Everything You Wanted To Know

and a little bit more………..

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City Council Vote On Virginia Beach Town Center Light Rail Extension

April 6th, 2016 · No Comments

The vote on allocating funds for the Town Center Tide Extension set the stage for Virginia Beach City Council’s commitment to molding our beautiful coastal city into one that will continue to attract business, tourists, and new residents. The resulting increase in our tax base will help facilitate future projects, maintain and improve infrastructure, and provide for a world class school system without forcing senior citizens out of their lifetime homes by utilizing only increases in the real estate tax. 

The alternative, which a dictatorial group is intent on forcing on the citizenry, would propel the city back into the 1970’s.  There can be no doubt about their goal after the group leader’s statement that millennials should move to Norfolk.  One Virginian Pilot letter to the editor writer even suggested that they move to Charlotte.  Are these the same individuals who were vocal in attempting to stop the development of Town Center and a plethora of other highly successful projects?

Time marches on.  It will only be a flash in the evolving history of Virginia Beach before these millennials are the generation who will assume leadership positions in Hampton Roads.  Do we really want Virginia Beach to become an aging, dying city with no vision for the future?

I was living in Atlanta when MARTA, the subway & rail system, was conceived and built.  One county opted out.  Their reasons were similar to what we see espoused by the Anti-Tide group.  The system, decades later, is extremely successful.  It is convenient and inexpensive to take a train from a station in close proximity to one’s hotel and exit inside the terminal at the Atlanta airport.  It began with a vision.  And the county that opted out is left out. 

If not illegal, it must be unethical for an elected Constitutional Officer to be using his platform to begin and lead a movement to block the extension of Light Rail to Town Center.  Perhaps the City Treasurer needs to be reminded that the funds he is entrusted with belong to the people, not to him personally.  When the Treasurer of any organization attempts to dictate where the funds are allocated, it is time for a new face in that office.  Perhaps the petitions being circulated should be for impeachment.

Those who hold to the past don’t want to admit that rail is the transportation mode of the future.  We can either join or be left behind.  Rail saves commute time, pollution from fuel, gasoline costs, auto purchase and maintenance costs, and possibly the health of those who stress and fume when stuck in traffic.  The list of benefits could go on and on. 

It isn’t realistic to expect Light Rail to pay for itself.  Does our interstate highway system pay for itself?  Do the surface streets we travel each day pay for themselves?  Do we expect the new Lesner Bridge to pay for itself?  Our existing infrastructure requires continuous maintenance and both city and state staffs and employees to maintain.  They are paid for by taxpayer dollars which we don’t question.

The Town Center line is the logical step that Virginia Beach can take to begin expanding the starter line into a system connecting Southside Hampton Roads.  Following this move, an extension to the Oceanfront would be in order.  Norfolk should explore an extension to ODU, Norfolk Naval Station & Norfolk International Airport. In conjunction with Chesapeake an extension should be added to the heavily traveled commuting areas of Great Bridge/Hickory/Grassfield.  A Park & Ride for the Chesapeake residents, along with the bedroom communities of Moyock & Elizabeth City would take a large volume of traffic off the much congested rush hour I-64 corridor.

Currently travel to a restaurant in Norfolk or to MacArthur Center is far more easily accomplished by taking The Tide.  How I wish the line had existed during my late husband’s final hospitalization at Norfolk General.  The parking lot fees during the extended time period were astronomical.  Sometimes I ride to the end of the line and back to Newtown Road just to see the new development that is continually being built in downtown Norfolk in close proximity to the Tide.  When my NYC son came to visit recently, I took him and his family on the same ride to proudly show off this Tide inspired urban development.  How different downtown Norfolk is than when he moved away.

An extension of the Tide will allow business and convention travelers staying at downtown Norfolk hotels to easily shop and dine at our ever expanding Central Business District.  As a past event organizer for a large convention held at a Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center, I can attest to the fact that ladies at that Convention from all over the Commonwealth wanted to dine and shop in Virginia Beach but weren’t comfortable with navigating the traffic in our area.  Future extension of the Tide to the Oceanfront would allow for shared tourism between Virginia Beach and Norfolk. 

