Joe Thomas "Blog-cast" Headline Animator

Friday, February 12, 2010

Suffering from attention deficit (politically)

I know that I promised you a follow up on the revenue-sharing agreement today. Well, here is my take after talking with the mayor(click the links to listen), one of the county supervisors, one of our Delegates to the General assembly and to respected government-watchdogs here in Charlottesville. I think amending the agreement to take into account the changes over the past 30 years has to be done as well as terms that address regular re-affirmations. Both municipal governments seem amennable to the idea, but I think the hangups are going to be: the County is angling to end the agreement altogether and the City will want something pretty substantial like a unified school district to consider coming to the table. However, they both agreed that it needs to happen.

Now, I'd like to address a poll that was just released by Public Policy Polling regarding the 5th District Congressional race.

According to the poll, of the 5 (of 7) candidates running for the GOP nomination, the only one that scores at best a tie with Tom Perriello is... Robert Hurt. Ken Boyd is close, too and some are within 6 and 8 points. Sounds dire, but before I get to the troubling bit, there is this; Tom himself was 30 points behid Virgil Goode at the same point two years ago. Oh, PPP also asked these voters what about Virgil running as an independant if Robert Hurt won. Virgil ties Tom 41-41 with Robert at 12%.

The troubling bit is in the first part of the poll, where they asked these voters how they viewed the candidates. The answer was a resounding; "We don't."

With the choices; Favorable; Unfavorable; and Not Sure; None of the erstwhile republicans had lower than 70% NOT SURE. That means, as I've said in this column before, these candidates need to get out there and educate the district about who they are before they face Tom. Given that a primary forces that more than a nominating convention, they might want to consider thanking the party chairs that voted for a primary. But, wait a moment.... Friday morning they release another poll, this one is just the GOP Primary. We get the results exclusively on 1260am and 94.1fm, WCHV at 6:30am so tune in and we'll find out if anyone has been getting past their "attention deficit disorder." (PS: It's also "5th District Friday" on my radio show, 6am and 8am, so we're doing our best in my part of the world to fix that.)

"Thanks for all the fish!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"The Hand that rocks the cradle rules..."

I'm feeling a bit pent up because my radio show has been consumed with the emergency situations that have confronted my area in the form of snow these past few mornings.

One of the thing that I wish we had more time to get into is a quirky little battle between our local governments.

Here in Central Virginia the main city (Charlottesville) has this pact with it's surrounding county (Albemarle) called; "The Revenue Sharing Agreement." It's basically a municipal version of a protection racket agreement by which the City agreed to stop annexing County land (something they did quite a bit, especially if City taxpayers were moving their business to it...) and they'd both kick money into a revenue sharing fund. Of course, whichever municipality was doing better, revenue-wise, winds up cutting a check to the other based on the agreed-upon formula. (pg 3&4)

For the most part, since the City has had it's boundaries fixed and have a real strict height rule on development, their population is about the same as it was when the agreement was made (40k) while the County has boomed, it's the County that pays the City annually (this year it $19 million). The true irony of the agreement is, a year after the it was struck, the Virginia General Assembly made it illegal for a City to annex it's surrounding County land yet, since there was no language addressing this as a way to end the pact, (pg 8) the County continues to pay to keep the City from doing something it couldn't do anyway.

Now, since the Commonwealth says annexation cannot happen it does not recognize this agreement. So, when it allocates state education monies, they figure Albemarle's share based on their revenues with the money paid to Charlottesville still on their books and vice-versa. Annually, Albemarle's delegate to the General Assembly (Rob Bell) regularly asks for this to be fixed and it has yet to get that measure passed. However, every time he proposes such legislation it sets off a round of "us-versus-them" between the taxpayers in both communities.

Know this, I don't think that this a good bit of business and whoever wrote it was sly enough to make sure it stayed enforceable even if the chief concern was eliminated by law. That said, it is legal, binding, approved and signed by both sides AND approved by referendum. Just a long time ago. (1982)

Back then, the County was rural and the city was urban. Now, there's an "urban ring" in the County and they have all these municipal costs that they didn't have when the agreement was struck and they want out. Don't blame them for that. Don't blame the City, either, for saying no way to the idea of ending it. Would you end a contract that is almost entirely to your benefit? I think not. But, Joe, you say; if you don't like it how do we get rid of it? Well, this brings us to the little time I had to address this on-the-air and why it's put me into a corner with the former opponent to Delegate Bell for his G.A. Seat, Democrat Cynthia Neff.

I suggested last week that since it's school funding that's at issue, and we need to put something pretty big on the table to lure the City to the bargaining table, that we discuss merging the two municipal ("public option"?) school districts and then re-writing the agreement to have it need to be re-certified every four years to allow for changing circumstance. Then, while preparing to, once the snow was done (Thursday, 2/11/10), do a show about this with the Mayor of Charlottesville, an Albemarle Supervisor and two respected Government observers, I read Ms. Neff's editorial in the local paper on the 9th: "County wrong to act against the City" in which she proposes THE EXACT SAME THING.... "Times of crisis like the economic situation we’re all weathering call for leadership, not political pandering." She Writes, "Why not merge the two school boards with the combined city and county budgets and set a plan that meets all of our kids’ needs?" I guess she's a listener. She could have at least added; "Like I heard Joe Thomas say on 1260am and 94-1fm, WCHV the other day."

I know many people who will throw the idea out simply because she supports it. Heck, I nearly did. But I still think that it's a good idea because; A) It will purge one whole bureaucracy and cut costs immeasurably; and  B) It's the kind of offer that would have to be promoted in order to get Charlottesville to even entertain the idea of giving up such a one-sided deal.

I'll report in tomorrow on what the reaction is to my idea and post up the pod casts of the conversation.

One thing that I'd like to add is this; The most irritating thing about this controversy is, as a conservative I despise the concept of State and Federal funding for and vis-a-vis, control of, our schools. If the State and Federal Governments left our tax money in our community we could fund our own schools and then never would have had this problem in the first place. Also, if a similar one did come up, we could sort it out among the stake holders in our community instead of pleading with a bunch of elect-eds who couldn't care less about the problems of Charlottesville and Albemarle County's schools. Except, of course, for wanting to be the 'hand that rocks our cradle" so they can rule our roost.

"Thanks for all the fish!"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Saul Alinsky drops by for some "T.E.A."

I have been concerned about this happening for some time; The "Alinsky-ites" in Barack Obama and Tom Perriello's party have taken some of their heroes' "rules for radicals" and have turned them on to the T.E.A. Party movement again.

Having been incapable of conceiving that a group of citizens would, without financial considerations, gather for hours to show that they've had enough of the state-ist, big-brother government that had been growing like a tumor in Washington, DC (and, on a smaller scale, in Richmond, at the Lane Auditorium and at C'ville City Hall). They applied rule five in the Alinsky's chapter on tactics: "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. It is almost impossible to counteract ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, which then reacts to your advantage." This manifested in those juvenile references to obscene sexual acts made by Keith Olbermann, Anderson Cooper, Bob Schultz and Rachel Maddow daily, designed to cause T.E.A. party membership to break apart in embarrassment.

Having seen this inevitably fail, they have now moved onto rule #4: "Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules." For this, we jump to my e-mail in-box this afternoon (2/03/10), when this TPMuckraker story was forwarded to me:

'We Might As Well Be Able To Vote For Disney': Tea Partier's Slam Citizens United Ruling

The e-mail goes on to quote several 'TEA Party members' in the following fashion: "Shane Brooks, a Texas-based Tea Party activist, told TPMmuckraker in an email:...", "In a recent blog post, Kevin Smith of the Nashville Tea Party wrote that...", "Jim Knapp, a Sacramento based Tea Party activist, went even further, telling TPMmuckraker via email:...". The only verifiable "TEA Party" person the e-mail story references is Dale Robertson of the website, ''. I 'surfed' to that site and, it pains me to say this, if there was ever someone who appeared to be a 'plant' of the leftists in the TEA party movement, it'd be this guy and his website. I say that because he's been conveniently photographed with egregiously inflammatory signs that the Ariana Huffington's of the world conveniently got a hold of for their website campaigns to paint the TEA Party-goers as dangerous. His website also leaves me with a curious feeling of 'faux-TEA' (or fawl-TEA, maybe?). Exhibit one in my defense of this feeling is the big page celebrating Scott Brown's election and most of the dyed-in-the-wool TEA Party activists that I know are ambivalent at best over his election.
Using this model, I could be tell people that I'm a member of "Code Pink" and say how nice George W. Bush was when I met him. Is it indicative of anything real? No. However it does fit into a nice campaign, which is what I fear is being put together. A campaign to diminish the opponents that these leftists fear will stand in their way of election or re-election by fragmenting their support.
We need to be aware of the potential for this to continue (just look at how long the 'tea-ba**er' comments have continued) and diligent in vetting anyone who is promoted as "so-and-so from the Walla-Wall TEA Party" to tell us we are wrong in our Constitutional Conservatism.

Which, by the way, tells us that in reference to the Supreme Court's decision, you cannot ration our God-given rights because; A) A right is either always a right or never is and; B) Unless you are God, they aren't yours to ration!!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Satirized for your safety...

I'm sure some have seen this, and others might think the subject matter is too dire for humor, but since this bit of humor sums up my views of where we are right now, too bad... (PS, I didn't write this. It was sent to me today...)

(thanks, Clay)

Metallurgical and metal casting research has led to the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element, Governmentium (Gv), has one neuron, 25 assistant neurons, 88 deputy neurons, and 198 assistant deputy neurons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert; however, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium can cause a reaction which would normally take less than a second to take from four days to four years to complete.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 2-6 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neurons and deputy neurons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium�s mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neurons, forming isodopes.

This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as a critical morass. When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.