Category Archives: case

Status Quo Crowd getting desperate?

By Bob Shannon Central Garage

Having attended the majority of the Board of Supervisor meetings the last 8 years, I can’t say until Land Use Exemption Programs came under threat, and the tax shifting game was exposed, do I even recall Mr. Mills attending these meetings.  To disguise why he is now showing up he portends that it is because these new Supervisors “ can’t be trusted “ ?

  I have read the 8 page protocol on how a Board  meeting is to be conducted so I might begin with pointing out a few FACTS, those annoying things that get in the way of propaganda, a tactic employed these days by the very folks who call out my behavior as intimidating or unruly.

Mr. Mills waxes poetically, longing for the good old days when as he states….. “ whereas in the past we trusted all of our Supervisors to do so, which is no longer the caseTranslation: King William now has at least 2 Supervisors who won’t dance to the Oligarchs band.  He then states…… “ Their actions bear watching and their questionable decisions scrutinized” Translation:  Hansen & Ehrhart ( legally elected by the voters in their districts to do what apparently the voters agreed with) don’t mesh with Mr. Mills agenda………therefor can’t be trusted ?  The subtle message in Mr. Mills writing indicates his true colors…..unless your opinion and views align with his——you can’t be trusted ?  I would at least respect him if he was just direct and said what he thinks….. he is simply annoyed because he can’t control 2 of them as opposed to the past when Supervisors danced to he and his crony pals tune. Should any citizen share their opposing views/opinions with elected officials, well in Mr. Mills warped world that automatically makes the elected officials suspect ?

  Up to and including the meeting on Monday February 22,( the circus ) I have sat through no fewer than a dozen meetings where speakers during the public comment period were generously allowed to ramble on and on and on , well past any 3 or 5 minutes afforded them,  without a scintilla of objections from a single Board member……..until after the February 22 meeting when things clearly got out of control. I wrote the Board members that very evening offering the suggestion that they indeed implement the very controls afforded them in the 8 page memorandum outlining how a Board meeting is to be conducted. Odd that Mr. Mills and or Mr. Wagner NOW CALL FOR ORDER ? Mr. Wagner to the best of my recollection never objected when countless other speakers went well beyond their allotted time, but dare someone like me who refuses to cower go 15 seconds over the limit……we can’t have that now can we .. Hypocrites employ selective memory, and why …..because they just don’t like what I have to say.  Conservatives in the county begin to speak up, and all of a sudden protocol takes on new urgency.

Mr. Mills in his letter of April 20th states that I ignored the Chairs direction that my time had ended. This is untrue. What I did was simply point out what I reference above, how this time limit has been totally ignored over many years, but now is a issue , now that an opposing point of view is gaining some traction in the community , the status quo wants to shut us up. My last words I spoke before walking away after speaking were ….“Thank you gentlemen for your time”.  Odd how Mr. Mills cites my lack of respectful manner but excludes the individual sitting in the room who said loud enough for everyone to hear “ shut up and go sit down”.   Equally telling is the lack of the Chair gaveling the person making those comments. I have often times bit my tongue when I sat in these meetings and had to listen to others make outlandish statements, or drone on and on ,but I always observed the common courtesies denied me on April 4th.

As for me storming out of the building, I quietly and calmly returned to my seat, recognized what time it was and left because I start my day normally at 4:30 am, but heh ,what’s a little lie on top of the first one ?

“ Protecting our County”,  particularly telling that Mr. Mills didn’t say “ the county” —but our county…. what Mr. Mills and others of his ilk are protecting is the status quo. To assign nefarious motives to Hansen and Ehrhart ( who he is clearly referencing) is an insult to the voters who sent these 2 honorable men to that Board to do a job, cut spending and lower taxes. Apparently or conveniently Mr. Mills overlooks that the majority of voters in both the 4th & 5th districts have another point of view, one that he insults by implying their very votes for these 2 gentlemen somehow don’t matter.   It is the likes of Mr. Mills who has no respect for others point of view.  Just what did the election results mean to Mr. Mills ?  These voters and the opinions they expressed at the polls in November according to Mr. Mills are not valid ? News Flash Mr. Mills……you don’t run the show anymore.

