Thursday, June 30, 2011

On The Doors

I was driving through a neighborhood in Leesburg earlier this week, my daughter in the back seat, when I happened upon two people walking happily down the sidewalk. It turned out to be our School Board representative, Tom Marshall, and our Supervisor Kelly Burk. They were taking the time to walk through the entirety of Potomac Station and meet as many neighbors as possible, to talk with them about what was important to them.

It is this kind of determination to listen to the voters that characterizes the candidacy of Democrats like Kelly Burk and Tom Marshall, and is among the reasons I am proud to support them. They're not afraid to work as hard or as much as it takes to get the job done for Leesburg and their neighbors.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Supervisor McGimsey's Results

When Supervisor McGimsey was elected to office, she had some goals and some challenges. Her goals centered around reorienting Loudoun's government and governmental decision-making towards energy and environmental wisdom. Her challenges included expected opposition from Loudoun' business community regarding those goals. That is why it is remarkable how successful and effective Supervisor McGimsey has been in accomplishing her policy goals on the Board.

The Loudoun County Energy Plan was passed and executed with the support of a large majority on the Board of Supervisors, money from the Federal government and, critically, the backing and buy-in of Loudoun's business community. An environmental activist got the enthusiastic support of our local business community for a pro-environment government policy.

And Supervisor McGimsey hasn't looked back. Bike trails, pedestrian walkways, development that is based on transportation capacity and planning (instead of transportation that's based on development), these have been the hallmark of Supervisor McGimsey's term in office, in strong partnership with Leesburg's own Kelly Burk, Chair of the Transportation and Land Use Committee.

The standard by which voters should evaluate a Supervisor is how effective they have been in getting the job they were elected to do, done. Supervisor McGimsey was elected to secure and plan Loudoun's future, and her record has been one of remarkable accomplishment in that effort.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Dave Butler Office Opening

Councilman Dave Butler is opening a campaign office in downtown Leesburg on Friday. Come out and say hi!

LEESBURG COUNCILMAN OPENS HOUSE OF DELEGATES CAMPAIGN OFFICE IN DOWNTOWN LEESBURG

Office to be open, active during First Friday

Leesburg, June 27, 2011: Leesburg Town Councilman Dave Butler, Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in the newly-drawn 10th District, will open a campaign office at 2 Loudoun St SW, Leesburg, this Friday during the “First Friday” celebration.

This office will serve as the headquarters of an aggressive and active campaign to bring responsible leadership to the House of Delegates. During First Friday, 5-9pm on 7/1, campaign materials and give-aways will be available to the public. From then on, the office will be active for volunteer activity during business hours seven days a week.

As the only elected official in the race for Delegate in the 10th District, he is uniquely qualified to defend our interests in Richmond. Councilman Butler was the deciding vote to reduce Leesburg’s taxes every year, and this sound fiscal management led to an increase in the town’s bond rating. Butler is focused on holding the line on income taxes, sustainable funding for roads, and creating jobs.

For additional information in advance of this event, please contact the campaign at the phone number or email above.

Vote Dave Butler in Richmond - Getting our Fair Share.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Supervisor McGimsey's Excellent Questions

Supervisor McGimsey, of the former Potomac and new Broad Run district, has a history of asking difficult questions that powers that be have a hard time answering. As a leader of the smart growth movement in Loudoun, she asked questions of the former Board about the impacts of the decisions it was making. Questions about costs, and impacts to our environment and quality of life. As a Supervisor, she has continued asking the difficult questions about developments being proposed. She also has been asking questions that have led to great answers for Loudoun, questions like "how can our government save more money, and energy."

This week, Supervisor McGimsey asked another question critical to the well-being of her constituents: What should be done about the traffic bottlenecks in the new Broad Run District?
County staff members will soon begin eying long-term solutions to address one of Loudoun's most congested areas, following the urging of Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac).

The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to support an initiative by McGimsey to conduct a traffic analysis of the Ashburn-Sterling "traffic funnel." This area is defined as the roads surrounding and including the Dulles Greenway, Rt. 606, Waxpool/Church Road, Gloucester Parkway/Nokes Boulevard and Rt. 7 between Belmont Ridge Road and Atlantic Boulevard.

In a brief introduction on the subject Tuesday, McGimsey explained that this is one of two areas in Loudoun with "geographic barriers" limiting where roads can be built. In this area, Dulles Airport cuts off a great amount of potential east/west traffic, which then feeds out onto the existing roads.

"Pretty much all of Loudoun County traffic goes funneling through a short piece of land between the airport and the [Potomac] river and it all funnels down to a very small part of the county," she said. - Leesburg Today
The traffic funnel that Supervisor McGimsey identified is indeed a critical issue in future planning for Loudoun County. If we ever hope to improve traffic flow for commuters who live west of Dulles but work at jobs east of Dulles, it is important for the community, its businesses and its leaders to start collaborating on answers, now.

I comment Supervisor McGimsey for both recognizing the problem, and inviting the entire Loudoun community to come together and ask the right questions to get the best answers.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Return of Push Polls?

In 2007, negative push polling in Loudoun's Supervisor races got so bad, that the Board of Supervisors actually passed a resolution condemning it. Again in 2010, during the Leesburg Town Elections, there was an outbreak of push polls against a few of the incumbents during the last week of that race. They did not affect the eventual result, but they were there.

Today, in the 2011 Supervisors' race, it appears that such polling may be back. A number of friends and neighbors have been getting survey calls, asking there preferences among the Republican candidates, and in multi-way match-ups for Leesburg Supervisor.

