Monday, December 29, 2008

Loseritis: The Hangover Continues

No I am not talking about the fact that the New York Jets, Tampa Bay Bucs and my beloved Denver Broncos all blew it in the last four weeks of the NFL season and all will be sitting it out in the land of "hangover" with a time for some serious reflection. New York wasted little time in firing its coach, as if the coach is systemic of the problems.

You see there are alot of similarities between the NFL and politics. The above mentioned teams, supposed to make the playoffs, can now join the others who will be sitting it out in the coming weeks, but as fans and owners reflect will there really be any true changes. I mean replacing a coach matters very little if the front office and management is absolutely clueless on how to attract or draft talent via the draft or free agency. Not unlike the current political problems facing the Republican Party.

The Republicans lost in November, though have rebounded with some other elections since, and in true football fashion seek to cure the hangover by simply changing the principles but not the management. Afterall, there are those so entrenched that they think the Party belongs to to them not unlike the owners in the NFL, but fail to release without the people/fans your product as in your team is worthless. Replacing your coach does very little if the management corrdinating the organization is inept at addressing the needs on the field.

There is a reason why in politics we call it the "ground game". Its taken literally from fottball. If you can't effectively run the ball (message) on the ground come the playoffs (election day) you haven't a chance of winning. In the end the players on the ground have to execute the direction of the coaching staff in order to be effective. No matter the challenger, you still must play the game.

Just like alot of NFL teams, the Republican Party is questioning just what direction it shall undertake in 2009 and beyond. It has countless issues it must address, but the biggest one is Loseritis. Too many conservatives in the Blogosphere look to blame the poor performance in November on the usual and easy suspects. Ie. Sarah Palin. failing to identify the fact that within the Party you have the Dallas Cowboy-like interfamily turmoil between fiscal conservatives and social conservatives who each feel they are not getting the ball enough.

The fail to recognize they had a melting of both at the top of the ticket in McCain/Palin and still lost. Much has been made about Colin Powell post election and his impact on the election. While respecting Powell greatly, Powell is no conservative nor has he ever been. If there was a single candidate on the stage in the Republican Primary that Powell would have been able to endorse across the board it was McCain---and he did not. Powell opted to vote and support the most liberal leaning Democrat from the U.S. Senate. The shocking "Powell Moment" was shocking because McCain should have been just the kind of Republican a Powell could support if any; moderate on most issues and even closer to the left on things like immigration and the like. Powell will now be that star the team let get away who will forver haunt them as he works to undermine the team that either would not give him enough or at the very least failed to protect his reputation. Newsflash Mr. Powell-Republicans did not tarnish your reputation; the administration you chose to work with did.

The Republicans, and its aging team both potentially in actual age and message, must take a look at the entire team and analzye just what players need to be on the field and which ones need to be relegated to the sidelines. The RNC now has an opportunity to retool the entire Party with a fresh new approach and direction to build a foundation to face not the issues of today, but those of tomorrow.

There is a new team being formed. New leaders. New ideas and fresh visions for the Party. The key to this paradigm shift in direction will constitute a better organization and a more effcient one that will implement a strategy that does not dismiss any voting blocks. A young and aggressive team will fight for the future and not be hindered or disabled by the baggage of the past. Afterall, lets face it folks the ultra conservative voting block is an aging block, It is true that those older voters do vote, but take a thirty year view out and where will the country be. What then will be the demographic of the country? You do not build an organization overnight, but you can retool it and lay the groundwork and plant the seeds for the future by going after all demographics and regions.

Who better to lead this change than a Michael Steele and a Bobby Jindal? Steele, an African-American who is a former Lt. Gov. of a Maryland where Republican rarely carry office let alone electoral votes and Jindal, of Indian descent currently the Governor of Louisiana. These two figures fail to fit YOUR GRANDADS OR EVEN YOUR DADS REPUBLICAN ERA STEREOTYPE--and thank goodness. The time has come to dismiss the liberal contention that the GOP is the white mans Party or the bigots Party or the Southern Party. Its time we have leaders that are willing to go into the Northeast where apparently life is so great for liberals that they want to continue to relocate to the South in droves every year and take the fight and ask the hard questions regarding just what the Democrats are doing for voters.

Republicans like Steele and Jindal represent voices in the Party that can easily articulate the issues and identify the issues facing every American. Do you really think that Democrats will attempt to wage the kind of war against a Jindal or a Steele in the manner in which they did a Sarah Palin? Jindal, a Rhodes scholar, with pedigree that rivals if not surpasses an Obama background and now his demonstrated Executive experience I think would welcome such tactic. The Democrats and their media machine will remind us at every opportunity just how much the GOP is in turmoil for no other reason than to keep piling on to present a situation in the minds of folks that the Party is dead at the same time they build up the hopes of the next administration.
Meanwhile, the GOP will be formulating a new plan just as the Dems did beginning in 2004.

Last season the Dolphins were 1-15 and could closely be compared to the GOP in 2006 and 2008, but then this year with a new organization picking free agents and making draft picks and hiring of a new coach to captain the execution they have turned themselves in AFC East Champions. How? By leaving it all on the field and by leaving no one out of the process. Everyone on that team contributes. The GOP needs to take a lesson and so do those in the blogoshere who want to blame people as fans of the NFL always do when the team loses and start calling for peoples heads like they have Jeff Frederick here in Virginia's RPV. Will the new coach of Lions in 2009 lead that team to rebound from a 0-16 2008 campaign? Not without significant changes in the back managment. There are systemic problems in losing organizations, not just losing candidates or coaches. The candidate or coach is often the "face" of an organization iot seems and gets the heat for losing campaigns, but in reality in runs very deeper than the face. Republicans should not lose sight of that fact.

Afterall, if we were to get the owners and GM's of all the NFL teams together I wonder how many of us would know who the heck they are. Sure we would get the Jerry Jones, the Syndor of course here in Virginia and maybe Kraft but what about the others? That said, I bet we know all the coaches though don't we?

Maybe we need to begin in 2009 to stop focusing our agenda solely on candidate reflection and more on the way in which we bring up candidates from the ranks and how we get them on the ballot. If anything, I think the Jim Gilmore convention in Virginia proved that for us. We need to look at the mechanisms and the people running them behind the scenes to begin to diagnose the problems, especially in Virginia. The McDonnell campaign for Governor in 2009 will give the RPV the first opportunity to implement the changes required to lay further groundwork for the future. Hopefully, given Jindal's recent appearance here in Virginia he is lending some direction to the RPV along with Steele. The best thing for the RNC in 2009 would be for Virginia to return the Executive Mansion to the GOP.

In the end, the GOP must stop suffering from Loseritis and the in 2009 put the hangover behind them and focus on the future of the Party. Afterall, one difference between the Politics and the NFL is the season never ends!!!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

There Comes a Time

There comes a time in every Republic where the torch must be passed. Many, including myself, thought that after the election that such a torch had been passed after virtually two decades of the so-called recent first families (Bush/Clinton) of American history with the historic election of President-elect Obama.

History demonstrates various transitional periods of American leadership or political thought, whether Lincoln, Roosevelt, Wilson, FDR, Kennedy and frankly maybe even Bill Clinton. I have little issue with the will of the people in practice, nor should any true American, and we all should endeavor to look at our President regardless of Party affiliation as our President. This of course has been my greatest criticism of the far left ideology. An acceptance of the will is only garnered when the result is of there persuasion. Hence since the election of 2000 and the result of a few court battles, the view that Bush was "not their President" rang out even before 9/11 or Iraq. The latter merely elevated the sentiment that Bush was not in their view legitimate, which begs the question again whether the left simply only aligns itself with Supreme Court views that are aligned with its own agenda or do they really respect the Court overall. I mean, its fine for the Court to say pass Roe v. Wadeor create a special status for certain citizens and all but if a Court, like say California's State Courts or the US Supreme Court upholds the will of the people in the recent marriage issue well then they again fail to recognize legitimacy. Of course, should the Courts overrule the will of the people then the Courts again as the sword of the movement are once again accepted.

I only bring this up to reflect just what kind of hypocrisy that the President-elect is engaging within his own Party. Many on the left, and rightfully so it seems, are beginning to see Obama in a very new light given his recent annoucements for cabinet posts and his national security team.

Look, I have no doubt that Hillary Clinton, whom many far left bloggers railed against for months in the Primary and are furious about her nomination, will be a huge asset in elevating Amercias "standing" or appearance in the world but in the end in these times very little will change. Mumbai should demonstrate that. The terror being advocated was not against a figure like a Bush or a Clinton, but at what America stands for at its very root. Unless the new majority plan on changing that very thing than other than great diplomacy and cordial relationships very little will change on the ground. This is why I believe the far left of the Democrat Party is railing today at these cabinet posts. None of these folks represent anyhting new or a true paradigm shift with regard to implementation of policy, though they certainly will be better equipped to put some well placed spin on it better than their predecessors.

It is my contention that come January 2010 very little will have changed in reality though "officially" I am sure certain policies will be altered. Whether or not one voted for Obama or not, one has to respect the position he will be in in the coming months. There will certainly be those clamoring for "change", but there are great differecnes between campaigning ideas and governing principles.

If there is one are that President-elect will likely place greater concentration on and thats the United Nations and though Obama may have the greatest intentions history and events demonstrate that the UN as an organization probaly needs some ressurecting, but not at the expense of American sovereignty. I hope that Obama tip toes in this area and does not make some of the mistakes that were made by the Clinton administration.

