Monthly Archives: December 2010

Water Management and “Cause and Effect”

Leesburg District Supervisor Burk has a short and strong letter in the Loudoun Times-Mirror and on Leesburg Patch this week. In it, she briefly lays out the long-term economic case for managing our water quality in a natural manner, rather than through expensive industrial solutions.

Environmental protection and economic development are linked.  The protection of water resources is itself a powerful economic engine, which will allow businesses locating in Loudoun to be assured of a clean and reliable water supply.  Clean water frees up our limited funding resources, so therefore, will allow the County to spend money on other areas rather than on chemical refinement and increased infrastructure.

Storm water treatment alone is estimated to need millions of dollars in improvements to holding tanks and conveyance piping.  However, Jim Gordon of Westfair, Inc. suggests in his article, “Rich in Water,” that it is foolhardy to recommend spending that money since the structure sits unused most of the time.  Instead, the county should be examining green solutions such as engineered wetlands as bio-filters and holding ponds and other measures which could provide open space and other benefits like cleaner air, higher property values and reduced energy usage.  Some of these very solutions can be found in the water protection CPAM we currently are reviewing in the Transportation and Land Use Committee. – Supervisor Kelly Burk

Supervisor Burk has made a career out of this kind of long-term thinking an planning. Not only will bio-filters for our water help keep it cleaner, it will help the County economically by reducing the water management spending necessary in future years.

It is for reasons like this that the County has a comprehensive plan, and why I am glad Supervisor Burk is doing a great job managing to that plan.

A Home Run of Bigotry

We didn’t go out and say, HEY! We know what would be good here! Let’s run one each of several constituent minorities that Eugene has derided and see which gets the most votes!

No. What the Dems asked for, and what we got, were candidates who are willing to put in the time, effort, money, and guts to run.

If you don’t like the Democrats who are standing up to run against The Man in the Orange Hat, then tell me…who is running in a Republican primary against him?

Are you?  

Progress in Northern Virginia

Did you know that in the western part of vorthern Virginia (otherwise known as VA-10, until Redistricting changes it) has seen 76,000 jobs created or preserved thanks to actions taken by President Obama and the Democratic Congress of 2009-2010?

Did you know that over 11,000 neighbors have pre-existing conditions that inhibited their ability to get health insurance before the Affordable Health Care For America Act was passed?

How about the fact that some 3,800 teachers and educators had their jobs saved by Federal financing, funding which was implemented without adding to the deficit.

These are just a few of the things accomplished by President Obama and the Democratic Congress.

Something to remember when people wonder what President Obama has done since coming into office.

Sen. Herring Town Hall Meetings

As per the Loudoun Times Mirror:

Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun and Fairfax) will participate in several town hall meetings across the 33rd district in advance of the 2011 General Assembly session.  The town hall meetings will provide constituents with the opportunity to engage directly with Herring about the issues facing the district and the Commonwealth. The senator also will outline his legislative agenda for the upcoming session.

The schedule is as follows:

•  Jan. 6, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.,  Loudoun County Government Center, 1 Harrison St. SE, Leesburg. Herring and members of the Loudoun County delegation will participate.

•  Jan. 8, 3 p.m. to 4 p.m.,   Cascades Library, 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls. Herring and Del. Thomas “Tag” Greason (R-northeastern Loudoun) will participate.

•  Jan. 15th, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Sterling Community Center, 120 Enterprise St.,  Sterling. Herring and Del. Tom Rust (R-Sterling) will participate.

Also, the good Senator will be holding a public meeting at 7 PM on Monday, January 3, 2011 at Potomac Falls High School regarding SB 745, a bill he has patroned in the upcoming General Assembly session regarding “synthetic marijuana”. This bill would classify synthetic marijuana as a Schedule 1 controlled substance, and possession would carry the same penalties as regular marijuana.Synthetic marijuana is sold under the guise of incense, although it is sprayed with THC, the main psychoactive substance in cannabis. Senator Herring’s public meeting will focus on the side effects of the drug and what Loudoun County is doing to combat the problem.

