Blue Louisa: A blog Covering Central Virginia & national politics from a progressive perspective
I volunteer with a non-partisan organization dedicated to making sure everybody who is eligible to vote and wants to vote is registered and able to vote.
One of my partners in this work is Juanita Jo Matkins. Her untiring dedication to this work has inspired me and others to volunteer. We set up tables in public places where we can register voters, and when necessary, begin the process of obtaining an ID. Sometimes we have a client who can’t vote because of a felony conviction. If they have served their sentence, we can log onto the state Department of Elections website and find out whether their rights have been restored. If not, we help them apply. This is a non-partisan effort. Nobody’s asking who they’re going to vote for.
Although it’s quite rewarding, tabling isn’t all that easy. I’ve tabled with Juanita Jo out in a parking lot when it’s 90 degrees and when its 30 degrees. When we get a lull in activity I’m likely to be thinking: “Can we go home now?” Not Juanita Jo. Not if there is one more person we might be able to help.
This non-partisan dedication to the American democratic ideal of representation is one of the reasons I will be voting for Juanita Jo Matkins for delegate for the 56th district this November.
Editor’s Note: this originally appeared in the August 29th edition of the Central Virginian and has been reposted here with the authors permission.
At Louisa County High School on Aug. 17, I listened to our Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger and three experts talk about the problems rural Virginia has with access to broadband internet. I also listened to Louisa residents talk about the problems they face (poor connectivity, long delays, lack of access) and the consequences of these problems (can’t work at home, moving out of Louisa, disadvantaged children, lack of competitiveness in attracting businesses and others).
Where were our board of supervisor members? Who knows! They were not there to listen to their constituents. When a citizen asked about their absence, another constituent yelled, “They don’t care.” This got some applause.
The following Tuesday I had occasion to talk to a member of the Louisa County Broadband Authority and asked how things were going. The response came as no shock. I was told the board of supervisors never wanted the broadband authority to succeed.
It’s been six long years since the authority started its work. How many residents are being served? According to the authority’s minutes, it’s around 20.
Are all the authorized towers installed yet? No. Why not? One reason was a 35 percent increase in the price of steel caused by the federal government-imposed trade war with China.
Did the supervisors take that into consideration? No. As the current chair of the board stated, the authority had to work with the money authorized. If that meant cutting back on coverage, too bad—so sad.
Is this the government we want?
Do we want to cripple our children and grandchildren due to lack of access to all the benefits of modern technology? Do we want them destined to a work life of lower opportunity because they didn’t have the same internet access as their competitors in other counties?
We can no longer sit back and wait for our supposed leaders to do their jobs. You want a better life for you and your children? Show up at the board meetings and demand action. Vote out any supervisor that waffles and delays implementation of the authority’s plan. They are the decision makers—it’s on them to make this happen. Failure is on them as well.
Editor’s Note: this originally appeared in the August 29th edition of the Central Virginian and has been reposted here with the authors permission.
On Saturday I attended the 2019 Rural Broadband Summit sponsored by Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger. The summit drew a large crowd from Louisa, Goochland and Orange counties.
In the opening session I heard a range of questions and comments from concerned parents, small business owners, local farmers and residents trying to telecommute. There was also valuable information provided by the panelists on programs and grants that are available to help expand broadband in rural areas such as Louisa County.
Unfortunately, what I did not see was any member of the Louisa County Board of Supervisors or any member of the county’s broadband authority. Several members of the audience asked questions regarding the board’s efforts (or lack thereof) to expand broadband, but there was no one there to respond.
No one to discuss the status of the broadband towers we have been waiting for. No one to explain why county residents must pay two or three times what non-rural Virginians pay for slower, less efficient broadband.
This should not be a partisan issue. One audience member mentioned a bill sponsored by Rep. Rob Wittman (RVA) that would provide some funding for rural broadband. Rep. Spanberger immediately agreed to cosponsor the bill. Broadband access should be an issue with bipartisan support.
