Monday, February 26, 2007

Of Oscar and Debt on Our Grandchildren

You go Al!!! Win those Oscars!!!


While Al Gore is receiving much deserved acclaim and recognition for his work to raise awareness of the environmental challenges we as the human race must deal with...
The GOP is following their usual path of charge it today and let our children's children figure out how to pay for what we're doing...

Virginia Republicans want to raid the general fund to pay for their lack of fortitude by robbing some $250,000,000 from the state general fund and programs that help education and the elderly while at the same time pushing off the responsibility of paying for today's transportation backlog with two and one half BILLION dollars of debt heaped upon future generations.

President Bush wishes to DOUBLE our spending per month in Iraq to make up for all the tanks and bombs that he used up in the invasion, and let our children's children pay for it....

The big Dubbya has just announced that He has just discovered the value of electric cars almost seven years after his administration sued California to make them stop promoting a successful effort in, of all things, developing ELECTRIC CARS.... While at the same time giving HUGE tax breaks to people to buy autos that only get 12 mpg….

Being President is HARD! Being an unthinking Republican is HARD! Who knew that world domination and ignoring the environment and the economy would be, well, so HARD?!!!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Talking About Transportation by Mona John Williams

The mid-sized audience paid close attention as Scott Kasprowicz, Virginia’s deputy secretary of transportation, described the current state of the commonwealth’s transportation program at RCDC’s second general meeting for 2007, on Wednesday, February 21, at Broadway High School. What was notable about the audience became evident once the questions started—these were informed, involved community members who had come prepared to dig a little into what has become one of the state’s most difficult issues.

Kasprowicz did not hesitate to characterize the current situation as problematic. He held up a bar chart that summarized driving-related growth during the past 18 years. While growth in population was 24%, the number of drivers increased by 34%. But increase in miles driven was an impressive 56%. “We are driving more,” Kasprowicz said. This large increase in miles driven relates directly to the Virginia Department of Transportation’s single biggest expense, which is for road maintenance.

New development is increasing VDOT’s road maintenance responsibilities at a steady rate of 200 miles per year. The department, in response, is intensifying its scrutiny of developers’ plans and proffers in the light of future road maintenance requirements. An effort is being made, for example, to encourage connectivity among subdivision roads, and to discourage formerly popular cul-de-sacs.

Governor Kaine’s transportation policy, Kasprowicz said, emphasizes accountability, stricter land use requirements and sustainable funding. VDOT is now completing 90% of highway projects on-time and on-budget, and a Transportation Accountability Commission is developing standards to help citizens evaluate progress. The Governor has asked the General Assembly to allow local jurisdictions to deny rezoning requests that would overload road systems. And he has proposed tax reforms and new and increased fees to provide a dedicated revenue stream for transportation funding.

Kasprowicz mentioned the transportation funding debate currently occupying the General Assembly, whose current session is due to end on Saturday, February 24. Central to the argument is the question whether or not to tap the General Fund, normally used for education and other basic services, for $250 million in transportation revenues.

Questions from the audience were focused on local concerns, pitched at varying levels of technicality, and plentiful. A sample:

· How does Virginia’s gas tax compare with other states’? It is low.
· Why not look into providing incentives to get passenger buses rolling again on I-81? That is being looked at, but is not high priority due to limited funds.
· What is the size of the road maintenance funding backlog that has accumulated? In the billions.
· When did Virginia stop being a pay-as-you-go state? During a previous administration.
· What is the outlook for subcontracting as a way to trim VDOT’s budget? Good. But certain emergency-related services will have to be reserved to the department.

This meeting was billed as a Town Hall Meeting, and it had that kind of a feel. The energy level was high, and the information being exchanged was important to everyone in the room. Party positions didn’t come up, just individual and community concerns. So it was easy to think of this meeting as the best sort of community service—an opportunity to meet with the neighbors, find out what’s going on, and offer one’s own ideas or other personal contribution in the continuing effort to improve life for us all. This is what RCDC tries to be about, and on Wednesday night, it seemed to have succeeded.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Endless Caverns, Property Rights -vs- Community Impact?

What are your thoughts on this issue?
Is this a reasonable proposal that will provide Northern Rockingham and the town of New Market with good recreational and financial opportunity that will not affect or negatively impact infrastructure like the school system?
Or will this type development threaten ground water, the river, and the neighbor's quality of life.
When does the land owner lose his or her right to use the property they have purchased and pay taxes on?
When does a neighbor have a right to expect that someone next door can't negatively impact the community?

Weigh in with your opinion!

Do you support the proposed recreational development at Endless Caverns?
Both sides have valid points, I would like to see compromise. free polls

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Clerk of Court Contest


What candidate do we have who has the qualifications to do the job of running the Clerk's office?
Let's see, who are the announced candidates so far?...

