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Forum: Dogs, Cats Or ? What’s Your Favorite Pet?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and our invited guests weigh in at the Watcher’s Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day, the culture, or daily living. This week’s question: Dogs, Cats Or ? What’s Your Favorite Pet?

Fausta’s Blog: I’m very allergic to cats, so I can’t have any contact with them.

Dogs are nice, but at this point in my life I don’t want the responsibility, so I visit my sister and hang out with her dog, who enthusiastically greets me at the door.

The Daley Gator : Dogs, no contest! They are called man’s best friend for very good reasons. Mainly the closeness you can get with a dog that just is not there with a cat, at least to me. I recall being 18, and heart-broken over a girl. As I sat on my bed, head hanging down, here came my dog. He just laid his head on my knee, and looked at me, as if to say it is OK.

The Razor : The older I get the more I like animals and the less I like people. As for cats vs dogs, both have their charms. I have 7 of each, the eldest being a 20 year old cat I raised from a kitten in Japan, down to a 6 month old Rottweiler mix puppy who bangs the kitchen cabinets like a drum when he wags his tail. All are rescues – the 20 year old cat from a plastic bag in a dumpster in Kyoto, the Rottie puppy running under parked cars as a 5 week old puppy at the local WalMart.

Cats vs Dogs… Cats are independent and perfect when you are young and relatively carefree. They aren’t needy the way dogs are, but it’s nice when one decides to curl up on you uninvited. Dogs, on the other hand, require a lot of effort. They are pack animals and can’t be ignored. The other day an early Spring storm rolled through and I had all 7 dogs either on me or within a few inches of me. They are also underfoot which can make them dangerous some times, because they always want to do what you are doing or see what you are seeing. Cats really don’t care – although the 20 year old cat like an elderly old lady has a nightly routine you could almost set your watch by where she curls up first with the Wife and then with me.

When one animal passes another inevitably finds the open niche in our hearts, transforming it into his or her own. When I cross the Rainbow Bridge I only hope that I have a multitude of hands to pet them all.

Bookworm Room : Pat Shipman, an anthropologist, believes that dogs helped humans become the earth’s dominant species, giving humans the edge over Neanderthals and dominance over animal predators. Dogs and humans were natural hunting partners, since dogs could sniff and chase, while humans, using weapons, could do a long distance kill. (Dogs could only do close kills, which put them at risk.) When humans transitioned to farm life, dogs protected them against predators, both human and animal.

In other words, where would we be without dogs? And can anyone say the same thing about the human/cat relationship?

I also believe that our ability to form bonds across species is part of the necessary empathy development humans need to be civilized. Societies that cut themselves off from dogs (and I’m naming no names here) miss that developmental phase and it damages them, leading to cultures of unusual cruelty. They have less empathy because they’ve had less natural scope to develop it.

Finally, at a personal, rather than intellectual level, I just love dogs. I love that they wear their hearts on their sleeves, I love that that we’re so important to them, I love that they can be (and want to be) trained so as to live in more harmony with us, and I love their playfulness, cuddliness, affection, and loyalty. As far as I can tell, the only real advantage cats have over dogs is that cats make for funnier videos.

The aged lady on the left is my Chihuahua/Australian Heeler mix; the feisty lad on right is my mostly Chihuahua, a little bit Fox Terrier mutt. The latter, especially, is my darling, loving me with a passion unique to Chihuahuas.

Laura Rambeau Lee,Right Reason :With my lifestyle and personality I have always had an affinity for cats. I have taken in many feral kittens in my life and there is no better feeling than winning the trust of a wild cat. I suppose I relate to that initial hesitation to trust people too until they have proven they are worthy of my trust. Cats are independent, they can be aloof or playful depending on their mood, and do very well when left to themselves. With both myself and my husband working odd hours and going away for long weekends a cat is the perfect pet. Having a dog would be unfair as we are not at home enough to give the attention and time needed to walk and play with them. We have talked about getting a dog when we retire. Both bring so much joy into our lives in their unique ways and I can’t imagine not having a cat or dog, or both, in our home.

I think the meme of the cat and dog sums up their differences perfectly. The dog thinks “Wow, this human takes care of my every need, he must be a God” while the cat thinks “This human takes care of my every need, I must be a God.”

The Glittering Eye : Over the course of my adult life I’ve had rabbits, cats, and dogs as pets. They’re all great and which you prefer depends on what you want in a pet.

