Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Turning the Page: Chesterfield 2011

In the last few years, citizens of Chesterfield County have faced the sad fact that local government is broken. It does not take a financial expert to know that the messages such as "shortfall" on the one hand and then a few months later "surplus" confuse and baffle citizens, but in reality what it does is create a complete lack of confidence in local government itself.

This year has illustrated the great divide in priorities between the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. Many people would argue that these two bodies have completely different agendas, but frankly that is the very attitude the creates the divisiveness we have experienced throughout this year. The visions and goals of both these bodies have a very common thread that binds them and it is NOT money; its our future.

We have a Board of Supervisors that is more concerned with short-term political gains and scoring political points by undermining the Chesterfield County School Board than they are at setting a course centered in common interest toward solutions that will benefit the entire County heading into the future.

Fortunately, one of the greatest things about democracy is every four years we as citizens have the opportunity to determine whether the compass of our local Board is heading in the right direction or whether we need to chart a new path by turning the page.

It is fairly early as far as local politics goes to learn about those citizens willing and determined to run for office. In 2011, all five of the Board of Supervisors seats will be up for re-election. The current Board was thrust into office in the change election dramatics of 2006. It was this election that not only placed the United States Congress into the hands of the Democrats in Washington, but also on the local level represented a sweeping change in the make-up of the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors.

Looking to 2011, I had an opportunity to sit down and speak with one of the citizens that has declared himself as a candidate for Supervisor from the Matoaca District, T.C. Robinson. Mr. Robinson seeks to win the Republican nomination and challenge (I) Supervisor Marlene Durfee in November, 2011.

The following is a summation of my conversation with the candidate:
What would you see as the most important issues facing the County today in general?
Putting Children First, Fiscal Responsibility, and Economic Development (Robinson)

Lets go through those three if we can okay?
Putting Children First?
For too long, there has been a high level of anxiety in our school system causing a loss of focus on our most important asset - our students. Now is the time to come together to regain our focus on our children and our future.(Robinson)
How would you describe the current relationship between the BOS and School Board ?
Fractured. (Robinson)
How can we get beyond this condition?

Well, I will encourage unity and open, productive communication among all members of the community – students, teachers, administration, the School Board and concerned citizens.
Education should be something we all rally around and we have great resources at our disposal.
Class sizes have a direct impact on the level of education our students receive. (Robinson)
That said, what is your position on trailers scattered throughout the County?

Simply put, class sizes must be kept manageable so that teachers have the opportunity to work with each child. Teacher frustrations over not being able to give their best every single student often results in departures from CCPS or even from the profession. Teachers are not particularly fond of teaching in trailers nor are students with being educated in them. Look outside this morning and look at all this snow. Do you think it is fair to have those students venturing out into the cold to sit in trailers? All of us are guilty for it because we have allowed the Boards in the past to create ill-conceived planning thus adding students to our class rolls with virtually no consultation with the School Board and creating over capacity. How can sit back and say its okay we have schools 10-20% over intended capacity when they were constructed?

All of us have a stake in the health of our education system. Local governments, the business community, and non-profit organizations can all work together with our school districts to support stronger, safer schools that give all our kids a chance to succeed.
Together, we can make our County a true partner in our children’s future. (Robinson)

What is your take on Fiscal matters?
Fiscal Accountability is crucial. The current Board spent much of the Spring casting blame on the Schools for its budget. Supervisors Durfee and Gecker both made statements that created mistrust between the bodies by implying that the Schools were not being forthright regarding financial matters when in fact in accordance with State law the School Board had supplied all the requirements. Regardless, Chesterfield will soon be the third largest locality in the State, behind only Prince William and Fairfax. Population growth usually means bigger budgets. It also means an increased opportunity for the mismanagement of revenues. As our budget grew nearly 40% between FY2005 and FY2010, the chances that money would be misspent grew exponentially. I would move to create a more powerful Citizen’s Budget Audit Committee, so that we can make sure that every dollar is spent wisely.

I also believe we need serious reform in the way our property tax rate is advertised and eventually assessed. We cannot simply keep lowering the rate for the sake of saying we lowered it. I would favor an amendment to the county code that prevents the Board of Supervisors from setting the property tax rate at more than 3 cents below or above the rate deemed revenue neutral. Along with that I would propose that the Board of Supervisors be required to move 10% of any future revenue surplus into our Rainy Day Fund, with the goal of seeing the fund reach $100 million by 2020.
I would also submit that this Board has not lived up to the expectations of citizens to address County roadways and infrastructure. We cannot simply just keep blaming the State and our local Assembly leaders. This Board demonstrates very little accountability. They had an opportunity to create set-asides to address this issue and have failed to act.(Robinson)

You spoke of economic development?
Yes. Economic Development is vital to our future but it must be a shared responsibility with the fiscal responsibility we were just speaking to. In these times of economic adversity when people are losing their jobs and homes, the government should work to help the private sector generate new jobs in Chesterfield and help our existing local businesses succeed.
While most new jobs should and must be created in the private sector, the government can play an important role in establishing a favorable climate for job creation. It is essential that Chesterfield County be a place which appeals to hardworking, imaginative and inventive workers. That said, it also important that we adjust the mix regarding our revenue generation. Currently, we see about 80% of the revenues on the back of our citizens and only 20% on the business community. Many have questioned why it appears as though Henrico as done a better job addressing these balances. A recent 2008 Business Survey in Chesterfield demonstrates the willingness of business to work in a manner that is cooperative and appropriate to grow our economy. In fact, Supervisor Durfee and Gecker pledged to reduce said burden on citizens and shift more towards business while candidates, but once seated have done nothing to address this disparity. In fact, it appears as though they have gone the other direction. (Robinson)
What would you say to those that favor commercial buildout along the 360 West corridor?
It is imperative that we work to attract more office and retail development, which will bring jobs but we cannot simply just rely on the retail model. These are not the high paying jobs that will ignite our economy. They may be suitable for financial purposes but looking out twenty years does it really do any good to bring them and then continue to zone additional lots that create commercial sprawl. (Robinson)
Can you elaborate a bit on that?
Certainly. Look at Midlothian Tnpk east of Chesterfield Town Center toward Cloverleaf and the City. If you drive through Mr. Gecker's District you will see literally dozens of For Lease signs and vacant retail units all along Rt. 60. What have we done to address this? Have the Business Zones worked to address this? We have to ask ourselves how we can attract business investment along with County invetment to revitalize these areas and not simply just keep building further west in Matoaca. (Robinson)
Would this benefit from a revenue perspective?
Certainly. Not only would it mean more higher paying jobs for Chesterfield residents, it would mean more revenue for the county as a whole as those types of developments cost less to provide services for than say those projects like Roseland cost to build out. In fact, look at what happened in Magnolia Green. Many citizens are unaware of the Lower Magnolia Green Commercial Development Authority tax lien on residents in that area that are in addition to the typical property taxes that they pay which will last for up to 30 years. I have been told that these taxes are roughly about $500 a year for every household but am not sure what the commercial rate will be because of the issues that Magnolia has faced with its developers and the fact that there has been little action on the 200 acres of commercial property along Hull Street. Currently, the residents are stuck with more of the burden as the 3,550 homes are built out until the economic recovery permits the commercial elements to catch up. This pattern seems to have repeated itself throughout the last twenty years in Chesterfield. (Robinson)

More background information on T.C. Robinson can be found at www.tc4matoaca.com for those that wish to seek out further information. Citizens can also find him involved with the CCRC in Chesterfield.

