Reliable internet service is important to me and to the vitality of our community. So are affordable health care, education and job skills and the expectation that rights are not curtailed by race, gender or wealth. We all want respect, opportunity, and fairness.
All these things are critical to a happy and healthy life in modern-day Virginia. Because we all know this, we should replace John McGuire in the General Assembly this November. He has persisted in preventing efforts to provide all Virginians with these important benefits. There is nothing to indicate next year will be any different if we return him to office in Richmond.
Juanita Jo Matkins is campaigning to replace John McGuire in the House of Delegates. She has made clear that she will fight for better education, access to broadband internet, affordable health care and representation for all Virginians. Voters in the 56th District should seek to meet her, hear her and then vote for her in November.
Lynn Engler Louisa
I was pleased to see a Richmond television station airing interviews with local candidates for government office. I saw the interview with Juanita Jo Matkins, candidate for the House of Delegates for Louisa County.
Matkins plans to increase spending for education in the Commonwealth. When asked how she would pay for this, she explained that the important thing is to make your priorities reflect what is important. If, as she would like, education is the highest priority in the budget, then the question becomes how to pay for the things lower on the priority list. Just like a home budget, you will always fund those things you see as the most important, then worry about the rest.
I thought her response was pitch-perfect. What do we value most? Budget the needed money and then see what the next priority is. Budget for that, and so forth.
It’s clear that education, rural broadband and affordable health care need to be higher on the priority list of the Virginia General Assembly. I believe Juanita Jo Matkins will represent my priorities in the legislature.
Jim Wolf Louisa
Editor's Note: This originally appeared in the Central Virginian and has been re-posted here with with the author's permission.
The Central Virginian's readers may not be aware that Tyler Adams, Supervisor Duane Adams son, is not the CV's usual kind of letter writer. He's a Republican political operative, who has worked for, and continues to work for some of the most radical politicians in the Commonwealth.
What they need to know is that his hit-piece last week continues a running narrative, that government has no role in promoting services that would benefit everyone in the county.
Apparently he and likeminded county officials want people to forget their history, and the reasons why rural electrification cooperatives were started, and who was responsible — our government. Their shared vision is to undermine faith in government’s ability to work for the common good. A hypocritical con game that’s as breathtaking as it is effective, throwing just enough sand into the gears to jam things up.
Like our supervisors voting against the industrial park, only to reverse course the next month, and supporting a housing development just to shoot it down after “debating” into the wee hours. Knowing that neither project could happen until the situation with the intake site for the James River Pipeline involving the Monican nation was resolved.
A crucial fact that has been public knowledge since 2016, one they would have you believe was a minor oversight. Yet according to an representative the Monican nation, it was the first in a chain of six major errors, each one compounding the previous mistake.
Statements that weren't printed by the CV in their coverage of the earlier James River Authority meeting with the Monican nation and their attorney, or in last weeks edition.
Tyler’s grandiose statement about “government intervening … where it has no business,” is taken straight from the playbook of Koch brother sponsored front groups’ the American City County Exchange (ACCE), and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), whose sole purpose is to develop model policy at the city/county level and model legislature at the state level.
Unsurprisingly, both groups and their front men are highly sensitive to being publicly exposed, like how Jon Russell ACCE’s executive director, after recently chiming in on the CV’s and Toni Williams Facebook page about Louisa County’s Broadband project, stopped commenting almost as soon as he was exposed.
Or when Tyler Adams was similarly challenged on both FB pages he responded with deflections and schoolyard taunts in an attempt to silence any opposing views.
And when it comes to the Adams family, apparently the batshit doesn’t fall far from the family tree.
While shills like Mr. Russell and Adams are fond of pretending to the world that they are heroically challenging ingrained assumptions, and crowing about — limited government and free market principles, low taxes, minimal debt and regulations, the organizations they represent are mostly concerned with finding creative ways to help themselves.
The reality behind their rhetoric is that leaders from business and industry are the ones writing this model legislature, often for their own benefit, and in Republican controlled states they are rubber-stamping it, actions which affect the lives of millions of Americans.
Here in Virginia, our General Assembly changed the SCC’s ability in 2015 to regulate Dominion Power with a series of bills promoted by former House Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell. Now all of their customers and the states taxpayers are footing the bill. Where last year they collected $227 million in excess profits from their customers, and could be in line for a 26% increase this year.
