When Republican elected officials try to tell you they’re all about conservative fiscal governance, make sure you remind them of what happened in Richmond today.
Today the conference report was released on the amendments to the biennial budget, and lo and behold, the conference report between the Republican controlled Senate of Virginia and the Republican House of Delegates managed to increase state spending far more than either body had initially envisioned. The compromise additional spending of $750 million beyond last year’s budget and represents a $6.8 million increase over what the Senate proposed, and a $264 million increase over what the House of Delegates passed. Governor McAuliffe’s proposed budget amendments ‘only’ totaled $684 million, the “Republican” legislature increases this to $750 million and calls it a “cut.” Yet this is somehow this is “responsible.”
When Brian Schoeneman decided to carpet-bag up to Sully District in order to run for the Fairfax Board of Supervisors (a plan Democrats were apparently in the know about in August of 2014) it presented an interesting test: can a blogger credibly run for public office? Would the volume of public blog postings and comments prove themselves to be an insurmountable treasure-trove of negative opposition research that would preclude a candidacy?
At least in this case, saying it’s a “test” massively understates what has become a public “trial.” (more…)
As PWCS puts out their list of important programs that might face cuts in order to balance Dr. Walt’s ridiculously $17 million unbalanced budget, some folks out there probably aren’t going to overlook a few of the utterly ridiculous “strategic programs” that we’re in danger of having to cut. Like these two:
|40||Strategic Programs||Financial Services||Budget Award Application||Government Finance Officers Association award application||National recognition for excellence in the preparation and issuance of the School Board budget||-||$690|
|41||Strategic Programs||Financial Services||Budget Award Application||Association of School Business Officials award application||National recognition for excellence in the preparation and issuance of the School Board budget||-||$1,160|
For twenty-seven years we have been forking over taxpayer money in the county to buy fake awards from these criminal enterprises, and now these expenditures are “strategic programs” that we *gasp* might have to go without? Oh, the horror!
Why in the hell weren’t these cut from the proposed budget before PWCS invited us to bitterly subject them to unending ridicule for trying to tell us that buying fake awards from sham organizations was a “strategic program” that was essential to providing a “world class education?” If they’re hoping for us to take them seriously ever again, it’s not going to happen with stupid crap like this on lists of essential “strategic programs.”
Any why aren’t the millions of dollars we make in payments to Pearson Education, The International Baccalaureate Organization and other shady outfits not included on this list?
Here’s a more serious point of budget discussion: how much would we save if we fired each and every fool at the Taj Mahal (Kelley “Leadership” Building) and used the facility as classroom space instead of building Captain Nemo High School?
The General Assembly has a long history of funneling money to non-state entities in direct violation of Section Article IV Section 16 of the Virginia Constitution. For years members of the General Assembly brazenly proposed bills to unlawfully appropriate taxpayer money until an opinion of the Attorney General in 20111 pointed out this was legally indefensible. Of course, the allure of buying votes with taxpayer money is hard for those with potentially situational morals to withstand, so a different avenue for unlawful diversions of public money had to be used.
It’s called “the budget.”
The story of what happened at RPV that lead to their current financial situation and the firing of Executive Director Sean Kenney is a particularly difficult one. As I’ve dug into RPV’s financial disclosures and sought out narratives that might explain how events unfolded, I’ve been confronted with conflicting accounts and stories that don’t seem to entirely match up to the data that’s available. There are probably several mutually-exclusive versions of what happened, which isn’t really that surprising considering the personalities involved, but amidst that confusion a couple of consistent themes have developed, ones that we can learn a lot from going forward.
Seriously, this guy is running for office and posting this on facebook?
Heaven help us all.
Everyone residing the in the Coles District should read this post. Then they should get out their checkbook, an envelope and a stamp.
Funding for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has of late been turned into political chip in a high stakes poker game. And it’s all because the President has strained the bounds of his legal authority to protect from deportation millions of people unlawfully present in this country. These people, who otherwise would be sent back to their native land, are being rewarded with asylum and residency after breaking the rules to enter America. After many legal scholars questioned Obama’s use of executive power to defer deportations, a federal judge in Texas this week ruled against Obama’s executive action.
