Articles from December 2007



State to opt for impact fees instead of proffers?

From WTOP: Va. Developers Consider New Ways to Compensate Localities:

Virginia home builders may ask state legislators to change the way they help defray the costs of municipal services required by new development.

Currently, developers offer cash and land for roads, schools or parks. Those voluntary commitments, called proffers, are usually negotiated with city or county leaders.

In recent years, however, some localities have made proffers an informal requirement for approval of a project.

The Home Builders Association of Virginia has distributed a position paper suggesting that proffers be replaced with an impact fee on new homes that could be set by state lawmakers. The proposal also includes a new tax on the sale of existing homes, although it is unclear whether buyers or sellers would pay the tax.

And where do sellers get money from, idiot?

The buyers! Duh.

Sellers don’t have an invisible pile of money around to pay for taxes…

Cash proffers have become “an unbridled tax on new housing in virtually every modest growth area of the Commonwealth,” according to the document from the builders’ lobbying group.

Discussion of an automatic impact fee is a departure for the home building lobby, which has opposed the concept in the past.

Some developers argue that cash proffers are to blame for the current slump in the housing market because the cost is passed on to buyers in the purchase price.

Del. Terrie Suit, R-Virginia Beach, who was recently briefed on the plan, said she would be reluctant to support anything that would further tax home sales.

“Our housing market is really stressed right now,” said Suit, a mortgage loan officer. “We need people to start buying homes, so increasing the cost of buying a home is not a good thing.”

The builders association argues that its proposal would increase affordable housing options by spreading infrastructure costs among more property transactions.

Del. Franklin Hall, D-Richmond, supports revamping a proffer system that he said “is exacerbating urban sprawl.”

The Virginia Association of Counties opposes any plan that would deprive local governments of the power to ask developers to help pay infrastructure costs, spokesman Ted McCormack said.

“We’d be reluctant to give up cash proffers unless we feel like the impact fee system would offer flexibility,” he said. “A one-size-fits-all approach is probably not something that’s going to work across 95 counties.”

The General Assembly convenes Jan. 9.

Why Caroline County needs better broadband internet coverage:

The Washington Post: Internet Access Is Only Prerequisite For More and More College Classes

Raising Kaine: Help out Gov. Kaine: take the broadband Internet survey

Albert Pollard officially announces run for 99th HOD seat

Check it out at VB Dems: Pollard Makes It Official!

Is The Washington Post completely out of it?

The Washington Post runs a story about the valiant efforts to repeal the death penalty in Maryland: Repeal of Md. Death Penalty Still Seems Out of Reach:

Advocates of repealing Maryland’s death penalty are hopeful that New Jersey’s landmark decision to end capital punishment will provide momentum heading into next month’s legislative session. But interviews with key lawmakers suggest that a permanent repeal during the 90-day session remains a long shot.

A bid to replace Maryland’s death penalty with life without parole failed by a single vote in a Senate committee during the last regular session, which ended in April, despite high-profile support from Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). In testimony before the legislature, O’Malley argued that capital punishment is “inherently unjust” and that money is wasted on appeals that could be better spent fighting violent crime.

In the months since then, repeal advocates have arranged meetings between lawmakers and well-known death penalty opponents, including David Kaczynski, brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber. They have hired as a lobbyist the former chief of staff to Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert). They are planning several events to spotlight the issue after lawmakers return to Annapolis on Jan. 9, including a visit by suspense novelist Scott Turow, a death penalty opponent.

Yeah, sure, I’m definitely going to agree with the Unabomber’s brother…

[…]

Maryland has had an effective moratorium on capital punishment since last December, when the Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that the state’s procedures for lethal injections had not been properly adopted. Five prisoners currently sit on Maryland’s death row.

For executions to resume, the O’Malley administration must issue new regulations — a step the governor has resisted. If the legislature tries to abolish the death penalty and fails for a second year in a row, pressure will mount on O’Malley to issue the rules, some lawmakers said. Miller, who supports the death penalty, said O’Malley should have done so already.

“When he took the oath of office, he swore to uphold the laws of Maryland, and the law of Maryland is now being subverted,” Miller said.