Virginia Beach already owns the former Norfolk Southern rail line to Town Center.  The Commonwealth of Virginia has allocated a large sum of money to be used on this extension.  City Council already has funds earmarked for this project.  Studies have already been completed regarding the best location for a Town Center Tide Station. 

Why is this issue even being debated?  We are so far along already.  Now is the time for action.  There may never be another opportunity.

→ No CommentsTags: Tidewater · Virginia

A Reflection on the Election of 2012

September 5th, 2012 · No Comments

Our wonderful country is divided as not experienced since the War Between the States. So which side is correct? And what should your ballot choice be in the critical election of 2012?

Do we want our lives controlled by politicians who want the government to make decisions that are the right and responsibility of the family, with the advice of their minister?  Do we want to be subjected to a government that is intent on abolishing Medicare & Social Security, thus sending future generations of elderly Americans into poverty? Do we want to place control of our tax laws into the hand of elected officials who want to give tax breaks to big business and instead, place the major portion of the tax burden on the middle class?

To permanently save Social Security, all that needs to be done is to remove the salary cap. In 2012 individuals making up to $110,100 pay social security premiums. All income above that amount is completely exempt.  Why?

Do you want to subsidize those making $500,000 – $1,000,000 a year, or much, much more?  I don’t.

Do we want to allow our government to be controlled by those who want to take away the safeguards that have been in place since FDR? Those programs have worked extremely well. They have prevented our elderly population, whose family couldn’t or wouldn’t care for them, from having to go to poor houses.

Do poor houses actually exist in the 21st century? If not, we can give credit to an administration that actually cared for the common man. The alternative absolutely scares me to death, not just for myself, but also for my precious children and our descendants that will follow.

Proposed health care vouchers wouldn’t even come close to paying for a 50 year olds’ health insurance, much less someone who is 85. I know, because I am the group administrator for my business’s health insurance plan. You wouldn’t believe the cost of insurance for those over 50. I can’t imagine what the premiums would be if the elderly had to purchase private insurance (with a minimal voucher) rather than relying on Medicare. If young healthy people who feel they don’t need insurance don’t join a plan, the premium costs become unaffordable. And this is what is happening all over the country at this moment in time.

Vouchers would cause individuals 50 and over to have to choose between eating & health care (unless their employer chose to subsidize their coverage.) There is no doubt what people would choose. Eating is a necessity.

This approach to health care would drastically decrease the life expectancy of all of our citizens. And people like me, who greatly contribute to society and the economy, wouldn’t be able to get joint replacements they (and I…..) require to maintain a normal lifestyle.

For many, many years our citizens favored elected officials who actually cared for the common people. I’m not sure when or why that changed.

My hope is that you are still reading this, and haven’t navigated to another Web Site. The future of our children, grandchildren, and those future generations who hold our hand as we pass into the future and the past, depend on the choice you make in 2012.

I believe in the vision of the Founding Fathers for our great country. I believe that our elected officials should represent their constituents, rather than cater to the demands of their political party bosses. I believe that every American deserves life, liberty, and hope for the future.

May we continue to be a generation that supports our Constitution and Bill of Rights.   May we continue to be the refuge where those persecuted for their religious beliefs come, to be allowed to live their lives in freedom.  May we never be subjected to having one faith’s beliefs forced on all our citizens.  May we never condemn our fellow citizens because they are different than oneself. May we always have the freedom to choose, to believe, to live, and to remain free.

God Bless the United States of America. And may God shine his wisdom on your ballot choice in November 2012.

 

→ No CommentsTags: A Little Bit of Everything Else · Politics · The Nation

The Time for a Gasoline Tax Increase is Now!

January 15th, 2011 · No Comments

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like taxes any more than the rest of you.  But it’s time.   It’s time for a gasoline tax to facilitate Hampton Roads’ march away from traffic gridlock.   Urgent needs far exceed funds that could be diverted from other sources.  There just is no other way.