UPDATES: WashPo says RPV Executive Director Sean Kenney is out. RPV’s federal account has $252 cash on-hand and $217,499 in debts. In January, the gap widened by another $11,086, worsening the situation just as RPV sent out mailers for Bill Howell’s primary campaign. The state account shows $47,147 on-hand at year’s end, not enough to cover the shortfall. Heads are rolling.
If you ever wondered whether being RPV Chairman is an honor or a penance, on Monday you’re going to get another example of how it’s the latter. Although folks in the know are being awfully tight-lipped right now, on Monday an announcement is expected that will involve some sort of less-than-helpful behavior with significant financial impacts on RPV’s finances that may degrade at least in the short-term the ability of RPV to adequately fulfill it’s mission. Immediate staffing changes are expected as a result.
As tough as this is going to be for John Whitbeck to navigate a way forward from whatever this is, it’s fortunate that he’s at the helm. There aren’t many out there more capable than him.
Stay tuned for updates below the fold…
Someday we will live to regret Prince William County’s habit of memorializing currently active political personages with public monuments. Apparently that day has not yet come, as we now devote taxpayer dollars to name some public facility for school board member Betty Covington while we refuse to report on campaign finance disclosures how public dollars were used to support her re-election campaign in such a way.
Yesterday the Federation for American Immigration Reform released a report documenting that 34.7% of our school budget is devoted to educating “Limited English Proficiency” (LEP) students, of whom some portion are illegal aliens or the children of illegal aliens. The data in the report suggests this percentage is rapidly growing and should serve as a dire warning to anyone seeking to address educational costs and student capacity in the county. If we are to reduce class sizes, reduce school overcrowding and improve educational outcomes for all students in Prince William County, the growth of LEP students in the system utterly prevents such intentions. We simply cannot afford the costs of exploding LEP enrollments in our public schools.
So how many House Republicans in Virginia want to help leftist New York City Mayor Bill Deblasio collect punitive taxes on New Yorkers? As it turns out, there’s a lot.
We’re going to make it a felony offense for someone to purchase a legal product in Virginia with the intent of transporting it to somewhere else, where it is also legal. Because New York wants to charge fourteen times higher taxes on that product than we charge here in Virginia, it is now Virginia’s responsibility to make sure that nobody takes it from Virginia to another state by making it a felony offense to do so where police will use force to arrest you for a suspected violation, if they feel it necessary.
Sic Semper Tyrannis, indeed. We’re protecting the financial incentives of tyranny rather than opposing it, but at least Delegate Jackson Miller has the courage and intellectual honesty to at least try to stop it. Too bad there aren’t more like him in the House of Delegates.
I was so happy to see the permission form my elementary school student brought home the other day that announced that the School system is giving her an email account and a cloud storage account that I won’t be able to access or monitor. I even get a free copy of Microsoft i360 to install on the only Windows-based computer in my house that will dutifully try to take over my system and assimilate it into the Microsoft Office Borg Empire. All this free stuff is just amazing. Verily, my cup runneth over, does it not?
It actually doesn’t. I really feel like my schools are trying to screw us again.
Just imagine how different this country would be if elected officials had the courage to stand by their principles in the same way that Senator Dick Black does. I’ve seen a lot of quotes in the mainstream media, but never anything like this:
…Farris said he is so frustrated with Black’s opposition to the measure that he is considering a primary challenge this year.
“I can’t stand by and let my own senator defeat the one thing I think has any chance of stopping the abuse of power by the federal government,” Farris said.
Black, a former Marine combat pilot, said he is undaunted: “I laid out in the sun in Vietnam unconscious for loss of blood, and the idea that somehow I’m going to fear a primary? Give me a break.”
By the way, Mike Farris, you’re done. I could have highly appreciated a quality intellectual debate on this issue, but the personal attacks and name calling that this has devolved into has been utterly reprehensible. You’ve burned away such a mind-boggling degree of goodwill among would-be philosophical allies I doubt anyone you’d prop up for such a challenge would be anything but toxic.
If I hear one more story about your private investigators calling up the employers and clients of your opponents and urging them to stop doing business with them, I am going to have an expose on reprehensible campaign tactics that will blow your candidacy right out of the water. I am sick of this crap. If you want to gather opposition research, fine. I expect you to and you’re a dummy if you don’t.
