Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Goode Republicans elect chairman, marriage amendment resolution

Charlottesville, Va— Saturday’s convention to elect a new chairman of the Republican Party in Virgil Goode’s Congressional District was far from boring. There were shenanigans, drama, personalities, and conflicting principles. Speaker after speaker listed his conservative principles: strong national defense, low taxes, small government, expand the federal government into the marriage business with a new Constitutional Amendment.

At Hampden-Sydney College near Farmville, 227 delegates elected the previous 5th Congressional District Chairman Tucker Watkins. His challenger was Tim Boyer. George Sterling was the short-term incumbent who had replaced Watkins. Watkins received 268, Boyer 226 weighted votes. Each county or city is allotted one delegate seat for each 500 Republican votes in the previous gubernatorial and presidential elections combined. Albemarle has 64 and Charlottesville 12 out of the 494 possible delegates.

After five hours, the eight resolutions came to the floor for a vote. Watkins had taken control of the party again. “All those in favor?” Aye. “All those opposed?” A few no votes came from the Charlottesville delegation. So the resolutions were separated into 2 recognition and 6 issue resolutions. The first two were combined for a single vote.

Now the six issue resolutions as one vote: “All those in favor?” More ayes than earlier. “All those opposed?” Again rang out the contrary few from the Charlottesville delegation. “The ayes have it.” On to the next item.

Of the resolutions, only the marriage amendment seemed controversial. While speaker after speaker called for young people to join the membership, the same speakers called for a federal marriage amendment. This was the most glaring conflict of principles at the convention.

Young people aren’t joining the party because they don’t hate gays. The night before the convention at Fridays after Five, I was asked how I could be a Republican since they hate gays including me. I reminded him that I have eight years of historical documentation proving how evil Democrats are (and some Republicans). My blog is only the most recent 2 years.

The federal amendment would create a national religion whose main tenet is a church’s definition of family. The legislation is an attempt by straight parents and siblings to prevent you from having your own family when you grow up and move away from home. Gays are the only minority who needs protection from their own families. So naturally the speakers said the amendment would protect families.

(“Va marriage amendment foes gathering momentum”, July 7, 2006 .
Includes the family / next-of-kin argument in letter to Charlottesville Observer (defunct) May 14, 2003.)

Exclusion Rules

Since he spoke to Charlottesville Republicans March 29, Tim Boyer gave a much different nomination speech April 26. This time, Boyer quoted famous statesmen and spoke with historical perspective. In the days leading up to the convention, there had been allegations of denying access to folks who wanted to be delegates in Nelson and Albemarle counties.

In Nelson, they had the wrong date, it was moved up two weeks and some people missed the deadline. In Albemarle county, Keith Drake denied an allegation by Boyer that delegates had been excluded, with only one being received by fax at the exact 7:00 p.m. deadline.

My question: If your mission is to attract new people and the rules are blocking people, why don’t you change the rules? For example, the convention was to start right at 10:00 a.m. But people who had driven a hundred miles were showing up late. So registration was extended.

On March 29, Tucker Watkins also spoke in Charlottesville. At first I liked Watkins because I overheard him standing up to a unit chairman outside the courthouse. But Boyer called me a week before the convention and I spoke with him candidly. Watkins called the next day but I missed his call.

At the convention, I could tell that Boyer had listened to people and changed his message. Both chairmen promised to support conservative candidates. In the emails and literature, I discovered a theme of resentment from the “losers”—candidates blocked by the chairman. Because I had been on the receiving end of similar treatment, Keith Drake’s endorsement of Watkins pushed me toward Boyer. In 2003, Drake was quoted in the newspaper on the importance of following rules…even if it means you have no candidate. My campaign focused on a rule called Eminent Domain.

In 2003 I sought the Republican nomination to oppose the late Mitch Van Yahres. I missed the filing deadline by one day. Then-Charlottesville Chairman Bob Hodous would not publish the deadline until six weeks into my 8-week campaign. Two years later I supported Tom McCrystal for the nomination. The deadline was published 10 weeks in advance and the filing fee was $200 instead of the $500 the previous cycle. McCrystal lost to David Toscano.