From all appearances this creative interpretation of responsible governance is driving the actions of our three most ideological supervisors — Wade, Adams and Williams. Even though Wade is stepping down this year, should the rest of the supervisors continue with their spineless ways and follow Adams and Williams lead until the 2021 elections, Louisa County is likely to become more like Goochland and Hanover where the Tea Party has taken over.
In the meantime, these supervisors’ hypocritical claims of “fiscal responsibility,” are excuses; not to deliver high-speed internet to the county, or ensure there will be water for future growth, and are in Mr. Adam’s words, an indictment of their “qualifications for office.”
The residents of the Jackson district in particular should start by removing deadwood like Toni Williams from office. Likewise, the people of Louisa should act to restore accountability in the General Assembly, by voting for Juanita Jo Matkins as their state delegate, and Amy Laufer as their state senator.
Editor’s Note: this is an extended version of a letter submitted to the Central Virginian, and expands on themes in this post.
I don’t often become parochial in these columns, but in his Aug. 25 column Jon Russell asserted that America cities are dying because of their public policy choices. His list of dying cities included my hometown, Seattle.
I just returned from visiting family and friends in Seattle and marveled again at nearby, majestic Mount Rainer. If Seattle is dying, Mr. Russell better not tell Microsoft or Amazon, or the people who just built the new monorail into town from the airport, or those who tore down the unsightly viaduct along the waterfront.
Neither the educators associated with Seattle’s great academic institutions, such as the University of Washington, nor the doctors, nurses and technicians of its cutting-edge hospitals would see themselves in Mr. Russell’s characterization. Perhaps Boeing is having a spot of trouble, but one can’t blame that on local governments.
There is no evidence that local or state governments are passing unwieldy regulations that will bring the city to its knees or bring rats out of the gutters. Pike Place Market is as attractive as always.
Mr. Russell’s basic argument is that U.S. cities are dying because of homelessness, which he says is a consequence of local overregulation.
But in the wake of considerable scientific evidence, everyone else understands that homelessness is connected with mental illness, loss of income leading to loss of homes, PTSD, weaknesses in the Veterans Administration’s assistance to veterans, and corporations’ spread of opioids.
Mr. Russell completely garbles the facts concerning homelessness in Los Angeles, a city with a population of 4 million. The city has a homeless population of 60,000; it didn’t increase by 60,000. And that’s 1.5 percent of LA’s total population. You can read the facts about this incredibly complicated situation right here.
Predictably, Mr. Russell’s views on major urban areas echoes the president’s sentiments. To attack a member of Congress, Rep. Elijah Cummings, President Trump characterized Maryland’s 7th Congressional District as a place where “no human being would want to live” and claimed it ranked last in “almost every major category.” Not surprisingly, the fact-checkers had great fun demonstrating that Cummings’ district did not fit the president’s destructive Twitter rantings.
Howard County, Md., is the third-wealthiest county in America, with a median household income of $115,576, far above the national median of $57,652. The district, overall, has a median household income of $60,929, still above the national average. It has the second-highest median income of any U.S. predominantly black district, according to the Baltimore Sun. And as American statistician Nate Silver points out, the district has above-average college education rates.
Oddly enough, the bulk of Mr. Russell’s column was spent singing his own praises as the chair of the American City County Exchange, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the American Legislative Exchange Council, both of which are notoriously conservative lobbying organizations funded by corporate giants attempting to impose their views and objectives on state and local governments for their own profits. For a closer, alternate look try this site.
So, we ask, is homelessness due to a lack of programs or to overregulation?
We started with the thought that American cities are dying, and one data point was homelessness. But wait, by Mr. Russell’s measure, Culpeper is dying, too. Just ask the stalwart volunteers at our community’s Food Closet. They see homelessness.
Mr. Russell has been elected to take care of our community. Would he please tell us which specific local regulations the Town Council or the Board of Supervisors passed that caused homelessness in Culpeper? We ask in the name of problem-solving, not dogma, especially with elections for local offices coming this November.
Editor’s Note: This letter originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent, and is re-posted here with the author’s permission, and has been edited to incorporate his links to other websites.
Given his role as the Executive Director of ACCE, it’s no coincidence that Mr. Russell has taken to commenting on the Central Virginian’s and Toni Williams Facebook pages with his views about the counties Broadband project.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.