Very few Supervisors of the past displayed any independence, often times jockeying to publically portray themselves as independent, but maintaining the status quo so as to not upset the delicate arrangement existing to keep the Oligarchs happy. Policy decisions told the real story. If revenue needed raised—go tap the beleaguered homeowner or small business owner who didn’t have the special status assigned to a very small well connected group .

Their game plan has shifted out of necessity…..turn the new Supervisors who won’t bow and a handful of out spoken members of the County into villains. The  only problem is we are not beholden or silenced with the pathetic & obvious form of manipulation these folks now employ. They lost at the ballot box so pull out the villain card. Rest assured Mr. Mills the only folks buying this are already in your corner, your reach  is restricted to the self serving crowd who want things to remain just as they are. Bloviating won’t change the minds of the folks with their eyes now wide open and tuned into how things here in King William have been run for far too long.




Article written by: Tom White

Forum: What’s Your Favorite Sport? Why?

Every week on Monday, 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: What’s Your Favorite Sport? Why?

The Daley Gator : Easy, regular season college football is number 1. Love sports, but the passion of college football is unmatched. I am more passionate about my Gators than any other sports team I support. My only knock on the game is that the manner in which a champion is crowned is sub-standard. Oh it is getting better, at least we have a 4 -tea playoff now, but we should double that number.

My favorite post-season sport is easy too, the Stanley Cup Playoffs are far and away the most entertaining, dramatic, and unpredictable in sports. And nothing in sports matches an overtime playoff contest where, as a fan, your team is a split second from defeat or victory for an unspecified period of time. The OT might end in seconds, it might to to a second, third, fourth OT, maybe longer. And the grit these teams show? Phenomenal!

Stately McDaniel Manor : I much prefer participating in sports to watching them on television, in part because during the school year, I have no time for television in general, and certainly none for lengthy sports broadcasts. During my younger years, I was a runner, and completed several marathons and a wide variety of shorter events. In fact, my wife and I ran the first ever Devil Tower Death Run, and it nearly was, too.

These days, I participate in three primary sports. Bicycling is important not only for conditioning, but fun as well. Due to a neck injury I suffered during my police days, I can’t right an upright bike, and about two decades ago, switched to recumbents. Since then, I’ve ridden a Lightning P38, a Rans V-Rex, and my current steed, a Terra Trike Sportster.I switched because my wife is a bit older than me, and is experiencing the kinds of minor balance unsteadiness that accompanies aging. We thought we’d get ahead of that and go for trikes, and we haven’t looked back. We ride from 16-40 miles on normal training rides.

I also participate in European and Japanese fencing, which is enormous fun, and also keeps the reflexes and mind sharp. But so does my third sporting hobby: shooting.

Not only does shooting maintain the brain, not only is it enormously enjoyable, it keeps my skills sharp in case they’re needed. Besides, gun ownership really aggravates progressives. I primarily shoot AR pattern rifles and semiautomatic handguns, though do longer range shooting with a .308 bolt gun, and a .17 HMR semiautomatic as well. This review of one of my toys–the H&K MP5 SD6–has been constantly popular.

The Glittering Eye :I don’t follow professional or amateur athletics. It just doesn’t interest me.

Over the years I’ve been on organized teams or individual events in baseball, soccer, wrestling, fencing, judo, and kendo. Of all of the sports I’ve ever practiced I love kendo the most. I’d be doing it now if I weren’t so old and broken down. Nothing matches it.

GrEaT sAtAn”S gIrLfRiEnD : Baseball. Always loved it.

Laura Rambeau Lee, Right Reason : The one sport I make it a point to watch is figure skating. I am captivated by the grace and elegance of the women skaters; the strength and power of the men skaters; and the sheer beauty and synchronicity of the pair skaters and ice dancers. Of course the fact that their routines are all choreographed to great pieces of music adds to my wonder and delight as these athletes push their bodies to perfect ever more difficult jumps and combinations of jumps.

Bookworm Room : That’s an easy one: My favorite sport is Martial Arts. It pings my happy meter on so many levels.