How can people lose and not be a sore loser? When the process is fair and inclusive. Fair means the rule applies equally. Inclusive means you recognize the losers as much as possible and invite them to the party. When you talk about the winner, you should mention the loser. When you endorse a candidate, give the challenger’s name. Include the dissenters in written reports and timelines and such. So new people know that their participation is appreciated, even if it’s not the majority view. So those ideas can be reconsidered when circumstances change.

For example: When too many people want to participate, create a bunch of rules. When nobody shows up, maybe it’s time to relax a little.

I don’t write this post to make the Republican Party look bad. They’re making me look bad. So I write this to make the party look better, to show we’re not all like that.

Endorsement: Jeff Frederick for Virginia Party Chair. The challenger to John Hager. My logic: if the party is losing membership and not sticking to its principles, then you must hold the incumbents accountable. Never stick with a bad employee because the new one might be worse. The bad worker will get worse as long as you tolerate the poor performance.

Endorsement: Ken Cuccinelli for Attorney General for his work on Eminent Domain Reform of 2007. Didn't mention marriage in his own speech but did when he spoke on behalf of Bob Marshall.

Rick Sincere’s News and Thoughts

Photoblogging Fifth District GOP

Why I support Tucker Watkins

Shaun Kenney

Liveblogging 5th District Convention

Virgil Goode

Virginia's 5th congressional district
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Virginia's fifth congressional district is a United States congressional district in the commonwealth of Virginia. It covers all or part of Greene, Campbell, Bedford, Albermarle, Nelson, Fluvanna, Buckingham, Cumberland, Appomattox, Prince Edward, Charlotte, Lunenberg, Franklin, Henry, Pittsylvania, Halifax, Mecklenberg, and Brunswick Counties. The current representative is Virgil Goode (R). Goode was originally elected as a Democrat in 1996, but changed his party affiliation in 2002, making him the first Republican to represent this district since Reconstruction.


Hampden-Sydney enrolls over 1,100 students from thirty states and several foreign countries. The College enrolls young men of character and ability who will benefit from a rigorous and traditional liberal arts curriculum.

Along with Wabash College, Hampden-Sydney is one of only two remaining traditional all-male colleges. The school's mission is to "form good men and good citizens in an atmosphere of sound learning." As such, Hampden-Sydney has one of the strictest Honor Codes of any college or university. Upon entering as a student, each man pledges that he will not lie, cheat, steal, nor tolerate those who do while he is a student at Hampden-Sydney. The pledge takes place during a solemn ceremony after a lecture by the School's president and Dean of Students. This simply-worded code of behavior applies to the students on or off campus. Though it is strict, the justice system is student-run, allowing for a true trial of peers, adjudicated by a court of students that is both thorough and compassionate to both the college and their fellow students.

Every student must prepare for and take the Rhetoric Proficiency Exam, a three-hour essay that is graded upon coherence of argument, quality of argument, style in which the argument is presented, and grammatical correctness. To prepare, the college requires each student to pass three Rhetoric classes that are usually taken the first two semesters a student is at Hampden-Sydney. After graduating, many alumni have stated that the Rhetoric Program was the most valuable aspect in the Hampden-Sydney education.


Classes at Hampden-Sydney began in temporary wooden structures on November 10, 1775, on the eve of the American War of Independence; this makes Hampden-Sydney College the nation's 10th oldest college. The College has been in continuous operation since that date, and despite the difficult and financially-strapped first years resulting from the Revolutionary War, the College survived with sufficient viability to be granted a charter by the Virginia General Assembly in 1783 – the oldest private charter in the South.

Hampden-Sydney College derives its name from John Hampden (1594-1643) and Algernon Sidney (1622-1683). Hampden lost his life in the battle of Chalgrove Field during the English Civil War. Sydney, who wrote Discourses Concerning Government, was beheaded by order of Charles II following a failed attempt to overthrow the king. The college was founded by alumni and people affiliated with Princeton University. These proponents of religious and civil liberties were much admired by the founders of the College, all of whom were active supporters of the cause of American independence. Both Patrick Henry and James Madison were elected trustees in the founding period before classes began.