And this brings us to the "torch". Of course the election was significant and historic, but since that process concluded we are beginning to see some very (old) familiar faces in Washington. Not just cabinet posts, but advisors and policy crafters. Pundits can spin the fact that everything will be run by Obama, but how "new" are some of the ideas and visions of these insiders from the Clinton years really? Sure we know that the Clinton team had some success with the budget and economics, but it was done at the expense of the military and defense spending which allowed the deficit to be reduced. Is 2009 the time to revisit that strategy? Given the world situation, even if we leave Iraq, is the world different than 1994? Can they honestly believe that the model of Kosovo can be applied to the Middle East or tensions between India and Pakistan or China and Taiwan or Georgia and Russia?

These are different times. We need new ideas and new visions or even new tennets. There is opportunity here. The torch was passed to a young, articulate Obama for a new page in Amercian history, only the problem is that most of those writers of this history are anything but new and come with tired ideas of the past and such baggage as power envy.

There comes a time when the torch must be passed to a new generation of leadership so that our liberty may be refreshed and though many see these new annoucements of representing a "middle ground" it begs the question whether very much will change in reality and whether Obama will permit himself to be a great leader or merely a transitional one in the years to come.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Chesterfield County: A Northern Virginia Future?

We all are in agreement that Chesterfield County is growing rapidly, even despite the economic slowdown, and our local government faces some real tough challenges before it. Like, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Chesterfield County will likely experience budget shortfalls. The Chesterfield School Board has already alluded to such shortfalls that it will be facing in 2009.

So the question is, what will be the issues driving the debate regarding bringing revenues and expenditures in the future in line?

Well, Chesterfield County officials need only to look to Northern Virginia to see what it may be facing in ten years. Uncontrolled and ill-planned growth in places like Fairfax and Prince William County demonstrate the impacts of densely populated areas and the impacts on infrastructure and county services.

Many political folks have touted how Prince William County is the belleweather of Virginia. Today the Washington Post tackles this debate in a piece by Kristen Mack. Much of the focus on PWC is a result of the increasing population. The blogosphere has been engaged with this very issue for quite some time and Raising Kaine, Northern Virginia's most influential liberal blogging community, seems extremely pleased that PWC supported Barack Obama last week. The political takeway very well may be pleasing but what about the economic future of a County that has grown so fast that the growth has now slowed the increases in quality of life that the County had been experiencing. Raising Kaine touts the influence for the rising minority population, in this case the Hispanic community, as fuel to their political agenda but where will the money on the local level come from to offset the expenses associated with the assimilation of the immigrants recently arrving in mass to the County.

PWC is facing rising foreclosure counts that threaten the value of every residents property moving forward. A look at the Countrywide foreclosure list demonstrates hundreds of homes in the Manassas and greater PWC areas rising in default every month by that company. Should property values continue the decline, the County will be unable to generate the level of revenues required by the County to sustain services without drastic redcutions and cuts to the budget. The County has one of the highest influx of non-English speaking children or English as a second language populations in the entire State. How will the County be able to continue spending at the current levels to meet the demands of this population within its school systems moving forward?

This question is'nt exactly new. Prince William and Stafford County have been faced with this issue for years now. Raising Kaine and other liberal bloggers in Northern Virginia have attacked the Republican Board of County Supervisors (though not the Democrats in the area) as racist or anti-immigrant for raising issues facing the County regarding the funding of "illegal" immigrants through county social services and through the school board expenditures. Even raising the economic impact question of "illegals"results in such accusations of racism or bigotry.

The liberals feel it is governments responsibility on the local level it seems to fund the same level of services for "illegals" as it does citizens within the County regardless of whether these individuals are paying into the system. Liberals have secured the ground by making any attempt to address the "illegal" population as an attempt to attack all Hispanics in the region, even thouse who are here legally and are law abiding citizens. The fact that there has been a increase in illegal activity resulting from gangs operating in the region whose composition is mostly "illegal" makes little consequence unless of course they make it into Arlington where liberals then may have a different take on the situation. So the issue of "illegals" results in hard hits to the County budget on all levels; services, schools, police and health-related areas.

How do the liberals propose the rising tide be handled in terms of guaranteeing EVERYONE a higher quality of life? Well, they have very little to offer by way of solutions but are very quick to throw out the race card at every instance. For example, Stafford County recently proposed that

"the use of English language be the sole language for use in Stafford County schools"

This off course was directed at the "teaching" element and not the offering of foriegn languages through the school system. In short, the County wants to make sure that all students in classes such as English, Science, Math, Arts, Social Sciences are "taught" in English regardless of nationality, ethnicity, race or any other factor. Of course, the liberal community attacked this proposal as a measure to end all teachings of foriegn languages in the schools which is completely baseless and has never been the intent. Again, liberals cried bigotry.

Is it not our reponsibilty to give every member of our society the chance to make it? How will immigrants make it in this society if we allow them to move through our school systems without mastering English or if all their classes are being taught in Spanish in order to make learning easier for them just to make it through but not master the subjects. What good will that do them in the real world or in college? By all means we should be funding where appropriate and feasable Adult English as a second language for those immigrants who come to Virginia in order to speed the process of assimilation, but our youth should be educated in the same manner as our native born students in order to prevent such disadvantages that could result later if allowed to graduate high school without mastering English. I certainly support the notion that our teachers should be teaching all classes in English.

I have never understood why declaring English as our official language as been allowed to morph into the same eco-political ideal similar to the contention we actually have an immigration policy. We sorta do, but we don't enforce it. We sorta have English as our native language, but we don't require it to be used in the classroom. Absolute craziness.

If you are sitting in Chesterfield, look to Northern Virginia as a window to a potential future that may be coming. Rising populations and rising foreclosures result in a higher density of rental housing which contributes to increased sprawl even further out. Fifteen years ago it was Fairfax. As home values rose dramatically, relocation patterns increased in PWC and Stafford resulting in a growing population that could afford to live there as opposed to Fairfax, Arlington and even Loudon. Data is now supporting that sprawl from NOVA has now entered the Spotsylvania County market as well. While the Republican opposition in PWC wants to place the blame for foreclosures on them and not the individuals or even the entities who engaged in the financing appears so politically motivated its shameful.

I say this because many of these liberal bloggers care very little of the quality of life in these areas as much as they do whether they can fuel the rage of citizens on the local level by pointing to Republicans as to whose to blame for their lot in life. Economic data, growth and populations patterns are on no consequence it seems.

Chesterfield very well may experience the same trends. Many people will determine to uproot from NOVA unless something is done to address the wide variety of issues. There is burden to be born by all sides and their are no easy fixes, but any solutions must be undertaken from a position of dignity and respect not only for individuals but for our laws as well.

Chesterfield is already experiencing some of the early stages that NOVA had in terms of growth. Transportation and infrastructure being one and school crowding be another. These are but the seedlings to future problems, like rising unemployment, increased commercial and urban sprawl and the decline of homevalues. None of this happens overnight, but we must endeavor to plan for these hurdles now and not wait until we are faced square in the face with the issues that Northern Virginia is facing today.

Ask yourselves. Do you really want Chesterfield County to become just another Fairfax or Prince William in the future?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day 2008

On this day, November 11, 2008 on want to thank each and every member of the current Armed Forces and all those who have served this great nation. I especially would like to thank those families in the course of our nations history who have lost loved ones serving the Republic.

I would also like to pay tribute to those newly resting members of Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetary who have given their lives in defense of what may be the single greatest threat ever facing this nation.

It is important to note that therer are currently very few remaining living veterans of Foriegn Wars like World War I and World War II. If you should know any of these great patriots, please take a few moments to speak with them about their service and pay tribute to their service simply by engaging them and learning of their experiences. Before long, we will face a time when we will no longer be pleased with these great men and woman.

For my Marine Corps brothers, please click the link below for a special tribute for this years anniversary of the Corps:

Semper Fi.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Jeff Frederick and Future of the State GOP

Less than twenty-four hours after the ballots had been cast and Barack Obama had secured the White House, the implosion of the McCain campaign from inside the ranks points to a problematic future for the Republican Party nationally. The perception of this implosion has been shaped every single night on cable "news" (entertainment) for the purposes of beating down the Grand Old Party even further. The Republican staffers have played right into the hands of such objective-challenged journalists whom instead of engaging in proper analysis determine its in the best interest to pile on, especially on Governor Sarah Palin.

To make matters worse, the implosion of the State GOP seems poised to boil over given the recent criticisms of Jeff Frederick,Chairman of the State GOP. Delegates Frederick's inability to close the gap in the Presidential campaign leading to the Commonwealth of Virginia providing Barack Obama with its electoral votes is very troubling to many. What is more troubling is the fact that Delegate Frederick represents the 52d House District in prince William County that went for Obama as well.

Many contend that the Chairman of the State GOP is more concerned and focused on statewide elections, especially the Governor's race in 2009. This contention is troubling as well. The Presidential election, and this one especially, brought the possibility of capitalizing on the general enthusiasm and interest of all Virginians to build the foundations of networks and coalitions that would benefit the State GOP for years to come. There was an opportunity to leverage the free media and the blogosphere in particular to shape a new message for Virginia that could serve as the backbone of the upcoming campaign. There was an opportunity to invite these bloggers and volunteers that were in support of the Mccain campaign to a GOP Summit to begin jumpstart the foundation of networks and bring in representatives from the local Republican committees where interests and visons for Virginia could be expressed. As it seems, none of the opportunities were capatilized upon.

