Posts belonging to Category Caroline County



When does a company’s “goodwill” create a conflict of interest?

Someone sent me a copy of a flier for the Caroline County Optimist Club’s Winter Sports Festival. For those unaware, the Director of the Optimist Club is County Administrator Percy Ashcraft and the club’s President is Percy Ashcraft’s wife. Its Recording Secretary is Karen Jenkins, who is the county’s “public information officer” as well.

Now, if you look at the sponsors of this event, you might recognize some of the names:

  • Amerigas
  • Jarrell Properties, Inc.
  • Utility Services, Inc.
  • Diversified Ambulance Billing
  • Clark’s Cut II
  • World View Solutions
  • E.M. Gray & Son, Inc.
  • Dominion Resources, Inc.
  • Massey Enterprises
  • Purvis Ford
  • Rosner Toyota
  • Virginia Sports Complex
  • Computer-Telephone Technologies
  • Linda Perry Taxes

Jarrell Properties, Inc., whose commercial rezoning application was approved by the Board of Supervisors on January 26th of this year.

Diversified Ambulance Billing? Those are the folks responsible for billing county citizens for the EMS fee program. It also turns out that they’ve fleeced county residents out of $39,000 over the last two years.

In addition, while I can’t find any connection between “Massey Enterprises” and the county, their offices are one suite over from where Diversified Ambulance Billing is located in Virginia Beach.

Clark’s Cut II is the controversial sand/gravel extraction site off of Route 17 whose approval by the Board of Supervisors has prompted legal action against the company as well as the Board (full disclosure: I supported that special exemption permit application and still do).

World View Solutions? They’re a geographic information system (GIS) provider…who just happens to be doing the county’s GIS project.

Virginia Sports Complex, who in 2009 was granted a special exemption permit to serve alcohol at their facility.

So, when does the “goodwill” from these companies become a conflict of interest (or create the appearance of a conflict of interest), especially when the group receiving the money is ran by the County Administrator and his wife?

And as a side note, is the County Administrator’s Office so pressed for work they are selling tickets to an event for a third-party, non-governmental organization? I smell some room for budget cuts there, maybe we can rededicate that money to something important, like education.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Donna Blanton’s petition for appeal hearing granted by the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Why? Because apparently the prosecutor isn’t supposed to refute the defendant’s bizarre arguement that the prosecution is supposed to do the defense’s job.

Or something like that. You can read the defendant’s appeal here and the Commonwealth’s response here.

Frankly, Bob McDonnell needs to clear the Supreme Court of these idiots. That’s what you get when you have “Democratic” “leadership” for eight years.

Judge Revercomb to retire.

So says Virginia Lawyers Weekly’s blog.

It’ll be interesting to see who gets a selection from the General Assembly this year or ends up getting a temporary appointment in the mean term.

Witch-hunt in the 99th House District.

I first got wind of this little witch-hunt at the 1st Congressional District Republican Committee meeting on December 11th. I was sitting in the back of the room when Bill Kling (Crabill’s campaign manger) went to up Larry Kile (King George County Republican Committee Chairman), who was sitting about ten feet away from me, and starting talking. While I couldn’t hear everything that was being said I did hear, “Caroline”, “Jeff”, “censured by the central committee”, and “not going to be Chairman much longer”.

See, that’s the problem with loud mouths: They don’t think — if they ever think — to check to see who’s around them before they starting running their mouths. The even funnier part was when it came to introduce any guests that were present at the meeting: I introduced myself and Larry Kile responded clear as day from ten feet away: “Ugh, that’s him!” That quote now graces my subtitle and will be staying there for a while.

Then there was the 99th Legislative District Committee meeting on December 14th. After spending over an hour hurling insults at the bloggers, at the statewide candidates, and at Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) Chairman Pat Mullins, the committee went into executive session.

After executive session, the committee voted 4–0 (Jeff Sili was at a School Board meeting from what I’ve heard and not present to vote) directing the Chairman, R. Allen Webb, to draft and send a letter asking that Caroline County Republican Committee Jeff Sili be censured and removed as Chairman of the Caroline Committee.

His crime? Not supporting Catherine “OKC Truther” Crabill in her run for Delegate.

Um, Jeff Sili is the only person that’s expressed an inkling of common sense and intelligence in this whole fiasco. The Caroline delegation unanimously voted against nominating the OKC Truther as a Republican. The Caroline Committee also decided that her name shouldn’t be included on their sample ballots for the district. And that decision was definitely clairvoyant because the day of the election, Catherine Crabill’s supporters were responsible for the theft of several Democratic signs, which were replaced with her signs, at the Bowling Green Town Hall (the district’s polling place). Definitely the type of campaign I want to associate myself and my committee with.

But, of course, the folks on 99th District Committee would vote for David Duke if he had an R by his name and harshly attack anyone that dared to oppose his candidacy (“He shares out values! His opponent is anti-family!”, etc.). I notice they decided not to formally request that Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling, or Ken Cuccinelli be censured (for Pat Mullins see below). They also don’t seem to have a problem with Chris Saxman, who openly endorsed Delegate Pollard for reelection.