[…]

Under Maryland law, those guilty of first-degree murder are eligible for execution if prosecutors can prove at least one of 10 aggravating factors, such as killing a law enforcement officer or committing murder while in prison. Last session, Mooney expressed a willingness to reduce the number of aggravating factors and narrow eligibility for the death penalty, an idea that few senators would support.

In and of itself, unremarkable.

You know, besides the fact if you bother reading the whole article (don’t, it’s a waste of time), you’ll notice that there is a complete lack of coverage of any pro-death penalty group, any victim rights group, or anyone that supports the death penalty (except for a few members of the legislature) meanwhile the anti-death penalty groups get free advertising for a rally they’re holding!

No mention of how the death penalty has been documented to reduced the rate of homicides, ever.

And the worst part about this story is that it comes two days after the burial of a Smithsburg police officer that was murdered in the line of duty, a story that The Washington Post refused to report on.

The Washington Times, with a little over one-seventh of the daily circulation of The Washington Post, however, did manage to cover it: Funerals mark day of violence:

Hundreds of mourners and law-enforcement officers yesterday packed a high school gymnasium to honor a Western Maryland policeman slain during a night of violence in Washington County.At another Christmas Eve funeral 25 miles away in Hancock, family and friends bade farewell to Alison L. Munson, whose slaying put Officer Christopher S. Nicholson in harm’s way Wednesday night.

Douglas W. Pryor, the former boyfriend charged with stabbing Miss Munson to death, purportedly fatally shot Officer Nicholson after fleeing from Miss Munson’s apartment. He remains in custody without bail, recovering from wounds he sustained in a shootout with police.

[…]

Other speakers, including fiancee Desiree Grimes, remembered Officer Nicholson, of Sharpsburg, as a cheerful and determined young man who strove to become a police officer despite his chronic asthma.

A friend and fellow 2006 Western Maryland Police Academy graduate, Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy First Class Joel Footen said that if Officer Nicholson were alive, he “would tell us to step up, do what needs to be done.”

The funeral was held in Williamsport because Officer Nicholson graduated from the high school there in 2000.

Miss Munson’s funeral, at the Orchard Ridge Church of God, near Hancock, also was crowded. The Rev. Jeffrey Hawbaker said the small, white country church was filled with at least 100 mourners.

Miss Munson, a 31-year-old dental hygienist, and Mr. Pryor, a 29-year-old mechanical contracting worker, had two young children, a son and a daughter. They had lived together in the Smithsburg area for about 10 years until last month, when she moved into an apartment south of Hagerstown after obtaining a protective order against him, according to court records and neighbors. She was a graduate of Berkeley Springs High School in Berkeley Springs, W.Va.

Police say Mr. Pryor drove the children Wednesday night from Smithsburg to Miss Munson’s apartment, where he stabbed her and stuffed her body in a kitchen closet. He then drove the children back home, handed them off to a sister-in-law and shot Officer Nicholson, who was parked a short distance away, awaiting backup, according to charging documents.

Here’s a little tip to you guys at The WaPo: First, stop trying to pick fights with bloggers, stop waiting for press releases from your favorite advocacy group, go outside your office, get in your car, and do some damn reporting!

You know, the kind of stuff that made you famous back in the day: like the stuff that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein did?

Hilarity among the Republican candidates for 99th HOD

One of the persons rumored to be running for the Republican nomination for the 99th HOD seat is Austin L. Roberts, III, who is currently the President & CEO of the Bank of Lancaster. Whoever wins the Republican nomination will face presumptive Democratic nominee Albert Pollard who held the seat from 2000 through 2006.

The funny thing is that Austin L. Roberts, III contributed $500 to Albert Pollard in 2001 when Pollard was running against Roberts’s fellow Republican R. Allen Webb!

I guess Mr. Roberts was for Albert Pollard before he was against him?

This could be fun…

I kid, of course, from http://www.co.caroline.va.us/boardappts.html:

The Caroline County Board of Supervisors is looking for individuals who would like to serve on various citizen boards, commissions and committees. The boards, commissions and committees provide valuable input into policy decisions made by the Board of Supervisors.