I fully intend to reach out to the other candidates throughout 2011 that seek either the Board of Supervisors or the School Board. 2011 is shaping up to be a very interesting year for Chesterfield concerning path the County will take in the coming years.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Campaign 2011:And so it begins

Has the 2011 Campaign begun already?

We have not even reached the Nov. 2 elections yet but it appears that local officials here in Chesterfield County have already begun there campaigns for their re-election cycle by once again playing politics with citizens tax dollars.

I have to admit it was pretty unbelievable given these economic times and the tone right now of the electorate in general that our local government is considering a 3% bonus to be paid to certain government employees. I mean wasn't it about eight months ago we were talking budget deficits for schools and facing a reduced State-funding component? How can the local government feel confident that we are not going to face even tougher times ahead?

Isn't the County collecting less revenue than the last few years? I understand that the County has lowered its overall budget by 34 million or 4% for this coming year, but at a time when the times are forcing our government to make due with less I question whether it is constructive at this juncture to use the surplus in the form of a bonus plan.

The bonus was one of the potential uses of the surplus the County experienced at the close of the fiscal year in June. Allan M. Carmody, Director of Budget and Management for the County listed the 3% bonus as one of the options that the 28.5 million dollar surplus could be used for. The 3% bonus would cost the County 4.75 million of the total surplus.

The 3% bonus is basically a 3% of current salary for those employed by the County for at least one full year. One full year? Comments from local officials do not see to illustrate the one full year component given the fact that Supervisor Daniel Gecker from Midlothian stated that the bonus should be paid to employees given it was there work that provided the surplus.

The notion of returning such surplus to taxpayers or not spending it at all appears void of Mr. Gecker's political DNA. It appears as though some local officials like Mr. Gecker feel compelled to spend the surplus no matter what. Mr. Carmody referred to the 3% bonus plan as "performance recognition".

Performance recognition? Given the fact that the County has failed to accurately budget in the past, how confident are they that they will get all the State resources that they think are coming. Chances are they will, but isn't the role of government to budget and spend based on what they know and not what they hope. At this point, officials have to know that the collection of revenues will be less than years past and thus far the 4% or so cuts that have already been made are commendable but do those cuts warrant a "performance recognition".

As it stands today, two officials in Supervisor Gecker and Holland have endorsed the 3 % bonus plan recommended by Mr. Carmody.

Mr. Gecker went own to express that "we cut hopefully as much as we have to cut" referring apparently to the 4% reduction in spending, but it begs the question why would not our leaders seek to continually cut out the waste and bloat in the County budget. Why must the cuts stop now merely because the budget office anticipates a surplus?

The Board of Supervisors at large however have agreed to defer the matter until its Nov. 17th meeting.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Eric Cantor (R): On Healthcare

Given Eric Cantor's inability to hold Town Hall Meetings or hold anything lately other than book signings for his "Young Guns" release...what is he a celebrity or a Congressman anyway...maybe we should take a look at the few statements he has made in the last few years since Obama was elected. Lets start with the Healthcare debate.
From RTD venue forum with Rep. Bobby Scott:

At the Richmond Times-Dispatch “public square” forum yesterday, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA) fielded open questions from his constituents on the health reform debate for the first time this summer.
Patricia Churchill relayed a story about a close family member who recently lost a high paying job and her health insurance. Churchill told Cantor that her relative was dying of stomach tumors and needs an operation as soon as possible. Cantor responded by suggesting that Churchill’s relative should seek “existing government programs” or find charity.
Cantor, who serves as the chief whip for his party, has said that he cannot support a health reform bill with a public option. But despite his political opposition to government insurance programs, Cantor then emphasized to Churchill that every American should be given an “option” for health care, including a government program:
CHURCHILL: I have a very close relative, a woman in her early forties, who did have a wonderful, high-paying job, owns her own home and is a real contributing member of society. She lost her job. Just a couple of weeks ago, she found out that she has tumors in her belly and that she needs an operation. Her doctors told her that they are growing and that she needs to get this operation quickly. She has no insurance. [...]
CANTOR: First of all I guess I would ask what the situation is in terms of income eligibility and the existing programs that are out there. Because if we look at the uninsured that are out there right now, there is probably 23, 24% of the uninsured that is already eligible for an existing government program [...] Beyond that, I know that there are programs, there are charitable organizations, there are hospitals here who do provide charity care if there’s an instance of indigency and the individual is not eligible for existing programs that there can be some cooperative effort. No one in this country, given who we are, should be sitting without an option to be addressed.

So, Eric Cantor is either in support for government run healthcare or he supports its practice but simply does not want to fund it. His answer to Ms. Churchill was very telling about where he really stands. Given Cantor has been in Congress and been witness to the gross expansion of our government under Republican control and now Democrat control since 2006 it begs the question just why it is he refuses to allow himself to be questioned and held accountable for his votes by his constituents save the election.

Here are just a few responses from folks in the District:

96 Responses to “Cantor To Uninsured Woman With Growing Tumors: Get ‘An Existing Government Program’ Or Find Charity”
lcdrrek says:
Jeez, doesn’t Mr. Cantor remember the Republican healthcare plan?
All Americans have health care, all they have to do is go to the emergency room.
How could such a high ranking Republican not know that????September 22nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm
Xisithrus says:
Cantor responded by suggesting that Churchill’s relative should seek “existing government programs” or find charity.
I dont recall them saying anything like that to SchiavoSeptember 22nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm
cd says:
“it was helpful in a sense, but of course nowhere near as helpful as having this healthcare reform bill passed so that we could know that she could definitely go and get taken care of.”
Now that’s a good answer.
Any chance we could get her to run against Cantor?September 22nd, 2009 at 4:02 pm
wisdomofwords says:
Hey Eric, how you come you don’t think this woman needs the kind of insurance that you have? After all she helped pay for it, you asshat.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:03 pm
Uncle Ho says:
Contradict yourself much CAN’Tor?September 22nd, 2009 at 4:04 pm
tom says:
Cantor’s cavelier attitude (so characteristic of all republican lawmakers) makes me think we need a public national referendum. It is time for the electorate to reduce the salaries of all senators and representatives and to cancel their health insurance until they structure and pass a bill to close the gaps in our current system.
Perhaps, they would then be more receptive actually solving the health insurance problem in this country instead of playing politics.
The salary reduction? That stays. It’s their contribution for all the stupid mistakes they made for the past 30 years.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:07 pm
What the GOP REALLY means ... says:
Send her to Matterra’s place, maybe she’ll be deemed “hot enough” for care.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:07 pm
ElBruce says:
This “charity” thing is a meaningless red herring and they know it. Can you think of a charity on the face of the Earth that says “we’ve made enough money to meet the need this year?” Ever? They always fall short of the demand, and they always have. Therefore, Cantor is explicitly referring her to programs which he knows are insufficient to meet the public need.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:08 pm
Mark701 says:
So Cantor wants her to use a government program but voted against a government program. This would have surprised me eight years ago but not now. All I have to do is note the guys party affiliation and it explains everything.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:08 pm
twizzle says:
Dumbass.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:09 pm
Tawdry says:
There’s some kind of virus going around in the Republican party. A little bug gets into the brain and eats away memory. How else can you explain it. Also eats away their hearing- themselves ability. I think if you could open up Eric Cantor’s head and look inside it would resemble a pin ball machine.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:09 pm
MapleStreet says:
But we have scads of public programs. Just look at the picture on my desk of an orphan who we gave eyeglasses to.
Can’t you name all these programs ?
Are there no prisons? Are there no workhouses ?September 22nd, 2009 at 4:10 pm
What the GOP REALLY means ... says:
Now this is how end-of-life planning is done, libs. The GOP will plan it for you if you don’t produce the green. If you get laid off we consider you to be weak.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:10 pm
Mark701 says:
Poster 5 made a good point. This womans taxes pays for Cantors health care and he has the audacity to vote against a public option. Hypocrite thy name is Repubican.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:10 pm
Parlezvous says:
Every cent and every perk this man gets is provided by tax dollars yet he can’t see that every American should have that kind of medical care. What a hypocrite. He should give the open heart surgery benefit to someone who can use it. He won’t be needing it because he doesn’t have a heart.
It is prophetic that the first four letters of his name are CANT. He’s a born Reich Winger. He can’t help himself.
I am going to vomit.
Ye gods!September 22nd, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Jackie says:
If Eric Cantor would spend as much time on Health Care for the voters as he does keeping track of Britney Spears the lady wouldn’t be asking that question. Now I notice Eric Cantor has excellent Medical Coverage paid by the taxpayers for himself and his family. Let’s see if the voters of Virgina buy this bull Cantor is giving out.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Leftside Annie says:
Cantor: Are there no prisons?? Are there no workhouses?? Then those who are badly off must go there!
Cantor, I hope with all my heart that someday this happens to YOU or someone you love; how else are you going to learn the lesson of compassion?September 22nd, 2009 at 4:13 pm
Virtual Pebble says:
I get the feeling that Eric Cantor isn’t the brightest bulb on the tree. He’s a talking point parrot of some sort; well, obviously righty, but there’s also obviously nothing going on in his head that makes connections between what he espouses as “conservative principles” and what he recommends to people as a proper course of action. I don’t think I want to get into the morass of discussing his ethics and morals;given his pronouncements on principles followed by immediate contradiction, I don’t think he has any.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:14 pm
tom says:
Cantor’s reference to charity care is a very telling point. By and large, charity care as a means of filling the gap in this country has disappeared. When it did exist decades ago, it was largely the result of the Hill-Burton Act which no longer exists.
Hill-Burton was a government program that provided funding for the development and expansion of hospitals in the U.S. in the mid-1900s. In return for funds received, hospitals were obligated to provide uncompensated care to those who met financial requirements. In other words, the bulk of charity care in the U.S. was funded by the same government that Cantor now says cannot and should not be involved in insurance reform.
How ironic . . . how republican!September 22nd, 2009 at 4:15 pm
SP Biloxi says:
“Cantor To Uninsured Woman With Growing Tumors: Get ‘An Existing Government Program’ Or Find Charity”
[shaking my head] Man, this will bite Britney Cantor in the butt. He accuses Obama’s healthcare reform plan as a government-run program yet he tells Ms. Churchill to have uninsured relative to get ‘an existing government program?
GOP party = mental illnessSeptember 22nd, 2009 at 4:15 pm
What the GOP REALLY means ... says:
ElBruce says:
This “charity” thing is a meaningless red herring and they know it. Can you think of a charity on the face of the Earth that says “we’ve made enough money to meet the need this year?” Ever? They always fall short of the demand, and they always have. Therefore, Cantor is explicitly referring her to programs which he knows are insufficient to meet the public need.
Excellent point. My party doesn’t take the word ‘recession’ into any account, however, unless it’s criticizing the president for not cleaning up our deeply-protruding mess fast enough.
We call the government “bankrupt” as opposed to more intelligent response of “revenues are down, the tax cuts for the wealthy aren’t helping, obligations to the government are at an all-time high as a result of our ousted leadership and lots of wasteful spending is still being made out to mercenaries and fat cats.”September 22nd, 2009 at 4:15 pm
Zooey says:
Cantor, with his taxpayer-funded health care coverage, just told this woman to go f uck herself.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:18 pm
pags2 says:
The people who elect politicians like Cantor are just as much at fault as the politicians. You get what you vote for.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:21 pm
Tachinidae Leporello says:
Congress should vote to eliminate their own health care. That way they could experience the joys of for-profit health care. Even better, they could experience their recommended health care for Americans, the local hospital emergency room! Let’s see how many have the guts to try a dose of their own medicine!September 22nd, 2009 at 4:22 pm
MrBrown says:
-memo to Rep. Cantor-
Where is the charity in your dialogue with your constituents?
The word civility is totally missing, as well as compassion for people who share legitimate stories of healthcare horror. And these people get hit with comments like “Where’s your swastika!?”
Sad……September 22nd, 2009 at 4:27 pm
rsalier says:
Yes, lets petition the congress of the united states to have themselves removed from their posh health insurance so that they can get a taste of what the rest of us have to go through. Cantor is such a jerk, how did the people of Virginia vote for this stupid SOB? I thought the people of Virginia were a lot smarter.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:27 pm
raynman says:
Charity begins at home… unless you’re a Republican, then it begins somewhere way far away where they won’t be bothered…September 22nd, 2009 at 4:28 pm
Anonymouse says:
Today’s GOP: a collaborative project by Charles Dickens and Stephen King.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:31 pm
cwarddc says:
Even if a public option passed tomorrow, it wouldn’t help her relative. I don’t think people realize that if a good bill is finally passed, it will be another four years before it’s implemented.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:38 pm
What the GOP REALLY means ... says:
I thought the people of Virginia were a lot smarter.
Screw smart people. We need people who are very smug with their comfortable position in life denying the same opportunity for advancement to others. That’s why I vote republican. Because if there are people suffering out there, it gives me comfort to know I rank above them. It gives me the feeling of superiority.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:39 pm
dasm says:
Cantor is a sexist, uncaring dolt.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:43 pm
ElBruce says:
What the GOP REALLY means … says:
That’s why I vote republican. Because if there are people suffering out there, it gives me comfort to know I rank above them. It gives me the feeling of superiority.
You know, that explains a lot about wingnuts. I think you’re on to something there.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:43 pm
P.D. says:
This is incredible. All these Repugs dare to call themselves Christian, and they don’t seem to give a sh*t about other people who are suffering. On the other hand, You have ‘Liberals’ (Gasp!) who want insurance for EVERYONE. WTF? Who are the Christians and who are the Hell bound?September 22nd, 2009 at 4:47 pm
Peter C says:
Of course, the existing government program is Medicaid, which only kicks in after she paid out of her own pocket until just about all of her net worth is gone.
This is what Cantor would call ‘compassionate conservatism’.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:48 pm
Wiz says:
Cantor couldn’t do anything but give the cold hearted answer he gave, if he showed compassion he might be accused of hypocrisy. You know Republicans don’t want to be hypocrites!September 22nd, 2009 at 4:50 pm
ralph the wonder llama says:
Now Can’t-or’s reluctance to do town halls this summer makes perfect sense.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:52 pm
GeeDubs says:
I’m really flabbergasted that this is the level of public discourse the Republicans have to offer. Wouldn’t this have been a perfectly good opportunity for Mr. Cantor to espouse what the Republicans would do for this woman if they were in charge of writing the bills before Congress? The empty-headedness of it is astounding enough in itself, but to come up with such a non-sensical answer should give everyone pause to ever say the word Republican again or have that R after their name.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:53 pm
nellre says:
Cobra is available for 18 months… but after that what?
She’s going to be forced to liquidate her possessions (in this buy high, sell low economy) and reduced to poverty?See… that’s the problem. The very poor can get help, it’s the middle class that fall through the cracks.September 22nd, 2009 at 4:55 pm
What the GOP REALLY means ... says:
Frankly, we in the GOP don’t give a shit what the economic conditions are. You had the nerve to vote us out. That means we’re going to use every tactic in the book to tell you NO. The obami appointees we’re not confirming, you can take that as a compliment. You lib folks robbed us of our planned permanent majority and we will make sure good government cannot exist, as per the opposite intention of your vote.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:01 pm
Fred says:
These town halls are backfiring on the gop.
How did they let that idiot mccain get this started?September 22nd, 2009 at 5:07 pm
runfastandwin says:
Shorter version:
Are there no poorhouses? No prisons?September 22nd, 2009 at 5:09 pm
HomerSexual says:
Republicans = HeartlessDemocrats = Spineless
Just pass the Health Care Bill (with Public Option) already!!September 22nd, 2009 at 5:17 pm
Marie says:
Jeebus! Heartless, ice-water in their veins, and believing that they are never going to suffer anything that afflicts the “little people.”It makes me want to wish that Cantor and all the other fools like him develop an agonizing and painful disease.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:19 pm
EllieElliott says:
May his wife, his mother and his daughter never be in this situation. As for him…September 22nd, 2009 at 5:19 pm
HomerSexual says:
re: GeeDub’s (#339) comment:Wouldn’t this have been a perfectly good opportunity for Mr. Cantor to espouse what the Republicans would do for this woman if they were in charge of writing the bills before Congress?
He did. They would do nothing.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:20 pm
Keith says:
Bill Maher said “Our healthcare reform would make the U.S. the envy of several African nations”.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:26 pm
Hoodathunk says:
So Can’tor is telling this woman she should consider robbing a bank? If her need is immediate, that would be the fastest way to get into a government program.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:32 pm
Hoodathunk says:
It makes me want to wish that Cantor and all the other fools like him develop an agonizing and painful disease.
They already have. Its called Republicanism. The big problem is they are to insensitive to notice. Sort of like leprosy.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:34 pm
had enough says:
Cantor, you piece of sh!t cut the crap…. just come out and say:
The woman with the tumors and millions like her will die. But the health insurance industry, which is most important and helps my campaign must thrive.
It was all over the news last week that 45,000 a year die because of lack of access to health care. Cantor has to know this.September 22nd, 2009 at 5:40 pm
ElBruce says:
You know the “bleeding heart liberals” they used to use against us? More and more these days that strikes me as an admission that their hearts don’t even pump blood. Just pure icewater moving through stone.
Hoodathunk says:
So Can’tor is telling this woman she should consider robbing a bank? If her need is immediate