The college's founder and first president, Rev. Samuel Stanhope Smith, was subsequently the president of the College of New Jersey, which is currently Princeton University. Smith hired many faculty members from the College of New Jersey.

Hampden-Sydney became a thriving college while located in southside Virginia, which led to an expansion of the college. In 1812, the Union Theological Seminary was founded at Hampden-Sydney College. The Seminary was later moved to Richmond, VA and is currently the Union Theological Seminary & Presbyterian School of Christian Education. In 1838, the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College founded the Medical College of Virginia which is now the MCV Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University. During this time, the college constructed new buildings using Federal style architecture. This is the style of architecture still used on the campus.

At the onset of the American Civil War, Hampden-Sydney students formed a company in the Virginia Militia. The Hampden-Sydney students did not see much action but rather were “captured, and...paroled by General George B. McClellan on the condition that they return to their studies."

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Slutzky: Revenue Sharing reform would be Declaration of War

Charlottesville, Va.—While asking people to tone down the rhetoric, Albemarle County Supervisor David Slutzky ratcheted up the rhetoric Monday afternoon on Coy Barefoot’s “Charlottesville Right Now” on WINA.

Slutzky said, if the County stops paying the revenue, that would be tantamount to a declaration of war against the City. No doubt, that’s how the mob would interpret someone’s refusal to pay protection money, especially if they’ve paid in the past.

He also claimed, without the revenue, the city would have to charge $1.20 instead of the current $0.89 per $100 assessed value of real estate, in order to maintain the current spending level. This is budget season. The City Council has indicated the new tax rate will rise to $0.95 and the County rate will likely go from $0.68 to $0.71.

He said, if the City and County are consolidated, county taxpayers will have to pay more for city property no longer paying taxes. What? Under consolidation, property within the old city limits will pay taxes at the lower county rate. By eliminating duplicated services, that should lead to a budget surplus.

Slutzky was explicit in his desire to reduce liberty and freedom locally. He said the county tax burden should increase to fund more services (regulations, restrictions) necessary for community benefit and to protect the environment.

He said his “beer and a pizza” comment had been taken out of context. It’s not the $15 a month increase in the proposed budget, but rather some previous budget increase. Slutzky has been widely lampooned for his cavalier consideration of the people’s money. Last Wednesday (April 2) at the final public hearing on the county budget, Albemarle Truth in Taxation Association and WCHV offered free root beer and pizza to draw a large turnout.

At that hearing, Slutzky was the only supervisor not wearing a suit and tie. His casual dress came across as a statement of contempt for the office, for the budget process and for the public.

Following his appearance on “Charlottesville Right Now”, in the next segment, Barefoot and Jim Duncan characterized Slutzky as “brilliant” and too smart for local government.

Today on the same show, Brian Wheeler repeated his opinion that the County cannot get out of the revenue sharing agreement.

But on Friday, (four days ago), new chairman of the County Republican Party Christian Schoenwald said on WINA’s Schilling show that lack of “political will” is the only thing preventing the county from walking away from the 1982 revenue sharing agreement, perhaps as a way to force renegotiations. The City unilaterally refused for 5 years to pay its share for the Solid Waste Authority despite a contractual obligation.

Under the present makeup of the board, if county residents want out of revenue sharing, they’ll have to elect new supervisors. To test the contract in court, all the County need do is stop paying. The City would have to sue to enforce the contract and explain to a judge why it should be paid not to commit a crime.

The court could strike down the agreement on numerous grounds. Section 3 is the annexation clause. Section 6-B: the concept of independent cities has been altered such that annexation is not allowed. Section 7: no member of the Board of Supervisors or City Council has agreed to share revenue. Neither have today’s county residents. Section 9 and 6-C: Not paying is a de facto cancellation of the agreement.

