Monthly Archives: April 2013

The gang that couldn’t vote straight

As noted previously, Supervisor Ralph “Profiles in Courage” Buona (R-Ashburn) bravely agreed to change his vote against the tax rate required to fund the budget he himself spent three months developing as chairman of the Loudoun Board of Supervisors’ finance committee, and instead abstain so that the tax rate would not be defeated. This allowed him to be able to claim he was still against big bad taxes, but without actually causing the entire budget process to collapse in ignominious chaos.

The tax rate accordingly passed on a 4–3 vote on April 3.

But it turns out it hadn’t passed. Continue reading

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Library censorship: here we go again

The last time the Loudoun Republican Party tried to save our innocent children from being corrupted by the evils lurking in our local libraries, it cost the county $100,000 defending a lawsuit that it inevitably lost and made us the laughingstock of the country.

But that bit of political theatrics shored up the right-wing wacko religious zealot credentials of one Dick Black, then serving on the Library Board, thereby catapulting him to a rewarding political career in Richmond as a state legislator, where he became the darling of religious wackos everywhere by handing out plastic fetuses to his fellow legislators and decrying the notion of ever prosecuting a husband for rape against his wife since, as he explained on the floor of our great state legislature, if she’s “wearing a nightie” in bed she is asking for it. But we digress.

This lesson in practical politics was not lost on other local aspiring Republican politicians, who are well aware — since the Republicans almost never deign to allow the people to select their candidates in primaries —  that kowtowing to the powerful wacko religious right faction in the party apparatus is a key to career advancement.

So here we go again!

Supervisors Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) and Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) Continue reading

There’s always a few thousand dollars of tax money for Christian proselytizing

Loudoun County’s tourism tax revenues are supposed to be used to promote tourism. But it’s a lot of dough — about $5 million last year — and our all-Republican Board of Supervisors, and its very partisan appointees to various county commissions and boards, have apparently found it to be a tempting slush fund to channel money to favored or politically connected businesses, organizations, and causes.

Among the events approved last month for a “Visit Loudoun Marketing Leverage Fund” grant, to the tune of $3,000 to support marketing and promotion of the event, is the “2013 Awakening Festival.”

This event, operated by something called “Awakening Ministries, Inc.,” turns out to be a “Christian contemporary music” “festival” whose avowed and unambiguous purpose, according to the Awakening Ministries, Inc. own website, is to proselytize:

“Our goal is to introduce Christ through the music, artists and the speakers.”

Perhaps the Board of Supervisors would like to consult the Constitution of the United States regarding this little matter of providing public funds for the direct promotion of a certain religion?

Don’t like your press coverage? Buy your own!

There is of course nothing more guffaw-inducing than the pomposity of a self-promoting local two-bit politician, and so in these discouraging times in our local government we would like to thank Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) for providing us some much-needed comic relief.

Supervisor Buona — taking a break from the hard work of paying off political donors (e.g., the backers of the One Loudoun stadium), slashing the school budget, and staging tax-cutting theatrics to shore up his far-right base in the local Loudoun County Republican Committee —  calls attention in his latest “news[sic]letter” to a hard-hitting piece of journalism featuring . . . a gushing profile of Supervisor Ralph Buona.

With the politician’s usual unctuous false modesty (“I am deeply touched and honored . . .”) the supervisor provides a convenient link to the blog containing the piece about himself, modestly entitled “Profile of a Driven Man,” which I admit at first made me think that perhaps I had missed the news that the Loudoun Board of Supervisors had voted to provide chauffeur service to elected officials.

No, it turns out to be a worshipful interview Continue reading

Math that Even a Loudoun Supervisor Might Be Able to Understand

By the way, one of the most nauseating bits of rhetorical evasion to come from Chairman Scott York (R-At Large) and Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) regarding the $20 million cut in the school budget the Board just voted is their pseudo-indignant insistence that it is not a “cut,” since the budget will nominally increase from last year. Did someone fail to tell them the little fact that the schools will be adding 2,500 additional pupils come September? Apparently so. So here’s the facts in a form that — possibly — even a Loudoun County Supervisor can understand:

The Loudoun County Public Schools will be increasing the number of enrolled students by 3.8 percent next year.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted to increase the school budget by only 2.5 percent next year.

If that’s not clear, here’s another way to explain it:

The Loudoun County Public Schools currently spend approximately $12,000 per pupil per year.

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors just voted to provide only $8,000 per pupil for the 2,500 additional students being added to the school population next year.

By comparison, Fairfax spends $13,000 per pupil; Montgomery County, Maryland, $15,000; and Arlington and Alexandria $18,000.

Here’s a small suggestion, Chairman York and Supervisor Buona: If you’re going to insult the people of Loudoun County by arbitrarily slashing the school budget as a prop for some bit of right-wing political tax-cutting theater, at least don’t insult our intelligence by trying to claim it’s not a “cut.”