Monthly Archives: May 2010

Hate gets me attention; what’s the problem?

Crossposted on Equality Loudoun

The Loudoun Times-Mirror this week published a very peculiar interview with Eugene Delgaudio. The first thing that jumps out at you is the incompetence. There is video, from which the reporters (the task required two of them) extracted the most coherent parts for inclusion in the story:

Q: What do you say to the statement that Kincora would force the county to take on a huge amount of debt?

A: I think that the debt issue is false because for a long time we have had a companion debt that no one has heard about. No one in Loudoun has ever once mentioned, factually, the [Community Development Authority] debt from Dulles Town Center. The facts are staff is playing to the ideological liberal elite that is statist in nature and anti-prosperity and essentially wants to enslave the 80 percent that pay the residential taxes. So the residents of Loudoun will see economic slavery forever if they’re fearful of a debt that doesn’t exist.

Keep in mind, this would be the part of the answer to question 3 that made the most sense. The debt “doesn’t exist”? I bet the county administrator and the rest of the board will be happy to hear that.

This answer isn’t even the most damning example. The rest of the interview is very much like this; incoherent denials of reality, devoid of serious policy content, studded with self-promotion and ideological buzzwords. See if you can make any sense of this one:

Q: Your concern regarding the immigrant community seems to be rooted on crime issues. What is your objection to the gay community?

A: Similar. It’s in their best interest that there not be federal legislation marking them. As a supervisor, we passed a law that no one understands and how can they implement it?

I can tell you that the defamatory, dehumanizing language Mr. Delgaudio uses to spread fear about these two targeted communities is “similar,” but I still have no idea what he means by this answer. His objection to the gay community is in some way “rooted on crime issues”? Mr. Delgaudio has commented here before; perhaps he can clarify for us what he was thinking. As for the statement that “it’s in their best interest that there not be federal legislation marking them,” the only thing this could mean is that he fundamentally does not understand the principle of the Fourteenth Amendment – or at least that is what he wants us to think. There is federal civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of religion, and that mandates the reporting of violence directed at people because of their religion. Which religious community is “marked” by these laws? Catholics like Mr. Delgaudio? Obviously not; these laws don’t “mark” people of a particular faith. Laws that make reference to “sexual orientation or gender identity” work exactly the same way. It’s one thing to make a casual error by referring to a marginalized group instead of to the general characteristic (“religion,” “sexual orientation,” “political affiliation”), but to actually claim that such laws apply only to a specified community reveals either profound ignorance or profound dishonesty.  

Then there’s “we passed a law that no one understands.” Again, this reveals what would seem to be just a lack of basic competence in policy matters. An amendment to the county EEOP is not a “law.” It’s an amendment to a policy which the board has the legal authority to create. And it really does suggest a high degree of narcissism for someone to believe that because he doesn’t understand something, “no one understands” it. The policy wording is very simple to understand; the county government is prohibited from making employment decisions on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, which it obviously shouldn’t be doing, and from all accounts wasn’t doing anyway.

What is noticeably absent from the interview is the kind of abusive and defamatory language Mr. Delgaudio uses from the dais and in his constituent letters, not to mention in his day job activities. Some might be tempted to think this shows that he doesn’t really mean it – and that’s actually the problem. My question is why would that be better? What it means is that the use of “hyperbole,” as he describes his hate speech and emotional outbursts, is calculating and cynical.

Please understand: When I use the term incompetence, I’m speaking of policy and governance, not politics. One of the commenters on the LTM site has it right: Mr. Delgaudio is “a gifted politician,” meaning, unfortunately, someone who can speak of his concern for “the best interests” of people he has openly accused of sexual crimes against children and called perverted, filthy, disease-ridden, deviant, dangerous, a less-than-human “it;” in other words, people he regularly lies about and invites violence against. I no longer think that Mr. Delgaudio believes a word of his hate rhetoric; it is simply a part of his business model. These are the words of a charlatan who likely has a sociopathic personality disorder and sees nothing wrong with using such “hyperbole” to get attention and money. He buys direct mail marketing lists, crafts his appeals to a certain silly, fearful slice of the populace (see, for example, the much-ridiculed recent fundraising letter written in the style of bad pulp fiction that actually begins “One stormy night..”), and generates a monetary return. He runs his permanent political campaign the same way. There’s no law against what he’s doing, it’s just immoral.

