Monthly Archives: September 2010

One Loudoun Collapses

Just another foreclosure.

A mixed-use development once touted by county leaders as “the biggest and most integrated center in Loudoun County” is now facing foreclosure.

One Loudoun, planned as a town-center-style development on 358 acres at Route 7 and Loudoun County Parkway, will be up for a public auction on Sept. 28 at the county courthouse, according to trustees’ sale notice.

The McLean-based developers of the property, Miller & Smith, declined to comment on the proceedings.

According to a March 21, 2007, deed of trust, Goldman Sachs Commercial Mortgage Capital lent the developer $125 million to fund the project.  – Loudoun Times-Mirror

The good news is the County got an interchange and construction of Russel Branch Parkway out of it before it collapsed. The bad news is that the County will not get the projected commercial and tax benefits from that area and another political battle will doubtless be fought over the site after the auction.

(With a tip-o-the-hat to Loudoun County Real Estate.)

Pass The DREAM Act

While walking my dog through my neighborhood last week, I overheard two ten-year old girls having a conversation on a trampoline in a backyard.

“When is your dad coming back.”

“He can’t.”

“Why not?”

“He doesn’t have a pass to get back in America. You need a pass to get back in. My mom and grandma have a pass to leave, but they don’t have a pass to get back in either. I don’t need a pass to get in because I’m an American.”

“I’m an American!”

And both girls proceeded to jump on the trampoline chanting “I’m an American” in time with their jumps.  For thousands of kids in schools across America, they wouldn’t be able to say “I’m an American” because their parents brought them here without documentation. These kids are under constant threat of deportation, even if their families are US citizens. This is simply unjust.

Luckily, there is legislation pending in the Senate that would fix this: The DREAM Act.

The DREAM Act is a bipartisan measure that enables high-achieving young people – immigrants who have been raised here, have worked hard in school, and then pursue higher education or serve in the military – to achieve the American Dream.

Seventy percent of Americans agree that it makes no moral or economic sense to spend taxpayer dollars arresting, jailing, and deporting youth who grew up in this country.  The DREAM Act allows these young people to earn their citizenship and give back to the country they call home. A national poll of 1,008 adults, conducted by Opinion Research Corporation for First Focus in June 2010, shows a stunning level of support, which cuts across regional and party lines. They found 70 percent overall support, 60% support from Republicans, and 80% support from Democrats. – America’s Voice

Sen. Reid is likely going to attach the DREAM Act as an amendment to an upcoming defense authorization bill. The Amendment is even germane to the bill.

In fact, the DREAM Act is included in the Department of Defense’s FY2010-12 Strategic Plan to help the military “shape and maintain a mission-ready All Volunteer Force”

That’s because a specific provision of the DREAM Act would allow those who meet all eligibility requirements, serve in the U.S. armed forces for at least two years and maintain “good moral character” to obtain regular lawful permanent resident status after six years. Many Military experts have come out in support of the DREAM Act because it would significantly increase the pool of qualified recruits in the Latino population, which comprises the majority of undocumented immigrants and which research indicates are more likely to enlist and serve in the military than any other group. – The Wonk Room (with a tip-o-the-hat to DailyKos)

Now is the time to tell our senators to support the DREAM Act amendment. Not just for the good of our military recruitment, but for the justice it will bring for thousands of kids and young people.

Contact Sen. Webb

Contact Sen. Warner.

CBPO, minus the politics

Stream SiteFolks may or may not be aware of the Blue Ridge Leader since it doesn’t show up unsolicited in the mail. If you’re not, you should be. The prospect of having no counterpoint to the only other source of news in western Loudoun (the Gazette) was unacceptable, so following the death of publisher Phil Hahn, community members have made sure the Leader continues to have a presence.

This article on the CBPO is Exhibit A in demonstrating why that presence is so important. Unlike most of the chatter about the ordinance, which has more to do with perceptions and emotion and their political impact, this is a remarkably clear, fair and transparent summary of the facts and statement of advocacy.  One of those facts, of course, is the adoption of the CBPO by the local Republican establishment as a campaign issue, and this is treated in the same factual manner.

Of course, saying an issue is partisan doesn’t make it so. The costs associated with Loudoun’s deteriorating streams, such as the cost of treating the increasingly tainted water, are imposed on everyone. And the costs associated with preventing further deterioration need to be shared as equally as possible, too.