First, utilitarian person that I am, I love that it teaches a practical skill. I think every girl should know how to throw a good hard punch and an equally hard kick. With luck, knowing that she can do those things will give her the kind of body confidence that means she’ll never actually have to use them. Predators like easy victims and a girl who looks as if she can hit back is definitely not the slowest gazelle in the herd.

Second, Martial Arts provides a fantastic aerobic workout. When you’re sparring with someone, you’re using every part of your body, including your fingers and toes.

Third, Martial Arts is great for bone density — as long as you don’t trash your joints along the way when working out on the bags or wrestling.

Fourth, Martial Arts is never boring. I can’t stand aerobics because you just flap and kick aimlessly for way too long. With Martial Arts, even when you do repetitive drills, you’re constantly improving your form. And when you’re sparring or, in the case of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, rolling, it’s a dynamic situation that requires focus and mental agility. (Physical agility helps too, obviously.)

Fifth, a good dojo is a very tight community. When you’re constantly hitting people (not to hard) and sweating all over them, it’s hard not to become friends. But please note the emphasis on a “good” dojo. Not all of them have that good feel and you shouldn’t stick around in a dojo that doesn’t feel comfortable.

Sixth, sometimes it just feels really good to hard something very, very hard. We all have days like that and people who do Martial Arts get to act on that impulse in a non-destructive way.

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.

It’s a weekly magazine of some of the best stuff written in the blogosphere, and you won’t want to miss it.

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Originally posted here: 

Forum: What’s Your Favorite Sport? Why?

Article written by: Tom White

The Harward Case Underscores Several Issues in the Administration of Justice in the Commonwealth

It is astounding for me to read in the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

DNA proves man innocent of 1982 rape and murder in famous ‘bite-mark’ case, lawyers say

I was even more astounded when I read what the case was:  Harward v. Commonwealth.  Here is the first appeal of this case at the Supreme Court in 1985.  Harward was convicted of the rape and murder in Newport News and was subject to being sentenced to death (he got a life sentence).  First-degree murder in the commission of a rape is capital murder in Virginia.  However, there was twist:  The husband was killed and the wife was raped.

The Supreme Court of Virginia held in a 4-3 decision that the murder had to be of the rape victim not another person at the same time as the rape.  Because the legislature used the word “a person” rather than “any person” to upgrade the murder in the commission of rape to capital murder (and used “any person” for murder for hire and murder while armed with a deadly weapon in the commission of a robbery) the Court held that the murder victim and the rape victim had to be the same person.  (This was subsequently amended.)

From the majority opinion:

We find it most significant that the General Assembly referred to the killing of “any person” in subsections (a) through (d) of Code § 18.2-31 and then, in subsection (e), employed the term “a person.” “Any” and “a” are not synonymous. “Any” includes “all” and “a” is limited to “one.” See County of Loudoun v. Parker, 205 Va. 357, 362, 136 S.E.2d 805, 809 (1964).

From the dissent:

The statute under consideration penalizes as capital murder the killing of “a person during the commission of, or subsequent to, rape.” Code § 18.2-31(e) (emphasis added). In this case, the murderer killed the rape victim’s husband. The only definition of “person” applicable to a victim of a homicide is “an individual human being.” Websters Third New International Dictionary 1686 (3d ed. 1976).

Although contrary views are sometimes expressed, it remains my impression that husbands, as a class, retain their membership in the human race. If that proposition remains true, the victim of the murder in this case was “a person.” If he was, the statute clearly includes this homicide. We refused the defendant’s appeal as to all other assignments of error.

And who says judges don’t have a sense of humor!  I’m not sure how I would have landed on this one.  It was important that the Attorney General conceded the statute was ambiguous.  Probably I’d have voted with the majority.  But it is a close case.

My point now that you have waded through a bunch of legalese is that Harward was originally subject to a death sentence (the jury gave him life) and only by one jurist’s vote on the state supreme court was Harward spared what could have been his execution.  (Upon retrial, Harward was convicted again of first degree murder and sentenced again to life imprisonment.)

Now it turns out that Harward might be innocent!  Here is the report from the R T-D.  I’ll be interested in the end of the story but it sounds to me like since one person and only one person committed the murder and the rape if the DNA shows another perpetrator (the wife had not had sex with anyone else according to her testimony) this is pretty convincing proof of Harward’s innocence.