Editor’s note: This letter to the editor originally appeared in the August 22 edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
July, we hear, was the hottest month on record. We in central Virginia were spared the worst, but as records for heat worldwide continue to be broken, we are not likely to be spared in the long run. We need action to address the causes and adaptations to this threat. But causes and adaptations, just like the effects, are global. We couldn’t, for instance, put a dome over Louisa County and expect to keep out the changes. What can we do locally, to help correct the problem?
I believe that we should elect those who are willing to roll up their sleeves and work on the problem, rather than try to ignore it. Time is short, so we need to start now. (We needed to start yesterday, maybe, but late is better than never.) State and local elections are coming up this November, and we can put in place those who pledge to work on this problem. The work will take cooperation and determination.
Juanita Jo Matkins will do more to enable our future than the incumbent in the House of Delegates. John McGuire’s web site lists nine issues that are important to him, but I could find not a single word about this most pressing issue of our time. Yet if we can’t solve climate change, we will not have the opportunity to solve anything else.
Juanita Jo’s background in science education gives her the understanding that while the problem is global, the solutions involve local actions all around the globe. That is why she wants clean energy and broadband access for us, grants and tax credits for local home energy improvements and an emphasis on science education in the schools.
Her outlook on local efforts for solutions to big problems is why I will vote for her this November.
Editor’s note: This letter to the editor originally appeared in the August 22 edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Gov. Ralph Northam called a special session of the legislature in response to the Virginia Beach shooting that killed 12 people and wounded four on May 12. On July 9, after only 90 minutes, the Republican-controlled General Assembly adjourned without the slightest consideration of the 60 bills that had been submitted in regular session.
Gun violence is not a single phenomenon, but includes many types of tragedies: domestic violence (averaging 50 women a month shot and killed by their partners), children killing children because a gun in the house was left unsecured, suicides (including many veterans), rampant gun trafficking (New York City has been complaining for years that guns bought in Virginia show up on its streets).
And then there mass slaughters of hundreds every year with military-style weapons, such as El Paso (22 killed, 24 wounded), Dayton (nine killed, 27 wounded), and Las Vegas (58 killed, 422 wounded).
Finally, there’s thoughtlessness in relation to guns, as when Nick Freitas tried to take his loaded pistol through security at Washington Dulles International Airport in 2013.
Now a state delegate, Freitas stoutly defended gun rights in last Sunday’s Culpeper Star-Exponent.
Bryce Reeves was proudly pictured firing an Army cannon.
Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Colonial Heights, wears her pistol on her hip in the Virginia Senate.
Speaker Kirk Cox gaveled the House of Delegates out of session July 9 without considering a single bill presented by Northam.
These are a few people among the many Virginia Republicans who continue to do absolutely nothing to address gun-violence tragedies.
The specious argument that mass murder is a people problem caused by video games, lack of prayer in school or the breakdown of the family is not supported by facts. If true, one would expect similar gun violence in other countries.
And if one suggests there is a national mental-health problem involving gun violence, that would require vast resources to address.
What jumps out in most of mass killings is the effectiveness of rapid-fire, military-style firearms with high-volume magazines.
The Dayton police force estimates the shooter fired more than 30 shots in only 30 seconds. He still had plenty of ammunition. The story in El Paso was even worse—rapid-fire, plenty of bullets, lots of dead and wounded. What do you think the death toll would have been if the Dayton, El Paso or Las Vegas shooters were armed with revolvers? Or knives? The obvious conclusion is that military-style rifles, ammunition and magazines are what makes such attacks so lethal.
Any combat veteran or doctor can tell you that military ammunition travels at such a high velocity that, in tumbling and tearing through the human body, its shock wave shreds organs and breaks bones, even if they’re not directly hit. Victims may require multiple subsequent operations to piece their bodies back together. Imagine what the Sandy Hook children looked like.
