Sunday, July 29, 2007

Chesterfield County Forums Announced for Fall Election

Fall Election update:

As August approaches many of the campaigns will formally begin to kick in and get rolling. Some of the campaigns for Board of Supervisors have already begun to canvass the county to drum up support going into the Fall. Candidates will get some support in presenting their respective visions for the County and their districts in the form of District Forums.

These forums will give residents an opportunity to hear the views first hand from each of the candidates for the BOS as well as School Board posts.

The following schedule has been announced:

Dale District: 10/04 LC Byrd
Clover Hill: 10/11 Clover Hill High
Bermuda: 10/18 Thomas Dale High
Matoaca: 10/25 Manchester High
Midlothian 11/1 Midlothian High

Each forum will last two hours and will begin at 7PM.

If you would like to submit questions to the forum planning committee you mau do so @

Please make sure your questions arrive before the Sept. 1, 2007 deadline.

Accidents Waiting to Happen in Chesterfield

Ever wondered why your insurance rates may not be coming down as fast as you would have liked or why it getting more expensive to insure that teenage driver in Chesterfield. Well,
AAA has released 10 places (intersections)in the Richmond area you are most likely to be involved in an accident:

6 of those 10 locations are here in Chesterfield County.

The following intersections are the most dangerous here in Chesterfield: (accidents)

1. Jeff Davis and West Hundred (74)
2. Midlothian and Courthouse (62)
3. Hull Street and Courthouse (59)
4. Midlothian and Woolridge (59)
5. Hull Street and Old Hundred (52)
6. Hull Street and Genito (45)

Monday, July 16, 2007

Iraq: The Debate continues

After Sunday mornings Meet The Press, I felt it appropriate to hit the blogosphere and try to get a handle regarding the future of the Iraq debate as far as the blogosphere. Of course, like picking up the RTD or the New York Times you basically know what your gonna get before you start for the most part.

Even in the blogosphere you can be hard pressed to find those blogs that really demonstrate varying points of view on any given issue. We all like to be around those that think like us, see things like us and want things they way we want them and at times thats what you will find in alot of blogs. Unfortunately that is wants wrong with politcis today; our inability to listen not hear what the other side is proposing or advocating.

It seems as if you are Republican you find yourself gravitating towards those and if your a Democrats you find yourself going towards those. Me. I like to roll with all of them. The only real way I believe you can understand how to make the "whole" better is to understand the "parts"better. At least thats my philosophy.

So I ventured over to the thread on the debate being aired on Meet the Press at Raising Kaine (RK) a "progressive" blog, sorry you have to read previous posts to get my gripe with that word, and one of the more highly participated sites for Virginia politics. Of course, I was not going to come across to many like minded folks (thtas independently moderate)but found some great commentary of the debate in Iraq from some posts like those of JPTERP, who guided me to some really good sources for undertsanding the Iraq question. **See Raising Kaine Meet the Press thread at You find your rather left of left element on the Iraq issue for the most part, no not those wearing pink, but nonetheless see little value in our efforts in Iraq and seem dead bent on getting us out of Iraq without a comprehensive plan for the region. Needless to say I join in and get rather trashed in the process but its all good. Us independents sleep well at night.

Being labeled as a Bush apologist rather quickly was quite amusing. You see when you make independent minded statements or questions regarding the future of the region and the realistic results of any withdrawal you suddenly become a supportor of the Bush policy. Its the old if you do not see it the way I do then your with them guys over there mentality.

Its like lets hold the Republicans in the Assembly accountable for the Transportation Package but not the Governor who endorses it kinda thing. Both sides are guilty of this tact.

Look if believing that most Americans simply want us to "win" in Iraq makes me an apologist so be it. The fact remains that this conflict had an overwhelmingly high approval rating as did Bush once real combat operations ceased and the country was thought to have been secured. People forget that three years later after being bogged down in political turmoil.

Had the story ended there how would we be portraying Bush? Sadly it did not end there and the longer we have been there the longer lower the approval ratings get. Amercians do not oppose the War in Iraq, Amercians oppose LOSING the War in Iraq. We have seen this before. Amercians like to win and win big, fast. Think first Persian Gulf War, think Panama, think Grenada and operations like those. Now think of events like say Somalia and the political disaster that was.

How would we have been as a country during WWII had that war, especially the War in the Pacific been covered like present day conflicts. It scares be to think about how different our world would be, had those seeking isolation from the world were able to manifest itself into something greater through the countless portrayal of the horrors of that war. We call it mainstream media in this country but I fail to see little that makes coverage mainstream.

