Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last Chance- Come Vote for a New Spotsy GOP Chairman Tomorrow!

7:00pm sharp (or earlier) come to Riverbend High School on April 1, 2010 and vote for a successor to Chairman Bryce Reeves. A Mass Meeting is sort of like a convention except the votes are counted as one-person, one-vote rather than weighted votes. You must be present to vote, no proxies, no early voting.

You have three great choices: Scott Mellott, Steve Thomas or Claude Dunn.

Including 5 minute each speeches and vote tabulation(s) it should take between 45 minutes and 2 hours total of your attendance. The winner of the election must receive 50% +1 votes to win.

You must be a Spotsylvania registered voter and be willing to sign a Republican loyalty statement to be eligible to vote. A $5 voluntary donation is requested to cover the costs of renting the school and so on.

See you there fellow Republicans!

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Spotsy Professor and Economic Development Authority Chairman Offer Plan to Lower Taxes in FY11 Budget

by D.J. McGuire and Steven Thomas

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SPOTSYLVANIA BUDGET SAVINGS


INTRODUCTION
Last month, Spotsylvania County Administrator Doug Barnes presented his recommendations for the Fiscal Year 2011 (FY11) budget to the Board of Supervisors. Mr. Barnes’ budget recommended a property tax rate of 86 cents per $100 valuation, which would be an increase of three cents over the equalization rate of 83 cents per $100. Earlier this month, the Board of Supervisor advertised a rate of 88 cents per $100, or five cents above equalization. However, one Supervisor who voted to advertise the higher rate – Emmitt Marshall of Berkeley District – expressed hope for a lower rate.

This report is meant to be a part of that effort. Amidst the many voices from county officials, politicians, and voters, this report shows the way for the Board of Supervisors to maintain vital services to the county as much as is humanly possible without imposing a tax increase in the property owners of the county.

The voices in favor of setting the tax at the equalized rate of 83 cents will be numerous, but possibly muffled. They will be the voices of homeowners already feeling the strain of plummeting home values not seen since the Great Recession. In this environment, many of them are wondering why they are being asked to give more and do with less by their local government in these trying times. Unfortunately, most of them will be constrained by obligations of work and family from making their voices heard.

The voices of some of these most vulnerable homeowners who will be hurt by the proposed tax hike will be among the most important in our community. They will be elderly on fixed incomes forced to decide between food and tax payments. They will be families pushed past the breaking point by the extra $50 a month paid to the county. The last property tax increase in 2008 drove many of them away; it should be no surprise that Spotsylvania proceeded to lead all of Virginia in the rate of foreclosures.

Furthermore, a tax increase will greatly damage the business community in the county. Unlike with residential property, commercial property values were almost perfectly stable on average. This means any rate higher than the current 62 cents – even the equalized rate – will be a large increase in cost for both commercial land owners and the businesses who rent from them. A rate of 86 or 88 cents will even more egregiously balance the budget on the backs of our business community.

The business community is one of the key factors to lead localities out of recession, yet businesses will be disproportionately hurt even by an equalized tax rate, let alone a net tax hike. Moreover, while commercial property values have remained steady during the downturn overall, the value of industrial land has actually increased. This means that the very businesses we depend on to keep our citizens employed – and out of foreclosure – will be suffer the most from a property tax hike. Many will move from Spotsylvania or close down, taking their jobs with them; many more simply won't come here in the first place. The recommendations we present in this report may cost the county government the equivalent of 51 jobs (7 of which are unfilled), but it may well save hundreds, if not thousands, of jobs in the private sector, along with many businesses generating activity – and local revenue. Otherwise, we risk being the only locality in the region to consider a tax hike during the Great Recession, with all the economic damage that comes with such a dubious honor.

We developed this report to prevent this damage. If the recommendations set forth in this report were fully implemented, it would actually lead to a rate below equalization. More likely, they provide the Supervisors with a number of choices from which they can build several budget alternatives at the equalized rate. This will require the Supervisors to make choices and set priorities for the county, but it will also make clear that the county’s elected officials do not intend to exacerbate the economic conditions by forcing homeowners to pay more, and businesses much more, in these trying times.

Sincerely,

D.J. McGuire
Republican Nominee for Lee Hill Supervisor – 2009

Steven Thomas
Spotsylvania Economic Development Authority Chairman and Member for Livingston District

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Governor McDonnell Announces 43,000 Potholes Repaired in First Two Weeks of Pothole Blitz

VDOT Continues Repairing Potholes Statewide!

RICHMOND – Governor Bob McDonnell today announced that Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews have patched, repaired or filled more than 43,000 potholes throughout the commonwealth since it kicked off the agency’s pothole blitz March 1. Governor McDonnell directed VDOT to launch its pothole blitz and focus efforts on patching the thousands of potholes resulting from this winter’s harsh weather. VDOT crews have worked day and night to address pavement hazards reported by VDOT crews, contractors, and citizens.