If meeting the public’s general needs imposes a burden on the individual, then this situation must be addressed fairly. The burdens should be shared by all beneficiaries – urban areas, rural areas, agriculture and development alike. How this fairness is accomplished – here in Loudoun – must be sorted out prior to passage of the CBPO.

This is a problem that needs to be solved, not a convenient hot button for irresponsible politicians to exploit. It goes straight to the question of what kind of community we want to be. Do we want to have intact, healthy streams and drinking water that doesn’t require expensive feats of engineering to render safe? And do we want leaders who encourage all the stakeholders to come to the table and figure it out, or leaders who actively discourage problem solving and dialogue in favor of creating division, anger and fear?

They’re Scared

I drive the same way to work every day – Leesburg to Herndon, Route 7 to 28 to 606. To break the boredom, I try to notice things that are different.

Yesterday, I noticed something different – Jeff Barnett signs in the Town of Herndon, where Spring Street meets Van Buren Street. Not a lot; maybe 3 or 4, and there were a few signs for the Incumbent Congressman as well. And it wasn’t overwhelming, as political signs in Herndon tend to become.

Today I noticed something different at that same spot.The Barnett signs were gone, replaced by even more signs for the Incumbent Congressman.

I was angry for a few seconds, then I remembered to laugh. Because it suddenly came to me – the Incumbent Congressman and his supporters are scared. They’re scared to debate Jeff. They’re scared to meet with the voters. They’re scared to discuss his worthless record over the past 30 years. And they’re scared that nationally, people are beginning to take notice of Jeff Barnett, his campaign, and what he stands for.

And it made me laugh again, even harder, to know that I’m supporting someone who the opposition is really taking seriously.

Someone who can actually beat the Incumbent Congressman. Something that hasn’t been done in 30 years.

They’re really scared.

Awesome Video of the Day

From AlterNet, via Oliver Willis – this guy really wants to be county treasurer:

Laugh riot!!

EDIT: Apparently the viral nature of the video prompted someone to pull it off of YouTube. Sorry – it was a classic.

Here’s a link to it on Huffington Post.

Wow, today’s BOS meeting has gone through a LOT of stuff!

Christmas displays (yes); staggered terms (no); pay raises for the BOS and perhaps to go to a full-time board (come back with more info); give school overage back to the teachers to cover the furlough days (no).

And that’s just a start.

I’m home sick today, so I’ve been watching the whole thing. I am fascinated.

Research & Development

President Obama is scheduled today to unveil a new economic package, part of which will be to make permanent the Research & Development Tax Credit that expired at the end of last year. This tax credit was instituted in President Reagan’s Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, has expired 8 times, and been extended 13 times, most recently in 2008 by President Bush.

The tax credit, a one-for-one write down of qualified R & D expenses, is hailed by businesses as an incentive for companies to create jobs in the U.S. and remain competitive in the global economy. So much so that Tech America runs an ongoing calculator on its’ website that shows how much the lapsed tax credit is costing our economy in lost jobs and revenue. The numbers are simply astounding.

We know where Jeff Barnett stands on the issue of R & D and job creation. He believes that the key to creating jobs in this economy is working with “technological innovators”,  just the sort of entities that can benefit from a R & D tax credit.

We also know how our current incumbent congressman stands with regard to R & D.  Oh, he talks big on his House website about it:

I have been a longtime champion of job creation through export promotion, domestic manufacturing, and high-tech research and development. Ninety-five percent of the world’s customers live outside the U.S.  These markets provide an opportunity to grow American businesses and create American jobs.

Unfortunately, his actions speak louder than his words. When the R & D tax credit came up for reauthorization in 2008 (HR 6049), our 10th District representative voted AGAINST reauthorization.

Republicans have generally been behind the R & D tax credit since its introduction in 1981, as have Democrats. It’s a common sense method to spur innovation, keep businesses competitive in a global economy, and create jobs, since many of the labor costs can be recouped through the credit. But judging by the reactions of the “Party of NO”, it seems like they will be in lock-step opposition to the reauthorization and/or permanence of the credit. Because Republicans in Congress and the Senate, along with our do-nothing and hypocritical representative, are all about playing politics right now, now in helping the economy.

