Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sen. Steve Martin(R-Chesterfield): Challenges of Social Media

The following is passage is taken from State Senator Steve Martin's (R-Chesterfield) Facebook page where he was recently engaged in debate with fellow Virginians over the potential former Senator and Governor George Allen's nomination to represent the GOP in a bid to unseat Senator James Webb:

Robert and Amy; "For some reason you believe that you have a right to control my evening and the focus of it. You are fully aware that this is my wall and not your own, yet you keep posting things here for me to respond to. I have worked very long days including weekends for several weeks and I am very tired. Today I had hoped to rest but found it necessary to travel out of state for an aunt's funeral. I left very early this morning and got home a few hours ago, and have found it necessary to respond to you two ever since. Apparently, you will only be happy if I stop responding to any and everything you say.Yes; please move along. This is not your wall for you to post whatever you choose. That is what your wall is for. Hijacking of someone's space and time is never welcomed, by anyone.I appreciate both of you, but this is not your wall for your unchallenged use. Do you mind if I take a break from your onslaught" (Steve Martin)

This was but one of the comments posted by Mr. Martin on his page as he responded to individuals who have challenged his apparent endorsement of George Allen in the GOP Primary. It has really been interesting to watch and read these things because apparently Mr. Martin has had a great deal of trouble grasping the Social Media medium when compared to other elected officials. Mr. Martin constantly complains about people "hijacking" his page whereas we rarely (if ever) see other leaders resort to such petty quibbles. Mr. Martin would later post on his page about being compelled to delete and remove comments from those that have differing points of view on the issues than himself. Mr. Martin would later post:

"Some believe a store owner's removal of an unwanted bulletin from his front window is censorship. No. That is controlling your storefront ... your wall. The same is true on FB. Censorship would be deleting someone else's desired messages from their own wall. Deleting unwanted posts from your own wall is called, "taking responsibility." Too bad, so much of it was reguired this evening" (Steve Martin)

It has become clear in the last year, as we have posted about this before regarding Mr. Martin, that he has a tendency to feel very insecure about his Facebook Page. In fact, when he states "unwanted posts" its as if he is implying that they are unsolicited when in fact through Facebook when you accept to be friends with an individual let alone a constituent you are inviting posts upon your wall.

By accepting a Friend Request we basically provide that person with access to our wall and in doing so provide them with license to post whatever they would like. After all, these people are our friends right? Mr. Martin has every right to delete and take control of his wall of course, but is it really professional to whine about having to engage and respond to constituents whom may have a different perspective, especially when you post a virtual endorsement for another political figure. It appears as though by posting such an endorsement, Mr. Martin was inviting constituent response from those whom are his Friends on Facebook, otherwise why even put it out there and through a press release.

What has to be the most humorous response regarding Mr. Martins plea for sympathy came when on of his commenter's stated in reference to how Mr. Martin should look at this issue came when Mr. Martin stated that the wall on Facebook was property in the same manner in which a renter has rights over property that may be owned by someone else and no one has the right to enter said property or post on the wall or trespass. The comment directed at Mr. Martin was:

"The difference Sen. Martin is that by accepting Friendship with someone to use your renters analogy you have basically given them the keys to enter your property"

Obviously, embarrassed Mr. Martin quickly removed the above comment as well as those that were in agreement most likely because it basically undermined the stated position of Mr. Martin. In fact, the Senator even removed his own comment regarding the "renter" analogy. The thread now reads as an uneven, hard to follow thread where none of responses seem to flow as you read them.

Once again, Mr. Martin has proven his inability to understand Social Media at its basic core but after the last year or so are any of us really surprised?