These are merely observations and are not meant to be highly critical of the work Jeff Frederick has undertaken, but what we are apparently experiencing is a disconnected network of local committees working on behalf of the State GOP, all be it independently, without a clear, unified vision for the future. The State GOP is losing ground, not only in voter rolls, but in organization standards and much of it has to do with the inability to capitalize on these local volunteers effectively. If the State GOP continues to fail to engage the electorate through various mediums, then exactly how is it the State GOP can expect to reload its financial coffers. If they engage people, listen to them and respond in kind with campaign visions catered particularly for the region in which those committees operate the State GOP would be better served.

The State GOP needs to stop permitting the Democrat Party from shaping the context of the debate. Republicans, as a result of bitter in fighting over the Gilmore/Davis convention, allowed Democrats to shape the debate with Mark Warner. The lost precious time because they failed to mobilize once Warner dropped out of the Presidential race signaling his intention to run with John Warner's potential retirement. Instead of seeing the landscape ahead and elevating a Tom Davis who could at least challenge Warner in the densley populated Northern Virginia, they saddled up with a selection with very little ability to inspire or raise funds. This here is important, many independents and Democrats though Gilmore faired better in the debates but it never translated into votes. The reason? The candidate.

Now, much of this may not be Jeff Frederick's fault to be sure but there was an opportunity to lead the State GOP out of the darkness of sorts by reconnecting and laying the groundwork for a grassroots conservative movement regardless of Gilmore or Mccain's campaigns. Leveraging the rallies of Sarah Palin would have been a start.

In the coming months, the State GOP needs to understand the simple fact that the Democrats believe it or not are NOT as secure as they would have you believe in the Commonwealth. How can I say this given the election results? Well, Wolf held on to his seat in a rapidly growing liberal Fairfax County with 60% of the vote. Experience and integrity counts. But more over, the Democrats have yet to get behind a candidate for Governor in 2009. If the Democrats were confident in either Delegate Brian Moran (Fairfax County) or State Senator Creigh Deeds from the 25th, does anyone really think that they would be encouraging Terry Mcauliffe of Fairfax County and former Chairman of the DNC 2001-05 to throw his hat in the ring. This spells opportunity for Jeff Frederick and the State GOP in my view. There will be a fight amongst the liberals and the moderate conservatives of the Democrat Party over the nomination and the rhetoric as already begun in the blogosphere where liberal progressives are going after Mcauliffe. In large part it is simply carry over by blogs like Rasing Kaine whick attacked divisively Hillary Clinton in the Primary and Mcauliffe's association as Chair of Clintons Presidential Committee simply is a bullseye.

Jeff Frederick has an opportunity to guide or shepard the State GOP in an effective manner if he shelves the negative attacks and divisive remarks that fuel the opposition in shaping the debate. His observations on Obama during the campaign were unneccesary and unprofessional to say the least. Every bit of free media needs to be measured and used to ADVANCE the GOP in its cause not provide soundbites to be used to undermine it.

Many seek to give Frederick a bit more time given he took over his present role a mere four months or so ago, but the foundations of the NEW State GOP need to be laid rather quickly so that volunteers and activists in the local committees can begin to build the brick and mortar of the future. Frederick had better understand the lessons of the McCain campaign right after he secured the nomination months before Obama has locked his up.

Jeff Frederick and the State GOP had better understand, to steal a phrase from Rocky;

"There is no tommorrow, there is no tommorow"!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Chesterfield County: Historic Voting Pattern

With the election behind us but still fresh in our minds it is important to note that while Chesterfield County has voted Republican in every Presidential election since Ronald Reagan in 1980, the Democrat Party has increased in minority position at the polls in every election since Reagan's victory.

The following link here:

Has some great interactive maps that demonstrate the trends with the State regarding the Presidential elections. For those of us who can't get enough of the data points it is very interesting to see how areas change with regard to growth and then ultimately political allegiances.

In particular it is interesting how SW Virginia has changed from completely "blue" to all "red" since 1980 but equally how suburban areas have seen increased Democrat infleunce in the last twelve years. So much for the "soccer mom" theories. I am researching some of the data with regard to gender demographics and voter turnout in the suburbs as well to determine where some of these trends are coming from. Another aspect to consider also is the migration from the urban centers out into the suburbs like Chesterfield. The recent explosion in the housing market between 1996 and 2006 may be able to explain alot of the growing trends in terms of growth patterns. This can be seen in data in the 2000/2004 election, but with so many new urban voters in 2008 the data gets a bit fuzzy. It was easier to see the transfer of voting patterns from urban centers to the suburbs in 2000/2004.

Though the current economy certainly plays a big role, it is not inconceivable for Chesterfield County to reach 350,000-400,000 residents by 2020.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Republicrats Deliver Virginia to Obama

As many of us know, officially we do not register affiliated with any Party in the Commonwealth of Virginia thus technically we are all "independents" in one form or another, but in reality most Virginians are what can be referred to as Republicrats.

Many of us these days are finding it very hard to endorse either the Democrats or the Republicans lock step. There are many reason for this of course. Virginia certainly is no more a liberal state than it is a far right conservative one which results in an overwhelmingly growing number of people who find themselves right smack in the center. I consider myself and the rest of these voters to be moderates, but more accurately Republicrats.

A Republicrat will vote for the candidate as an endorsement of that candidate and not the Party. A Republicrat will split a ticket without so much as a nanosecond of hesitation. A Republicrat evaluates the issues and the those advocating them and makes determinations based on an alignment with those issues regardless of Party affiliation. A Republicrat has greater faith in the abilities of a candidate and his/her vision than that of the Party.

So the question remains, ARE YOU A REPUBLICRAT?

Well, if on Tuesday your ballot read something like this:

Obama McCain Obama McCain Obama McCain
Warner Warner Gilmore Warner Warner Warner
Cantor Cantor Cantor Goode Goode Forbes

Obama McCain Obama McCain
Warner Warner Gilmore Warner
Forbes Nye Drake Periello

or any other combination of split tickets down ballot there is a good chance you:

Are a Republicrat!!

Republicrats were the biggest reason Barrack Obama was pushed over 50% in the Commonwealth. Anyone denying such a reality has misjudged the data. Eventhough Virginia now seats two Democrat Senators for the first time since 1970 I believe, you have to dig deeper in the data to see that in many of the Congressional districts and precincts there were some legitimate blowouts. Some 60/40 in favor of Republican Randy Forbes and Eric Cantor, but the same areas came in very tight in the Presidential race. This cannot happen without Republicrats.

As for "independents" as viable candidates, they fail miserably in Virginia at the State level, but do with some degree of success garner support in local elections. This to is a tesitmate to Republicrats willing to move beyond Party. In the end, Virginians opt for either one of the main two Party candidates over any Green or Independent candidate on the ballot, but often split that ballot with a mix of each Party.

The Party apparatus is in denial if they think they have a handle on Republicrats. There is no other way to explain a 3-4% difference in Presidential election but a 20 to 30 point difference in the Senate or House of Representatives races. The real explaination is there is a growing number of moderates in Virginia that swing both ways as evidenced by the reporting data.

So is Virginia still really "Purple" given it has a Democrat Governor, two Democrat Senators and its electoral votes just went to a Democrat for the first time in what seems like forever or is it now "Blue"?

The overall data in terms of geography would illustrate that the State has maintained its "red" tradition but the highly dense urban centers are certainly are or are moving "blue" withoput question. And yet in areas like Fairfax County, overwhelmingly Democrat, you can still see data in the down ballot races to suggest that many split ticket this cycle. If Obama can win any area like Fairfax County by 15 to 20 points but say a Gerry Connolly (D) wins by 3 points there is something going on there in the datapoints to suggest further split ticket voting. Same for Henrico County, where Obama won the election but Eric Cantor (R) pulled in 60% of the vote down ballot.

Again, all this data points to the fact that a majority of us are Republicrats. Of course, the two Party system will never seek to identify such voters as anything other than "independent" minded nor will the pundits for fear of a movement and creation of another major Party. Niether the Democrats nor the Republicans want that. If they did, along with the media, we would have seen in the debates those of all affiliations like Green, Libertarian or Independent. You see the two party system seeks to keep those entities at bay by not allowing them to break through to the mainstream audience for fear of another Ross Perot effect. Thus, the result is voters are left with deciding on balancing both of the two main parties on their ballot.

So, take a few moments at some point this week and reflect on the election and ask yourself why it is you may have split your ticket on Tuesday. What you may find is that you have things you love/like about the Democrat platform and things you love/like about the Republican platform. If this is the case and you split tickets often; then


Friday, October 31, 2008

"Spreading the Candy Around": A Child's Reality

While manning the home front this evening and attending to the hundreds of trick or treaters, I could not help but recall a cartoon over at The Contemporary Conservative posted about Halloween earlier this week.

As my own childeren returned from trick or treating throughout the subdivision, I informed them that we would put all the candy collected on the floor in the living room and divide up the candy in equal shares. With astonishment, my oldest noted that that did not sound very fair.

My oldest had obviously accumulated more candy this evening than the younger siblings.

No matter. It all goes on the floor and will be divided up equally I demanded.

Suddenly, my two youngest lost it!

They walked the streets, knocked on doors, recited the trick or treat and frankly earned their respective candy. They did not care how much it was nor what kind of candy it was, it was theirs. In effect, they earned it.

