Thursday, June 30, 2011

Algonkian BOS Race Finally Has a Dem

The Loudoun Times-Mirror is reporting that Denise Moore Pierce, the Democratic chair of the former Sugarland Run district, will challenge Suzanne Volpe for the new Algonkian district seat.

Late it coming, short on visibility outside the local Democratic party, and hampered by a completely ineffectual county committee, Pierce has an outside shot, at best, of even coming close to beating the Volpe machine.  The "heating up" of this race, as the LTM would suggest, is more akin to a kid's bed that initially "heats up" when he pees in it:  warm for a little while then quickly gets cold, uncomfortable and smelly.
Volpe wins 60%-40%.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Loudoun Democrats, Here's an Excuse You May Want to Use

With things already looking really bad for the local Democratic party this fall, let me pass along one excuse (courtesy of the North Korean women's soccer team) they may wish to use  once the Republicans clean their clock in November:  "Our team was stuck by lightning!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Conspicuous By Her Absence

In today's mail was  a piece from Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chairman Scott York that listed the endorsement of all the local Republican Loudoun County candidates except one - Suzanne Volpe.   The same is true of his website. Volpe's website, moreover, has no reference to a York endorsement (or any endorsement for that matter other than Frank Wolf).  Steve Stockman, the other Republican candidate for chairman, has no endorsements listed on his site.

Given that even Mick Staton has endorsed York, it makes one wonder whether this is just a timing issue or if it's something deeper.  It certainly could be timing - Dick Black's reciprocal endorsement of York, for example, must still be in the mail.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let's Make a Deal - With Sears

Various media outlets are reporting that Sears is considering relocation of its headquarters from Chicago to, well, anywhere that's not Illinois.  The DC area, including Virginia, is among several nominees.

Virginia, and Loudoun for its part, should be willing to cut just about whatever deal it takes to bring in this kind of major, long-term commercial activity to the area.  A deal would bring as many as 6,200 jobs to northern Virginia, reduce the vacancy rate of commercial office space and give a shot to the construction industry given that Sears now occupies 2.4 million square feet in Chicago.  Plus, God works there.

Like Volkswagen and Hilton where Fairfax won out,  a Sears relocation to Loudoun would be a huge win for both the state and the county.  Of course,  there's the immediate economic benefit and diversification of  the tax base,  but  perhaps more importantly a Sears relocation would be yet another endorsement of the business-friendly nature of Virginia and Loudoun that, in turn, spurs even greater interest in the area by other companies both big and small.

Come on, Gov. McDonnell and Loudoun Economic Development Commission!  Get to work and bring Sears to Loudoun - and make sure they bring the Sears Tower, too.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

One Less Wiener in Congress

As had been the fervent hope of Republicans, Democrats and porn stars alike, Rep. Anthony Weiner resigned from Congress today. 

Expect him to join CNN's primetime lineup next month alongside fellow New York deviate Eliot Spitzer.  Call the show "Politicians and Their Poles"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tale of the Tape: Sheriff Candidates’ LinkedIn Profiles

 When it comes right down to it, casting a vote is exactly like hiring someone for a job.  You pick them from among other candidates and expect them to deliver on a set of responsibilities you’ve defined.  But, unlike the typical “at will” employment, the winner gets a four-year employment contract, which makes it even more important to make the right hiring decision.
Certainly, if you were going to hire someone for four-years, you’d expect to see, at a minimum, a resume that shows at least the basic information: relevant work experience, education and community involvement.  If you then selected the candidate for an interview, you’d also likely ask the candidate to explain job changes and any gaps in employment history. Seems straightforward enough.

None of the websites of the candidates for Loudoun County sheriff has anything that resembles a real resume.  However, Mike Chapman and Verne Dickerson do have LinkedIn sites with some of that information.  Chapman’s is here.  Dickerson’s is here.

Chapman lists impressive credentials both at DEA and in his current role in the private sector, including not only law enforcement experience but budget management experience, too.  He also has a master’s degree in public administration.

Dickerson lists his current employment as “Realtor at RE/MAX Gateway.”  Although he does reference 27 years with the FBI, his LinkedIn page shows a ten-year gap between his retirement with the FBI and his current employment as a realtor.