In order to calm a tsunami of criticism, President Trump and some congressional Republicans recently intimated they might look at background checks and red-flag laws, i.e., handling gun violence like a people problem. Does anyone have faith that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has taken up no meaningful legislation passed by the House this entire year, will do so in this case?
There is no way to get around the one indisputable fact in these mass shootings: Lethality belongs to the military-style assault weapon.
But our society is not defenseless. Volunteer with Moms Demand Action and other groups fighting to reduce gun violence. Educate yourselves. Lock up your firearms.
No politician in either party in Central Virginia wants to take away your guns, but something must be done to stop the killing. Vote for candidates who will address these problems, instead of mouthing platitudes and National Rifle Association talking points.
Elections have consequences. Vote on Nov. 5.
David Reuther, a retired foreign service officer, chairs the Culpeper Democratic Committee. These are his personal observations.
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
An earlier Blue Louisa piece discussed some of the ways Republican’s exploit emotional issues to distract from their hidden economic agendas, and here's how it works in Louisa County
Most of the CV’s readers would have little reason to recall their in-depth 2016-17 coverage of the James River Water Project. Stories which clearly indicated that the intake for the pipeline would be built on top of a known archeological site, presumably information the Board of Supervisor’s took into consideration in their subsequent decisions about projects depending on this pipeline.
So how did they fail to anticipate the Monican Nations concerns, knowing that until they were resolved, any work on the pipeline was unlike to start, and that it would cause significant delays and likely cost overruns? The short answer — such absent mindedness, including their most recent proposed “fix” of taking even more water from the Green Springs aquifer for a residential development behind the Wal-Mart has always been a feature of their economic plans, not a bug.
Unlike the attitudes of the James River Water Authority, it appears that the reasons for the Board’s deeds are rooted in Virginia’s peculiar mythology. From my transplanted Yankee perspective, the “Virginia Way” can best be described as a deep-seated cultural acquiescence to authority, one little removed from the thinking of the plantation era.
Bland acceptance, accompanied by it’s hypocritical cousin, “get along to go along,” where maintaining the appearance of genteel collegiality regardless of any legitimate differences becomes more important than effective government.
Considering that Virginia started as a “royal charter,” where the investors profits took precedence over everything else, it should come as little surprise to discover that this mindset has dominated the Commonwealth’s politics at every level since the 1600’s. Where “the business of government has always been business,” no matter who’s running things.
A unique form of American capitalism centered around slavery, where their harsh treatment was a daily reminder for everyone else to stay in line. Where in a time when land prices were low, financial products like mortgage-backed securities were written against the indirect value of the enslaved.
Where most of the southern banking industry backed the slaves value, and the banks in the north and especially Europe made lots of money from their misery. Where accounting concepts like depreciation and hierarchical management structures were first developed for the plantation, not the railroads and industry of the later industrial age.
A set of practices, which University of Wisconsin-Madison sociologist Joel Rogers has termed: Low-road capitalism A mindset which lives on today, with local county officials and Supervisors praising today’s version of prosperity gospel with all the evangelical fervor they can muster.
Promises of a glorious future/past indifferently mixed with antediluvian notions like; Segregation… ahem …“economic growth now, economic growth tomorrow, economic growth forever.” Pointedly ignoring realities like the availability of water, particularly ground water sets the upper limit for any growth.
Such emotional misdirection’s and false promises are how Republican’s have operated since the day’s of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy,” hiding behind a veneer of hypocritical civility, calls for law and order, using coded emotional appeals while governing with tax cuts for the rich and regulatory rollbacks.
Considering what has happened in adjacent counties where the Tea Publicans have taken over, the Boards plans are more likely to entrench ideological … I mean economic [and racial] segregation now, tomorrow and forever.
A land where local officials apparently are only familiar with one tune, Virginia's oldest cultural earworm " I wish I was in the land of cotton, corruption there is soon forgotten, steal away, steal away, dixieland .... ." A realm where inequality reigns and poverty remains endemic just as it has for decades.