Apparently the true Republicans in the district (not the ten people that show up for the 99th District Committee meetings) weren’t too upset with Bob McDonnell’s opposition to Crabill since he won with 69% of the vote in the district (Bolling got 66% and Cuccinelli got 67%) .

The 99th District Committee also approved a motion, again 4–0, directing Webb to draft and send a letter “expressing displeasure” at RPV Chairman Pat Mullins for his refusal to support the OKC Truther.

Hopefully Pat Mullins gives them the Dick Cheney treatment (anyone else remember what Cheney said to Patrick Leahy?).

Cross-posted at On The Right and Virginia Virtucon.

All charges against Ben Boyd dropped.

My Lord, read the whole thing.

Caroline County Board of Supervisors: Fredericksburg’s public safety is a legislative priority, but not our own.

What passes for a (proposed) legislative platform for this county is laughable (PDF).

If you read through the thing, where at the specific issues facing Caroline County (and, yes, I know it is a regional platform. *snort*)? On the last page, it mentions funding for the HB 599 Program. The HB 599 Program is funding appropriated through the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for local police departments. While some of the incorporated towns in the local counties receive some money, the main recipient of HB 599 locally is the Fredericksburg Police Department. Bowling Green, for instance, received a misery $26,310 of funding in FY06 through HB 599 (PDF).

Where in the legislative platform is the request that Compensation Board funding — which funds the offices of the sheriff, commonwealth’s attorney, clerk of the court, treasurer, and commissioner of revenue — not be cut? Where is the request for full-funding of offices that the Compensation Board states are understaffed according to their own standards?

According to the state’s own guidelines, the Caroline County Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office should be getting additional funding for a full-time position for FY10 (while simultaneously being ranked as most in need) (PDF). The Clerk of the Court’s Office should getting an additional position (PDF). The Treasurer’s Office? Two positions (PDF). Commissioner of Revenue? Two positions (PDF).

The most egregious of these are the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and the Clerk of the Court’s Office. Last year, the Board of Supervisors in its infinite wisdom decide that money should be given to Big Brothers, Big Sisters because a child might be saved (“Won’t someone please think of the children?!”). Seriously, someone (Floyd Thomas) said that. They did all this while refusing to funding an additional position in the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office. You know, that office that actually prosecutes the people who harm the county’s children and who may in the future harm the county’s children?

And meanwhile in the Clerk of the Court’s Office, the clerk (Ray Campbell) decided, starting July 1, 2009, that they would no longer prepare sentencing reports for the judge. In doing so, the clerk’s office became only the second office in the state to not prepare sentencing reports alongside the city of Richmond.

Because the presiding judge went to the Board of Supervisors stating that they could be sued if they didn’t give him money to hire a clerk (separate of the clerk’s office) to prepare the sentencing reports and because he absolutely had to have the money right then (!!!), the BOS decided to add a full-time clerk’s position (costing $22,000+) on top of a budget that had absolutely zero money to spare.

All this while the county believes that Fredericksburg’s police force is a pressing issue on the county’s legislative platform.

And then we turn to the composite index issues. The composite index is a complicated formula that the Virginia Department of Education uses to determine how much money each jurisdiction should get using several figures, including assessed real-estate values.  The higher the determined value for each county, the more able those counties are supposed to be to fund their school system. In addition, the higher the composite index value, the more money that the jurisdiction has to provide to the system if they want the state’s money.

For years, Caroline County’s composite index has been higher (therefore, we are supposed to be able to fund our schools) than our neighboring counties Spotsylvania and Stafford. That’s right, Caroline is be able to pay for schools than Spotsy and Stafford. While in this biennium (2010–2012) Spotsylvania’s composite index is no long lower than Caroline’s, Stafford’s still is. Caroline’s composite index is .3580, Stafford’s is .3362 (Spotsylvania is at .3594) (PDF).

So, where is this address in the proposed legislative platform? Well, of course, it isn’t. After all, neither Spotsy nor Stafford would be too supportive of a platform that resulted in less money going to themselves.

But the Caroline County Board of Supervisors isn’t Spotsy nor Stafford. Why don’t they tell the Virginia Association of Counties Region 7 to take a hike? Why don’t they worked with places like Lancaster County (composite index of .8000 [Ibid] while half of their school kids are on free or reduced price lunch) to put pressure on the folks in the General Assembly to actually get something done?

Caroline County has three Delegates (one of whom lives in the county) and a State Senator representing their interests (allegedly) in the General Assembly. And Caroline County can not come up with a list of pressing issues without the help of the folks in Spotsy and Stafford? The board nor county staff can’t spend thirty minutes sitting down to identify these issues that are affecting the county and propose a solution to fix them?

Heck, if I can do in less that 30 minutes, they should be able to.

My ballot picks.

These should be pretty obvious but anyway:

Governor: Bob McDonnell

Lieutenant Governor: Bill Bolling

Attorney General: Ken Cuccinelli

99th District: Hamilton “Ham” Sandwich, Esq. (write-in candidate)

97th District: Chris Peace

And for the voters in the Lee Hill District of Spotsylvania County: D.J. McGuire

Caroline County Registrar Danette Moen violates the rights of military personnel and other overseas Americans.

Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Despite court prodding and changes in state election laws, 16 Virginia localities have failed to meet a deadline to allow absentee ballots of military personnel serving overseas to be counted on time.

Nancy Rodriques, secretary of the State Board of Elections, said she did not know how many ballots will not be counted.

The local election districts include the cities of Richmond, Colonial Heights and Williamsburg as well as Caroline County.

[…]

In last year’s presidential race, about 2,100 military ballots went uncounted. The presidential campaign of Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin sued the State Board of Elections in U.S. District Court here. After losing the election, the McCain-Palin team withdrew and the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil-rights division intervened.

Local registrars did the mishandling of the ballots, but the State Board of Elections was brought into the suit because it oversees the registrars.

On Oct. 15, U.S. District Judge Richard L. Williams ruled for the second time that the state violated the voting rights of military personnel and overseas citizens last year by failing to mail absentee ballots in time for them to be counted. He gave the state 30 days to count the ballots, even though the counting would make no difference in the outcome. Barack Obama carried the state by 233,000 votes.

UPDATE: Caroline County Registrar Danette Moen released the following statement and, well, you tell me:

Friday September 18th was the first day of absentee. Absentee voting begins 45 days before a General Election. Historically, because the 45th day before the General Election is a Saturday the first day of absentee was the Monday.

A couple of days earlier I checked my ongoing and email reports. Both reports said “No Data Matching Request” The next day I started having trouble with my computer and I thought it was a virus. I found out it was not a virus according to the IT Technician the office computers experienced catastrophic failure and had to be replaced.

I worried myself almost to death over the weekend but, he had a new computer up and running by Monday and I was able to get out my absentee ballots. I decided to recheck my reports because I was sure I had at least one ongoing application.

The reports came back showing some ongoing and email applications I sent those out. I would like to say that even with being a few days later than the first day of absentee, the overseas and military voters that have email received their ballots before they would have a little over a year ago when they had to be mailed.

I have already received part of the ballots back and we have until Election Day to get the others back.

I believe a clarification needs to be made regarding an article in the Richmond Times Dispatch of Oct. 28th 2009. Caroline County absentee ballots for the November 2008 election were out on time. Caroline County counted every eligible absentee ballot that was returned.

Some voters knowing the deadline was close sent their ballots back by express mail others did not.

Can someone please explain to me what the hell that says?

FYI: I fully support Aqua Virginia’s proposed rate increase.

Why? Because I love a profitable company. I really love companies that make obscene profits.

In fact, if I had a single spare cent to my name, I would be inquiring about buying some stock in Aqua Virginia (assuming that they provide a regular cash dividend).

But do not fret Aqua Virginia customers, in a year or two President Obama and his newly founded Unification Board will ensure that those evil owners of Aqua are not making any profit. And I am sure folks like Delegate Chris Peace, Supervisors Wayne Acors and Floyd Thomas, and The Caroline Progress will be celebrating.

But — hopefully — by that time, the people at Aqua will have gone on strike and the customers of Aqua will be dying of thirst, unable to take a shower, and their lawns will be dead.

Oh-so-sincerely,
Midas Watson

For those that are curious: Recalling elected officials in Virginia.

I did a little research (called a Google search in these parts), and I answered my own question from a previous post. First, we don’t have recall elections in this state, but recall trials (seriously). Consult Va. Code § 24.2-233:

Upon petition, a circuit court may remove from office any elected officer or officer who has been appointed to fill an elective office, residing within the jurisdiction of the court:

1. For neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties when that neglect of duty, misuse of office, or incompetence in the performance of duties has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of the office, or

2. Upon conviction of a misdemeanor pursuant to Article 1 (§ 18.2-247 et seq.) or Article 1.1 (§ 18.2-265.1 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 18.2 and after all rights of appeal have terminated involving the:

a. Manufacture, sale, gift, distribution, or possession with intent to manufacture, sell, give, or distribute a controlled substance or marijuana, or

b. Sale, possession with intent to sell, or placing an advertisement for the purpose of selling drug paraphernalia, or

c. Possession of any controlled substance or marijuana, and such conviction under a, b, or c has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office, or

3. Upon conviction, and after all rights of appeal have terminated, of a misdemeanor involving a “hate crime” as that term is defined in § 52-8.5 when the conviction has a material adverse effect upon the conduct of such office.

The petition must be signed by a number of registered voters who reside within the jurisdiction of the officer equal to ten percent of the total number of votes cast at the last election for the office that the officer holds.

Any person removed from office under the provisions of subdivision 2 or 3 may not be subsequently subject to the provisions of this section for the same criminal offense.

Va. Code § 24.2-235 deals with procedure; § 24.2-236 allows for suspension of the official pending the hearing and any appeals; § 24.2-237 deals with who will represent the Commonwealth during the hearing; and lastly, § 24.2-238 deals with the costs associated with the petition.


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