Who was I to take it from them and divide it up and distribute it out?Afterall, I stayed at home and passed out candy which was a much easier task. My wife had the hard part.

Does this scenario ring any bells?

My youngest who stopped at some point during the evening going to doors and got tired would have gotten an equal share of the candy had it all been divided up equally regardless of how much effort or work was undertaken. This hardly seemed fair to the other siblings and beside they each wanted to keep what was theirs but were willing to trade out certain candy in order to get rid of what they didn't like in exchange for something they did like.

You know, our children are often times a heckauva lot smarter than we are from time to time.

And no redistribution of candy or wealth for that matter is not something that was highlighted in:

"Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Life I Learned in Kindergarten"

Maybe we all should look at our taxes in the same manner our children see candy?

And what do I do with the extra candy i was passing out from home?Umm.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Virginia Lottery: A Future for the Private Sector?Delegate David Poisson (D)

I must say that I have to give Delegate David Poisson (D) representing the 32nd District up in Loudoun County for finally doing some thinking out of the box regarding State policy. Poisson has recommended taking a hard look at the Virginia Lottery system and determining whether it would be in the Commonwealth's best interest to allow for a transition to the private sector away from government controlled operations.

We have to remember that to a large extent there are many in Virginia who are opposed to the Lottery about as much as they are predatory lending like the debate over all those Payday lending enterprises. I do not think I would be going too far out on a limb by saying most of those lean Democrat in the Commonwealth. In my view they completely dismiss the nature of a free people to make their own determinations and reject personal responsibility for undertaken actions.

Thats what makes Delegate Poisson's proposition that much more interesting. This is a bold step Poisson is taking into the brackish waters that has always politically surrounded the Virginia Lottery. Poisson knows and is willing to admit what we all know and that is that the lottery has not been managed or run to its full potential. Much of that may certainly rest on the shoulders of the General Assembly however, given the restrictions on things like marketing that are placed on the lottery.

In the short, the Virginia Lottery has been a large part of funding for K-12 education throughout the Commonwealth. The issue is just how ashamed some politicians may actually be by such a funding source. Shame is not something we often equate to politics, but no other explaination can be presented for a government that wants to get "some " funding but no "too much" from the endeavor as to be too alarming to constituents. Fact is many see the lottery as nothing more than a voluntary tax paid for by the purchaser and tax revenue generated in such a manner does not sit to well with many in Richmond. Whether they will admit it or not.

The question lies in whether the Virginia Lottery could be run more effectively and efficiently by Government or the Private Sector?

The backdrop to this question is one facing many states. California for example, has sought to "bond" the lottery to pay for programs. States like Florida, West Virginia and oregon have sought to use financial revenue projections from the lottery as collateral for bond offerings. It seems that there quite a few options on the table for the direction to take the lottery, but if the primary goal is to raise revenues and thus raise funding for education certainly a study as proposed by Delegate Poisson is required.

There appear to be two options:

1. to permit the Virginia lottery to be leased by a private entity for the purposes of running and return a annual rate of return based on contractual obligation to the Commonwealth

2. to permit the management of the Lottery be run by the private sector but regulated by the government

#2 strikes me more of the model that failed via Fannie and Freddie and given the current economic climate I doubt that anyone will be convinced that this is the way to go for the Virginia Lottery. #1 probably would make the most sense unless the General Assembly was willing to unleash the Lottery to be able to perform at a higher level.

The issue is not so much demographic, but location. The State could allow for increased outlets throughout the Commonwealth like big box retail. The question is the number of locations which of course would need to be loosened should the Lottery be able to grow substantially. Again, the growth would then benefit education.

How many of us care about education? How many of us want to see more funding for education? Why not use these as the backbone for marketing the Lottery to those Virginians who support its core purpose? Again, Democrats have sterotypically associated themselves as being the pro-education Party so it begs the question why it is they may oppose such expansions of the Lottery. This is why the proposal by Delegate Poisson is so commendable.

We need leaders who are willing to challenge the prevailing winds of politics in order to reach solutions. Those prevailing winds can easily be demonstrated in Delegate Poisson's quote:

"We allow people to play the lottery, but we don't want it to look like anyone is having any fun doing it, so it won't smack of sin"

Well said Sir.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chesterfield County: A "Sign" of the Future

Many of you have emailed me about the yesterdays piece in the Times-Dispatch regarding the issue of electronic signs and bulletin boards being approved by the County. The Board of Supervisors will hear two cases regarding signs in Midlothian District:

1. 08SN0224- Heritage Signs for a sign at 1231 Gateway Center Parkway

2. 08SN0235- Holiday Signs- a sign at the corner of Hull Street and Turner Road

Though niether of these cases impact the Robious Road corridor, the Robious Road Community Coalition (RRCC) is well aware that any precedent set by such cases will surely impact the business areas in and around the Robious community. Just as the Village of Midothian Volunteer Coalition is concerned about maintaining the charm of the Village of Midlothian, the RRCC wants to ensure that no measure is taken that could result in further expansion of the County sign policy with regard to electronic signs.

Currently, "Villages" are prohibited but as witnessed in the Mataoca High sign case the Board has been inclined to provide exception. In this case, the sign was approved 3-2 for placement, though signs in the County policy are to be excluded from residential areas and rural areas. The sign in this case was not even positioned in the front of the school.

Case number 08SN0235 will demonstrate how serious the Board is at adhearing to the current policy given Hull Street road has been considered a "no-sign" zone for quite some time. Should the Board make an exception in this case it could open the door to more attempts for placements along the entire Hull Street corridor. And if Hull Street is opened up, why not Midlothian, Rt. 10, Courthouse or Huguenot and Robious?

The Board should endeavor to create a new policy if it so wishes and present such policy before the People in public session to be heard. The idea of making exceptions to the current policy has very little transparency and many never learn of such exception until the sign is erected.

The question the Board faces is that with the increase of mixed-use developments incorporating residential, commercial and retail, a policy needs to be inacted that can set the standards for just how and where an electronic sign can be implemented by the business community. Obviously, size and shape of the sign is of major concern as well.

Frankly, and this is unrelated to the electronic sign debate, I find all these signs for leasing firms to be nothing more that ornaments of blight. If you drive down Rt. 60 or Rt360 from the East it is wall to wall leasing signs out on the road system. Nothing smacks more of "commercial sprawl" that large yellow and blue now leasing signs throughout the district. It is my view that these signs should only be in the window and not on the roadway. We should be looking at things aesthetically as well, especially if we seek to attract homeowners to our older areas that flank these commercial corridors. If you are coming from out of state and you see all these signs, what do you think the takeaway is; how about an area in "decline".

I realize that signs and cell towers appear to be minor issues on th surface, but they all go to what the future will be here within our community and what our community will look like.

Maryland Volunteers Calling Virginians for Obama

Okay I get it. Barack Obama is leading John Mccain by eight points in the Commonwealth. But if Obama's ground game is so solide here in my beloved Virginia, why on earth are people from Maryland calling Virginians on behave of the Obama campaign.

I got one of these calls and found it rather funny that the folks were from Maryland. Apparently, Maryland is locked up for Obama that they have now begun targeting strong Republican districts in Virginia. Now not in Northern Virginia, quickly becoming their brethern if you read blogs like Raising Kaine who seek to turn Virginia into the next Maryland politically, but in the burbs of Richmond.

While I guess the experts would see this as great strategy, I for one simply find it rather histarical and offensive at the same time. maybe the Obama campaign thinks its safer to have Maryland folks call on us "downstaters" than say our own fellow citizens from Northern Virginia.

That sounds like a pretty dam good admission to me that NOVA just cannot relate whatsoever to its brethern throughout the State. Otherwise, the Obama campaign would be having those supporters call on Virginians.

I know that the left has taken offense with whats called "robocalls", but please the last thing I need is for someone from Maryland telling me how great Obama will be for Virginia as President.

Barack Obama: An Educator's Nightmare?

It was nice this weekend to get out in the Fall air and speak with many folks in the neighborhood and it is fair to say that this election certainly is one of the greatest endeavors undertaken by the country in a long, long time. The challenge the country faces right now is one rooted in direction. We must all ask ourselves exactly what direction we would like our nation to take and how we would like that direction fullfilled.

Those of you who were kind enough to speak with me on Saturday I cannot thank you enough. The dialogue of ideas is what I have always sought out and tried to harness. Many of us who consider ourselves fiscal conservatives are not the narrow minded lot that many in the media portray us to be. Afterall, we all care alot about the same basic things; family, faith, community and the future.

This post is not about politics and nor is it politically motivated. It is merely a question.

What I learned on Saturday has flat out floored me. Growing up in Chesterfield, I was fortunate to being exposed to some of best teachers and educators in the entire Commonwealth. It was is really the basic reason I have chosen to live here for the future of my young children with two almost ready to enter the school system. We forget about alot of what we learned growing up. We are told that these are changing times and things are not the same. I wonder if it is we are just different and everything else is pretty much the same in terms of the reality. Balancing work and family is no different than what our parents had to undertake. Certainly there are more diversions, especially for our children than for us growing up. Children today do not spend hours on end in the street playing touch football with twenty other kids, but instead spend more time on the computer, video games, or god forbid text messaging. In the end, the reality is the same. You want your children to have just enough exposure to the world and the community to develop the essential skills required for later on in life, but at the heart of it all you want them to have a firm undertanding of what it means to be an American, a Virginian, and a person of faith (whatever that faith may be).