“We know that potholes create more than bumpy rides for motorists. They are roadway hazards. VDOT has made great strides in addressing this year’s bumper crop of potholes, but there is still work to be done,” said Governor McDonnell. “I would like to thank the citizens that have helped by reporting potholes on VDOT’s Web site and by calling in as they see potholes develop in their travels. With everyone’s help, we continue making great progress.”
Potholes are continuing to form with this month’s wet weather and varying temperatures. As citizens contact VDOT and report each new pothole, crews are dispatched to work through assigned corridors and repairs are prioritized based on severity and location.
VDOT has budgeted $45.8 million for asphalt and concrete patching for fiscal year 2010 (which runs from July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2010).
To report a pothole, citizens should visit www.VirginiaDOT.org or call VDOT’s Highway Helpline at 800-367-7623 (ROAD). TTY users, call 711.

VDOT repairs potholes on state-maintained roads only, which include interstate highways and most primary and secondary roads. Local governments are responsible for repairing potholes on city streets as well as on roadways in Henrico and Arlington counties. If citizens see a pothole on a city street or an Arlington or Henrico County road, they should contact their local public works agency.
Safe driving tips, pothole patching videos, and other useful information on potholes is also available on VDOT’s Web site at http://www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-potholes.asp.

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Monday, March 15, 2010

Over 50 Businesses and Agencies to Attend Congressman Rob Wittman's Job Fair Next Monday

What- you didn't get the mailer!? http://www.spotsygop.com/documents/WittmanJobs.pdf

Stafford, VA - On Monday, March 22, Congressman Rob Wittman will host a job fair at the University of Mary Washington's Stafford Campus. Companies and agencies attending have indicated that they have job openings for positions including marketing reps, mechanical, electrical, aerospace, chemical, computer engineers, accountants, administrators, secretarial, management, budget, sales, service, law enforcement, and more.
DATE: March 22, 2010    TIME: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
LOCATION: University of Mary Washington - Stafford Campus 125 University Boulevard, Fredericksburg, VA 22406 (Exit 133b toward Culpeper- Route 17N, west of I-95, 3 miles on left)

Companies and Organizations Attending (as of 3/15/10):
  • Chancellor University
  • 5 Linx
  • Bureau of Prisons
  • Clearpoint Financial Solutions
  • Creative memories
  • Defense Contract Audit Agency
  • HCA Healthcare
  • Family Preservation Services
  • Home Instead Senior Care
  • MTCSC
  • Northrop Grumman
  • Social Security Administration
  • U.S. Army
  • Veterans Administration Wounded Warrior Program
  • U.S. Secret Service
  • U.S. Department of State
  • IMTS
  • New York Life
  • Task Force Staffing
  • Conscious Security
  • Immersive Media Tactical Solutions
  • Spotsylvania Regional Medical Center
  • Arbonne International
  • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Visiting Angels
  • U.S. Marine Corps
  • FBI
  • LEENC Resume Review
  • Averett University
  • Office of Personnel Management
  • Comfort Keepers
  • GEICO
  • Dept of Labor
  • Transportation Security Administration
  • UVA School of Medicine
  • DeVry Universit
  • Stafford County Sheriff's Office
  • VA State Policy
  • Defense Logistics Agency
  • Department of Commerce
  • Dove Chocolate Discoveries
  • VA Employment Commission
  • Car Max 
  • NAVSEA - Dahlgren
  • Bureau of Economic Analysis - Department of Commerce
  • Bureau of Industry & Security - Department of Commerce
  • National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration - Department of Commerce
  • JOB.COM
  • Payne Trucking
Congressman Rob Wittman represents the First District of Virginia. He was elected to his first full term in November 2008 and serves on the Natural Resources Committee and the Armed Services Committee where he is the Ranking Member of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

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2010: A New Beginning of the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee! Part 1 of 2: A Few Reflections from the Vice-Chair

From the eyes of the 2008-2010 SCRC vice-chairman… that's me.

Over the past two years, the Spotsylvania County Republican Committee (SCRC) has been blessed to have a prosperous track record and a growing and great collection of volunteers. I hope this will not change and will continue its progress. (By the way, the pictures in this post are a hodgepodge of snapshots I've collected at various events to demonstrate the many things we do throughout the year on the committee. It's not all just election-day campaigning. It's SO much more! They're in no particular order...)

On April 1, 2010 we will vote for a new chairman and executive staff starting at 7pm at Riverbend High School. Three men are seeking the chairman's seat but the one who gets 50% +1 of the vote will assume the job the next day. He'll need a strong and dedicated vice-chairman to help him succeed. This blog entry is dedicated to that person and to those who he or she would come in contact with in the next two years.

This committee has grown from just a few dozen regular attending members in 2007 to nearly a hundred— with more new faces coming to each meeting in 2010 than ever before! Growth has come especially since the 2008 presidential defeat when I think it started to actually “sink in” that our country is indeed in trouble and the “someone” who should “do something” about it is staring at us right in the bathroom mirror.