Cats are beautiful and don’t much care whether you’re there or not as long as you give them food and water. If they want to play, they might seek you out or they might not. Cats are nocturnal which means that they’re predisposed to be most active when you’re the least active.

Rabbits have a lot more personality than you might think and otherwise they’re not unlike cats without the claws and sharp teeth. They’re relatively easy to keep and tend. They might reward you with a little companionship if they’re so inclined.

Dogs are needier than cats or rabbits. Food and water and a place to eliminate aren’t enough for them. They need to be part of a family. Like rabbits dogs are crepuscular; most active at dawn and dusk. That’s convenient if you work an ordinary 9 to 5 job because they’re most active when you’re getting ready for work and when you get home and are quite content to sleep while you’re at work or asleep.

Virginia Right!: My family are all dog lovers. I have 2 siblings and they have a few dogs each. Can’t really keep them straight, but I think they both presently have 3 dogs.

We have just two at my house, both are large dogs. I am not a fan of the little “yappy” dogs, but I have nothing against them. Just prefer the larger breeds.

Both of my dogs are mixed breeds and both are rescues.

Layla is a sweet natured girl that is somewhere around 60 – 65 pounds. She is part yellow Lab and part Boxer. She is very laid back and has a unique greeting when anyone comes in the house. She grabs a stuffed toy in her mouth and goes up to the person yelling “woo hoo”. Just a happy 8 year old puppy.

The newest addition is also part Lab – we think chocolate Lab and part Irish Setter. We have had him for about 3 months now and he is around 8 months old. But he is already over 50 pounds of solid muscle. HE has eaten a sofa and several pillows and blankets. And 4 or 5 dog beds. I now wrap the beds in canvas tarps. But he has chewed through that too.

Layla is a house dog and Marley loves outside. He is a house dog too, but will spend as much time as he can in our yard. (Fenced in.)

We got a couple feet of snow last month and the drifts were higher. He was a bit skeptical at first when he saw the snow. But within a minute, he accepted it and decided he likes it. He REALLY likes snow. The snow was almost as tall as he is but he ran through the yars as fast as he could and reminded me of a dolphin following a boat. He had a smooth up and down running motion and looked like a blur. He does not feel the cold and his coat keeps him dry. I had to yell at him several times to make him come in. It was pretty cold and you don’t want to leave pets out in that weather, but he was having a ball.

Yea, both of my dogs have music names. Layla from the Clapton song and Marley is, of course, Nesta, also known as Bob Marley.

I had not seen the film Marley and Me before I named him. My wife and I watched it a couple of weeks ago and I think another name would have been better.

If you have not seen the movie, it is absolutely hilarious. But at the end of the movie, we turned the movie off. So I opted for the funny movie with the happy ending. By turning off the last few minutes.

Marley and Layla act like siblings. They love each other, but get into wrestling matches. Unfortunately, in the house as well as outside. Sounds like two bear cubs fighting.

But my dogs are a part of the family. Our daily routine includes my pups. I have had a lot of dogs in my life, and a few periods without.

I like the “with” times far better than the “without” times.

Anybody have a couch for sale? Make that two!

Puma By Design : Growing up, we had two dogs and no imagination. Both dogs were named Boots.

Boots #1 arrived on the scene after my parents took a trip to Harlem one evening. She was a tiny thing, a mutt of mixed breeds but what Boots # 1 lacked in weight and bloodline, as she grew up, she made up for in spirit.

I recall Boots #1 was such in ill health when she arrived that my mother had to cook a special diet of eggs and beef as instructed to boost Boots #1’s immune system.

Since we lived in a dangerous neighborhood and in an equally dangerous apartment building, Boots was not allowed to mingle with anyone but immediate family members. Even our friends were off limits.

It was not long before Boots had the junkies down the hall and on the second floor on the run.

You see, it was because of the junkies that my parents decided to get a dog.

We would hear the junkies down the hall playing with their key in the apartment door lock from time to time and since my parents knew that it was just a matter of time before their keys worked and ours did not, my parents decided to beat them to the punch by getting a dog.

By the time Boots #1 was five months old, the junkies decided to go elsewhere. When they would come anywhere near our apartment door, Boots #1 would let out a bark so ferocious that people refused to believe that such a bark came from this little dog who also had the strength and might to rip a junkie to shreds.