I spent hours going over photos taken in the provinces of Iraq by serviceman and so much of what they portray makes me proud to have both served and to be an American. They are not pictures of the war being portrayed on MSNBC, CNN or Fox but one that inspires the values that we say we stand for. Water projects, markets, building hospitals and clinics, building bridges and roads we had destroyed from the air. We ARE rebuilding that country. NO one says we have to. We could just leave. Any many folks think that that is exactly what we should be doing is leaving. Leave to fight the war on terror elsewhere, on the fringes of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistans borders wherever as long as its not Iraq.

Apologists I am not. But since we are talking apologies where are they from those who for political gain supported this war and who now tell us well they really did not know the full picture or the intel was bad or heck did not even read the intel? It really peeves me that people like Obama, Kucinich, Paul, Gravel and others get marginilized by mainstream media who seem dead set on electing Clinton and if the left is to be believed and all is lost in Iraq than those folks who they marginilize got it right and the top of the ticket got it completely wrong. Its okay for Clinton to get it wrong but not any of the others who authorized this war. Wheres her accountability? Oh but its so much easier to legislate than to lead is it not?

A couple thread comments:
Blogger Newport News Dem : Repubilcans "spewing the same Al Queda beat them there so they don't follow us home"

Okay so whats the difference from fighting in Iraq or some other Middle eastern front? Do people really believe that if we pullout to the fringes or simply re-allocate forces that terrorist will not seek us out. Al-Queda has come there, mostly from the ranks of those Shia in Saudi Arabia for many reasons like the fact that they oppose the Sunni governments like Saudi Arabia and do not want Iraq to be another Sunni state. Sure they are fighting us there, but if you had'nt notice they are also killing those who do not share their beliefs within their own culture.

Again Newport News Dem: "Al Queda is once again being used to scare Americans into supporting a failed policy" in Iraq

Do we not believe that Bin Laden is doing the exact same thing in reverse. His he not using the US as the focal point for his mission as a means to increasing his ranks. People forget that the hatred for the US goes back to when....could it be the support/creation of Isreal. Very little to do with policy more to do with history. While many Amercians are worried about terror I do not think they look at Al Queda the same way as say we did in 2001. Who is to be given credit for that. Who is to be given credit for no further attacks on our soil? It is not my contention to defend the executive, but somewhere something is working in order to preserve our security.

I read all the time on liberal blogs that Al Queda is simply waiting to do something really big and thats the reason why we have not been attacked again. It is as if the effort of those in our governmental agencies is minimized because the reason why weve been safer is solely because the terorists are waiting not because we are preventing them. This rationale also does not support logic concerning Iraq. If the so-called "follow us" home theory is accurate than whould they not be compelled to do just that once we leave Iraq. I mean we are there now so theycame there to hit us or at least hit what we represent. Whouldn't make since that if we were to remove the target on the ground (us by their view) in Iraq that they to would simply shift operational objectives. Wait. You mean to say Al Queda has operational objectives in Iraq? No? Well if they do not than what has been their true objective? Spain, Indonesia,Britain? No I think it is safe to say that most of the operations are focused on Iraq.

So that brings us full circle to the idea that we are fighting them there so we will not be fighting them here. And exactly who is best suited to be doing this fighting? Who is best suited to handle the fall-out of an attack from an emergency perspective. Is it our cities or is it our military? Who is it that this government determined to place in harms way ? Is it those that are trained to do so or those citizens simply pursuing happiness? The fact remains that when an attack is successful our military does not shut down, it is trained to respond. Should another attack happen here I fear you cannot name me one city that would not completely shut down.

In my eyes thats where we have failed. Not really in Iraq but in securing our borders, ports , and creating a system of response where the information is disimilated to the population. If you reside in Chesterfield, do you know the emergency plan? Have you seen the Homeland Security literature on how to set your family up with a communication plan? Most I am afraid have not. We are ill prepared for another attack and thats the trajedy. Not the conflict in Iraq. I view our role in Iraq no different then a quasi-peacekeeping force between the extremists and the peace and freedom seeking Muslims at this point while the country comes into its own. Its simply now a matter of sides, truth be told. Though we want them to determine their destiny I doubt we would or could allow a pro-Iranian or shia controlled state there. Now thats just naive. I am sure.

