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