Two bits of C’ville news.

I’ve had a lot to write about lately on one of my other blogs,, and some of y’all might be interested in two of those stories.

The first is that some Christianists are all in a lather that a pagan flier was sent home with school kids…but it was only sent home because Jerry Falwell threatened to sue the school if they didn’t let religious fliers be sent home. He forgot that there are more religions than Christianity. I’m still waiting for this story to explode.

The second is VDOT’s plan to close road maintenance facilities across the state. They held a hearing for us about it…in Culpeper…at 5pm on a workday. Thanks, folks. So we pressured them into holding another one here in Albemarle a week ago, and they confessed that the quality of service will decline. It seems that they simply have no choice, because a) the GA just isn’t funding transportation and b) the GA has ordered them to outsource maintenance. Now it turns out that they don’t have any data to support the closures — they seem to be arbitrary. VDOT will make their decision on Friday, and I think we all know what they’ll decide.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

11 replies on “Two bits of C’ville news.”

  1. The amazing thing is that there are a bunch of Republicans that I know (who were opposed to Kaine’s transportation package) who are now up in arms about these closures.

    I truly believe that the genius of the contemporary conservative coalition is party based on the fact that our civil services work so well people now take them completely for granted, and see no cause and effect between their taxes and the services they receive.

    For evidence, go read about how hard it is to get a broken power line fixed in India.

  2. Same thing (VDOT closures) happening in Rockingham … why don’t the links work in this post?

    Thanks for pointing that out. I copied only the directory portion of the URLs, forgetting that I was linking to a different site entirely. The links will work now.

  3. They have closed Green Bay (Prospect) and one here in Cumberland.

    All the equipment stays, in case they need to clear roads in this area. Lisa’s ex is a supervisor for VDOT, and he was the only employee left in the Cumberland location they closed.

    When asked by Lisa’s son, I tell him that it is the transportation stalemate that has caused this. Although it is true, his Dad probably doesn’t want to hear it, since he is R leaning. This seems like a built-in issue that will come up in the elections in 2007.

  4. This is certainly an issue to take to the Republicans next year. (If of course VDOT does what its going to do)

    If we get a big snow this year and it takes a week to get our roads plowed, it will be even more potent.

    The competent governing model vs the politics at all cost model.

  5. “This is certainly an issue to take to the Republicans next year. (If of course VDOT does what its going to do)”

    AGREED! What do you think we can do about getting a billboard up on 66 and 95 in Northern Virginia and on 64 in Tidewater asking drivers if they are happy with their represenatives’ stance on transportation. I’m sure during the morning and evening rush they will have plenty of time to read it.

  6. Great idea UV08, education might be needed, there is quite a disconnect at this point.

    I was not at the meeting, but I just recently spoke to some people who were . . . supposedly all the anger was directed at VDOT, while Hanger and the like sat quietly in the corner, escapeing everyone’s attention.

  7. The VDOT people should have skipped that useless PowerPoint presentation (which didn’t even mention Free Union) and simply said:

    “We have to cut back on maintenance — we have to cut back everything — because we have not been given enough money to work with by the state legislature. If you want to maintain the same level of service, you have to be willing to pay more in taxes. If you are willing to pay more in taxes, contact your representatives. You get what you pay for.”

  8. “education might be needed, there is quite a disconnect at this point.”

    Knowledge on this subject is the biggest problem. The problem for those of us who want to get the revenue is that their catch phrases and tag lines make their position SEEM more plausible. All voters hear from them is “we don’t want to raise your taxes.” That leaves us as the side that just wants to raise taxes. We all know that it is far more complex than that and our side requires more analytical reasoning. We also know that just because their (non)argument is simple it doesn’t make it right. I think our side needs to crunch the numbers and let voters know just how much extra they can expect to pay in taxes. I have heard that the impact on the average worker in Virginia will be minimal.

    While I am thinking about it lets say there are three million Virginia workers. If everyone one of them agreed to pay 20 dollars extra a month in taxes for roads we are talking about 60 million dollars in extra revenue a month. That’s 720 million dollars extra for transportation every single year. Of course that is a very simple example but what do you think the response of voters in NOVA and Tidewater would be if you told them for just 20 extra dollars a month the state could increase funding for transportation every year by three-quarters of a billion dollars? Add to it the fact that we all know it wouldn’t be flat so some at the higher levels may pay a little bit more while some on the bottom would pay less and that Virginia has some of the lowest taxes in the nation.

    Additionally, they typically say that we should use the surplus and take money from other programs but in response we need to ask forcefully and demand an answer to the following questions: What programs would we cut and by how much? How much money will that add to transportation? How much transportation work beyond maintenance could we really get done by cutting those programs and using the “surplus”? Would the loss in services and decrease in quality of life be worth the trade off we make by cutting funding to areas like education and health care?

    The bottom line is that we need to articulate our position better than what we have been doing. The other side has the easiest and superficial (non)argument to make but that doesn’t mean we can’t get our message out effectively. Virginia voters are very reasonable and I suspect with a little bit more effort we can get our point across.

  9. UVA08,

    I think you’re right that a simple argument needs to be made for the need for greater transportation funding. It seems to me that the simple argument to be made to folks in Free Union (and other rural areas slated to lose VDOT services) is that the additional cost in taxes would probably be less than the lost wages of residents who can’t get to work if it takes an extra day (or two) longer to clear the roads of snow than is currently the case.

    I promise that, if we have impassable roads, due to snow, I’ll be sure to write my letter to the editor reminding folks why the roads weren’t plowed sooner.

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