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Richmond Sunlight Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Posted by R Garfield in Political, State of Virginia, Technology.
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I’m late on the bandwagon on this one – but head on over to Richmond Sunlight, an awesome site for keeping sight of what’s happening in our state government. Shaun Kenny, Brian Patton, and my old buddy Tabitha Peace are all raving about this site, I agree with all three:

  • It’s much easier to use than the Legislative Information Services site
  • Tag Clouds. But beyond that, it’s easy to add relevant tags
  • Up-to-date progress on the bills
  • An easy-to-read mark up of changes (to existing legislation)
  • A clean, simple interface (hey, it’s Waldo Jacquith creation, so that’s only natural, right?

I use DLS/LIS sites a lot, and sometimes finding what I need there is an incredibly slow and annoying process. Richmond Sunlight makes finding the same information a snap, click, smile experience. This is a definitive ‘keeper.’

I’m off to spam eMail this site to the mayor, tc, and my commission and committee buddies now 😉

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Former Secretaries Urge LeBlanc’s Confirmation Sunday, 19 February 2006

Posted by R Garfield in Political, State of Virginia, Views On News.
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Senate and House Republicans have been urged by former secretaries from both sides of the political aisle to allow LeBlanc to serve on Tim Kaine’s cabinet.

I’ve been trying to figure this one out, which is why I’ve not posted anything about it before. Several people seem to feel that it’s because Senate and House Republicans want to do the big hairy ape thing and flex their biceps – maybe to show Kaine, a Democrat, just who it is that is going to be running the Commonwealth. I’ve never really bitten into either of those arguments.

What I think – and I have no real basis for this, other than armchair quarterbacking – is that it’s fear and intimidation. It’s not the Senators and Delegates that are afraid, though – it’s their behind-the-scene bosses. Recent campaign disclosures have shown once again that far more Republicans than Democrats are pocketing funds from Big Business interests, in ways that could be described as being ‘a little sideways.’

Those bosses look at the possibility of the appointment of someone who’s taken a stand for the little guy – the ones they make their bucks on the back of – and got a bit fearful. So, they pick up the phones, call up the people they made those big campaign donations to, and say “Let’s get rid of this guy. Even if he supports the policy, he’ll have a powerful PR position to speak from.”

And all the little boys and girls chorus, “Yessir!”

And we here in the Commonwealth get something that’s been on its way for some time: “Government by the Big Corps, for the Big Corps; which shall not perish from the earth.”

Senator John McCain has stated publicly that although America has done well economically, that the average American, the working class, has not shared in the fruits of that success. It looks like the GOP is determined that workers will continue to be denied a voice as well.

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