These new faces didn't just happen to stumble across the committee though (well I hope not anyway.) For the most part, they were somehow touched in their lives by some program or outreach that we've done either in between election seasons or during them. Some were contacted by an active or passive member who participates in our committee at some level and invited, or they might have just simply "Googled" us. Either way... the groundwork was already laid by "someone else" to get them to the next committee meeting where they became enticed enough to come back again and join.

While serving as the SCRC vice-chairman, I’ve accepted a lot of grunt-work duties and tried to make lemonade from the lemons. In retrospect, it was all worth it, and I can hardly believe it’s already been 23 months since I was sworn in! I’ve been an integral part in fundraising, committee promotion, recruiting, marketing, blogging, campaigning, organizing volunteers, lobbying, organizing huge events, phone banking, sign building, t-shirt making, social networking, advising elected officials, liaison work within the business community, street activism both locally and nationally, making headlines … and making new friends too! And that’s just the tip of the iceberg… and I’m only the vice-chair!

Our chairman does MUCH more than this, but I’ll get to him in the next post. Stay tuned.

The SCRC is bountiful and blossoming in 2010 despite our community, state and national setbacks— most of which are financially related, but also spirit-related too. I’ve talked to literally hundreds of folks in the region about their fears and realities in life and what role that government leadership and politics plays in them. I believe most would agree, when an honest conversation can be had— free from party rhetoric, name-calling and mud-slinging— that the government presence in our daily lives has expanded from a potential presence to a seemingly permanent one.

No one I know on either side of the aisle feels that they are freer and have more opportunities than they did 10 or 20 years ago. Most feel like they are one step closer to being royal subjects than free to do as they wish in a free country. No this isn’t all Obama’s fault— this is a growing epidemic in all levels of government that started long before the "anointed one" took the helm. If there's anyone to blame, we have only ourselves for not becoming more involved in who's running our government, and our lives, at ALL levels... from the HOA to the school board, the board of supervisors, the state we live in and most certainly the federal levels of leadership.

As vice-chair, I get a lot of emails asking about what we do and what is expected of our members. I love getting them! I try to get others involved and activated any time I can. This is the only way to get true community involvement in OUR government right??

Across the board, as I typically get around to what amounts to a recruiting speech for one conservative cause or another, the endgame responses I get usually contain, “I don’t have the free time”, “I wouldn’t be good at that sort of thing”, “someone else will do it won’t they?” “I don’t follow that sort of stuff (politics)”, “that’s what I elect other people for so they can worry about these things” and so forth.

BUT once in a while, I am fortunate to find a diamond in the rough, often with groups of younger people who aren’t as committed to the chains of adult responsibility yet; and we seem to be able to move mountains together with only the slightest direction and leadership. These are the moments I live for. These are the moments that make volunteering for a Republican Committee worth while… when I realize I’m not alone and I don’t have to do all the heavy lifting myself. There's actually "someone else" to help me!

Thanks to the committees I’ve served on or the groups I've given a talk or speech with, I’ve made friends that I know I’ll be in touch with for many years to come. Not all of them staunch Republicans either! Surprisingly, I’ve learned that not every Republican is an angel, and not every Democrat is a demon as MSNBC and FOX would have us all believe. I actually met a staunch Democrat named Angel working for a conservative Republican's campaign though. My head is still spinning from that one but it did answer the question, "can't we all just get along?"

YES WE CAN! (...MOST LIKELY)

In good economic times, it’s very hard to convince people that they need to join up with a conservative political committee to “keep what we have” and fend off those who would take from us and redistribute our collective wealth to others who don’t want to work for it. After all, there’s no immediate threat to anyone and it sounds like “boogeyman” talk. Folks get complacent quickly it seems. I’m supposing it’s because they didn’t help out then, and things are good for them— so why change?

When tides turn and the county is scraping for cash to provide the same level of service at the same time our families are losing jobs, while interest rates go up and credit gets scarce; people tend to look out for themselves first and leave the politicing to “the other guys”! This too is a seemingly impossible time to ask a neighbor to invest their time and resources in something greater than self, when they are legitimately concerned that they can’t provide food for their families.

In the past two years we’ve shared in good times and bad. We’ve had both victories and defeats both locally and nationally as a political party. But you’re reading this blog now and hopefully have been for a few years now since we started it, so I’m going to assume you know this already.

CHANGE WE CAN ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN!

I say all this to be brutally honest to the next vice-chair… to do this job right, you have to DEDICATE yourself to it, or you’ll let a lot of people down. I’m a firm believer in term-limits from a citizen-run government, or quasi-government group. It’s time for that “someone else” to step up and take the job, and I’m hoping that YOU will consider doing so. Yes YOU!

Victory favors the bold, but elections are won by those WHO SHOW UP.

Will you be the next SCRC vice-chairman or will you trust that “someone else” will do it for you?

If you won't step up that far to actually do the job, I'm asking as a favor to that person who does... please volunteer your time to the committee and its related causes that you're called upon to help with. If you can't do that for some reason, please send a financial donation in your absence to lighten the load of those fantastic volunteers with whom I've come to admire and respect. They don't usually get a fancy title, but they ARE doing the heavy lifting for ALL OF US.

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