (Friday July 31st, 11:36am – email). Vice Mayor Beau Wright was given advanced notice of the press conference by Mayor Dolan via Text message (Friday July 31st 11:19am, text message).Over the weekend, LCS Vice Chair Bob Brennan again contacted Mayor Dolan regarding the participation of Superintendent Edwards in the press conference (Unknown date, Sometime on August 1st or 2nd). No reply to this message was provided as apart of the FOIA documentation. However, it appears Mayor Dolan may have consulted City Manager Svrcek regarding “how to address” LCS Vice Chair Brennan. Svrcek’s response that that request was not provided in the FOIA documentation either.The only other correspondence Friday afternoon and over the weekend (per FOIA’s) were logistical in nature involving a short discussion on mask use in the conference, and a short conversation on including an LPD representative.The press conference was formally heled 10:00am Monday morning – only 9 business hours after Mayor Dolan requested the conference, centered on the request from LCS Vice Chair Brennan. Based on provided FOIA information, no documentable communication regarding the conference was held prior to the start of the event that Monday morning.During the conference Vice Chairman Brennan’s coworker, Dr, Christopher Lewis, would go on to use extremely incendiary language in stating that COVID-19 is “Ravaging the community.” Language that would then go on to dominate local press headlines and serve to shift public opinion on the impact that COVID-19 on Lynchburg residents.It should be noted that at the time of the conference both VDH and the media were reporting no Lynchburg resident was actively admitted to the hospital for COVID-19. And that the majority of LGH hospitalizations were from outside the city including a number of cases from a Farmville ICE facility.The strong language used in the press-conference was ultimately successful in capturing public opinion, as evidence by Mayor Dolan’s text message to LCS Vice-Chairman Brennan celebrating 20,000 views (undated text message).Roughly two and half hours after the conclusion of the press conference LCS Vice Chairman Brennan sent Mayor Dolan a thank you message. Explicitly stating “I think that the information will have a significant impact on our discussion regarding reopening the school’s tomorrow…” (August 3rd, 2:32pm, Email). Superintendent Edwards also sent Mayor Dolan an email with gratitude around the same time (August 3rd, 2:40pm).One day later, Tuesday August 4th, the Lynchburg City School Board would go on to use the press conference to justify removing face-to-face learning as an option for parents. Despite two prior votes, including one just a week earlier, to offer parents the ability to weigh the risks and make the best choice for their families.So what does this mean?- First, it shows that the press conference was requested and held with intent to impact and justify the Lynchburg City School Board discussion to shut down schools – impacting thousands of Lynchburg city parents. (Manipulation)- Second, it shows that a press-conference, whose stated intent was to influence public opinion and behavior, was held without city-council discussion. Essentially at the whim of a single individual (Mayor Dolan) and her conspirators (LCS Vice Chair Brennan). A charge reinforced by the speed in which it was put together, and by the lack of consultation from other dully elected officials or even state health officials. (Authoritarianism)- Third, it shows that Vice-chairman Brenan significantly overstepped his appointed school board role and position, resulting in major public fear – fear that he would then use to steer the school board to shutting down the public school system – despite CDC and American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation to hold face-to-face school. (Infringed liberties and creation of public fear)- Fourth, because LCS has (to-date) failed to respond to a legal FOIA request, it is unknown which other LCS officials may have been involved in orchestrating an event that should have originated with the city council – not the school board. Based on ancillary emails at least Superintendent Edwards was potentially complicit with the plan – possibly others. (Presumptive Coverup)- Fifth, Most importantly children are the ultimately victims of this charade as they remain out-of-school, despite parent’s desire to send them back to school, and in a remote-only environment that is failing to provide a comparable or even adequate alternative to the education they deserve.###FOIA requests were issued to Lynchburg City on Friday August 7th, and responded to on time – within 5 days. Based on the information discovered in those FOIA documents an additional FOIA request was sent to Lynchburg City Schools (LCS) on 08/14/2020. LCS waited 6 days, then invoked a special circumstances clause to request more time to fulfill the request. At 4:30pm on 09/01 LCS responded stating that if I wanted the FOIA documents it would cost $1,000 in admin costs to prepare the emails.