 

As I sit in my vehicle inching forward to the entrance to the HRBT, I ponder on how many gallons of gasoline tax I could pay with the fuel I have wasted lingering in traffic gridlock.  It is my opinion that most Hampton Roads residents would find themselves spending less, rather than more, in total gasoline dollars should a gasoline tax increase remedy our transportation problems.

 

Gridlock divides our region unnecessarily.  How many of you have turned down social engagements and business opportunities on “the other side of the water” because of traffic fears?  And how many of you, like me, have actually stayed in a hotel room on the peninsula to assure a timely arrival at a morning event?  I would far rather have paid those dollars in gasoline tax than to a hotel chain.

 

How many of you have driven our expressways and noted the programmable signs detailing the current backup at the HRBT?  Aren’t we always relieved that we plan to exit before reaching that point, rather than waiting in the consistently 4 – 7 mile backup?

 

And what about weather emergencies and natural disasters?  Those of us who live in Virginia Beach know there is no way we could evacuate should a major hurricane threaten our area.  Most of us would prefer to ride out the storm in our home rather than sitting in a car that has run out of gasoline in a line of traffic stalled on the interstate. 

 

Let’s challenge the “oldest continuous law-making body in the New World” to find a solution to our transportation needs in the 2011 session.  Have the users of the product fund the solution source.  Tax both Virginians and out-of-state users in a fair and equitable manner.  Turn your back on fees and levies unrelated to road use to avoid the appearance that you have voted for a tax increase.    The time for action is now.

→ No CommentsTags: A Little Bit of Everything Else

Financial Crisis Makes Presidential Choice More Important

October 9th, 2008 · No Comments

Is if possible to efficiently type on one’s laptop while hiding under the bed to escape the meltdown of our economy?  And won’t the sinus infection from which I currently suffer be worsened by the dust that my political activities have allowed to amass under the same said bed?

The current economic crisis isn’t really a situation that should be made humorous or interesting.  It is, instead, a cause for grave concern in the minds of all Americans.  We are each affected, regardless of one’s individual stock market portfolio or lack of investments.

This crisis is the worst single issue to face most of us in our lifetime.  Only those who are a surviving member of the Greatest Generation have faced similar experiences.  You not only suffered through the Great Depression, but also made huge sacrifices during World War II to assure the freedom of our planet.

The time for blame is not now.  That can come later – when the crisis is solved.  Wise choices, made by the leaders we have chosen to make decisions on our behalf, are the key to preserving the world in which we have always walked.

Not only is judgment and leadership required, but also the decision to surround oneself with the wisest counsel available.   There has never been a more important time for correct choices to be made.

November 4th is the date when the future of our great country will be decided. 

Will the choice be that of a continuation of unqualified, partisan, political appointees?  Or will the choice be, instead, that of electing an individual who will surround himself with the most qualified advisors, regardless of political persuasion.

We The People will make that choice. 

→ No CommentsTags: Politics · The Nation

Vice Presidential Choice – An Important Indicator of Judgement

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

A long anticipated event for political junkies was the first Vice Presidential debate of this historical campaign season.  As the starting time drew near, our household gathered around the television anxiously awaiting the moment with as much enthusiasm as a sports fan excited over the opening kick-off of the Super Bowl.

It actually was the Super Bowl, the final winner being an individual who receives much more than just a trophy and signature ring.  The winner instead is the individual who could be empowered to lead the greatest nation on this earth.  Should some unforeseen event affect the ability of the President to serve, the Vice President would step in and assume the office in his or her stead.

Never will I forget the day I was sitting in a Union High School classroom and heard the stunning announcement over the school intercom of the tragic death of President Kennedy.  As the decades following that moment continue to pass, I still remember the exact room, teacher, and seat that I occupied.  Vice President Lyndon Johnson was immediately sworn in, and a smooth transition of government occurred.  Upon the resignation of Richard Nixon, Vice President Ford became the nation’s Chief Executive Officer.  It does happen.  And it has also happened in the lifetime of many of you who are reading this opinion today.