Then there was the male Alaskan Husky down the hall named, Oliver. Oliver was four times Boots’ side and a coward.

If Miss Ludell was walking Oliver at the same time that my brother was walking, Boots, the moment they made eye contact, poor Oliver would run for his life up three flights of stairs and back into his house with Boots not far behind.

My mother would always hear Boots barking, us screaming and catch Boots just in time. As for Miss Ludell, by the time she climbed three flights of stairs and entered the apartment, the whole building could hear her shouting at poor Oliver, “I can’t believe you’re afraid of that little dog.

Hmmm, such is life in the ghetto.

Finally, Boots became an even bigger hit with my parents once their daughters began courting. The boys would told to sit on the sofa, the girls in a chair opposite them with Boots in the middle staring hard at the boy, letting out this low growl and blocking any type of physical contact.

There was no hand holding, no nothing and the boy had better not blink or fidget. So where were my parents, cheerfully in the other room relaxed, reading the newspaper or watching the evening news.

While I love cats, what cat could compare?

Well, there you have it.

Make sure to tune in every Monday for the Watcher’s Forum. And remember, every Wednesday, the Council has its weekly contest with the members nominating two posts each, one written by themselves and one written by someone from outside the group for consideration by the whole Council. The votes are cast by the Council, and the results are posted on Friday morning.

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Forum: Dogs, Cats Or ? What’s Your Favorite Pet?


Article written by: Tom White

Canova Peterson Platform: Eliminating proffers that were never actually paid made new houses, (up 13%), more affordable.

Canova Peterson is the current Mechanicsville District Supervisor in Hanover County, Va. Four years ago I helped get him elected and he barely squeaked by, winning by just 75 votes.Canova

I was proud to help with signs and I talked to hundreds of voters on election day at the polls in Mechanicsville. I don’t know the exact number, but I know a good portion of the 75 votes that put Peterson over the top were from people I personally convinced to vote for Canova.

And in reviewing the last 4 years and Peterson’s record, I can say I will not be taking a vacation day on November 3, 2015 to help Peterson at the polls. He has been a disappointment and, in my opinion, detrimental to the dream of keeping Hanover a safe, rural place to live.

Voters made a tremendous error in 2011 by electing too many supervisors to the board that had ties to developers and builders. We have seen $52 million in proffers fly out of window as Peterson and the other developer cronies voted to eliminate proffers that help to defray the costs to the existing property owners in the form of cash, land and roads and other items that will prevent a lot of the costs of the development from being passed on to existing property owners.

Canova Peterson’s largest source of campaign money, not surprisingly, is the Real Estate / Construction business according to VPAP. Peterson is an architect with close ties to the construction business.

So it shouldn’t have been a surprise that Canova Peterson was one of the developer lackeys leading the charge to eliminate proffers and line the pockets of his top donor class. And the spin and excuses Peterson has delivered in the years since he voted to get rid of proffers is staggering.

And at the September meeting of the Hanover County Republican Committee Canova Peterson rose to address the committee at the end of the meeting and complained about the misinformation being spread around. We agree with him that there is a lot of misinformation, but all he need do to locate the source is look in a mirror.

Canova’s Spin: Proffers make housing un-affordable.

In a debate held last month between Peterson and his challenger Glenn Millican, Peterson made the following argument as a reason to eliminate proffers:

We have a need for all types of housing in this community. Not just single family housing for the well to do. Our teachers, and first responders on the Fire Department, they deserve to be able to have homes too. Many of them when they are first starting out cannot afford that first house. One of the things that’s very important that we have done over the last 2 ½ years is we did help that by getting rid of the proffers. We reduced the price on those houses so that the lower people can afford a house quicker. Our children are no longer banned to living in other communities because they cannot afford to live in the county they grew up in. (Video can be found here and this statement is at the 10:00 minute mark in video #1.)

So according to Peterson, eliminating proffers made housing more affordable so the “lower people” can afford to buy. But proffers were only added to brand new homes. The county has plenty of starter homes and rentals for those starting out who are at the dawn of their careers. But the truth is, eliminating proffers has done nothing to lower the price of new homes in Hanover.

false-fact-checkFact Check: Peterson gets an F on this  claim.

One of the arguments for eliminating proffers was that the cost of housing would go down. In a presentation on the state of the county in November, County Administrator Rhu Harris reported that new housing costs were up by 13 percent in 2014. (See article in the Hanover Herald Progress.)

