Tag Archives: Geary Higgins

Enough Development Already!

Lovettsville Glen structure

Lovettsville Glen structure

There was a professor of political science at Columbia College, Charles Hamilton, who wrote how citizens are manipulated.

Those in power allow for the expulsion of political energy by the masses who oppose change.

The political class proposes a path of exhausting process, seemingly giving the public a voice to object, knowing full well that the process is outcome determinative, and will end as it was contemplated to end when it began.

Under a veil of legitimacy, the process begins, wheels spin, springs compress, political levers are applied, and the public immerses itself in meetings, soft-voice facilitators, hearings, digitally memorialized opinions, statements, and papers galore.

The public enjoys high hopes that what they honestly want will be enacted by their “elected” representatives.

Many well-meaning citizens are thus engaged, and mollified with the hope of prevailing, as they participate like the dickens in the process until the last suspenseful moment, when they find that their “vision,” and all that they said and did, was never meant to be taken seriously. Continue reading

Farm free Loudoun

featherbed-barn - 1Loudoun’s Todd Morrison has invited farmers and neighbors “to discuss and share news about the free exercise of traditional agriculture in Loudoun County.  In particular, it has been brought to our attention,” Todd said, “that Loudoun County has started to increase valuations and apply assessments …”

Todd said, “This seems to have been extended to requiring zoning permits with a $165 fee for chicken coops, and even fencing.”

The Loudoun County Assessors taxing farmers in Western Loudoun and not gradually, the assessments go from zero last year (2016) to tens of thousands of dollars on pole barns this year (2017), farmers never assessed for taxes before.

They are not sweeping up all farmers.  It may take 5 years to get them all.  They are not sure who all the farmers are.  But they’ve already come down on the first fifth of the farming community this year.  Many families purchase an aerial flyover view of their farm or homestead.  The tax assessor has been getting the same aerial pictures, received in the office of the Commissioner of the Revenue, Robert S. Wertz Jr.  The Commissioner’s Office is using those pictures to identify buildings on farms and assessing the farms for tax purposes.

The County Commissioner apparently can’t find all the farmers from the air.  The County Commissioner therefore asked the Loudoun County Farm Bureau, Inc., in a meeting to identify who all the farmers are that he couldn’t find.  The Farm Bureau said no way.

Todd makes it clear why farmers and citizens are concerned, “This is detrimental to the future of traditional farming and local food production in Loudoun County.” Continue reading

The Board grasps the darkness not

parking_lot_lightsWe in Western Loudoun came here to these rolling open spaces because, among other things, we enjoy the dark night sky with its starlight, the heavenly map of constellations, that faint ribbon of smoky light called the Milky Way, and the flashing meteor trails disintegrated by our atmosphere.  We are closer to the nature that existed before humans cluttered this earth with disrespect for the gift of life found in nature.

We feel pangs at the ever-approaching ever-encroaching polluting clusters of artificial light that obscure the night sky.

Nor is this loss of the night merely an aesthetic preference for fainter light.  These blazing lights compromise wild life including birds, salamanders and frogs.  Endangered species of bird – the Cerulean Warbler and Henslow’s Sparrow, according to the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy – crash into these light towers. Continue reading

No Representation

In Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize winning book The Color Purple, Celie refers to her abusive husband as Mr.______. He doesn’t have a name because he beats, abuses and neglects her. He treats her like a piece of chattel property. To him, she isn’t a human being. She’s subhuman. The Mr.______ name is one way of fighting back.

My legislators are like Celie’s husband. Politically, they beat, abuse, and neglect me and thousands of other citizens. I’ll be parsing the words beat, abuse and neglect in future posts to show these behaviors in the public square. This post is an introduction.

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Eugene Delgaudio’s Identity Crisis

A chastened Supervisor E. Delgaudio listening to the public demanding his censure (photo J. Flannery)

Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio lost his ever-present orange hat, his open smile, his false swagger and his law suit when he tried to prevent the Board of Supervisor from having a hearing last Wednesday on what Mr. Delgaudio did or did not do to abuse staff and misuse and mingle County resources with his gay-bashing hate group and his campaign fund-raising activities.