Now, given those “resumes,” whom would you hire? (and don’t even bother with Speakman)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Minchew’s Broad Base of Support

Yesterday, Bill and Jeannie Stoltesz hosted a fantastic event at their home in Leesburg in honor of Randy Minchew, candidate for House of Delegates for the 10th District. Randy, as a long-time Loudoun County Republican and true “Southern gentlemen,” has built a broad, committed base of supporters as indicated by the more than 100 people in attendance including Del. Tag Greason who, before Randy had announced his intention to run, had endorsed Randy’s opponent in the primary, John Whitbeck. Also showing their support were Republican candidate for sheriff Mike Chapman and the man he seeks to unseat, independent Sheriff Steve Simpson, along with Treasurer Roger Zurn, Clerk of the Court Gary Clemens, Commissioner of the Revenue Bob Wertz and Leesburg councilman Ken Reid.

While Minchew’s campaign is in high gear and appealing to a diverse set of Republicans, Whitbeck’s campaign seems to be stuck in the mud over the Openband issue and drawing support primarily from the more extreme elements of the local party. Should be in an interesting summer.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Republican Pledge Deconstructed

As a process for selecting nominees for local elected office, I find conventions to be the worst possible choice. The process is decidedly undemocratic, leads to the nomination of untested and polarizing candidates and generally just wastes my time. One thing in particular that I hate about conventions, and firehouse primaries for that matter, is this inane loyalty pledge. Obviously designed only to placate the paranoid, it’s not required under the RPV rules and it’s so routinely ignored that it serves no valid political purpose. The Loudoun County version of the pledge, moreover, is so poorly worded that, even if you did follow it to the letter, you could still vote for a non-Republican in the general election.

Let’s take a look at it phrase by phrase, and discuss what it means for you, the Loudoun County Republican:

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Blog Grammar 101

Often caught with errors in their own posts, bloggers here and elsewhere have commented on the need for political candidates to use proper English in campaign materials. (Back in elementary school, Sister Margaret Ann continually referred us to Strunk & White for the definitive set of grammar rules - perhaps candidates should review them, too.)

Of course, given the quick, impulsive nature of blogging, the generally acceptable grammatical standard for bloggers and blog commenters is considerably lower.  Even so, there are still a few basic rules that bloggers and commenters should know, if, for no other reason, so as to not completely distract (or annoy) the reader.  Allow me to offer just a few:

Know How to Spell ”Grammar."  It's not a spelling bee, but you really need to know how to spell grammar if you're going to comment on it.

Know Your Capitalization. No grammatical error peeves me more than random capitalization. Political bloggers, especially, should know when to capitalize Republican and Democrat (hint: capitalize the terms only when referring to the parties).  Also, don't capitalize titles unless the person's name follows.

Know the Difference Between a Possessive Pronoun and a Contraction. For goodness sake, people, “your” and “you’re” are not the same thing. Similarly, “their,” “they’re” and “there” cannot be used interchangeably.

There are a few exceptions to the standard grammar rules that Sister Margaret Ann would not appreciate, but which I think fit the blogosphere writing style. Split infinitives, incomplete sentences and sentences that begin with a conjunction are okay if they make the piece easier to read. Ending sentences with a preposition, on the other hand, is something up with which I shall not put.

UPDATED:  Even as a joke, I couldn't take "grammar" being misspelled.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

What Is Up With The Washington Post?

On the front page, above the fold, of today’s print edition of The Washington Post were two articles, the first entitled “DC suit accuses Thomas of graft” and the second, “Poll: Obama hits new lows on Economy. “ Interestingly juxtaposed between the two was a photograph of a huge volcanic explosion. Below the fold was another uncomplimentary article on Democratic Rep. Weiner’s wiener.

