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Archive for July, 2012

The current salary paid to our state and local legislators is a formula for failure and bad government.  The only thing standing between the citizen and an oppressive plutocracy among our elected representatives is the virtue of the individual legislator, and according to our Congressman Frank Wolf virtue in America is in short supply.

“The Senate of Virginia consists of 40 members. Each member is elected for a term of four years and receives an annual salary of $18,000. A Senator represents approximately 176,000 citizens of the Commonwealth.”

“The House of Delegates consists of 100 members. Each member represents approximately 71,000 citizens. The term of office for a member of the House of Delegates is two years. Each member receives an annual salary of $17,640.”

The salary for a Manassas City Councilperson is even lower than the meager salary of our state legislators, unless supplemented by public funds going to one’s business or a not for profit ballet company.

There are many areas where state and local budgets can be reviewed for savings and cuts, when public officials allow those budgets to be thoroughly  reviewed and not obfuscated by incompetence or corrupt practices, one area which should NOT be cut is the salary of those responsible for overseeing those budgets, in fact, one could reasonably argue that raising those salaries, minimally doubling them, might constitute a revolutionary act for open and transparent government at the state and local level.

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Whatever one’s reaction to Greg Letiecq’s ‘no rules in a knife fight’ style of writing on Black Velvet Bruce Li is, the one thing I have always admired about Greg is that he’s not afraid to stand up and put his name behind his stance on an issue. In a recent piece on the PWC schools, he deployed the Blogger technique of putting words into the mouth of public officials who have shown contempt for the public right to know whether public monies are being used legitimately for that which they are being raised, in this case the PWC school system.

Greg’s use of  the F Off! expletive is jarring but it does capture an attitude which one finds increasingly familiar among our elected leaders and that is a contempt and disregard for those among the electorate who openly challenge their judgement and their use of public monies. Unfortunately, this has become the norm in American governance. Whether at the federal, state, or local level, America’s elected officials appear to think elections are synonymous for coronations, increasingly they have become little kings and queens, little tyrants in our daily lives.  Increasingly and arrogantly they are usurping our right for self-governance assisted by small armies of  bureaucrats who act more like courtiers and capos than civil servants.

One indicator of this phenomena can be seen on blogs like BVBL, and this one, where so many citizens feel the need to post anonymously or under pseudonyms. Some simply don’t want to get into the hassle of a prolonged debate and presence on-line, which is understandable, however many also honestly fear retaliation for voicing their concerns, criticisms and simply their opinions within the community. They fear retaliation by their local officials, elected and unelected, and they fear speaking up in their community. What a sad comment on Manassas and the state of a supposedly free society.

Now that reading the Declaration of Independence in public is objectionable free speech, perhaps, we should simply contact the British Crown and declare that after careful and extended deliberation, 236 years : “Nevermind, Long Live the Queen!”

And now for something completely different – MCPS Chairman Scott Albrecht, who has no conflict of interest, has appointed Tim Demeria, who also has no conflict of interest, along with two other male members to the MCPS school board finance committee.  I did not hear what committees the three women members were assigned to but someone mentioned that they thought they saw Chairman Albrecht handing out mops and hairnets to the women members.

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Humor Break

Story about first photo on the Web. The song by  Les Horribles Cernettes should be required viewing in Manassas schools. (Geek Humor)

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