Category Archives: board

Did they miss the election in King William?

elections-have-consequencesBy Bob Shannon Central Garage

Our critics portend to speak for others , is it possible that the local TEA Party indeed represents the views of those very voters who sent 3 sitting Supervisors packing ? Perhaps these same folks who use terms like “ we” when referencing just who wants higher levels of spending each year might consider that their views are the ones that are out of lockstep with the KW public, if the election results are to mean anything.

One of the most disturbing tactics our opponents are employing is the obviously insincere attempts at flattering Supervisor Stephen Greenwood, coming from individuals who never supported Supv. Greenwood, yet today use thinly veiled reference’s , stating that Greenwood has demonstrated a willingness to serve the majority of residents in King William. Does Mr. Mills mean the majority that threw out the tax and spend crowd, or what constitutes the majority as he defines it , or wishes it were. Can this man count ? Did he watch the MAJORITY of voters who declared they had enough ? Voters moved the Oligarchs cheese.

Greenwood has a record of advocating for spending cuts . Mr. Mills and Wagner insult the intellect of both Greenwood and voters with their thinly veiled efforts at manipulation. Our group has always supported and admired Supv. Greenwood, and I don’t recall either of these gentlemen being there . Stephen is too smart to fall for their disingenuous deceit. Through two election cycles I collected signatures, put out yard signs and worked the phones for Greenwood, I don’t recall Mr. Mills or Wagner being a part of that effort. I’ve witnessed Greenwood take on Tom Redd, and Trent Funkhouser, along with Travis Moskalski. Greenwood is the only one on that last Board with any principles . Our groups admiration is sincere and long standing, unlike these Johnny come lately’s .

Wagner splits hairs when he states…. “ Greenwood in his four years on the board has done an exemplary job holding the other board members in check by voting time and again to cut spending, however his fiscal conservatism was not and is not based on the agenda of the TEA Party “. NEWS FLASH Mr. Wagner—our agenda as you say is just that fiscal conservatism. The TEA Party “agenda” that these critics rail about apparently found favor with the voters,

Readers with the interest that are following all of this might just ask this one question. Isn’t it interesting that those advocating for “ unsurpassed services and excellent education” are more often than not the same ones who hide behind every corner of the tax code they can find to minimize their own contributions to these services they claim so dearly to care about. Now there’s an AGENDA.

 


Article written by: Tom White

Del. Rasoul’s Ballot Access Bill fails in Virginia House Elections Subcommittee

Del. Sam Rasoul’s bill to reduce the percentage of the statewide vote for a political party to avoid petitioning failed in the Virginia House of Delegates Elections Subcommitee on a voice vote.

One delegate, Luke Torian (D) of Prince William County, did move to report the bill favorably (I sent him a email thanks) but but that motion failed without a second and the voice vote appeared to be overwhelming in opposition.

This bill would have given ballot access to the Libertarians if it had passed due to the over six percent turnout for Robert Sarvis in the governor’s race in 2013 by virtue of the provision that allows ballot access to continue for two statewide elections if it is won by vote percentage.

Delegate Rasoul spoke on how the median percentage for ballot access is between 2 and 3% and how only a few states are at or above Virginia’s percentage (Alabama has a 20% requirement).

Two citizens spoke on this bill along with Del. Rasoul; Elwood Sanders (yes this blogger) had a detailed presentation including the chart from Richard Winger (with credit given) which was introduced into evidence before the subcommittee.

Sanders opened with Jefferson’s quote:

The ballot is the rational and peaceable instrument of reform…

But the ballot does little good if there is only one choice.  Sanders argued that there are too many uncontested elections at the local and state legislative level, citing over 60 of the House members and half of the Virginia General Assembly, every county officer in Hanover County in the general election (one had a primary), many members of the Board of Supervisors throughout Virginia, and all five school board members in King William County for example.  He also suggested that many voters voted in real elections for Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck or similar characters to protest single candidates on the ballot.

This led to a vigorous exchange between Sanders and Delegate Steve Landes on the need for this bill to increase participation.