Sunday, August 8, 2010

AofF at Too Conservative

Thread: Illegal Alien

Frankly if there is one thing that I am glad to see its the ranks of the Tea Party defend itself regarding the blanket slandering of them by the liberal media on both the illegal immigrant issue as well as the accusation that they are somehow racist for not endorsing Obamacare.The liberal elites forget themselves, especially those in the media ranks like Mathews and Olbermann. The conveniently dismiss their beloved Democrats for such a horrid past and record on race. They always present themselves as students of Congressional history when they tout or shill for liberalism and yet never acknowledge the evil hand the Democrats had in slowing the path to Civil Rights. At the same time they paint the GOP and the Tea Party has haters and racists and yet seem very willing to forgive or dismiss the actions of its ranks regarding the issue. Instead the prop up the Sharptons and the Jacksons of the world but not those in the Congress from the Republican side that fought and frankly PASSED the Civil Rights Act of 64. I am so tired of having these hacks rewrite our history let alone shape the current debate of illegals with the same bull****. The Democrat “18″was determined to block Civil Rights in America. People like Strom Thurmond, Robert Bryd, William Fulbright ring a bell- all Democrats in 64. In fact, its was the GOP and Everett Dirkson( why is he not an American household name?) who broke the Senate filibuster in the Senate where 95% of Southern Dems opposed the Act. Lets not forget those Governors either- none Republican in Wallace, Faubus, Maddox that attempted to subvert change. So I am tired of these media elitists portraying an historical context (the GOP) that does not FACTUALLY exist. In fact, Dirkson was presented with an award honoring him by the NAACP lest we forget.The Illegal debate is being used to simply fuel bigotry and yet made those modern day Democrats doing it ought to reconcile their own Party’s history before slandering citizens simply carrying out their Constitutional rights.Maybe we should make sure that our future generations understand just why it was the Republican Party came to be in the 1850’s; the pro-slavery views of the Democratic Party. Guess we don’t teach that today in our schools because it does not quite fit that liberal narrative of Republicans all being bigots and racists.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Carlos A. Martinelly Montano: The Face of Our Immigration Problem

Timing often times is everything. Especially when you are talking about such a hot topic in political circles as illegal immigration. I have long taken issue with the far liberal left and its characterization of those of us who believe we need to fix our immigration problems as simply prejudice against Hispanics or even racist. Its is so easy these days to have the race card thrown about. One only has to look at the current debates in Washington over the ethic violations of some prominent Congressional leaders or tune in to any nightly bantor on MSNBC regarding the Tea Party movement.

Just when it appeared as though the anti-government intrusion crowd and the Tea Party movement may have climaxed with exposure and began to give way to the nightly beatings on mainstream media Carlos A. Martinelly Montano steps in and absolutely illustrates exactly what is not only wrong with our government enforcement protocols but what also is wrong with the far left today.

Tune in to the mainstream media you would likely not find much coverage of substance regarding the Montano issue outside Virginia and frankly that speaks volumes. You see, when an illegal alien gets behind the wheel of a car and commits involuntary manslaughter it may not be that big of a story at least nationally but when this same illegal alien had been turned over to ICE twice by local law enforcement and released and had appeared in the Courts system some four times in the past few years for violating Virginia law and then gets behind the wheel drunk (for the third time) and kills a Catholic nun and critically injures two other nuns its not something the liberal media wants to cover. Why? Well, the incident does not advance their narrative of American life thats why.

People like Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, Keith Obermann and other liberal elite would have the masses believe that if you are an individual who wants the government to carry out its function of deporting illegals than you are nothing more than a racist. The current debate over the true purpose of the 14th Amendment this week and the reason for its creation has further been hijacked by these liberal elites to somehow been for those entering America illegally from south of the border. They completely neglect historical truth in the debate or even look at the manuscripts of those who put forth the measure in the first place in which it was concentrated over the plight of the African-American in the South and the fear that individual States would not recognize citizenship for them. So, in effect the Federal government would have to make sure it guaranteed such recognition. Now, of course people like Mathews and his ilk would like see yet another interpretation that fits its narrative for America be used and applied to illegals. Of course, they do not even recognize people like Carlos A. Martinelly Montano as an illegal. In their eyes the immigration laws are not real laws in effect and should be ignored. Comprehensive reform is nothing more than a smoke screen for keeping the status quo.

Thats not to say that just the liberal media is to blame for misinformation. Leaders from both sides of the aisle in Washington are just as guilty for ignoring the efforts of the boots on the ground in our public safety ranks. Our police do their job and arrest those breaking our laws, our courts hear the cases and render judgement, and illegals are turned over to the Feds (ICE) and simply released. Irrespective of whether they pose a public safety hazard to our citizens. Our politicians (some) sit by and fail to act because the immigration debate is too hot an issue, especially in an election year. Last I checked, we always have elections every year even if simply on the local level.