By the word "direction" this is what I mean by having a basis for the future. All to often, before Saturday I associated "direction" from all the campaign rhetoric as being relative to economics or tax plans. What I learned on Saturday and from such a unlikely source is I have had this all wrong.

So what happened?

In meeting with people and speaking with folks, knocking on doors, developing relationships you never really know just where your feet will take you and just who you may encounter. I say this because in recent months I have seen quite alot of Obama signs crop up in what has been historically a very red district for decades. I like to stop and talk to anyone who will enage in conversation if for no other reason to learn the different rationales for supporting an candidate.

As I made my way over to an adjacent subdivision, I turned the corner and noticed a very strange sight. A home with the following; Warner, Obama, and McCain/Palin sign in the front yard and two cars in the drive parked side by side with stickers; one with Obama/Biden and one with McCain/Palin. No way was I gonna pass this one up.

As I approached the home, a man called out from the side of the house "Son, I am around here". The voice rang true to me. There was something familiar but I could not place it. As I walked through the parked cars in the driveway, it did not take wme long to realize I was walking back in time. There before me was not only one of the best teachers in my life but also a former coach who taught us alot more about life than the sport. He recognized me right out. After catching up, I finally managed enough guts to bring up the election. I say guts because the man infront of me was the very teacher who instilled everything inside of me concerning what we used to call "civics". This was the class in which we learned about government, the Founding Fathers, the Declaration, the Constitution and above all States Rights.

I had to ask about the signs. "Well, it is what it is-what can I tell you". I could tell there was some frustration in the tone and quickly asked about the McCain/Palin sign. With sharp eyes I could tell I was getting the once over. "Not as many around as I would have thought", I had wondered if he meant "hoped" but I let him continue. He went on to tell me that the McCain/Palin sign is his but that he was also supporting Mark Warner. "Warner does'nt scare me, you know what your gona get" and before he could finish I asked "And Obama?".

What I learned was a lesson that took me back some twenty years to sitting in the classroom and listening and having my soul being shaped by this man in terms of what it means to be an American. You have to remember, this was back in the 80's. Ripe with Ronald Reagan optimism, duty to the country and service. Some of my families core values were watered by this man in the classroom. Those out there that say educators have no rel impact on young people are completely out of touch. The impact is even greater today.

My old teacher gave me a refresher course in civics and politics. He was the first to teach me that they are not one in the same. Above all else, we spoke of the Constitution. He told me that Barack Obama threatens everything that he has spent a life long passion of building in young people. He articulated that the Obama you see and hear is one Obama, but in reality when you read his penned thoughts in his book and his teachings on law he stands for everything opposite we have taught in public schools for decades. He never used words like "radical" or "extreme" and based on what I knew of him I did not expect him to, but what he did talk about was the falicies of ideology Obama had in terms of the Founding Fathers and the documents the nation is based on.

Obama, as I learned, does not see the U.S. Consititution as a binding document. Obama interprets the Constitution as merely a "symbolic guide" where the meaning and tenets can be altered or changed on the whim of the times. I followed up with questions about how we have changed our Constitution and I learned that my teacher firmly believed as he taught us that "legislative" changes are indeed the route to take and are a requirement, thus we have Amendments that curbed wrongs like slavery, suffrage, and equal rights. But these matters were ratified by the States and the People. Obama's aim is to change and alter the intent of the Constitution not by the "legislative" actions but by "judicial" measures.

He stated that "Obama sees the Constitution as the rock in which he and other like lawyers must break themselves against". Obama seeks to remove the constraints of government which was set forth by our Fathers to keep control in the hands of the People. Obama see the will of the People through the ballot box and not through the protection of the Constitution or Bill of Rights. I learned that the interpretation that the Constitution is "living and breathing" is rhetoric for the Courts needs to be more empathetic to the People and that is not the role of the Judiciary.

It felt like I was back at school. It was refreshing. None of this was political. It was scholarly in fact. It was based on facts and statements and even Obama's books. I could not help but think he was in the minority in terms of educators. We are all prone to believe that teachers and unions support Democrats, but here was one who knew something about a small yet powerful aspect to this election that had influenced him so profoundly that he was going in another direction.

The views expressed struck me so hard, I found myself Sunday morning at Barnes and Noble picking up a few books on the matter. My teacher was right. Alot of what he said is right there in Obama's own words. Obama completely discounts the Tenth Amendment in that it is up to the States to pass such laws that are not defined or identified in the Constitution, which illustrates the basis of our Federal Government covenants. Its not up to the courts, any court, to do anything remotely close to what Obama is advocating.

Alot of this says nothing about Obama's leadership nor questions his ability to do so. Its not a negative attack on Obama nor was it presented to me as such, but a mere view based on Obama's own intent and intrepretation. Based on what Obama has said and done as a constitutional lawyer and set forth in Court, he will take our nation in an entirely different direction in term of our Founding Fathers. Maybe the majority wishes he do so, but if he does wish to do so I would expect that we all deserve to hear about it and be afforded the opportunity to examine his teachings and his court cases before we decide it is in the best interests of our nation to turn over the Constitution to him and his appointees at the Federal and potentially the Supreme Court level.

None of this is related to specific issues either; ie abortion. It is a fundamental examination of what Obama truly feels about our Constitution and how it shall be imployed regardless of what the underlying case is. Does Obama believe in a stronger Central Government? Does he intend to limit the power of the States?

Folks I do not want to be the alarmist, but the the foundations for such diversions from the true core and standing of our Constitution is what in fact resulted in this nation going down the path of the great Civil War. The Federal Government returning to the proposition of telling States what they can and cannot do is a very dangerous endeavor and as a Virginian I take real objection to such views.

It was nice to learn that one of my favorite teachers lived so close to where I now raise my family along with my wife. It was also nice to get a different perspective in that my old teacher reaffirmedin his view that "Obama is an educator's nightmare!" Well, maybe only the civic and government educators that is. The other educators apparently seem to like him just fine.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

McCain Small Business "Joe the Plumber" Rally: Chesterfield County (Midlothian)

Calling on all "Joe The Plumbers":

Senator John S. McCain

Small Business Rally in Midothian, Virginia

Saturday, October 25, 2008

10:15 AM

Old Dominion Insulation
12764 Oak lake Court
Midlothian, Virginia 23112

Come See:

Rudy Giuliani
Steve Forbes
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling
Jerry Kilgore

There will be a Small Business Rally held this weekend here in Chesterfield County to show support for Senator John S. McCain and his economic plan that will bring America back to better economic days. While Chesterfield County has shown an uncanny ability to weather economic downturns in the past as result of the hard work and backbone of drive and ambition by our small business community, the County must committ to ensuring continued progress through the reform policies of Senator John S. McCain.

Barrack H. Obama is a respectable and an exciting candidate and has made a formidable pitch to the American people, but in the end there is nothing to demonstrate that Obama can or even will deliver all the things his campaign is promising.

Frankly, we have been down this road before with inspiring candidates with lofty plans. Then Governor Bill Clinton was embraced by the same media elite that is now propping up Barack Obama's campaign. The negative aspect has escalated to all time high levels against the Mccain campaign just as it did against Republicans in 1992. The result, Americans elected President Bill Clinton on the hopes of a promised tax cut for the middle class and small business and folks if you remember HE NEVER DELIVERED!!

The same media elite refuses to compare Gov. Sarah Palin's record of "experience" to the then Governor Clinton in 1992 before they annoited him their nominee. Apparently, the media keeps moving the bar further and further with every test.

The result? In 1994 we sent a message to Washington and Republicans gained control of Congress. Its time we get back to comon sense fiscal conservatism like the Contract of America.

We can ill afford to have to wait another four years to vote out the growing liberal majority in Congress, nor can we as small business owners afford four years of an Obama Presidency. The hill we have to climb is very steep, but folks we also need to begin to lay the groundwork for the future as well.

Keep Chesterfield County RED in November!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Future of Chesterfield County: Our Transportation Paradigm

I know many of you are engaged in the current Presidential race and paying serious attention to national matters, whether the economy or our current financial crisis brought about by mismanagement and oversight on the part of officials in the Federal Government, but I want to draw your attention back to our responsibility as good citizens to maintain our own oversight of our local officials.

As many of you know, recently the Board of Supervisors voted to shelve "impact fees" for immediate future. Mind you, projected revenues from such impact fees were used in financial projections for funding the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP).

One reason provided for not taking action on the establishment of "impact fees" on properties not subject to the cash proffer policy was to allow for time for the Regional Transportation Authority to be examined.


I find it striking that many of the same members on the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors who voted to delay the vote on "impact fees" are the same folks behind the push for the Regional Transportation Authority. This authority appear to be fronted by the likes of the Richmond Area Metro Planning Organization (MPO), whose mebership includes our Board members from Chesterfield and other localities as well as the Richmond Regional Planning District Commission (RRPDC)

Many will remember that the RRPDC announced partnering with the Greater Richmond Chamber as well as working in alignment with the Capital Region Collaborative, which is chaired by City of Richmond mayoral candidate Robert J. Grey Jr.

I cannot help but feel that these agendas are the seeds of Regionalism, which many in Chesterfield oppose. Much of what these organizations major premise of regionalism was born out of last years controversial Crupi Report.