Several observations:

  • Newport News did not have a public defender’s office until 2004.  I do not know nor will I suggest the advocacy was not up to par.  It appears that bite mark evidence was more acceptable in 1982 than today (it is largely discredited now) and of course DNA was not available at that time.  Now the Virginia Senate did pass a study bill to look into a statewide appellate defender’s office (it was originally a study of a comprehensive statewide PD office but Senator Dance, the bill’s patron [I wrote the bill and legislative services largely left it as I wrote it] was told that the scope of the study was too broad for the Crime Commission to study.) and it was held up in the House of Delegates Rules Committee.  I am told that the Crime Commission will study the statewide appellate defender issue anyway.  KUDOS to Hanover’s own senator Ryan McDougle who helped save this bill twice and helped get this study approved!
  • But we need better indigent defense services.  Today Harward would be represented by the regional capital defender’s office.  There is simply no reason for the entire state not to have access to these services.  But too many lawyers have this view:

But many of the attorneys said they have heard enough studies.

“I don’t buy any of the statistics from anyone,” said Willard Robinson, who was the Newport News commonwealth’s attorney from 1968 to 1990. “I support the system we have in Newport News. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.”

  • Too many Virginia juries tend to convict people.  I hardly blame the jury in this case with experts saying Harward’s bite marks were found at the scene.  Usually the jury is right when it convicts (there might be an issue as to the level of the charge or the sentence) but as I used to argue to the jury:  Reasonable doubt was not created by liberals in DC but rather was part of our heritage from England and ought to be used when appropriate.  I would like to see the SOLs amended to include more on this and related issues in high schools or more of an emphasis on proper procedure.
  • This could have been a death penalty case.  I am not an abolitionist as far as the death penalty for willful murder.  I wish these European do-gooders see some of the heinous crimes (the murder of the entire Harvey family comes readily to mind) and could understand there is a place for the death penalty.  The ONLY WAY I would endorse abolition is if the funds saved were used to improve the legal system.  But this was close to (if the defense is right) an innocent person being executed.

Finally, this is a special case for me.  Note the name of the first lawyer in the case:  Janet I. Farquharson.  I knew Janet.  We went to Wurzburg American High School together and she graduated in 1976 (I would have graduated in 1977 had Dad not been re-stationed in the states.) as a Wolf!

I remember well when Janet was first introduced into our German I class!  Seeking the hand of the attractive blonde future varsity cheerleader was – in this corner:  The future student government president who led a rock band and was an accomplished artist and in the other corner:  Sandy the dorky conservative.  Guess how that turned out.

Janet and I soon turned the student counsel and National Honor Society at WAHS into something like Crossfire – she took the more popular  liberal position and I took the evil right-wing traditionalist view.  (One of the debates in the NHS was whether we would recommend 5 points for an A in what you would now call AP classes.  I said yes reward hard work in harder classes.  Janet thought it was elitist and would play into the hands of who who thought honor society was elitist.  She won the vote.)  Janet was a good debater and was a worthy opponent.  She was awarded a ROTC scholarship (full ride from what I recall) and indicated she’d be a physician.  I told her she would make a better lawyer than a doctor!  No lie!

For one day a year or two into my practice (I was licensed in 1985) I am minding my own business and found the Harward case and you could have knocked me over with a feather!   Janet and the other appellate lawyers in this case did a fine job.

So I say it’s good to remember this final point:  Don’t mess with a military brat!  Especially from Wurzburg High School!




Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Cruz Not So Hot Supreme Court Record – 2 Wins and 6 Losses

I keep hearing about Ted Cruz and the nine times he argued before the Supreme Court. But I hear absolutely nothing about his record before the highest court in the land. And while arguing before the Supreme Court has to be one of the greatest honors in any Attorney’s career, Cruz was the Solicitor General of Texas. And that office exists to argue cases before the Supreme Court. So his job saw him visit the Supreme Court 9 times over 5 years.