So how does one Carlos A. Martinelly Montano fit in to all of this debate? Well, Montano proves that the arguments being made by the Tea Party are not only sound but factual. Its not only the Border States being impacted by illegals with regard to public safety, but the entire country. Our hospitals are filled with those being provided care on the backs of our tax dollars and along the border those Americans being terrorized by illegal gangs and cartels are seeing their property values plummet as well as citizens being robbed and in fact kidnapped in some instances. In fact, even Northern Virginia has had considerable issues with gangs associated with Central American origins and whether these gangs are filled with legal immigrants or illegals is certainly a fair question to ask.

Here is the breakdown for Montano as well as the breakdown in our government's role:

Carlos A. Martinelly Montano of Bristow, Va:
3 DUI's in 5 years
2010: August. charged with involuntary manslaughter, dui, felony driving under revocation for death of Sister Denise Mosier
2009: caught driving under revocation in Fairfax County
2009: given 363 days in jail (served 20) fined 5,000, 3yrs probation, revoked permit for DUI and speeding
2008: PWC Speeding 55/35, DUI blood alcohol level .17 (.08 Va legal limit)DUI #2
2007: Dec. Charged with being Drunk in Public/disorderly
2007: DUI conviction (#1)

ICE was provided with Carlos A. Martinelly Montano from local law enforcement two times regarding an inability to verify legal residency ( as accorded by working relationship Virginia has with ICE)

At any one of these instances, Montano should have been targeted for deportation and held until such deportation could be executed and NOT released back into society. The system failed. As it almost always does under its current structure.


Well, those in Prince William County who railed against Republican Corey Stewart (including MCNBC) in 2007 for his illegal immigration proposals are running for the hills. Turns out, the arguments being made by Stewart regarding safety have simply been vindicated by the action of Montano and the inaction by ICE.

Stewart called this incident "appalling". Stewart went on to express the view that "the despicable thing is this criminal was...handed over to ICE twice, and released by ICE twice."

Its time we all recognize that the issue of Illegal Immigration is better defined by Public Safety and Border(National) Security concerns than political gamesmanship.

How many more caring and giving citizens lives like Sister Denise Mosier have to be cut short in defense of illegal immigration?

Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet with School Board Member Patty Carpenter

Community Meeting

Midlothian District

7PM Monday, June 7, 2010
Midlothian High School

Patty will address the community with regard to the School Board systems and Budget Process that will be directly impacting our community in the coming fiscal year.

Be sure to attend and make sure that any and all concerns you may have at least have a voice!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Promises Broken; Faith Lost: Chesterfield Government Breaks Down

If you think Washington is a mess; citizens of Chesterfield do not have to look past its own to witness complete arrogance and frankly ignorance. Those may appear to be strong words, but in the last few months we have seen elected officials on the Board of Supervisors spar with those on the School Board far too many times over such matters as the budget. Now, apparently the Chesterfield Planning Commission; a body of UNELECTED officials that are appointed by each member of the Board of Supervisors to represent each respective district has taken up the bat for its boss in the Board of Supervisors and swung it directly at the School Board as well.

Frankly, I have never witnessed such an arrogant display by certain leaders that are in effect not even elected by the people attack those officials that are elected by the general public. When an official unilaterally calls for the ouster of ALL 5 members of the School Board it is a bit over the top and in fact highly inappropriate.

What can the public do? Little. The Planning Commission which over the years and guided my such misguided Comprehensive Planning by the likes of former Chairman of the Planning Commission Daniel Gecker who now represents the Midlothian District as a County Supervisor basically serves at the pleasure of the Board and for the most part has historically been a rubber stamp of the Board of Supervisors agenda. Remember, the members of the Planning Commission do not answer to the people directly.

The School Board certainly has made many mistakes over these last few years, but in the end the School Board must always be reactive to what the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission orchestrate. In no place is this seen more than in school crowding for example. I do not recall anyone of these "Planners" calling for the brakes to be put on, including Supervisor Gecker when for over eight years he oversaw what has to be the largest expansion of growth and zoning approvals in Chesterfield history. Such policy resulted in many of the shortcomings we are experiencing in our school system today. At a recent meeting at Greenfield Elementary School, Supervisor Gecker went on record stating that Crestwood Elementary was not delivering the same level of education that it had in past years. Mr. Gecker should have the integrity to admit that it has been policies that he himself has endorsed and/or supported that has created those levels to be challenged. You cannot keep expecting growth to pay for itself, nor can you expect teachers across the County to continually be asked to educate larger and larger classes which are a direct result of poor planning.

I personally have lost faith in this government to work together and formulate a vision for the future for Chesterfield together with a united front. Instead, while Chesterfield has sought to be a First Choice Community, these leaders are well on their way of transforming Chesterfield into a second rate locality. While Henrico County continues to right its ship; Chesterfield remains bogged down in divisive squabbles that have more to do with personalities than issues.

As citizens we have witness promises broken time and time again and after todays display of government in action; why should anyone have faith in this government anymore to provide solutions when they are more concerned with declaring whose to blame for our condition?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Tribute Video

The following is a Tribute Video for OUR Fallen!!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chesterfield County: The Leadership Vaccum

After last nights Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors Public Meeting I am absolutely convinced that what we are experiencing here in the County is a leadership vacuum.

County Government is suffering from a complete message or controlled public relations meltdown it has not seen in some forty years. Back then it was over the creation and expenses associated with having a Police Department versus maintaining a State supported Sheriff's department only. Today of course, we have both.

A large piece of the County budget (non-school) is allocated for Police, Fire, EMS but even those are under fire behind closed doors moving forward. The County is backing away from new Fire station construction for example.

It begs the this question. If you could make the case for the Station years ago based on real demand for safety and to ensure said safety in a timely manner to residents exactly what has changed?

I will tell you what. The politics.

Last night witnessed about 100 or so people sign in to speak before the Board. I personally got the stinking suspicion that the fix was in for most programs and some of these members were simply going through the motions. Yet, there was no real integrity before the audience to make the case in reality for what they have planned.

I have to admit that the case being made on behalf of Parks and Recreation was honorable. The face sweeping cuts to programs in large part because they are an easy target for these politicians. They do not want to actually be forced to examine what is truly at the heart of the problem facing the County budget and that is remarkably enough the size of the County payroll. You will not get a single elected official who views themselves as simply a "politician" first to speak the truth, but the fact is the County right now has a workforce that is larger than the 8 largest private (non-public sector) companies combined today.

County Government has a payroll of just under 12,000. That is even with not filling the so-called "unfilled positions" that the County always seems to be advertising. It is thought that the County will have to cut a mere 84 full-time jobs and 61 part-time moving forward, but you very rarely get a number out the Board. Its easier to place a target on things like historic sites or Rockwoods Nature Center than to put themselves in the cross hairs by looking to release employees, even when that exactly what is required.

We got a taste of things last night.

Daniel Gecker, Chairman of the Board has not been shy in articulating widely unpopular views and making such comments as;

"There have been significant reductions in Capital Improvements that the public doesn't see"-thank you blogger Chesterfield Taxpayer.

Really Mr. Gecker? Were you not the candidate pledging full "transparency"? How transparent has this budget process been? Why are things being hidden from the public? How can you state we are a First Choice Community when we have now gone five years since the County sought to post meetings, minutes and all governmental information online? Why is it we have only taking our public meetings online and on television? Why has not all the committee sessions and budgetary process as well as audits of County services and operations been brought to light? Why has the environmental studies (all) paid for by taxpayers for the Upper Swift Creek Plan not been fully disclosed to residents?

Here is a big question that we can never get a answer on and that is why is it that the Brandermill community seems to have such a stranglehold on the Swift Creek Reservoir. This body of water belongs to taxpayers not landowners who border it. Why have they been permitted to confine access to water owned by the County at large? How can the County permit them to control access points and determine who can and cannot enter the Reservoir via such area? Open it up; it belongs to all of us. Its our drinking water resource after all.