Senator Herring will also be sponsoring legislation creating a Research and Development Tax Credit for science and technology. According to his Facebook page,

Continuing my work in the area of Science & Technology-based Economic Development, I’ll be sponsoring legislation creating a Research & Development Tax Credit in Virginia. Currently, Virginia is one of only 12 states that do not offer and R&D Tax Credit. This legislation will be the top priority of the Virginia Biotechnology Association, and will help make Virginia more competitive to attract and grow the jobs of the commonwealth

Lastly, Senator Herring will also be re-introducing legislation to “criminalize financial scams against elderly and disabled people”. This legislation was passed over in last year’s General Assembly session.

We should be proud to have such a fine public servant such as Mark Herring representing us in Richmond. Rest assured, we will work hard to ensure his re-election in November so that he may continue doing good deeds for not only Loudoun County, but for the entire Commonwealth.

Leesburg’s Roads Are Incomplete

The roads network in and around Leesburg may seem confusing to many. For example, I cannot tell you the number of friends who call me when their GPS sends them up Catoctin Circle only to run into a barrier across the roadway. It is important to understand, however, that Leesburg’s roads aren’t confusing insomuch as they’re incomplete. Battlefield Parkway, Sycolin Flyover, Crosstrail Boulevard, Kincaid Boulevard, Russell Branch Parkway, these are only a handful of the roads that are partially complete, and in that partial state lead to some confused visitors to our wonderful Town.

Our Democratic officials have made completion of this critical road network a high priority. Supervisor Burk has been instrumental in fighting for and securing funding for the completion of Battlefield Parkway and the Sycolin Flyover throughout her career on both Council and the Board of Supervisors. Sen. Herring has been working diligently to find creative solutions in the face of Assembly inaction, witness his Rt. 7 Task Force, which has brought together a wide variety of stakeholders to set transportation priorities independent of political machinations. On Council, Dave Butler and Marty Martinez have helped to lead the fight for funding major road improvements (Sycolin Road) when the state abandoned their responsibilities to get local roads done.

In fact, every since I moved to Leesburg in 2006, the state has been failing in its transportation responsibilities (roads funding, transportation safety, Metro funding) and the Town of Leesburg, led by Democrats on the Council, has been stepping in to pick up the slack even while fighting ever harder for Richmond to do its job. That is real leadership on the most critical issue facing our Town. And it has been consistent for five years and across a half-dozen elected officials in a series of offices. That is what commitment to solving problems looks like. That is what governing, not complaining and dodging responsibility looks like.

Democrats simply get to work, and get things done. Sure, right now Leesburg’s roads are incomplete, but thanks to Sen. Herring, Supervisor Burk, Councilman Butler, Councilman Martinez, (and Mayor Umstattd!), they will get done, in spite of the procedural hurdles and roadblocks others may put in place.

(Crossposted from Leesburg Tomorrow. With a tip-o-the-hat to Leesburg Patch.)  

This week has been MUCH better

Not nearly as angry any more.

Thank you, Congress and President Obama, for passing and signing the repeal of DADT.

Thank you, Senate, for ratifying the New START treaty.

Thank you, Senate, for giving 9/11 first responders money for health care.Here are some links to things I’ve been reading:

Amanda Hess writes about Bob Marshall’s reaction to the repeal of DADT

My own Stevens Miller takes a different slant on it

And one of the comments on one of the posts about DADT over on Shakesville really stood out for me.

Finally, a video of a song by Tom Lehrer. It’s not really apropos, but it’s about the military and the bomb, so here goes:

I wish DOMA had been repealed, too. I wish we had a single-payer health care system. I wish women’s health were not constantly used as a bargaining chip. But today, I’m happy with what we got this week.

Leesburg Income changes

The New York Times has an awesome feature that provides a wealth of mapped census data on every tract in the U.S. You can slice and dice the maps by race, income, housing and education, just to name a few. When you do so, you learn a lot about where we live.

Like, for example, for what I’ll call “Greater Leesburg” the side of Rt 15 you live on matters quite a lot. If you live West of Rt. 15, your neighborhood’s average income probably went up since 2000. East of Rt. 15, it probably went down.

Leesburg Incomes Census 2010

Blue sectors are areas where incomes declined, orange sectors are areas where incomes increased.And then compare that with the median income in 2010 map.