As you will see below, there were really only 8 cases. One of the cases was sent back to the lower courts and later returned to SCOTUS where they finally ruled. And Cruz has shown he has an interesting way of spinning things, like 3 consecutive 3rd place finishes in the Primary proves he is the ONLY candidate that can beat Donald Trump.

But before SCOTUS you either win or lose. And how I judge this is based on how Cruz did on his arguments.

So here are his cases and a brief summary of each.

Medicaid funding – Frew v. Hawkins Oct. 7, 2003


This was Cruz first case before the Supreme Court.

Texas settled a class action lawsuit where the plaintiffs claimed that the state was not doing enough under Medicaid to adequately provide health care for children. Texas agreed to remedy the situation and settled the lawsuit. The state, according to the complaint, then failed to live up to it’s agreement and do more for medicaid children’s health care. So, essentially Cruz went to the Supreme Court to argue in favor of the inadequate care children were receiving in Texas. Not really an enviable position to be in, and a case that was probably doomed from the get go because Texas had agreed and then failed to fix the problem.

SCOTUS handed Cruz his butt on this one and he walked out of his first Supreme Court case with a unanimous decision against Cruz.


Sentencing error – Dretke v. Haley March 2, 2004


Cruz second case involved a guy that stole a calculator from a Texas Wal-Mart. So one might wonder how a simple case of shoplifting might end up before the Supreme Court. Well, the shoplifter got a whopping 14 years in jail for the theft. Now stealing is wrong, but 14 years? And there was no other crime involved.

So off Ted Cruz goes to the Supreme Court to try to justify a 14 year sentence for stealing a calculator.

Cruz could tell that he was going to lose and rather than suffer another loss, he changed his argument from justifying a 14 year sentence for a calculator and convinced the court to send the case back to Texas where they could save face and remedy the situation.

So back in the lower Texas court, the sentence was commuted to time already served. Cruz failed to defend the Texas case in the SCOTUS and the “calculator bandit” who had already been released won his effort to overturn the unreasonable sentence.

Somehow, Ted Cruz counts this as a win. But that is nothing but spin. This was a loss, plain and simple.


U.S. sovereignty – Medellín v. Dretke March 28, 2005 – Medellín v. Texas Oct. 10, 2007

WIN #1

This is a case that went to the Supreme Court twice. The first trip, SCOTUS sent it back to the lower court and the second time, the court ruled in favor of Cruz arguments.

A really bad guy who was a Mexican citizen raped and murdered two girls, one 14 and one 16. He was sentenced to death. The Mexican’s lawyers insisted that their client was not advised of his right to notify the Mexican diplomats according to a 1963 Vienna Convention treaty. George W. Bush initiated a review of Mexicans on death row based on a ruling from the International Court of Justice who ruled that the US was not in compliance with the treaty.

Cruz argued that since this was not brought up until years later, it was too late for the convicted killer to bring up. The first time this went before the court, Cruz did not win the argument and the case was sent back to the Texas courts. Which would not be a win for Cruz. But the second time this case went before SCOTUS, it was decided that the US Government could not enforce a treaty that had not been made into law by congress on the states.

This was an important case and Ted Cruz got a 6-3 decision the second time. One could argue that with the first case being a loss – Cruz did not prevail – would make this ruling a draw, but I consider it a win (and a big one) but it is essentially a continuation and the culmination of the first time this came before the Supremes. So one case, not two. A win, not a draw.


Redistricting – League of United Latin American Citizens v. Perry March 1, 2006


Texas redrew their voting maps in 2003 and the Republican majority was accused of gerrymandering and diluting the votes of minorities. (A case very similar to the one that forced Virginia to redraw their congressional lines this year. The court ruled 5-4 that the map violated the Voting Rights Act. Cruz spins this as a win because SCOTUS found that the entire map did not violate the Constitution and only the gerrymandered districts did. And these districts must be redrawn – pretty much what the recent Virginia decision said. Still, Texas violated the Voting Rights Act and the lines were ordered to be redrawn. This is a loss for Cruz.


Sentencing error – Smith v. Texas Jan. 17, 2007


A man with a low IQ robbed and stabbed a co-worker at a Texas Taco Bell. He received the death penalty but the jury was not advised of his mental deficiency. Cruz lost this case and SCOTUS set aside the death penalty sentence.