Nor does it matter if it’s due to an overly deferential and incurious mindset, typified by the Boards three biggest sclerotics … I mean … get along’s, Barlow, Barnes and Gentry; who consistently fail to exercise any due diligence or oversight, convinced if there’s no conflict there’s no problem. Or because of the closed doors schemes of radical ideologists [aka Replican’ts ] like Wade, Adams and Williams and others.
The results will be the same; a rigged game where only a select few reap the economic benefits.
Until the people of Louisa demand accountability from the Board for their actions, and make a concerted effort to change who sits on the Board, they will continue to ignore the advice of their committees; from the Planning Commission to the Broadband Authority.
And they will continue to ignore common sense proposals; like putting a roof over, and heating the County pool for year round use, calling it government waste and socialism. And they will continue to do everything possible to ensure that the profits of these economic ventures are privatized while the losses are socialized
An earlier piece, vote for progress not emotions, discussed how many of the candidates running for local office are not using social media platforms like Facebook to promote their re-election or candidacy for office, and others appear to have little understanding of how to communicate with potential voters, making little if any attempt to persuade anyone to vote for them.
Weeks after speaking with multiple candidates a surprising number of them still don’t have a Web or Facebook campaign page. Some like our current Treasurer, Henry Wash after spending ~ $ 8 K on signs during his first campaign 8 years ago, says he doesn’t see any need to promote himself any further.
Since he’s running unopposed, and given the number of Wash signs around the County he’s probably right.
Other incumbents like Cuckoo Supervisor Willie Gentry, also running unopposed, says “people know who I am”, and doesn’t feel any need to go over the $ 1K threshold that would require him to file financial reports, and from all appearances is content to let his personal Facebook page double as a campaign page.
Surprisingly, staying under the $ 1K threshold is a sentiment shared by Charles Rosson running for the open Commissioner of the Revenue seat, who has yet to put up a campaign FB page, and it's probably why he has so few campaign signs up.
While Republican Dan Braswell, also running for the open Commissioner of the Revenue seat, and Eric Purcell currently running unopposed for the open Louisa Supervisor seat, discussed their plans at the AG fair for using social media to reach voters. Yet weeks later, neither has a working campaign page.
Although Purcell claims that he has information ready to be posted, and confirmed this agian at the recent Rural Broadband Summit that he will be getting it online. While Braswell is seemingly content to let his personal FB page double as his campaign page.
Troy Painting who is running a quixotic campaign for Sheriff appears to be relying on the volume of his signs around the county to win the day, and has no Web or Facebook campaign page.
Meanwhile, the other two Republicans running for office; Donnie Lowe for Sheriff, and Toni Williams for Jackson District Supervisor, Facebook pages are little more than placeholders, with no meaningful information about the candidates. What both of these pages have in common is that their primary message is an emotional appeal, not content which might inform potential supporters.
Nor is this an oversight, it is a deliberate attempt to control the flow of information, ensuring that voters can’t readily scrutinize their past deeds, what they stand for, or even what they propose to do in the future.
A tactic they have copied from their upstream brethren, Delegate John McGuire and Senator Bryce Reeves whose Facebook pages are filled with fluff about all the “important” people they met with. What is left out of their one sided messaging is that their meetings always were closed to the “public” so unless you’re a like minded soul with money to give, you ain’t invited, and definitely aren’t welcome.
In Donnie Lowe’s case, all the public is “allowed” to know about him consists of a barrage of signs around the county, and after the fact notices about this or that “community unity” event he attended. And while Toni Williams Facebook page isn’t over the top like John McGuire’s constant second amendment, flag flying freak.
His content free Facebook page is aimed squarely at an audience that overlaps McGuire’s 2A fanatics, his evangelical brothers and sisters. And the subtle “Christian whistle” visual iconography on his campaign page will fly right by the uninitiated without a second glance.
In direct contrast; the two independent candidates with working Facebook pages, Bernie Hill who is running for the Jackson district Supervisor seat, and Stacy Coleman Fletcher running for the open Commissioner of the Revenue seat, that she has held since the previous Commissioner resigned 8 months ago.