Interesting point as well is Martin's endorsement of George Allen in the statewide race, but Mr. Martin still has failed to endorse Mr. Robinson;the only Republican candidate that has announced a candidacy for Supervisor from the Matoaca District in Chesterfield, which is smack in the middle of Martin's own District. Apparently, Mr. Martin is sticking by incumbent Marlene Durfee -Independent, much to the dismay of conservative voters in Chesterfield.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Chesterfield: Politics as Usual

I want to take this opportunity to express how so very disappointed I am in the current Board of Supervisors. This Board, not unlike the Congress in 2007, was ushered in by those in the media as bringing a new day, tone and transparency to the process. As a nation we had had seven years of leadership under George Bush and voters turned over Congress to the Democrats and here in Chesterfield, an historically conservative County turned the Board of Supervisors over to Independents(Democrats) after decades of Republican control.

I am hear to tell you that the result of such action has been as negative here in Chesterfield as it has nationally in terms of the last Congress. We all know what happened in November. Voters rejected the path in which both Congress and Obama were taking the nation down and now here in Chesterfield I can tell you that citizens are rejecting not only the policies of this Board but in fact are questioning its motives.

Yesterday, there was a meeting regarding the new Comprehensive Plan in Midlothian. (More on that meeting later for its deserving of its own post). In attendance were the usual suspects; Supervisor Gecker(Midlothian), Supervisor Durfee(Matoaca), Patty Carpenter(School Board-Midlothian) and many Planning officials but also there sitting respectfully in the back of the meeting room was Supervisor Jim Holland(Dale) who just a day earlier had been the victim (yes victim) and some of the political engineering as so often has expressed itself in Chesterfield County. So much for a new day and tone!

Or should I say so much for "Planning not Politics" as Supervisor Gecker's campaign slogan suggested . Oh folks, "Politics" is alive and well in Chesterfield and in part due to people like Mr. Gecker.

Instead, what the County gets is once again the status quo of leadership. If the County voted out the Republicans and they currently remain somewhat in the minority given the current political make-up; 1 democrat, 2 Independents, and 2 Republicans. Remember, there were 5 seated Republicans going into the last election. Why on earth than would the Board continue to shift backward to Supervisor Art Warren you ask? Simple. Politics.

Warren has held the Chairmanship of the Board a few times in his 20 years as a Supervisor, but there is more to it than that. The County is at a crossroads with regard to its future. It appears as though the powers that be wanted the power of the Chair in the hands of a friend, given Mr. Holland was just recently elected and has been a bit of a wild card on the Board. Truth be told, I have the greatest amount of respect for Holland who appears to vote his conscience and appears not to persuaded by the powers. Holland, however was betrayed on those closest to him and those people he has worked beside these last few years.

I have no doubt the disappointment felt by Mr. Holland and frankly the surprise that such a back room deal orchestrated by his fellow Supervisors would be sprung on him at the very meeting there was to be a vote. Everyone assumed Mr. Holland would take over as Chair and then at the last moment the plan unraveled and Warren was secured the Chair by a vote of 3-2.

Supervisor Jaeckle's(Bermuda) position in the matter was known. After all, she is a Republican and has voted alongside Warren for the last few years, but what was quite surprising was the switch made by Supervisor Gecker(Midlothian) who had supported Holland until the vote when he joined Jaeckle in supporting Warren. Gecker has had the current Chair this past year.

Supporters of gecker at the Planning meeting voiced that his actions demonstrated his "independent" nature, however those of us who have observed Gecker these last nine years know he is a pure politician. It is my opinion that Gecker made a politically calculated move because he knows the Midlothian District is in large part a Conservative area. Gecker made a calculated move in 2006 to run as an "Independent" after losing to Donald Sowder-R in the Special Election running as a Democrat. In 2006, Gecker challenged Sowder again and defeated him this time running as an "Independent". It was a calculated move based on politics and Gecker understands he will not be able to yield the same kind of sentiment for "change" like he did in the historic 2006 election and will need many Republicans to support his re-election bid.

Again, Mr. Gecker has demonstrated his desire to engage in the worst kind of politics. The politics of selfishness. Gecker had an opportunity to bring about an historic vote in Chesterfield which would have seen the first minority Chairman in County history. Instead, Gecker hands over the reigns to Warren for the third time in four years.

Now that's "change" you can believe in!