Lowell a commentator on RK put it simple that "Al Queda has no better friend than George W. Bush"

I guess he means that Bush by staying in Iraq is embolding the enemy. That his policy has given new life to terrorism and terror in the world is simply manifested itself because of the failures in Iraq by the Bush administration. I was having some coffee at Starbucks last week and a friend posed a very good question:

"If I told you that by staying the course in Iraq we would experience the status quo in terms of terrorism here in Amercia (zero since 9/11) or by withdrawing from Iraq there was at least a 25% chance for Amercia to experience another terrorist attack, which would you prefer?."

Yeah, talk about deep. We'll of course I would take the status quo. He then later got me with a "How do you think the present day political partisanship would have dealt with the assumption We Dropped the Bomb to Save Lives that was used to end WWII." At this point I need to upgrade to expresso.

I never looked at Iraq in that fashion. Maybe Bush sees Iraq as the "bomb" that is saving American lives. Most people do not feel he is the brightest kid in the schoolyard but it could be so. Maybe that is how he has been approaching this thing all along. Whatever his approach there is certainly a large force here at home opposing it. And yet the opposition, including every Presidential hopeful has yet to devise a way to lead are way out it. Simply having a plan to withdrawl by a certain date and implementing diplomatic measures does'nt seem to me to be a real long term solution or a even practical. A withdrawal I believe will almost certainly stand that region up on end and I really believe that Isreal will be forced to defend itself alot more agrressively and I think that takes this thing to a whole different level.

If we withdraw I think you can forget about a Palestine state as well. Isreal we seek more room for security for its people as it sees turmoil in Lebanon, politcial upheaval in Eqypt to the south and then further instability in Iraq with upon of withdrawal continued Shia insurgence backed by Iran.

It's just not as simple as bring the troops home. Thats campaign rhetoric. We have some serious problems and of course the Iraq Solution is one of them but we need serios people to solve them right now and they just are not stepping up to the table. I keep looking out for that FDR, JFK, Teddy Roosevelt, Abe Lincoln to rise above politics and move us forward....maybe he is out there but we just have not found him yet.

The debate will indeed continue.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Chesterfield School Board: Charting a New Path?

Chesterfield County School Board (CCSB)

Its been a pretty full three months for the CCSB. The School Board has faced the challenges of dealing with a Board of Supervisors withdrawing funds that were to go for school board budget sanctioned Pre-K programs, which the school board made happen anyway, then a fairly large debate with residents over the teachings of "ID", creationism and evolution followed by the latest requests by resident groups seeking the offering of Bible school classes.

There has been quite a debate in the blogosphere over these issues. See Bacons Rebellion's blog for some really interesting work done on the subject. But I find that much of the debate is coming from those seeking to oppose The Family Foundation, a group of local residents seeking to make room in the Chesterfield county school system's curriculum for the study of "ID" along with evolution in the classrooms. While I am not going to go down the road of getting into some scientific or philosophical debate, a let the supposed experts do that, I do want to address some of the items coming out of the debate.

Whether you support the idea of teaching broad curriculum or not it is frustrating that when the issue of creationism or anything with even the slighest smack of religion makes everyone so uncomfortable. I believe much of the discomfort comes the very religious beliefs we all share. I know I for one growing up it was not acceptable to "question" the religious teachings of the church let alone challenge them. Well years have passed and times have changed and now looking back I never thought as child I would witness a female Episcopal bishop. Just knew the church would never endorse it. So when we are sitting in non-church settings and we hear that controversial word "creation" people just simply begin to shift in their seats. We do not want to bring our beliefs into the public rhelm. Fact is, the law prohibits the teaching of religious beliefs in schools. An issue of exposure I guess.

Lets face it, we want our children to believe what we want them to to a large extent. I was born into my belief systems how about you? I did not examine too much, I simply followed the crowd to the Lord in my youth like most kids I guess. I spent much of my childhood in public schools of Chesterfield before finally attending private school my last two years of high school. In retrospect, I grew more those last two years than all of my public education. Why you say? Exposure to a world that may not see it the way I do, exposure to examination, exposure to critical thinking, exposure to debate....alas exposure to the beginnings of real informed citizenry.

This brings us back to the CCSB. On balance our schools are some of the best in the nation hands down. We have some of the best teachers and educators around. Many of whom have come from Virginia insititutions of higher learning and yet there seem to be concerns in their ability to mediate measures as Shawn Smith of the Chesterfield Science blog refers to as "problematic debates". Smith contends that shall ideas or thoughts like creationism or "ID" be taught teachers will somehow be endorsing or promoting "alternative views" and thus in terms of "ID" merely "teaching the controversy". Afterall, its not science.

