Posts Tagged ‘Board of Supervisors’

Morris, Baroncelli look safe for GOP Sup Nods

Hardcore Republicans (and extremely curious Democrats) who are on top of Republican politics know that mass meetings were held last night in the precincts that make up Districts 1 (Forestville, New Market, and Orkney), 4 (Woodstock and Fort Valley), and  5 (Lebanon Church, Toms Brook, Mt. Olive, and Cedar Creek) to elect delegates to the County Convention on May 15th. For those of you who are confused, yes, we still hold mass meetings at the precinct level to elect Delegates who then gather at the County Convention to conduct business (nominations for public office in odd years, part organizing in even ones). As far as I know, mostly only suburban or urban counties in Virginia use the county convention; most others use mass meetings or canvasses (although some put in a clause canceling whatever method  is selected if only one candidate files). There have been discussions of switching to another method, with the main argument being that participation would increase if there was only one meeting to go to (even though you may submit your name to someone for nomination, although this is not widely known and varies by precinct), but so far the only progress made has been a pre-filing deadline and filing fee. I think its a function that should be reconsidered, but as it stands, this is the method for at least one more year. 

At any rate, at the meetings last night Delegates were elected. In District 5, no candidate emerged to challenge incumbent Supervisor Dennis Morris within the party. Early word was that HB Sager, backed by Morris foe Mark Prince, would run within the party, but he did not file on April 2nd and there are reports that he has been circulating filing petitions to run as an indy. Additionally, no nominations will be allowed from the floor unless a candidate has not filed for that office, and as far as I know, Morris did indeed file.

Regardless, the meetings were still held in District 5. In Toms Brook, we had a grand total of three people and elected 17 delegates. In Mt. Olive, six people attended and elected 25 delegates. 

In District Four there was a much different story. A late challenger arose to incumbent Sharon Baroncelli, Carolyn Miller, a former jailer at the county jail. Early reports indicate that 58 people were in attendance. It should be noted that a handful of people is far, far more common. However, this is a contested nomination–hence the turnout. According to a source, there were a number of motions made that were withdrawn–however, when the dust cleared, it appeared that Baroncelli had elected the most delegates, 41, to Miller’s 17. Since delegates are not pledged to any particular candidate, the nomination is still technically up in the air. Indeed, there will be a candidate’s forum at the County Breakfast at the Mt. Jackson Denny’s at 9 A.M. this Saturday. However, with such an overwhelming advantage, Miller may very well pull out, unless Fort Valley offered up a suprise (doubtful, given that Miller is from Woodstock). The big question: will she take advantage of the loophole that allows the loser of party run processes (canvasses, conventions, and mass meetings) to run as an independent if they gather the signatures in time? Will another independent arise? Will the Dems take advantage of their increasing share in the District and file someone? 

Still waiting on word from District 1. However, last we heard, no one filed other than Dick Neese. Another Dem challenge doesn’t seem likely, but might we see an independent? Doubtful, since Neese tends not to track much controversy, but with the county’s budget still up in the air and a general anti-incumbent mood striking conservatives these days, possibilities abound.

Supervisors Make Tough Calls, Smart Moves

I mentioned last week that I’m moving the focus of this blog away from local politics. Before I do so, however, I wanted to make a few final comments about the Board of Supervisors and the tough decisions they currently face. 

A few weeks ago I was critical of the board for adding to the long term debt load for the County by putting down payments on two tracts of land for school expansion in Strasburg and Woostock. While I still disagree with the timing, it is an issue that the Board will have to deal with in the future in terms of long-term strategic planning. 

However, kudos is due to the board for doing their best to deal with loss in revenue from both local and state sources in these troubling times. They’re making a number of prudent cuts that will allow them to avoid a property tax increase in the immediate future. Amongst the most challenging cuts they’re facing: a quarter reduction of their own salaries. For a job that already requires such great sacrifice and fierce criticism with such little reward, this is a very valiant gesture on the part of the board. As it stands it has just been discussed by the Budget Committee, but at the least this is the sort of selfless choice you like to see public officials consider. 

Another key move: streamlining the movement of leachate at the landfill through the construction of a pipeline rather than trucking the material across 11. This was a good move from both a public safety and financial aspect, particularly as the price of fuel remains unstable. It didn’t get the attention it deserved (mostly because it was overshadowed by the school land purchase), but every little bit helps, and being able to point to this sort of innovation will certainly help the incumbent supervisors this fall. 

So kudos to the board for making the difficult decisions they have to. It will be interesting to see how the County’s debt load plays out in the next few years, but for the time being, the Board is doing what it needs to do by focusing on the tough decisions that need to be made now to ensure that property owners don’t have to suffer a tax hike during the current economic downturn. 

Tons of Twitterers!

February 3, 2009 Leave a comment

Twittering seems to be sweeping through both the world of political consultants and elected officials these days and is getting plenty of media attention. For those of you not familiar with Twitter, it is essentially a web service that allows you keep your friends and family up to date by providing a 140 character answer to the question: what are you doing? These answers are then uploaded to the central server and can be received on the web, via third party software (I prefer twhirl), and via cell phone. You can also update Twitter via those same methods. 

As I mentioned, although Twitter is often used to keep families in touch, politicians are using it to keep constituents and fans constantly up to date. Not all elected officials do their own twittering, but many are twittering live from meetings, even some behind closed doors: two Republican members of Congress sent over twenty “tweets” (as messages on twitter are known) from last week’s meeting with President Obama. However, not everyone is enthused about the innovation.

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CHG Flexes its Muscle on Schools

January 16, 2009 Leave a comment

Some of you may remember the local watchdog group Citizens for Honest Government, a non-partisan group that is dedicated, in its words, “improving the quality of government in the county by monitoring the activities that affect the county and raising the awareness of citizens.” Although the group’s founding was controversial, it is clear that they are quickly becoming the leading voice against government lagresse in Shenandoah County. Their latest target: the Shenandoah County Board of Supervisors for putting up $95,000 for closing costs and preliminary site work for land in Strasburg and Woodstock. Read more…