Parks and Recreation seem to be on the chopping blocks as ironic as it is as well as the Recycling Program. Its ironic because these are things that members like Marlene Durfee and Dan Gecker pledged to better leverage via their vision of smart growth and green space. Updating our parks was a key component a mere two years ago. I guess that was when they were sitting on the required funds and looking for a means in which to spend it as opposed to returning it to taxpayers. Now, the parks and programs centered around both the young and elderly are not as vital to these members as say government jobs. Jobs which require better than average salaries and higher benefit expenses than their private sector counterparts.

There was a question of "user fees" addressed last night by the public in a few questions and to be honest it makes the most sense in lean times by having people who wish to use programs actually have to pay for them.

I personally feel that it is perfectly acceptable to ask parents such as myself to help offset the expenses for athletic programs; either in the public school system or via Parks and Recreation. I have no problem with paying fees that support Night Basketball, Softball, etc for adults. I hardly expect the County to pick up that tab for me to play. Do they pay for our American Family or Gold's Gym membership? I think not. If there is enough demand for the program it will be funded accordingly through user fees and if not than the program disappears until there is such demand. That may seem harsh but that is the reality we face when we simply cannot afford the "wants" and can only provide for the "needs".

The Schools have a bigger cross to bear regarding funding. They have allowed the expenses per student ratio to rise year after year and we now are seeing a 57% rise in costs per pupil in the last 10 years. Another irony is the fact that while costs per pupil rose 57%, the actual budget to support the system grew 81% for the same period. What does that mean? Well, the School System was allocated/budgeted some 25% more than the rise in costs. Mind you enrollment rose about 15% since 2000. The County population rose to around 300,000 and to meet these numbers the County increased the number of schools by just over 10 percent and added about 20% more teachers in the period.

The Chesterfield Taxpayer has the cost per resident for the County Budget at 1,526 before taking into consideration the School System. Throw in the Schools and you add in about another 2,500 per resident. Of course the Board would rather see drastic cuts to the Schools over the General Fund and that is what is playing out right now.

There is a vacuum of leadership right now. No one is stepping up with solutions that are not firmly rooted in the preservation of government dominance. Programs are being examined first but not the government payroll. In fact the County seems bent on doing everything possible to preserve government jobs.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Save Our Schools: Greenfield Elementary March 17, 2010

It was not really a hard choice to make tonight; sit through another evening of American Idol or head on out to Greenfield Elementary tonight and try and get a handle on exactly what the issues are that face the Chesterfield County School System.

Its no longer new news, but the County is in trouble. This kind of trouble is not going to simply vanish in the coming years either. The trouble we face is certainly financially rooted, but I have come in recent months to determine the County is also philosophically in trouble.

Tonight was more of a brief explanation of the roles of both the Board of Supervisors as well as the School Board than I would characterize it as a meeting to reveal the issues within the budget itself. We all know the School System has a pending shortfall, but tonight there was not really a true examination as to WHAT would be cut. It was briefly revealed in a PowerPoint presentation, but CUTS were either intentionally left out of the elected officials analysis or things just wandered of course during Q &A. Not unlike County funding I might add.

The County at this point is funding schools with about 58% of its revenues. There is a proposal created by the County Administrator to help the School Board with an added 6 million from the General fund, but as of yet the Board has not voted on the proposal and Gecker neither showed his hand or that of the other Supervisors.

The shortfall our schools face is a product of many factors. One of which was blatantly absent from tonight's meeting and that is the State Legislature. Richmond has sought to cut levels in statewide education at unprecedented levels in order to cure its own shortfalls at the State level. That said, we really did not get any real admission from Supervisor Daniel Gecker regarding his role in the crisis we face.

I tend to give School Board members a pass when it comes to these things centered around overcrowding or school construction. My reasoning is the School Board must be a reactionary body. Of course they should be proactive regarding its own budget and cut where it can cut in both good and lean times, but the reality is much of what they must respond to has to do with enrollment. The School Board has little control or even participation in the process that contributes to overcrowding in our schools. Overcrowding is a product of poor comprehensive planning and that falls right smack down on Mr. Gecker's lap.

No matter how many times Supervisor Marlene Durfee over in Matoaca rants about how the schools should be "redistricted" to curb the overcrowding, these elected officials never seem to want to take responsibility for the fact it is their obsession with growth that perpetuates this continual overcrowding issue.

Tonight, Mr. Gecker alluded to a post-2000 period that has created much of the mandates in education (a direct smack at George Bush and No Child Left Behind) that have in his opinion actually lowered the level of quality in our schools and specifically Crestwood Elementary where his children have been enrolled over the years. Whether that is true or not I leave to others to debate, but what I will say is that many of the classroom issues we face have a direct correlation with growth in the County. Excessive zoning approvals to take advantage of the booming housing markets of 2005 thru 2007 resulted in attracting new families to the County and thus raising the level of enrollment. Mind you, the County was already sitting at maxed levels before this boom and the result was once again the County finding itself behind the growth curve in terms of seats available in the classrooms throughout the County.

The one point I wanted everyone in attendance tonight to hear but did not get the chance and a point I want all the readers of this blog to grasp is simply illustrated by my own experience:

** I first entered Chesterfield County Public Schools in 1982. I was one of the first classes to suffer with having classes in dreadful trailers- you remember them- no heat or no ac. In the early 1980's citizens like my parents were told by the Board (not the School Board mind you) that the trailers were a necessity due to the rapid growth the County was experiencing. This was a time where the County went from having a Sheriff's Department to having a Police Department and Sheriff's Department. Forget about the fact the State picks up a lot of the tab for the Sheriffs Department but again that is another issue. Flash forward almost thirty years AND


Why? Well, you will get no admission from people like Mr. Gecker but if you simply take a look at the numbers during that same period he referred as post-2000 he has been involved in every major zoning development before either the Planning Commission or the Board of Supervisors.

Remember "Field of Dreams"? If you build it he will come. Well Mr. Gecker, with all due respect if YOU ZONE IT, developers will built it and THEY WILL COME!!! Look at how many new schools have been required to meet this growth in our schools. Was such growth necessary? Did this growth pay for itself? Apparently not folks.

Board members and Mr. Gecker can pass along blame all they want regarding the School Board, but certainly they and specifically Mr. Gecker bear some responsibility regarding the challenges the school faces in terms of enrollment. Gecker act this evening as though the slowing housing market was some sort of savior, but whats lost is these developments are still zoned and approved. Once this market turns around, the County will be right back where it started without enough seats in the classrooms. I bet we will be having this same overcrowding debate in five years.

So what has this planning brought us? Even in the midst of explosive growth our schools ARE the best. Our children ARE being provided a quality education (regardless of what Mr. Gecker thinks) by dedicated staff. Again, much of what are schools must deal with is in reaction to policies, especially planning, that the Board of Supervisors seeks to implement.

Most people do not think of "sprawl" being associated with schools. It usually gets linked with commercial enterprises, but if you look at what has happened to schools in certain older areas of the County versus say Mataoca or Midlothian it is easy to see how planning has played an integral part is destroying the high traditions of those schools while more money was focused on the "new" and less money was allocated to update and modernize the "old".

The message that is being lost on the Board of Supervisors is not one regarding taxes or tax hikes but the simple message of "SLOW DOWN" and "WORK TOGETHER". Allow the housing course to play out and cease zoning approvals in areas where we TODAY do not have seats in our classrooms for new enrollment. Period.

