On April 10, 2010, Supervisor Cord Sterling (R-Rock Hill) addressed his fellow tea baggers at a Tea Party rally in Stafford, VA.
Sterling is the worst type of politician: one who will say or do anything to further his political ambitions by distorting the truth. He loves to portray himself as a moderate Republican, but pretty much shattered this self-created myth when he came out of the closet as a tea bagger this past weekend.
Sterling railed against the recently signed health care reform law. In trying to get the crowd pumped up against this, he described how Sen. Chuck Schumer’s (D-NY) daughter was so happy that she didn’t need to work and could now be added to his health care plan. He claimed that this epitomized everything that was wrong with this bill. Only one problem for Sterling, this couldn’t be further from the TRUTH!
Here are Sterling’s exact words:
[Sen. Chuck Schumer’s] daughter had just called him, she was graduating or graduated from college, she said, “Good news dad, I don’t have to get a job now I can be on your health care bill.” He thought that was great, she gets health care I get the bill.
Here’s Sen. Chuck Schumer on March 28, 2010 on Meet the Press:
If you’re up to 26 years old you can stay on your parents’ health coverage. My daughter is graduating from law school. We told her the day after she graduates she’s on her own. She has a job in September, but she was fretting what does she do for the four months? Does she buy health insurance for $1200 a month? Well, she called me up at midnight after the bill passed and said, “Dad, I’m covered.”
I love how Sterling just makes shit up. This has become a disturbing pattern with him.
Sterling then pivoted from health care to judicial activism. Sterling rallied his fellow tea baggers, when he alleged that judges were displaying judicial activism by advocating the need for additional courtrooms within Stafford County, Virginia. Nothing fires up tea baggers more than evil judges.
Here’s what Sterling actually said:
The judges that occupy this building, they want to tell us that we need to spend an additional $30 million to build them a new courthouse…we have six judges, seven courtrooms and they think we need more courtrooms…it is essentially a 7 or 8 percent tax increase that they want to force upon us.
This is a convenient argument for Sterling. Only problem, if you’ve already guessed it, it isn’t completely true. I’m sure that you’re shocked by now.
The need for additional courtroom space has been many years in the making. In fact, Stafford Supervisor Paul Milde (R-Aquia) was on the original committee, I believe back in 2006 or so, that was tasked with the responsibility of coming up with cost-effective designs for new courtrooms. The total cost of their proposal was around $36 or $37 million.
The Board of Supervisors actually decided that this was too costly and voted to defer it until a later date. They decided to eventually revisit this issue and setup a citizens committee that they hoped would develop a more cost-effective proposal. They ended up proposing to refurbish the existing courthouse to the tune of between $23 and $25 million, which would have added two additional courtrooms.
I’ve spoken to several folks associated with Stafford County. They all noted that the current facilities are incredibly crowded and more space is needed. The courts are facing significant caseloads and are becoming overwhelmed, due to the facility constraints.
I know someone who recently served on a jury who said that the current facilities were a mess. Folks were strongly complaining about the overcrowding and the incredibly high temperature, due to so many people packing themselves into the facility. The Board of Supervisors have clearly identified the need for additional courtrooms; otherwise, they wouldn’t have been trying to find a cost-effective solution all of these years. The reality is the problem has only gotten worse.
The judges have simply identified a need and haven’t dictated a $30 million solution. It is folks like Milde and a citizens committee that have come up with these estimates.
There is no doubt in my mind that a real need exists. Sterling can ignore a county need, which he is really good at doing, or directly address it by coming up with a cost-effective solution. It’s clear to me that he would rather use this for political theater versus directly addressing it. If I were him, I wouldn’t get pulled over in Stafford County for any speeding tickets.
After his judicial activism bit, he wasn’t done with misleading his fellow tea baggers.
He praised himself for ridding the county of its Department of Transportation (DOT). He did rightfully note, in my opinion, that this department was completely unnecessary. I noted this in a prior blog post. However, his claim that he got rid of this department and saved money is a bit of a stretch. Stafford’s DOT employees were simply moved to another department. I’m by no means advocating that they should have fired these employees. What I am saying is that his claim that he is shrinking the size of government is a complete stretch. Plus this was the first time I’ve ever heard him speak out about this issue, so it’s interesting that he is claiming credit for it now.
Sterling wasn’t done with his distortions and attacks. He saved the best for last. He launched into a blistering attack of the school board. He claimed that the school system was asking for a $7.5 million increase in their school budget from last year, of which only $126 thousand would be used for education and the rest would go towards school administration. This is another flat out distortion of the facts by Sterling.
I’ve written quite a bit about our schools, so I won’t reiterate everything I’ve said before here (you can check out posts here, here and here). The short of it is that the school board requested the same level of funding that they received last year, which is actually a decrease when you take into account rising costs and cuts by the state.
I’ve spoken to folks associated with the school board and it appears that Sterling is simply adding up increases to various line items in the school budget without taking into account all of the line items that have been cut. He is simply cherry picking numbers that further his political agenda, which is defunding and crippling our public school system. This was a popular theme throughout the Tea Party rally.
Sterling’s additional assertions on how money is being spent couldn’t be further from the truth. He simply doesn’t understand the school budget.
If he were so concerned about how money was being spent, you would think that he would sit down with school administrators or school board members to ask questions and work with them? You see that would make too much sense. He would rather scream, yell and distort the facts for his own political gain. His re-election slogan next year should be, “Putting Politics Ahead of Our Children.”
I also especially love Sterling’s call for the school to find efficiencies, which I think they have done an admirable job of thus far. This from the Board of Supervisors who haven’t had a clean audit in years! In the name of saving money, the school board refinanced some debt that saved the school system and county around $3.6 million. Sterling rewarded the school board by robbing them of this savings and using it to fund some of his other priorities. After all, getting re-elected is paramount.
I especially love the tea baggers from the crowd that screamed, “Fire them.” Referring to the school board, which Sterling responded, “I’m all for it, that’s in your hands. It’s in my hands too as a voter. I can’t fire them as a Supervisor.” Naturally, for Sterling, publicly insulting the school board and calling for their firing is a great way to build a strong working relationship.
I have a message for Sterling. The only person getting fired next year is you!