But don’t you dare demonstrate to the rest of us what sort of monster you become once you have been entrusted by the public with any degree of political power.
I have a personal hobby of burying tyrants that engage in this kind of outrageous behavior, motivated in part because of how such tyrants have tried to ruin me this way. I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of this, and I know I don’t ever want anyone else subject to it. While I can’t stop this everywhere, I can sure as hell put a stop to it in my community and I don’t mind one bit making you the poster boy or girl on this crusade.
You’ve been warned. Clean up your act before I do.
Proposed legislation calling for a “Convention of the States” to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution has been the subject of a lot of discussion lately, and rightly so. Having never actually been convened before in the 226-year history of our Republic and with no legal mechanisms in place to govern what it would look like and how it would operate, there’s a lot of questions about the wisdom of doing this. What I haven’t heard adequately explained is why we would ever want to.
Susan Stimpson is complaining about RPV sending out mailers on behalf of House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell’s re-election campaign dressed up as a “survey”, and newly-minted chairman John Whitbeck has gone on the offensive to defend the institution he now leads against her complaints. That certainly creates an opportunity for bloggers of various ideological persuasions and personal affiliations to copy-and-paste the complaints of both sides and try to drive their enemies into the ground, but it doesn’t begin to address the issues this “surveygate” actually raises nor help Republicans develop a more effective Republican Party of Virginia.
I had hoped that Virginia blogs would do a better job thinking before reacting on this one, but they haven’t. That just leaves a lot of (perhaps intentionally) mislead and confused people out there who armed with the sword of incompetence are poised to hack away at the wrong targets and guarantee the underlying problems here remain unaddressed while we learn more perfectly how to hate one another.
Unless the Republican Party of Virginia swiftly amends Article 1, Section A(2) of their party plan the following incumbent officeholders will be disallowed from being Republican nominees in the 2015 and 2016 elections:
Congressman Robert Hurt, 5th District
Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, 10th District
Senator Tom Garrett, 22nd District
Delegate Greg Habeeb, 8th District
Delegate Danny Marshall, 14th District
Delegate Todd Gilbert, 15th District and House Deputy Majority Leader
Delegate Clifford Athey, 18th District
Delegate William Howell, 28th District and Speaker of the House
Delegate David Albo, 42nd District
Delegate Jackson Miller, 50th District and House Majority Whip
Delegate Richard Anderson, 51st District
Delegate Peter Farrell, 56th District
Delegate Rob Bell, 58th District
Delegate Lee Ware, 65th District
Delegate Kirk Cox, 66th District and House Majority Leader
Delegate Manoli Loupassi, 68th District
Delegate Jimmie Massie, 72nd District
Delegate John O’Bannon, 73rd District
Delegate Barry D Knight, 81st District
Delegate Christopher Stolle, 83rd District
Shocked? I’ll bet you are.
Now that Sen. Mark Obeinshain and Del. Steve Landes have introduced bills in the General Assembly establishing “voter registration by party,” the topic of how to “fix” primaries has once again become a topic of some discussion. There are folks out there extremely concerned about Democrats voting in Republican party primaries and possibly changing the outcome of these contests. There are even folks out there concerned that having government compile a list of people’s political convictions could potentially be dangerous. What I haven’t heard yet is anyone acknowledging that whatever we try to do to “fix” primaries isn’t going to “fix” primaries.
Primaries don’t need to be fixed, they need to be abolished. They themselves are the problem.
Sometimes when you go through campaign finance reports you can learn quite a bit about a candidate. Donors tend to have quite personal connections to the candidates they contribute to, and through those connections get to know the real-life personal convictions that drive these candidates in a way that voters don’t often get to see. If a candidate tells voters during their campaign they’re going to do one thing, but their donor base believes something radically different that’s quite a red flag.
In addition to Corey Stewart’s typically disturbing haul of campaign cash from the developer community, and a curious large contribution from someone with the same name as a brutal North Korean dictator, there’s a contribution reported from someone whose frequent political commentary should make Republicans absolutely cringe.