The city has no grounds to demand payment for something the city cannot deliver. The contract became void when the city stopped selling its annexation rights, due to the fact those rights no longer existed. But the growing movement to reform revenue sharing should not be hasty. The moratorium on annexations expires in 2010. This issue is gathering momentum.

The next step may be to hear what a Court of Law has to say. We know where the Court of Public Opinion is moving.

The Revenue Sharing agreement has 9 sections.

Section 1 is the preamble.

Section 2 details the formula for revenue payment. The formula depends on population, tax rates, and total assessed value of property in City and County.

Section 3: The Annexation Clause.

“During the time of this agreement, the City will not initiate any annexation proceedings against the County, with the exception that the City may, if it chooses, petition for that property presently owned by the City, adjacent to its corporate limits, known as Pen Park.”

Section 8: The Severability Clause.

“…any determination by a court of competent jurisdiction that the revenue and economic growth sharing plan [Section 2] or the City’s agreement not to initiate or support annexation petitions (except for Pen Park) [Section 3] is in invalid shall cause this entire agreement to be null and void. All other provisions are considered severable, and a determination that any of them is invalid shall not affect the remaining provisions.”

Section 4: Both localities agree not to impose a commuter or payroll tax unless both localities have the authority to impose such a tax.

Section 5: Both localities agree to create a committee to study consolidation.

Section 6: Duration of Agreement

(A) Until City and County are consolidated into one political subdivision.
(B) Until the concept of independent cities in Virginia is altered by state law, such that the City becomes a part of the County’s tax base.
(C) Until the City and County agree to cancel or change the agreement.

Section 7: Approval of the Agreement.

(a) Simple majority of City Council and Board of Supervisors
(b) Simple majority of County residents by referendum of May 18, 1982 (no referendum for City).

Section 9: Breach of Contract. 60 days to respond to written notification that the other party has violated the contract.

“In the event remedial action has not been taken in the 60 day period, the aggrieved party shall be entitled to seek specific performance of the agreement in the circuit court of the City or County.”

“1982 Revenue Sharing agreement published” March 4, 2008. Includes all 9 pages, Table of annual payments, graphic of how city has grown through annexations, and the formula in detail with 1983 intial payment in the example.

“2000 Revenue Sharing speech on video” March 10, 2008 Includes speeches of 8 of the 9 candidates, summary of Hawkins' campaign for City Council. So at least one person asked the City to voluntarily stop revenue sharing to increase city-county cooperation among other benefits for city residents as well as county.

[Jan. 31, 2008]

Dear Joe, [at WCHV.com]

Hope you enjoyed the "after hours" comment. Think of it this way.

Let's say there's a law that your neighbor can park in your driveway. But you want your driveway to be available when you come home. So you agree to pay your neighbor not to park there.

You both sign a contract to be binding forever. Stop paying the money--neighbor starts parking there. But now let's say, because of all the hassles caused by the "right to park", a new law is passed that says you only have the right to park in your own driveway.

Your neighbor now needs permission to park in your drive. Do you keep paying the money? Your neighbor says Yes. Your neighbor wants you to keep paying him not to park in your driveway, even though that's now against the law.

In the case of the Feb. 1982 revenue sharing agreement, the county buys the city's annexation rights. But only a year later, the "right to annex" was outlawed in Virginia. So since 1983 the county has paid the city not to commit a crime (annexation) against the county. Charlottesville's most controversial annexations were Belmont 1938 and Barrack Road Shopping Center 1963.

Or think of it like this: I sign a contract to buy water from the city. But the water gets turned off. City says yes, there's a broken pipeline, a cause beyond the city's control. Do I have to pay for a product or service that is not or cannot be provided?

Why is it again that the county can't get out of revenue sharing? Hasn't hired the right attorney?

Thanks for your attention,


The "Annexation Monster", May 23, 2006. Similar arguments in the comments.

[other links]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Fifeville historic register nomination marches on

The motivation for her remarkable request [that the board vote down the nomination] was the failure of city officials (including herself) to meet terms they had set for themselves respecting response to community concerns.

