Recently in Campaign 2007 Category
I just returned home from the fabulous First Annual Ben Dover Beer Bash and I must say it was one of the best quasi-political/social events I have had the privilege of enjoying in many a fortnight.
Sincere thanks to Ben and the entire Too Conservative gang for putting it on. You all did a really good job with this, everything to follow notwithstanding.
That being said, I must emphasize how deeply we all appreciate the Virginia State Police being invited to play such an integral role in the event. I mean, when I am invited to a "beer bash," just knowing the state police have been tipped off and are stationed nearby makes the suds go down a little bit smoother. Thankfully, the vast majority of attendees did have 4-wheel drive and most of us took the "back way" out of the Old Dominion Brew Pub via the power line easements and as far as I know everyone managed to slip the gauntlet.
I know, everyone is wondering: DID WE FIND OUT? As in, did we find out who are the real people behind the notorious Too Conservative pseudonyms?
Well, the answer is, yes and no.
Yes in that we DID find out who every single one of them was. And no, in that I don't remember, dammit. It was a "beer bash" after all. Sorry about that. I suppose it will all come back to me in a dream someday. I vaguely recall shots of vodka and ancient Polish drinking songs, but that is all.
Linda B. and I had a very nice conversation with Lori Waters and her husband, and I must say I'm glad we will have Lori in office for another four years. I truly wish Phyllis Randall had run for another office.
MY major excitement of the night was my Quest for Stevens Miller, and boy was it more than I bargained for!
Y'see, I was told by several people that newly elected Loudoun Supervisor Stevens Miller was a "moderate Democrat" whom I should really talk to about the illegal hiring issue. I was intrigued because it seemed like "moderate Democrats" always turned out to be simply "Democrats" - but something about this fellow rang true. He turned in a very thoughtful candidate survey to Help Save Loudoun, and his public statements were not half bad - better than many Republicans, in fact. So I wanted to meet this fine gentleman.
Well, on account of either the spite toward me being on the losing side of some of these recent elections, or my opponents being cruel swine, some folks decided to have a little fun with old Joe and send me on a good old-fashioned snipe hunt for this Stevens Miller. Jonathan, the heartless bastard, was ringleader, and pointed me towards busboys, sous chefs and other patrons - "THAT'S Stevens Miller" - and after about five of these fruitless interviews I began to catch on to the fact that Jonathan did not have my best interests at heart.
I had a fascinating, 45-minute policy discussion with an exceedingly polite, well-groomed "Stevens Miller" who, when I began to pin down dates for specific Board appearances, revealed "Oh no, I am not a Supervisor, I am Glenn Maravetz!"
"Augghh!" I exclaimed. "MARAVETZ!! Most evil of my many evil nemeses!" This was like learning your long lost "uncle" was in fact the man who had killed your father.
I was about ready to give up when Jonathan informed me that "Stevens Miller" was in fact a soccer ball whom I have since named "Spalding" and who I have been conversing with here in the dining room. So that whole confusing incident worked out just fine in the end.
I did get to talk with a couple of the newly-elected supervisors, which was enlightening. I asked them if there would be any common ground between Help Save Loudoun - which had proposed an "Honest Business Initiative" - and their own commitment to reduce rampant development in the county. On the face of it, one might assume we DO have some common ground, because we are all skeptical about developers' profits and how they make them.
Unfortunately, the answer I received was that Help Save Loudoun PAC's endorsement of Eugene Delgaudio was a bit of a dealbreaker - even though we also endorsed Lori Waters, which presumably was not a dealbreaker. I tried to explain the pragmatic aspect of a single issue group that only looks at VOTES but I got the sense that, on this evening, that narrative was not going to resonate. Story of my life.
I think we have a new crop of supervisors who do not think illegal immigration is a problem they can solve - and possibly a problem that does not even really exist here at the local level. This is going to create a very interesting dynamic in the relationship between the supervisors and their constituents. Specifically, the residents of Sterling are going to find themselves disenfranchised if they don't get a few supervisors from other districts to join Eugene Delgaudio in championing their concerns.
After seeing the unabashed disdain for Eugene, I am quite intrigued about how the new Board will respond to the citizens of eastern Loudoun.
But at least the conversation has been started. I think the new Board members are approachable, and I think they have the citizens' best interests in mind. The ones I spoke with do not seem at all like elitists, and though I think their antagonism toward Eugene is misplaced, I think their animus is meant to benefit the legal residents. This is a very good sign.
BRAVO, LI - bravo.
This is an off-the-top-of-the-head report based on my observations of tonight's results, meaning, no links or final stats. Here's a very general Post report.
Here is the Post's running results page.
Our two Republican Loudoun supervisors who took the strongest positions on local immigration enforcement, who stuck their necks out the furthest and also took the most heat for it - Lori Waters and Eugene Delgaudio - won.
They are also the supervisors in whose districts Help Save Loudoun PAC had the heaviest coverage with the lit drop project. In Sterling and Ashburn, the citizens spoke.
The rest of the Republican board candidates, if the numbers hold, got their asses handed to them.
Not a great year to have an "R" next to your name.
I think the growth issue and general Republican fatigue were major obstacles for these candidates to overcome.
In the Sheriff's race, Steve Simpson won reelection, which shows the undeniable problem posed when the party departs from its candidates. Greg Ahlemann won the nomination in June, and a powerful segment of the party swiftly went to work for the losing candidate who ran as an independent. Three months after the Convention, the party did run a full page newspaper ad supporting Greg Ahlemann and Lori Waters - the candidates beset by newly "Independent" challengers. It might have been helpful if the party had acted sooner. A united Republican party could have produced a victorious Republican Sheriff.
Patricia Phillips lost the Senate race, apparently by about 5,000 votes - a significant margin. Patricia did not run on the immigration enforcement issue in the general election - the issue which won her the primary. I am going to suggest running to the middle on this issue was not a winning strategy.
I think these two races provided an opportunity for Northern Virginia residents to demonstrate their desire for more local immigration enforcement. There were a number of issues in play, however, with both of these contests. The Sheriff race, in particular, evolved into a rabbit's warren of side issues. Greg Ahlemann truly had a mountain to climb to win this election.
Delegate Bob Marshall and Senator-elect Jill Holtzman Vogel won their races, and these were two of the top immigration enforcement candidates for the next session in Richmond. These are two more huge victories.
I don't have results on any of the other Richmond contests.
It appears the GOP lost the Virginia Senate, which is not a great development. On the other hand, the GOP-controlled Virginia Senate in 2007 managed to kill almost every good immigration-enforcement focused bill that passed the House of Delegates last session. So, it's not entirely evident how the next Senate could necessarily be worse with the Dems controlling.
More to come.
So what's going to happen tomorrow?
WTOP reports that, based on absentee ballots, tomorrow's turnout is not going to set any records.
The crummy weather we are having will undoubtedly not help the situation, especially with just the third early-dark evening of the year and morning and evening temperatures that will approach freezing out here in the hinterlands of Loudoun. Election Day will also be "Welcome to Winter Day." It will be tempting to get home from work and stay home.
Based on the weather, and the fact that so many of the issues in the various races are ones which make most voters' eyes glaze over, I think there could be a really low turnout on Loudoun. On the face of it, I think this scenario benefits the Democrats because there will likely be an even mix of political activists from both sides voting, plus the obligatory sprinkling of actual citizens - and this year, I think the latter will break Dem.
LI has a nice prediction thread going, I recommend you check it out.
I don't have a feel for any of the other Supervisor races, but I think Eugene Delgaudio is going to win Sterling District in a landslide. After this is all over, I will share some scans of the direct mail pieces his campaign has sent out. Pretty effective stuff.
I think the Sheriff and 33rd District Senate races will be the most telling. The wild card is the illegal immigration issue, and whether it motivates a sufficient number of citizens - especially in the voter-rich Broad Run and Dulles districts.
If not for the latest iteration of the local GOP weenie wing, Greg Ahlemann would have clear sailing to election as our next Sheriff. Unfortunately, former Republican Steve Simpson decided to play spoiler and make that victory a wee bit harder to attain, and make a Democrat Sheriff that much more likelier.
My personal preference - no surprise - is that all voters pay close attention to the immigration enforcement issue, and vote up or down on that one alone. Lots of other questions can be discussed and hashed out after we've ascertained whether we will still have a country or not.
If the issue has been solidly framed in the sphere of public opinion, that certain candidates are for and others against local immigration enforcement measures, I think the HSL-PAC "ticket" will achieve 90% success and particularly Greg Ahlemann will be our next Sheriff. However, this is by no means assured, because the immigration enforcement message has primarily been expounded on the Web and in various blogs, which are to the votership as a whole as Joe's Home Brew is to Budweiser.
If the turnout is ridiculously low, all bets are off. The only non-aligned people who bother to vote may indeed be those who care about immigration enforcement. The HSL-PAC lit drop campaign, which reached 30,000+ households, might bring an extra 3,000 voters to the polls countywide. It could make the difference.
If you want to help end the illegal immigration crisis in this country, a place to start is with tomorrow's Virginia elections.
Help Save Loudoun PAC's "Immigration Enforcement Ticket" focuses on a number of northern Virginia races in which voters have a clear choice between candidates with very difference conceptions of local and state governments' role in immigration enforcement.
Those who are in favor of a strong local and state role will help put us on the road to fixing the problem. Those not in favor of such a role will help ensure the problem is never solved.
You can download a copy of the "Ticket" here - and please circulate it to everyone you know in Loudoun, Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William Counties who may have the opportunity to vote for one of these candidates.
To read the educational flyer from Help Save Loudoun PAC which has been hand-delivered to many thousands of households in Loudoun County over the past five days, click here.
I don't know whether a single lit drop to a portion of this county's residences can make a difference in such a geographically massive area, but rest assured more voters now understand how to solve this problem than did a week ago.
Please pass along the above links to every voter you know and encourage them to VOTE TOMORROW, NOV. 6.
I'm calling out all you whimps. Yes, I mean those gutless wonder commentors that allude to knowing all these juicy secrets about candidates but don't elaborate. Well it's time to grow a pair (yes, ladies, you too) and show us what you are made of. I feel that you owe it to our readers to devulge knowledge of candidates that may affect our voting. I surely don't want to cast the wrong vote for not knowing all the dirt. Is Delgaudio a Mafia Don? Is West a member of the KKK? How about York taking lunch in county offices with a dominatrix? Did Phillips use to work for the KGB? I want the dirt where someone has photocopied neighborhood kids on their shorts.
The rules are simple:
1. If it is public knowledge or already known-who cares.
2. It has to be why a candidate shouldn't hold office-not why a candidate should.
3. Local/state candidates only. We'll get to the nationals later on.
4. Has to be PROVABLE and easily ACCESSABLE. Confirmation is a MUST. Pictures, videos, audio at legitament locations golden! "an anonymous source says" or "it is rumored that" or "my aunt Jenny told me" are no good and not provable.
Time to show us what you REALLY know. Change my mind-I'm susceptible to change. After the election doesn't count. If the comment count remains zero I won't be suprised. As the saying goes, "wind blows free".
James Atticus Bowden is running for the Republican nomination for the First District U.S. Congressional seat made vacant by the untimely death of Jo Ann Davis. The nomination will be decided by a convention on November 10.
Jim Bowden is one of those individuals who conservatives WISH would represent them in the halls of government - as opposed to those we usually get who simply march under the ideological banner. This is a truly unique opportunity to get someone in office who really believes, and lives by, the tenets we see exemplified so rarely in public life.
I have corresponded with him a number of times via the blogs and had the honor of spending over an hour talking with him at the bloggers' conference this past summer.
I told Jim that I heartily endorsed his candidacy the second I heard about it.
The catch is, he needs delegates from the First District to show up on November 10 (he also needs money, but the delegates he cannot do without.)
If you know anyone who lives in the First District (extends from Newport News to Fredericksburg - use this link - fill out the form, and see if it says "Congress: Jo Ann Davis" near the bottom) have them e-mail their legal name, address, best telephone and email address to firstname.lastname@example.org.
[My opinion: Heh. To the extent anyone pays attention to this story, it is ultimately going to work to Greg Ahlemann's favor. Dismissing tickets is a widespread practice, and Mr. Ahlemann inadvertantly, by simply telling the truth, caused his opponents for the sheriff's seat to take untenable knee-jerk public positions which anyone familiar with the workings of law enforcement will immediately recognize as BS. Mr. Ahlemann apparently did a fine job making his case more clearly on all of the local television news outlets this afternoon. This is the type of story that is only effective if it does not have the opportunity to percolate in public consciousness. Once people begin to think about it, they realize the guy telling the truth is on the much more solid ground. The Post sprang it a week too early.]
[Mr. Ahlemann also stated today: "Any voters who don't want to hear their Sheriff telling the truth shouldn't vote for me."]
Yesterday's attempted October surprise on Loudoun County Sheriff Candidate Greg Ahlemann by reporter Bill Brubaker of the local "we try harder" publication has, unsurprisingly, turned into another signature boomerang piece by the Washington Post.
Discerning readers might have gathered from the original story that the contention of supposedly "experienced" Loudoun sheriff candidates Mike George and Steve Simpson that they never dropped tickets or asked for them to be dismissed does not quite ring true. As two officers interviewed in the story stated, it is a common practice. How could Mr. Simpson and Mr. George, with such long service records, have avoided the practice?
Former Loudoun County sheriff's deputy Dave Price (2001-2006) has an explanation: "Total hogwash."
"Dropping tickets" is, according to Mr. Price, "very commonplace."
Regarding the Washington Post reports of the statements by both candidates Mr. Simpson and Mr. George, Mr. Price said any law enforcement officers "read that, they know he's either straighter than any straight arrow they've ever known - or else he's lying."
Mr. Price said his father, a police officer for over three decades, confirmed he "did not know of any that haven't taken a call" to drop tickets.
Mr. Price recalled an incident in which he ticketed a teenage girl for speeding. Soon afterwards, a Fairfax County Police Department lieutenant asked Mr. Price to dismiss the ticket because the girl was on the local softball team. Mr. Price complied - which he said is the practice nearly all the time.
Another incident precipitated Mr. Price's resignation from the Sheriff's Office, about three weeks before he left.
On that day in 2006, Mr. Price was manning radar on River Creek Parkway in Landsdowne, where residents had been complaining of frequent speeders in the 35 mile an hour zone. He clocked a vehicle traveling at 55-60 miles per hour, and proceeded to pull it over. The driver became "belligerent with me, cursing me up and down," Mr. Price relates.
"He would not calm down. Finally his friend in the passenger seat told him to 'shut up, let's just go to court.'"
After writing the ticket, as he drove away, Mr. Price got a message from Sheriff Steve Simpson asking him to call Mr. Simpson's personal cell phone number. According to Mr. Price, Mr. Simpson asked him to drop the ticket, saying "The guy is some building contractor the county is trying to schmooze to get some building built. He said you were very professional with him. He has had lots of tickets and is worried that his insurance will go up. Would you mind getting rid of the ticket?"
Mr. Price agreed to drop the ticket and reports this is when he begain looking for another job.
The Post's Mr. Brubaker elected to just now release a story that would have been breaking news in January of this year.
At that time, former deputy and candidate for sheriff Greg Ahlemann issued a press release detailing an incident that took place in September, 2006, when Lt. Colonel Randy Badura pressured a deputy to agree to drop charges against Bruce Zurschmeide, who the deputy had charged with the triple misdemeanors of DUI, refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test and attempting to elude police. The deputy was asked to agree to the charges, which might have resulted in a sentence of year in prison, being dropped to a petty "drunk in public" which only carries a $50 fine.
Sheriff Simpson reportedly backed Mr. Badura in seeking the reduced charges.
Mr. Ahlemann took an interest in the incident as symptomatic of corruption which was hurting morale within the Sheriff's Office. He proceeded to investigate the details, some of which were divulged in the press release.
He was interviewed by Mr. Brubaker months before he won the nomination.
The Post reporter elected to sit on the story until this past Friday, October 26, when he called Mr. Ahlemann with some follow up questions.
Today, Mr. Ahlemann released to the media some background data which adds a layer of important information to the story. First is an audio recording of Mr. Ahlemann's interview with an internal affairs investigator.
The interview is worth listening to a couple times through, because it demonstrates the IA investigator is not investigating at all, but is in fact attempting to fix the story of what happened to match what would be in Mr. Badura's and Mr. Simpson's best interests. The investigator attempts to ascertain from Mr. Ahlemann that Mr. Ahlemann has not let out any information that would be damaging to the department.
Another interesting note is that the Zurschmeide family now appears to be actively promoting the false idea that the arrest of Bruce Zurschmeide was invalid (the IA interview above affirms the "arrests were good," putting the lie to the Zurschmeides' contention). A recent e-mail circulated from a member of the family argued:
Last Fall my brother was erroneously arrested on his own property by the current Sheriff's department for a DUI. After investigation, the Commonwealth Attorney reduced the charge to a misdemeanor.
In an effort to support his platform, Mr. Ahlemann claims and recently reported in the October 28th issue of the Washington Post that my brother received special treatment "by a high-ranking sheriff's official". The truth is that the arrest took place on private property and after an unsolicited investigation, the Commonwealth Attorney decided to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor. My brother does not have a relationship with any high-ranking official from the Sheriff’s office, nor has he ever met Sheriff Steve Simpson. At no time did Ahlemann bother to speak to the arresting officer or to my brother about the facts of the arrest. Instead he chooses to falsely cite this incident as a platform for change.
The data - in particular the IA interview - accompanying this post, clearly shows the Zurschmeide family should have let this story die.
Regular, non-connected residents of Loudoun County know that for similar behavior they would be behind bars.
So while the Post's front page story attempted to paint Mr. Ahlemann as engaging in unusual practices, the truth of the matter strongly appears to be that Mr. Ahlemann is the only one telling the truth. Mr. Simpson - by advocating for lessening charges that would have any normal citizen facing extended time in detention - has some explaining to do in the case of Mr. Zurschmeide.
As the former deputy Mr. Price noted about Mr. Ahlemann, this entire story should "put Greg up higher because he's actually being honest about it. What's the point of lying about it?"
Supporting the original press release from Mr. Ahlemann, below the fold are copies of the original complaints in the Zurschmeide case filed by the arresting officers.
This story from the FRONT PAGE of yesterday's Post - along with the Loudoun Times-Mirror, certainly among the area's foremost political advocacy organizations - deserves thoughtful comment which I unfortunately am not yet in a position to provide.
(Day jobs are a killer, and this is one of the periodic weeks when I can't break away to do a lot of "free" work such as this blog surely can be.)
But I will try and get to it late tonight.
Just on the facts contained in the article it should have raised eyebrows among careful readers about what exactly the reporter, Brubaker, or his editors were trying to accomplish. It should also raise SERIOUS questions about why anyone would trust either of the old guys running for this office. More later ....
In the meantime, below the fold is a response from the Greg Ahlemann camp.
What is not to like about this man?
Eugene Delgaudio, Sterling District Supervisor, has stood by the legal residents of Loudoun County and is one of our few advocates for immigration enforcement on the Board of Supervisors. He stood by the residents of Herndon during the 2005 imbroglio over the day labor center and ensuing, mildly resonant 2006 elections.
He is the hardest working supervisor in Loudoun County, overseeing the Sterling District from dawn till dusk till dawn. The many residents on his e-mail list get constant updates on everything from crimes, to emergency situations, to store openings, to volunteer opportunities.
He is, frankly, beloved by the Sterling residents. Countless residents have saved his letters of congratulations and thanks - for making the honor roll, or for displaying the American flag. They know that nobody else, not even as nice a lady as Jeanne West, would cheerfully put in the time and energy that Eugene Delgaudio contributes day after day, year in and year out, advocating for this district. He has a personal connection with so many members of the Sterling community and the residents of Loudoun County.
He personally championed the immigration enforcement resolution the Loudoun Supervisors eventually approved unanimously in July - at a time when the media were excoriating any politician who dared to breathe a word about local immigration enforcement.
Small wonder all of Eugene Delgaudio's public events draw huge audiences.
Some people disapprove of his irreverent style: Oh yes, he appears to enjoy his job too much - that I will grant. But in the effort to bring a common sense approach to local government it sometimes becomes necessary to laugh certain things off. Or rather, to laugh a LOT of things off - and this is a way he particularly connects with his constituents. We all know the way the government uses our tax dollars is often ridiculous. It is refreshing to have a Supervisor such as Eugene Delgaudio who is not afraid to say when that is the case.
As all of our regular visitors know, few institutions are more effective at ticking me off than the Republican Party. So now get this:
I just heard a report that, this week, Mark Albright - the Republican candidate for the Blue Ridge supervisor seat - was seen by the side of the road picking up Greg Ahlemann signs and throwing them into the back of his truck!
While I don't have hard evidence the actions took place, I do know that Albright held an event several weeks ago, and invited Steve Simpson and introduced him to the audience. No big deal - except he had not invited Greg Ahlemann (Ahlemann go wind of it and showed up).
So putting these reports together, I tend to give some credence to the report of Albright stealing the signs.
Which means apparently now we have another guy, in addition to those already outed, who signed a pledge to support the Republican ticket and instead is actively opposing the Republican nominee for Sheriff.
As discussed here previously, the local party has within it a questionable contingent which seems intent on driving a wedge between itself and some fairly conservative, politically active people, who have absolutely no personal loyalty to any of the prominent individuals within that faction. It will be interesting to see what sort of effect this behavior has on the party following the election.
Or before the election, for that matter.
Help Save Loudoun PAC candidate endorsements for the November 6, 2007 elections have been announced.
Loudoun County Sheriff: Greg Ahlemann
Senate, 37th District: Ken Cuccinelli
Senate, 33rd District: Patricia Phillips
Senate, 27th District: Jill Holtzman-Vogel
Delegate, 86th District: Tom Rust
Delegate, 13th District: Bob Marshall
Delegate, 50th District: Jackson Miller
Delegate, 52nd District: Jeff Frederick
Broad Run Supervisor: Lori Waters
Sterling Supervisor: Eugene Delgaudio
Sugarland Run Supervisor: Mick Staton
Leesburg Supervisor: Jim Clem
Catoctin Supervisor: Geary Higgins
We've addressed this matter innumerable times since March, but as the election approaches and the next General Assembly as well, it seems worthwhile to post some reminders.
Twelve House bills dealing with illegal immigration, most of which passed by overwhelming - if not veto-proof - majorities in the General Assembly, were killed in Senate committees this past session.
If you want to research bills yourself, you can of course go to the GA Web Site and type in the bill number or search by representative.