Leesburg Median Income 2010

Deep green simply designates median household incomes over $100,000. In the case of Leesburg, the two light green sectors have median incomes of $73,431 (NE Leesburg) and $82,083 (SE Leesburg), respectively. All Leesburg sectors west of Rt. 15 have median incomes over $113,000.

Something to think about when people are crying socialism and fascism over a local tax bill that might be $100 higher next year. I rather doubt it’s the people in those blue / lighter green sectors – the ones who had lower median incomes, which then declined over the past 10 years – doing the screaming.

(Crossposted from Leesburg Tomorrow. With a tip-o-the-hat to OpenLeft.)

Bob Marshall embarrasses himself again

Crossposted at Equality Loudoun

This morning’s Virginia Politics blog brings us tidings of great desperation. In the wake of the historic vote to repeal DADT, Delegate Bob “Virginia’s Chief Homophobe” Marshall claims to be drafting a bill for the 2011 session that would establish a ban on openly gay servicemembers in the Virginia National Guard.

Marshall, who is considering running for U.S. Senate in 2012, is one of the House’s most conservative members. He said Article 1, Section 8, Clause 16 of the Constitution gives Virginia the authority to uphold the ban by “reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

{Not to hijack David’s wonderful post, but Mike Kondratick, our candidate against Bob Marshall, has a post up about this issue on Blue Virginia today. Go give him some love! – P13}I’ve helpfully bolded the final clause, as Mr. Marshall appears to have missed it. The “discipline prescribed by Congress” was just corrected on Saturday, such that gay and lesbian patriots can now serve in our military without, as one servicemember put it, “a knife in my back.”

Like the architects of Virginia’s shameful “Massive Resistance” to an earlier era of civil rights, long after the rest of the world has moved on these bitter old men will still be lashing out at their imaginary enemies and wasting everyone’s time. Mr. Marshall’s legislative career needs to join DADT in the dustbin of history.

Bonus: On a lighter note, watch these two videos and tell me you don’t see the uncanny resemblance.

“Great News”

[This post was written by our friend Tony, I'm proud to be able to share it. - P13]

On Saturday, December 18, 2010 I heard Senator Lieberman (a supporter of Senator John “The sky is Falling” McCain who is a staunch advocate of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell)  speak in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” by saying that this was not a Liberal, Conservative, Democratic Party or Republican Party issue but that it was an ‘American issue”  I agree!!!!

I also heard it mentioned that the staunch conservative (former Senator Barry Goldwater) once said that he did not care if a soldier was gay or STRAIGHT as long as he could  SHOOT STRAIGHT.  That sums up the issue very nicely.  Can a gay or lesbian soldier perform his of her duties?  If the answer is YES, then they should be allowed to serve openly.  They have proven that they can do the job since they have been a part of our military for as long as I have been associated with the military (since 1955 when I joined the Temple University ROTC) and probably before.

I served full time for 35 years (20 in uniform and 15 as a Department of the Army civilian) at home and abroad, Germany, Italy, Korea and Vietnam.  I am sure that I served with many gays and lesbians.  When I was the US Army’s Casualty Reporting Officer as a major in Vietnam in 1970, I am sure that many of the names of those who I reported to the Pentagon who were wounded or killed were not straight.  At least ONE ot TWO of the over 58,000 names on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in DC have to be the names of gay soldiers.  So if they are willing to serve our country and even die for our country, why not let them serve openly?  They must wear the same uniforms, follow the same orders and are subject to the same laws as straight soldiers.  A great majority of soldiers serving today say they could and have served with gay soldiers.  Many former generals and admirals , the Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said we should repeal  ”Don’t ask, Don’t tell”.  Some other country’s military have allowed gays to serve openly without falling apart!.

When I first went into the Army as a second lieutenant blacks were treated a second-class citizens and could only rise to the rank of colonel.  Similarly, women could never be generals and they were segregated into the Womens’ Army Corps or WAC.  When plans were put in place to fully integrate blacks and then women, many said that “the sky would fall”.  Well it didn’t and it won’t this time.

Thanks to all who voted for this measure and thanks to President Obama for pushing this long overdue repeal.

Better late than never!