I wish I could speak to cuts and services on the chopping block but in reality I do not think anyone tonight learned anything other than the fact that the School Board has determined that it requires 548 million to provide the quality of education in Chesterfield it is committed to. We also learned that the Supervisors apparently do not endorse said number. Regardless, the School System will be looking at a budget likely to fall closer to the 520 level or even lower come 2012.

Mr. Gecker challenged all in attendance to contact their State Delegation and raise awareness regarding the impact of the measures they are undertaking and while certainly appropriate I do not suspect that those attending tonight wanted yet another buck to be passed.

As one attending leaned in and ask me...."so do we know if they are cutting the athletic program or what?" I guess they will approve the budget before we will really understand what is being cut. Kinda reminds you of Washington doesn't it?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Chesterfield County: Education in the Crosshairs

The Chesterfield County School System appears to be taking it on the chin these days. Whether its community officials slamming the system and its leadership for irresponsible budgeting or citizens steaming over delayed school cancellations resulting from the snow early yesterday that had the High Schools in and the others out for the day.

It was not the fact that the County closed the Elementary and Middle schools but like everything else these days the late call made by the County to do so. If you were standing in the Starbucks line in Chesterfield yesterday, undoubtedly the conversation for alot of parents was the snow and the schools.

It is ironic that at a time where Chesterfield County faces its biggest shortfall (potentially now 46 million) for its school system that Governor McDonnell unvieled his education reform package yesterday. While I agree with much that he is proposing in his reform package, especially charter schools it is apparent that a great number of Virginia localities are facing an inability to implement any real reform at the school level at this time given current budget woes. many would suspect that the State would pick up the tab for such reforms, but the State as well is in the midst of facing some really hard budget considerations. In fact, this week we learned that if the State changes the funding formula for school divsions that Chesterfield would likely lose an additional 4 million on top of the stimulus funding that never came as a result of Gov. Kaine's withholding the funds.

"The Opportunity to Learn" is the new mantra of Governor McDonnell's reform package and yet here in Chesterfield it very well may be the "Lack of Opportunity"- to play athletics, to participate in school play, to join a foriegn langauge club, to take behind the wheel and drivers education or even apply for the Governor's School. The latter is very ironic in that a school such as the Governor's School program that is to reward those students that are achieving at a high level and yet as our very own Governor talks about rewarding those students our own County could be withdrawing from participation altogether.

It really makes you wonder if the local State leaders such as Loupassi, Ware, Watkins and Martin representing all or parts of Chesterfield are communicating with the Governor regarding the crisis faced by the school system and whether such reforms such as the funding formula are the best thing to do right now. I understand that many us realize that there is hardly a great time for reform otherwise why on earth would it be neccessary, but during this crisis it a matter of the quality of education that Chesterfield has always sustained that is coming into question.

Are we telling our students that they can do with less or are we saying to the System they need to make more with less. Teachers will be facing at the very least a 3% paycut, the classes are definitely going to be raised by at least one possible two students and right now it looks as if some 38 elementary school secretary positions will be eliminated.

And yet NONE of what you are hearing in the news addresses the biggest long term issue of all facing the County and thats the retirement/benefit for local government employees. With a large number of teachers in Chesterfield approaching retirement for example, how can the County hope to replace many of these retireees with what will surely be a reduced compensation package. Why would not a new teacher prefer to locate in Hanover or other Virginia locality where pay is comparable but class sizes much smaller where they can focus more on teaching and less on logistics and administration on a daily basis? Is anyone even really sure what the retirement, pension, benefits ect is going to cost Chesterfield over the next ten years as these teachers and other school system employees retire? You would think that would play a part in any long term plan to dig the schools out of this shortfall.

Right now, the County is keeping its eye on the ball to simply get this next fiscal year planned and paid for, but the long term issues are still going to be there when they come together again next year with even less State funding to work with and potentially less Federal money for such programs as No Child Left Behind and other Department of Education programs.

The question remains just how far the Board of Supervisors are willing to bleed the CCPS regarding programs and staffing. I can tell you this much, if the Board of Supervisors creates a funding scenario where Chesterfield County Schools cuts its athletic programs than you can pretty much guarantee such a backlash that the next election cycle will repeat the results of 2007.

If you recall, in 2007 the County Board of Supervisors experienced sweeping change on the backs of the 2006 pickup victories at the Congressional level throughout the country as national approval ratings for the GOP plummeted. 2007 was the step off again for Democrats in a backlash election against the GOP that springboarded the complete control of Congress with pickups in Virginia in both the House and Senate as well as the Presidency of course.

If anyone has been paying attention to Washington lately or the economy, 2011 could very well be the springboard to 2012 nationally as voters reject the Democrats. I doubt local Supervisors want to participate in that firestorm, but if they allow things like athletics, music and art get cut along with school clubs.......they will certainly be collateral damage to an already poor climate for incumbancy!!!!

Friday, February 5, 2010

EntryWay Rescue: Village of Midlothian

The Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition Foundation is seeking assistance from the greater Midlothian community to help with the preservation of the Village Entryway sign along the Midlothian Tnpk corridor.

The entryway was dedicated in 1994 and due to recent weather conditions the wooden structure has started to erode in such a manner that the structure very well may collapse in the months following all this winter.

Contributions can be made to:

EntryWay Rescue

Village of Midlothian Volunteer Coalition

P.O. Box 1295

Midlothian, Va 23113

501(3)c non-profit

tax deductible

Alter of Freedom: Facebook

Alter of Freedom will have a new Facebook group page hitting the social networking site this week in an attempt to reach and engage many followers in an easier more efficient manner than the standard blog.

Hopefully, everyone who reads the blog and has a Facebook presence will Join the Group. There is a growing Tea Party base building in Chesterfield that evry well may have influence over the next local Board elections so pass the word along.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Battle of the Boards: School Board v. Board of Supervisors

Chesterfield Fireworks are coming early in 2010. No not at the Fairgrounds but at the Government Complex. The situation facing Chesterfield County regarding the financial shortfall facing the school system now pegged at some 40 million has created a turf war with local government.

Each cycle, we as citizens have an opportunity to cast votes for candidates for the Board of Supervisors and the School Board. The actual role and responsibility of these leaders seems pretty straightforward, however thats only when things are going well regarding the budgets. This is not the first time where our Supervisors, who hold the purse, have decided to interject its power over the School Board by basically trying to influence or better yet modify the School Boards budget to reflect what they want.

The problem for our current Board of Supervisors is this time around it is very ill-timed. Our nation is facing this issue at the Federal level where Washington is attempting to yeild unwarranted influence over banks and auto companies under the grounds that because bailouts came on the backs of taxpayers that they have this right. Its no different here in Chesterfield except the language is a bit different.

The Supervisors are taking the position that because they take in the revenues from taxpayers (the purse) and than distribute it to the School Board (now about 61% of the overall purse) that they should have some say as to how that money is spent by the School Board.

In fact Chairman Daniel Gecker of Midlothian says as much in his statement to school officials that the County (the Board of Supervisors)"does not intend to allocate more (funds)without complete agreement to how the funds will be spent".

Excuse me. I suspect that the Supervisors have their hands full with their own issues within their own budget than to someohw think that they to can tackle the School Board budget as well. I had not realized that we elected our Supervisors to oversee or better yet micromanage the School Boards budget as well eventhough we know that the Supervisors do "allocate" the funds to fund the school system.

