Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Loudoun Democratic Caucus Call - 2010

[Update] In accordance with the Caucus Advertisement published in the Loudoun Times Mirror on December 23, 2009, the Loudoun County Democratic Caucus on January 9th, 2009 is canceled as there are no uncontested membership positions. Therefore, the 123 Candidates who have submitted Declarations of Candidacy are the duly elected members of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee. The 2010-2011 LCDC will hold its reorganization meeting on January 9th at 2pm at Heritage High School in place of the previously announced caucus.

The Loudoun County Democratic Committee reorganizes itself by caucus and reorganization meeting every two years following state elections (the Republicans do, as well). The reorganization of the 2010-2011 LCDC will take place on January 9th, 2010.

The Loudoun County Democratic Committee is the official Democratic Party organization in Loudoun County, empowered with the responsibility to nominate and campaign for candidates, organize neighborhoods and precincts, and advocate for policies. Membership is voluntary, but limited. To become a member, you must be elected to membership from your precinct and District by your fellow Democrats. The full membership is re-elected from scratch every two years by caucus.

Declaring candidacy for membership indicates that you intend to actively campaign for Democratic candidates and principles, and will not support candidates in opposition to Democratic nominees. It involves attending monthly meetings and volunteering your time on weekends and on election day.

The following Caucus Call was advertised in the Loudoun Times Mirror this week:
NOTICE OF LOUDOUN COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CAUCUS

The Loudoun County Democratic Committee (LCDC) hereby announces that it will hold an unassembled caucus beginning at 2:00 p.m. on January 9, 2010 at Heritage High School, 520 Evergreen Mill Road, Leesburg VA 20175 for the purpose of electing members to the LCDC for the two-year term beginning in January, 2010. The caucus will elect seventy (70) Precinct Captains from each of the 70 precincts of Loudoun County. An additional seventy (70) at-large members will also be elected.

Any person wishing to seek election as a member of the committee shall request the filing form and then must file it with The LCDC at PO Box 544, Leesburg, VA 20178; or Evan Macbeth, 327 Stableview Ter. NE, Leesburg VA 20176 no later than 7:00 p.m., Saturday January 2, 2010. Filing by email or online will be permitted. A voluntary administrative fee of $35.00 (which may be waived) will be charged at the time of filing for those wishing to be elected members of the committee.

Those registered voters in Loudoun County that consider themselves Democrats are encouraged to attend and vote at the caucus. There is no charge to participate.

Doors to the caucus will open at 1:30 p.m. for check-in. Any person attending the caucus, before participating in that caucus, shall sign a standardized Caucus Participation Form stating that he or she is a Democrat, does not intend to support any candidate who is opposed to a Democratic nominee in the ensuing general election, believes in the principles of the Democratic Party, and is a registered voter in such precinct or county or city. Caucus Participation Forms must be filled out at the caucus prior to participating in the caucus. At 2:15 p.m., the doors to the caucus will be closed and no person may complete a form and participate in the caucus after that time with the exception of those persons in line at 2:15 p.m.

In the event that there are no contested elections for membership by the filing deadline, the caucus will be canceled and all those who did file will be considered duly elected and comprise the new LCDC. If the caucus is to be canceled, a notice will be filed on our website (www.loudoundemocrats.org) as soon as possible or by January 2, 2009 at the latest.

For further information, please contact Evan Macbeth (ketch46955 at mypacks dot net) or visit our website at www.loudoundemocrats.org. Time permitting, a reorganization meeting to elect officers of the Loudoun County Democratic Committee will be held immediately following adjournment of the caucus on Saturday, January 9, 2010 at the same location.
If you are a Democrat in Loudoun County and would like to get more involved in matters of local, state and national politics, I encourage you to send an email to the address in the parentheses above and ask for a Declaration of Candidacy for Membership. If you have any questions about the process, add a comment to this post and I will do my best to answer them.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Raise My Taxes

I am asking my Supervisor, Kelly Burk, to raise my taxes. I'm asking the Town of Leesburg to raise my taxes. Heck, I'm even asking the Democratic Congress to raise my taxes.

I understand that there's a direct relationship between the taxes I pay and the quality of government I receive. I understand that paying taxes means money for things like smaller class sizes, teacher salaries, ice melt and snow plows, trash service and police. I also understand that not managing revenue in such a way as to plan for recessions, or blizzards, can have dire and awful consequences that all come about at once.

Like December, 2009, for example.

In the midst of a truly awful budgetary season, one in which Loudoun contemplates dropping to the bottom of its peers in school financing, one in which the wealthiest county in America (that's right, wealthier than Fairfax) has a difficult time finding money for essential services and maintenance, we get hit with a massive snowstorm. The County (and Town of Leesburg) did a good job keeping up with, and cleaning up after, the mess. But they did not do a great job. Side streets like the on my office is on are still impassible two days after the storm stopped. Schools were cancelled leading to a very extended Christmas break.

Neighbors will complain about the quality, timeliness and extent of snow removal. Parents will complain about school closures. And yet, there is often a willful blindness about the cause of these inconveniences - financing. When the County is forced to trim money from the snowy day fund, and we get hit with a snowstorm. This happens. When schools are asked to do more with less for year after year, eventually the schools will be unable to do anything at all.

I decline to accept that as an inevitable outcome. I know I can do something about it. I can do the unpopular, but necessary thing. I can be a responsible citizen and say, "Enough, I want more from my government, and I am willing to pay for it." And I do.

Raise my taxes. I am willing to pay for the things my family and neighbors need. I'm willing to admit that, hey, I'm extremely lucky to live in the wealthiest county in America, and I will gladly pay my share for the benefits that brings.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Some More on Student Loans

Natasha Chart has a pretty heart-wrenching tale of student loan debt up on OpenLeft today. This snippet doesn't do the entire post justice, but here's a taste:
How stupid I was. I really enjoyed my studies and had great professors, but got no return on my investment. Since graduating college, I have yet to make, with benefits calculated in, more at any job than I was making in 1999. My degree overqualifies me for the jobs I had ten years ago, and the process of getting it kept me from staying up to date with most of the work I had after that.

My current salary barely keeps up with the interest payments on my debt. I try not to think about it too much and I'm really good at keeping up appearances, but I have no idea how to get out from under it. - OpenLeft
I've made the case before that forgiving student loan debt would be an incredible boost to the economy. Or, barring that, making "getting started loans" available to young people. (For the record, I wouldn't be eligible for the kind of getting started loan I'm advocating.) The powers that be did right by the banks, and the stimulus helped a lot of low-skill workers get construction jobs, but the unspoken millions of young people with college degrees, few job prospects, and loads of debt are forgotten. The icons of our economy got their start in their 20s, and our economy is at a risk of a lost generation of entrepreneurs and leaders because of this financial crisis and great recession.

I hope those at the Jobs Summit don't forget about that.

I hope.

[Update] I guess this is one way to avoid too much debt.