Here’s what is even more reprehensible, though: Others who know exactly what he is and don’t care. His only Republican colleague on the board, Lori Waters, supported his venomous tirade against transgender people by repeating some of his insults herself, so don’t bother expecting moral courage from her. Self-styled “moderate” (!) Frank Wolf endorsed him. I’m not aware of a single Republican office holder who has stepped up to say that this sort of rhetoric goes too far. In addition to Frank Wolf, Mr. Delgaudio bragged of endorsements by Delegates Tom Rust and Joe May, County Treasurer Roger Zurn, Sheriff Steve Simpson and County Clerk Gary Clemens. That was in 2003. Will any of them now step up and say no? If not, then what will it take? Gentlemen, this is what doing the right thing looks like:

Links We’re Reading – 26-28 May 2010

Linkarama below! Including Mr. Mister in the New York Times. No, I’m not kidding (click through the first link).

Also, school budgets and tax revolts go head to head in New Jersey. Sounds familiar…

In a year of huge reductions in state education aid, many of the council members struggled to find a compromise between those outraged by high taxes and those worried about cuts to the classroom.

“Going into this, we knew whatever we do is not going to make either side happy,” said James Major, president of the Woodbridge Council, who said he had lost sleep at night from the pressure. “As a governing body, you try to hear all sides of it. You become a little Solomon-like in trying to make a decision.” – The New York Times

County-wide Transportation Plan – Ashburn Update

As seen in Leesburg Today, and discussed around my kitchen table (and many others, judging from my inbox traffic): The six-lane roads scheduled for Ashburn are coming off the schedule. They’re too expensive and they’re not needed.

What we do need is to have our state legislators make the Greenway operators institute a graduated fee for the Greenway.

And you all know that my personal feeling is that we need more buses and bike routes.

Frank Wolf: Deficit Peacock

Yesterday in Congress, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011″ was being debated. Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-MA) introduced an amendment to the Act that would have removed funding of $485 million for an alternate F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine (F-136) which was to be built by a joint venture between General Electric (GE) and Rolls Royce. The current F-35 engine (F-135) is built by Pratt & Whitney, who won the contract with the Department of Defense almost 10 years ago, and whose competition for the contract was GE/Rolls Royce. According to Reuters, this is the fourth year that the legislation to scrap F-136 has been introduced, also failing each of the previous 3 years.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has classified the engine as wasteful, as there is no need for a second engine for the F-35. The $485 million that Rep. Pingree’s amendment would have cut from the bill would have been used to reduce the deficit. It’s not much, considering the grand scope of the deficit, but the amendment served a dual purpose, removing wasteful spending and reducing the deficit. You would think that Republicans in Congress would be behind this. Of course, you’d be wrong.The amendment failed, 193-231, with some Republicans voting to strip, and some Democrats voting to save. But one Congressman who voted to save the wasteful spending was our own resident deficit hawk, Frank R. Wolf (R-10). This seems to go against what Rep. Wolf has posted on the home page of his Congressional campaign website, which states:

Nationally, I continue to push Congress to address our nation’s skyrocketing debt, calling for a deficit reduction commission that puts everything on the table and requires Congress to vote up or down on its recommendations.

From reading that, and seeing his vote yesterday, I presume Rep. Wolf would rather pass on the responsibility and have someone else tackle the nation’s deficit, rather than directly voting on an amendment that would reduce the deficit. Of course, Rep. Wolf is no stranger to voting for wasteful government programs, as he voted in lock-step with every Bush administration program that caused the deficit to balloon between 2001 and 2009.

Frank Wolf may talk a good game about reducing our deficit and eliminating government waste, but when the cards are on the table, he’s not a deficit hawk; he’s nothing more than a deficit peacock.

Jeff Barnett knows that we have to solve our nation’s problems in our time and on our dime. As a former Air Force lieutenant colonel, he knows wasteful defense spending when he sees it, and will truly fight to reduce the deficit.

Isn’t it time we had a congressman who kept his word?