Therefore the choice of a running mate should not be about which states one can bring into the party column.  It shouldn’t be about personality, charm, and charisma.  It shouldn’t be about how well one can read from a teleprompter.  It shouldn’t be about appealing to a target demographic or offsetting strength in the opponent’s campaign. The choice of a Vice Presidential candidate should be about choosing the individual who is best able to step in and assume the reins of government should the President not be able to serve.

Did we see the answer to that question on Thursday night?  The answer should be a unanimous “Yes”. 

Senator Biden displayed a calm, intelligent and deep understand of the difficult issues facing our nation.  He expressed care and concern for all citizens of our beloved country, not just a privileged few.  And he continues to touch hearts with a history of serving our country as a highly effective United States Senator while raising small children as a young, widowed Dad.

After the Vice Presidential debate there should be no doubt in any voter’s mind as to the judgment of the respective Presidential candidates regarding their running mate choice.  That decision is the first, and best indicator of the choices they will make as leader of the free world.

Senator Obama has shown the good judgment to choose an individual who is highly qualified to serve, not just as a possible successor, but also as a positive, intelligent Face of America to those other countries who share our moment in time on this planet.

Thank you, Senator Biden, for your Thursday night validation of Senator Obama’s choice.

→ No CommentsTags: Politics · The Nation

Mr. Webster Wouldn’t Like the New Definition of Elitist

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Mr. Webster must certainly be making a valiant attempt to escape from the grave to update his dictionary to meet new 21st century definitions.  The current wordspeak, seemingly straight out of George Orwell’s “1984”, has taken many words and twisted them into an intent that was never conceived by previous generations.

The most battered of all those terms appears to be the word “Elitist”.  Webster’s New World Dictionary (the 1984 edition) defines elite as “the group or part of a group regarded as the best, most powerful, etc.”  The same edition Thesaurus groups the term with the words:  society, nobility, celebrities, and aristocracy.  Not so according to certain politicians and pundits……..

One is now a elitist based on what they eat, where they shop, how their spend their leisure time, and how they dress.  Aren’t these all personal choices empowered to each individual by the Founding Fathers in their attempt to secure personal liberties and freedom for future generations?  And weren’t some of the earliest immigration waves a search for a land in which their own choices superceded those of a totalitarian government?

Why should one be considered an elitist because they choose arugula over collard greens?  And please, don’t be caught shopping at Whole Foods! 

What is wrong with preferring a sushi bar to a hamburger joint?  And why should one be denigrated for driving down the highway with the loud blare of an opera aria, rather than country music?

If one is an elitist for considering a “Theater” to be a stage, rather than a screen where one views a movie, then definitely put me in that class.  And if one is considered an elitist because they don’t follow a sport where cars race around in a circle and you can’t even tell who is ahead, then mark me down in that column.  If preferring orzo and couscous to macaroni and cheese is a really bad thing, then chain me up to a whipping post and get out the strap.  And the crime of all crimes is, of course, choosing to have a glass of wine rather than a beer.

Aren’t we all Americans?  Don’t we each have the right to have personal preferences without being categorized?  If we were all alike it would be a very boring place.

Let’s forget about how well one can bowl, whether they eat pancakes for breakfast, and how comfortable he or she is with drinking a beer at a neighborhood bar with the guys.  What really matters is judgement, diplomacy, intelligence, and a strong feeling of concern and care for ALL Americans.

→ No CommentsTags: A Little Bit of Everything Else · Politics · The Nation

The Right to Keep & Bear Arms

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Thanksgiving is a terrible time to spend at our Neshoba County, Mississippi farm. The culprit that denies an escape from our hectic life is the beginning of deer season.

The 78 acres that is an integral part of my heart and soul have not been farmed since my precious grandfather’s 1962 death. And the house is not peopled unless my siblings and I are in residence. Therefore the land is a virtual wildlife refuge.

If one arises at dawn and ventures into a lawn chair in the back yard, a very still and quiet individual can sip coffee and be one with families of wild turkey and deer. Following coffee, the next order of business is to don farmer’s knee boots and walk the hay fields, wet with morning dew, while one city slicker golden retriever runs wildly in a manner not possible in the world in which she normally exists.

Deer season ruins that retreat from the world. Perfectly normal individuals lose touch with reality. Nothing matters except the thrill of the kill.