Mr. Delgaudio said he wanted to know before last Wednesday’s meeting what the Board’s specific charges were.

The Board listed five charges, with the help of Board Member, Mr. Shawn M. Williams, drawing principally upon the 8-page statement filed by Ms. Donna Mateer, a former staffer (submitted last March)(that Mr. Delgaudio has had ever since), and the recent critical grand jury report (June 24, 2013)(that didn’t indict but did plainly identify various kinds of official misconduct by Mr. Delgaudio).

Mr. Delgaudio wanted an opportunity to respond.

Chairman Scott York called the Board into a Committee of the Whole in public so that Mr. Delgaudio could.

When given the opportunity, Mr Delgaudio lost his voice.

Mr. Delgaudio carped, sniveled and complained that he needed more time. Continue reading

LCGRC item 12: Privatization and outsourcing of county functions

Loudoun’s 2013 budget proposal cuts a minuscule fifteen thousand dollar grant to Friends of Loudoun Mental Health, a public private partnership that has been operating since 1955. The money provides temporary housing to people suffering from mental illness as they transition back into the community. Through Friends extensive volunteer network the housing cost is only $400/month per person. If the person were hospitalized, the cost would be $19,000/month.

This is disturbing because a $15K line item in a $1.8B budget is a teeny-weeny target. How did the budget cutters find and eliminate this item? It seems ideological. The cutter must have been thinking

“Mental illness, bah!, it’s all in their head.  Tell them to get over it and give that $15K back to the hard working taxpayers.”

This is the behavior of a hack who cuts things out because he doesn’t know what they do and is too prideful, lazy and self-important to find out. Was there no due-diligence? This decision is an attack on a vulnerable population and a well-respected public/private partnership that provides needed services at little cost to taxpayers.

The taking reforming isn’t limited to small line items. The county tried to take $25.4M in school bus driver benefits but the cut met with resistance from the 3000 bus drivers who depend on those benefits. Nonetheless, the first commenter on the Loudoun Times Mirror revealed the ideology of the cutters.

Sorry bus drivers, but no part time employees I know get ANY benefits!  Go ahead, walk out of your cushy jobs.  They will be filled by those wanting any sort of jobs, benefits or not.  This is like the Verizon crybabies who didn’t realize how good they had it.  Get in your buses, do your job, and. .no, unless you work full time, YOU GET NO BENEFITS, just like the rest of us who work for private businesses.  Taxes are strangling me, enough of this nonsense!

Does a school bus driver have a “cushy job”? I never thought so, and for now, the school board did not think so either. The benefits are funded in 2013, but the battle is not over. The 2012 sweep has a red pen and a mission, and they’ll pressurize labor and human services across the board to see what they can break, or erase, entirely.

At the February 7, Reform Commission meeting, the commissioners scrutinized a list of  thirty-four items that strangely failed to appear on the RC web site. Here is item #12 (emphasis mine).

12. Privatization and outsourcing of county functions

Assess current use of contract services as well as where this could be expanded cost-effectively.

Assess areas where government could remove itself and permit the function to be performed by the private sector, whether under contract or on its own.

Areas might include school buses and drivers, school food services and cafeteria employees, janitorial services, and solid waste management; assess FirstGroup America and others that could provide school bus drivers.

FirstGroup is a UK-based multinational corporation. Their web site elicited a visceral negative reaction. I’m sorry. I can’t verbalize the reaction with much more than “Ick!“. Aren’t we smart enough to manage our own bus drivers. I don’t see what outsourcing bus drivers does except to wash our hands of the labor relations “problem” and delegate it to a faceless multi-national.

Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin)

But maybe that’s the intent. This is purely conjecture, but I believe the source of this proposal is Geary Higgins VP of Labor Relations for the National Electrical Contractors Association NECA. In that capacity, Higgins job duties include “establishing, maintaining, and repairing the relationships with all levels of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

In English, it means that NECA members negotiate tough agreements with the union, or with electricians employed by “open shops”.  After a tough negotiation, or the award of a non-union contract, Geary manages the broken relationship with the IBEW, perhaps even extending “an offer they can’t refuse.“. NECA speak is Orwellian. For example, here is a portion of an abstract from a study of union versus non-union shops.

This study determined that the convoluted expectations and regulations of the labor union are an added cost without providing any added value to the stakeholders. On the other hand, the open shop contractor enjoys a higher level of freedom and therefore lower cost.

I’ve sometimes wondered what that abstract term “freedom” meant in some contexts. Now I know. It’s the freedom to screw if you’re management or get screwed if you’re labor.

Does Geary Higgins wish that his volunteers would just go away?

The Higgins team is still hard at it, arguing that they should be allowed to go door to door and demand that anyone with a Baldwin yard sign hand over their Chapman signs. Consistent with his out-of-touch letter (I wonder if he cleared that with Geary first), David LaRock is out busily winning friends and influencing people. Not:

Thanks for letting me know there is disagreement with me suggesting Mike Chapman give some thought to separating his signs from Baldwin’s on the main drag in Hamilton, in Baldwin’s front yard or elsewhere where hundreds of people see them every day…

…As we all know, anyone who is part of the Republican team, needs to remember, that allows them to draw from the team and requires they give back to the team. Think about what would happen if Mike or someone speaking on his behalf, knocked on those 5-6 doors to say please don’t use my sign with Baldwin’s. Worst case for Mike is he could lose 5-6 votes… or maybe some of those 5-6 people would stick with Mike because he is a team player, net result for Mike in either case is very small… [emphasis mine]

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Catoctin getting slappy

A couple of weeks ago, Without Supervision alerted us to two remarkably bad letters to the editor attacking Malcolm Baldwin, evidently cobbled together from the results of a FOIA request for constituent emails.

As it turns out, the readers to whom Mr. LaRock and Ms. Mann addressed their concerns are unimpressed by their efforts. Here is a short response:

Dear Editor: I couldn’t believe the letter from David LaRock attacking Malcolm Baldwin, a respected community leader, just because he voiced support for an ordinary non-discrimination rule.

Here’s what I want to know: Why is LaRock so hostile toward people who may be different from himself? Moreover, why is he thinking about other people’s sexual orientation and bodies in public restrooms? I (for one) wish he would stop.

If this is the kind of thing Higgins supporters are interested in, I’ll be voting for Malcolm Baldwin.

Indeed. I don’t think this is the sort of thing Catoctin residents want their supervisor doing, or thinking about, or encouraging others to think about. Yuck.

Another: Continue reading

Guys, signs don’t vote.

I was just going to make a quick update to the previous post, but then I witnessed what has the wacky wing of the Higgins campaign (note my assumption that there is an as-yet undiscovered wing) so scared of Malcolm Baldwin, and why the resulting implosion shows no sign of ending.

The previous post began by calling attention to this comment outing embarrassing Higgins campaigner David LaRock, who was upset at the number of Malcolm Baldwin yard signs next to Mike Chapman signs.

[David] LaRock suggest [sic] Mike go around and take down the signs posted next to Baldwin signs..

Now there’s this admission from the other one, Sally Mann:

Most of the signs are gone now.

Ok, I just swung through Hamilton on my way home, and if “most of the signs are gone now,” I have to ask how many were there before. Just on the main drag I counted five or six yards with both Baldwin and Chapman signs. All but one had no other signs that would help identify the owner as either a Republican or Democratic crossover voter (one also had a Shawn Mitchell sign). One of them was the home of a friend who is solidly Independent, so that’s not much help.

Keep in mind that these geniuses are demanding that the Chapman signs be “taken down.” The signs of their own guy. The Republican. Continue reading