Are openly talking about what they bring to the job, what qualifies them for this office, and where they stand on relevant issues. And in Bernie’s case, he is taking his message directly to the residents of the Jackson District with the first in a series of mass mailers.
Something he will need if he is to have any chance of countering the weekly letters to the editor that Toni Williams fellow Replican'ts, and congregation members are submitting on his behalf.
I first met Juanita Jo Matkins over 25 years ago when she was teaching a class for the Virginia Extension Office on Heart Healthy Recipes. I didn’t realize at the time that she was a teacher for many years at Piedmont Christian and Jouett Elementary teaching science and gifted education. In fact, she won a national award in for her teaching – the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics.
I was busy working and raising a family at Blue Ridge Shores so our paths did not cross again for a few years. After my kids got to high school, I became a graduate student at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia. Juanita Jo was an Associate Professor there teaching Science Education. UVa is pretty selective about hiring professors so I was impressed that a fellow Louisan had a position on the staff.
Fast forward a few more years. My husband and I had been to many of the Christmas Cantatas and other special events at Yanceyville Christian Church over the years and we liked the church so we decided to join. At that time, Juanita Jo was a church elder and she led the liturgy service every Sunday. I was impressed with the church for accepting a woman as a church leader and impressed with Juanita Jo for bringing intelligence, passion, and a sense of grace to the weekly ceremony.
My husband and I attended church there for many years and Juanita Jo was a church trustee was an active member of the Sunday School, always bringing new ideas and concerns to the conversation. Like my husband who was a physicist for the Army at Ft. Belvoir, Juanita Jo was a commuter to her job in Northern Virginia as an assistant professor at George Mason University. They shared many “road warrior” stories about Northern Virginia’s traffic problems and relished the fact that they could enjoy a home in rural Louisa.
Over the next few years, we got to know Juanita Jo and her husband, Don Short, former Commonwealth Attorney for Louisa County. Juanita Jo was an avid horsewoman as a young woman and her family had a small horse farm in Louisa County. Juanita Jo helped her father breed, train and show horses.
One summer, Juanita Jo came by our farm to catch some frogs from our pond for her summer session at William and Mary training science teachers how to do hands-on science in the lab. Along with a fellow professor, she had written and was administering several multi-million dollar grants to develop techniques to train teachers to upgrade K-12 science curriculums all over the country.
She retired in 2015 from William and Mary University as a Full Professor. But retirement did not mean resting on her laurels. She served on the Louisa County Zoning Commission. She joined a county gospel choir. She helped found the Louisa Chapter of Spread the Vote and worked to register new voters. At church, she took on the job of full-time organist. With other members of the church, she helped found the Yanceyville Summer Nature Camp for children.
Juanita Jo Matkins has been a resident of Louisa County for many, many years. She taught in the schools. She raised her family here. She worked at many universities but she always made her home in Louisa. She has been an active member of the community for most of her life.
Now she is running as a candidate for the Virginia 56th House of Delegates, which includes all of Louisa County. She will work to improve and keep our schools and state universities top notch. She is determined to help bring broadband and decent internet service to our rural communities. She believes that everyone should have access to good health care. If you want someone who will represent our interests in Richmond, then vote for a Louisan. Cast your vote on Nov. 1st for Juanita Jo Matkins for 56th House of Delegates. She’s got your back.
I’d like to bring it to the attention of Virginia voters that women still do not have equal rights guaranteed by the US Constitution. Congress passed a Constitutional amendment, the Equal Rights Amendment, (ERA) in 1972 which would give women the right to be paid the same wages as men for equal work. It would also give us equal standing in legal matters such as property and divorce. This would affect 160 million American women.
It order to be enacted, 38 states must ratify the amendment. As of now, 37 states have voted to ratify. Public polling done in 2018 shows that 88% of Virginians support ratification of the amendment.