Wow.  Has the Post finally gotten over its love affair with President Teleprompter, DC government and Dems in general? Or is it that it’s losing so much money it now has to start reporting things a little more fairly?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Caren Merrick and the Travesty That Is the 31st State Senate District

Caren Merrick
Caren Merrick went door to door this past weekend in the orphaned Loudoun County precincts of the new 31st state senate district (you know, the district concentrated in Arlington but gerrymandering all the way to eastern Loudoun - the one that Dick Black ran from). Merrick, an extremely impressive candidate overall, also holds a credential I personally find among the most important: substantial and successful real-life business experience.

The odds are against her, however, given the heavily Democratic Arlington precincts, and I fear that one of the best Republican candidates in this year's races may be wasted. The best hope she has, as well as the best hope for the few Loudouners thrown into this district, is the objection of the Department of Justice to this ridiculously carved district. And, believe it or not, there’s a decent shot at that. The configuration of this particular district clearly runs afoul of DOJ redistricting regulations in that it ignores stated redistricting criteria such as compactness and “displays a configuration that inexplicably disregards available natural or artificial boundaries.”

Come on, DOJ, show us that the Voting Rights Act really means something and reject the plan.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

With DC Traffic, It’s Always Something

No, it’s not a fender bender, construction or anything more interesting that’s backing things up. This time, oddly enough, it’s an election in a country 3,500 miles away set to cause major traffic delays in northern Virgnia tomorrow.

There’s just no getting around it (literally or figuratively).

Friday, June 3, 2011

Just What is “100% Pro-Life” Anyway?

Several local candidates, including Jo-Ann Chase and Eugene Delgaudio, proudly tout themselves as “100% pro-life.”  As is typically the case with the extremes at either end of the political spectrum, hyperbole like this is fertile ground for contradiction.  For example, does that statement mean the candidate believes abortion should be illegal at any stage of the pregnancy and for any reason including cases of rape, incest or grave danger to the life of the mother?  If the candidate is willing to make those exceptions, then just how is he “100%?”  Even more hypocritical (and frightening), though, is the alternative: a “less-government” candidate not willing to recognize even those limited exceptions.


After I posted this, I came across a web page defining “100% pro-life." Here are a few items from that defintion which I think a candidate must address if he claims to be 100% pro-life.

“100% Pro-life indicates supporting the dignity of each human person, regardless of race, sex, age, religion, origin, or wealth, from womb to grave, and strongly opposing all abortion, euthanasia, and the death penalty.”
And more:

“What about in cases where the woman will die if the pregnancy is not ended? Abortion is not the answer. Rather deliver the child and provide the best prenatal care available. Delivering the child is healthier for the mother than any abortion would be.”

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cheap, Failsafe Transporation Improvement Plan

This weekend, the sire of the War Department (aka my father in-law) remarked on how the increased speed limit on the interstate from North Carolina to northern Virginia had improved his trip to visit the Warheads (aka his grandchildren). (As you may recall, the speed limit on I-95 and I-64 was increased last year to 70 mph at the direction of Governor Bob McDonnell). His remark got me thinking of other cheap means of bettering transportation throughout the Commonwealth. Below are three of them.

Replace Stop Signs with Yield Signs.  In most situations, a complete stop is not necessary for anyone’s safety. Generally, stop signs are there to indicate the right of way, and there’s no reason why a yield sign could not serve the same function.  Undoubtedly, greater use of yield signs would save us all gasoline, money and time.

Revamp Handicapped Parking Rules. Just about anywhere, at any time, handicapped parking spaces are going unused while many people temporarily needing an accommodation (e.g., expectant mothers) park in the north 40. I propose that property owners be allowed to reduce the number of parking spaces designated for handicapped drivers provided they replace them other special parking designations that would be on the honor system.  From what I have observed at my own neighborhood grocery store, the system works quite well.

Aggressively Enforce Littering Laws.  My road is not your ashtray, people!  Out West, where the range would become engulfed in flames, drivers face a $1,000 fine for ditching a cigarette butt out a car window.  I suggest the same penalty in the Commonwealth, or, perhaps more appropriately, 10 hours of community service cleaning up all the butts at intersections.  In the meantime, I urge you honk at such drivers, politely pointing out that they dropped something.  Not politely is fine with me, too.

Like the increase in the speed limit little things like these still can better our quality of life without costing us an arm and a leg.