Sen. Warner Supports Real Immigration Reform

Yesterday, the Senate took a series of votes on border-only immigration control measures sponsored by Republicans. If you clicked through our Sign This, Send That post from Saturday, you may have helped influence our Senators’ votes on these measures. The proposals would have prolonged and extended policies that have not worked for a decade, sending good tax dollars after bad.

All three proposals were defeated, thanks to the Democratic majority in the Senate, and the voices of those Senators constiuents. Reform Immigration For America explains what was at stake.

The good news is, it looks like the majority of Senators recognize that pouring more money into already failed policies is not the way forward. The amendments today were introduced by Senators McCain, Kyl and Cornyn. Each amendment sought to fund programs and initiatives that would merely be a symbolic band aid on the gaping wound of our immigration system.

First up was an amendment introduced by Senator McCain. It would have sent 6,000 National Guardsmen to the southern border.  Federal law enforcement agencies are the real experts on border security and we should allow them to do their job, not the National Guard.

Next was Senator Kyl’s amendment. Rather than deal with the real issues of immigration, Kyl moved to expand the failed program Operation Streamline, throwing more money at a program that diverts crucial and limited federal judicial resources away from counter-drug and smuggling prosecutions.

Last, was an amendment introduced by Senator Cornyn. ­­­­Instead of supporting real solutions like comprehensive immigration reform, Sen. Cornyn offered an amendment to provide a mind-blowing $ 1,985,540,000 total in additional funding for enforcement-only operations that have been proven to be both ineffective and avoid any real solutions on the issue. – Reform Immigration For America

Senator Warner was among those voting down these Amendments. Senator Webb voted for them.In order to get to real immigration reform, we need to get through and past the fog of falsehood and fraudulent plans. We need to say no to policies that validate false assumptions first, so we can build a consensus around real reform.

The Amendments offered by Senators McCain, Kyl and Cornyn weren’t solutions. They were simply symbolic acts, feeding into the fear of migrants. America is the land of opportunity. Period. Militarizing a border which is already full of law enforcement is not an answer. Wasting two billion dollars on ineffective grandstanding is not an answer.

I thank Senator Warner for taking a stand against scare tactics posing as solutions. I thank him for his votes.

As for Senator Webb, I must ask why he chose to vote against our newest Americans and their families. I ask him why he chose to validate fear and fake answers.  

Republicans, Deficits and Raises

The Washington Post raises an interesting question, do Virginia’s Republican Congressmembers oppose a standard pay raise for Federal employees?

The federal pay freeze proposal is the brainchild of Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.). But the overall YouCut program is being run by Rep. Eric Cantor (R), who, in addition to being the House minority whip is also a Virginian. And Virginia is chock full of federal employees. According to the Office of Personnel Management, Virginia has the second-most non-defense federal employees in the country, behind only California. (That ranking includes only states. The District has slightly more federal workers than Virginia, while Maryland has slightly fewer.) – The Washington Post

The presence of many Federal workers in Virginia has given some of Cantor’s fellow Virginia Republicans pause, including our own Frank Wolf, who stated flatly, “I’m opposed to it.”

Herein lies the problem with Republicans’ undifferentiated opposition to (non-military) government spending and deficit fearmongering. When it comes down to what to cut, and how to cut it, no one – especially Republicans – wants to be the one to give up their money.

Follow below for some discussion of Frank Wolf, raises and spending cuts.Frank Wolf is a Republican who has voted for every tax cut proposed by George Bush, and also voted for every spending increase proposed by his Party. His entire career has been based on expanding the deficit.

Meanwhile, debt is the biggest threat to the Republic since Barack Obama, according to the Republican party. And Frank Wolf has been on that train as well.

It’s not about fiscal responsibility you see, it’s about rhetorical capability.

Frank Wolf’s own quote from the Post story expose Mr. Wolf’s inherently contradictory philosophy.

“I’m opposed to it,” said Rep. Frank Wolf (R), whose 10th district includes a wide swath of Northern Virginia suburbs.

Wolf noted that the pay freeze would apply to scores of federal employees — many of whom reside in his district — who he considers to be heroes, from the CIA employees who have died in Afghanistan, to FBI agents working at home and abroad, to National Institutes of Health scientists working to cure diseases.

As the co-sponsor of a prominent proposal to create a federal debt commission, Wolf said he was all in favor of identifying ways to cut spending. And he likes the general idea of YouCut, since “it’s good to find out what people are interested in.”