This contention puts me on familiar ground, ie the church. There can be no place for ideas that may influence or persuade that are in conflict with our particular view. The beauty of freedom of religion is really the fact that you determine via your own free will what you are going to accept or believe or hold to believe before YOUR God. That said what is at issue is whether we want our children exposed to "alternative views" or not regardless of whether its creationism or something else.

What I find fault with is the direction of those who would place this in the rhelm of "science" for the debate. Fact remains as soon as you get to college you are exposed to just about everything under the sun in this world and frackly some it is scary and radical in nature to tell you the truth. Yet, somehow in those short months after high school graduation and entering college every child is we hope well prepared for whats to come. Often times they are not. Often we find our children hard pressed to handle the socio and political aspects of liberal college life. Is this due to not being exposed to true critical thinking? Not sure but it certainly plays a part. While not science why can this not be taught within other areas; history, philosophy, etc.

There will always be controversy over what to teach and what not to. I recall the history of the Holocaust not being taught in many public schools, recall the curriculm of students in the City of Richmond quite different than out in the counties before bussing, and I even recall differences in how the South was portrayed in the classrooms during the study of Civil War depending upon the choice of textbooks. We teach our kids exactly what we think we should teach our kids based on our core life experience. Was there any school district celebrating and teaching the Civil Rights movement in 1970?

Every few years or so when the school board must order and select new textbooks a new paths have to and should be explored. Should "ID" be taught in our schools as "science"? Probably not. But why not teach philosophy, history of ethics, critical thinking or even the history of religion. You see I believe there are two forces at odds here; those that feel schools instill "belief" and there by in someways fear it and those who see the schools as a path to greater learning and citizenry. Learning and believing are two very different things.

I "learned" all about creationism (6 credits worth) in college but that certainly does not mean I "believe" it. Its very sad that while this debate goes on our children who may not have ever heard of "ID" are now logging time on the internet getting the low down on what they are not allowed to get in school. Times are changing my fiends and its time for a new path. Would we rather have our educators moderate these "alternative views" or some internet Waco type primadonna providing absolutely ill conceived rhetoric.

Will this simply be another sex education in the schools dilemma? Are the lines the same? Though there is legal precendent precluding the teaching of religion there is none preventing elective being offered regarding the history of Christianity or even Islam. God forbid our youth try to understand those histories, heck it might expalin alot in the world today don't you think?

It very well could be time to chart a new path.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Whole Foods Markets: Coming Coming Coming

I wrote awhile back on the blog concerning the expectations of the Watkins Centre project and the desire for them to bring in retail that was not already exisiting within the market. I proposed that it would be great to attract a Wegman's or a Whole Foods market to the area and low and behold there are plans for the later to open a 60,000 sq foot location in Richmond.

The problem is its not at Watkins Centre. Whole Foods Market will open in Short Pump along the Broad Street corridor, which will be the first store located this far south in Virginia.

Rumors abound on the street that Ukrops is considering Watkins Centre as a potential location and potentialy close the Sycamore Square unit. This however has not been confirmed by company officials.

A Whole Foods market would have been nice for Watkins Centre. I just wonder now how many Chesterfield residents will travel over the river to shop at this highly respected company once the doors open.

Chesterfield National Night Out

24th Annual National Night Out will be Tuesday August 7, 2007 from 6-10PM. Chesterfield neighboorhoods are incouraged to schedule block parties or BBQ events bringing their streets and communities togther to get behind crime prevention and show support for public safety.

The county has promotional kits available to get the ball rolling and its a perfect time to get out there and talk about our quality of life in our neighborhoods.

Go to:

Good times for all. Make it happen.

I for one will be inviting an appearance by those running for Supervisor as an opportunity to meet and mix with the people.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Upcoming Immigration Dilemmas

Chesterfield County:
Board of Supervisors

Will the illegal imigration debate impact the county?

While the issue continues to go unresolved in the national debate, illegal immigration remains a major issue for growing localities like Chesterfield. Other Virginia counties, Prince William in particular, are taking the issue head on. Local governments are being forced to face up to the ever increasing demands on its public services not only by those contributing to the very systems with their tax dollars, but also the demand by those that are not. So-called "illegal" or as many liberals continue to call them "undocumented" immigrants appear to be caught in the middle as rising costs for services strain localities. Many local governments may be forced to raise taxes or raise the costs of the services themselves in order to meet the demands upon the systems.

That said, many localities have sought to analyze these issues largely due to the national debate and look at how "illegal" immigration is impacting such things as social services, health services, and education.

