Tag Archives: Reform Commission

Whitbeck led reform commission to “save BILLIONS,” boasts Delgaudio

Eugene Delgaudio's lie-filled 12-11-13 email promoting John Whitbeck

Eugene Delgaudio’s lie-filled 12-11-13 email promoting John Whitbeck

John Whitbeck co-chaired the Loudoun County Government Reform Commission subcommittee responsible for studying fees for county services, privatization and outsourcing. His subcommittee targeted the vulnerable county workforce and the after school program that serves the county’s poorest children. Whitbeck’s subcommittee report was delivered four months late. It made no outsourcing recommendations, and its major “saving” recommendation was to double the fees on the already profitable CASA after school program.

In one of the most lie-filled emails of all time, Eugene Delgaudio’s 2013-12-11 campaign email boasted:

The largest and most comprehensive budget cutting program and money saving ideas ever presented to Loudoun since my own “Delgaudio’s 100 Million Dollar Tax Reducation [sic] Plan” was produced by Loudoun County Government Reform Commission.

The scale of the Reform ideas is gigantic and could save BILLIONS over the next decade if implemented.

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Party loyalty trumps human decency

Randy Minchew endorsed John Whitbeck on 2013-12-09

Randy Minchew endorsed John Whitbeck on 2013-12-09

Randy Minchew endorsed John Whitbeck on December 9. Here, in part, is what he said:

The Democrats have already nominated their candidate who recently moved into the district and is out campaigning as we speak claiming this Senate seat as a Democratic possession. In light of that audacity, our Party needs to nominate its strongest possible candidate, someone with impeccable integrity, a rock-solid commitment to the principles and values set forth in our Virginia Republican Creed, and proven leadership attributes.

Audacity? It isn’t audacity to to regale large public gatherings with anti-Semitic jokes, to steal email lists, or to dismantle effective public social service organizations and funnel tax dollars to private “Christian Worldview” propaganda centers instead? Minchew continues:
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Mr. Trump, some restrictions apply

I have a t-shirt with a modified Virginia tourism slogan. It says:

Virginia is for lovers*

*some restrictions apply

The slogan refers to the 2006 anti-marriage amendment, an amendment that applies to my family, but doesn’t apply to Donald Trump. Trump’s traditional, one-man, one-woman* (*at a time) serial marriage is a-ok. As a matter of fact, as he gets older, saggier and richer, his current wife gets younger and more super-model-like-unattainable, and that’s just dandy.

Well, on more important matters, Supervisor Volpe is putting Trump in his place. He can get away with basically anything in his “married” life, but he can’t rename Lowes Island Boulevard. Supervisor Volpe explains in her latest email, emphasis mine.

I have personally met with representatives of Trump National Golf Club to discuss their desire to change Lowes Island Boulevard to Trump Boulevard. In June, I informed the Cascades HOA Board of Directors and the Community Manager about this inquiry and stated that I do not support the name change.

Good for you Supervisor Volpe. Trump can cut down all the trees he wants and use any chemical he wants on his expansive “gentleman’s lawn”, but leave the name of that damn street alone. We’ve got to draw the line somewhere, or the corporate moneybags like the Washington football team will think they can get away with anything.

Actually, they can, so long as “anything” is opposed by “land-use freaks“, an endearing term coined by Reform Commissioner Bob Gordon. But, hey, a line in the sand is better than no line. At least Loudoun has symbolic boundary between citizens and unadulterated corporatism. Thank you Supervisor Volpe. Now Loudoun has a slogan that would do the BoS and their fellow winners of the “contest of ideas” proud:

Loudoun is for privatization*

*some restrictions apply

Two recusals too few

James Rohrbaugh recused himself from discussing Loudoun government finance functions at the July 19, 2012 Reform Commission subcommittee meeting because his spouse works for the county. That’s a fair recusal. Rohrbaugh may not want to see his spouse’s position privatized. John Whitbeck, chair of the the Republican 10th Congressional District is responsible for the RC’s privatization report and has demonstrated that privatization is a matter of personal opinion, his. I’ll have more in a subsequent post. On Thursday, July 26, the Reform Commission will investigate the County finance function and Whitbeck will have the chance to question Bob Wertz, the Commissioner of the Revenue who happens to be Whitbeck’s 10th CD finance chair. Whitbeck should recuse himself from the meeting and Wertz should have refused the 10th CD position in the first place. That’s two recusals too few.