Landes suggested there are other reasons for people not seeking to run for office.  Sanders agreed, including politics of personal destruction, “ungodly” (I apologized for the use of the word at the time but I am wondering if the word is accurate!) amounts of money to run and gerrymandering among others.  This is only one solution among many.  Landes cited the ease to get signatures for the House (125) and that even incumbents have to get signatures in the event of a contested primary.  Sanders agreed; however the petitioning requirement is onerous for statewide offices and the funding of Robert Sarvis’ gubernatorial petitions (the false account of the “Obama bundler”) was actually an issue in the election – and how a candidate gets signatures should not be an issue in a campaign.

Sanders stated truthfully that he is not a member of any political party which led to Landes asking about what third parties have difficulty getting on the ballot:  Libertarians?  Socialists?  Communists?  Sanders’ response was that the Libertarians have had trouble getting on the ballot – several did not get the signatures to run for Congress for example and had to abandon their campaign or run a write-in campaign.  Sanders also cited the ability of the Democrats without petitioning to place Prof. Jack Trammell on the ballot against Republican Dave Brat and felt other parties might ought to have the same.

It might be great now and then to not have to contest an election but continued uncontested elections are corrosive to the political process and hurts the mandate that victory brings to the winner or at least it can do so.  This also discourages voting and participation.

Finally Sanders suggested the ten percent political party requirement might be flirting with a constitutional violation since new parties have a right to start and have reasonable ballot access.  Five percent in this case is still above the median.  Alas, Del. Landes was unconvinced as the chair had to call time on Sanders.  Del. Rasoul’s bill failed.

Blogger’s note:  I am sorry I do not have at this writing the name of the other speaker who basically agreed with me.  I thank him for coming and participating in the political process.


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Public-Private Bike Race Foes Can Show Our Strength: OPPOSE the State Acquisition of the VA Sports Hall of Fame!

I got several positive comments about my expose of the taxpayer money spent on the disruptive world bike race last September.  One said something to the effect of:  How do we stop them next time?

Well, let’s start with this:  Senator L. Louise Lucas has introduced this bill:

SB 28 Virginia Sports Hall of Fame; created, report.

Introduced by: L. Louise Lucas | all patrons    …    notes | add to my profiles

SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame. Creates the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame as a public body with a board of directors (the Board) consisting of 21 members, of whom six are to be members of the House of Delegates, four are to be members of the Senate, six are to be nonlegislative citizen members appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, and five are to be nonlegislative citizen members elected by the Board.

Now each bill has included (probably due to a good conservative behind the scenes) a financial impact statement and here it is for this bill.  A few juicy highlights:

Fiscal Implications:
The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame, established in 1972, is a private nonprofit located in Portsmouth. In addition to the cost of the Board and an executive director, the Governor’s introduced budget includes $250,000 for each year of the biennium for the Hall of Fame (Item 129. F.)
It gets better (From the bill itself but it’s also in the financial summary):

§ 23-253.9. Board powers.

A. In addition to the powers set forth elsewhere in this chapter, the Board may:

***5. Employ, either as regular employees or independent contractors, accountants, architects, attorneys, construction experts and personnel, consultants, curators, docents, engineers, financial experts, historians, researchers, superintendents, managers and other professional personnel, personnel, and agents as may be necessary in the judgment of the Board and fix their compensation;

6. Determine the locations of, develop, establish, construct, erect, acquire, own, repair, remodel, add to, extend, improve, equip, operate, regulate, and maintain facilities to the extent necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Board;

7. Acquire, hold, lease, use, encumber, transfer, or dispose of real and personal property;

***

9. Regulate the use and operation of facilities acquired under the provisions of this chapter;

***

11. Borrow money from any source for any valid purpose, including working capital for its operations, reserve funds, or interest, and mortgage, pledge, or otherwise encumber the property or funds of the Board and contract with or engage the services of any person in connection with any financing, including financial institutions, issuers of letters of credit, or insurers;

Now the financial summary insists that this would ONLY cost the Commonwealth $250,000.  BUT, if the board can hire people, maintain facilities, acquire property and borrow money, I can assure you that the inevitable mission creep will occur and soon we will have this board with a $5,000,000 budget at least in part from taxpayer dollars.  Remember Sandy’s First Law:  Taxpayers get shafted!  And Sandy’s Third Law:  Never Buy the Original Numbers!