Local governments are behind the eight ball. While most Amercians see the whole debate as a "fairness" issue, there are many well-funded organizations working to keep the status quo on immigration. These organizations have many weapons in their arsenal, not withstanding Supreme Court rulings that basically prohibit the States from exceeding its authorities regarding immigration because it is supposed to be the domain of the federal government to deal with such issues. This groups also use the Fourteenth Amendements equal protection clause as means of demanding that the children of illegal immigrants are guaranteed the same public education as everyone else. Here in lies the problem.

Many of the systems that are impacted the most are those that localities have to fund primarily within their respective budgets. Counties growing as fast as Chesterfield may or may not be as impacted by the growing numbers of illegals as a percentage of the population, but politically need to get every dollar out of its systems possible to support its communities, otherwise may be faced with the not so polular proposition of raising taxes.

This was the state of affairs in California in 1994 with its Proposition 187. Largely supported by 59% of the voting population the law was enacted, then went through a lengthly legal process while in "restrained" status before Gov. Gray Davis who opposed it was elected and managed to kill the bills appeal in the courts. Though the measure failed to reach law in the end, it identified just how a large unparticpating populations can impact a states ability to provide essential services.

In this case as in any locality for that matter, I can't see how it is acceptable to allow individuals to reap the benefits of a system they do not particpate in. I'm not heartless. I believe that emergency services should always be provided regardless of status but let me give you an example that our society has to deal with everyday:

A young man and his wife here in Chesterfield have no insurance and have a combined income of about thirty five thousand dollars a year from working in the reataurant business and are pregnant with their first child. Again no insurance Since they are not identified as needy by health care standards they get no help with costs with the delivery and at the end of the day are left with over ten thousand dollars in medical expenses to pay for.

Unfortunately for the couple they were not born outside the United States, did not have green card or no papers at all because had they the result would have been quite different. You see, illegal immigrants and their families have routinely taken advantage of a system that treats their condition as somehow greater than that of the citizen who is struggling to merely get by.
It is not uncommon for illegals to be granted free servcies, whether medical or not, at the expense of the State or County and yet you have legal citizens being buried in debt for the same circumstances. This here in lies the problem; Amercians are realizing that illegals are not being granted "equal" protection but a being granted access to conditons of service that legal citizens are not. Sure, legal citizens can get coded at a teaching hospital like MCV and the State picks up the tab, but what about in cases where those services are not available.

What about the overwhelming overcrowding of school systems. A county is left having to provide public education to both illegal and legal citizens and must find a way to keep funding the school system. A County like Chesterfield may have the means to raise such revenues, but what of the rural counties? Is a county destined to have to grow for supporting sake or can it be allowed to grow as its population desires. Fact remains, a county is bound to provide primary and secondary education to everyone. University level education gets a pass. Evidently for profit endeavors are excluded from this type of equal protection since you earn your way in.

Chesterfield has been studying the impacts of illegal immigration. The results of said study are not yet fully realized. While counties such as Prince William and Fairfax are pressed with an every growing illegal population, I hope that Chesterfield does not wait until the storm before acting. You see Chesterfield and the City of Richmond have significant populations and these may be the likely choice of relocation should the NVA area unite in a strong stand against illegal immigration.

However controversial, this should be part of any debate over Chesterfields future. It is this citizens hope that we organize our law enforcement agencies in coordination with ICE and identify the "criminals" we have already in our jails first and under the State law ascertain their status and if "illegal" then turn them over for their hearing through ICE and eventual deportation.

Its one thing to allow illegals to remain and reap the benefits of our systems and yet another to allow an illegal who has been found guilty in a court of law of committing a crime to do so. If a person is identified as an illegal why should are tax dollars go to provide his jail term. The individual in my estimation should be turned over to authorites quickly and given to the federal authorities since they are tasked with dealing with the issue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chesterfield Board of Supervisors to fill Posts

July 10, 2007:
The Board will meet to consider for nomination applicants for two very important posts for the future of Chesterfield. The Board needs to identify qualified people for the role of Chesterfield Chief of Police as well as discussion concerning the replacement of Lane B. Ramsey as the County Administrator.

Both positions are vital in securing a quality of life for Chesterfield and its future. Mr. Ramsey has played a large role in the county and the Board will be hard pressed to find an individual who will spend twenty years or more as Ramsey has, but nonetheless the Board must put the final applicants under examination and find a truly qualified person that will serve the County well.

An independent executive -search firm was used by the county to identify qualified applicants for County Adminstrator, however after reporting early in the year that 37 interested candidates had been identified, that number has recently been narrowed to just three. Two of the three potential nominees are apparently current Chesterfield County Deputy Administrators.