Ratification was proposed in the most recent session of the General Assembly where it was sent to a committee. The committee prevented it from passing forward to a full floor vote. John McGuire, who currently represents all of Louisa County was on that committee and did not support it.
Virginia could be the state that makes this amendment become federal law. Historically, Republicans were strong supporters of women’s rights. Obviously, John McGuire is not a supporter. We need someone who is.
I’m voting for Juanita Jo Matkins for 56th District Delegate this November. With her support, Virginia can become the last state needed to finally, 47 years later, make this amendment the law of the land.
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the August 8th edition of the Central Virginian, and is re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Flipping the coin on Jon Russell’s Star-Exponent column, “Politics mars Trump’s Jamestown visit,” the U.S. president has an obligation to honor the office he holds, and all Americans, when acting in an official capacity, regardless of who resides in the White House.
Virginia’s commemoration of its 400th anniversary as the Western Hemisphere’s first representative legislative assembly took years of planning. Inviting the President of the United States to speak was likely suggested years ago. That Donald Trump happened to be president when the day arrived was obviously viewed as a blessing to some, and a distasteful coincidence to others.
Most, I think, would have preferred for the event to have been a non-partisan celebration marked by camaraderie.
Unfortunately, President Trump used the days leading up to this historic occasion to fan the flames of anti-immigrant, anti-minorities sentiments and thus incited others to angrily push back. As they say, leadership begins at the top.
Take one step down and we see Trump’s administration in a constant churn of incompetency—and to be sure, the recent Democratic debates included plenty of wackadoodle ideas and self-destructive infighting.
The cast of characters competing in the past two GOP primaries were hardly prime examples of competency and leadership either.
Have we Americans lost all ability to lead and to govern?
Like Mr. Russell, I am also concerned for our future generations. Their turn is fast approaching, and I fear they are being shortchanged.
Today’s candidates say they support education. Insist they support it with robust educational funding for rigorous curricula featuring inclusive, non-biased American and world history, and straightforward non-partisan civics, in all public, private, and home schools. Some remedial training might benefit us all.
Editor’s Note: this letter originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent, and re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Despite the CSE’s recent policy of printing this disclaimer at the end of their featured columnists pieces, “... opinions represent his personal views only,“ it in no way changes the fact that Mr. Russell is the Executive Director of ACCE, a spin off of the better known Koch brothers front group ALEC, and his opinions rarely differ from their partisan propaganda.
I’d like to commend David Holtzman for pointing out in last week’s edition of the Central Virginian how Republican Delegate John McGuire connects with his supporters on social media. And for quoting Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington — “By focusing on the issues [guns and abortion] that generate a strong emotional response, it maximizes the chances they’re re-elected,” laying out the psychological underpinnings behind those messages.
Still both observations fall short of capturing the magnitude of what McGuire, and indeed the entire Republican Party is doing and will continue to do right up to election day.
Deliberately attempting to short circuit peoples ability to think clearly, using messages designed to cause them to become captives of their own emotions. Too angry to even think, let alone ask questions everyone should be asking of their elected officials regardless of their own tribal affiliations.
Questions like; How have your actions this past session benefited the people of the 56th district and can you cite some specific examples?
McGuire’s strategy is simple; distract from relevant issues by saying one thing while communicating an entirely different message. In the not too distant past these messages were coded racist “dog whistles,” today they barely attempt to conceal their contempt.
Paul Krugman of the New York Times says these inherently racist messages have been the Republican’s bread and butter, since the 1970’s when the Party was taken over by economic radicals, “determined to slash taxes for the wealthy while undermining the social safety net.” And that this agenda has been unpopular for decades, since “most voters believe the rich should pay more, not less, in taxes, and want spending on social programs to rise, not fall.”
With such a negative agenda, the only way Republicans could win elections was to campaign with coded appeals to racial hostility, with phases like; “welfare queens,” and “invading hordes,” knowing that after they won the election they could safely return to implementing privatization and tax cuts.
