January 29, 2013 — This past week, we witnessed a Republican Party that is becoming increasingly out of touch – and desperate to hold on to power and the past!
On the state level in Virginia, GOP leaders continued their attempts to change the rules on voting and how Presidential elections are tallied. They are still simmering over the President’s SECOND victory in Virginia, which propelled him to a second term. This happened even after GOP leaders spent last year passing legislation to disenfranchise minorities, college students and the poor. So, this year, the GOP ramped up their efforts to make it even HARDER for these voters to exercise their Constitutional rights.
As if that weren’t bad enough, GOP leaders in the state Senate, split evenly between 20 Republicans and 20 Democrats, snuck in a redistricting bill on Monday, January 21, Inauguration Day, when Sen. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond), a noted civil rights leader in Virginia, went to D.C. to attend the Inaugural ceremonies. With the Senate now divided 20-19, the GOP had the advantage and rammed through this bill. Even Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, Republican, was ashamed. Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell distanced himself from the Senate action, but whether or not he will veto the bill remains to be seen.
And as if THAT weren’t bad enough, Virginia GOP Sen. Bill Carrico led the fight to change the electoral rules of Presidential elections from winner-take-all to proportional allotments by Congressional Districts, which the Tea Party/GOP Congress gerrymandered in 2011 and which would give the GOP the advantage. This paralleled action in other states controlled by the GOP that were won by Obama.
With these actions, the GOP motto has become: If you can’t beat ‘em, cheat ‘em. Remember, this is the “values” Party….
Let’s face it, Republican leaders are mad! They HATE the fact that Obama is President – and won again! They will do anything to gain and keep power, including lying, cheating and stealing. They and their shrinking base of old white guys HATE the fact that the face of America and Virginia is changing, so they fuel the flames of fear and use lies to divide people, and pass laws that keep people from voting and change the rules so they can win. They continue to call the President names, and on and on and on….
Sadly for the country, it’s SOS from the GOP – a bunch of Grumpy Old Pfarts.
The day after the Inauguration, GOP Speaker John Boehner accused the President of trying to “annihilate” the GOP. At the rate they are going, Boehner and his GOP/Tea Party right-wingers will accomplish this feat all on their own. Here’s to their success!
On August 30, 2011, the Stafford County Registrar certified those candidates, in Stafford, who qualified to be on the ballot in the November 8, 2011 general election.
For those interested, here’s a quick rundown of the results.
The Commonwealth’s Attorney race will see Timothy W. Barbrow (I-Stafford) taking on Eric L. Olsen (R-Stafford). To me, this is the race to watch this year. This is the first time in 72 years that a Chichester isn’t on the ballot for this office and it should be very competitive, especially after Olsen’s missteps and controversies (see “Law & Order-gate“, the Switz donation and swirling residency questions). Not to mention the huge amount of buzz around Tim’s candidacy and the fact that he is garnering, from talking to folks in the legal community, a pretty wide swath of early bi-partisan support.
The Sheriff’s race will see retired Prince William County police detective Chuck Feldbush (I-Stafford) taking on incumbent Charles E. Jett (R-Stafford).
The other constitutional offices up for election are all one-horse races:
Soil and Water Conservation Director Tri-County/City District: Mike Lovitt (I-Stafford)
Treasurer: Laura M. Rudy (R-Stafford)
Commissioner of Revenue: Scott A. Mayausky (R-Stafford)
It’s amazing that after all of the county’s accounting problems that Rudy went unchallenged for treasurer. Here’s hoping for a write-in campaign against her.
In a bit of a surprise, Jack R. Cavalier (I-Griffis-Widewater) will look to re-capture the Griffis-Widewater supervisor seat that he lost 4 years ago to Bob Woodson (D-Griffis-Widewater) – who has chosen not to seek re election. Although, he’ll first have to get past O. Keith Angle II (R-Griffis-Widewater) and Fred C. Sweat (D-Griffis-Widewater) to win. This should be an interesting race.