The meetings are "closed sessions", which for matters important as this is very disappointing. Again, we are talking about filling two of the most vital positions that will promote Chesterfield's future. As with everything else, we have placed faith in the Board to make a the right choices.

I pray they do.

Added Tuesday evening:

Board appoints 28 year verteran Thierry Dupuis to Chesterfield Chief of Police but takes no action on the County Administrator post.

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Chesterfield County Roads Issues

In a year that marked a Transportation Summit and a level of optimism in solving our trasnsportation issues its time to look at exactly what has been gained in the County of Chesterfield. The answer is simply that we are still asking questions.

The biggest problem facing the County today, outside of our school system issues, is indeed our road infrastructure. I count at least 100 articles and features in the last year regarding localities and the General Assembly's debate regarding transportation and yet after the session we are still tredding water.

While it is true we continue to ask some hard questions of our local government, it is time we stop asking and start DEMANDING results.

As expected, Chesterfield one of the fastest growing localities in the Commonwealth and an area that adds some 35 to 40 miles of road infrastructure each year through the Board of Supervisors pro-growth agendas will be getting very little support from State government. Giving the simple fact that we are not meeting our obligations in keeping up with existing infrastructure, it begs the question why the county continues to add additional roads at an estimated cost of about 7 million per mile.

Chesterfield will get an estimated 6.5 million a year over the next six years to pay for existing roads from the State in the newly passed transportation package supported by Governor Tim Kaine. In addition the county is pledged with some 23 million from the State. Given the overall package passed by the General Assembly, Chesterfield's gets are very small part of the 3 billion dollar package. The lion share of the package is headed to Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads areas.

While the results of the package from the State come as no surpirse to local government, it begs the question what measures have we taken to insure the future quality and safety of our road systems. Local governement is failing to adequately maintian our roads and at the same time continuing with an agenda placing larger volumes of traffic upon the very system they have been unable to fund.

Take a look at some of the traffic volume data from 1991 to 2003:

Between: 1991 2003
Branders Bridge/Lewis Road 18, 241 33,345
Lewis Rd./Centralia 19,192 35,118 (2004)
Rt 288/Beullah 19,974 44,779
Courthouse/Robious 48,477 66,425
Robious/Powhite 49,675 76,151
Chippenham/Jahnke 44,000 (1993) 65,504
Rt 288/ Charter Colony 13,616 (1992) 20,461
Buford/Robious 37,147 (1994) 52,441
Robious/Midlothian 27,943 44,156
Hull Street/Midlothian (Rt.150) 58,000 (1992) 83,184
Winterpock/Old Hundred 28,617 68,999
Rt 288/Genito 29,304 52,591

Looking at the proposed developments to go on line, (Magnolia Green, Roseland, Watkins Centre) we will be experiencing more increases in some of the highlighted road systems continuing forward that will place these roads in need of repair and upkeep going over the next ten years. Traditionally roads need to be resurfaced about every ten or so years, however current funding levels do not permit this and funds are being used to patch and repair those areas and are reactionary measures not preventative. It seems there is really no funding for "preventative" measures, which at the end of the day will cause even more expenditures by local government resulting from the neccessity of repairing systems that were not properly cared for over the course of the systems development.

The County requires leadership on this issue. The County cannot accept the rationale of looking to State government for the answers. State government has proved that the needs of Chesterfield are not a priority for the State. The State has its hands full with funding NVA. We need to look hard and hold those legislators we elect to represent us in this fight.

This was part of the campaign of Will Shemake in his bid for the Republican nomination for the 68th House of Delegates race. Mr. Shewmake lost in a firehouse primary to Manoli Loupassi who resides in the City of Richmond and will challenge Delegate Katherine Waddell this Fall. The arguement and point made by Shemake was simply; Who is representing Chesterfield in this battle? How many of our State legislators (Delegates and Senators)in the General Assembly reside in the county?

Fact remains Chesterfield being the four largest locality in the Commonwealth is under represented both in leadership and in funds. We must look to our own leadership on the Board of Supervisors. There was an opportunity to increase cash proffers and use funds from that increase to fund roads and services but the current board failed to raise proffers above its current rate. Subsequently, the Board lowered the property tax rate for residents in the County and failed to set aside any of the revenues for roads and business taxs (license fees) remain at current levels. It is apparent that the current Board means to move forward with its growth agenda and yet not make the hard descisions to adequetely pay for that growth.

It is purely political to standby and blame the State for the shortfall of funding. The demands required have been placed upon the community by a sustained growth rate outpacing funding resources not by the State but by local government. The fact remains that the demands upon our community's infrastructure require action and those supporting continued development should be held accountable. The time has come for action.