Now don’t take the word of a humble blogger from Hanover.  Take the word of this Virginian Pilot article:

It has operated as a private nonprofit since 1972. The group’s last tax form posted online from 2013 indicates it had a budget of $1.2 million and $954,000 in revenue, about half from taxpayer subsidies.

After years of routinely cutting an annual check of $500,000, Portsmouth’s funding has dwindled.

The proposed legislation doesn’t mandate taxpayer subsidies, but hall President Eddie Webb said that is the organization’s goal.

The sports hall is a museum, he said, and can’t make ends meet without taxpayer subsidies. Webb said there is no state-funded museum east of Williamsburg.

Now when the Virginian-Pilot says someone hopes to get a government subsidy, you can believe it!  It’s like the Washington Post saying we must “invest” in education.  I appreciate the integrity of Mr. Webb.  He says the museum can’t make it financially without taxpayer subsidies!

But why not?

After all there are former NFL players and former NBA players (and probably former MLB players, too!) in the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.  Why not hit these star players – or their kids and grandkids – for contributions?

Frankly, I got to say:  I like sports and I like honoring Virginians who have served sports well.  But not with taxpayer money.  I’d rather not have a Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and to have one with the need for taxpayer subsidies.

Finally, if this board becomes a state agency – its decisions will be political ones.  By definition.So to everybody who reads this blog and agrees with me:  No more public subsidies for what is private activities without a very compelling reason.  Not the movies.  Not the Virginia Museum for Fine Arts.  Not the Redskins practice facility.  Not the Shockoe Bottom stadium.  And definitely not the World Championship bike races.

Remember how disrupted you were that week in September?  Call or email or mail your delegate or senator tonight!  Go here and find out who your delegate and/or senator are.  And let me know you did it!  I’ll send my automatic copy of this post I get from the blog to Senator McDougle and Delegate Peace.   Time to say HECK NO!

 


Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Hanover Residents: Raise Real Estate Taxes or Reinstate Proffers?

Should Hanover County Raise Taxes or Reinstate Proffers
  • 8.33%
  • 91.67%

One of the first acts of Hanover’s all Republican Board of Supervisors nearly 4 years ago was to eliminate proffers for developers. Since then, the same board has approved a number of high density / low income housing in the area despite vocal opposition to this type of growth. And with the per pupil spending around $10,000 to $11,000 (perhaps more for 2015-2016 school year), the citizens of the county have a decision to make. As developers line their pockets building more and more housing units, without proffers to offset the cost of services such as Police and Fire, something has to go unfunded, or we must raise taxes.

Our schools have fallen into disrepair and we have no choice but to spend money to protect our investment in these structures. The HVAC (heating and cooling) systems are old and not working as they should, roofs are leaking (see the video below of Lee Davis High School earlier this year.)

And our cash reserves are have fallen to an unacceptably low level because this money has been spent on other things in order to keep from raising taxes. But those days are fast coming to a close. And taxes, fees, and other ways of taking our money will be increasingly common during the next 4 year term for the new board.

And the questions we need to answer is will we continue to line the pockets of developers and builders at the expense of our schools? Or will we reinstate proffers so that these developers will have to pay for some of the impact of the multitude of new housing they are building?

Looking at the donors to the current Board of Supervisors and Candidates on VPAP if you exclude donations from political sources, all 5 of the members running for re-election received the largest amount in donations from the Real Estate and Construction industry (for all years). And with the easy time most developers have gaining approval for their projects as well as the elimination of proffers, the developers have gotten what they paid for in Hanover.

And the taxpayers are the ones coming up short.

The tax hikes are coming folks. You can’t sell the county government to developers and not expect to pay for such a mistake.

Call your supervisor and demand that they reinstate proffers immediately. And consider voting only for candidates who promise to fight to reinstate proffers and the Cronyism in Hanover County.

 


Article written by: Tom White