But Wolf doesn’t want federal employees put on the chopping block.

“I just don’t think it’s the right approach,” Wolf said. – The Washington Post

So create a debt commission, but god forbid you put my money on the table to solve that debt! Take a vote on what to cut, but if you don’t like the results of that vote, cry foul! (Where have I heard that before?)

[As a side note, Mr. Wolf's answer to any problem isn't to actually solve the problem, but to create a commission to study it. Because study is superior to solutions every time in his world.]

I am opposed to trimming Federal raises. I feel strongly that people who choose public service, and work for you and me (and not their own profit) deserve raises to keep up with the local cost of living. I am willing to increase revenue to make sure that happens. And yet, people like me are lambasted as the prodigal spenders? If only reality would reflect the rhetoric.

Jeff Barnett has a phrase, “We need to start solving our problems now. In our time. On our dime.” Our dime. That is the key difference between Republicans like Frank Wolf and Democrats like Jeff Barnett. Jeff Barnett and the Democrats live the philosophy of financial responsibility, they don’t just speak empty phrases.

So thank you, Mr. Wolf, for opposing your own Party for self-preservation. It’s clear you understand that opposing Federal raises in Northern Virginia is a bad idea. You wouldn’t have been re-elected for 20 years if you didn’t understand that.

But please, Mr. Wolf, don’t insult our intelligence by opposing raise cuts while continuing to decry the debt, and then merely proposing a commission to study the problem. That’s not leadership, that’s not even governance, that’s sheer policy cowardice. That’s not an answer, it’s an avoidance, and we voters of the 10th District deserve better.

More on the RPA and, especially, on the RPA Screening Area

It’s clear from last night’s Monday’s Public Hearing on the RPA, and from the mail traffic I’ve been getting, that there’s been a lack of clarity on the RPA and especially on the RPA Screening Area (pictures of differences after the jump)

FACT: If you are in the RPA Screening Area and the PROJECT (deck, swingset, patio, vegetable garden) you want to complete is LESS THAN 2500 square feet in area, then you are cool.

You don’t have to ask permission beyond what the county (or your HOA) already requires or do water testing or anything.

FACT: This means that the only folks who have to worry about whether they are in the RPA Screening Area, are landowners with Huge Tracts of Land that are looking to subdivide or build homes or large shopping areas. In which case, the $3400 fee for doing the testing is a small percentage of the price and is a cost of doing business.

QUESTION: So, who has a vested interest in sending out panicky emails to homeowners in Broadlands, Brambleton, Sterling, and other well-built-out areas of the county where the average size of a project is 240 square feet? Couldn’t be builders and realtors? Could it?

FACT: The bulk of Eugene Delgaudio’s campaign money comes from realtors and builders

FACT: Donny Ferguson, who wrote that Western Traditions blog post, is a former Eugene Delgaudio aide.  Here is a picture of a map overlaid with the RPA

And here is a picture of the same map overlaid with the RPA Screening Area

How do you find out if you are either area?

  1. GO HERE: http://gisinter1.loudoun.gov/weblogis/agree.htm.
  2. Click on Yes, and then click on the tab marked “Search”.
  3. Enter your address (it works best if you enter as little as possible – house number and first part of your street name).
  4. Click Submit. Then click Map It on the linked list the site gives you.
  5. Now click on the Map Layers tab in the new window.
  6. Click on the drop-down box under “Layer Groups” and select “Environmental”.
  7. Now select the select “Draft RPA Screening Tool” and scroll down to click apply. If there is no beige on your site, you’re not in that area.
  8. Now, unselect that option and select “Draft Chesapeake Bay Area” and scroll down to click “apply” to see if you are in the RPA.

    If your site doesn’t have any green in it? You’re good.
  9. If there is any brown on your site and you are doing a project that disturbs less than 2500 sq ft, this document says that you are okay.

    If you are within the green area, then you’ll need permission to do your project.

Sign This, Send That 3

A light week of email activism, so worth clicking through.

Follow below the fold for some of the progressive solicitations we’ve actually responded to recently.  

  • No Bailouts For Big Oil – MoveOn has a campaign going to remove the liability limits on oil companies. They’re the most profitable entities on the face of the earth, they should pay when they deface it.