The time has come to stop waiting to see when the State will provide us with more funds. If our community is unable to pay for the sustained growth patterns endorsed by the Board of Supervisors than we should rein in growth and only support those endeavors that can be paid for through the developments themselves. Such community development authorities and special tax districts can be part of the solution for the "new" developments, but the challenge will be for measures to bring our existing infrastructure in line with growth.

We spent about a year asking transportation questions and its now time for leadership and action. Many of the current candidates for the election this Fall for all the seats on the Board of Supervisors seem content to keep the property tax levels (visit ) at the current level or criticize the level without stating how they would structure the tax rate to solve community issues such as roads.

This years election will shape Chesterfield for the next ten years. If we are content with the quality of life and status quo do nothing and nothing will change, but if we consider the repair costs we will experience on our very own vehicles (a tax if you will) due to poorly maintained road systems and analyze how a lack of action will impact our quality of life it is evident that a change may indeed be in order.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Independents of Chesterfield

With the November election approaching, it is important to recognize the increase in "independent" minded citizens seeking change from the status quo. Many residents are frustrated with the slow development of our infrastructure to support all of the growth that the County is experiencing and feel that their needsand concerns are not adequately being addressed by the current leadership.

By my counts there should be about six Independent candidates on the ballot for Board of Supervisors this Fall. While I am surely not convinced that there is a movement in Chesterfield or the roots of an Independent Party beginning to bloom it begs the question as to exactly what does it mean to be "independent"

Independents are self-governed, free from influence or control, self-reliant, and not determined by or influenced by party heirarchy.

There is certainly the implication that many of these Independents have allegiance to former political affliations. Don't get me wrong being Independent sure has some advantages. If for example, you were frustrated with the republican leadership in your district would it be easier to cast a ballot for a Democrat or an Independent? If you were Republican wanted to send a message but their was no Independent running in your district, would you endorse the incumbant or vote Democrat? I only pose those questions to identify the reality of why it is may may have so many Independents. Independents always seem to ignite the debate and open up the dialogue. There is no real baggage being labeled an Independent other than the fact that most know you will have an up hill battle to win an election. Its been done. We have seen it in the 68th House seat when Katherine Waddell defeated (R) Brad Marrs.

The issue goes to how will any of the Independents lead? Will they remain independent or fall into the traps of the politcal appartus that govern our community. We have former Democrats running as Independents who by all signs will have support from the CCDC if there is not a candidate of their own in the race. What will be the politcal fallout of that post election should an Independent win a seat on the Board.

I like the fact that independent voices are being raised in Chesterfield. I just wish that a bonafide coalition of them would get together and garner a true platform of leadership to challenge the strangle hold the party establishment has had on County politics.

(I) Dan Gecker
(I) Marleen Durfee
(I) Eli Jones
(I) Floyd Bayne
(I) John McHale
(I) Roy Wallace

"Progressive" Not So Much

In case you haven"t noticed, though I am sure you all have, the use of the word "progressive" appears to have been born again if you are to believe the media supporting half of our national politcal establishment in the Democratic Party.

Frankly, its as if they are attempting to aid in the removal of "liberalism" in terms of politcal ideological conotations. Its as if insiders are throwing in the towel in its fight against who else but the right wing radio monopoly of the airwaves and suddenly now calling themselves "progressives". The shift stikes me as remarkable. The Party continues its courtship with the term, but the politics behind it strikes me very little of progressivism.

Progressive by definition refers to:

proceeding in steps, continuing steadily by increments, promoting or favoring progress towards a better contribution or new policy idea or method.

relating to the Progressive Party platform of 1924

or simply advaning or moving forward

So are we to beleive that because someone may wish to move the nation forward via change of leadership or policy that the result is a form of "progressivism". Somehow I just do not buy it. You see history proves that very "liberal" leaders may have "progressive" ideas, I would use FDR as the best example or even or own Woodrow Wilson, but that simply does not make you a Progressive. Its been the tradition of Progressive movements to seek not to expand government or increase citizens dependence upon such government or welfare state or even a particular politcal party apparatus for that matter.

Should there not be a test with regard to the truth in labeling. If you are going to call yourself a "progressive" I think you have to come to the table with alot more than simply an anti-Bush, anti-right agenda or framework. The very same people using the guise of progressivism are the same who have attempted to throught workers within labor unions the right to secret ballot. My friends the Progressive movement sought to protect workers from the very power that such measures the current ideology of the Democratic Congress appear so eager to endorse.