The school board race in Rock Hill district is quite intriguing in that Heather H. Stefl (I-Stafford) is challenging incumbent Patricia A. Healy (I-Stafford). Both are Republicans; however, Patricia Healy has been an ardent supporter of our schools and is deeply respected by Democrats, Republicans and Independents – including me.
Stefl on the other hand represents the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party and serves as the treasurer of the Stafford County Republican Committee.
Stefl actually started out this campaign cycle serving as Jason Pelt’s (R-Stafford) campaign manager, as he sought the republican nomination for Commonwealth’s Attorney against Eric Olsen. Pelt understood that family came first, despite his political ambitions – which was something that Stefl couldn’t understand. So, Pelt parted ways with her.
I respect Pelt for putting family first. The fact that Stefl couldn’t balance family with politics tells me that she is incapable of balancing the well being of our children with her own political ambitions. It’s that simple. Healy is clearly the better choice on so many levels.
Here’s a summary of who else qualified for the remaining races:
George Washington Supervisor: Charles Latimer (D), Robert M. “Bob” Thomas Jr (R)
George Washington School Board: Byron K. Hinton (I), Dewayne McOsker Jr (I)
Rock Hill Supervisor: Dean D. Fetterolf (I), Cord A. Sterling (R)
Griffis-Widewater School Board: Dana H. Reinbolt (I)
In the coming weeks, I’ll try and cover all of these races in some detail.
OBAMA: We cut taxes for 95 percent of working Americans just like I promised we would on the campaign. […] So I’ve been a little amused over the last couple days where people have been having these rallies about taxes. You would think they would be saying, “Thank you!” That’s what you’d think!
As I mentioned yesterday, federal income taxes are at historically low levels for middle-income families. Check out my post on the subject here.
A family of four in the exact middle of the income spectrum will pay only 4.6 percent of its income in federal income taxes this year, according to a new analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center. This is the second-lowest percentage in the past 50 years.
Of course the Tea Party crowd still thinks that taxes are way high, right? In a recent CBS News/New York Times poll, 52 percent of Tea Party supporters believe that “their taxes are fair.” The poll also goes on to say that 62 percent of Americans overall “describe the income taxes they’ll pay this year as fair” and that “just one in five Americans say they support the Tea Party movement.”
Despite all of this, a separate CBS poll found that “64 percent of Tea Party supporters think the administration has raised taxes.” Wow, Tea Partiers aren’t to good with the facts. Go figure.
The reality is that “federal taxes are very considerably lower by every measure since Obama became president…In fact, 40% of Obama’s stimulus package involved tax cuts.”
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.
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!
Richard Lorey (a.k.a. “An Angry American”) spoke at an April 10th Tea Party Rally in Stafford, VA. This pretty much sums up the Tea Party movement to me. If I were he, I’d take my tea as decaf for now on.
Where was Richard when Bush was running up deficits and spending money like a drunken sailor? We could have used a few “Angry Americans” back then. All I can say is wow!
In a press release from the Prince William County Democratic Committee today, Chair Pete Frisbie blasted the Republican controlled Prince William County Board of Supervisors for voting to send a thank you note to Cuccinelli (R-VA) for his lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new federal health care reform law.
As I previously wrote, this lawsuit has little (actually, ZERO) chance of being successful on constitutional grounds and would come at a very steep cost to taxpayers. Instead of filing frivolous lawsuits, Cuccinelli and Gov. McDonnell (R-VA) should focus on using our currently scarce dollars to fully fund education and fix our transportation problems.
All I can say is wow. I thought the current Stafford County Board of Supervisors were nuts. This takes the cake! Here’s the press release from Pete:
The Republican controlled Prince William County Board of Supervisors have passed a motion along a party line voteto send a letter to Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to thank him for protecting their rights as a result of the law suit against the federal government on the health care reform law on the behalf of all of the residents of Prince William County. This is yet another frivolous lawsuit filed against the Federal Government by Virginia’s right wing ideologue Attorney General.
Click here (Go to the 5:00 mark) to watch the debate and the vote amongst our supervisors for yourself
There was no citizen input on this directive from the Board of Supervisors. The Board has no jurisdiction over the federal health care legislation yet they are spending your taxpayer money on letters when our school system just cut $50 million from their budget.