Death penalty for mentally ill – Panetti v. Quarterman April 18, 2007


This case was pretty similar to the previous case Cruz unsuccessfully argued 90 days earlier. This time, instead of a low IQ the guy had a mental illness and was unable to understand he was being sentenced to death. Cruz argued that the guy could be faking it. the justices didn’t buy that and handed Cruz another defeat.

Death Penalty for Child Rapists – Kennedy v. Louisiana April 16, 2008


I really can’t think of a crime more heinous than raping a child, aside from murdering one. Texas decided to put child rapists to death. But absent killing someone, child or not, is the death penalty appropriate? Where do we draw the line at Cruel and Unusual punishment? The Supreme Court ruled that this is where we draw the line. Cruz lost.

Patent infringement – Global-Tech Appliances v. SEB S.A. Feb. 23, 2011

WIN #2

Cruz last case before the Supreme Court was a win, and his most decisive win at 8-1. Not as decisive as his 9-0 loss in his first case, but an impressive win if you are a fan of deep fat fryers. It seems a Hong Kong company reverse engineered a deep fat fryer patented by a French company. In a striking blow for freedom and liberty, Cruz won his last case as the courts ruled you can’t copy someone else’s deep fat fryer.

Two wins, 6 losses.

The win Cruz had in the Treaty case was an important one and I won’t take anything away from him for that.

But I now see why the Cruz supporters gleefully proclaim Cruz argued 9 cases in front of the Supreme Court, but stop short of actually telling anyone about the cases. Color me underwhelmed. All I see is one victory, 6 losses and a lot of spin.

Article written by: Tom White

Two More Useful Ideas (One Appears to be a Bill Already) That Maybe Ought to be a Law!

I was recently honored to be published in the semi-annual newsletter of the Trusts and Estates Section of the Virginia State Bar (That is not an endorsement of the positions taken of course or of me in general) on an interesting (well, to me, enough to publish an article about it!) subject:  No-contest clauses in wills and trusts.  I’ll have to try to hunt up a copy of the newsletter available.

My article is concerned with these clauses which punish those who contest a will or trust provision with loss of whatever bequest in given to that beneficiary if they lose the contest.  The Commonwealth is surprisingly strict on these clauses, giving them full force and effect, albeit perhaps reluctantly (one of my points in the new case the Supreme Court of Virginia just decided on them is that neither the trial nor appellate courts seemed eager to use the clause to defeat the bequest challenged or in this case allegedly challenged) but most states have a probable cause standard – the clause has no power if there was probable or reasonable cause to believe the contest had legal merit.  (Some states allow a challenge if there is an allegation of forced documents or similar fraud.)

So I propose another law (I perhaps have more bill ideas than some legislators!):

“A provision in a will or trust or similar document purporting to penalize an interested person for contesting the will or instituting other proceedings relating to the estate is unenforceable if probable cause exists for instituting proceedings.”

It’s based on a provision in the Uniform Probate Act (a proposed law by the Commissioners for Uniform State Laws) and is the law in for example Arizona.

Seems to me that no contest clauses can serve a useful purpose to discourage frivolous litigation by disappointed parties who did not get from a relative what they wanted or expected.  BUT it also hinders access to courts and that is a biggie for me.  So I could support this law in Virginia and have asked several delegates and senators to consider it.

The second idea is not mine.  The article was written by attorney John T. Midgett.  But it describes a reform of the augmented estate.

What?  My readers are asking…well read on

You might have heard the saying:  You can’t disinherit your spouse.  The reason you cannot is the augmented estate (at the ancient English common law it was called dower and curtesy and it said one third for the surviving widow but one half for the surviving widower) which is now a statute that provides for one-third of the estate to the surviving spouse (whichever gender) at the election of that spouse.  The spouse however has to renounce any bequest under the will or trust.  As the disclaimers at the end of commercials say:  Restrictions may apply!

What Midgett calls for is a 50% augmented estate (of both spouses’ estate) but he would make it a sliding scale based on years married and also allow more effective ways for an incapacitated spouse to make the election.  I think this is wise policy although I am not entirety convinced.