Chesterield County has seen like measures before, especially in the debate over the Commercial Development Authority (CDA) for the Charter Woods Powhite Parkway extension involving such roadways as Otterdale Road and Woolridge Road all the way from Charter Woods to swift Creek Reservoir (4 miles). The cost was deemed to be about 8 million for improvements to this four mile stretch. The County maintains Woolridge over the Swift Creek because it does not conform to VDOT standards and will aslo incur an estimated 4 million in mitigating and permitting fees in addition to the actual work required. The extension of Powhite Parkway is slated at an estimated 300 million for the extension of Powhite Parkway from Charter Colony all the way west to Grange Hall Elementary on Route 360. The CDA was recommended to place a tax on all residential/commercial properties in lower Magnolia Green plat for up to thirty years. I believe if you review the current County tax rates, this tax rate is 1.12 on said properties. Originally, a desired 25 cent tax was recommended on top of the current tax rate for all properties in the plat, but since it would only generate roughly 44 million over time as homes came on line the CDA was preferred.

Now the current Board wants us to accept a Regional Transportation Authority that will:

1. raise vehicle inspections $10 from curent levels and set aside the increase for the Authority

2. raise the gas tax 2% with the increase set aside for the Authority

3. raise vehicle registration/decal in some areas fees with increase set aside for Authority

4. increase sales tax on auto service/repairs by 5% with increase set aside for Authority

5. add a 2% tax on all auto rental contracts with tax going to Authority

6. add a 1% value of new vehicle registrations ( $100 per 10,000 in value of auto)

7. create a .04% tax on all real estate sales for regional congestion fee to Authority

This is a pure tax and fee structure. How does this fit in with your yearly budget and expenses. Does Jiffy Lube count as "auto servicing"?Ummm.

If you are interested in looking at just want roadways were identified as requiring attention, see here:

Given that many of our Board are working in collaboration with those formulating this plan for a Regional Transportation Authority, is there any real question as to whether these leaders will be supporting this mechanism and ultimately raising the costs of living upon the region under its umbrella.

I fully understand the rationale given the very limited and now reduced funding from the State, but why is it the first assertion to tax and fee for these measures over looking at a pragmatic cost-cutting and spending freeze within County government.

Given the current potential for a deep recession, does it make much sense to be telling County citizens you are going to raise every aspect related to owning an automobile in the current economic climate? Or is this yet another stealth measure to wean folks off autos in the first place? Look at the tenets of the new community developments and how they are requiring the design. It seems there is a mission underway to limit uses of autos and in effect would that not also reduce over time the revenues such an Authority would generate?

The RRPDC will be taking another look at the proposal of the Regional Transportation Authority next month at the November meeting and it will be interesting to see what transpires.

I for one will do all in my power; phone banking and canvassing, to bring to attention as many Chesterfield residents as possible the plan to introduce such an Authority and also the apparent goal of moving Chesterfield into a "regionalistic" plan for the future. This smacks of big government with even less transparency.

In fact, by the proposals on accounts the Regional Transportation Authority estimates that 60% of revenues garnered from citizens would be used for transportation issues and 40% would be for administrative expenses. 40%!

Is this really the direction that Chesterfield wants to go? Does Chesterfield know that it could soon be put under the boot of such an Authority?

I can tell you right now, should this Authority be implemented by the current Board it will be the biggest campaign issue of the 2011 cycle. The vote on this is crucial by the Board and so is the citizens responsibility when the public hearing arises.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Liberal Silence on the Virginia Economy

When you sit back and think about it, where is all the outrage regarding Virginia's economic perdicament? If a potential shortfall of 2.5 to 3 billion isn't enough, we now have potentially a deep national recession to consider which will certainly increase the Commonwealth's unemployment rate.

I am curious though how silent the liberal majority of Northern Virginia is on the issue. Well, other than blaming someone else. Liberalism in Northern Virginia is like two kids in the schoolyard caught by a teacher and both point at other kids and scream to high heaven others were to blame.

Displacing responsibility appears an acquired skill in Northern Virginia, especially amongst its political base.

I can't help but wonder just how many times you can dip into the Jim Gilmore and George Bush well before people begin to start realizing just what baseless rhetoric it truly is. Not to say these men did not play a part, but to catagorically displace any accountability for the lack of economic stewardship in Richmond under Mark Warner and Tim Kaine seems rather foolhardy.

You gotta admit its gotta be rather hard for Gov. Kaine to be out talking up Mark Warner given there is a good chance if all this keeps heading south he could credit his political demise to Warner regarding State finances. Good thing Warner does'nt need him much now that he is up 30 pts on Gilmore, but if that were a close race I wonder just what the heck Kaine would say out on the trail? Oh, I forgot, "Its Jim Gilmores fault".

I recall a time when the liberal wing of the Democrat Party of Virginia went full bore after then Governor Jim Gilmore for an unemployment rate of 4.2% by 2002. Where's the outrage now? Is a number just a number when it happens to come under your Party's watch? I recall the whole bubble and the impacts of 9/11 on the Virginia economy being completely dismissed. In short; from the lefts perspective it was the State GOP's fault.

Now of course, the Commonwealth has been led by two successive Democrat Governors and yet any accountability whatsoever for lost jobs or poor fiscal management is not placed at their feet, but on that of Washington or better yet the State GOP in the House of Delegates.

No outrage whatsoever in Northern Virginia, unless of course you count the fact they have been informed they can potentially forget to see the windfall of State transportation dollars in the coming years.

There has also been this latest debate in the blogosphere prompted by the assertion that NOVA is not indicative of "real Virginia". Evidently a snipe at ones ego means more to these folks than a real examination of our State economy and budget that is an utter disaster and a public disgrace.

Its no wonder Governor Tim Kaine got a pass on the VP slot. I wonder what the Obama campaign knew and when they knew it? Now that is some awesome vetting. Gotta give the Obama team credit on that one.

But in terms of the "real Virginia" debate, it amazes me how these same bloggers could get so upset by such an assertion when it was their liberal champion at Raising Kaine who promoted the idea that Virginia is becoming the next Maryland. Exactly just what part of "Virginia" where they referring to? Thats right. Northern Virginia. They emphatically implied that NOVA was more like Maryland than "Downstate" Virginia.

Funny how whenever these liberals in NOVA refer to Virginia they really only mean their part of Virginia isn't it?

So instead of recognizing the state of our economy and the part they have played, we get another round of how it has been the Republicans fault. Actually, heck why not it worked in 2006 with Congress. And yet, what has changed in Washington exactly? Oh, yeah thats the Republicans fault to because of the filabuster. Gee this wholesale displacement of accoutability is rather addictive.

So when is it exactly when liberal Democrats are not the victims of Republicanism?

Oh yeah, when Obama wins the Presidency,Reid controls the Senate, and Pelosi the House of Representatives.

No wait what am I thinking, Republicans will still get the blame for everything afterall its really hard to stop playing the victim and we should not expect liberals to start anytime soon.

Instead they will be concentrating all their attention on Governor Sarah Palin, whom if I am not mistaken actually balanced Alaska's budget and returned a rebate check to her constituents. Given these economic conditions and the state of our own budget, its no wonder that kind of experience is threatening.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Voter Fraud Could Translate into Identity Fraud

The news that is coming in regarding community activist groups such as ACORN is not good. Canvassers are task with registering potential voters, but what we are learning is throughout 12 states these organizers are allowing persons to register countless times.

Is this voting fraud? No. Is this action a felony in States like Virginia? Yes.

Regardless of whether a vote is cast, it is illegal to intentionally register the same person more than once or create registrations for the purpose of filling out the forms required to secure a card.

Is Virginia immune? Nope.

Chesterfield has already identified hundreds of false registrations. The Board of Elections is tasked with verification of these forms and given the issues we experienced in the Primary is something that we really need to be having our Board being focused on.

I find it ironic that a Party that felt so maligned by the Florida episode in 2000, finds this whole matter unworthy of even stepping up to the plate and addressing that these actions are wrong and illegal. Instead, we have a nominee in Barack Obama who quickly removed all associations listed on his campaign site relating to ACORN and then goes out and has surrogates state that ACORN is not enagaging in anything wrong. Well, if they are so impressed with ACORN's integrity than why remove the references and then say you have no association with the organization. The Democrat Party has some real issues in my view. First the whole DNC matter with the Clinton/Obama delegates and counting them and now these voter registration fraud issues coming up all over the country on behalf of the Democrats. Why can organizations like ACORN be so readily linked to the Democrats? Because in their own advocacy they state that it is their intent to help Barack Obama win the election and ACORN has officially endorsed Obama.

What to do:

Well it may be too late now that the registration deadline has passed, but if you provided any information to any activist group to get you registered make sure that that information has been sent to the Board of Elections but also routinely check your personal credit information in the coming months. Why? To make sure that these groups are not also engaging in Identity Theft as well.

In the future, influence potential voters to register at DMV or the public library or some other "respected" location and not through these activist groups that apparently go unchecked. Whose to say they have not copied your information for some other fraudulent purpose?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chesterfield County: The Future of Chesterfield?

While many of us remain fixed on the upcoming Presidential Election and endeavor to ask ourselves just whom we think will be better suited to handle the economy and the fallout from the current financial crisis, we need to also consider just what impact such developments will have on our local community.

Most of us have seen our 401k's and investments take a hit as a result of the crisis, but while we may be tempted to only look at this situation from a personal perspective we must also consider the impacts that will face our community.

While our media concentrates on the issues in Washington and to a lessor extent the shortfalls in the State budget in Richmond, most outlets have neglected the impacts that are around the corner for local governments.