The various boards, commissions and committees are as follows:

Bay Consortium Private Industry Council

Board of Assessors

Board of Equalization

Board of Zoning Appeals

Building Code Board of Appeals

Cable Television Advisory Board

Community Policy & Management Team

Germanna Community College Board

Industrial Development Authority

Planning Commission

Quin Rivers Agency

Rappahannock Alcohol Safety Action Program

Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging

Rappahannock Area Community Services Board

Rappahannock Area Office on Youth

Rappahannock Regional Disability Services Board

Recreation Advisory Committee

Road Viewers Committee

Social Services Board

Workforce Investment Council

For an application go to http://www.co.caroline.va.us/boardappts.html.

“D.C. Man Charged for Fatally Shooting His Son’s Alleged Killer”

From The Washington Post: D.C. Man Charged for Fatally Shooting His Son’s Alleged Killer:

The father of a 4-year-old boy who was shot to death in October was arrested yesterday and charged with killing the man believed responsible for the earlier death, D.C. police announced in a news conference.

Raymond Carpenter’s lifeless body was found Nov. 17 in the 3100 block of Buena Vista Terrace SE. He had been shot several times. Police said detectives believe Carpenter shot Darias Branch, 4, and his mother Turkessa Branch, in their apartment three weeks earlier. But they did not have enough evidence to charge Carpenter in the case.

This morning, police said they had arrested Darias’s father, Darias McKeever, and charged him in the slaying of Carpenter. McKeever is expected in court today.

February 19th officially set as the date for the 99th HOD special election

Says VB Dems.

FIXED: Thanks to the guys at VB Dems for keeping me straight.

Benefit Fund Established for Beverly Gage

From http://www.visitcaroline.com/bgage.html:

A fund has been established at EVB Bank in Bowling Green for Beverly Gage to assist with her medical care and treatment costs.

Beverly is a resident of Caroline County and has served the community for more than 15 years as a volunteer with the Bowling Green Rescue Squad. Due to worsening health after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May, she is no longer able to work. Since being diagnosed the disease has been a constant battle for her and her family. Beverly is on her second round of chemotherapy and surgery is not an option.

Contributions can be made to:

Benefit for Beverly Gage
P.O. Box 353
BowlinG Green, Virginia 22427.

Beverly’s family is also looking for mementos and stories or pictures related to her EMS times. Such information can be forwarded to her daughter

Peggy Gage
PO Box 355
Bowling Green, VA 22427
plgage1977@aol.com

99th HOD coverage

From The Free Lance-Star: GOP sets process for candidate in 99th:

Gov. Tim Kaine has not yet set a date for the special election in the 99th House of Delegates District, but Republicans have planned their nomination process.

District chairwoman Carol Dawson said the district’s Republicans will choose a nominee on Jan. 12, in a convention.

[…]

Dawson said the Republican convention will likely be held at the high school in Montross, and that between now and Jan. 12 each locality’s Republican committee will have to hold meetings to select delegates.

The district includes all of the Northern Neck and parts of Caroline County.

Wittman held the seat since 2005, when former Del. Albert Pollard Jr. retired.

Pollard narrowly lost a bid for the 28th District state Senate seat in November, and says he is running for his old House seat.

Pollard said the Democratic Party’s bylaws don’t allow them to plan their nomination method until Kaine officially calls the election.

Kaine spokesman Gordon Hickey said that while staffers are working on that, it hasn’t been done yet.

Choosing a date for the 99th District election is a bit tricky. State law prohibits holding an election in the 60 days before a primary, and both parties are having presidential primaries on Feb. 12.

That makes the earliest possible date for a 99th District election Feb. 19.

That leaves the 99th District without a delegate for the bulk of the legislative session, which begins in January. Kaine said it’s unlikely there would be special legislation to try to move up the date, and that if a delegate is elected Feb. 19 he or she would still have time to be sworn in and participate in the last few weeks of the session, including debate and votes on the state budget.

Pollard is the only Democratic candidate so far. On the Republican side, White Stone attorney Lee Anne Washington is seeking the nomination.

She is a member of the White Stone Town Council and the citizen member of the Northern Neck Chesapeake Bay Authority.

A few names of other possible Republican candidates have been floated–former King George County Supervisor Bob Barlow is one, although other sources say he may not run.

Republican candidates will have to file with Dawson by Jan. 1 and pay a $250 filing fee.


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