This is why a number of us were saying, after the session had ended, that this Senate needs to be burned down and replaced. It looks like we did not succeed in getting rid of Ken Stolle - but who knows, maybe he has seen the light. It certainly means we need to dump some career politician types and replace them with people committed to implementing immigration enforcement measures in our state.
More to come.
A little trip down memory lane, back to June 9, 2007:
Mr. Ahlemann got quite the ovation from the Loudoun County Republican Committee Convention, that is for sure.
If you want to hear his earlier speech at the Convention, which evoked an even more thunderous response because there were triple the number of people in the room (and left Steve Simpson visibly shaken), click here to hear it - scroll down to the Hipcast media player bar.
Strong words from Loudoun County Republican Committee chair Paul Protic:
These folks are the Republican nominees and endorsees; they've earned the right to carry the GOP banner either through a primary or convention victory, or endorsement and thus, they are not only entitled to, but expect the Republican Party's support. The two independents running were once members of the LCRC and made a pledge to support whoever won their race. At that convention, after losing their races for nominations for Sheriff and Broad Run Supervisor, respectively, Steve Simpson and Jack Ryan publicly conceded defeat offered motions by acclamation affirming their support for the Republican nominees and representing their public withdrawal from the race.
Moreover, both candidates, as required when filing to participate in the Convention race, had signed pledges to support the full slate of Republican candidates chosen by the voters at the convention. These pledges were, in effect, contracts with the Committee and the Convention delegates. Yet less than 24 hours after the convention, Simpson and Ryan broke their pledges and chose to run as Independents.
In this day and age of declining public trust in government, it is especially important that our elected representatives be true to their word. It is time for Mr. Simpson and Mr. Ryan to pull out of their races, renew their pledges to the Republican candidates, and restore their own personal integrity as well as respect the integrity of the party process.
Well said, Mr. Protic.
It took a ridiculously long time, but we have finally arrived:
In a brief interview, Valle said she left La Voz for personal reasons and to become more "politically active" in light of the county's tougher stance on illegal immigration.
"I'm going to keep tabs on Help Save Loudoun," she said, referring to a group that supports local governments enforcing immigration laws.
In response, Help Save Loudoun spokesman Joseph Budzinski said: "I salute Laura for everything she has done and I can't think of a better person to keep a close eye on Help Save Loudoun."
Notwithstanding the fact we all could have avoided so very much unpleasantness if Ms. Valle had simply made this decision a couple weeks earlier, I am pleased to welcome her to the realm of free and open debate.
All snarkiness aside, I think we got off on the wrong foot with Laura because she took a cursory overview of the playing field and decided Help Save Loudoun was her enemy - without spending one single second finding out what Help Save Loudoun actually was. As happens so often in cultural disputes, the La Voz folks imputed their worst fears onto their presumed opponents, and before you knew it we were all blood-enemies without having learned a thing about those on the other side.
Laura seems particularly mixed up about the relationship between Help Save Loudoun and tbe initiatives that have moved through the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors' proceedings since July. There is an evident lack of historical knowledge.
It might surprise her to learn the only formal proposals that Help Save Loudoun has brought to the Board have been 1) support for county government participation in the ICE 287(g) training program and 2) a crackdown on illegal hiring.
Does Laura actually have a problem with either of these proposals? If so, I'd love to hear the rationale.
As hinted at here last month, there appears to have been a bit of back room treachery going on among a clique of local Republicans for the purpose of getting Steve Simpson re-elected as sheriff, after Mr. Simpson got clobbered at the Republican Convention in June and took about four hours to break his pledge to support the party nominee.
The chicanery seems to have included a really pitiable whispering campaign which a semi-prominent local Republican even attempted to disseminate here but which has gone absolutely nowhere - especially now that the superior candidate, Greg Ahlemann, has decided to confront all the allegations directly (more here).
Tough luck for the weasels: Greg Ahlemann is no shrinking violet.
Now comes the revelation via a leaked e-mail exchange - just posted by Loudoun Insider - that some prominent GOPers may have basically leaned on the Ahlemann campaign to shut up about the activities of Simpson supporters within the party. So rather then being thrown out on their arses, the turncoats were permitted to stay, and - if the e-mails are genuine - they counterattacked.
No one I've spoken with has confirmed the e-mail messages are for real, although the lack of response suggests to me they are. Read them for yourself and you'll see they have the semblance of authenticity.
What this means is some people supposedly in the party are really not going to make it easy for the party nominee, Greg Ahlemann, to win this election. What this says about the party is, in my opinion, not much, but then, I have a REALLY cynical view of human nature. There is no reason to think the natural snakiness inhabiting the human race as a whole would not also inhabit the Loudoun County Republican Committee in precisely the same proportions.
More significant is what this episode portends for the public perception of Steve Simpson.
My take on Mr. Simpson from the beginning, since I began following the illegal immigration issue last year and the campaign at the beginning of this year, is he is a decent guy, a little on the feckless side, who happens to have so interest whatsoever in doing anything proactive about discouraging illegal aliens from coming to this area. In Mr. Simpson's words, it's a federal issue, end of story. Until Greg Ahlemann stepped onto the scene in February, Mr. Simpson's entire stated philosophy on the issue was a litany of excuses for why his department will NEVER do anything more than it was currently doing. (You can read the Sheriff's take on the issue, and some of the flack he took from locals, during the February townhall meeting here and here; a little more citizen flack here.)
Mr. Simpson's response to citizens' complaints has been, in essence, you really have nothing to complain about because things are getting better, and in any case there is nothing I can do about it.
Naturally, this approach has not endeared the sitting sheriff to many local residents, and the current controversy will sully his reputation even further while providing quite a bit of motivation to those who want him out of office. QUITE a bit of motivation, I would guess.
I can imagine that local activists who might be getting a bit weary of the campaign season, which has been going on for nearly a year, might get a fresh blast of energy if messages begin circulating to the effect "Hey look at this outrage! Are we going to let them get away with this? Do you need any MORE reasons to work to get Greg Ahlemann elected?" Getting Steve Simpson out of there, while also knocking his supporters down a few pegs, could provide the inspiration to take a few more hours off of work, get up a little earlier on a Saturday, knock on a few more doors.
In a low-turnout election, a few more motivated people three weeks out could make a difference, if such messages were to circulate. Hypothetically.
Our buddies at Equality Loudoun just conducted a fascinating, in-depth interview with Loudoun County Sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann, no holds barred and no punches pulled. As I've said before, Mr. Ahlemann is at his best in one on one personal interaction. His forthrightness is what won him an improbable landslide victory at the June Republican Convention, and the same quality shines here. Thanks to the EV guys for the detailed and undoubtedly laborious transcription.
Go read it now! If you are not very familiar with Mr. Ahlemann, this discussion will definitely help fill in some of the gaps.
And so all I’m talking about doing is a program that the federal government has already said, hey, local jurisdictions, you can use this in your own community to help deal with, you know, the criminal aspect of it. They don’t give us the authority to go in businesses and check IDs and deport people, because they’re not going to take those people. That’s not our job, and that takes away from what we as law enforcement officers need to be doing, which is dealing with crime and the criminal element. Probably the biggest thing that a group like La Voz could get out, and different community groups, is to get this information out, that having the ICE program here is not going to target people who are here illegally who have not committed crimes. We will not have the authority to deport you, to separate you from your family - obviously there will be a deterrent value, there will be a lot of people who will say, Loudoun is hard on it, so maybe I’m not going to go there to drink, maybe if I live in Centreville I’m not going to come down to Pepe’s and drink, and if I get caught drinking and driving I might be deported, so you can’t put a price tag on that.
For Immediate Release October 10, 2007
Contact: Ahlemann For Sheriff Campaign Office
571.223.7661 (telephone)Greg Ahlemann on Illegal Immigration, Religion and His Tattoo
Leesburg, VA - Republican Nominee for Loudoun County Sheriff, Greg Ahlemann, is planning to discuss his stance on illegal immigration, the role of religion in his life as well as his much talked about tattoo in a press conference with the media.
The press conference will be held on Monday, October 15, 2007 at 10:00 AM at the Loudoun County Government Center Courtyard located at 1 Harrison Street SE, Leesburg, Virginia.# # # #
For more information, contact the Ahlemann For Sheriff campaign office at 571.223.7661 or via email at email@example.com or visit the web site at www.AhlemannForSheriff.com.
Besides being the only candidate in the Loudoun County race for sheriff to have the slightest appreciation for the importance of local immigration enforcement measures, Greg Ahlemann has the added advantage of being disarmingly personable and straightforward - so much so that he can unflinchingly state his views and beliefs in front of any type of audience and the audience invariably ends up liking him.
He has been the target of a whispering campaign, and this press conference is the perfect avenue to address it.
My recommendation: Be there Monday morning at 10:00 am.
A PAC has been formed to help end illegal hiring and illegal migration into the communities of Northern Virginia. Visit the Help Save Loudoun PAC Web Site for more information on how to assist in this effort:
Help Save Loudoun PAC was formed on behalf of the legal residents of Virginia, with the goal of ending illegal hiring here and illegal migration into our area. We want to elect public officials who will work to address these problems by implementing local and state immigration law enforcement measures and increase restrictions on hiring unauthorized workers.
Over the past seven years, because of corrupt business practices and neglect by our public officials, eastern Loudoun and western Fairfax counties became a landing zone for illegal aliens seeking work. This resulted in a "win-win-lose" situation, in that the employers benefited from cheap labor, the unauthorized workers found work, and American blue-collar workers and subcontractors saw their wages drop and opportunities disappear.
Yes, the federal government is to blame for failing to secure our borders and enforce existing laws against illegal hiring. At Help Save Loudoun PAC, however, we believe the solution to the problem must begin at the local and state levels. When local communities act, those at higher levels of government will eventually follow.
We have seen examples already where just the threat of increased enforcement has resulted in a reversal of illegal migration. Within the past year, several states and local communities - including Herndon, Virginia - have passed measures aimed at discouraging illegal hiring, with the result that illegal aliens have begun to depart.
Some of our public officials and candidates for office seem to grasp this principle but many do not.
Polls indicate that over 80% of legal residents of the United States support an "enforcement-first" approach to immigration reform. Help Save Loudoun PAC provides an avenue for promoting people to public office who are dedicated to implementing enforcement at the ground level rather than waiting for the feds to act.
Your contribution to Help Save Loudoun PAC will help in this effort.
We've got more maintenance going on right now which may cause some hiccups throughout the weekend. Please rest assured that all changes are being conducted with YOUR best interests in mind.
I need to request my fellow bloggers to STOP BLOGGING NOW, open up Notepad to finish that ponderous thought, go mow the lawn, then head out to the country somewhere where you can breath the fresh air and blast away with your shotgun. Sitting in front of a keyboard all day is not healthy.
I hope to have all the behind the scenes work done by tomorrow. In the meantime, I leave you with an image I know all of our readers will savor as you return here over and over this weekend to see if we are back up and running yet.
It was enjoyable, I must say, to spend a few hours on a recent weekend with supporters of Eugene Delgaudio and Greg Ahlemann walking the neighborhoods of Sterling. Really a nice way to spend a morning.
Oh, also, in order to facilitate the upgrade I have had to turn off comments so none will be lost in the transition (I do treasure each of them so) and consequently I will not be able to hear any of your opinions on this excellent photograph of Eugene Delgaudio out talking to the folks, doing what he does best.
UPDATE: Obviously, this blog is not bearing the maintenance experience with perfect aplomb. It has turned out to be, in fact, a cluster you-know-what. I cannot promise any imminent improvement.
The only question is: Which direction is the Loudoun Times-Mirror rotting from, bottom up or top down?
When I got slimed recently by the area's widest-circulation local newspaper, I took it in stride because in my view "integrity" and "journalism" go together about like "prudent judgement" and "puppy." Editor Paul Smith saw fit to print in prominent position a letter with the headline "Shame On Mr. Budzinski," in which the "shame" derived from a deliberate misreading of a disingenuous quote by a reporter who put the word "political" in my mouth - in a front page story in the Loudoun Times-Mirror. Although he posted my rebuttal on the paper's Web site, Mr. Smith did not publish my 300-word response in the print edition which reaches a much larger audience.
The latest offense by the LTM is an order of magnitude more serious: In a story about this week's Sheriff candidates' debate, the LTM printed a slander transcending bias or ethical lapse and treading awfully close to criminal.
On page A5 in Wednesday's print edition, reporter Jana Renn writes:
While Ahlemann tended to criticize the Latino and Hispanic population of eastern Loudoun, George contended that crime exists in every race and culture.
The sentence was since removed from the online version of the story, but the damage has most certainly been done as the paper gets into the hands of tens of thousand of readers this week.
Why do I characterize this as an offense? Primarily because, of all the candidates, Greg Ahlemann is the only one who said nothing about any culture or ethnic group.
You can listen to the entire debate here, but I have transcribed the relevant portions below.
Here is what Mr. Ahlemann said:
Question 3: During the recent debate on illegal immigration in Loudoun, some elected officials and residents have portrayed parts of eastern Loudoun, especially Sterling Park, as being run down and unsafe. Oftentimes these issues have been attributed to illegal immigrants. Do you think this is a fair portrayal of Sterling Park and, if so, what can the Sheriff's department do to improve the quality of life in this community?
Ahlemann: It's a good question and it is the issue in this race. And I don't know that we can quantify and really put a number on the amount of problems that are caused by illegal immigrants. Clearly, as the federal government themselves has stated, I think 12 million illegal immigrants, some people say 20 million. That's quite a large gap, so I don't expect Loudoun County Sheriff's Office or anybody in Loudoun County to have the intelligence to tell us how many are here. Clearly, we've seen a move and change - I've seen it firsthand from working on the streets of Sterling Park since 1997 in how the demographics have changed. I know that many of the people who I arrested initially who had no identification, couldn't speak any English, I'm just gonna guess that they might have been here illegally because at the time we chose not to participate in ICE. Those people lived in Herndon at the time. Now many of those same people live in Sterling. So I think there is a correlation between the two. Trying to say that crime statistics have gone down, you know, seeing that written on a piece of paper doesn't really make the single mother feel much safer as she goes out to buy groceries late at night and there's a lot of people hanging out at different bars or at Pepe's, where we have continuous problems. A place like that clearly needs attention from the Sheriff's Office and probably needs to be shut down.
Pepe's is an establishment notorious in Sterling for the amount of violence and police activity it manages to host - and the police activity is a fraction of what most residents THINK it should hosting. It is six doors down from the local Safeway. Everyone in Sterling who is not a gang member thinks Pepe's needs to be shut down and the fact it has not been is an anomaly much like the Enron scandal was an anomaly. There are many Latino businesses in the shopping complex: Singling out Pepe's demonstrates not a speck of ethnocentrism and any reporter who thinks it does should be working a different beat.
Here are Steve Simpson's and Mike George's answers to the same question:
Simpson: I do think it's wrong to assume, like some people do, that everyone who's in Sterling that's Hispanic is first of all illegal and second of all a gang member, because that's just not true. From our gang unit, the people we deal with, only one in about 20 people we deal with that are in gangs are illegal. So we have to be very careful when we start pointing fingers and saying, making those comments that some people are very quick to make in a campaign. I think there are some issues with Sterling Park. I've been with the Sheriff's Office for 20 years. I think a lot of the issues we see as some of these communities deteriorate are things I've brought to the Board's attention and they're already aware of, and we've talked about this and had a dialogue about housing issues, occupancy issues, zoning issues, those kinds of things. When you have 15 or 20 people living in a house, eight or ten cars parked all over the yard, that's not a law enforcement issue, that's not a Sheriff's Office issue. I can't knock on the door and ask for identification to see who's living there and are they here legally or not. That's not something I can do legally. But zoning officials, housing officials, ordinances that deal with those kinds of things, those are the kinds of things that play out in communities. And with our community policing office we deal with quality of life issues in community policing. That's a program I started when I first took office 12 years ago and we have it throughout the county. Those are the kind of things, working with the county resources, working with the Sheriff's Office in community policing to try to address some of these quality of life issues, that's how you solve those kinds of problems. You don't lock everybody up and everybody doesn't need to go to jail. That's not what it's all about. It's looking at it from a multi-pronged approach with all of us working together to deal with that issue.
George: I agree with Sheriff Simpson when he says we can't look at a certain culture and say they're gang members. I've worked Asian crimes, I've worked Nigerian crimes, I've worked Russian mafia crimes. There's crime in every culture and every race, and we need to be specific about what we're looking at. The crime, if it goes up, is one thing. We need to target crime, we don't need to target a culture.
Setting up a straw man and knocking it down is a classic feature of dishonest argument. It is a technique widely employed in the illegal immigration debate. Greg Ahlemann never mentions any ethnic group, but his opponents do so and go on to accuse him in not-so-veiled manner of "targeting" a culture.
The story by Ms. Renn also said about Mr. Ahlemann:
He said that 4,000 students in Sterling schools do not speak English in their homes, and that while he can't say all 4,000 of them are illegal, 100 of them may be...He later tried to clarify that he was using the numbers as examples and they may not be totally accurate.
Here is what was actually said when Purcellville Gazette publisher Ben Weber had this exchange with Mr. Ahlemann:
Question 4: In light of the recent opening of the new jail facility here in Loudoun County, how do you propose working with the Board of Supervisors and with the areas outside the area, such as Frederick County, in dealing with the overcrowding and housing that we most likely will have in light of the increased gang activity that will likely be taking place?
Ahlemann: ...Speaking with Warren Guerin just a couple weeks ago, of the School Board in Sterling, he said at some schools in Sterling, 64% English is not the language spoken in the home. Four thousand students are in English as a Second Language as part of their curriculum. Four thousand: almost 10% of our students. Am I going to sit up here and say that all those people are illegal immigrants? Certainly not. But could 100 of them be illegal immigrants that shouldn't be in this county? One hundred of them would be $1.4 million taxpayers' savings. There's what we spend to house the inmates. There's no vision, either at the Board of Supervisors level or the Sheriff's level, to resolve these kinds of problems. And that's what I bring, is a new perspective on dealing with things like this. You cut out the criminal element, you deter some of these illegal immigrants from coming here, guess what: You don't have to provide school for them and you save $1.4 million just with 100.
Follow up by questioner Ben Weber: You talked about 4,000 students, you talked to Warren Guerin, you made the assumption, it seemed to me, and please correct me if I'm wrong, that perhaps this large percentage of people that speak a different language - that's part of the reason why we're having this criminal element. I think that's somewhat of a stretch, and please correct me if I'm wrong.
Ahlemann: I'm sorry you perceived that, but I think the point is there's 4,000 - almost 10% of our students - that speak a language that is not English as the first language, that we're educating. And Warren Guerin basically stated at that meeting I was at ...
Weber interrupts: What did that have to do with the jail issue?
Ahlemann: I think it has a lot to do with it ...
Weber interrupts: If I speak Farsi, from Iran, then I'm a potential problem?
Ahlemann: I'm not saying that. There is a correlation between the two. If you're going to look at solving the problems as isolated, and not connecting some of these things together, then we're doing law enforcement the same way we did 30 years ago and we need to look at things in a new light and a new way of dealing with things.
Mr. Ahlemann makes the logical case that increased ICE participation could result in the departure of illegal aliens from this area, and if they were students, or parents of students, in our public schools the county would save $14,000 a year for every one that left and there would be less people in the jail. This is a simple, obvious point that most citizens of Loudoun would immediately comprehend but is, nevertheless, opaque to Ben Weber. And again, Mr. Weber, not Mr. Ahlemann, is the one who brings up a specific culture.
But as to the "4,000": It might have been a little helpful if the reporter had taken into consideration the fact that Mr. Ahlemann was referring to an event covered and quoted - in the Loudoun Times-Mirror:
"In the school system, we do not verify immigration status," Geurin said. His comments elicited a round of applause from the several hundred people in attendance.
He also urged the parents of the school system's immigrant students to take English as a Second Language, or ESL, classes. Of immigrant students, he said about 4,000 in Loudoun took these classes last school year.
That Mr. Ahlemann "later tried to clarify" the numbers is barely true, in the sense he stated clearly in a later exchange that he pulled the "100" figure out of the air to make a point about the potential cost savings. But the printed article leads one to believe he "tried to clarify" about the 4,000 students, when that figure came from a public official on the school board and was quoted in the same newspaper.
The bottom line is the Loudoun Times-Mirror grossly distorted the facts to paint Mr. Ahlemann as a fool and a bigot, when in fact he was completely forthright about the numbers he was quoting and he was the only candidate not to discuss any ethnic group. Why not call out Steve Simpson for the "everyone who's in Sterling that's Hispanic" quote? Who ever said that, besides Steve Simpson?
If the Loudoun Times-Mirror was worth the plastic baggie it's delivered in, THAT'S the statement the reporter would have called into question.
[The complete audio recording of Tuesday night's debate between Loudoun County Sheriff candidates is below the fold. This should put an end to discussion of who did or did not say what.]
While there were a number of interesting statements throughout the evening, more than anything the debate clearly illustrated substantial differences between the candidates. Loudoun County voters really have a stark choice in November.
Only Greg Ahlemann conveyed a clear message about why voters should choose him, and not solely based on the illegal immigration issue. Save for the question of whether we should have a county-wide police department, Steve Simpson and Mike George said virtually nothing to distinguish themselves one from the other, and their only coherent criticism of Mr. Ahlemann was his "lack of experience." It comes across clearly in the debate that "experience" may be very overrated - we already knew this about Steve Simpson and we've now learned it with reference to Mike George.
Most stunning was Democrat Mike George's statement of support for day labor centers for illegal workers and criticism of the town of Herndon's decision to shut down its day labor center two weeks ago. This betrays an astounding naivete regarding the illegal alien issue and should effectively eliminate him from consideration by Sterling voters.
The town of Herndon saw an increase in the number of illegal aliens after the day labor center was announced - and why not: it signals a "welcome" to illegal workers. Of course, people who have absolutely no familiarity with the situation on the ground could be excused for assuming the day labor center merely moved a problem from one unruly place to a more manageable place. It's fine that some people still do not understand what is happening here, but we surely do not need one of them as our Sheriff. Or, I should say, another one.
Mike George's partly nonsensical response also should put to bed once and for all the notion that "education" has any relevance in the choice between these three candidates. Mr. George famously came out in favor of ICE 287(g) training for Sheriff's Office personnel earlier this year after Greg Ahlemann had spent several months talking about it - and then two weeks later Mr George amended his support, saying having more than one deputy trained would be "overkill." Presumably, back when Mr. George was last involved in actual law enforcment they had officers who could work 24/7/365. These days, that does not pass muster.
Here, his understanding of the Herndon center seems to vacillate from what it really was to something it definitely was not. Mr. George states "was there illegals there? I don't know" which should give most local residents pause. Like anyone who has read a local newspaper in the past two years, or happens to live within a mile of the facility, or has a smidgen of understanding of the local illegal immigration issue. (For the record, government studies estimated that at least 85% of the workers being served by the center were illegal aliens - a figure arrived at by extrapolating from a Fairfax County study that found over 80% of the county's foreign born residents were here illegally).
He then goes on to suggest part of the beauty of a workers' center is "you do ID them." Well, actually, Mr. George, you do not. Otherwise, there would never have been a controversy over the Herndon center and it never would have been shut down. (Come to think of it, it never would have been started up).
We'll let Mr. George speak for himself:
George: I actually think it was a mistake to close the day labor site in Herndon. It was a place where everybody came to work. Now was there illegals there? I don't know. Did they check? I know they didn't check. But it gave a central location where people could find work and the only thing they were guilty of was wanting to work. What you have now is people coming out and going to various locations and hanging out, and you're going to have to do enforcement. Enforcement is an option that you have to take sometimes. So what you're looking at is do you have people hanging out at 7-11s looking for work, or do you put them in one central location where people go, where you can monitor. You can actually ID them, and that is something that I'd recommend. These people do come up and you do ID them. You want to know who everybody is, so that makes it an easier way to do it. The best part of that work center was, I worked in Fairfax when they were hanging out at the 7-11 .... try to go in and get a soda when they were hanging out there. So I think it was a benefit.
My first reaction to hearing this was: If Mike George is this clueless on the topic of the day labor center controversy - certainly one of the key issues in eastern Loudoun county in the past year - how long would it take him to get up to speed on what is really happening here as Sheriff?
If he is not aware that even the hint of increased enforcement at the local level has already caused illegal aliens to leave from towns like Hazleton, PA, and the states of Georgia, Arizona and Oklahoma, can we count on him to help move the ball forward on reversing the influx of illegal aliens into Loudoun?
He gives the impression of a genial outsider for whom this is not an issue he needs to play a role in addressing. Let me emphasize Mike George does not seem like a bad guy at all. He seems competent and sincere, but not the person we need in the role of Sheriff.
There is more to report from the debate, forthcoming.
Question 1: What is your opinion on forming a county-side police force?
Question 2: Looking to the future, what needs to be done in the Sheriff's department as the county continues to grow?
Question 3: During the recent debate on illegal immigration in Loudoun, some elected officials and residents have portrayed parts of eastern Loudoun, especially Sterling Park, as being run down and unsafe. Oftentimes these issues have been attributed to illegal immigrants. Do you think this is a fair portrayal of Sterling Park and, if so, what can the Sheriff's department do to improve the quality of life in this community?
Question 4: In light of the recent opening of the new jail facility here in Loudoun County, how do you propose working with the Board of Supervisors and with the areas outside the area, such as Frederick County, in dealing with the overcrowding and housing that we most likely will have in light of the increased gang activity that will likely be taking place?
Question 5: Every year in negotiations with the Board of Supervisors it seems you don't get the deputies you're after. What can you do differently to make sure you get the deputies? And do we have enough deputies to man the county?
Question 6: If elected Sheriff would you make any wholesale changes in the Sheriff's Office in terms of staff?
Question 7: Regarding the recent closing of the Herndon day labor site, which shared a border with Loudoun County ... we are starting to notice at various locations here in Loudoun the formation of impromptu day labor sites. What is your position on that and if the Board of Supervisors chose to set up a type of day labor site, how would you enforce that and how would you work with the Board of Supervisors in relation to the ICE programs?
Question 8: There's been a lot of talk this campaign season, about this race in particular, with respect to everyone's feelings on religion. Can you describe to me how you separate your personal faith from your job, if these two issues ever cross paths, as Sheriff?
Question 9: In the federal government illegal immigration enforcement program called 287(g), ICE officials generally only deport illegal immigrants detained by local jurisdictions who are convicted of felonies. As Sheriff, so you think 287(g) should also include deportation of those convicted of DUIs and other misdemeanors?
It appears that the Democratic Party of Virginia has shown its true colors and contempt for the 2nd Amendment. I wonder what Mark Warner would say?
The proof? Below is an exerpt from a recent update by the Virginia's Citizens' Defense League via email:
******************************************************* 6.Democratic Party of Virginia pays for gun bashing attack ad ***************************************************************
Member [name redacted] of Centreville sent this item.
I was particularly intrigued by the blurb on the Democratic Party's
platform position stating support for the right to keep and bear
arms. [VA-Alert 17 September 2007, "2A makes appearance on VA
Democratic Party platform"]
I live in Sen Cuccinelli's district [Virginia Senate 37 ~ west
Fairfax County] and recently received a campaign flyer from the
Democratic Party of Virginia with a list of Ken's "kookiest ideas."
One of those items was "Cuccinelli supports allowing guns in public
places like airports, college campuses, day care centers and
libraries." The flyer states it was "Paid for by the Democratic
Party of Virginia. Authorized by Oleszek for State Senate." As I'm
sure you know, Janet Oleszek is Sen. Cuccinelli's Democratic opponent.
Interesting that an organization that claims to support the right to
keep and bear arms would use an opponent's support for the right to
keep and bear arms as the lead item in an attack ad.
I thought you'd be interested in knowing that, at least in this case,
the Democratic Party's actions are in direct opposition to the
position stated in their party platform.
UPDATE: Apparently, the gun-grabber and "The Man" had a debate. I'll let you guess who won.
I had a great interview with Loudoun Force. Clearly, this issue stirs emotions on both sides. Loudoun Force and I have different beliefs on how to deal with the illegal immigration problem, as I probably disagree with them on social issues as well. From a former deputy's perspective who worked 5 years in Sterling Park, the community has gotten significantly worse. My former co-workers and members of the gang unit who have seen it change would agree.
Statistics can be manipulated to show about whatever you want. For example, people might look at the # of traffic tickets given out last year compared to five years ago and say "statistics show there are more violations now". When in fact, we have more traffic deputies writing tickets now than we did five years ago. The focus on the traffic division is to write 100 tickets a month now (per motorcycle officer). In fact, in fiscal year 2006, I wrote @ 1,200 tickets, probably the most in the entire department, but my evaluation from my supervisor said I needed to "write more tickets". Huh? So use these statistics with a grain of salt. The statistics written on a piece of paper don't help the citizens feel safer.
If Mr. Simpson believed that crime and these issues were getting better as his statistics show why did he reverse his stance on the ICE issue after 2 and 1/2 years of saying we don't need it? I have stated my intentions with the ICE program. There are those like National Council of La Raza, La Voz and others who disagree with it. I don't expect their vote, but I will gladly speak with them. This is why we have elections. I am giving the citizens a choice, a new direction, in dealing with this.
On a separate note, I was wondering if Jonathan was going to correct or update the factual information about me on his website? Google my name. As far as I know unless Jonathan or the poster is anti-semitic they could put at least an update to that post. I believe Loudoun Force could verify that if needed also.
I say this because I have seen past statements from David and/or Jonathan criticizing candidates for not "updating information they know is false". I just wondered if that works both ways?
Again, if people disagree with me on my patriotism or religious views and choose not to vote for me because of them, that is your choice. Unlike many politicians (which I have seen enough of already from both sides of the aisle), I embrace who am I am and what I believe. I respect that quality in others, even when I disagree with them.
Truly a stand up guy - just what we need in a Sheriff, in my opinion.
GENERAL ASSEMBLY RACES LOOM LARGE
Lieutenant Governor Bolling working to retain GOP majorities in 2007
September 19, 2007
This fall, all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly will stand for re-election. At stake is the Republican Partyâ€™s majority status in the State Senate and the House of Delegates. These elections are very important to the future of Virginia.
Currently, Republicans hold a 23-17 advantage in the State Senate and a 57-40 advantage in the House of Delegates, with three Independents. However, Virginia Democrats are emboldened by their victory in the 2006 U.S. Senate campaign, and they are convinced that this is the year they can retake control of the General Assembly. We cannot allow that to happen.
(As always, there is an open invitation to the other candidates for sheriff to submit their own posts, and I will also put them on the front page and edit only for punctuation, about which I am frighteningly zealous.)
Thanks!!! to Ron Maxwell, Redskins hero Dexter Manley, who hung out and signed autographs, and a multitude of local luminaries who showed up.
I counted over 120 attendees throughout the evening. Not bad for a Tuesday night when "Back To School" night appearances provided substantial competition for candidates.
Attendees included Treasurer Roger Zurn, Commissioner of Revenue Bob Wertz, Commonwealth's Attorney Jim Plowman, Senate candidate Patricia Phillips, LCRC Chairman Paul Protic, and former Delegate Dick Black.
I was particularly gratified to finally meet my countryman Jeff Wolinski, and perpetual gadfly, the bulletproof one, Dean Settle. We did not have much time together, but I can tell the three of us could be trouble.
Ron Maxwell's speech traversed the illegal alien issue from A to Z, from the symptoms to the cause. He illuminated the problems citizens have experienced and the corporate interests that foster the influx.
Greg Ahlemann is the sheriff candidate who proposed FULL participation in the ICE 287(g) program, as well as putting a full court press on the Board of Supervisors to implement strict enforcement on zoning and businesses. Sheriff Simpson followed by parroting Ahlemann's proposals with a "me too" response, but Ahlemann set the agenda.
At the local level, everything depends on the WILL of our local officials to enforce the law, because there are innumerable escape clauses for those who do not wish to do so. As an example, Loudoun County receives $59.00 per night in compensation for federal prisoners held in our jail. Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, receives $109.00 per night. As the Mecklenburg County PR person told us, the only reason for the better payoff is they demanded it.
What else are the citizens of Loudoun County not getting, because our elected officials do not have the will to ask for anything better?
Most importantly, electing Greg Ahlemann will put the guy in office who truly believes in immigration law enforcement. Both current Sheriff Steve Simpson and Democratic candidate Mike George are exemplars of the non-enforcement approach. We can all see where that has gotten us.
Following are portions of Ron Maxwell's speech. If you want to understand what is happening with the illegal immigration problem in America today, I strongly recommend you read all of Mr. Maxwell's remarks.
UPDATE: My bad: Board of Supervisors candidate Geary Higgins was in attendance for most of the evening. (In fact he was the ONLY supervisor candidate in attendance. Too bad for the rest of them, they really missed something). I spoke to him and shook his hand so I really should have included him on the luminaries list above. Hey, the first draft of history often includes major omissions ...
There will be a FANTASTIC event on the evening of Tuesday, September 11, 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm, at Bunker Sports Cafe at 510 East Market Street in Leesburg.
Director Ron Maxwell, of "Gettysburg" and "Gods and Generals" fame, will be the special guest speaker at a fundraiser for Sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann. Also present will be Washington Redskins legend Dexter Manley!
Mr. Maxwell is one of the most cogent and compelling historical writers in America. His films are masterpieces, classics in the depiction of American history.
This is a rare opportunity to meet an inspirational artist/intellectual while at the same time supporting a Sheriff candidate who will be one of the key pieces in the effort to take back our nation one community at a time.
Be sure and be there! This will be a memorable evening. I have heard Mr. Maxwell speak before and I can assure you it will be well worth your time.
Getting Dexter Manley's autograph is just icing on the cake.
Following are some excellent columns by Mr. Maxwell which you should read to get a sense of what is in store on Tuesday night.
Spread the word!
[Pardon me if this is old news to some of you, but it's new to me and falls in the "What fresh hell is this?" category so I am going to write about it.]
My introduction to local politics of any type occurred in early 2006, soon after we moved here, when I joined the Loudoun County Republican Committee. A central topic of my first two meetings was a bunch of people trying to gain membership in the LCRC, some of whom were considered personae non grata by some members of the committee because these applicants had worked for or supported an Independent or Democratic candidate running against a Republican candidate in local elections years before.
Having been informed that to work against the party's candidates is a major no-no, and enjoying retribution and lifelong grudges as much as the next guy, I cheerfully voted with the majority to keep these scofflaws out of the LCRC.
Fast forward to June 9 of this year: Greg Ahlemann defeated Steve Simpson for the Republican nomination for Sheriff. Obliterated, actually, because Ahlemann defeated the incumbent Simpson by more than a 2-1 margin at the Loudoun County Republican Convention. Ahlemann was the victor fair and square and undisputed nominee of the party.
All participants in the Convention had been required to sign a "pledge" to support the Republican candidates in the November election. This, I can tell you, was a bit of a pain because in signing up delegates for the Convention many of us encountered citizens who had serious moral qualms about whether they could honestly support all local Republicans on the ballot in November. It was rumored there might be an additional pledge required - and perhaps videotaped - as delegates showed up to register at the Convention. This did not occur but the general sense we first-timers had was: We were on our honor to support the winners from the Convention.
After the votes were tallied, the losers were given the opportunity to make a motion to nominate by acclamation their respective victorious opponents, and Sheriff Simpson came to the podium to call for the nomination of Greg Ahlemann.
Then, in less time than it takes to read The Art of War, Simpson reversed himself, broke the pledge, and announced he was going to run for Sheriff as an Independent. This is pretty serious business because Simpson had appropriated some of Ahlemann's key campaign positions related to illegal immigration, and splitting the Republican vote created a very real possibility of handing the election to the Democratic challenger.
Soon after this, it came to light that a prominent member of the LCRC, Dale Polen Myers, assisted Simpson in gathering signatures for his application to the state election board to be placed on the November ballot.
At one of the next LCRC meetings - which I missed because of the press of Help Save Loudoun business - a petition was apparently circulated to have Ms. Polen Myers removed from the committee. This seems, to me, a perfectly logical step, and it seems strange that a petition would even be required. But as the Connection newspaper reports, the petition failed. (Link found at Too Conservative).
1) A bunch of people come to mind who really ought to consider re-applying for admission to the LCRC, now that the standards have been relaxed.
2) I REALLY wish the true meaning of "pledge" had been explained earlier in the year, because it would have made the delegate sign-up process so much easier. ("Oh, you needn't worry about that, Mrs. Smith. Allow me to cross out the word 'pledge' and write 'joke' in its place.")
3) I have to try not to miss any more meetings, because I would have loved to hear the rationales for not bouncing Ms. Polen Myers out.
As most everyone who reads this blog knows, I am a big Greg Ahlemann supporter, because he is light years ahead of the other two candidates for Sheriff on addressing the illegal alien problem in Loudoun County. He understands the problem, he has a broad plan for fixing the problem which includes telling the Board of Supervisors what they need to do to fix it (which will get massive citizen support), and he is truly a stand-up guy who has been running with a consistent message since the campaign began. Greg Ahlemann is someone the citizens of Loudoun will be able to trust.
Since he is not only a great person and great candidate but also the Republican nominee, I would expect the party leadership to get behind him.
Now comes apparent evidence that, in addition to Ms. Polen Myers, a few other key Loudoun Republicans may be opposing Mr. Ahlemann. I'm not going to name any names just now, but there is an important event Tuesday night - a fundraiser for Greg Ahlemann featuring film director Ron Maxwell - which provides a singular opportunity for the LCRC leadership to show up en masse to support Ahlemann's candidacy.
Those who, in a moment of weakness, might have toyed with the idea of following Ms. Polen Myers, have a great opportunity for redemption, to rethink their positions and make a public showing of support for Greg Ahlemann. Show up Tuesday night, guys, and give us some photo ops and statements of support for the Republican nominee for Sheriff.
And, uh, after our sitting Sheriff and a major Republican power broker abandoned theirs, please try to convince us the pledge is not a total joke.
H/T: Cuccinelli Compass below the fold.
The signs have begun appearing on the VDOT right-of-ways. Me, personaly, believe it nothing more than an eyesore. If you think that I don't understand your name by the first sign and you must remind me every five feet for a quarter mile, I am assuming that you believe me to be a moron and you don't need my vote if that is the case.
A sign like "Kerry/Edwards-For A Stranger America" has great truth but doesn't really tell you much. Find a sign, write down the name, and when you get back to your computer find out what he/she is all about. The sign won't tell you that. Also, if the sign shows up in SPANISH, time to nix that candidate. If you can't understand English, you can't vote. This sign would be considered pandering.
Be careful with your contributions. When a candidate uses his funds to obliterate the countryside with signage, that is ill spent. The bigger the sign, the bigger the eyesore. If older people need something that big to read then they are probably already reading Braille. Remember, the one with the most signs, LOSES!
I find that VDOT has found a way to tax every utility I get to keep the right-of-ways clean and maintained. Yet there are always signs left over from winners and losers for months to come. Put the signs in your yard. Keep the right-of-ways clean. And do your research BEFORE you vote for a sign!
David E. Poisson was one of 20 out of 100 delegates in the VA house to vote against the Virginia Marriage Amendment that eventually became law and was put to a referendum vote in the past election. This means even most Democrats in the Virginia house voted in the defense of traditional marriage. Poisson is a minority in his own party. The summary of the bill is as follows:
Constitutional amendment (voter referendum); marriage. Provides for a referendum at the November 2006 election on approval of a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage. The proposed amendment provides that "only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions." The proposed amendment also prohibits the Commonwealth and its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage." Further, the proposed amendment prohibits the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions from creating or recognizing "another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage."
The amendment language was nearly identical to a law which passed the VA house and senate previously. However as a law this language (as a bill) was vulnerable to attack from a single activist judge.
It's a shame, because Craig Hudgins is one of a very short list of public figures who I think could have proved truly inspirational at a time when so few of our elected officials inspire anything at all. He is a Marine vet, jet pilot, extremely intelligent, honest, and articulate guy, and a person with vision about what needs to change in American politics ... a message that would have resonated.
Ken Stolle is perhaps the one public official most responsible for the abysmal state of immigration enforcement legislation in the Commonwealth of Virginia. And he is a "Republican!" Three cheers for the brand!
Hudgins apparently had money promised that never arrived, and with the summer over he decided the hour was getting late. People can say there are dollars coming, but if you can't print flyers or bumper stickers by Labor Day the situation starts to look bleak. I think it could have worked because Virginians really do want to take back their state ... but the GOP establishment reportedly frowned on the concept. Three cheers for the brand!
No big surprise there but, befitting the spirit of the occasion, I skipped the Loudoun County Republican Committee meeting tonight. And what I missed was guest speaker, Attorney General Bob McDonnell! A big supporter of Ken Stolle! Hey, three cheers for the brand!
Hudgins could have put up a good fight, in my view, just on the basis of citizen outrage over the blatant move toward usurpation evident in the pro-illegal advocacy effort by some American elected officials, with Stolle at the top of that list.
Below is the official Hudgins press release:
It appears one of those individuals you would not want at the top of your party, is now going to be right there at the top of our party.
This, of course, fits a pattern within the GOP.
Reminder: It is telephone book season throughout Northern Virginia - they showed up in recent weeks and they are littering our curbs and office building foyers. I have at least 70 pounds of phone books in my office doorway, for instance.
If you are still getting solicitations with postage-paid reply cards or envelopes from the national Republican Party, the Republican Party of Virginia, the Republican Senatorial Committee, the George W. Bush Cheerleader Society, or whatever, you have a perfect avenue for protest: Send 'em a phone book or three, COD. They will need them.
Support individual candidates, while defunding the party.
The party needs a slap in the face.
UPDATE: Good guy Shaun Kenney, who bears the heavy burden of a paycheck with the word "Republican" on it, seeks to clarify that the Republican Party of Virginia should not be lumped in with the others I mentioned and therefore does not deserve any C.O.D. telephone books as the others most certainly do:
In defense of little ol' RPV, it is a grassroots organization -- meaning that it doesn't take policy positions unless explicitly authorized to do so by the State Central Committee, nor does it automatically endorse incumbents as the RNC does.
In short, RPV operates as the collected voice of the grassroots in Virginia. Please don't send phonebooks.
I'll buy that .... for now.
An acquaintance spent some time visiting with the Loudoun County Zoning Department yesterday and learned the following:
During inspections of overcrowded housing complaints, if the inhabitants profess to having no identification, and claim to be either A) "extended family" or B) in a Bible study, the Zoning Department inspectors automatically give everyone a pass and cease the investigation. Case closed.
There's some food for thought there, especially regarding how the excuses are being coordinated. These certainly seem to be very common stories, both from anecdotal and press reports. Might there be agencies or NGO's facilitating illegal behavior?
The neighboring town of Herndon, population 24,000, has three times as many inspectors as Loudoun County, population 200,000. In the past, I have stated this is a problem and Loudoun needs to have many more inspectors.
In light of the current revelation, I wonder if Loudoun's Zoning Department might actually deserve to be cut back further. Who needs 'em?
In a related story, someone I know just filed a report to the Sheriff's Office on a house nearby for residents who were switching license plates among cars. A deputy came to the reporting citizen's house during daylight hours and knocked on the door to "discuss" the supposedly anonymous complaint. The citizen said they definitely did not want to publicly discuss the complaint.
The deputy then walked across the street to the allegedly offending residence. The complainant watched through the window as the deputy knocked on the offender's door, and when it was answered the deputy pointed back at the complainant's house.
More on the Sheriff's Office here. It seems like everyone on Sterling Park has stories like these.
Hey, ever wonder why Sterling residents are so reticent about filing zoning or other complaints?
Between Zoning and the Sheriff's Office, the Loudoun County government has done a remarkable job elevating official indifference to an art form - a drive around Sterling Park illustrates this fact quite impressively.
In my view, these and other instances demonstrate why we need a change in mindset among the Loudoun County Supervisors - with Eugene Delgaudio and Mick Staton as good indicators of how the entire Board should be focused - and a change in leadership in the Sheriff's Office, with Greg Ahlemann as the man for the suit.
No time for the usually trenchant level of analytical reporting tonight, because I am a busy, busy man. Tonight all you get are some pictures.
First, from the historic events in neighboring Herndon, Virginia earlier this week:
Citizens gather prior to Tuesday's Herndon Town Council hearings on the future of the Herndon day labor site. The Council voted to require the next operator of the site to verify that all who use it for ad hoc employment are legally permitted to work in the U.S.
Aubrey Stokes of Help Save Herndon speaks with a Fox News reporter.
Senate candidate Patricia Phillips with members of Help Save Loudoun and Help Save Herndon.
Washington Examiner reporter interviews local citizens.
Next, at an event held tonight by La Voz of Loudoun, designed to distinguish facts from fiction in the immigration debate.
There was a GREAT question asked which I do not have time to transcribe right now, but which essentially linked NOVA TownHall, Help Save Loudoun, candidates Greg Ahlemann and Patricial Phillips, and even Tom Tancredo, for goodness sakes, into a nefarious web of conspiracy. It was absolutely friggin' inspiring. Just magnificent. All I need now is to get my picture posted at the Southern Poverty Law Center and I can die content.
(By the way, if you care about immigration enforcement, please go right now to the Web sites of all three of those candidates and give them some money. Right Now!! No dawdling!)
Finally, also at the La Voz event, the man Loudoun Insider has deemed worthy of a man-crush, Potomac Supervisor candidate Ken Mikeman (left) with our good buddy Jonathan of Equality Loudoun. Mikeman is pretty nice looking, I must say, but I have spoken with the man and Zoolander he ain't.
Today's Post has a feature story on the situation in Sterling that is pretty good ... for the Post. Which is a significant qualification.
But in truth Sandhya, the reporter, is one of the better ones on the issue of the illegal alien problem and if the media as a whole covered the issue in as balanced a manner as she does Americans would have a much better understanding of what is really happening.
In the story, a few residents were interviewed along with some activists from the pro-illegal side. I recommend everyone read it because it gives a partial picture of the local situation.
The article reflects a bit of naivete, repeating zoning department reports that overcrowding inspections often "found Bible study groups." Conversations with locals familiar with zoning violation reporting could have revealed how extraordinarily common such Bible study sessions are claimed to be taking place in houses full of migrant workers. The conversations would have been punctuated with guffaws.
Also, the identification of one gentleman as "a remodeling contractor" would have been slightly more accurate if he were labeled a "former remodeling contractor who was driven out of the business some years ago by corrupt competitors using illegal workers." I happen to know he next tried to build a livelihood as a landscaping contractor - with a similar final result.
But the point that jumped out at me was the sheriff's office report that "only one in 20 gang members in the county is in the country illegally, and most are U.S. citizens." The sheriff himself made this point at a Help Save Loudoun meeting earlier this year, contradicting a report at another meeting in which deputies in the Loudoun Gang Intelligence Unit told our audience that the gang population is largely composed of illegals, and the growth in gang activity parallels the influx of illegal aliens into the area.
The story also repeats Sheriff Steve Simpson's statement from a debate a few months ago in which he told a questioner asking what he would say to Sterling Park residents who felt their neighborhood was becoming less safe, that "the crime rate is going down." In several public events where Sterling residents asked what he intended to do about the increasing problems in the community, I heard the sheriff tell constituents, we are doing everything we can. In effect, he has promised that things are only going to get worse, despite the fact that citizens had laid out a number of initiatives he could pursue to make Loudoun County less hospitable to criminal aliens - and no one had ruled out demanding the Board of Supervisors allocate more funds to do so.
This is known as the "tin ear" approach to dealing with one's consituents, and explains in large part why the sheriff was demolished by his Republican convention opponent, Greg Ahlemann, in a major upset, by a margin of over 2-1.
Well, I have just received a copy of an open letter to Sheriff Simpson, in reaction to the Post article, sent by one of his Sterling constituents to the Board of Supervisors. The letter helps fill in some of the holes in the article:
Dear Sheriff Simpson,
I can't tell you how relieved I am to read in today's Washington Post front page article about Sterling that "only one in 20 gang members in the county is in the country illegally, and most are U.S. citizens."
So the next time my neighbors are assaulted while strolling on the sidewalk, shot at through the walls of their home while they sleep, dodging bullets in the parking lot of the Sterling Safeway, or reporting another theft from their garages, I'll remind them that statistically, their safety is being threatened by fellow citizens, not illegal aliens.
I'll comfort them by quoting your assurances that increasing crime in Sterling is merely "a widespread perception" unsupported by data, and that we're probably overreacting to "a few high-profile shootings and gang-related incidents."
Maybe that information might have stopped my neighbor from moving out of Sterling this summer if he knew that the gang members who bullied his daughter at the middle school last spring are here legally. Now that the Post has widely publicized this important distinction, maybe my neighbors can put their unsold houses back on the market and try for an expensive second time to sell and move away.
I, for one, will feel a deeper sense of pride when I spend yet another Saturday morning picking up hundreds of empty and shattered beer bottles from the corners of my neighborhood streets, knowing that most of this litter was probably created by good old U.S. citizens.
Thanks for your clearly heartfelt concern for the citizens of eastern Loudoun.
As a side note, we don't tend to see much of Sheriff Simpson, at public events, here in Sterling. My guess is this end of the county has been written off in his campaign strategy, such as it is.
The Washington Post is reporting that Loudoun County Supervisors Steve Snow (R-Dulles) and Scott York (I- At Large) have said that if the neighboring town of Herndon finds a new operator for its controversial day labor center who will ensure that all those served are legal workers, Loudoun County may set up its own day labor center.
This is going to cause a firestorm of a controversy in Loudoun County, but it is important to point out the issue is not clear-cut.
It is widely acknowledged that Herndon's day labor center, operated by an entity called "Project Hope and Harmony" - which is really just a committee of the local non-profit Reston Interfaith - serves primarily illegal aliens. It came into existence largely because for several years a 7-11 store at the intersection of Alabama Avenue and Elden Street had served as an informal, ad hoc hiring site which was very disruptive to the surrounding community.
The Herndon day labor center was opened in December, 2005, by the town government, against the wishes of the majority of the town's citizens.
Several months later, the citizens voted the mayor and most of the town council members out of office, with great fanfare.
After several months in office, the new town council passed an "anti-solicitation" ordinance to restrict freelance hiring on the town's streets. When the ordinance was challenged, a judge ruled the ordinance was lawful - as long as the town had an alternative for those who wished to seek employment and employees.
Ironically, the day labor center became the legal prerequisite for the anti-solicitation law.
Herndon is now seeking bids from organizations to run the day labor center when Project Hope and Harmony's contract (actually a "special exception") runs out in September. It is generally assumed the town would like to find an operator for the center who will take one additional, important step: check the legal status of all prospective workers - something Project Hope and Harmony will not do.
If such an operator is found, one might logically conclude that many of the illegal aliens currently served by the Herndon day labor center will go to the adjoining Loudoun County community of Sterling to seek work.
Within 50 yards of the Herndon day labor center is another 7-11 on Sterling Road (Rt. 606) which is already the site of some hiring solicitation activity. It appears that Loudoun Supervisors Snow and York are considering the necessity of passing an anti-solicitation law similar to Herndon's, on the assumption the illegal hiring will simply move across the street and into other areas of Loudoun County if the Herndon center becomes inhospitable to illegals.
In order for such an ordinance to pass judicial muster in Loudoun County, the supervisors apparently wish to duplicate Herndon's model of having an established day labor center which can serve as the designated, legally approved location for ad hoc hiring.
It seems inconceivable that Supervisors York and Snow would have any intention of establishing a workers' center which did not ensure all those served were legally allowed to work in the U.S. Loudoun's supervisors have, after all, been in close contact with the Herndon government to discuss the issue.
Setting up a day labor center for illegal aliens in Loudoun County would not only be a massive affront to the citizens of Sterling, it would be political suicide for any Loudoun County official who signed on to such a plan.
Assuming the Loudoun supervisors are not complete fools, but instead merely wish to replicate the end result Herndon is seeking - a day labor center that only serves legal workers - it seems appropriate that Loudoun County should pay close attention to the current RFP process in Herndon to find a new operator for the Herndon day labor center.
Longtime local resident Butch Baughan is forming a non-profit organization and is one of the applicants to run the Herndon day labor center, under the concept of a vocational education and job-pairing service for all citizens of the area. Butch can speak very eloquently about the need for job training and mentoring for disadvantaged citizens, having spent much of his career as a high school vocational teacher.
Perhaps the new operator of the Herndon workers' center could be considered to run a Loudoun County center as well?
The Republican members of the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors took a stand we should all be grateful for when they sponsored the strong immigration enforcement resolution on July 17.
Thanks to Mick Staton, Eugene Delgaudio, Bruce Tulloch, Steve Snow, Jim Clem and Lori Waters for sponsoring the resolution.
The resolution ended up passing 9-0, with the Board's Democrat and two Independents joining the Republican majority.
This action followed the Loudoun County Republican Convention - well over a thousand people - unanimously passing its Resolution In Support Of Legal Immigration on June 9. That resolution has not gotten nearly the publicity it deserves, because with it the largest political convention ever held in Loudoun County delivered an extremely strong statement for immigration enforcement at all levels of government.
In Loudoun County, at least, the GOP is standing up for the citizens.
Now, as the Virginia political season ramps up, those battling for the seats up for election in November are speaking out further on this issue. Here are some statements delivered this week by our pro-enforcement candidates for office:
1) "As supervisor ... I would take action against employers who knowingly hire illegal immigrants," and "partner with Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that our Sheriff's Office is authorized to enforce federal immigration laws ... shut down document mills that illegally produce phony identification, and enforce zoning ordinances to prevent the overcrowding of homes."
2) "The main 'service' an illegal immigrant comes to Loudoun for is a job ... I oppose illegal immigration and want to see effective measures to fight it. That's why I want to see an end to the employment of illegal aliens in Loudoun."
3) "The most important power localities may possess is the ability to penalize employers who knowingly employ undocumented workers. The local response to the problem might just lie in penalizing the Americans who are breaking the law."
4) "Put simply, illegal is illegal. Our first priority must be to deport any illegal immigrant who commits a crime and shut down the document mills ... We must crack down on businesses that lure illegal immigrants to our community ... People come here because there is work and money to be found. This situation is not fair to honest businesses that hire legal employees and must compete with unscrupulous businesses, which hire illegal immigrants for low wages."
(See if you can guess which local conservative made each statement - answers are below the fold)
Another day, another rant. I'm getting frustrated with the concept that "we are trying to define ourselves". I can understand that whole-heartedly! We are a nation that pledges allegiance to a flag that law says can be desecrated as is our first amendment right. I see. If the flag means nothing to some of our citizens then an oath to it and the republic for which it stands also falls by the wayside. The logic follows that an oath of office holds no consequence as upholding the Constitution of the United States is just that....an oath that is hollow. So where do we focus on acceptability and accountability? Let's look.
Craig Hudgins, Independent candidate for Virginia Senate (challenging incumbent Ken Stolle), will be the guest on Bearing Drift's podcast tonight at 7:00 pm. Clicking on the graphic at that link should allow you to listen.
To call in with questions: (718) 664-9599
You could also probably leave questions in the comments section to that post.
Ken Stolle helped kill quite a few immigration-enforcement bills which passed the House of Delegates with veto-proof majorities in the recent session.
For this reason alone, it is worth your time to hear what Craig Hudgins has to say.
While Eileen at VB Dems has discovered some supposed nefariousness with our Attorney General's immigration enforcement initiatives (and rediscovered her special love for Ken Stolle in the process), today's RTD contains this reassuring column from Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling:
While Congress fails to act, states are forced to do what we can to address the issue on the state level. While the primary responsibility for immigration rests with the federal government, there are things we can do in Virginia to help address this problem.
We can require the governor to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to allow state and local law-enforcement agencies to enforce civil immigration laws. This would enable our state and local police to arrest and detain illegals when they encounter them, rather than releasing them.
We can make sure that illegals in Virginia are not receiving the benefits of citizenship. While we have already acted to take most of these benefits away, we still allow the children of illegal immigrants living in Virginia to pay in-state tuition at our colleges and universities. That should be stopped.
And finally, we can pass our own laws holding Virginia employers accountable for knowingly hiring illegal workers or knowingly failing to confirm their immigration status prior to hiring them.
Read all of that. Local and state legislation will be the next major front in the culture war during the next several months.
I was lucky enough to attend a very impressive fundraising event in Manassas tonight for Virginia Delegate Jackson Miller, an amazing individual who in his first year in the House emerged as a leader on the immigration reform issue and sponsored legislation that passed the House (before dying in Senate committees).BVBL reports the crowd surpassed 200. Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (left) gave a rousing introduction.
I can tell you I was among the many who were blown away by the keynote speech by film director Ron Maxwell (Gettysburg, Gods and Generals).successful defeat of S. 1639 in the U.S. Senate earlier in the day, and the hope this offers that Americans have now risen up to take back their country one community at a time from the "masters of the universe" - business elites who live only for the present, and who are exploiting cheap labor from south of the border and destroying communities on both sides of the Rio Grande.
The American people are a generous people, but they are not dupes and they are not fools. They have moved from skepticism to mistrust to outrage. Where is our national leadership? Who is defending America and our way of life? Not just in Iraq or Afghanistan. Who is defending it here, in our own homes and our own communities?
It is a healthy feeling of self-survival the American people are feeling, in which they are finally turning to political action and imposing on their elected officials - who sometimes forget who elected them and whom they are supposed to serve. Americans intuitively understand that what's at stake here is nothing less than the survival of our country.
We must ask: Who is profiting from the importation of this cheap labor? Who is it that wants to exploit these poor, third world people? Who is encouraging young men and women to leave their children and their parents behind? Who is causing the division of these families, the millions of broken families and separated loved ones. Who is profiting from their exploitation, only then to pontificate - after the fact, after the damage has been done to the fabric of these communities, after the emotional damage to real life people - that all they really want to do is reunify those families, but not, of course, in their native countries, but here in the United States of America.
Why here? Why not in their countries of origin? So that the present-tensers can then legally import millions more of their relatives through chain migration so that they can be exploited as well. So they can put more American citizens out of work, replacing high-priced American workers with those who will do the work that they, the 300 million citizens of the United States are told over and over again by their own president that they really do not want to do.
As if America, all it's great cities and farms and railroads and highways and skyscrapers and navies and air forces and bridges, all its universities, all its industrial might and its space program were built by Mexicans, Hondurans and Guatemalans.
What rhetorical mischief. What political chicanery. What a colossal con game perpetrated on the American people and on our neighbors to the south.
Maxwell's address was a cry for humane efforts to fix the problems in communities north and south of the border.
If we want "comprehesive" immigration reform, that is how it has to happen.
There are a number of extremely important public offices that will be decided in the November, 2007 elections, and Jackson Miller is among the key ones. He needs your support if you are concerned about solving the illegal alien problem in Virginia.
A few of the other good soldiers in this fight were present at tonight's event, including Delegate Bob Marshall, Delegate Jeff Frederick, Senate Candidate Bob Fitzsimmonds, Loudoun County Sheriff Candidate Greg Ahlemann and Senator Ken Cuccinelli.
UPDATE: Here is the full text of Ron Maxwell's speech.
While the corks are popping and confetti and silly string still hang in the air, let us sneak a glance gamely ahead at the next stage: Local action. Time to ramp it up.
The Honorable John Warner
United States Senate
225 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
June 21, 2007
Dear Senator Warner,
As a constituent and candidate for public office, I am writing to express my concern over S.1639, better known as the Immigration Reform Bill. As a former Loudoun County Deputy Sheriff, I have seen first hand the influx of illegal immigrants into our County. Along with this increase, I have witnessed the gang problems, crime and residential overcrowding that have resulted.
On June 9th, 2007, I received the Republican nomination for Sheriff of Loudoun County. This was decided by the voters at the largest county convention in the history of Virginia. Unseating a three term incumbent from within the Party was due, in large part, to my stance against illegal immigration. I have expressed my desire for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office to participate in the ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement- 287g) program and the voters have responded.
As you know, this bill would provide amnesty for millions of illegal immigrants and effectively make the ICE program obsolete. Federal and local law enforcement have been losing the battle against illegal immigration and I believe passage of this bill would hinder what little enforcement is available.
Securing our borders and deporting criminal illegal aliens is not an issue tied to one political party or the other. I believe, as my supporters do, passage of this bill would have adverse consequences for our County, our Commonwealth and our Country. I urge you to vote against this or any impending bills that would provide amnesty for those that would attempt to enter this country illegally.
Republican Nominee - Sheriff of Loudoun County, VA
Thank you, Greg! And thanks to Mick Staton for getting the ball rolling.
It would be nice to see whole lot more of our Loudoun County officials do the same between now and Tuesday morning when the Senate will vote on cloture on the motion to proceed with S. 1639. Tell our senators to either skip the vote, vote "present" or vote NO on cloture. A yes vote on cloture is a vote for amnesty. Contact info for Warner is here, for Webb is here.
Bottom line: Senator, please oppose the Grand Swindle!
Supervisor Mick Staton attended the Help Save Loudoun meeting Monday night, along with a number of other local dignitaries and candidates, and spent some quality time conversing with Loudoun County citizens.
Mick Staton announced the letter he has sent to our one possibly reasonably U.S. Senator, Jim Webb. This is an extremely intelligent act by Supervisor Staton, one which should be duplicated by all of our elected local officials statewide.
It is a slap to the face to every citizen of every community who has to deal with the day to day problems that illegal immigrants bring. Finally, it is a slap to the face of local officials, like myself, who are plagued by the problems created by illegal immigration, but are not even permitted to enforce existing immigration laws due to 'lack of jurisdiction.'
I urge you to vote against this fatally flawed legislation...
Bravo to Mick for initiating this. Let's hope all of our other local officials will follow suit.
I decided to quit sitting on the sidelines and become more involved in the world of politics. After all, just voting doesn't do enough anymore. Sooooo I became a delegate for the Republican Convention. What an interesting surprise. I thought that the Clyde Beatty circus had come back to town. One of the highlights was the forever endless tape loop of people talking about the party and how wonderful it was. Then things started going downhill. I was subjected to a whole bunch of whining (which I can get at work on a daily basis) and then some name calling. We had a couple cherleaders that tried to pump up the audience but basically just made asses of themselves. They did have more spunk than my preacher to give them due. Then we got to vote; or didn't get to vote. Better planning would have meant that ALL the delegates would have had a say. Seems that some decided to jump ship and go do something more interesting. I stuck it out so that I could complete the process. What a waste of time.
I found out that you only need to be a Republican until you don't win the nomination from your party. Then your oath goes out the door and you become an Independant. Now would that be an Independant Republican or Independant Democrat? I voted for York the first time until he failed on his word. It seems that the Republican party didn't like that either so when he didn't win the nomination, he became an Independant.....Independant Democrat that is. Now Sheriff Steve wants to go Independant also. Ryan is heading down the same path after his loss. Where is the party loyalty? Why not wait for the next Convention and try again? If Simpson realized that it is the CITIZENRY that doesn't want him anymore, I feel he would back down. What didn't he complete? I think the brick hit him between the eyes and now he gets it. Too late. Should have got it before. If Ryan had got it then it would have been Waters going to the Independant side. You know why these people didn't win their nomination? They didn't bring enough delegates to the game. Talk about stacking the deck! We all get to hear and see how ALL Stupidvisors act when it comes to the goings-on of county business. I want to know why I couldn't vote on the other district races. It affects me as a whole when it comes to county edict. This doesn't make sense. I should have the same right to pick the jurors at my trial if I got in trouble with the law. That way I could guarentee the outcome. I wish there was a Wig party. I would join if for no other reason than to keep my head from getting sunburn outside after forgetting my hat!
There was but a few candidates that had some maturity about them and had the right things to say. Some won, some didn't. I would like to see Ahlmann stick to his beliefs and bring some honor and integrity to our sheriff's department. Then again, I would like to see that in all positions of our government; county, state and U.S. government. I guess honor is only among thieves as the saying goes. I hope that those individuals that left the party to try again for county positions realize this; if your word is no good and you show that, why in the hell would we want to stick you in any position of authority? You can't be trusted. The people will decide on election day and I am going to help in that decision making process. Let's start getting serious about politics. It is not a job and definitly not a career. It is not a stepping stone to more power and prestige. It is a citizen that wants to selflessly give up his or her personal time so that everyone earns the fruit of this labor. Better accountability, safer environment, quality lifestyle and a personal well being that we live in the right place. The time is now to change what you believe we need and listen to what we deserve. That is your task. If you can't do that, back away and give someone that truly cares about all others the opportunity to have a crack at it. Don't be selfish, be SELFLESS!
Citizens of this county and this state need to stop sitting back and waiting for someone else to FIX THE MESS! It takes more then voting. You need to be aware of what is going on and who is doing OR not doing something and GET INVOLVED! Trust me, there is a place for anybody and everybody who wants to be part of the solution. Don't wait till it becomes a fad and is the NEW thing to do. Be a leader and jump in. ACT NOW!
Craig Hudgins, left, is a jet pilot of some sort who the usually percipient Eileen identifies as a "Biblical values" candidate. That could mean a number of things, I imagine.
This will be interesting to watch.
Religious intolerance and bigotry here in Loudoun county? You have to wonder. While most of the time people think of this in terms of the KKK, I have to wonder if the pendulum has swung to the opposite extreme. I hope not, and I hope our friend Loudoun Insider is wrong about the people of Loudoun. I hope we are collectively not a bunch of bigoted sods that would look at someone's religious views as disqualification from office. I cannot believe we have become so intolerant that we would take someone who is sincere about their faith--someone that is consistent--and pronounce them as unqualified for political office.
I personally believe all people would appreciate integrity; all people would appreciate consistency of belief. One of the things presently so distasteful to so many is the inconsistency of those that have signed pledges as delegates or candidates for the Republican convention here in Loudoun, and then reversed their position when they lost. We have all rightly said that is not acceptable behavior to say one thing, then do another. Would someone that is outwardly that religious do this? It certainly would not be in character.
For example, suppose I had decided that Gary Clemens should not have another term, and that even though he beat me in the convention, I felt I could beat him in the election. If I had run as an independent, I would expect that just mentioning that my position was contrary to my stated Christian beliefs would have me turning back to what is truly important (honoring God with all I do!) I have to put the election in God's hands; I have to live by my principles.
It appears those who do not value their word as bond could change what they do, or at least allow others to persuade them. I still hope for repentance on their part, but I have to believe they are not the "outwardly religious" people that LI states cannot be elected. Perhaps instead of deriding those that have character as unelectable, he should be pushing for more outwardly religious people to be running. It would suit his views on honoring signed pledges at the very least.
This follows on my post earlier in the week about how the Grand Swindle will overturn all local enforcement efforts:
Ragnar notes business executives look around at what the grassroots are beginning to demand from local and state officials and they are shaking in their Bostonians:
If you're an employer who's been skirting the law for years with a wink and a nod, this change in the winds has to be keeping you up at night--with good reason. Some CEOs looking at public opinion polls and knowing their employment rolls haven't been even close to right with God, have to be dealing with some serious heartburn at the thought of angry villagers at the corporate gates demanding massive fines and/or a few years in federal pound-me-in-the-*ss prison.
If the employers can just get across the line on this, they've significantly reduced their exposure. This Amnesty Bill represents a sort of "get out of jail free" card for these executives.
This seems plausible. We need to make sure this message gets out loud and clear the next few days. It is surprising there are not more Democratic politicians getting on board with the pro-enforcement efforts so far.
Gary Clemens' presentation was entertaining. No one can deny that. What concerned me deeply, having had more time to examine the facts, was his complete dismissal of key valid criticisms of his performance in his first term as Loudoun County's Clerk of Court.
Brian Withnell has spoken to the matter of the audits -
- the "clean" 2000 audit (as Gary came in the door),
- the 2002 audit, which was a disaster, and which referred to some previous correspondence (I'm guessing 2001) when the auditors warned Clemens of the issues they would ding him on when they returned in 2002,
- the 2004 audit that was improved, but still a mess.
Gary Clemens dismissed all this by saying "but hey, I've got two clean audits now!".
As someone who would enjoy time in a gulag over that spent balancing a checkbook, I'll move on to the portion of Gary Clemens' speech/performance that really burned me the most - that dealing with privacy of personal online data. On the stage, Gary Clemens crumpled up a letter from a victim of identity theft, who knows well his history on this issue, threw it away, and referred to it is "trash", undeserving of a response.
[UPDATE: For obvious reasons this post is going to get bumped back to the top of the page periodically until either S 1348 is defeated or we as a country turn out the lights, whichever comes first.]
President Bush said, "I'll see you at the bill signing."
Now is the time for all citizens to call their senators and the White House and tell them, "No means no!"
Everyone should already know these points by heart, but here they are again:
The Grand Swindle promises us a fence that was already supposed to have been built; it will allow massive fraud; it will cheat millions of people who have been waiting to immigrate by putting them in the back of the line behind tens of millions of lawbreakers; and worst of all, it grants instant amnesty to all who apply within 24 hours - no background checks of any kind required.
This legislation is treasonous and must be stopped permanently.
More information is available here.
Here are the numbers:
White House Switchboard: (202) 456-1414
White House Comments Line: (202) 456-1111
Sen. Webb (202) 224-4024
Sen. Warner (202) 224-2023
Ace says keep calling because the GOP now says it has enough senators to invoke cloture, and he has a bunch of good phone numbers, including a special hotline for non-citizens who want to call a senator in favor of amnesty.
If you can believe that.
Along the lines of my post from last night: John Hawkins has an important brief on what is really happening with the "comprehensive" immigration reform bill in the Senate. Click here to read it which I HIGHLY recommend.
I'm probably going to just outright steal the post and reprint it here next week - it is that important - but for now I encourage you to visit John's site if you are concerned about this issue.
Since I have not seen anyone else do this yet, here goes: Congratulations to the Loudoun County Republican Committee for putting on a fantastic convention this past Saturday. It did not run as quickly as some might have hoped, but it ran well and there were not many controversies after the votes.
Paul Protic, Suzanne Volpe, Mark Sell, Eve Barner and whoever else was involved at a management level deserve everyone's thanks for a job well done.
There are a number of quasi-prominent people on the Web who have made something of a cottage industry of obsessing about the purportedly ominous machinations of the LCRC.This extremely well managed convention should quiet them. But it won't.
Anyway, thanks to everyone who worked so hard to put it on. It was no small feat. Just managing the number of people would be one thing, but there seemed to be a large number of non-political newbies in attendance and they (and their kids in many cases) had to be treated somewhat gingerly and herded around relatively gently compared to the hard-edged politicos, and for the most part everyone seemed content with the way it all worked.
I understand there was some frustration with the way the voting was conducted and how long it took, but I believe any "lost votes" from delegates having to leave early would have cut both ways - and although I was planning to write a very snarky post on the matter I now understand that it was a question of erring on the side of accuracy which, after all, is sort of key.
Great work, LCRC. Thank you!
The president and a substantial portion of the U.S. Senate have essentially declared war on the American people.
The "bill" currently under discussion is so utterly detrimental to the interests of most Americans that if more of them simply understood what it contains, there would be talk not so much of "voting them out" in 2008, but of descending on the White House and Capitol with tar and feathers right now.
Howard Fineman makes this interesting but not entirely accurate observation:
His timing was perfect, as in wrong, just as he was preparing to attend the Senate Republicans' weekly luncheon on the Hill. "I'll see you at the bill signing," he said, chestier than usual.
He might live to regret such playground bravado. If you are president, the only thing worse than issuing a public threat to your own party is failing to make it stick.
It really is quite extraordinary. Here he is, an unpopular leader fighting an unpopular war. His two-term presidency is clattering to a conclusion, besieged on all sides, taking hits on everything from his attorney general to his general incompetence. And so he decides to do what? Climb into the ring for an ultimate fighting bout with the base of the very Republicans who got him to the White House.
The fissure in the Republican Party over immigration is significant, and - by the way - it precedes George W. Bush. There are far more powerful forces than the U.S. president advocating cheap labor and open borders. But Bush has chosen to ignore the concerns of the regular citizens.
These are now everywhere disingenuously referred to as "the base" whether "Republican" or "conservative." In reality, the outrage is coming from Americans of every ideological stripe who are now seeing the negative effects of the illegal alien invasion in their own communities.
There is no doubt the president is on course to destroy the Republican Party, although not because of besmirching it over the illegal alien issue. Certainly, many Americans will realize that if not for a handful of Republican senators this bill would have passed the Senate weeks ago.
He is going to destroy the GOP by forcing the question of party loyalty and deepening internal fractures to the breaking point in the 2007 and especially 2008 elections. As blogger Ace of Spades has promised:
Every single one of you voting for this bill is looking into your political grave. There will be casualties; there will be a bloodbath...
You're done. You've radicalized the right into a Kos-like political vendetta machine, and we will not only cut our own throats in order to slice yours, we'll enjoy doing so.
Read all of that, by the way.
Beyond the party, what Bush is saying to mainstream Americans is "trust me, and follow me over the cliff" by allowing him to open the floodgates once and for all. He is not just picking a fight with the hard core of his party - he is picking a fight with the citizenry as a whole. Luckily, Americans are now inclined to view the "trust me" exhortation skeptically and more and more of them are realizing they, their kids and their grandchildren are under attack.
The time is ripe for patriotism of the kind that inspired the "revolutionaries" here 231 years ago, who were not trying to overturn a social system but rather fight off a pernicious threat being imposed on their existing social and cultural order from above.
I've been away from blogging on this site for a while, and I'm not 100% sure when I'll be up to speed again. However, politics never stops moving, and tomorrow is primary day across the Commonwealth.
I have to admit that I was leaning towards Jill Vogel for a long time in the 27th state senate district, but now I'm convinced that she needs to win. We cannot hope to defeat the democrats with a candidate who is indicted. I used to have great respect for Mark Tate as a person and leader. However, his actions since his indictment have been inappropriate and counterproductive. He has destroyed his future both as a politician and citizen. I wish he had taken the high road, but revenge seems to be the only objective on his mind.
I point readers to this post on Virginia Virtucon for background information, and if you live in Frederick, Fauquier (part), Loudoun (part), Clarke, or Winchester City, please get out and vote tomorrow for the future of the party.
[The following Resolution was passed unanimously by the Loudoun County Republican Committee Convention delegates on Saturday, June 9. Congrats to Chair Ranjani Johnson (shown below reading the Resolution) and the LCRC Issues Committee. It is a very strong statement which reflects the growing sentiment among American citizens that something must be done to address the negative effects of illegal immigration in their communities.]
Resolution in Support of Legal Immigration and Enforcement of Current Immigration Law
Whereas, respect for the rule of law unites Americans of diverse ancestry and national origin, and legal immigration is grounded in respect for the rule of law; and
Whereas, fundamental fairness dictates that those individuals who respect our laws should first receive the benefits of citizenship under current law; and
Whereas, current law, which mandates deportation of those who violate our immigration laws, should be enforced; and
Whereas, the negative effects of illegal immigration are pervasive and create an increasing burden on every segment of society; and
Whereas, any weakening of our current immigration law compromises the rule of law and our national security; and
Whereas, the negative effects of illegal immigration include a depressed wage base, increased violent crime, degradation of community standards, and overburdening of our education, healthcare and social welfare systems; and
Whereas, these negative effects cumulatively threaten the national sovereignty of the United States of America; and
Whereas, it is unconscionable for those entrusted with the protection of our society to ignore these negative effects or reward the violation of our laws; now, therefore be it
Resolved, that we, the delegates to the Loudoun County, Virginia Republican Convention of Two Thousand and Seven, call on all our elected officials to oppose any legislation which rewards violation of our current immigration laws; and, be it further
Resolved, that we call on our elected officials, at all levels of government, to support and enact legislation which effectively penalizes any entity which aids or abets or promotes the violation of these laws; and, be it further
Resolved, that the Convention directs its Chairman to cause a copy of this resolution to be distributed to the Chairman of the Republican National Committee, to the Chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, to the Republican members of the General Assembly representing Loudoun County, to our statewide elected officials, to our members of the House of Representatives and United States Senate, to our members of the Board of Supervisors and to members of the press.
Paul Protic; Chairman, June 9, 2007 Loudoun Republican Convention
[The following message is from Greg Ahlemann, who - in a major upset - won the Republican nomination for Sheriff at yesterday's Loudoun County Republican Convention. More info on Mr. Ahlemann is available here.]
I want to publicly thank Roger Zurn for his support. I respect all of the constitutional officers and the exceptional work they have done and continue to do. I am honored to receive the Republican Party's nomination for Sheriff.
I would have hoped that Sheriff Simpson would have kept his word when he took the oath to support all the Republican Party's nominees, but I was not suprised as this had been discussed for some time within the Sheriff's Office. It is unfortunate that he described his tenure as Sheriff with words such as "honesty and integrity" when I and the other officers in the department saw this lack of sincerity on a regular basis.
I have been flooded with calls and emails from deputies who are excited about the change that will be taking place. Much like 4 years ago when three officers gave up their jobs with the Loudoun Sheriff's Office, I resigned in January of this year to give the deputies a leader who they believe in.
When I resigned, I knew it would be difficult to unseat a three term incumbent from within the party. I also knew that at the time, the constitutional officers were running as a team to fend off challengers. I understood the rules and the risk I was taking but believed it was the right thing to do for the department and the county. I was encouraged early on by one of the officers who ran last time, to "take Simpson to the convention" because of his belief that many citizens were ready for change as well. More than two thirds of the delegate vote, and I believe every district, chose "Ahlemann" for Sheriff.
Despite this clear message by the voters, Simpson has again reversed himself. I believe that Simpson should have given up his party affiliation prior to the convention if he was going to run as an Independent. Instead, he allowed many of his supporters, as well as mine, to spend hours waiting, to have their voices heard in this race, only to be told by him that he did not care by choosing to ignore their voice in the election process. I glady accept the Republican nomination and will continue to work hard to secure the win for our deputies, our party, and our county. I believe the citizens of Loudoun are ready for a Sheriff that is not a politician. I believe they want a Sheriff who gives his word and keeps it.
I also believe the residents of Loudoun want a Sheriff who will make tough decisions based on what is best for the community and not what is best politically. I am a conservative Republican but I believe the enforcement of our federal immigration laws is more important than party affiliation. For these reasons, I look forward to November when all the residents of Loudoun - Republican, Democrat and Independent - will choose their next Sheriff. I will work for and support all the Republican nominees, as I pledged I would do, but more importantly, I look forward to providing Loudoun with a Sheriff not a Politician.
I want to express my appreciation to Help Save Loudoun and Help Save Herndon for their dedication to bettering our communities.
Following is Greg Ahlemann's speech to the Loudoun County Republican Convention in June 9.
More from the Loudoun County Republican Convention:
How do I work this? I was a bit dumbfounded about how to best maximize the fortuitous melding of Republican politics and Christian real estate.
I needn't have worried. After Brian Withnell gave his reasonably nuts-and-bolts speech about why he wished to be Clerk of the Circuit Court, it all became very clear.
As soon as Withnell left the podium, the lights dimmed and the spotlight swirled as fog covered the stage floor.
A twangy, syncopated funky bass line cut through the thick air. I was wondering whether this was Bootsy Collins from his P-Funk days or his Talking Heads days when, suddenly, a tall figure appeared stage right flanked by two hunched-over assistants who pulled the shiny, purple cloak from his back as he stepped up to the mike.
A booming voice exclaimed "Ladies and gentlemen of the Republican Convention, give it up now for the CLERK OF SOUL!!"
The white lights zapped to full intensity as he shouted "Hellooo, RePUBLICANS!!! Are you all proud to be REPUBLICANS??!"
We all shouted "Yeah!"
Your humble correspondent cannot afford a camera fast enough to capture cleanly the whirlwind of motion and light that IS the Clerk of Soul
"And are you proud to be here affirming the principles of representative government?"
We all screamed "YEAHHH!"
"And are you HAVING A GOOD TIME!!!?"
The funk went up numerous decibels, we all began clapping, while this amazing showman commenced telling us each our life stories. The entire auditorium seemed to sway:
"I believe in our families and communities, do YOU?!!"
"Do you believe in the HOPE of our principles and the TRUTH of our conservative movement and the FAITH of our dedication to what we have always held dear?!!"
The guy in the seat next to me asked "What does any of this have to do with his Clerk of Court job?"
I answered, "For the love of all that is good and holy, man, DON'T THINK ABOUT IT - JUST EXPERIENCE IT!!!"
And at that moment I realized:
Brian Withnell was merely running for Clerk of Court.
Gary Clemens was running for Clerk of GOD. And how you gonna compete with that?
Clemens bounded from one side of the stage to the other, delineating the accomplishments of his office:
"We cut wait times from an average of 30 minutes to 22 minutes."
"We met all federal standards for on-time filing of records!"
By this time I could feel the subconscious excitement building and the hairs on my neck began to stick up. Something strange was happening here, some preternatural expression of bureaucratic excellence on the level of the Pharoahs and the Caesars. My arms were twitching; the audience was shouting incomprehensibly, when Clemens let loose the cannon blast:
"In 2005, the state compensation board recognized my office as being ranked in the top 15 out of 120 offices in Virginia for financial management practices."
My neck muscles tensed and my eyes bulged while an explosion formed in my lungs; my head shook spastically from side to side as I exclaimed "YEAHHHH!!! YEAHHHH!!!"
I looked at my neighbor and our eyes locked as we both shouted in unison "OHHHHH!! YEAHHHHH!!!".
Financial management practices? Oh, gosh, yeah! That's WHY I became a Republican.
The entire crowd went berserk. I needed air so I lurched out into the aisle, lay down on the floor, watched the ceiling spin above me, gasped for air, when suddenly a wing-tipped toe smashed into my chest between the 3rd and 4th ribs. It was Deacon Ken Reid, charging down the aisle.
Or leaping, I should say. I should have been more careful.
I had noticed during Brian Withnell's speech that the Deacon was jogging up and down the aisles passing out signs and whispering instructions. The Deacon covered the entire hall, from one end to the other, and by the time Rev. Clemens was into his sermon, the Deacon was literally jitterbugging with his "Clemens" signs and rousting others to join in.
I tried to get in sync but it was hard. Clemens exclaimed "We have established standard operating procedures. We have provided training for our staff."
This denotation of bureaucratic accomplishment is surely red-meat for most Republicans so the cries rang out "YEAHHHH!! AUGGHHHHH!!! WHOOOO-HOOOOO!!!"
But I was pretty sure some internal organs were damaged so as much as I wanted to join the shouting, I just rolled to the side of the aisle and let the Deacon have his runway.
I was flecked with Deacon Reid's sweat and spittle. By this time the music was so loud, the sweat so infusive, and (I was pretty sure) incense so pervasive, I was ready to pass out.
When the Reverend said: "My fellow Clerks thought so highly of my customer service initiatives that I am first vice president of the Clerk's Association of Virginia, and if I'm elected today I'll be president!" the audience went ballistic.
Flashbulbs were popping. Women swooned. Babies wailed. Men howled and slapped each other in the face for no reason.
It was pure bedlam, but a good kind of bedlam. We all put the funk on, which is definitely what you want to get from your Clerk of Court.
[Full disclosure: Most of this post is imaginary. Only those in attendance will appreciate the elements which bear on reality.]
[UPDATE: Loudoun Insider is labeling this post and the fact we DARED to print a letter from Brian Withnell an "assault" on Gary Clemens. Apart from the fact I wrote immediately after the Convention I was planning to have fun at Gary's expense - thereby giving him plenty of time to brace himself - I think Gary's speech was unusual enough to merit some kidding. LI has become a bit of a Withnell-phobe and it appears he will not rest easy until Brian Withnell leaves the country and is expunged from all public records. I have to believe Gary Clemens has slightly thicker skin.]
Here is the video of Eugene's speech yesterday - posted pretty quickly, I must say. It provides a good window into why he is so popular in the local community.
[The following was submitted by Republican candidate for nomination for Clerk of Court Brian Withnell. Withnell lost out for the nomination to incumbent Clerk Gary Clemens at yesterday's convention.]
Now that the contest is over, I'll actually make some comments.
First, I wish Gary all the best. In fact, I hope--very definitely hope--that the problems in his office are over (and they might be). I hope I also had a part to play in that correction.
Now, why run. From a very strict point of view, the running is just part of who I have always been. Not that Loudoun County would ever know it. I used to live in Maryland many years ago (where being a Republican was equal to having no voice in politics) and still managed to work toward moderating the liberal bent there. I happened to have worked in Maryland political circles many years ago, mostly on an issues basis. Bethany Christian Services got a lot of work from me helping them establish a home for unwed mothers. I set up the Annapolis chapter's computers for them (and donated computers to them). I worked in Wicomico county with the local Life Line Pregnancy Center in much the same way. I worked with the College Republicans in Salisbury.
Why not around here? First, when I moved here, my wife became pregnant soon after. When the child was one year old, my first wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, and for the next 3 1/2 years, my focus was helping her. After she died, it took a lot out of me, and I was a single Dad. Try that with 3 children for a while. It is busy.
Then I met a wonderful woman, and we married. My top priority in this world was then integrating her into a family of five. After that, we had my second, then third son (that's right, we have five children in all).
At this point, time is just now starting to be something other than "already taken" by higher priorities. Oh, sorry, I believe all those things are in fact higher priorities--disagree if you wish, but you never have to worry about me doing something for ulterior motives.
Now again, why choose to run for this office? First, I really do believe Gary had done a rather lame (at best) job. His record speaks for itself. I love the fact that he stated he had two clear audits from the accounting office (he actually had three, the first one was the first year he was in office--the errors were not left over from the prior clerk, the prior clerk had clean audits at the end of his term, and Gary's first was clean also). The fact is that it takes time to get things into a mess, and the audit I cited was almost three years into his term. So just from the standpoint of audits, out of the seven years he was in office, he had only three years that were "okay." The first was okay (from the prior clerk's work) and the most recent two. What that says to me is that he mismanaged the office for at least 4 of the prior 7 years. 3 of 7 right (at best) is a failing grade in every math course I've taught.
But why run? If you aren't willing to be part of the solution, you don't have any right to complain about the problem. I was willing to run for two reasons. First, I really believe I could have done a better job. Believe it? That is a little weak. I know I could do a better job. It may have been a lot better for me to become involved sooner, let myself be known more, put in an appearance for a year or so ahead of time. But that isn't what I thought I could do at the time. And guess what? This only opens up once every eight years. I certainly hope Mr. Clemens doesn't repeat his prior performance (i.e., do poorly for five years, followed by getting his act together at the last 2 prior to election). I threw my hat in the ring the only time I could have, and while that did not allow for a thorough campaign, it will have at least made it plain that people do care about his performance.
Would I run for a different office? Perhaps I would. But I would want to know that I would be able to do the best job of those that are running. That said, I also have to admit that part of the job (getting a nomination, and then being elected) is not my strong suit. But then, I have always thought that while that is the most important part of actually getting the job, it may be the most contrary indicator of who is best for a job. (For example, Clinton was elected easily, but I certainly think he was one of the worst people for the office of President yet).
As I said before, I wish Gary Clemens all the best. He is unopposed in November, so he should sail into another eight years. I hope I don't have any reason to run for that office again.
P.S. as a corollary to not being able to complain if you aren't willing to be part of the solution, I now have earned the right to complain. :)
Changing course again! Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson, who signed a pledge to support all Republican candidates in the November elections, took less than 24 hours to decide to violate that pledge, apparently, and has decided to run as an independent.
Hey, here's an interesting question: I wonder what the rest of our "constitutional officers" are going to do? If the LCRC is going to be so gung ho about party purity, getting a solid statement of support from all three officers for Greg Ahleman might be a great place to start.
The Ahlemann's made major sacrifices to pull this off - and by sacrifices I mean money and time for a family not awash in either, and living for months under a big cloud of uncertainty about the future. To see the sheer exhileration and relief when the big announcement was made was pretty darn touching.
Loudoun County Republican Convention report:
Greg Ahlemann won by what someone overheard was a "huge" margin - though this is third-hand information so I can't vouch for it.
But from the response during the speeches, which was an order of magnitude louder than that for any of the other candidates, it sounds reasonable. The cheer for Ahlemann was a massive roar that caught me by surprise. This was a groundswell, an outpouring - whatever you want to call it - flowing directly from the overflowing reservior of frustration that has been building here, particularly over the illegal alien problem.
Listen to Greg Ahlemann's Convention speech here:
Sheriff Steve Simpson was the most immediate target of resident's ire, and though he probably did not help himself by his responses (or lack thereof) in certain cases, the Sheriff went down a little harder than he really deserved to. But candidates at every step up the hierarchy had better take note. This was just the first shot for 2007 (well, counting Patricia Phillips I guess this was the second) in Loudoun and Virginia as a whole.
In other races:
Geary Higgins beat Robert Bruton.
Mark Albright beat Ben Weber.
Gary Clemens beat Brian Withnell.
Eugene Delgaudio beat George Hidy.
And the biggest shocker of all: Lori Waters beat Jack Ryan.
Because of acclamation (we all agree on a candidate and leave the contest behind) none of the numbers are available (yet) except for Delgaudio beating Hidy 110-22 because of the lack of acclamation.
Don't ask me to explain any of that because I cannot.
Congrats to all the winners. They all deserve our support. The GOP has a strong slate going into the fall campaign.
All in all a pretty well-run affair. There were some hiccups but you have to hand it to the LCRC - it was really fairly smooth excepting a VERY long delay counting the votes. But better late than inaccurate.
(I am going to have some fun at Gary Clemens' expense in an upcoming post which I hope he will also see the humor in.)
The Ahlemann's ran a fantastic campaign. To overcome the odds against such a strong incumbent is hard to conceive of. The amount of support they managed to corral from throughout this really BIG county is amazing.
On a personal note, I almost crashed my car when I got the call that Patricia Phillips had won on May 19. This was right up there.
I am supporting Eugene Delgaudio for Sterling District Supervisor because he works extremely hard for the citizens of Sterling and is the only Supervisor to initiate any public policies to address the negative effects of the growing illegal alien population in our area. He has been a huge asset to our community.
Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio with Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis.
Supervisor Delgaudio literally works all hours for the residents. He has given his personal phone number and e-mail to pretty much the entire community. During snowstorms he rides around looking for areas the plows are most needed. During the gas leaks he was out late that night and sending e-mail updates until after midnight. When the state planned to leave the new Sterling Boulevard/Route 28 overpass closed for weeks if not months, Mr. Delgaudio was getting the message out to the press and citizens about how much time we were all wasting sitting through the traffic lights. He kept up the pressure until the new intersection was opened. He coordinates all sorts of volunteer projects throughout the year and has raised large sums of money for programs to benefit the community.
He led the Loudoun County side of the opposition to the Herndon Day Labor Center and publicly supported the candidates for town council and mayor who eventually swept most of the previous town government out of office. Supervisor Delgaudio has been a strong supporter of Help Save Herndon and Help Save Loudoun.
On the Board, he authored the overcrowding ordinance which reduced the number of people allowed to live in a home from ridiculous to merely surprisingly high levels - more work is needed here but legislation needs to be passed in Richmond to allow local jurisdictions to do more. He was pushing the Sheriff to pursue the ICE 287g training when all of the other Supervisors were still silent on the issue. As it stands, he is only one of nine so it has been a challenge to get the rest of the Board's attention about the illegal alien problem - although this seems to be changing in a big way in recent months.
To address the crisis caused by the negative effects of the influx of illegal aliens into Loudoun County, we need Eugene Delgaudio on the Board of Supervisors - and we need several other Board members to step up and take notice.
Some people have an issue with Eugene's personality, his tendency to joke around regarding issues which are supposedly too serious to kid about.
Personally, I think much of what our government does - at all levels - is so ridiculous the only attitude one SHOULD have to much of it is an attitude of irony. When the entreprise itself is insane, the guy laughing may be the only one who sees the truth.
When he sends out a pseudo-serious press release about a family of ducks saved from certain death at the local shopping plaza, I frankly welcome it.
And I think the vast majority of Sterling residents enjoy him as well.
I am voting for Eugene Delgaudio at the Convention because he is the best advocate the citizens of Sterling have to represent their interests at the county level. He has proven himself serious about addressing illegal immigration: We have a lot more to do, but Supervisor Delgaudio has gotten the job started even when he was the only one toiling away.
I have had numerous conversations with both Republican candidates, have watched two debates between the men and have read many newspapers articles and interviews in which they discuss their views. Greg Ahlemann demonstrates by far the best understanding of what is really happening in Loudoun County and what the citizens are dealing with.
Since the first time I heard him speak back in February, Mr. Ahlemann has been saying there is more the Sheriff's Office can do while the current Sheriff has been saying, essentially, "we are doing all we can."
Mr. Ahlemann has been saying the Sheriff's Office should participate in the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training program under section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act, whereby local deputies can become authorized to enforce U.S. immigration law and gain access to databases that help identify criminal aliens. Herndon, Virginia is participating in the 287g program as are a growing number of jurisdictions throughout the U.S.
The illegal alien problem in Loudoun County cannot be laid solely at the Sheriff's feet. The roots of the problem are non-enforcement of business licensing rules, non-enforcement of laws against hiring illegal aliens, and certainly non-enforcement of zoning regulations (Herndon, a town of 23,000 has six zoning inspectors fluent in Spanish; Loudoun County, with a population of 220,000, has one.) These are all issues that need to be addressed, at least initially, at the Board of Supervisors' level.
Greg Ahlemann has also been saying from the beginning that the Sheriff must be an advocate to the Board of Supervisors, telling them that reducing gang crime and other problems caused by illegals will require the coordinated efforts of the entire government. I think we need a Sheriff who will be an advocate for the citizens' safety rather than one who will tell them nothing more can be done.
In a debate last month at Patrick Henry College, the question was asked: "What would you say to residents of Sterling Park who believe their neighborhood has become less safe in recent years?"
Sheriff Steve Simpson's response was: "The crime rate in Sterling has gone down."
In my view, this demonstrates the disconnect between our current Sheriff and the citizens of Loudoun County. All statistics aside, for those of us who live here, the deterioration of our neighborhoods is a real thing. Sterling definitely HAS become less safe in recent years, if safety can be measured in whether you can go to the Safeway after dark, or whether you can walk on your neighborhood streets. To tell us that the crime rate has decreased is no answer at all to the question but shows the Sheriff has no appreciation for the fact the problem exists. It certainly does not give reason to hope the problem will be solved.
Similarly, in a presentation to the Board of Supervisors early last month, Sheriff Simpson implied that Mr. Ahlemann has been using "fear" for political purposes and exaggerating the illegal alien problem. In fact, the citizens of Loudoun County have been outraged about the problem since long before Mr. Ahlemann was a blip on anyone's radar. I have attended meetings during the past year in which representatives of the Sheriff's Office have been barraged with questions and complaints from Sterling residents over what has happened in their neighborhoods. Greg Ahlemann is talking about this reality when he talks about the problems local citizens are facing.
Most importantly, Greg Ahlemann seems to best understand that the perception of the Sheriff's Office needs to change. As he noted in a speech in February, when he was growing up he knew the Herndon police were extremely strict about cracking down on speeders, so whenever he drove into Herndon he was careful to slow down. If the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office participates in 287g training and the Sheriff becomes an advocate to the Board about beginning to fix the illegal alien problem in Loudoun, it will help to build the public perception that Loudoun County is not the place to come if you are an illegal alien.
It is true that 287g will not solve all of our problems. But it will begin to solve the public perception problem. Even at the Board meeting when he changed positions several weeks ago and agreed to look into 287g, Sheriff Simpson actually spent most of the time talking about the reasons he did NOT want to get involved in 287g sooner and why it is NOT everything the citizens might expect. I have strong reservations about whether the Sheriff is actually committed to participating in the ICE training and I don't think he realizes that his Office actually can do a great deal toward fixing our problem simply by taking a more prominent public stance on the issue.
I recently spoke with Julia Rush, communications director for the Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Sheriff's Office. Mecklenburg was the first local jurisdiction to participate in 287g training and their Sheriff, Jim Pendergraph, has become a prominent advocate for the program. Ms. Rush told me that the program actually has paid for itself (one of Sheriff Simpson's reservations has been the cost). In part, this is because Mecklenburg County is reimbursed $109 per night for every federal prisoner it holds, which includes illegal aliens held under the 287g authority. Loudoun County is reimbursed only $55 per night. Ms. Rush said the reason Mecklenburg gets double the remimbursment is because their liaison to ICE demanded it and "camped out in their office" until it was provided.
In other words, the effectiveness of the ICE program depends on the will of the participating jurisdictions, on the seriousness with which the law enforcement agency views the illegal alien problem.
Loudoun County has been beset by a massive increase in illegal aliens over the past five years. We deserve a Sheriff's Office that is taking the lead and doing everything possible to deal with criminal aliens.
Greg Ahlemann has shown he truly understands the problem and that much more can be done. From his years as a deputy working the streets of Loudoun County, he saw firsthand the growing gang problem. He has spent many hours talking with residents about the crime, overcrowding, and unlicensed businesses that have changed Sterling for the worse and are now affecting the rest of Loudoun as more illegal aliens arrive and continue to settle further to the west. If you live in Landsdowne, Leesburg, Balls Bluff, Countryside, Ashburn or even Brambleton, you are on the verge of experiencing the same issues of increased crime and neighborhood blight if you are not seeing them already.
We need Greg Ahlemann for Sheriff because the time is now to address the illegal alien problem in Loudoun County.
I do have to add I do not think Sheriff Simpson has been a poor Sheriff or that he does not wish to solve the problem in Loudoun. As everyone who knows him realizes, he is a decent man. I think either of the Republican candidates is head and shoulders above the Democratic candidate - who said he was in favor of ICE training but enrolling more than one deputy would be "overkill." This is patently ridiculous; as Sheriff Simpson asked "would that deputy work 365 days a year?" and it shows the Democrat has no intention of really dealing with illegal immigration but is trying to make political hay off the issue. I will go to work enthusiastically for whichever Republican candidate for Sheriff wins the nomination at tomorrow's Convention.
I just think Greg Ahlemann has a better grasp of what needs to be done, and that he will do more to change the perception of our Sheriff's department into one which is, like Mecklenburg's, tough on addressing the negative effects of illegal immigration.
You can read about the Sheriff's decision to change course on 287g here.
Following on the incident of a few weeks ago, here is another example of what people in Sterling Park regard as the Sheriff's Office's hands-off approach to illegal aliens and lack of concern for Sterling residents.
A good friend of mine - who lives on a street where if the majority of residents are not illegal aliens, the actual count is probably not much less than half - saw this from her front porch. It happened the Saturday before last, May 26, at 10:30 pm.
She heard a great deal of noise outside and went to her front door to see what it was. Apparently because of a large party down the street, the street was lined with cars and cars were driving very fast up and down the street. Trash and empty beer bottles were strewn on various front yards.
Suddenly a group of about 10 men came running down the street yelling. When they had passed by her house, they dispersed into several front yards, and several of them could be seen urinating in the front and side yards of different houses.
My friend called the Sheriff's Office and reported a large, loud party that had spilled onto the street, rowdy behavior and obvious evidence of drinking and driving and open containers. The representative at the Sheriff's Office told her that deputies were already on the scene.
She then stepped out into her yard and saw that several houses down there were in fact two deputies sitting in their cruisers, with the engines running. She stood and watched for awhile and they never budged from their cars.
As she told me about it, she asked "What the hell are they doing there if they are not going to put a stop to the speeding cars and rowdy behavior?"
I would go one step further and ask: What does this tell us about how the illegal alien community perceives local law enforcement, when the sight of two deputies is no incentive to slow down or drive more cautiously, and when a group of men feel they have sufficient leeway to run right past two Sheriff's deputies and start peeing in the front yards a short distance away??
As our neighborhoods in eastern Loudoun decline, gang activity continues to spread, and more and more areas become "off limits" after dark and to women walking alone, there is a preception that the Sheriff's department has given up on us.
The longtime residents of Sterling Park - the few who still live there - gave up on this Sheriff's department long ago. I have attended numerous public meetings over the past year where frustrated residents of the Park absolutely lambasted representatives of the Sheriff's Office over what has happened in their neighborhoods. But the rest of Sterling and the rest of Loudoun are becoming equally affected by the huge influx of illegals and the hands-off policy of so many of our elected officials.
If you are elderly or a single woman living alone, you can be forgiven for thinking NO ONE is going to look out for your safety. Citizens and illegals alike can be forgiven if their instinctive reaction is "Oh, that's just the Loudoun Sheriff's department, they won't do anything" about the class of crimes which may not be headline material but make an enormous difference in the quality of life in our neighborhoods.
As we watch U.S. senators debate with straight faces an "immigration reform" bill which will grant immediate amnesty to tens of millions of illegals, citizens of this country have to wonder how such a bunch of traitors and ignoramuses have the authority to sell our country down the river. I will tell you how: Because we as citizens and voters have not paid enough attention to who we put in office at every level and we have not held them accountable when they do not act in the public's interest.
One way or another, the perception of the Loudoun Sheriff's Office - by legal residents AND illegal aliens - needs to change.
I no longer consider him the head of my Republican PartyHow true. And how rarely one of our state legislators rises to the level of statesman.
Virginia State Senator Ken Cuccinelli, one of the very few in office at any level that I trust, says what so many of us are thinking - and what so many who hold office are so reluctant to say.
Dear Fellow Republican:
My President Is Wrong. There's no other way to say it.
Like you, I believe that I am a loyal American, Virginian and Republican. As a general matter, I believe that most people view the President as the head of the Republican Party in America. It is not a formal position, but as the elected head of our nation, Presidents typically also function as the head of their respective political party. For much of his Presidency, President Bush has functioned as the head of the Republican Party.
Not any more.
President Bush began his Presidency somewhat inauspiciously by pushing and signing the largest increase in the role of the Federal Government in local education in history with the so-called 'No Child Left Behind' legislation. The President's partner in that enterprise was Senator Ted Kennedy.
More recently, the President has teamed up with Sen. Kennedy again. This time on immigration and the result may be much worse for America than their last partnership.
Given the clear message that had been coming from the Republican faithful on the issue of immigration, i.e., actually secure the border before doing anything else, it could only be said that the President has chosen to ignore us. At least, that is how I would have characterized it until he started attacking those of us that oppose his bill - and with shocking severity.
Not too long ago, the President declared that he would start 'pushing back' against opponents of his bill. This tells me that he wasn't merely ignoring his Republican base, he was thumbing his nose at us (or worse). Well Mr. President, as President you can certainly 'push harder' than I can, but I promise you that on this issue I will 'push back' too.
And I will not be alone.
As research by Heritage's Robert Rector details, the purported "immigration reform" bill would cause a seismic economic shift in the U.S. over the next decade - for the simple reason that low skilled, uneducated people are expensive to have in your economy in the first place, and making millions more eligible for entitlement benefits makes the problem exponentially worse.
But that's not the financial pinch this post is about.
This post is about the tragic, tragic news the National Republican Party is seeing a drop off in fundraising because prior contributors object to the Republican leadership's treasonous policy of encouraging and forgiving illegal aliens. A lot of people have stopped giving to the RNC altogether, apparently.
This is, on one level, an impressive development. But on another level, I have to say there is something juvenile and futile about suddenly cutting off one's contributions to the Party.
If we want to really send a message to the traitors, we have to do more than reduce their revenues: We have to cause reverse cash flow. We have to subtract money, not simply refuse to add it.
This can be done in a number of ways, but as explained in this post, it can be as simple as taping a Republican Party business reply card to a phone book and bringing it to the Post Office counter. Wrap the phone book in some wrapping paper or a brown paper bag and tape the BRC on there and you are good to go - works every time.
Do this over and over and eventually we'll make an impact. When was the last time you used any of your phone books, anyway? And with all the people who are dropping off the RNC's membership roster, they surely need all the contact information they can get. I challenge each of our readers to ship at least 2 phone books COD to the Republican National Committee or the Republican Senatorial Committee.
The Paper of Record also reports that a short list of state Republican parties have seen increases in donations because of the leadership's excellent advocacy for an enforcement-only policy.
Alas, my state's Republican party does not appear on that good-guy list. No huge surprise there.
[UPDATE: Well waddaya know, me and Loudoun Insider agree on a topic du jour. Mark the date, folks, and treasure the memory...]
By Friday, our kitchen table and countertops resemble a Hallmark store after a tornado, from the amount of mail (for me, the wife and two adult kids), newspapers, magazines, political agitprop, knick-knacks and miscellaneous pocket leavings that have accumulated since last week.
And you can't just throw all the crap out willy nilly, because it is inextricably intermixed with numerous credit solicitations which, if purloined intact from our trash, would enable someone to pay for and enroll in college as me, spend four years failing classes and wracking up debt, then mail the final horrific grades to my employer who would immediately fire me and demand repayment of 19 years worth of wages. And I can't have that.
So it ALL sits there and piles up throughout the week until a moment like this one, when I get home, grab a snow shovel, clear a place at the table, and sit down to relax, get the shredder humming, and have a moderate number of drinks.
You can imagine my delight when, upon sifting today's mail haul of about 35 items, I found the Loudoun County Republican Committee has sent a note reminding of the Convention details, on the off chance the 17 previous reminders from various candidates did not make a sufficient impression.
Ok, that's fine: It is important for the LCRC to ensure everyone has that information. And the fact we received another card to detach, complete and return to confirm our attendance is also fine, because my initial sift only resulted in 18 "immediate action" pieces of direct mail and that measly number would leave me twiddling my thumbs for the rest of the evening.
What really got my attention was the letter informing of the new LCRC Pledge Yo' Ass Now! program. I think this is a GREAT idea which will help lead the Republican Party to the final, glorious end stage that I have been predicting here for months.
You see, in order to register as a delegate, one had to sign a simple initial pledge affirming that "by the sacred beard of Odin I hereby foreswear and renounce all previous political affiliations and on the lives of my unborn grandchildren I pledge to support Republican candidates hereafter be they short or fat, wise or dumb, freemen or indicted co-conspirators, and if I violate this pledge I willingly submit to disembowelment and the gouging of eyes." Pretty standard stuff.
Now comes the notice that the onsite registration process for the June 9 Convention will include a separate RE-AFFIRMATION of the pledge, in which attendees will be politely diverted off to the side of the sign-in table by a Credentials and Internal Examination Committee member, asked to recite in loud voice your basic "I hereby declare, for real, that I intend to support all the nominees of the Republican Party of Virginia and renounce affiliations with any other political party on pain of DEATH" re-pledge, salute the flag while exclaiming "huzzah!", stamp their right foot three times to commemorate the victory of Joshua over the Philistines, and bow their heads. New delegates will then have their left pinky cut off and be directed to the seating area.
This may contribute to a slight backup in the registration line, but it will reaffirm the eternal truth that joining the political process is a scary, shadowy business which might well get you killed.
I'm trying to get some friends and family members more involved in public life, some of whom maybe did not consider themselves party animals of any stripe but are concerned about the immigration issue and see the GOP as the best chance to fix the problem, and Pledge Yo' Ass Now! is exactly the sort of initiation I was hoping they would undergo so we can separate the wheat from the chaff.
Some clown is fulminating over at Blog Fu's place about state Senator Ken Cuccinelli, calling the senator weak on an issue that he is actually strongest on.
(The purveyor of this "black is white" argument is also bemoaning the fact Senator Cuccinelli will not return his phone calls. I can help you with that one: Senators don't waste their time on crazy people. The guy also supposedly runs an anti-Cuccinelli Web site, which I would advise also does not elevate that return call on the priority list.)
Senator Ken Cuccinelli has been one of the most important proponents of stricter immigration law enforcement at the state and local level in the entire nation. He has been involved with Help Save Herndon since soon after it was formed and has supported the group's work ever since. He was the highest-ranking local dignitary at the HSH victory celebration after they bounced the former town government out of office.Help Save Herndon member and Herndon Compass co-founder John Neil. (The Compass, the newspaper HSH started in order to get a fair hearing after the existing local press either ignored them or wrote them off as bigots, was a key factor in turning out the town council.)
As I mentioned the other day, some state lawmakers are taking proactive steps to ramp up immigration enforcement across the country and have formed an organization called State Legislators for Legal Immigration to further that effort. Along with Senator Jay O'Brien, Ken Cuccinelli is a founding member of SLLI from the state of Virginia.
UPDATE: The individual who made the false claims about the senator has retracted his complaints and has in fact fully reproduced this refutation, even the smackdown phrases. That's an act of intellectual honesty, which should be commended. So while we are in the mode of planting kisses on each others' cheeks, I'd like to ask WHY IN THE NAME OF GOD IS HE TRYING TO BRING DOWN ONE OF THE BEST ADVOCATES WE HAVE FOR FIXING THE BIGGEST PROBLEM IN OUR STATE???
The guys at Too Conservative are having a conniption over the fact that Brian Withnell is challenging Gary Clemens for the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Clerk of Court.
The gist of the argument seems to be "How dare he!"
While I will admit, in the spirit of full disclosure, that I seem to be on the other side of pretty much every political contest from the TC folks, I think there is room for objective discussion here.
[More full disclosure: My totally non-political wife, a couple months ago, said this about TC following her initial naive surfing of the blogosphere: "I thought 'Too Conservative' meant they exposed people they thought were too conservative." Heh. From the mouths of babes...]
Anyway, whatever the relative qualifications of the two men, let's examine a simple fact about the Clerk of Court:
The Clerk of Court gets elected for an eight-year term, and the salary is $130,000 a year - and as some insiders have said, it's not exactly a brutal job.
Interesting factoid: If you state the above sentence to anyone in Virginia, 99% of respondents will reply "reeaally??"
So I would say: Considering all the calculations that go into deciding whether one should run for office, this Clerk of Court deal has the added bonus of being a pretty friggin' good job. Better than the governor's or your average congressman's, in fact.
Yeah, it is "public service." But it is also pretty sweet public service.
The outrage at TC, I would therefore submit, is misdirected. I would say, in fact, that if there is any job that we should expect to see contested every eight years, it might be this one. It's a little surprising to me that people are not falling over themselves to line up for the primary.
Hell, it would be an upgrade for me, that's for damn sure.
I wish I had more information on the issues of the campaign. So far, Brian Withnell has established he is a nice guy but has not made it exactly clear why he would be the better man for this cherry position. Gary Clemens has made it clear he is also a good guy, and who can blame him for wanting another eight-year stint.
While I respect Loudoun Insider much of the time and read his posts pretty regularly, I have to think he is overdoing it a bit to hyperventilate over the fact that Withnell is trying to get this job. We do have a democratic process in this country, and oftentimes it is fought over jobs far less remunerative than the Loudoun County Clerk of Court. Supervisor, for instance. I think Gary Clemens should expect a challenge once every eight years and be ready to defend his position.
Brian Withnell is a tech-wonk guy - this is one of the things he did communicate the other night at the LCRC meeting. A lot can change in eight years, and in a data-intensive environment as a court oversees such a person has solid standing to say he should be considered for the position.
Chaz is an up and coming political star who has solid plans to modernize and streamline the clerk's office operation to make it more efficient. He is definitely someone to keep your eye on for the future. So, in an effort to help Chaz launch what promises to be a long and bright future in Virginia politics, Virginia Virtucon is proud to endorse Chaz in this race and add him to our Red Storm Virginia project.
You can check out Chaz's Web site for more info - his background is ideal for the position. If you live in Rockingham County, it sounds like you will have a candidate you can be proud to vote for in November.
After having been successfully "pwned" in the comments to this post - which is a palate-cleansing experience I recommend to all of you, incidentally - I have seen the error of my ways and intend to make up for it herewith. The lesson learned:
Crimes committed by illegal aliens are a huge problem, exacerbated by elected officials inclined to look the other way. (Hat tip - Zimzo).
We've already covered the tragic results of law enforcement laxity that allowed illegal alien repeat offenders in Northern Virginia (Jose Santos Sibrian Espinoza) and Virginia Beach (Alfredo Ramos) to remain out on the streets long enough to get drunk again and kill innocent American citizens.
I would argue that the top public safety officer in a jurisdiction is the one who should step up and smash through that cover by instituting tougher measures at the local level.
Following are a plethora of recent cases you may not have heard about.
Bear in mind that under the provisions of the "immigration reform" legislation currently being debated in the U.S. Senate, all of the criminal illegals detailed below, and thousands like them from any nation, would receive Z visas within 24 hours after applying if USCIS is not able to complete their background checks within that time frame.
[UPDATE: This is going to get linked by another post so it will be helpful to address the discussion in the comments. A deputy wrote in to say technically the responding deputies in this instance might have been following proper procedures if the subjects were juveniles. If the deputy was present that night with the four local residents who watched the entire episode unfold from 30 feet away, I'd have appreciated his commentary. And I do appreciate his compulsion to stick up for his colleagues. As it stands, the only hard evidence we have is the direct evidence of what me and my neighbors watched happen, which is two wasted individuals were let go without even a wrist slap, were given back the keys to their car, and that they did in fact drive away within the next four hours - not enough time to have sobered up if there was any intention to even do so. In addition, the episode was treated like a joke. Therefore the strong perception remains that this was treated like a non-event, and if the subjects had been citizens it would have been treated differently. The fact that no one from the Sheriff's Office responded to this inquiry from four citizens who watched the incident take place right in front of their faces indicates at best utter disdain for local residents' concerns. Finally, if the deputies were following correct protocol, then the protocol is screwed up because it completely ignores public safety - which proves the original point of this post.]
Our society is on the brink of crisis because of the increasing disconnect between politicians and American citizens.
Last week we were treated to the spectacle of U.S. senators debating an "immigration reform" bill which, in the very first clause of its very first paragraph, provides for an "exception of the probationary benefits" which - if you scroll down to section 600 - will allow over 12 million illegal aliens to receive "Z" visas "by the end of the next business day" after they apply for the visa if their background checks and other tests have not been completed. As the Washington Post reported yesterday, USCIS, the agency responsible for processing those applicants, is already an "agency mired in inefficiency."
What happens when millions more applications are added to the workload? Instant benefits of citizenship for millions of illegal aliens who, among other bonuses, "may not be detained or deported" regardless of criminal offenses or other legal infractions.
Pretty surreal, huh? Well, it gets worse. You don't even have to dig far into the document to notice that one of the "enforcement" provisions is construction of 370 miles of fence on our Mexican border. Great idea, right?
It was also a great idea last October when the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which provided for over 700 miles of fence, was passed by both houses of Congress and signed into law by President Bush. Only 11 miles of that fence has been built and already we have a new proposed law which shortens it by about 400 miles.
What sort of fools do our elected officials take us for? Class A morons.
This disconnect - which might also be considered indifference, ineptitude ... or corruption - afflicts our government at every level.
Here in Loudoun County, Virginia, some citizens have said the Sheriff's Department is not adequately addressing the illegal alien problem. Deputies allegedly have said things like "Why don't you move out of the barrio" to Sterling Park residents complaining about misbehavior by migrant workers in their neighborhoods.
Sheriff Steve Simpson's change of heart on requesting Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) training for local deputies brought a skeptical response from Greg Ahlemann, his challenger for the Republican nomination. The question of the Sheriff's commitment to dealing with the issue has been a topic of lively debate in the campaign.
Earlier this month, an incident occurred in front of my house which, in a nutshell, depicts the truly frightening situation citizens face when their governing officials adopt a culture of indifference.
I wrote to the Sheriff's Media Information Officer on Monday, May 14 about what happened. He wrote to me:
I am forwarding your email to the appropriate command staff so I can get you more information on the incident. I will get back to you as soon as I can.
It has now been two full weeks and there has been no reply. This confirms, I believe, the conclusions I drew about the incident. I live in a typical suburban subdivision. Following is the message I sent to the Sheriff's Office:
Although we maintain an attitude of objectivity and independence here at the NVTH Blog, usually choosing to endorse candidates individually based on our diverse interests, I am pleased to report that the NVTH bloggers have conferred and agreed to a corporate endorsement of Hamilton 'Ham' Sandwich, Esq., for Prince William County Commonwealth Attorney.
Because of the early date this endorsement is totally unprecedented.
NOVA TownHall's Joe Budzinski said:
While the opponent offers interesting credentials, we strongly believe Ham Sandwich - particularly with a little spicy mustard - presents an overwhelmingly superior alternative.
You can go to the Raising Ham site for more info on this Ham-tastic political movement.
"David Beats Goliath!"
"The Giants Win The Pennant!"
"I Don't Believe What I Just Saw!"
Whatever is your best analogy, this is the time to employ it.
Just to recap, from a John Andrews supporter::
... radical anti-immigrant groups, including Help-Save-Loudoun.
Funny, but Mark Herring has never said such a thing. Of course, the Senator has been to several of our meetings.
Hiring illegal aliens forces down wages of entry-level Virginia workers, and gives an unfair competitive advantage to employers who violate our labor laws.
Furthermore, Patricia Phillips is the only candidate who has espoused a sound philosophy of governance: Decisions should be made as close as possible to the level of the citizens affected. The more local the control, the better.
Patricia has been a longtime activist on local issues, including the recent successful effort to pass the Virginia Marriage Amendment.
Finally, Patricia has proven herself in the line of fire: She has been willing to meet with large groups of local citizens and take their questions directly. She is not a professional politician, but rather a concerned citizen like most of the rest of us. We need more people like her in Richmond.
Her opponent seems like a very nice person, but Patricia is better on the issues as far as I can tell.
To vote for Patricia, please plan to go out Saturday, May 19, between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm, to vote at one of the following locations:
- Loudoun County Residents: Stone Bridge High School, 43100 Hay Road, Ashburn, VA
- Fairfax County Residents: Rachel Carson Middle School, 13618 McLearen Road, Herndon, VA
This is the post you have all been waiting for.
First, some background: John Andrews, for whatever asinine reason, decided to follow up his impressive direct mail blitz from yesterday - which I believe was probably sufficient to give him a huge boost going into Saturday's election - with a "letter" today bemoaning "dirty tricks" from the Patricia Phillips campaign.
Apparently she sent out a piece that referred to Andrews, whose profession is "developer," as a "developer."
I was not going to delve into this one because frankly I don't see the political angle in it. "You actually take undeveloped land and develop it for uses such as habitation and commerce - well god DAMN you man, how do you live with yourself??!" Who gives a crap if John Andrews is a developer. It's not like he's an abortionist or runs a telemarketing firm.
Patricia Phillips also pointed out his contributions to a Democrat years ago, and somewhere on the Internet (I assume) was the suggestion he was "endorsed by a pro-gay group." No citations are provided for the latter, unfortunately.
But apparently whatever Ms. Phillips did struck John Andrews as a "smear campaign" and "shameful act of desperation."
He goes on: "Your vote will also send a message to Ms. Phillips that you're tired of her dirty tricks and the extremist interest groups who are running her campaign."
My first reaction to this was, "dirty tricks?" Patricia is the mom-next-door. Her campaign, as far as I can see, is being run by her and the nice 20-year old kid who is her campaign manager. They are running a political campaign conducted at the emotional pitch height of a church-retreat kickball tournament. You can make some arguments against Patricia Phillips as the next Virginia Senator, but any complaint along the lines of ethics quickly places the accuser in the "protesteth too much" category.
That "extremist interest groups" note DID get my attention, though. One of my e-mails about lit drops and letters, sent to the local Help Save ... people, got forwarded by an apparent mole to the Andrews campaign. Could it be .... ?
Yes, it could. Read below the fold for an absolutely FANTASTIC expression of Weenie Republicanism, the Republican philosophy which killed every anti-illegal-immigration bill that came out of the Virginia House of Delegates this year, and which was on full display today as "Republicans" conspired with Democrats in D.C. to sell out the American people. This e-mail was sent out by a John Andrews supporter, and exemplifies everything that is wrong with the Republican party and might just indicate the death knell of the GOP.
More on the question of why John Andrews would take what seemed to be a significant advantage in momentum and whittle it down by signing on with the Republican weenie wing. This is particularly sad because John, I firmly believe, is not a weenie. He's a decent fellow and seems right on most of the issues - although not as good, in my book, as Patricia Phillips, that's how the democratic process goes: You get to support the person you most agree with. After that, you support the person you NEXT most agree with.
The Andrews campaign sent out numerous direct mail pieces this week, one of which featured photos of John with Virginia Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis and U.S. Senator John Warner.
Ms. Devolites Davis established herself as part of the "part of the problem" segment of the Virginia GOP by siding with the majority in a Virginia Senate committee, aka "den of thieves," who killed an important House bill that would have helped ameliorate the negative effects of illegal aliens in this state.
HB 2937 would have closed a loophole that allows taxpayer funds to be provided to illegal aliens through non-profit organizations. It is already state law that illegal aliens are not eligible to receive most government benefits. Presumably Ms. Devolites Davis believes, along with Democratic Senator Mark Herring, that Virginia is so rolling in tax dough that we have no legal residents who might need that assistance. Following the beneficent logic of Mr. Herring and Ms. Devolites Davis, maybe we should just divert our entire budget to foreign aid.
Senator Warner voted for last year's Senate bill S. 2611, the "treasonous weasels bill," which would have dramatically increased immigration from south of the border and required the U.S. to consult with the Mexican government before constructing any type of border security. (Look at section 117). More here.
Oddly, John's newspaper ads state he is the "only" candidate in the 33rd district Senate race with a strong position on illegal immigration. Frankly, judging by the company he keeps and the substance of his statements, he has some work to do to back that up.
Below the fold is Patricia Phillips' latest statement on dealing with the illegal alien crisis in Northern Virginia.
Next installment: The most welcome hit piece ever, courtesy of a John Andrews supporter.
Oh, this is rich.
No, it is beyond rich, nearly in the realm of sinfully excessive. Bloggers should not be allowed hanging curveballs like the ones I received today. I have not lived that great a life so for the life of me I cannot discern why Providence would have deigned to reward me such a feast.
I had not planned to write much more about the Patricia Phillips - John Andrews battle for the Republican nomination for Virginia's 33rd district Senate seat. I think I covered the "debate" pretty even-handedly here. I've written a little about Patricia in the past and posted some photos.
I have been doing stuff like delivering flyers and writing letters for Patricia, as have some of the other locals I know. Patricia attended two HelpSaveLoudoun meetings and one HelpSaveHerndon meeting and a boatload of local political events, so she got a number of us on board with her.
John Andrews would not attend our events because he felt they would be stacked against him since I endorsed Patricia back in January. I tried to point out we do not hold debates in which my role as emcee would make a hair's bit of difference, but merely townhall meetings where the audience gets to ask the candidates any questions they want. Patricia did extremely well in these events. I think John would have done well also as he seems pretty quick on his feet.
Some of our members are Andrews supporters, and good for them. I encouraged them to support their chosen candidate.
Most of all, this appeared to be one of those cases where we had two good GOP candidates, and although I was committed to the one, I certainly would have supported whomever was the Republican choice to face Democrat Mark Herring in November. This was part of a letter to the editor I wrote last week, in fact.
The letter, which neither the Easterner nor Observer published, began:
I am voting for Patricia Phillips on May 19 because she has the most intelligent proposal for solving the illegal immigration problem in Loudoun County - although either of the Republican candidates for the 33rd district Senate seat would be an upgrade over incumbent Senator Mark Herring.
(The entire letter is below the fold)
Yesterday, the Andrews campaign had three separate direct mail pieces hit our boxes. Combined with the extensive newspaper advertising he had purchased, I had the feeling John had a significant advantage over the cash-poor Phillips campaign.
Today, I think "significant" may have been a stretch.
John Andrews has apparently thrown in with the weenie wing of the Republican party, and how symbolic it should occur on this infamous day of days.
More detail in the next post.
While our national elected representatives are dickering over exactly how far to sell this country down the river with the amnesty bill under negotiation behind closed doors, local communities continue to push back.
The latest news from Hazelton, Pennsylvania suggests our national "leaders" had better consider their next steps very carefully.
Lou Barletta won a third term as mayor of Hazleton by thumping all comers in an historic election Tuesday.
Barletta hammered Republican challenger Dee Deakos 1,343 votes to 80 in what appears to be the biggest landslide in city history. By percentage, Barletta got 94.4 percent of the vote, while Deakos got 5.6 percent.
The shocker was Barletta's winning the Democratic nomination through his write-in campaign. He beat Mike Marsicano by a near 2-1 margin, 1,211 votes to 699, according to unofficial results. Again by percentage, Barletta got 63.4 percent of the vote to Marsicano's 36.6 percent...
The result - a write-in candidate in a sizable municipality winning a nomination in the opposite party - may be precedent setting...
"A national audience was paying attention to this race," Barletta said. "Combine this, with Farmer's Branch, Texas, when an IIRA copycat was approved on referendum ... and that should send a message to Congress."
Go here to support Hazelton's fight to control illegal immigration in the city. They are the front line in a war that affects all Americans.
Go here to contact Congress and tell your representatives to kill the illegal alien amnesty bill.
Go here for model IIRA legislation you can bring to your own local elected officials.
The theme of the 2007 Loudoun County Sheriff's race can be distilled down to the two I's: Illegals and Integrity.
Over the next four weeks you are going to hear a lot more on both of these, and if tonight was any indication, the number one issue to be played out in the press and at the Loudoun County Republican Convention next month will be illegal immigration.
Loudoun Sheriff Steve Simpson and challenger Greg Ahlemann faced off tonight at Patrick Henry College (PHC) in Purcelville. This was a substantive debate between two articulate and sincere men seeking the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Sheriff.
Full audio of the debate is available below the fold.
This was a singular event in Loudoun politics, if you ask me. Two men whose job description as Sheriff would not hinge on political debating skills put on a marvelous public discussion. There was lots of back-and-forth right from the beginning, opportunities to respond to one another on the fly. This was NOT a series of canned responses.
Take some time to listen and you will find it well worth the time - highly educational about important issues and revealing about the candidates themselves.
Suprisingly, this debate was more in-depth and interactive than last week's meeting between state Senate candidates Patricia Phillips and John Andrews - also hosted by the PHC Republicans.
Unlike the prospective Senators, the Sheriff candidates did NOT require all questions to be pre-screened by the campaigns - throwing out all those deemed too controversial or difficult - and did not forbid recording, "videography" or "flash photography."
So I got a full recording which everyone can now listen to, and I can assure the citizens of Loudoun their next Sheriff can withstand flash bulbs. (And I say "next Sheriff" because Democratic candidate Mike George made a statement to the press so dumb last week that he should be ruled out of contention right now. Listen to the audio for that.)
Maybe it is that the PHC kids are learning from experience - or at least UNlearning the dopey restrictions implemented for the Senate debate. In any case, the PHC debate management team will provide a fantastic resource for local political races going forward.
(And lest there be any question, BOTH of the PHC debates were far superior to - I mean light years above - the bogus Republican presidential "debate" put on by the infants at MSNBC.)
From tonight's discussion, we can assume Loudoun County delegates to the Republican Convention will have a fairly clear-cut choice between an incumbent Sheriff arguing his department is on the right track, and a challenger saying residents demand a change in direction.
I encourage all Loudoun County delegates to listen to the debate and draw your own conclusions.
This just came in - first official announcement from the Withnell campaign:
Brian J. Withnell filed Sunday to run as a Republican for the Clerk of the Circuit Court for Loudoun County. Withnell, 50, would bring more than 10 years of information technology experience to the office.
Withnell spent a year as director of information technology at Wireless Matrix and 10 years at Cable and Wireless USA where he managed multi-million-record databases. He also supervised electronics testing at Westinghouse Electric. He currently teaches math at Park View High School.
He has been a resident of Leesburg for 16 years.
There is going to be a debate between the candidates for Loudoun County Sheriff - Sheriff Steve Simpson and challenger Greg Ahlemann - tonight in the Town Hall of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville at 7:30 pm.
This will likely be the only opportunity to see the candidates engage in any sort of back-and-forth discussion.
The deadline has passed, the delegate and candidate forms filed, checks turned in and warm wishes conveyed most sincerely among contestants. It's all over but the yelling, which will continue for the next 34 days.
It appears about 2420 delegate forms have been filed and, allowing for some invalid voters and no-shows, this should yield the largest political convention ever held in Loudoun County, according to a local veteran in such matters.
Which just goes to show you got to keep an eye on those cabals, because the one that has hijacked the Loudoun County Republican Committee just seems intent on growing larger and larger and bringing in more and more people. It's insidious, I tell you. The one thing I hate the most about a cabal is when it gets so frickin' huge.
Here's the thing. You've got the various ways of holding a nomination process and the LCRC, of all the organizations on the face of the Earth, always manages to screw it up. The four tried and true methods are, in ascending order of inclusiveness:
-Regular Primary; and
-Five Guys Standing On The Sidewalk Speaking In Hushed Tones.
Because the Loudoun County Democratic Party decides on its candidates using the "Five Guys/Sidewalk" process, we can assume it is the most inclusive.
Which leaves the Republicans looking completely like dopes once again, with a nominating process consisting of nothing more than 2400 Loudoun citizens who very suspiciously filed papers to serve as delegates.
New Republican candidates announced: Ben Weber to challenge Independent Jim Burton for Blue Ridge District Supervisor. George Hidy to challenge Eugene Delgaudio for Sterling Supervisor. And a fellow with the last name of "Winthell" I believe to challenge Gary Clemens for Clerk of the Circuit Court.
-Mr. Winthell is an upper-level math teacher in the Loudoun County Public Schools and apparently an IT wiz of some sort.
-It looked like George Hidy turned in some 50 delegate forms. I think Mr. Delgaudio turned in more than 4 times that many, which leads me to surmise Mr. Hidy's plan will be to try and pick off Delgaudio delegates and grab some gathered in this district by the constitutional officers.
UPDATE: Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio notes
Suzanne Volpe has announced the preliminary cabal at 2,850 Delegates today. And Friends of Delgaudio number 300 in the Sterling District. Thank you for the work done by many people in Sterling.
We are honored to have Greg Ahlemann, candidate for Loudoun County Sheriff, take time to visit NOVA TownHall Blog with the following response to yesterday's decision by Sheriff Steve Simpson to pursue ICE training for Loudoun deputies.
I am personally pleased that the Sheriff has accepted this program. After taking a beating in the press for weeks over his stance, he has responded with what our County has needed for some time.
However, the Sheriff's explanation for changing his mind was that now ICE will "pay for the tranportation of inmates" so he does not have to pay 2 deputies overtime, is very weak. The Joseph Passarelli tragedy alone makes this excuse unacceptable. I won't bore you with quote after quote the Sheriff has made over the last several months as to why he would not take on ICE training, but his most recent point is that "zoning" is the way to deal with it.
While I consider myself to be a fiscal conservative, I have no problem with explaining to the Board of Supervisors or the citizens of Loudoun County that when I'm elected Sheriff I have exceeded my budget for the jail because we arrested too many illegal immigrants who are guilty of violent crimes in Loudoun County.
Is this not the job of the Sheriff's office. Protect the innocent and enforce the law. I have yet to meet anyone who has told me they would prefer to save $10 a year on their property taxes by allowing violent offenders to go free because the Sheriff did not want to pay for the overtime. Unfortunately, the effectiveness of this program will only be as successful as the sincerity of the Sheriff enforcing it.
Thanks to Mr. Ahlemann for visiting and his effort all year to keep the ICE training issue a priority. This is a program HelpSaveLoudoun has been pushing for since last summer and we appreciate everyone willing to help bring it to fruition in Loudoun County.
NOVA TownHall extends an open invitation to Sheriff Simpson to respond and will likewise print any message from him here on the front page.
(For those who don't know, Mark is a candidate for the 27th senate district seat being vacated by the vampiric Russ Potts.)
Well, now, VCAP--an endorser of Jill Holtzman Vogel--is reporting that Mr. Tate is being criminally investigated for his campaign finance problems.
Let's hope this issue is speedily resolved as I had hoped that this primary would exemplify the civility and professionalism that a two-conservative primary could embody. Primary day can't get here fast enough in my opinion.
UPDATE: NLS has a potential scoop that this contest might be over sooner than later.
Writing interesting yet accurate and thorough accounts of current events in a remarkably timely manner is an enviable skill to have and one which I unfortunately do not have, and I expect to prove this herewith.
John Andrews and Patricia Phillips, candidates for the Republican nomination to challenge for Virginia's 33rd District Senate seat, met tonight at Stone Bridge High School in Ashburn, for the first of one debate. The fire house primary will take place on Saturday, May 19, 9:00 am - 2:00 pm, at Stone Bridge High School.
Both candidates had strong points and weak ones, but both did a very good job in a format that was somewhat stilted...or should I say "stultifying." (Hey, we writers of the first draft of history don't need no steenkin' dictionaries, ok?)
Overall, I'd say Andrews won on delivery and Phillips on content, although neither was a slouch in either department.
John is a very good public speaker, conscious of volume and cadence, and able to present his ideas under clear headings: "There are two points I need to make about that - one .... two ...." He was easy to follow along with - although not all the answers seemed to actually go anywhere.
Patricia has the more compelling thematic message: Government action and accountability should be as close to the citizens as possible - local control. Local governments should crack down on employers profiting off cheap, illegal laborers. I think this resonates broadly with conservatives, but it could have been more consistently and neatly emphasized from beginning to end.
Neither came off as overly partisan. This would serve either well in the general election.
John had a moment of great magnanimity on the question of "how pro-life are you?" He acknowledged Patricia's long career as a volunteer for pro-life causes and said he could never hope to match it, though he is 100% pro life.
Patricia had a similar conciliatory moment in praising Governor Kaine's executive order demanding people with severe psychological maladies be reported to the FBI database used to verify eligibility for gun purchases.
John was particularly strong on the questions of how schools are being made safer throughout Virginia (more cameras) and how to avoid future problems like the escalating cost of the Dulles Greenway (don't outsource roads).
Patricia nailed the local solution to illegal immigration (crack down on employers) and taxes (do not raise them because there's already being enough taken by Richmond).
John slightly flubbed the response to the Kaine transportation proposal (I don't necessarily agree with it but it's a great start); and Patricia did not provide a real answer on how to balance the need for new housing against the maladies brought on by development.
John showed better familiarity with the status of illegal immigration-related bills in the recent legislative session; Patricia likely won hearts and minds by detailing the negative impact on the American worker.
In sum, I think John talked great but could work on the policy and thematic specifics, and Patricia has the ideas but could work on making her delivery more staightforward and easier to follow.
More fully snarky comments, including a forbidden picture of the event, below the fold.
Announcing "the presentation's probably going to be a little different than I had planned" Loudoun County Sheriff Steve Simpson today informed the board of supervisors that new conditions and reimbursements allowed by the federal Bureau of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have convinced him that his department should seek a memorandum of understanding for Loudoun County deputies to receive immigration enforcement training under the federal 287g program.
Simpson said he had looked into the ICE training last year after it was brought to the board's attention. In his early meetings with the ICE officials "they had said a number of different things the program could and could not do" for the Loudoun County Sheriff's Department, which led Simpson to believe the 287g program would not augment the department's current working relationship with ICE, would be expensive and would, in fact, make it more difficult to get the feds to pick up detainees.
Simpson said several days ago he was discussing the program with one of the ICE agents assigned to the Loudoun County gang unit, and the agent said "you should give it another look" because of a change in personnel and policies at the bureau. After talking to a new ICE contact, Simpson learned the bureau would now guarantee all detainees would be picked up within 72 hours and would reimburse local jurisdictions for expenses incurred to transport prisoners. (Holding more federal detainees often requires the department to incur overtime expenses transporting local detainees to other jurisdictions.)
Therefore, Simpson told the board, if ICE will guarantee "in writing" what he was told on the phone, he would quickly seek to enter into an agreement to have gang intelligence unit and Adult Detention Center deputies receive the ICE training.
Over the past two weeks and up until just a few days ago, Simpson and Greg Ahlemann, challenger for the Republican nomination for Sheriff, have engaged in a debate in the local press (also here) over whether the 287g program is needed in the department.
Ahlemann has maintained that as a matter of community safety the program is a "no brainer," and said contacting ICE would be his first order of business his first day in office if elected.
Simpson had maintained the ICE training would not be an improvement.
(More from Simpson and Ahlemann here.)
Ahlemann questioned Simpson's explanation that new policies at ICE are responsible for the change, saying "the federal government is not going to change their ICE agreement for Loudoun County." Noting that Simpson's testimony today echoed statements Ahlemann has made in the press recently, Ahlemann characterized the Sheriff's change of heart as a "flip flop" for political purposes in response to the growing publicity of the issue in their campaign and that this week is a politically significant time period. (Last week, the Loudoun County Republican Committee reissued its Call for the June 9 convention, re-opening a one-week window - this week - for the candidates to sign up new delegates.)
Simpson responded that "if it was political I would have done this months ago...I met with [ICE} and the initial responses I got from them were not where we needed to go."
But Virginia Virtucon has an interview up with 28th Senate District candidate John Van Hoy. One of my main duties here at NoVA TownHall is to keep our readers up to date on Virginia politics, and I will work to continue to fill that role as best during my quasi-leave of absence.
Wow. Eileen at VB Dems just hosted a fantastic live blog with our Delegate Tom Rust, who provided interesting, thorough responses to tough questions. He also taught me a few things about some of the legislative initiatives we followed here during the last session.
It will only take 5-10 minutes to read the whole thing; go check it out.
More Tom Rust info available here.
After a short discussion which was by all accounts not nearly short enough, but was, on the plus side, largely inaudible, the Loudoun County Republican Committee voted to approve a new Call for a June 9 convention, banishing from memory and the history books the old, outdated, slightly risque and, frankly, evil original Call for a June 9 convention.
According to the new Call, there will now be a ... June 9 convention.
But seriously, some major modifications required by the crack legal team of the Republican Party of Virginia were enforced and implemented in the new Call, resulting in a Call so far superior in every way that I will personally celebrate by leaving my front door unlocked and my wallet sitting open on the porch overnight just like we could do in the old days. Because I think the RPV may have just saved us from ourselves and ushered in a new era for the community.
The new Call is modeled strictly according to RPV guidelines. To wit:
- The word "Call" shall heretofore be capitalized.
- The date "June 9, 2007" shall be expressed in the traditional format as "June 9, 2007," rather than according to Julian numeration as 2454261 despite the obvious difficulties this poses for programmers.
- The pledge required of voters and delegates shall not require they renounce any previous affiliation with the Democratic Party, but simply require them to "act surprised" if at any time in the future it is brought to light that they are, in fact, Democrats.
So I left the meeting, I'm sure like everyone else, grateful for the paternal oversight of the RPV and confident that organization is worth every penny I am sending them.
The key question of the night was whether to approve the new Call and have the previously agreed-upon June 9 convention, or consider some totally different method of selecting candidates such as a "fire house primary," in which the candidates don raincoats and boots and the voters get to take turns at the firehose: last candidate standing wins.
The ensuing debate - which I will now recount for those who were there because as far as I could tell everyone who was sitting more than ten feet from the 1920's era sound system were all doing crosswords or playing gin rummy - was the typical "the fire house thing is better because it is funner and brings in more voters" vs "the convention is better because we all love each other more when it's over." Yadda yadda yadda.
This discussion was interrupted by a new motion to allow the vote on the above to be conducted by paper ballot so no one would feel intimidated by the Delgaudio mafia, but with the RPV rep watching everything like a hawk it was generally agreed that introducing a new document into the process might easily result in an infraction getting the entire assembly sent off to some gulag in the boondocks section of the state for re-education, which would result in Loudoun Insider having to reveal his true identity, which would mean the end of the current age.
Even though Republicans, we're in no huge hurry for Armageddon, so we decided to stick with a voice vote on this deal.
Back to the original motion to stick with the original idea of a June 9 convention: It passed by a vote of approximately 200-35.
I hate to say this folks, but the hijacking of the Loudoun County Republican Party continues apace. If somebody with a brain doesn't do something about this and soon, those "Group B" wingnuts might start to get the upper hand.
Contrary to the Post's report, this is not just "an organization in Georgia" but one led by D.A. King who has been in front of the immigration issue for years. Also, there were at least 800 people present during the first hour, not the 400 reported. The crowd had thinned to about half by the time it was over, though.
They brought together an amazing assortment of speakers - very much a unique experience to be able to listen to so many in such a short time period.
We'll have plenty of audio highlights up in the next 24 hours so stop back by.
Jeanne West, Democratic candidate for Sterling District Supervisor, held her campaign opener on Saturday here in Sterling.
I was fortunate enough to get to speak to her for awhile, and Jeanne seems like a very nice and intelligent woman. She is a longtime resident of Sterling and is keenly aware of the issues that local residents are facing. I asked what she thought about "zoning" problems and she immediately mentioned "overcrowding" as a major issue.
In her speech, she indicated that solving the overcrowding problem in our community should be a priority.
She should, because she and I live within blocks of each other and we are both seeing the same problems.
Her speech was short on details about how to fix the problem, and the expected denunciations of Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio failed to account for the fact that Delgaudio was personally responsible for enacting stricter rules in the County regarding how many people can live in a dwelling.
I think Ms. West is sincerely interested in solving the problem, and she ought to acknowledge that the current Supervisor is the only one so far to do anything about it. I also think Ms. West is going to run into a buzzsaw within her party if she intends to propose implementing stronger enforcement of local zoning laws.
This will be a very interesting race. Ms. West clearly understands there are problems in Sterling Park. She also needs to understand that the other eight members of the Board of Supervisors do not seem to give a rat's patoutie about Sterling Park and are perfectly happy to let Sterling Park go to the dogs. Supervisor Delgaudio has been our advocate so far.
Is Ms. West willing to be such an advocate?
I should also mention I have met Ms. West's husband, Willie. We served at the polls "across" from each other last November at the local elementary school for several hours, and we shot the breeze much of the time.
Willie, as far as I am concerned, is a great guy. We talked about numerous issues, including illegal immigration. In the course of our conversation I kept thinking there was little difference between us except for the "R" and "D" after our names.
From my personal interaction with each of them, I can't say I could ever dislike Jeanne or Willie West. I wonder whether they understand that Eugene Delgaudio is on the same side of the important issues, and that Eugene has been doing what Jeanne says she plans to do.
Sterling Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio held a packed campaign event at Santini's Pizza Deli in Sterling tonight, with at least 70 attendees* and maybe more. [See below for update]
Eugene gave another of his Churchillian addresses: A complete report with many more photos will be posted tomorrow night.
[At the NOVA TownHall Blog - now with over 18% more Protic!!]
UPDATE: Turns out there were at least 110 present because the side of the room we were in had 60 seats, and every one of them was filled and at least 20-30 people were standing in the room and outside the front and side doors at any given time. With the flow of people throughout the night, I'd say 110 is conservative.
Early reports are the event was a financial success, corresponding to the turnout.
Supervisor Delgaudio was his usual inspiring old self.
He pledged to continue to stand up for the interests of Sterling's residents, to oppose higher taxes and ridiculous spending proposals, and, when necessary, to cast the one vote out of nine to demonstrate that regular citizens have at least one voice on the Board opposing governmental overreaching.
Yes, I must say, I did find it uplifting and entertaining. Amusing - to be sure - because our beloved Supervisor is nothing if not droll and ironic; but in a certain sense edifying as well. Just when you might think the government is so crazy that no regular person could make sense of it, here comes Eugene to say - Have no fear, because I have their number.
Some, sadly, missed the inspirational aspect entirely.
Certainly, surely, the little one lacks a finely developed ear for soaring prose, and I can only assume that as the child grows older and wiser she will learn to share in my enthusiasm.
As usual, Supervisor Delgaudio's event brought together a who's who of local good guys and dignitaries.
Proponents of immigration enforcement at the local level and agents of change, Herndon Council member Dave Kirby, Loudoun Sheriff candidate Greg Ahlemann, and Herndon Mayor Steve DeBenedittis.
Two very straightforward guys, strong on immigration enforcement and quality of life in Loudoun, Catoctin Supervisor candidate Robert Bruton and Sheriff Steve Simpson:
Needless to say, no Delgaudio event would be complete without the lifeblood of Loudoun conservatism; to wit: LCRC Sterling District Chair Fred Avila, 33rd District Senate candidate Patricia Phillips, LCRC Treasurer Mark Sell and LCRC Chair Paul Protic. All hail, all hail:
Note: A couple fine gentlemen present whom I spoke with but did not get photos of were 33rd District Senate candidate John Andrews and Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue Roger Zurn.
A Northern Virginia conservative asked, "How in the world does Delgaudio manage to get so many different people to show up?" I admit, it is a conundrum. He gets the immigration enforcement crowd because he is the only member of the Board of Supervisors to take the lead on the issue of 287(g) training for Sheriff's Department personnel. He gets the conservatives because he is, if nothing else, a conservative. I think he gets local citizens because they see him all the time and tend to like him. Others, maybe, show up because they know there will be a crowd wherever Eugene is the main attraction.
Even his detractors must admit, Supervisor Delgaudio has a following like no other member of the Board.
Karen Schultz, the only democrat running for the Russ Potts seat, started her campaign off yesterday in front of her home crowd in the west end of the 27th. She focused on transportation, education, and health care (aka the liberal trinity).
I'm really shocked that Not Larry Sabato and Raising Kaine have not been pushing Ms. Schultz, and I've yet to see her even mentioned on either page.
What's wrong with this lady that the internet crazies won't get on board?
TOPIC: ILLEGAL IMMIGRATIONA Public Townhall Meeting with Patricia Phillips, Candidate For Virginia Senate
Monday, April 16, 7:00 pm
At Cascades Library, 21030 Whitfield Place, Potomac Falls, VA
In this year's session, the VA Senate killed every important immigration reform bill passed by the VA House of Delegates.
The Candidates' Forum meetings allow you to make your views known to the people who seek to represent you next year.
Meet the candidate, learn where she stands, and tell her what you think about this important local issue!
(Patricia is running for the Republican nomination for the 33rd District Senate Seat. The primary will be held on May 19, 2007, from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm. More details available here.)
Tonight, Senator Ken Stolle of Virginia Beach held a public meeting in which many questions from the audience focused on issues related to illegal aliens in the state.
The senator is a fantastic public speaker with a seemingly lock-tight constituency in the district. No wonder he is never opposed.
Questioners asked about bills passed by the House of Delegates which were quashed by Stolle's Courts and Justice Committee. The discussion had an element of heightened intensity because of the two girls who were killed in Virginia Beach recently by an illegal alien who had skated on drunk driving and other charges.
You may need to play with the volume because Stolle was amplified and the audience was not.
There will be no editorial commentary for now, although I will say that listening to this back and forth provides an insight into the man whose committee shut the door on six or eight bills addressing illegal immigration passed by the Virginia House of Delegates.
The number of good immigration-related bills passed by the House this year was unprecedented, and the Courts and Justice Committee's dispatching of every single one that came before it was equally unprecedented.
One might expect Senator Stolle to have been a bit defensive.
He articulates the classic argument that no one can do anything about illegal immigration until the federal government does something first.
Grassroots activists on the local level believe the exact opposite, that the federal government will not do anything until local jurisdictions take the lead.
If you want to understand why the state of Virginia has such an increasing problem with illegal aliens despite all of the legislation proposed to fix the problem, spend an hour listening to Ken Stolle talk about it.
Interesting read over at Virginia Virtucon with a candidate for the John Chitaxer's seat (Stafford, Spotsylvania and a couple other localities). I disagree with Jon Myer's view on smoking bans as he does not seem interested in protecting property rights of business owners, but he seems all right otherwise. I don't know much else about this race or his primary opponent John Van Hoy, but it's an important seat so let's hope we get the strongest conservative nominee.
Anybody live over that way and following this race more closely?
Many others, especially those in his home district of Virginia Beach, might reasonably say, too little too late, senator.
Where was the senator a month ago on this issue? Merely killing a boatload of legislation meant to address this very problem.
Here is a report from the 2007 session of Virginia's General Assembly:
"We feel there are so many of these bills and they are so outrageous because they are designed to hurt people," said Nancy Lyall, legal coordinator for Mexicans Without Borders, one of a dozen groups sponsoring the protests.
The protesters may find a sympathetic response from the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
Late Wednesday, the committee voted to table a key piece of legislation being championed by conservatives, including Attorney General Robert F. McConnell (R), to require state and local police to work with federal authorities in tracking down and detaining illegal immigrants.
Sen. Kenneth W. Stolle (R-Virginia Beach), the chairman, said the committee decided not to act because several police departments opposed the measure. Col. David M. Rohrer, Fairfax County police chief, testified that he worries that Latinos would be afraid to report crimes or cooperate with police if the bill was approved, Stolle said.
"Law enforcement officers are not equipped to do civil immigration law," Stolle said.
No study has ever shown that immigration enforcement activities by local officers depress the reporting of crime in immigrant communities, whereas we don't even need studies to show that the failure of local and state authorities to remove illegal aliens from the community has resulted in tragedy after tragedy.
(And the above only encompass the drunk-driver-illegal-alien segment of the crime problem. The segment comprised by the illegal alien MS-13 and 18th Street Gang members in this town is a story for another day).
While, certainly, anyone with a heart must celebrate the "sympathetic response" the pro-illegal alien lobby received from Virginia's Senate Courts of Justice Committee this year, maybe we can reserve a token sprinkle of sympathy for the legal residents who are being victimized.
With regard to Ken Stolle and the "Stolle" wing of the Virginia GOP: Does anybody in this state's Republican Party happen to have their brain turned on?
UPDATE: I just heard from someone in the Virginia Beach area who related that Stolle is considered wrong on a decent sized list of issues but is also completely bulletproof, that neither the Republicans nor Democrats will challenge him as long as he wants to keep the seat.
That's too bad. It's almost enough to make one cynical about politics.
It's about time that Republicans start using blogs as an organizational tool for political success. Virginia Virtucon is compiling a list of conservative candidates to support financially and links to their donation pages.
I would second their recommendation to give all you are able. We're going to need a ton of cash to hold back the dems this year.
As a side note, it would be nice if we did something similar to augment grassroots activism. Raising Kaine and company did this with a fair amount of success during the 2006 campaign, and we know how small the margin was in that race. Imagine if we could have generated a couple more hundred volunteer hours....
As promised, I do have an exciting announcement for our readers!
Jill Holtzman Vogel will be live-blogging with us here at NOVA TownHall Blog this Thursday, March 29 from 7:00-7:30 PM. Mrs. Holtzman Vogel is running for the 27th State Senate seat (now held by retiring public enemy #1 Russ Potts). The Republican primary is scheduled for June 12th, and Jill will be squaring off against former Middleburg Vice Mayor Mark Tate.
Jill will field your questions; so please leave them in the comment section below.
UPDATE: The Dems have at least one candidate now. Winchester School Board member Karen K. Schultz has signed up to take on the winner of the Republican primary. While this is traditionally a Republican stronghold in almost all elections, growth throughout the district makes this a race to watch. For details on Schultz, see the NV Daily and the Winchester Star.
UPDATE #2: Stay tuned tonight to see Jill answer your questions!
UPDATE #3: We've begun our live-blog with Mrs. Holtzman Vogel. I'd like to thank her once again for taking time out of her busy schedule to join us.
UPDATE #4: We have reached the conclusion of our live-blog. Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment. We look forward to having you back anytime.
As Jill said, she will be answer more questions and email them to me, and I'll do a follow-up post with this post linked to it. There were definitely some extremely good questions asked. Jill did an excellent job, and I'm looking forward to seeing more answers.
FINAL UPDATE (I swear!): I'd like to extend an open invitation to Mark Tate to come on the blog for equal time, and I'll make a formal invitation this weekend.
I've heard that the 27th State Senatorial Committee has decided that there will be a primary to pick the nominee to replace Russ Potts. The date for the primary will be June 12th. While I prefer conventions/mass meetings to pick nominees because they get activists involved to a greater extent rather than just voting, I'm just glad that Russ Potts will not be on the ballot.
It appears that there is some rumormongering going on over at Not Larry Sabato as to whether Russ Potts has put up a candidate that doesn't agree with any of his core principles in an attempt to defeat Mark Tate. This is about as far fetched as a rumor could be. While I agree that Russ Potts is along the lines of a movie monster, everyone in politics knows who Russ Potts is and what he stands for at this point, and I don't think someone who would seriously run for state senate would base his entire campaign on Russ Potts telling him to run. In addition, Russ just recently attacked both candidates in the press.
This reporter is going to do some more digging before he starts believing a conspiracy on this grand a level.
Update: I think I came off sounding a little biased earlier this morning so I've edited my previous entry a little.
While the rumor about the Potts plant may be true, it is, at this point, uncorroborated, and it does strike as me as a little too reminiscent of some of the whisper campaign that was going on previously. I think Mark Tate is a great guy and would make a fabulous nominee (just as Jill is a fabulous woman and would make a great nominee). It's always been my goal to help keep this race clean until the primary and accusing Jill of being the Potts annointee is neither clean nor constructive.
I think I heard a whisper this past weekend, from the realm of the politically undead...
I've posted an article from the Loudoun Times-Mirror with a retrospective from the embarrasment...I mean...state seantor from Winchester Russ Potts. He gives an interesting assessment of the two good people looking to replace him this November.
"She's obsessed with abortion and social issues," Potts said of Vogel. "[Tate's]ruthless, unscrupulous. They're going to have an OK Corral-shootout to see who can out-Tom Delay each other."
Anyone that Russ Potts doesn't like is a superstar in my book.
I still have a nagging feeling that he's going to run again because, like any good horror villain, he's never dead when you're sure he is.
Although I'd rather have seen Russ Potts dismembered by the constituents he's cheated of a principled leader, I'll take him being gone one way or the other. I have pasted Jill Holtzman Vogel's reaction below the fold. Now, let's elect a good leader to take Russ's place.
As we noted last night, the Virginia Senate is in the process of derailing proposed legislation intended to address the negative effects of illegal immigration in the state. A host of good bills were passed by the House of Delegates but the (also Republican-controlled) Senate is effectively depositing them one by one into the circular filing cabinet.
Not to fear, however. The current session in Richmond is merely a trial run for November 6, 2007, when Virginians will have the opportunity to throw the folks who vote for illegal immigration out on their collective ears if need be - and this includes the entire state legislature and many local offices.
HelpSaveLoudoun, among many others, is watching their list and checking it twice, to see who goes in the "naughty" column come November. Some elected officials are cementing their status as we speak by their votes in Richmond; others will make their case for yea or nay recommendations during public meetings such as the ones being held Feb 19, March 26 and April 16 in Sterling.
A piece of legislation still on the table will create a commission to investigate the fiscal impact of illegal aliens in the Commonwealth. Learn about it here and tell your Senator to support it if you think this information would be useful.
Attached below the fold is a press release from Jill Holtzman Vogel condemning our heinous senator from the 27th district.
I think the following sums up her position pretty well:
"Russ Potts has betrayed the trust of 27th District voters yet again. When he ran for reelection in 2003, he called himself the 'first pro-life chair' of the Education and Health Committee. He has reneged on that promise. Instead of keeping his word, he sided with the extreme pro-abortion lobby and against innocent human life that deserves protection," Holtzman Vogel said.
Before 10th District Republican complains, I'd be glad to post Tate releases if I knew how to get on his email distribution list.
At this point, I still don't have horse in this race and just want to make sure that both candidates are still in a position to win whenever the nominee is decided.
UPDATE: My apologies to the Vogel campaign as I'm not sure how to center the banner image. It didn't look like that on the press release. Maybe Joe will have some idea.
A contact inside the 27th district state senate race passed on the following newsletter from Republican candidate Mark Tate (former Middleburg Vice Mayor) that I've copied and pasted below the fold. I've read comments on a couple of other blogs indicating that supporters of Mr. Tate were engaged in a whispering campaign against his his conservative opponent Jill Holtzman Vogel, a campaign finance attorney from Fauquier, with the message that Jill is not as pro-life as she claims to be.
It would seem that Mr. Tate himself has actually been involved in the whispering and is now shouting his accusations. This sort of mudslinging in a vital primary is completely out of line, and Mr. Tate should focus on explaining to the voters of the 27th district why he is qualified to be their state senator rather than casting aspersions on another true believer in our conservative social values. While I reserve my judgement as to who should be elected in this race, the Tate campaign seems to be off on the wrong foot.
Update: With Potts out of the race, this race is likely to heat up. Maybe we can get Mrs. Vogel and/or Mr. Tate into this site to live-blog.