Since it is common knowledge that our farm is not a permanent residence, the intrusion of gunshots is continually heard from trespassers who threaten the creatures we so lovingly protect.

Not being one who ever feels threatened or afraid, I take to the fields in my 4-wheel drive vehicle. My normal route is to traverse the perimeter, continually blowing my vehicle horn in a loud and obtrusive fashion. Every single deer on the property then makes a rapid retreat to the sanctuary of the overgrown woods.

My next task is to don an orange vest and walk deep into the forest, traveling all the paths that my brother has cut with his four wheeler. A bell ringing in my hand, I periodically yell, “I have a cell phone and a gun and I know how to use it!”

Now the truth of the matter is that I do have a cell phone. It doesn’t have reliable service in that rural area. So obtaining quick protection might not be a thing that would happen. And the gun threat is quite a stretch. If I did actually have one, I wouldn’t have a clue how to use it. But it serves the purpose of both scaring off the hunters and the deer. My husband fears for my life during this part of my quest, saying that one day some one will certainly shoot me. I dare them to do just that.

The Second Amendment promises citizens the “Right to Keep & Bear Arms”. As adverse as “Shooting Bambi” is to this animal lover, I respect the rights of those who choose to do so. But please….. Do it on your own land, not mine.

And I also respect the choice of Americans who feel the need to own a hand gun in protection of their home and family. It is a right that the Founding Fathers felt important to protect.

But is there really a need for the ordinary citizen to own assault rifles? And are semi-automatic weapons a useful tool to kill Bambi? Whatever would a law abiding citizen want to do with a weapon designed to kill in mass? Should there not be checks and balances to assure that the right to bear arms is not abused?

There are parents who will celebrate Christmas with great sadness because of the senseless shootings at Virginia Tech. There will be empty places under their tree, where the gifts for those dear family members should rightfully be. And there will be hollow empty places in the hearts of grieving families because of the loss they so tragically experienced. Should assault weapons have been sold to the individual who stole their childrens’ lives?

The right to bear arms comes with responsibility for good judgement and sensibility regarding the persons in whose hands those weapons are placed. That obligation should apply not only to the ordinary citizen, but also to the government agency that violates the rights and privacy of the innocent by accident. Tragic mistakes can never be recalled. Each life that is lost is a robbery of its path into the future, needlessly blocked.

Shooting a poor defenseless Moose in Alaska may be a thrill to some. But how can taking the life of one of God’s creatures, unless it is necessary for food and substinance, be considered a sport?

The right to bear arms……… How far should it be extended?

→ No CommentsTags: Mississippi · Politics · The Nation

Lesson’s Learned from the Election of 2006

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Newspaper reports concerning the root cause of the election of Virginia’s new Senator appear to be a simplistic explanation of what was a much more complex choice. I am the moderate voter who delivered the Senate into the hands of a different party. My vote was in no way a validation of one particular issue. My vote was, instead, a resounding “Yes” for a candidate who doesn’t come along very often. This was a man who might just be an elected official who placed the good of his constituents over misplaced party loyalty. And he has turned out to be exactly the Senator I envisioned in my dreams.

My vote against the incumbent was a “No” to his lock-step march with party leadership. It was a vote against huge tax credits for big business, pork-barrel spending, big government, rewarding incompetence, no-bid contracts, the Iraq War, the Patriot Act, No Child Left Behind, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, Hurricane Katrina failures, ignoring the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, illegal wiretapping of American citizens, out of control lobbyists, and government corruption.

My vote was in favor of a return to the United States envisioned and conceived by our founding fathers. It was a vote in favor of rejoining the international community. It was a repudiation of arrogance and deceit.

Letters sent to our previous Senator received responses that were not polite replies indicating that my opinion would be taken into consideration. The responses were, instead, long missile espousing his party’s talking points. Government shouldn’t work in that manner. An elected official who behaves as such will surely be defeated.