Opposing the details

(Antoinette W. Roades, Charlottesville, Virginia, Letter to Editor Apr. 1, 2008, C-ville Weekly)

I am glad C-VILLE considers the matter of a state and national historic district for Fifeville worth coverage ["Opposing history: State approves Fifeville historic district," Development News, March 25, 2008]. I am sorry, however, to see much that is misleading in your item on that district’s March 20 review by Department of Historic Resources boards in Richmond.

To begin with, no one who made the effort to speak at that meeting opposes history, nor do any of the property owners who took the trouble to file 20 notarized letters of protest with DHR. Those speakers and letter-senders oppose mistreating history, making up history, and imposing historic designation on a community that repeatedly said no to it.

Regarding the "Castle Hill" aspect of the "Fifeville-Castle Hill" nomination reviewed, your reporter wrote that I and others "objected to the name, arguing it’s an anachronism." No one argued any such thing. We objected to "Castle Hill" because it was a fiction—something confirmed at the meeting by both DHR’s director and one of the consultants who prepared the nomination.

Regarding testimony by former City Councilor and Vice Mayor Kendra Hamilton, your reporter wrote that she "asked the board to vote down the district, arguing that it did not include enough on the subject [of African-American history]." Ms. Hamilton did note that lack. But as she explained eloquently in her opening statement, the motivation for her remarkable request was the failure of city officials (including herself) to meet terms they had set for themselves respecting response to community concerns and questions posed by the incorporation into the nomination of material taken from a protest letter I had written.

Regarding Jane Covington, the lone speaker who supported the nomination, your reporter wrote that she is "a Fifeville homeowner who is interested in the state and federal tax credits that come with historic designation in order to help pay for renovations." Ms. Covington’s home is in Albemarle County. She is interested in tax credits because she is a for-profit restorer to whose business plan they are crucial.

The matter of a Fifeville historic district became a contentious mess because those in charge consistently failed to focus on detail, sort disparate issues and interests accurately, or hear what people were really saying. To get that story right, a reporter must do better than the mess-makers. Careless coverage will only aggravate the civic corrosion already caused.

The invisible women
(Blair Hawkins, Charlottesville, Letter to Editor Dec. 11, 2007, C-ville Weekly)

I write to criticize your coverage of Fifeville's historic designation controversy. "Council did amend its approval, decoupling the NRHD designation with any action that could lead to design control, a separation that existed to begin with. Two residents still spoke out against approval" ["Will a 'historic' Fifeville be history," by Scott Weaver, Development News, December 11, 2007].

But the December 3 Council agenda states, "The BAR has recommended an alternative type of local design control district called a Conservation District, which will be scheduled for possible adoption by City Council in the spring" (http://www.c-ville.com/index.php?cat=141404064435450&ShowArticle_ID=11431012073715965).

If the next step is in the schedule, how can you say a separation exists? Councilor Kendra Hamilton asked Mary Joy Scala if, indeed, the nomination is the first of a two-step process. Indeed it was, and still is. They plan to wait a while and later propose design control.

Why did those two residents speak against it despite the decoupling? They had already signed up to speak. Council had only discussed the decoupling. They had not yet voted on it.

Of more serious concern is who the reporter decided to name in the article and record in the archives of C-VILLE Weekly: Mary Joy Scala. The two residents who spoke out and won this political contest? They don't have names or arguments. It's as if Scala had written the article as part of her resumé, explaining again how dumb Fifeville residents are (this issue came before Council February 5).

Anne Carter and Antoinette Rhodes were the two who spoke against increased city regulation of the neighborhood. But to the C-VILLE reporter, they were invisible. He has learned nothing from his cover story of two weeks ago ["The echo of Vinegar Hill," November 27, 2007].

FifevilleFifeville neighborhood (Courtesy C-ville Weekly)

"Fifeville historic status, Mall cameras move forward" by Blair Hawkins, Dec. 3, 2007 Coverage of the City Council meeting and the terms they set for themselves, background on the process, recent minutes of Planning Commission, and my report of Feb. 6, 2007, posted as a comment to Charlottesville Tomorrow.