So even the county administrator would have to give Peterson 5 Pinocchio’s on this claim. Peterson’s developer buddies are not passing the savings on to the new home buyers. They are simply taking the opportunity to milk more money from new citizens while leaving the current citizens holding the bag for additional police, fire, school, water, sewer and other costs. Peterson is not being honest with the Hanover voters on this.

Canova’s Spin: The County Lost Nothing by Eliminating Proffers

In the same debate, Peterson made the following statement:

The County lost nothing. We never had $52 million to begin with. What we had was a wish and a hope that this money would come forward to begin with. Proffers came into being in Hanover in 1990 at $1,800 per house. When we got rid of the policy in 2012-2013 session it was $20,000 per house.

At $20,000 the most we ever collected was $2 million and that was in 1 year. The average over the 20 years was $1.3 million. People were talking about trying to collect $10 million over the next several years. That’s all based on hope and promises.

We replaced that with the Reserve Capitafalse-fact-checkl Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.

Fact Check: Peterson gets an F on this claim.

Here are a few actual examples of proffers that Peterson calls a “wish and a hope”. And remember, the Real Estate / Construction industry is his largest single source of campaign funding.

Total Receivable Applicant/Developer
1,640,160 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
6,539,141 Wilton Development Corp.
186,692 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
412,794 The Hanover Group
120,876 The Hanover Group
410,685 D.O Allen Homes
118,430 S L A, LLC
413,375 Diamond Group
377,165 Dee Associates, LLC
2,951,517 Four West Company
2,231,307 Four West Company
661,353 BWW Holdings
8,620,326 Hanover Development LLC
854,426 Glebe Hill Associates
558,858 Godsey Properties, Inc
3,518,669 Hickory Hill, LLC
2,340,184 Commonwealth Lands
1,511,664 Rogers-Chenault
2,159,520 Mountain Air, LLC
1,190,520 D&R Property Development, Inc
396,126 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
938,706 Atlantic Coast Townhomes, LLC
3,120,480 HHHunt, LLC
277,051 Godsey Properties Inc.
364,925 Historic Polegreen Church
417,656 Colonial Homecrafters, LLC
76,168 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
494,460 Carter Oaks, LLC
373,531 Balducci Developers, LLC
372,572 Mount Hermon, LLC
223,882 Mountain Run, LLC
383,530 Rogers-Chenault, Inc
843,771 HHHunt, LLC
446,445 Santee Farm, Inc
492,470 Anthony Sherman
705,778 Godsey Properties, Inc
412,940 West Point Resolution Co.

So, what could we do with this list of “wishes and hope”? Could our schools use any of that money? How about police and firefighters? Yes, there are limits on what proffers may be used for, but money is fungible.

Can you spot the glaring error in Canova Peterson’s logic?Stupidity-quote-inspiration

Political junkies like myself have been following and watching in horror as Canova Peterson and his developer buddies (along with the rest of the Board of Supervisors) have watched with horror as Hanover is paved with blacktop, houses and low income housing with no source of revenue to take the additional burden off of taxpayers. Something about Canova’s absurd arguments didn’t add up. And it hit me the other night.

Peterson claims that proffers made housing too expensive and in almost the same breath he claims we never actually collected the money.

So eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Let me repeat Canova’s stance on proffers:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

And Peterson whines about the misinformation going around.

Are you beginning to see why I will not be taking my vacation day this time to help Canova at the polls? No, I will sit back like the majority of the Hanover Republicans and do as little as possible. I will not be the grassroots this time to elect this supervisor to another 4 year term. Because he doesn’t deserve it. It is a shame that there was no primary challenger. One who will be truthful and honest with the voters.

Peterson Avoiding Debates

The Herald Progress planned to hold a debate at Lee Davis High School last month, but Peterson, citing a scheduling conflict, backed out. When I suggested that he use his Town Hall scheduled for tonight (10/13/2015) as a makeup debate, he refused.

You know why he refused? Because he can’t find a response to the question:

Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children, he cries!) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.

Peterson Won’t Debate, but Sends in a Plant

Glenn Millican, the challenger, was more than willing to answer questions from Mechanicsville voters and held a Town Hall meeting in place of the debate Peterson backed out of. And while Peterson was unable to come, he did send in a plant, a Mr. Warren Rice. Rice read from talking points and repeated the same absurd claims Peterson has used to defend his “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable” platform. (And by the way, Rice is a Peterson supporter and donor.)

