Monthly Archives: June 2005

Teen Power

Maybe these kids will start a movement about their right to hear information, that whether adults like it or not, they need to know.

One thing that shocks me when we talk to our teenagers about sex is their telling us how shocked their friends are that we talk to our three about it.

What Purpose?

What does this article add to the political debate? There is nothing new here. No news, just the trading of the same old charges. Why invest reporters (this time it took two of them to tell us nothing new) in something like this when they could be investigating the real problems Virginia is facing and outlining some of the solutions we might implement and then getting candidates to answer questions about such options.

The Post actually did give us a great article today about HOT lanes, though it could have given us more info. on whether such HOT lanes actually reduced congestion on the regular lanes. The local angle story didn’t do that, either, but gave us an insight to how the slugs feel about HOT lanes. They make legitimate points. Remember, the idea that’s pitched to us about HOT lanes is that while it will improve the commute times of those who pay the tolls, the rest of are supposed to get relief because HOT lanes takes traffic off regular lanes.

Maybe Mike Shear, Chris Jenkins and the rest of the Virginia political reporters will use the info. on HOT lanes to probe the candidates for in-depth answers. But it seems such a waste of talent to have Shear & Co. writing these useless stories.

New Poll

Raising Kaine has details on a new gubernatorial poll.

UPDATE: The link to the poll publisher revelas this nugget:

In the race for Governor, 10% of Republicans are undecided along with 5% of Democrats.

That’s got to worry Kilgore, but not sure it helps Kaine. Potts? Well, the percentage who said “other” actually fell from 5% two months ago to 2% now. Russ who?

The Taxing Post

Three days after only one challenger succeeded in ousting any of the 19 GOP delegates who voted for the tax increase last year(and that seemed as much on social issues as taxes by the challenger’s own admission), The Washington Post is the only newspaper in the state today to run a story about revenue projections running ahead of predictions. Only the Richmond Times Dispatch editorial page, which harps on taxes, felt the need to mention the surpluses.

That may be because the surpluses have been monthly occurrences for this budget year. Maybe the Post missed that.

I suspect that The Post may be congenitally incapable of seeing any election for state or local office but as a fight over taxes. Even Shaun Keeney, the anti-tax challenger to Bobby Orrock admitted, “We did focus on the tax hike, and no one cared.”

But the Post cares. It’s interesting to note that the sub-head in the story that appeared in this morning’s paper read “Growth Reopens Debate on Increases.” Well, of course, growth doesn’t have the same vocal chords you and I do, so it would be hard for Mr. Growth to debate the increases. In the online version, however, the sub-head reads “Gubernatorial Candidates Reopen Debate on Need for Last Year’s Increases.”

I found that curious. Why would Tim Kaine want to reopen that debate? Well, he didn’t, according to Delacey Skinner, the Lt. Governor’s spokeswoman. When called for a comment, Kaine’s office apparently responded as she is quoted in the story, but, Skinner told me, she nor anyone else with the campaign sought to reopen the debate.

But Jerry Kilgore wanted to. So The Post wanted to, too, I guess. The Post may be aware of the thin ice they skate on by harping on the tax issue. If there’s another reason for changing the headline, I’d like to hear it.

If we are to debate what we want the candidates to do with our money when they get into office and how much of it they want from our pockets, that’s fine. But the debate shouldn’t be about taxes first, but rather how we spend them. Why can’t The Post get that? Most Virginians, according to polls, say they support the tax increases of ’04.

One thing missing from the coverage is the extent to which the surpluses are news. Have we had other periods of sustained revenue growth followed by unexpected declines that put pressure on the budget. Of course we have. But how long were they, how predictable were the downturns and what happened when they came? All of that would be grist for a news story.

So why must The Post continue to harp on taxes, when even candidates who ran against the increases say no one cares?

A Loser Speaks

Shaun Kenney was one of the anti-taxers. He challenged Bobby Orrick. Here’s what he posted on another blog.

We did focus on the tax hike, and no one cared.

Now that’s not to say it wasn’t an issue. For conservatives, as well as moderates, we were all upset with the tax increases.

The real question voters were asking was “what do we do about the problem?” Collectively, while I agree wholeheartedly with the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, we didn’t have a single voice on how to solve the problem. Sure we can cut off the oxygen and put out the fire, but to what ends?

I think voters are seriously looking for answers to the questions regarding transportation, education, and the like. TABOR is a good start. Devoting 65% of every dollar to the classroom is another (Virginia only allocates 61.6% on average). Restructuring VDOT so that rather than operating from the top-down, localities set the needs and agenda and VDOT chimes in. True tax reform that abolishes the car tax, property tax, estate tax, and comes up with a more equitable system of taxation that works at the local level first.

Those are ideas. Those are solutions. While we aggressively promoted them in the 54th, conservatives statewide didn’t speak with a single voice.

While crossover hurt us and may have cost us a few HOD elections, we have to get back into the mentality that we are indeed a minority, and we need to offer a solution first before we offer a mantra.

Well, yes, we’ve been trying to tell you. But it’s not that nobody cares. They care too much to listen to simplistic mantras. And still Kenney talks vaguely of giving lcoalities more say in how transportation dollars are spent, as if that cuts expenditures. Note, too, that one of his solutions is to abolish various taxes and replace them with … what?

And if you think TABOR is the answer, read this.

The 37th: My Home District

Not Larry Sabato, an anonymous blogger who focuses solely on the House races this year, has the usual handicapping of the 37th race in November with its over reliance on “the fundamentals.” If the fundamentals were so prescient, Chap Petersen would have never won in 2001, let alone slaughter his opponent in 2003. This race is David Bulova’s to lose, in my book.

First and foremost, it’s walkable. Chap knocked on 14,000 doors to engineer his 2003 upset. Bulova is about 34, I think. His GOP opponent, John Mason, is 70. He’s not walking apace with David.

His last name (his mother is a county supervisor representing about two-thirds of the 37th district) means a lot in the southern half of the district (the Braddock sueprvisor district). She’s popular and “never tested” recently because no one dare.

The 37th district has been trending Democratic.

*Gilmore took Fairfax City by about 6 points.
*Gilmore won Braddock District by 7 points.
*Jack Rust, who Chap beat in ’01, was considered so powerful he was unopposed in 1999.
*Bush won the city in ’00 by three points, winning every precinct.
*Bush won Braddock District by about 4 points.
*Warner won 5 of 6 Fairfax City precincts.
*Kaine won 4 of 6 city precincts.
*Warner won Braddock by 5 points.
*Kerry won Fairfax City by more than 3 points and 5 of 6 precincts
*Kerry won Braddock district by about 51-49%.

The part of the 37th that is not in Fairfax City or the Braddock District spans two districts that are solidly Democratic, including Chairman Gerry Connolly’s old district.

The Braddock portion of the 37th is politically active; in fact, some of us are thought of as a pain in the ass to pols. We whine. But we listen, too. Nobody wins this district because of the initial next to his/her name.

Education is a big issue in the 37th. We’re like the parents in a cartoon I saw recently. Parents are tucking their little girl into bed saying, “We want you to get the best grades in pre-school so when you get older you can afford the best psychiatrists.” Bulova’s focus on schools, along with his young family, will resonate with voters here.

The youth vs. experience choice certainly didn’t hurt Chap against the older Rust. In fact, I think it helped him. I suspect it will with Bulova, too. He has the same demeanor as his mother, soft spoken. It comes across to some as lacking the fire, but people here like his mother’s approach, which is to listen first and then lead. Folks will make the connection, and like I said, she’s solid here.

Plus, the Democratic committee in Fairfax is getting its act together.

I think it leans Bulova.