And with ®esident45’s increasingly “audible” racism — rising well beyond the “dog whistles” of the past — any “plausible deniability” which Republican's previously used to deny that their own racist feelings were driving their political allegiances have been eliminated.
Unfortunately, it won't change the fact that racism has become such an integral part of Republican politics that only the willfully blind can't see it.
The leaders of the Republican Party will never admit that racism, right-wing extremism, and the rise in stochastic terrorism [aka mass shootings] we’ve all seen over the past decade are a threat to American society, because doing so would threaten their ability to exploit racial hostility, and more importantly their ability to implement their economic goals.
Nor should anyone be shocked to discover that many of John McGuire’s [and Bryce Reeves] supporters have long been “radicalized” – willfully ignorant — irrationally angry — and increasingly willing to sanction racial mayhem.
Just take a look at his Facebook page where he displays images like the one below, proudly flying his coded freak at every opportunity, while hypocritically calling the El Paso shooting an “evil and cowardly attack” and calling for “thoughts and prayers’ for the victims.
Distractions away from the real issue, that the recent mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton were in no small measure “enabled” by a decade’s long NRA campaign to block any legislation that might have prevented tragedies like these. One that Republicans at every level of government willingly embraced.
And why wouldn’t they; by claiming to support second amendment “rights,” Republican’s have the perfect issue for every situation, one which enthralls the rubes, gets them elected, gives them cover for their economic agenda of privatization and tax cuts, and as an added incentive, they get to line up like hogs at the trough.
While media coverage of mass shootings long ago went down the “if it bleed, it leads” rabbit hole, the simple fact is that for decades, the leading cause of gun death has been suicide, not homicide, or the “acts of deranged individuals.
According to the National Center for Health Research, “Gun violence is a public health issue, but politics has interfered with research to determine how to reduce suicides or homicides caused by guns. Research is necessary for legislators to create effective gun control policy.”
The absence of statistically reliable information about gun violence is no accident, since the Clinton era, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has been prevented from collecting any data on gun violence, because Congressional Republicans have refused to approve any funding for research.
Yet another indictment of how completely our legislators, particularly those on the Republican side of the aisle have failed to address the reality that anyone, anywhere in the country has unfettered access to guns, particularly weapons of mass mayhem, and we’re the only developed nation in the world where this is happening.
In response to McGuire’s hypocritical flag waving, and sanctimonious attitude, one person called him out out on his Facebook page, saying, “Oh no Johnny boy you do not get to comment on the murders of innocent Americans to score political points. You and the rest of the Republicans slunk away from Richmond without discussing even ONE bill to help save Virginians.”
Meanwhile, Republicans across the country are taking refuge behind the usual talking points; “it’s too soon to talk about it,” blaming "violent video games," or “we need to deal with mental illness,” and in Orange Julius’s case doing everything he can to undermine public safety.
And it’s the same playbook of watered down misdirection that the people of Louisa are seeing from local candidates running under Party banners, Facebook pages that have if any meaningful content that might assist voters in evaluating what they bring to the table, or even where they stand on relevant issues.
Although in Tony Williams case, it should be noted that he’s following Duane Adams 2017 playbook, using like minded proxies to flood the CV with letters of support. And while these are activities that any elected official or candidate worth their salt should be engaging in.
What few of the CV readers will notice is that they follow a similar pattern of pattern of distraction as the higher level Replican’ts [McGuire and Reeves] or that their claims are little more than an assortment of what-about-isms, and inflated accomplishments.
Some local officials currently in office and surprisingly some new candidates for office are content to run their campaign on the down low; depending almost entirely on word of mouth, keeping their “expenses” at such low levels that they won’t have to file any financial reports.
While other have taken to littering the roadways with signs, convinced that volume is a substitute for substance, and others are content to reach out to voters by using their personal Facebook pages as campaign pages.