Many of us fought the good fight last year here in Chesterfield when the Board sought to lower property taxes as a result of rising real estate assessments. Many of us sought to have a small percentage of the taxes set aside for transportation and roads, instead of lowering the tax rate to accomodate the politics of the issue. We were told that the State funding as well as the Capital Improvement Plan could recognize and address many of the neccessary requirements facing the County.

In my view, they were wrong. The State funding will be decreased substantially due to the shortfall in Richmond.

Much of any budget is based on forward looking assumptions. The State is dealing with the ramifications of a misguided assumption of 3.6% growth and have to deal with the current shortfalls. The County of Chesterfield may have been misguided in its assumption that real estate would continue to rise in value which would offset the tax rate reduction in terms of the real tax revenue that would be generated. In short, the reduction of the rate and given the rising assessments, in some instances 16%, would allow the County to generate required tax revenues but also provide political cover by providing some tax relief.

One year later, we are faced with the most severe housing crisis in the history of the nation. Fortunately, Chesterfield County has faired better than many other areas in the region and the country with regard to foreclosures and the fallout from sub-prime loans. However, home sales are declining as well as new home starts and the market price of homes on the market is falling. These falling home values in the market will in the end result in falling tax assessments. Residents will not stand for having a tax assessment /market value inbalance where the taxes are being paid on an assessed value greater than market value in the area.

The result of such a decline in home values and a reset of tax assessments will result in less revenue generated through property taxes. These taxes are a significant engine to the plans the County has in terms of Chesterfield's future. They of course are not the only means to address the future of services in the County.

The County has continued for decades to attempt to attract new business. There has been in inability for the ratio to climb between business to individual (20/80%) in terms of the lions share from which revenue is generated over the last decade. The issue now is we may be in store for some really slow economic times. Many of the projects going on right now are facing some real hurdles in terms of financing and lease occupany contracts. They will certainly move forward, but the planned and predicted level of business starts will be slower than anticipated. Revenues generated from the business community could be impacted should the economy retreat further into a deep recession and the revenues associated with the business community could decline as well.

A look at the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) demonstrates a forward looking plan where some basic assumptions certainly must be re-thought. The plan calls for 855 million in spending spanning County requirements, School Board needs and Utility infrastructure. The six-year CIP spans FY 2009 through FY2014. It takes 173 million to focus on transportation and road requirements which the County surely needs with 18 million of that number being allocated for the Meadowville Technology Park, but the means in which the funding is acquired now may be in jeopardy. 40 million of the funding will come from the 2004 Bond Referendum approved by County residents, but the remaining funds were to come from the sale of new bonds (113 million). How will this sale of general obligation bonds or other bonds issued be impacted by the current environment on Wall Street and the turmoil going on with the rating services whom rate these bonds.

The November 2, 2004 Bond Referendum approved 342 million bonds for schools, public safety, library, parks and recreation, and road improvements projects.

The current Capital Improvement Plan also makes the ssumption that the County will generate 3 million dollars from imposing "impact fees" on those properties not falling under the cash proffer policy. However, the County has yet to implement the impact fee through Board vote and in fact appears to be shelved as a Transportation Authority proposal is considered. There are two issues here. One, the CIP takes into account some three million that cannot be generated currently or in the specified FY2010 as referenced in the Plan and two, the impact fees have been placed on hold as an Authority is considered which will impose some very defined increases in fees on residents like auto repair taxes, registration fees and others.

I doubt residents of Chesterfield will support an authority or proposal that will raise fees on auto services and the like if they are made aware of such a proposal. Any measure resulting an Authority that will generate funds through fees charged to residents for services must require scheduled Town Hall meetings and Public Hearing sessions before such measure is implemented. There may also be a question of constitutionality if an Authority has taxing powers by an a Board not elected directly by the people.

There are many things we must face in terms of maintaining and increasing the quality of life and living standards in Chesterfield, but the current financial crisis and a potentially deepening recession may prevent such actions by the local government from being undertaken. The generators of taxes, cash porffers and impact fees all seem to be facing a challenged environment and though such developments may have been zoned and approved there is no way in knowing just how long it will be before the housing units are begun and thus financial revenues taken in by the County.

Looking back, and of course that is always dangerous, but it may not have been the best measure to reduce the property tax rate on those other than the elderly and only increase the cash proffer policy marginally. The Board may have been overly optimistic regarding the economy and if housing starts continue to decline, business starts slow, sales tax revenues are reduced in a poor economic environment, the future of our quality of life here in Chesterfield will come under fire.

The current economic environment demands that the Board begin cost-cutting and spending reductions, beginning with the size and scope of the government itself. There will be some hard choices, but the times require such action.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Park & Ride: A Future in Bon Air?

Many of you may be unaware of an amended zoning case that may result in a Park & Ride being established in the Bon Air Village area of the Midlothian District, Chesterfield County.

The case is 08SN0278 GRTC Transit Systems

We have seen a continued bombardment of the Village feel throughout much of Chesterfield, whether it be the excessive planned communities surrounding the Village of Midothian or the new residential developments near Chester Village that jeapordize the long-term integrity and charm of these historic areas.

Bon Air is facing the establishment of a Park & Ride, approved with conditions, to be constructed along Forest Hill Avenue, Buford Road and Choctaw Road near the Village. The Comprehensive Plan may approve such amendment or Conditional Use of the area in question in a R-15 area, but that certainly does not mean that the citizenry supports such a lot.

I dare say that but a few residents are even aware of the potential for a Park & Ride being established in Bon Air.

If you live in the Midlothian District, please express your concerns for such a Park & Ride to:

Supervisor, Daniel Gecker
Vice- Chair Board of Supervisors

Friday, October 10, 2008

Palin Richmond Rally Moved: Estimated 28,000

Just days after announcing that Gov. Sarah Palin would be swinging into Richmond after a joint rally with Sen. McCain in Virginia Beach, organizers have moved the Monday afternoon rally from the Arthur Ashe Center to the RIR (Richmond International Raceway).

The Ashe Center was deemed to small a venue after virtual every Victory HQs were flooded with calls for tickets as well as the online ticket generator on the McCain website. The Ashe center would hold a max level of around 8,000. The campaign offices had reservations as much as the Cneter capacity by the end of the first day tickets became available.

In fact, there were actually lines for tickets at some Victory HQ locations in Central Virginia, but unlike the Barack Obama campaign which requires phone banking and canvassing demands for those seeking Obama yard signs, the McCain offices were happily giving out rally signs and yard signs to all those who wanted to express their support.

The Chesterfield office also apparently also delivered a few signs to some retired, elderly residents who could not get to the office to pick up their yard signs.

So as of right now, the RIR will be the site of the Monday 1PM Palin Rally.

Many liberal bloggers ran a directed campaign in NOVA to distract and dispute the numbers in attendance at the McCain-Palin Fairfax County Rally last month where that rally topped out at around 22,000. Current predictions are that the Richmond Rally will supercede that level and could reach 28,000.

Regardless, McCain-Palin could be met by almost 50,000 Virginians on Monday given the morning rally in Virginia Beach and then the afternoon Palin Rally here in Richmond.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Community Voters Project: Questions Raised

Many people are asking if the Community Voters Project, which endeavors to register "minority" voters has come across the path of many Richmonders downtown and many folks are asking if this organization is affiliated in any way with ACORN, which is getting alot of press lately for some less than above board practices in Ohio and Nevada as well as 10 other States.

There has not been, and probably will never be, any link between ACORN and this Project, which is respected and affiliated with Center of Public Interest and the Progressive Education Fund, however, regardless I would hope that this project would certainly register ANY legal citizen with the right to vote and not just target minorities.

We have to remember that though this election cycle is certainly very heated, there are still wonderful people doing great work within our communities out there. That said, if anyone has any instances regarding any group failing to register someone or engages in any suspicious actions it is important to report those instances to the authorities.

There are Community Action groups and then there are Community Political Action groups that are NOT non-partisan in nature and we have to be aware that there is a distinction. The water is getting muddy though and we have to ask ourselves just who it is exactly who is muddying our voter rolls.

Chesterfield Republicans BBQ Tonight

Tonight from 5PM to 8PM the Chesterfield County Republicans will host a BBQ event at the Meadowbrook Country Club for any all interested in enjoying and evening of great bbq and entertainment.

Attorney-General, and likely the next Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, veteran Bob McDonnell will be on hand to meet with goers about the happenings of the State GOP and the McCain/Palin campaign. I believe he is a Co-Chair.

The event cost is $25.

Please use the link here in the Rants Section for the CCRC for more information.

Enjoy yourselves everyone.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What Don't You Know?: McCain's Lost Debate Opportunity

I was a bit disappointed last night in the Presidential debate. The debate was the worst town hall format style I think ever. I was expecting the style like the one held here in Richmond some years back during if I recall correctly Bush/Clinton. Maybe it was the questions chosen, but it felt like it was simply talking point central with a few new twists, but mostly a rendition of the same old lines.

The opportunity that was lost came at the end of the debate.