Senator Majority leader Harry Reid has been quoted continually referring to illegal immigrants as simply "undocumented workers" and his implications are that there are no individuals here in America illegally. You see Mr. Reid has a very narrowly defined view on just what it is that makes a person an American to begin with. Reid implies its simply a matter of presence. If they are here they are Americans. The second these folk cross our borders they become Amercians. Folks thats not a Progressive ideology thats just flat out Liberal one.

Progressivism has been at work in many ways in our country. One could call Teddy Roosevelt progressive at times or even Abraham Lincoln if you hold firm to its very defintion. But in an era where it has become perfectly acceptable to carry oneself without the least diginity or class we see the very essence of progressivism in this country being twisted by political means for no greater purpose than as a tool of deception.

In fact if you break down the current policy agenda of the power structure and the forces behin d it (yes big lobby groups) you can see that when you look at an immigration policy that does not work, a single payer healthcare system with dependence upon the government, a narrow almost naive view of the ramifications of its own foriegn policy desires and the need for a so-called "fairness doctrine" applied to the public airwaves I feel these very people claiming to be progressive in ideology on matters of policy are nothing more than regressives.

The insiders are fully aware that "liberalism" has not won the hearts and minds of America so we are seeing what pundits call a "shift to the center" and are using the word "progressive" to remove the stigma of the label "liberal" in an attempt to sway voters.

In their minds after all if they call themselves "progressive" enough we may just be dumb enough to believe they are.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

IPhone Connected

The IPhone has arrived.

Greatly anticipating the arrival of Apple's new smart phone or wiz-phone as some of us like to call them finally arrived on Friday. Local stores began selling the device around early in the evening with somewaht of a wait but not too much.

The lure of dropping $499 on a 4GB IPhone may have been confined to Apples loyal followers, but I found at the Apple Store that there were indeed many new, young, hip Apple lovers that were introduced to Apple as a company via the Ipod. Persoannly, my affection for Apple dates back to the Apple IIe and many in line were not even bron when that computer was on store shelves. To be sure mnay were at the store to see what the fuzz was all about and get a look at the new IPhone and test the hype. Even Store employees seem amazed and at times just giddy over the device that by all purposes was selling itself.

So lets break down the hype. The device itself is "smart" and very fluid once you get used to its functions, quite like learning the Palm for the first time. The phone/ipod is facing great expectations and though the device is cutting edge in alot of ways there are some drawbacks to the intial version:

IPhone is on the AT&T network , you know the old Cingular. Not sure I have forgiven them for taking the Cingular logo off of its Nascar racing team, but nonetheless IPhone calls AT&T home. You will not be able to use IPhone on Sprint, bummer, T-Mobile (does not accept simm cards) or Verizon. Those Blackberry users probably will remain until the end of their contracts before jumping on board with IPhone. Breaking contracts, a cell phone one anyway, is costly. The service is not as of yet on AT&T fast data network either but on AT&T's Edge technology and this first version cannot be upgraded.

Another aspect which struck me was you could not activate the IPhone at the Apple Store itself. You have to connect your phone to ITunes software to get the ball rolling. This really is not a very time consuming process and in fact I saw two buyers doing it at Starbucks later in the evening while I was getting a White Chocolate Mocha. Frankly, I could wait until home.

There is an issue with car adaptors that buyer should be aware of. IPhone will not work on all adapters. It will charge indeed, but will not play music vioa its ipod element in all cars. Apple will surely have to fix this with later releases. The IPhone is fast on the web and can use WIFI wireless networks very efficiently. Not sure how it will work in really populated cities where you bounce from network to network but so far its impressive.

There all alot on interface and functions to get around. Far too many to address here but all in all IPhone is a neat wiz-phone with a clear future. It has some drawbacks but all cutting technology does as first. Its size is no better or worse than that Blackberry or Razor and easily fits in the pocket as well which was a concern. The face also leaves you with the impression that you have to actually take of the thing, unlike most of us with our cell phones that get bounced around, dropped or tossed just about everywhere. This is the first real smart phone to warrant the care and attention of say your laptop, though I am told the device can withstand alot of wear and tear. Not after dropping $499 thank you very much.

Where it ranks in hype one only knows. I do have a feeling it will deliver what it advertises and maybe thats all that matters. I do feel though that this roll-out rates third in my book. I liked the new Playstation 3 and the Nintendo Wii products ahead of the IPhone, though I know we are talking about entirely different devices.

Apple strikes again with this one. And I can remeber when Apple was be written off trading at below fifteen bucks before the company re-invented itself and so the Apple story continues.