Board Chairman Corey Stewart has even said that he will bring forth a proposal to the Board of Supervisors to ensure that Prince William County will refuse to implement the health care law that was signed by President Obama.
These actions have become typical of the Republicans on the Prince William County Board of Supervisors. Please tell Supervisors Corey Stewart (R-At Large), John Stirrup (R-Gainesville, Mike May (R-Occoquan), Marty Nohe (R-Coles), Maureen Caddigan (R-Dumfries), and Wally Covington (R-Brentsville) to stop wasting our tax dollars on their personal political agendas.
We urge them to focus on the issues that face Prince William County every day — such as home foreclosures, rising utility costs, cuts to our school system and predatory loans — rather than writing letters, resolutions or proposals that support frivolous lawsuits against the federal government.
Help us remind our Supervisors of the priorities that matter to Prince William County residents like you and me and lay the groundwork to take back the Board of Supervisors.
Thanks so much for everything you are doing to stand with Prince William’s families and support the values we share.
Chair, Prince William County Democratic Committee
The Cooch has apparently met his match in crazy in Prince William County Chairman-At-Large Corey Stewart (R-Prince William). As Pete notes above, Stewart actually
proposed to refuse to implement what he regards as a costly, unconstitutional Federal mandate. He intends to submit a proposal for consideration by the Board of County Supervisors[, which will refuse to implement the new federal health care reform law in Prince William County].
He made these comments at a recent Prince William County Republican Convention held to select party leadership. He also praised the Tea Party movement and drew comparisons between this movement and the movement that drafted the Declaration of Independence. What a complete nut!
Here’s the resolution that passed, courtesy of the Prince William County Democratic Committee:
MOTION: STIRRUP March 23, 2010 Regular Meeting SECOND: COVINGTON Res. No. 10-243 RE: LETTER THANKING THE VIRGINIA ATTORNEY GENERAL FOR THE EFFORTS OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA TO CHALLENGE THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE FEDERAL PATIENT PROTECTION AND AFFORDABLE CARE ACT ACTION: APPROVED WHEREAS, the U.S. Congress passed on March 21, 2010, and the President of the United States signed into law on March 23, 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA); and
WHEREAS, on March 23, 2010 the Commonwealth of Virginia filed suit against Kathleen Sebelius in her official capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services for the United States seeking to declare the PPACA unconstitutional (Commonwealth v. Kathleen Sebelius); and
WHEREAS, many other States and private organizations are also seeking to challenge the constitutionality of the PPACA through the federal courts;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Prince William Board of County Supervisors wishes to thank the Virginia Attorney General for his efforts, for protecting the rights of Prince William County residents, and to wish him good luck on his efforts.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Prince William County Attorney’s Office is instructed to look into whether or not the Prince William Board of County Supervisors could file an amicus curiae brief in support of the Commonwealth’s position in Commonwealth v. Kathleen Sebelius.
Votes: Ayes: Caddigan, Covington, May, Nohe, Stewart, Stirrup Nays: Jenkins, Principi Absent from Vote: None Absent from Meeting: None
And here’s the subsequent letter from Stewart, also courtesy of the Prince William Democratic Committee:
Board Letter Thanking Cuccinelli
The Honorable Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II
900 East Main Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Dear Attorney General Cuccinelli:
Attached please find a copy of a Resolution of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors. On behalf of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors, I am writing to thank you for your efforts regarding your recent law suit Commonwealth v. Kathleen Sebelius.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), which was signed by the President of the United States on March 23, 2010 creates a template for federal action that will affect all levels of government and all citizens for years to come. The Prince William Board of County Supervisors would like to thank you for protecting our residents’ rights by filing this action.
Thank you for your leadership on this very important issue. We wish you good luck on your efforts.
Corey A. Stewart
Cc: Board of County Supervisors
Virginia Congressional Delegation
Cucinelli’s going to need more then luck to win an unwinnable case. I applaud Pete for standing up to the Republican fringe, which is becoming all too common place throughout the Commonwealth, and being the voice of sensibility and fiscal responsibility on behalf of all Prince William residents.