In this issue, for the week of October 15, 2012:
• Need a zoning change? If you’re Chairman Scott York’s close personal friend and major campaign contributor, it’s a snap
• Blatant conflicts of interest on the Loudoun Lyme Commission
• Delgaudio smokescreen grows thicker
• Geary Higgins tells us to vacuum up stinkbugs, and also that fall is here, courtesy of his new Patrick Henry–supplied staffers
Talk about efficiency in government
As noted last week, the Loudoun Hounds extremely minor-league non-existent baseball team has decided that even with all of those government-supplied favors (zoning changes, $80 million taxpayer-provided loans, etc etc) that had been secured for the Kincora development — secured in part on the team’s promise to build its stadium there — it could get a better deal down the road at the One Loudoun development.
Instead of feeling put out in the least, Chairman of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors Scott York (R-Hounds) has now promptly put on the agenda for instant action, at the very next Board meeting on October 16, a motion to amend the county zoning plan to make that possible.
Pardon us if we are just slightly skeptical that ordinary citizens, say for example those who did not contribute $19,219 to the election campaigns of the nine Republican supervisors last fall, would get such snappy service. The motion also includes a nice open-ended catch-all stating that this amendment “is expected to be co-processed” with “additional legislative applications,” presumably in case the Hounds think of anything else they might like.
Meanwhile the Hounds themselves have been very busy removing from their web site the artist’s conception of their former non-existent stadium at Kincora and replacing it with an even sketchier artist’s sketch of their new non-existent stadium at One Loudoun. They inform us that it will be located in a “thoroughly amenitized environment” and not only will feature “clean restrooms” but be “easily accessible by several ingresses.”
Now all they need is a PR person who can write something that resembles English, and a baseball team.
Dr. Feelgood and the Loudoun Lyme Commission
As the Loudoun Lyme Commission is busily developing its plans to spray another $50,000 of your money, in the form of chemical pesticides of dubious value, on Loudoun parks as part of its blank-check privilege to help your elected officials create the illusion that they are doing something about Lyme disease, the commission is also laying plans to do exactly what we warned last spring would happen if you give such a platform to a bunch of zealous promoters of scientifically dubious ideas.
To briefly recap, a group of very politically minded but unscientific medical practitioners and patient activists have waged a crusade in recent years claiming that Lyme disease is a chronic condition that can only be eased by long-term use of antibiotics. The Centers for Disease Control and numerous scientific studies have completely debunked this notion. Some patients do suffer lingering effects, probably as a result of auto-immune reactions, but additional antibiotics—beyond a few weeks’ treatment—not only do nothing but can cause serious complications and have even lead to deaths.
Insurance carriers will not pay for these bogus remedies, and physicians who have made a lucrative practice of offering such uncovered and unscientific treatments have lost their licenses — including the M.D. that our local right-wing Bible-college “chancellor” and loonie-Lyme-zealot extraordinaire “Dr.” Michael Farris has had treating almost his whole family. (Farris even claims that six of his children have chronic Lyme disease that they contracted in utero, a route of infection for which there is no plausible evidence but which has become another article of faith among non-scientific practitioners looking to expand their patient base).
Anyway, it was clear from the start that the whole local GOP Lyme “initiative” was being pushed by this very group, who were hoping to gain governmental imprimatur for their questionable views.
The chairman of the Loudoun Lyme Commission, Dr. Samuel Mark Shor, has a history of advocating and offering questionable therapies: In addition to his Lyme practice, he runs something called “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy of Northern Virginia,” whose website claims that sitting in one of his pressurized chambers breathing “100% oxygen” can treat Lyme disease, chronic pain, fibromyalgia, headaches, atherosclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, sports injuries, hearing loss, cognitive impairment, and traumatic brain injury. Insurance does not pay for these unapproved and unproven therapies either, and typical “hyperbaric treatments” from such practitioners (some of whom claim to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, autism, and AIDS as well) run to $8,000 or more.
And as for long-term antibiotic treatment, in case you don’t have Lyme disease, Dr. Shor also (according to his resume) advocates the view that a “Majority of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Patients Improve with Antibiotics.” Shor is also on the board of the knock-off medical society (the “International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society”) formed by long-term-antibiotic advocates to try to imply legitimacy in the face of the wholesale condemnation of their “treatments” by science-based medicine organizations including the CDC and the Infectious Disease Society of America. He also was on the state-wide Lyme commission that Farris got his friend Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell (R) to establish, with Farris as chairman — based no doubt on Farris’s vast medical and scientific expertise, which includes denying evolution.
Here is an excellent summary of the whole weird GOP policitization of Lyme disease, including its appearance recently in the presidential campaign, courtesy of Loudoun’s own Mike Farris.
At a recent session, the Loudoun Lyme Commission voted (7–0 — nice that the spirit of unanimity is everywhere in Loudoun government these days) to add a link on its county-supplied web site to an interview Dr. Shor did with Diane Rehm promoting his views. And it plans to soon take up the issue of “educating the medical community.” With educators like this . . .
You can read (pdf file) Dr. Shor’s c.v. here.
What part of “against the law” don’t you understand?
Among the more innovative efforts by the GOP Loudoun establishment to whitewash and obscure the misuse of his office by Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) was a remarkably slimy editorial in the Republican-owned Loudoun Times (motto: One of the World’s Newspapers), which observed, “Even his harshest critics will admit that Delgaudio is a strong fundraiser.”
Yes, and even Mr. Dillinger’s harshest critics will admit he had excellent aim.
At the risk of stating the obvious . . . Delgaudio is not being accused of being “a strong fundraiser.” He is accused, and on excellent evidence including e-mails and office records, of ordering his county-paid staff aides to devote the majority of their working hours, at the county office building, to soliciting and scheduling meetings for him with well-heeled potential donors.
To anyone who has worked in government at the local, state, or federal level — at least in any non-insane jurisdiction, which apparently does not describe our own fair county — this is so plainly beyond the pale it doesn’t even merit a quibble. (A friend who worked as an aide for an Alexandria town councilman related the one time a campaign contribution for the councilman was mistakenly sent to his official town office —and the aide instantly called the Town Attorney to report the problem and ask how to handle it.)
Expect more obfuscation from the Board, and its amen chorus in what used to pass for the local press, in the coming months.
Higgins: It’s not my fault we didn’t have more hurricanes
We all of course have been waiting breathlessly for almost a year now for Supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) to unveil the major initiative he promised during his campaign to combat the stinkbug menace, or, in his inimitable and manly prose, “to attack these disgusting pests head-on.”
Well, we can all rest easy now. Higgins is on the case at last. In his latest “news”[sic]letter to constituents, he advises us . . . (yes . . . yes?) . . . to . . . (yes . . .?) . . . keep our windows shut, and also to vacuum up any stinkbugs that do get inside our houses.
He also explains that because we had so few tropical storms this year, stinkbug populations have increased. In his previous newsletter, he also informed us that “autumn has arrived,” and that the leaves will be changing color soon. I am not making this up.
By the way we also notice that Geary has two new aides, both fresh young students from “Dr.” Farris’s very Christian (of a very particular stripe) anti-evolution laughably “accredited” Bible college for home-schooled right-wingers, Patrick Henry “College” in Purcellville.
Glad you got with the Loudoun Republican Committee program, Geary! That way you don’t even have to ask those irksome questions that Delgaudio did of his candidates for the job (“are you a Christian,” “pro-life,” “right-wing,” “pro-marriage,” etc etc.)