In general, we Democrats don't waste time and money on polling local races. The whole point of a local campaign is to reach out and talk with voters, directly, regardless of their polled preferences. The best way to poll your constituents is to knock on their doors and talk to them, personally. Our Democratic candidates, like Kelly Burk, Dave Butler, Sen. Mark Herring, Josh Actor and Jennifer Wexton understand this, which is why they and their campaigns are spending the time to talk to voters, rather than paying for sketchy telephone polls.

Or perhaps the Republicans aren't confident in their candidates, and are trying to discover their viability before committing more money and time to certain races? If that's the case, why should the voters of Loudoun believe in the Republican campaigns, if their own Party doesn't?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Virginia's Non-Surplus

Leesburg Today reports some "good" news! Virginia has a surplus!
Virginia is tracking to meet or beat revenue projections as the end of the fiscal year nears but much of the extra money is already spoken for as the state works to pay down some debt.

Finance Secretary Ric Brown said Monday that the state could end up bringing in $100 million to $200 million in unanticipated revenue - all depending on the past 10 days of June collections.

June is the last month of the 2011 fiscal year.

The potential accounting windfall is a pittance compared to the state's overall budget, and legislators portend that the next two-year budget will be lean as revenues grow slowly.

The state is forecasted to collect $14.7 billion and needs to collect another $1.4 billion in June to meet that projection. Last year the state took in $1.6 billion in June, Brown said.

"We're obviously in good shape for a surplus," he told legislators during a House Appropriations Committee meeting. - Leesburg Today
Here's the problem with calling this a "surplus:" It's the result of defaulting on contractual obligations to fully-fund the Virginia public retirement system. That's like saying you have extra money in your pocket because you refused to pay your bills.

To Leesburg Today's credit, this point is made quite effectively as the article continues:
But any extra dollars will disappear in the state's underfunded pension system and to repay a federal loan among other debt and transfers required by law.

For example, a portion of the money will go into the state's rainy day fund and to a water quality improvement fund. Little would remain to pay for operations or programs, Brown said.

Virginia also owes $8.9 million in interest to the federal government for money the state borrowed to pay unemployment benefits, he said.
Nice work by Leesburg Today to observe that the surplus Mr. Brown is projecting is not, in fact, a surplus of any kind. We're getting lucky in having a bit higher revenue than projected, but the fiscal awfulness in Richmond remains.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Ken Reid Was Out Before He Was In

There's a new blog for folks here in Leesburg, Leesburg First. (In the interests of disclosure, I'm one of its authors.) While Leesburg Tomorrow has been a broader collection of my thoughts and observations on politics generally, Leesburg First is going to be more tightly focused on the Town and the interests of its residents.

In the current post on Leesburg First, an interesting video from the Town Council meeting on September 28th is posted. In it, Council member Ken Reid, now running for Supervisor, states, unequivocally:

I am not running for anything else, whatsoever.

And he does so, publicly, as part of his comments on Council. That would seem to an interested observer as a declaration of non-candidacy for the future. And it gave his advocacy for the policy position at issue at the time (November Town elections) a sheen of disinterested altruism.

Of course, not six months later, Mr. Reid was running for Supervisor.

Draw your own conclusions.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Economy in 2 Minutes

Robert Reich is one of my favorite economists.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Worth Repeating: The 14th Amendment

It's elegant, and the basis for constitutional progressivism. So it's worth repeating.

The 14th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
So yes, calls to deport the children of immigrants are unconstitutional. And equal protection is inviolable.
Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.
Key phrase here, "whole number of persons." No longer would an African-American be only 60% of a white person.
Section 3. No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.
It's notable to see the Constitution pro-actively prohibiting people who violated their oaths of office from regaining those offices. Something to think about.
Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned. But neither the United States nor any State shall assume or pay any debt or obligation incurred in aid of insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or any claim for the loss or emancipation of any slave; but all such debts, obligations and claims shall be held illegal and void.
Heads up to Republicans who would allow the U.S. to default on our debts. Public debts are constitutional and binding, unless they're incurred in rebellion against the Constitution (hear that Gov. Perry?).
Section 5. The Congress shall have power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.
Remarkable that this needed to be added, but just in case anyone wondered if Congress had the power to enforce equal protection...yes, yes it does.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Dave Butler Kickoff!

Leesburg Councilman to formally kick off campaign for house of delegates

Democrat Dave Butler to launch campaign Sunday, June 12th

Leesburg, June 5, 2011: Leesburg Town Councilman Dave Butler, Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in the newly-drawn 10th District, will formally begin his campaign this coming Sunday, June 12, 2011, in a series of events spanning the length of the district. The schedule is below:

1:00-3:00pm – Main Terminal, Leesburg Airport, 1001 Sycolin Rd. SE, Leesburg, VA
3:15-4:30pm – Middleburg Community Center, 300 W. Washington St., Middleburg, VA
4:45-6:00pm – Mr. B’s Barbeque, 6967 Lord Fairfax Highway, Berryville, VA
6:00-7:30pm – Winchester Circuit Court House, 5 North Kent St., Winchester, VA

At each stop, Councilman Butler will focus on his record of accomplishments as well as his dedication to the entire district. As the only elected official in the race for Delegate in the 10th District, he is uniquely qualified to defend our interests in Richmond. Councilman Butler was the deciding vote to reduce Leesburg’s taxes every year, and this sound fiscal management led to an increase in the town’s bond rating. Butler is focused on holding the line on income taxes, sustainable funding for roads, and creating jobs.

Vote Dave Butler in Richmond - Getting our Fair Share.