(Updated 2012-07-28: corrected the spelling of Rohrbaugh)

VA Republican 10th CD: Transparently, intrinsically immoral

“…the poor inherit the Kingdom of God,

while the wealthy have their reward already”

- Chuck Colson, The Faith

Frank Wolf

Translation: “The [favored] have their reward already, and the [disfavored] inherit the Kingdom after they bow down to the [favored].” This bastardization of Gospel describes the political programme of Virginia’s Republican 10th Congressional District, an organization that continues to seek new lows. The 10th is now led by John Whitbeck, also a Reform Commission member who I have observed too closely for far too many hours. He comes across as emotionless, cold, calculating, self-absorbed, ideological, and hermetically-sealed against unwanted information.

This makes him the perfect chairman of an organization guided by the late Chuck Colson’s worldview and the district’s intractable Godfather, Congressman Frank Wolf. Wolf received the first Chuck Colson/Prison Fellowship Ministries “Wilberforce award” in 1992, and the now deceased “redeemed” Nixonian hatchet man and the “Christian” crusading Congressman have been married in purpose ever since.

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Bad for business, stupid, hateful or all three?

Congressman Frank Wolf’s hatred for China is transparent to people who know technology and follow the business pages. In late March, Wolf wrote a press release warning of the perils of Huawei’s wireless devices and telecom equipment. The equipment “may be subject to espionage“, Wolf cried. He must know that U.S. legislation referred to as CALEA mandates espionage. If the equipment didn’t provide the capability to snoop, it couldn’t be sold in the U.S. I guess Chinese companies are just SOL. Next time, Wolf should come up with a better, less transparent excuse to shield him from accusations of sinophobia.

Congressman Wolf's image of the administration

There is a political side to this. He wants to brand the Obama administration “pro-communist” and soft on security and he’ll sacrifice free-trade and laissez faire capitalism in the process. Now, he wants to create a class of patent that our larger more intrusive big brother government will snatch off the market. He calls them “economic security” patents. Bloomberg Business rips him a new one for this incredibly dumb idea. ‘“It’s ridiculous. Absurd,” says Robert Stoll, who ran the agency’s patent applications office before retiring in January.‘ The article goes on.

Each year the patent office is flooded with about half a million applications. The agency would have to figure out which of those to pluck out for secret status. Companies spend millions trying to divine which products will be hits and which will flop—it’s hard to imagine the government’s crystal ball would be any better.

I can’t understand why voters don’t see through Wolf’s (and the rest of the Republican’s) government is good/ government is bad schizophrenia. Government reformers, like many on Loudoun’s Government Reform Commission generally agree that the private sector is more efficient and innovative than government. I believe Ken Glozer said “I worked for OMB and I know how screwed up government can be.” That’s right. It’s really screwed up when powerful Congressmen dictate policy because of deeply held dark ages cold war ideological obsessions. Not only do businesses want to patent their work here. They also want to patent it in China. Then the Chinese government will protect it too. VA 10th CD “job creators“, beware, you’re represented by an unhinged, hateful ideologue who may hurt your bottom line.

An easy Reform Commission cut

Dear Loudoun County Government Reform Commission,

I have a way for you to immediately save Loudoun County taxpayers one quarter of a million dollars per year.

That is the amount of revenue the county is not receiving due to the property tax exemption granted in late 2003 to the massive Loudoun compound of Chuck Colson’s Prison Fellowship Ministries/Colson Center.

Our tax dollars at work.

Rescind it. PFM doesn’t qualify for a tax exemption. Tax exempt entities in Loudoun are not permitted to engage in partisan political advocacy and propaganda, and that is precisely what Chuck Colson uses his organization to do. Case in point – as discussed here, Chuck Colson has fabricated and repeatedly disseminated the following two big, honking falsehoods: that President Obama has redefined “freedom of religion” to be a more narrow concept of “freedom of worship,” and that the Affordable Care Act mandate to employers to provide contraceptive coverage as part of comprehensive health insurance plans is something new, and is “the most important issue — I really think the most important I’ve faced in my ministry, and the greatest threat to America, the greatest threat to us as Christians.” But in fact: 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.