The philosophies espoused by our Founding Fathers are still as valid today as they were in the 18th century. When wage earners are penalized with a heavier tax burden than they can bear our entire economy will be placed in jeopardy. Can it ever be considered ethical to take hard earned dollars from the ordinary citizen to reward a greedy corporate elite? Our glorious republic was founded as an exciting experiment in democracy when similar taxes were imposed in favor of the crown.

Elected officials must listen to the voters who entrust government to their care. Otherwise, come November, the offending parties may join the unemployment rolls.

→ No CommentsTags: Politics · The Nation · Virginia

Why One Changes Their Party Affiliation

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Most of the time when things change in one’s life the reason is because that person have moved on. Life experiences continually amass to form a more solid base for beliefs.  The evolution of our country’s major political parties has reversed that normal process.

During the early part of my adult life I considered myself to be a member of one of the parties in question. My dear departed father was a strong supporter of that party. The time was an era when the party in question didn’t field candidates in most Mississippi electorial races. Of course the entire family followed our father’s lead.

At that time the party in question represented sound fiscal policy, small but effective government, and individual freedoms as espoused by our founding fathers.

As time marched on their priorities made a sudden and drastic change. Sound financial choices lost their importance. Narrow social issues favored by a vocal minority were emphasized instead. Congressional votes were based on party allegiance rather than constituent needs.

It became difficult in elections to discern their candidate’s views. Each campaign became, instead, a nasty mudslinging affair where millions were spent and nothing was accomplished. Trust became a word that was not normally applicable.

Writing a letter to one’s Senator or Congressman no longer resulted in a return response thanking the constituent for his or her opinion and vowing to take the position into consideration in upcoming votes. Return replies from members of that party evolved into nothing but a long dissertation of the party’s “talking points” on the issue. Written in a condescending manner, those letters usually ended up as trash can filler before the entire missile had been read. One then determined to choose another candidate when the ballot box next came calling.

Shouldn’t an elected official consider their constituents’ needs rather than simply espousing the talking points conveyed to them by strong armed party bosses? What can be good and right about choosing the party line rather than personal convictions to further one’s political aspirations? Shouldn’t the importance be placed, instead, on the needs and support of those individuals whose votes empowered each to make decisions on their behalf?

The party in question seems to not understand why their grasp on power slips as they step further and further away from the belief structure of the electorate. Can it be a surprise that I (and the majority of my family) am now a strong, solid supporters of the opposite party?

→ No CommentsTags: Politics

Return of Dorm Rules Would Increase Student Safety

October 6th, 2008 · No Comments

Why did the mysterious disappearance of VCU college freshman Taylor Behl have to end so sadly? The beautiful young face in the newspaper pictures should have returned safely to her dorm room. Her story should have continued with a college degree, marriage, and the opportunity to grow gracefully older.

Where does the fault lie for this story ending so tragically? Of course we can blame the perpetrator and the fact that society let such a criminal walk the streets of Richmond, VA. Critiques of the case will probably also find reason to blame campus security, city government and even twenty first century familial relationships. I’m not sure changes in those institutions would have saved this child.

What I do believe is that if Taylor Behl had not felt compelled to allow her roommate a private visit with her boyfriend in their dorm room, she would still be alive.

A dorm room is an individual’s dwelling place. It’s the spot a person retires to for privacy, relaxation, sleep, and study. Entertaining a boyfriend in one’s dorm room is a complete violation of the privacy of the individual who shares the room.

Freshman love the freedom they suddenly acquire when home is left behind for an out of town college campus. Should that freedom be so immediate?

In an earlier time dorms were private living spaces. Girls resided in one dorm and boys in another. Opposite sex visits were a violation of the rules. One was free to walk down the hall in hair rollers and nightgown without the possibility of being seen by an interesting male. It was only when a co-ed stepped into the dorm lobby that the outside world was received. Couldn’t that have been a better thing?

I blame the current laxity of college rules for the untimely death of Taylor Behl. She and her roommate were much too young to make an intelligent decision about how the evening would end. Their college should have set the structure for that decision to be a safe one.

We entrust our precious children to their university of choice. Each of those institutions should step forward to ensure that their learning journey is a safe one – even if there are a few rules that they don’t like.

→ No CommentsTags: A Little Bit of Everything Else