In alphabetical order:
  1. T. Scott Biller, general manager of Lindsey Funeral Home. Independent.
  2. Cynthia Fitzwater, Assistant to the City Treasurer. Independent.
  3. Dianne Fulk, Deputy Clerk, Seeking the Democratic nomination.
  4. Mike Harvey, president of a real estate and settlement insurance company. Independent.
  5. Brenda Huffman, Deputy Clerk. Independent
  6. Chaz Evans-Haywood, former regional representative for former U.S. Senator George Allen. Seeking the Republican nomination.
  7. Sarah Jones, real estate agent. Independent.
  8. Benny Neal, self employed businessman. Independent.
  9. Myron Rhodes, dairy farmer and local activist. Independent.

There are still at least four more individuals who have let people know that they are considering a run. We know who they are, but until they decide to announce formally it wouldn't be fair to name names.

Let's discuss the known candidates for a bit. What are their qualifications or lack thereof?

Who do you like? Who would you like to see?

And very importantly, what are the qualifications necessary to do the job?

And just as important, does it matter if they can do the job or not, or is it just simply a question of who can get elected?

Saturday, February 10, 2007

More Write Wing Absurdity....

Well, we're one step closer to centralized control of local school boards thanks to Delegate Lohr, one step further away from any sort of transportation plan thanks to Virginia Republicans, one step closer to war with Iran thanks to President Bush,
Clint Eastwood is now both un-patriotic and un-American because of one of his movies that would (horror of horrors) make people think (according to neo-con spokesmen), John Edwards is unfit to be president because he's successful and owns a big home (again according to those same neo-con talking point mouthpieces), Nancy Pelosi is now vilified because she had the audacity to exist as Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives-second in line for succession to the presidency-because someone thinks she should have secure air transportation while holding such a weighty position of leadership in time of war.

Fish in the river continue to show up dead for reasons no one can determine, and water from ground sources (wells and springs) is unfit for pregnant women and infants to use or drink (lack of investment for research???). Valley children get childhood leukemia and people die of cancer in the Valley at much higher rates than elsewhere in the U.S.A., teens giving birth in the Valley far exceeds the nation (while local politicians and extremist Republican activists cry out against teaching kids about avoiding pregnancy), and anyone who questions why we are at war or whether we are spending money wisely is, according to extreme Republicans, much like Clint Eastwood whom they believe to be un-patriotic, un-American, and an outright traitor to our country not to mention un-Christian to boot....

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

A Numbers Game: submitted by Brent

I just read two numbers in the paper that speak louder than a 200 word essay. The President just asked for 70 BILLION dollars in cuts for Medicare and Social Security. The President just asked for 170 BILLION dollars FOR the Iraq war. Folks, it's more than just "guns or butter." Just think about it.... We're talking about a radical ideology that says it's OK to bankrupt our nation for the sake of preemptive war! War-making is the primary result of our no-nothing-about-foreign policy president! Molly Ivins summed it up pretty well in 2004 in an NPR interview when she said "He knows nothing about foreign policy so he signed up his buddy Dick Cheney's favorite neo-cons to run the show." They don't even think we're in a mess! As Cheney himself said, they think that we've had "enormous successes" in Iraq and that "significant progress has been made." The neo-cons say that we're in an "existential conflict" that will last for generations! Even now, in spite of the November elections, status as a lame-duck minority party leader, and stark reality our President and his advisers are laying the groundwork for WAR IN IRAN! Hey folks we're so good at this watch us do it again! They are cooking the intelligence, rattling sabers, spouting rhetoric that is not even as believable as was the run-up to Iraq. IMPEACH BUSH! This is a crime!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

The Fourth Branch---Contractors

The Movie Site

Iraq for Sale? The United States is for Sale...

Following on the heels of our very successful screening of the movie "Iraq for Sale" (179 participated) comes a series in the NY Times about government contractors. Tax dollars being paid to private business to do government work has almost doubled during the reign of Dubya from $207 billion a year in 2,000 to $400 billion last year. If you attended the movie you'll recall CACI International, the private company that oversaw and directed the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. CACI has now been hired to help process cases of incompetence and fraud by federal contractors, at $104.00 an hour per supplied employee.

The Absurdity Continues!!!

What happened to the call for accountability?

Our own Senator Webb has taken up the cause...

Thursday, February 1, 2007

The incredible debate continues and the right grows more shrill every day...
Limbaugh, Beck, Bortz and Hannity are shrieking like banshees as their denials sound increasingly hollow in the face of both scientific research, and considered opinion on global warming by the world's best minds which are increasingly becoming accepted by mainstream USA.
The bluster boys find it particularly galling that of all people, the man whom Americans actually elected as President in 2000 is now being considered for both the Nobel Peace Prize AND an Oscar... Too Cool... You Go Al!