Jeff Barnett is below petty politics. He truly desires to keep the country moving forward by investing in the people and companies that are the lifeblood of the economy.  

The Best Medicine

I’m done.

It’s taking up too much of my energy. I’m done being angry at Republicans/Conservatives/Tea-baggers.

I read Lowell’s story yesterday morning on Blue Virginia about the woman in Maryland who was verbally abused on the highway by an angry Obama-hater.  I thought to myself how I would handle such a situation. I have a short temper, and I’m prone to argument, but I decided that, for the sake of my family, I’m taking a new tack.

I’m going to laugh.I’m going to laugh at juvenile imbeciles who go on local newspaper comment boards, and, in a manner not germane to the issues being discussed, go on a taunting spree that is on a 12 year-old’s level, and “nanny-nanny-boo-boo” Democrats (or the “boys up the river”), just to make their point.

I’m going to laugh at the good ol’ boy I occasionally see driving his pick-up truck on the Dulles Toll Road with all the anti-Obama, anti-Democratic, pro-Palin bumper stickers.

I’m going to laugh at the people who think they are informed because they watch Fox News 24/7, and take the word of people like Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity as gospel.

I’m going to laugh at people who think the President is a Muslim (with all the evidence against it) or wasn’t born in this country (with all the evidence supporting it). And at the people who think that Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are to blame for companies making money hand over fist but not hiring or giving their workers raises. And at people who want to repeal the health care reform bill because they think that allowing people to get care for pre-existing conditions, or for allowing people to join pools to purchase health care represents a “government takeover of health care”.

I’m going to laugh at the low-information nut-cases who wish to deny Americans their First Amendment rights granted by the Constitution simply because they aren’t Christians. And who are against building a “Ground Zero Mosque”, even though it’s not at Ground Zero and it’s not a mosque.

I have to laugh, because as hard as we try, it’s difficult to get through to the 60% of American voters who refuse to educate themselves fully on the issues and use logic and reason when doing so. Really, though, it’s more like 40%, because you have the 20% of rock-heads who are solidly in the right-wing tin foil hat brigade.

Am I calling people names? You betcha. Am I stooping to their level? Yup. But you know what?

I really don’t care.

Indications are showing that it’s possibly going to be bad news for Democrats in November, depending on which polls you read and trust. Them’s the breaks, I guess. I’m still going to work hard to get Jeff Barnett elected as our new congressman. I’m going to work hard in 2007 to get Senator Mark Herring re-elected and the ineffective Tag Greason defeated. I’m going to work hard to have a Democrat win the Supervisors seat in Broad Run next year, too.

But I’m not going to let the loud mouths bother me anymore. They’re not worth my time.


Still Thinking Positive

The Washington Post has a new poll out this morning that has some interesting data. In it, the initial questioning of all adults seem to favor Democrats.  The difference comes when the questions are asked of only ‘likely voters’ – then the data skews heavily towards Republicans.

What can we derive from this? Of course, it’s that the Republicans (and right-leaning independents) are more motivated to vote this election cycle. For whatever reason, Democrats (and left-leaning independents) don’t seem like they’re going to come out in the magnitude that they did back n 2008, and that doesn’t bode well for us.

But there is a positive in all of this – there are 2 months to go before Election Day. If we as progressives can persuade enough uninterested Democrats and like-thinking independents to get out there on Election Day, maybe we can turn the GOP tidal wave into just a 3-foot swell.

We have people on our side, but we need to convince them that not voting in this election is equal to a vote for Republicans, which means:

• An attack on Social Security, possibly looking at privatization, and the potential for huge losses;

• Extensions of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which will increase the national debt by $1 trillion;

• An attempt to roll back the Health Care Reform Act, which, among other things, allows people with pre-existing conditions to not be rejected for care;

• A return to the days of not-so-long-ago, where, in the 6 years from 2000-2006, Republicans racked up trillions upon trillions of dollars in unfunded spending; turned a $268 billion budget surplus into a $800 billion deficit; and didn’t create one new net job;

• Continued assaults on the civil rights of gays and American Muslims.

There still is time, if we can get out the vote. Voting for a common-sense progressive like Jeff Barnett would be the first step.