Nor is it any coincidence that you’re not seeing this kind of pabulum on local independent candidates Facebook and web pages, not just because they want to be elected, but because they’re not afraid to talk about the issues.
Make no mistake, whichever lever you choose to pull on November 5th this year, and the following year, those decisions will likely be the most critical votes of your lifetime, and will play a major part in which direction this country takes for decades to come.
Whether you like it or not, there no longer is any comfortable middle ground, or room for indecisiveness, your choices are simple; either you’re for social progress, justice and a working government, or your not. And by your silence in the face of non stop racism are supporting a Party which has become a "systematic enabler" of white supremacist terrorism.
And as Paul Krugman, pointed out, if you want to know why, just “follow the money."
Editor’s Note: this is an expanded version of a letter published in the August 8th edition of the Central Virginian.
This is a rebuttal to the letter from Ty Fabling in last week’s edition of the Central Virginian. Toni Williams’ voting record is available for public viewing in the minutes to the Board of Supervisors meetings. My Facebook post on BernieHill4Supervisor regarding Toni Williams voting record is entirely accurate and can be corroborated by those Board of Supervisor minutes. I have made verification easier for the reader by embedding those dates, within my Facebook post, for all of Toni’s votes against broadband.
Mr. Fabling’s misunderstanding of the role of the Louisa County Broadband Authority is apparent throughout his article. The Broadband Authority is composed of volunteer citizens that have been appointed to advise the Board of Supervisors on matters related to broadband within the County.
Contrary to Mr. Fabling’s claims, the Broadband Authority does not have the legal rights to enter into contracts or spend money. County leaders - NOT the Broadband Authority - administered the contract to build the broadband towers.
After the Board of Supervisors approved the tower-construction contract, the tower project became part of the Louisa County Capital Improvement Program administered by County officials.
Therefore, Mr. Fabling’s attacks on the Broadband Authority were misdirected.
Editor’s note: This letter was originally submitted to the Central Virginian for their August 8th edition, as a rebuttal to a letter the previous week from one of Toni Williams supporters and was denied because it’s not the CV’s policy to publish letters from active political candidates.
Often as residential and commercial developments have occurred across our country, land investors and developers have bought rural land on speculation. They rezone their properties, then build homes, apartments, stores and office buildings.
Investors often reap tremendous profits by such re-zonings and the subsequent developments that follow. No doubt, there’s much hard work, luck, and funds invested for developers to earn their rewards. But many times taxpayers have been left to pay for the capital cost burdens this growth brings: new roads and improvements, more classrooms, school buses, police cruisers, recreational facilities and parks, fire houses and trucks.
Zion Crossroads, thanks to its water and sewer infrastructure, a catalyst for development, is now experiencing a massive spike in growth. The county currently is considering three large-scale development proposals that would build approximately 1,200 residential units at Zion.
Much planning has gone into each proposal. But one aspect has been largely ignored in all three applications: the costs to the county for capital improvements. Yes, the costs for overlooked, forgotten, or ignored new roads/road improvements, classrooms, buses, police cruisers, ladder fire trucks that will be needed if these proposals are approved. And these costs are not insignificant.
Taxpayers must insist now before the rezoning applications are considered for approval that county officials do their job. They must hold developers accountable for their fair share of these largely yet undetermined costs. This accountability must be codified in the county’s written approval of large-scale growth proposals to define clearly and bind legally all stakeholders to their financial responsibilities.
Otherwise, several years later, while sitting in traffic jams with multiple cycle traffic light delays while our children attend overcrowded schools and our law enforcement officers or fire and rescue personnel can’t reach us in time to prevent a tragedy, we Louisa citizens will wonder: How did this happen? Who will pay to fix it?
If the developers refuse to help shoulder the burden their growth will bring, perhaps they should be told their proposals are too costly for Louisa. What happens at Zion will impact all of Louisa. We taxpayers and voters will be watching.
Editor’s Note: this op-ed originally appeared in the August 1st edition of the Central Virginian, and is re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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