A question was posed via the internet about pointing to one thing "You Don't Know" and given Sen. McCain would have the closing remarks of the night he failed to capitalize on the platitudes and rhetoric of Barack Obama by simply stating:

And these would be my words for McCain:

"What I do know is the American people will elect one of us to the Presidency, but what I do not know is exactly which Senator Barack Obama would go to Washington if he were elected.
What I do not know today is exactly who is Senator Barack Obama. There are still many many questions. My fellow Americans, you know me and I have been a servant of this nation my entire adult life and in me our nation knows exactly who and what they will be getting in a leader.
We have heard alot in the last few weeks about the plans Barack Obama would implement as President, but none of these plans coincide with the record of Obama. Baracks has time and time again gone back on his word my fellow Amercians, whether campaign finance or toen hall meetings. He has attempted to wipe away his entire Primary campaign from the record as if his pledges during the Primary no longer matter. His own fellow Democrats have questioned his ability to lead and his grasp of national security issues and now once again before the American people he projects himself as something he truly is not.
My fellow Americans, here stands a man who as continually put politics before country and only rejects those individuals within his past that can be associated with ideology not aligned with mainstream America or Main Street only when politically forced to do so. Now, tonight here at Belmont University Senator Obama would like you to believe he is for offshore drilling and for nuclear energy when he spent nineteen months aligning himself with the liberal environmental wing of his Party to earn huis Parties nomination stressing he did not support these principles nor did he support clean coal technology. Look at the records folks. There is nothing in the record of Barack Obama that provides any level of confidence that he will deliver on what he promises. He promises a middle class tax cut and yet in the end has never supported a tax cut in the U.S. Senate.
What I do know is Washington is broken. What I do know is we need reform and we need change. What Americans must endeavor to know is who they can feel confident in leading our great nation back on course and who will keep his word. Americans are looking for someone to reignite the bond of trust in Washington and we just do not know which Barack Obama will be going to Washington. Thank you and God Bless America."

And folks thats all I would have said.

Response to just a move would have been left solely to the pundits as Barack Obama would not have been afforded the opportunity to respond in the debate. This would have been the last thing for voters to take away and in my opinion would have been a gamechanger.

Instead we were left with little to take away from either candidate, except the same talking points.

I still think McCain, as in the first debate, lost on style and fluidity but won on substance backed by a record to point to. Obama chose not to respond to challenges, either out of tactic or frankly because he has no response to the facts that he has not reached across the aisle and has never worked with Republicans on any matter of controversy.

I think McCain lost an opportunity to plant the seed in voters that would get undecideds to truly ask themselves:

"Just who is this Barack Obama?"

Such a conclusion to the debate that I illustrate above would have allowed the McCain campaign to open the door to tie Obama to his associations, his Primary pledges and statements, the Clinton and Biden Primary opinions of Obama, and ultimately character and judgement.

You cannot simply cram Bill Ayers and Wright done the throat of America without setting the stage for such matters and McCain lost the opportunity not to bring those issues up in the debate but provide a door in which undecideds will walk themselves through in the journey of learning just who Senator Obama truly is.

Frankly, I would have liked the media to behave a bit more objectively and do not understand why it is all that Primary debate footage has somehow managed to either get lost or forgotten in terms of a point of reference. But then it appears as though they do not want us asking ourselves just who Obama really is.

There is hours of fottage of Barack Obama taking positions in the Primary that are simply just completely different than where he stands today. Is this not a matter for the media? Is this not something that should be addressed? If not the media then by who? What was the point of the drawn out Primary season if the eventual nominee is allowed to openly change virtually half of his positions on issues?

There is some serious objectivity issues when the media allows Obama to say he did not state that he would meet with Iran without preconditions. Why when this comes up do they not "go to the tape" as they say.

In my view the media has gotten exactly what thye wanted. They got (handed) Barack Obama the nomination and then worked to undermine Mitt Romney, who would have been better suited to address this financial crisis/economic downturn than either McCain or Obama, by constantly playing the Morman crad against whereever he went. Fact is, the media help deliver these two men to the nominations and we bought it hook, line and sinker. They (the media)talk of freedoms in this country, but at every turn have sought to bring in religion and social values as a divisive tactic, they brought the race card in in the Clinton/Obama fight and allowed a previous President to be smeared without rebuke.

Folks, it looks as if the media will play up Barack Obama as they have for two years now and will not hold him accountable with his own Primary statements or his record and it certainly may be left to others to do so before election day.

I know that something within our nation has been lost in all of this over the last year or so. Whether it be trust or respect I leave to each person to decide.

But unlike my liberal friends, regardless of the vote on November 4, 2008 we will have a new President and regardless of whom that President WILL BE MY President. I am an American first and believe that the Office of the Presidency deserves each and every Americans respect regardless of Party. We should be holding the office up not tearing it down. What are we teaching our children by not doing so if not simply to reject authority or reject the majority or reject our system.This is certainly something the left has forgotten in the last eight years.

You Salute the Rank not the Man.

Semper Fi.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sarah Palin: Coming to Richmond Oct. 13, 2008

It has just been announced that Governor Sarah Palin will be coming to Richmond next Monday, October 13, 2008 at 1PM for a McCain/Palin Rally to be held at the Arthur Ashe Center in the City of Richmond.

Her last formal rally drew 24,000 in Fairfax, Virginia.

The McCain campaign has added quite a few new Victory offices, including one in Chesterfield County located at 9507 Hull Street Road 23236. Anyone can reserve tickets for event online at the McCain site or simply by stopping by any of the offices in the area.

The doors will open at 11AM Monday morning. No word on who may be there, but I would expect Jim Gilmore and possibly Eric Cantor to be there as well.

Survey USA: Obama Wins Virginia

Just in. Survey/USA has released a new poll giving Barack Obama a 10 point lead over John McCain. Call it a rap folks, I mean 900 Virginians sampled can't be wrong?Come on, 900 out of a potential 5 million voters is simply an acceptable barometer of Virginia?

These 900 came predominately from the Washington DC suburbs and the urban areas of Virginia according the the poll breakdown. Of course, these areas are truly indicative of the overall Virginia sentiment in terms of voting.

Heck, based on these areas polled, John Kerry should be President right now. Out of potentially 5 million voters after todays registration ends, a poll of 900 is ridiculous regardless of whom it has leading.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Battleground Reality of Virginia: Newly Registered Voters

The polls, depending on which you believe, seem to be all over the place regarding Virginia and the upcoming election. Whichever you tend to believe, there can be no doubt that Virginia is certainly one of the more interesting of the so-called "battleground" states from a media-hype perspective, but the reality on the ground may be quite different.

I say that after examining some data regarding Virginia and newly registered voters. As of last month, Virginia saw an increase of 285,000 newly registered voters enter the ranks of Virginia's voting class. Usually of course far few voters actually vote than are registered and in most States that number is around 30% who never show up at the polls, however, I think its safe to bet that these new voters will certainly vote.

Virginia had 4.8 million registered voters last election cycle, so the number of new voters does not appear as though it in reality will make that much of difference on balance given the numbers. That said, it must also be acknowledged that George Bush won Virginia in 2004 by 262,217 votes and many supporters of Barack Obama have pointed to that in hopes that these new voters in Virginia could help secure the electoral votes.

These voters will help, but I do not think they will be as significant as the current percentage of Bush supporters in 2004 that could be moving towards Obama. Many of these polling questions point to about 12% of people declaring themselves Republicans as leaning Obama. This I think is more significant.

But if you are of the persuasion that these newly registered voters are the key, you may be surprised that even with the new voters NOVA has only risen from 32.4% of the Virginia registered electorate to a present 32.8%.

The areas with siginificant new voter registration are predominately in NOVA where Kerry performed his best relative to other areas in 2004.

Area: New Registrations Kerry % 04

Loudon 31,798 44
Fairfax 25,002 54
Prince William 16,682 47
Chesterfield 14,923 37
Arlington 9,864 68
VA Beach 9,800 41
Chesapeake 9,408 43
Henrico 8,476 46
Spotsylvania 7,108 37
James City 6,358 39

Four of the top five localities of new registrations are in NOVA where Obama is strongly favored in the election, but the key areas will be Loudon and Prince William County. These localities will be "battleground" counties. Fairfax, Arlington, Alexandria will deliver Obama roughly 60% of the vote rather easily, more if they reach the 80% solution that activists are hoping for in terms of turnout. Loudon and Prince William have pockets of GOP strength and lately on the local level in Prince William the immigration issue that has been carried by the local Board there could come into play with bringing out even more Republicans than people are estimating.

There certainly appears to be a culture war underway in Prince William that may impact this election. Since we do not declare a Party like some other states, its hard to know where these new voters will come down but looking at the map there is some significant numbers coming from areas where John Kerry pulled in less than 40% of the vote in 2004.

This could mean that the Democrats in those areas are finally be tapped or that Obama is bringing out more Republicans in these areas. Remember, we just do not know, but what we do know is these areas are fairly RED traditionally with about 65% turnout.

I will go out on a limb now.

I expect to get highly criticzed for this but I think the true "battleground" County in Virginia will be:

Henrico County

John Kerry won 46% of the vote in 2004 and there is a strong moderate contingent of voters in Henrico that lean Independent. Allen did not pull in the traditional GOP numbers either in Henrico in 2006. The County will have a only 8,500 new registrations but the moderate/independent vote is the key this time around.

It could get interesting, but how much up ballot support Eric Cantor(R)can give McCain/Palin is crucial here and the fact that he just voted in support of the bailout bill may not help with those on the fence. He will bring the social conservatives, but may not bring the fiscal conservatives from parts of Henrico that traditionally vote GOP.

Whichever candidate wins Henrico County, I venture to say wins Virginia.

Of the top ten localities listed above, it will most likely split 50/50 with Obama securing the upstate areas and McCain taking Chesterfield, VA beach, Spotsylvania, James City(close), Chesapeake. Prince William and Henrico County will be nailbiters for the campaigns but I think they both may just be leaning Obama today.