What Rice claimed was that his son, a Hanover Firefighter, was forced to move to New Kent because the cost of proffers made a home in Hanover unaffordable – fitting in nicely as a prop to attempt to bolster Peterson’s argument from the debate that he muffed so badly.

And we will ignore the absurd contention by Rice that the proffers add $20,000 to the assessment of the house and the taxes ever year forever. Amen. Assessments don’t work like that, and besides, if they did, that same $20,000 would be refunded when you sell or pass on the house.

So let’s do the math on a firefighter living in New Kent and working in Hanover. And note that a firefighter living in New Kent and working in New Kent is paid less.

  • Rhu Harris said new home prices in Hanover were up 13% in 2014 after eliminating proffers.
  • The average Hanover firefighter makes $31,000.
  • The average Firefighter salary in New Kent is $27,000. 12% less.

At $.81 per $100 Real Estate Tax Rate in Hanover, if it was true that the $20,000 in additional costs added by proffers (that are not actually real according to Canova) are paid year after year, the additional tax comes to $162 per year. Which would have to come out of the additional $4,000 Hanover Firefighters are paid in Hanover vs New Kent.

But the Real Estate Tax Rate in New Kent is higher than Hanover at $.84 per $100.

Real Estate Tax on a $250,000 home in:

Hanover: $2,025.00

New Kent: $2,100.00

So, out of that $162 extra tax Rice was complaining about due to proffers in Hanover, you can subtract $75 because Real Estate Taxes are higher in New Kent. Leaving the cost of the additional $20,000 in non existent proffers in Hanover costing $87 more a year. Which is about $1.67 per week.

Now let’s say the commute from New Kent adds 40 miles per day round trip to the commute. I know firefighters schedules vary, but others, like Teachers who make an average $56,00 in Hanover and $50,00 in New Kent drive 5 days per week during school. Other jobs that are 5 days per week year ’round would drive an extra 200 miles per week. With gas pretty low right now  at $2 or less per gallon, if your car gets 25 MPG you are looking at 8 extra gallons per week, $16 dollars more per week and that comes to $832 per year in additional gas costs to live in

New Kent.false-fact-check

 So if Mr. Rice’s son lived in Hanover instead of New Kent he would save $745 per year.
So we will have to give Peterson’s plant Warren Rice a rating of False.
Peterson also made the claim that proffers were “replaced that with the Reserve Capital Improvements Project that used guaranteed money adding up to $180 million over that same amount of time.
Wow! Peterson replaced proffers that were only $52 million, but a figment of our imagination, with guaranteed money more than triple that of proffers. $180 million.
Let’s see. The proffers that made housing unaffordable but were imaginary and increased the price of housing by 13% when they were eliminated and which were paid by builders were replaced by $180 million in guaranteed money.
Notice that Peterson didn’t say who would be paying this $180 million. This time we must look in the mirror to see Peterson’s ATM. And if you are really quick, you might see a vapor trail of Canova’s hand picking your pockets.

Canova Peterson Wants More Secret Meetings Hidden From the Public

secret-meeting-safe-picHow can you deceive the voters and come up with platforms like “Eliminating the proffers that were never actually paid and made housing too expensive (for the children he cries) has now made new houses, which have gone up in price by 13%, more affordable.”?
Easy. You try to eliminate the freedom of information act laws that make closed door secret meetings illegal. Canova wants to meet in secret, away from prying eyes and ears to help out his developer buddies and their plans to take advantage of the taxpayers of Hanover County.
In an unbelievably attack on government transparency,  Peterson tried to have the law changed.
Times-Dispatch: When elected officials in Hanover and other jurisdictions want to meet, they have a simple choice. They can issue a public notice and get together to discuss the issue in the open, as they should. Or they can skirt the law’s intent by holding a series of “two-by-twos,” in which two supervisors at a time meet with county staff. (Virginia’s open-meetings law applies to gatherings of three or more elected officials.) Hanover’s supervisors find this inconvenient. So their chairman, W. Canova Peterson IV, wants state law changed so open-meeting laws apply only to quorums. In Hanover, that would permit three supervisors at a time to meet behind closed doors. This is a rotten idea, whose sole purpose is to put the convenience of public servants ahead of the interests of the public they are supposed to serve.
 Is this any way to serve the voters?

Article written by: Tom White