Delegate Jay Leftwich seems to have made this a bill in HB 231 for the consideration of the Virginia General Assembly.

HB 231 Augmented estate; elective share of surviving spouse.

Introduced by: James A. “Jay” Leftwich | all patrons    …    notes | add to my profiles


Augmented estate; elective share of surviving spouse. Revises provisions of the Code related to the elective share of the surviving spouse of a decedent dying on or after July 1, 2017 to track revisions made to the Uniform Probate Code by the Uniform Law Commission. The bill calculates the elective share of the surviving spouse as a graduated percentage, taking into account both spouses’ assets and the length of marriage. Under current law, the surviving spouse is awarded 50% of the estate if there were no children and 33.3% if there were children. The bill also clarifies the process by which the elective share is to be claimed and provides instructions for the valuation of assets to encourage uniformity in the method of calculation of the elective share.

I also asked the same group of solons to consider this bill, too.  I would like to see more concern about divorce laws but this is the beginning of a start.  And Delegate Leftwich is a Republican from Hampton Roads (Chesapeake) area!

Now that my readers know a lot more about estate planning than they wanted to, perhaps even these issues can show intent to do sound government that does not cost gobs of money, set up new programs or nakedly advance progressive agendas.



Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders

Another Reason WHY Sen. Chap Petersen is Sandy’s Favorite Democrat!

When I read this I thought it was a Tea Party type posting that I happened to agree with:

Back to School Political Videos

I’m a huge fan of Fairfax County Public Schools. All four of my children participate in FCPS at various levels, and I’m always impressed by the level of intelligence, care and professionalism shown by FCPS teachers and staff. Thank you for doing what you do.

So that’s the context for the following. Tonight was my son’s Back to School night (he’s in fifth grade). The evening opened with the usual mob of parents flooding into the classrooms. In our case, our child is in a modular building, which is actually pretty nice.

At the outset of the presentation, the teacher played two videos. The first was from the principal welcoming us to the school. The second was from FCPS, providing various funding facts, concluding that critical programs would soon be cut, and asking parents “lobby their state and local lawmakers” for more funding.

The video’s facts were highly selective. It could have just have easily mentioned that Fairfax County has received more than $100 million in extra state funding since 2012 (the biggest increase in Virginia) and the School Board recently voted itself a 60% pay increase. Or it could state that Fairfax County students are the highest achieving students in the USA.

But instead we got the hear the usual “we don’t have enough money” rap.

I sympathize with flat teacher salaries, especially for the best performing teachers who leave Fairfax to go elsewhere. Heck yes, they deserve more. But you can’t just increase spending across the board. You need to improve the product. (For example, by extending the school year).

Regardless, forcing a captive audience of parents to watch a five-minute political commercial before meeting their kid’s teacher is not the answer. In fact, it’s just the opposite.

It’s a sign that FCPS is more concerned with promoting its agenda, rather than educating kids with the available resources. And I know that’s not the case.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Senator Chap Petersen wrote it – I went to his Senator FB page and to his blog and it is at both places.  I would add:  Senator Petersen could do something about it.  This kind of lobbying by school officials goes on all the time.  Let’s just say I’ve seen it in action:  Administrators contact say PTA officers and say – go to the budget meeting and support the superintendent’s budget.  I think it should be illegal or a fireable offense for this sort of thing to be done.  Servants of the taxpayer ought not lobby for more taxpayers’ funds on OUR time and with OUR dime.  Will anyone on the Fairfax County School Board bring this up at the next meeting?  How much in taxpayers ‘ money was spent on this video?  Was the teacher’s “union” involved in it?  Inquiring minds want to know.  I bet I’ll hear crickets…

This kind of brave posting is why Senator Petersen is still my favorite Democratic office-holder.  He is surely somewhat liberal of course.  (And yes I have disagreed with Chap, too!  He’s for Medicaid expansion for example.)  But Petersen beats to his own drum and tries to solve problems rather than create them or be blindly ideological.  Rah for Chap for this post but my Rah is tempered by the fact he ought to stop it – and he can – he’s a state senator.

Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders