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O’Brien’s ideas, good and otherwise Saturday, 18 February 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Political, State of Virginia.
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Senator Jay O’Brien (R-39th) has suggested that local electoral boards may want to adopt a more professional image.

“In the past election, two election officials were family members of the candidate. Leslie Byrne ran for lieutenant governor, and her husband Larry was on the election board. And in Gate City, Attorney General Jerry Kilgore’s mother was on the election board down there – and this shouldn’t be allowed.”(1)

I was told that the state Democrat Party wouldn’t touch this issue because it affected some Democrats. The possibility of “Hurting Byrne” was cited. My view, and that of many other people around here in Gate City, is “So what?” If it’s wrong for one political party, it’s wrong for the other one as well. This was and is not a political tactic to damage Jerry Kilgore – this is something that’s a legitimate issue to be addressed completely separated from party bias.

O’Brien is also the only person from his side of the aisle I’ve seen (I’m sure there are others) suggesting that some real numbers be collected regarding illegal aliens and the issues that surround them. This is a hot button to push, a serious item of contention between parties, and it seems to me that for Republicans, this is a chance to ‘put up or shut up.’ Chances to say “See? I told you so!” are things that should be embraced, if you truly think you’re right on something important.
I’m for Tim Kaine’s statement that transportation funding has to be used only for transportation, rather than a slush fund for whoever wants to dip into it. So is O’Brien. What could make more sense than this? If there is a transportation crisis, then funds earmarked for transportation should be used to help offset that crisis.

I’m less than thrilled by the seemingly commonsense argument that tax dollars should only be spent in the areas where they are raised, when it come to education. The problem I have with this is that educational mandates are passed down from the state, and both the state and federal governments are fond of unfunded mandates. An unfortunate fact of life is that is you have 20 people living on a block, as opposed to 20 people living a couple of acres apart, you’re going to have more resources available to deal with unfunded mandates on the local level.

Our transportation issues are not the ones plaguing NoVa, our resources are not the same as those available to NoVa, yet the population dense areas such as NoVa are the ones these mandates come from. Pick your problem: gridlock from too much traffic, or using a horse because no road goes where you need to go.

(1) http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/article.asp?article=62137&paper=62&cat=104

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