Its like the bank loaning you the money but telling you that they will be overseeing exactly how you are spending it and if they do not like how you are using the funds than they simply will halt funding further.

Is this reasonable governance?

The fact remains that various studies and audits have been undertaken regarding the CCPS and in fact Chesterfield has been recognized as one of the most "efficient school systems in the country".

So why is the charge that the CCPS is being mismanaged andn if so why has there not been a push for the removal of Marcus Newsome who recently voluntarily reduced his salary by 15,000 or 7% in the new budget? Its because the Supervisors are blaming the State more so than the School Board. One of Gov. Kaine's last acts was to halt the payment of 25 million to the CCPS through the stimulus package; no doubt a political move given Chesterfield's historical conservative voting record. Doubtful Kaine would have undertaken the same positon for say an Arlington County.

The CCPS employs some 9,000 employees and currently educates just under 59,000 student. Newsome is recommending 3-4% pay reductions and eliminating 304 positions from the rolls and raising the classroom average by one student.

Gecker believes "that there are other items" that should be examined before he pupil/teacher ratio is raised. Maybe, Gecker would be willing to come clean with exactly what those measures should be.

I for one am a strong supporter of limited government and though I believe the CCPS have some opportunities before them as illustrated by the shortfall, I also firmly believe that had the Board of Supervisors not grossly mismanaged the growth in Chesterfield maybe our schools would not be facing such financial woes. Does the School Board control zonings and developments? Do they have any real power with regard to how the County plans the future?

Maybe if our Supervisors want to take over the School Boards responsibilty regarding budgeting, the School Board ought to have some say in what the Board of Supervisors does regarding planning given any decision they undertake directly impacts classrooms throughout the County. So they next time you read about the Board approving some development like Roseland, think about exactly how that may impact the School Board's long term planning as well.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chesterfield County- The Future Begins With Us

While I am sure that most of us today were busy working today and taking care of our families and paid little attention to the follow-up to last nights State of the Union address, I urge all residents of Chesterfield to begin to focus their attention on matters of hand here in Chesterfield as opposed to Washington. I undertand that is a bit harder said than done given the twenty four hour news cycle concentrating on Washington but there are things afoot here in Chesterfield that could undermine our ability to continue to remain a First Choice Community.

The Board of Supervisors will release soon a targeted property tax rate to be debated that must be published before they can take up the matter in a mere two months. This published rate by law cannot be exceeded by vote but the rate certaibnly can be lower than the proposed publish rate if citizens get engaged.

The rate is important because recently the School Board has asked the BOCS to increase the property tax rate from 95 cents to 1.01 per $100 of assessed values. The justification for this increase is that such an increase would be revenue nuetral in that with the falling property assessments the amount paid by residents would roughly be the same as 2009. Such an increase would add some 19 million in tax revenue with the CCPS getting around 12 million.

This effort is meant to address the 40 to 50 million in budget cuts facing the School Board which is centered around a reduction in teacher ranks, establishing furloughs and potentially authorizing the elimination of school athletics saving 1.8 million.

These efforts are said to be essential in large part because the monies from the Federal Stimulus Package that were to be marked for schools (some 19 million) in Chesterfield was removed by then Governor Kaine.

Its time that residents get engaged. There is a growing conservative Tea Party group here in Chesterfield and I urge them to engage in this process and expose those leaders that have implemented gimmicks in order to please voters and passed unneccesary zonings to satisfy the special interests.

Many residents who challenged the current Board members for lowering the tax rate some two years ago are outraged. The very thing that many warned the members has happened. The time has come for these leaders to be held accountable and for conservatives to rally around each other and signal the beginning of the end for some of these members.

The Schools are a huge issue with regard to the County budget. Yes the CCPS should be fully audited and their budget completely overhauled in search of savings. There is absolutely no reason why the CCPS should be operating at levels exceeding State mandates. The high salary levels of top adminstrators both in and outside the CCPS is alrming. If the average adjusted gross income in Chesterfield is around 80K than some of these folks are earning 3 times that average in salary and car allowances. 3 times.

The fact that such car allowances are being sold as neccessary to attract top notch people is a dated and tired arguement. Are they telling us that the County cannot find anyone qualified in America willing to run CCPS for under 252K. I think its time that the CCPS and the BOCS get a big dose of reality from citizens.

Fact si there is plenty of blame to go around. Its not merely the CCPS fault for the shortfall in their budget. The BOCS shares a lions share of the responsibility. Members like Daniel Gecker from Midlothian have overseen in the last nine years the largest misguided growth pattern in the Chesterfield's history. The lack of defined comprehensive planning has resulted in unsustainable capacity levels that will require of schools to raise the number of students per classroom to over 30. Increasing the class size by a mere student is said to save the CCPS 112 teachers and some 6 million.

Why would raising these class level sizes be neccessary in the first place? Ill-conceived planning has created an environment where new schools must be built and older schools modernized faster than the amount of revenues can be collected to address these needs. The costs of construction skyrocketed in terms of new schools as well. Members like Gecker have been quoted has stating that any effort to focus money at the middle school level are unjustified and yet new middle schools have come on line and very well may continue to be required. Gecker while on the Planning Commisssion before joining the Board after the 2007 elections has directly contributed to the woes facing Chesterfield in terms of excessive capacity in the housing market driving down home values and requiring the neccessary adjustments to cash proffers in the coming years whether he believes in them or not. The County had the opportunity to raise the cash proffer levels to comparable standards of other Virginia localities with similar growth rates, but members like Gecker did not support an increase to the proposed level and forced a lower rate all be it higher than the previous years. The fact that the CCPS is facing capacity concerns is a direct result of approving zonmings for areas without the capacity to support children in the classrooms. This forces hastily planned school constrcution to meet the demands and creates an environment where Chesterfield families face new school boundaries and potentially school shuffling.

Its simple. You do not permit housing developments in areas where there are no seats in the classrooms for students. Obviously these leaders failed to get the message in Field of Dreams- "If you build it, they will come". Well, they built it and now our schools are taxed as well as our infrastructure and in particular our roadways. Traffic is at its highest levels as well as vehicular accidents and yet still the Board continues to approve more developments.

Will residents accept that fact that the CCPS may have to eliminate school athletics? I mean, how can we reconcile the fact that we are saying that our young people are out of shape, many obese and at the same time take away such programs that promote the very best things in our youth; health, teambuilding, and respect for authority. Its as if they are saying that the 1.8 million has no real "benefit" to our children.

I would support for sure the ability for parents to pay for their children to participate in sports. I think the case can be made that it makes little sense to require all residents to pay for such programs anymore than it makes sense for all of us to pay for other peoples healthcare as proposed in Washington. There needs to be a shared responsibility between the County adn citizens if we want to keep these programs and a big start would be the ability for volunteer coaches and assistants to come from outside the CCPS system. Should we be pay higher salaries for teachers willing to coach neccessarily if we can get volunteer coaches from our community? Should we be willing to eliminate programs before taking a look at administrative salaries? Should our teachers be the frontline casualties first?

We as citizens have some very hard questions to face in terms of the direction we want Chesterfield to go. It must start with us and not the leaders in the backrooms. We must demand that programs that we believe benefit our children and our communities be funded and those that seem to merely benefit government be eliminated. There is no reason we should be spending funds on government facilities like new courtrooms, new adminstrative buildings, new libraries when another one already open can maintain the traffic when we need a focused laser on schools and public safety.

There will be plenty of opportunity in the coming weeks for citizens to get engaged. Will you join us or sit back and let Chesterfield begin to fall behind the curve. The future of Chesterfield is in our hands.