2013-02-27 / Opinions


Chesterfield can’t cut its way to prosperity

Over the last several years, I have spent many hours following the county’s financial ups and downs, and all the while I’ve been bothered by the fact that something is seriously wrong. It wasn’t immediately clear but after some focused thought on the matter I realized the problem is me.

In short, I am one of the thousands of faceless residents of this county who sit on the sidelines and watch events play out but do not get actively involved because the rest of life gets in the way.

Nonetheless, over the last several years, especially since the last election, I’ve witnessed this community slowing turning its back on the hallmark services that brought families like mine here in favor of some misguided belief that we can correct Washington D.C.’s massive missteps by starving our local school system, underpaying our police officers and neglecting our infrastructure.

I realize this letter will likely have little impact and in no way replaces the involvement my neighbors and I should be investing. Regardless, I wanted to offer a word of encouragement to [Midlothian] Supervisor [Dan] Gecker, who seems to be the only board member who sees that we can’t cut our way to prosperity. Mr. Gecker, please don’t waver in your commitment to the community that we, in the silent majority, envisioned when we moved here.

I realize it’s increasingly difficult and lonely work, but if you let up, I’ll be forced to join the growing number of folks who think the best thing in Chesterfield County is 288 North.

Ann Simmons

Midlothian, VA

Carrying a gun on school property

I find it amusing that those in the anti-gun crowd often claim a sanctimonious monopoly on having the only common-sense approach to stopping gun violence, and then they offer the same tired opinions that demonstrate a lack of common sense.

An example of such thinking was on display in Stephanie Porter’s letter titled “Keep guns out of schools” (Feb. 6) that disagreed with my notion that teachers and visitors should have the right to defend themselves and others by being armed on school property.

For years the anti-gun crowd has had their way, with schools being declared gun-free zones. The result? Criminals purposely target these areas to attack people.

Here, the criminal is the one displaying common sense by attacking those who have been disarmed while no common sense is displayed by the individuals hiding behind anti-gun slogans to feel safe. We have tried their way, and it has failed miserably with fatal results.

Porter then posits that if guns are permitted, a disgruntled parent could enter a school to make a “teacher’s life miserable.” Does Porter realize this can happen today. It is called breaking the law and criminals are doing it all the time.

The school at Sandy Hook was already a declared a gun-free zone and nothing prevented the shooting from happening, and no one could stop the attack in progress. Why? Because they had been disarmed.

Porter says we must remember that it’s not the guns that are doing the killing but rather the mentally ill people behind those guns. Why does she then treat all gun owners the same way?

The mentally ill intent on committing a crime with a gun will do it notwithstanding the no-guns-allowed signs. Porter offers no solutions but rather clings to her so-called gun-free cocoon while acting like a deranged parent will suddenly stop upon encountering a no-guns-allowed sign posted on the door. Is this what passes for common-sense thinking?

Porter says we should not allow weapons around our children so as to protect them from violence. Regrettably, Porter and her ilk continue to invite more violence by keeping schools as defense-free zones. Using her logic, we should demand that police officers carry no weapons, and we should also eliminate our military’s nuclear bombs. After all, who needs all these weapons around inciting violence?

Oh, you mean some weapons are for prevention and self-defense? Exactly. Perhaps Porter and others could apply some real common-sense thinking and a fresh approach instead of falling back on their same failed policies and arguments.

Clayton Rhoades


Suspicious survey

I recently received a survey from one of my elected representatives. To his/her credit, at least he/she asked. I confess to being one of those citizens who looks at the political process with a jaundiced eye. If you ask, I’ll tell you that the average voter is an idiot, that politicians pander to that idiocy, shape it, and then exploit it. The result is a herd of sheep being fleeced.

Not feeling ovine? Not bleating yet? Read the [survey] (below). Virginia continues to face budget constraints due to the lingering effects of the nationwide recession. How do you believe the General Assembly should address such budgetary constraints? [Please rank your responses. 1 = First Course of Action; 5 = Last Resort] ____ Raise general or statewide taxes (sales, income, and/or gas) ____ Increase certain fees to cover the actual cost of providing certain government services ____ Cut needless government spending and eliminate earmarks ____ Streamline, consolidate and/or eliminate state agencies and bureaucracy ____ Cut outdated, duplicative and unnecessary boards and commissions

“Budget constraints.” This means that the General Assembly is being forced to do something. They are being forced against their will to do what we all do every day – spend only what they have. Why, pray tell, is the General Assembly being forced to manage its finances? It’s not their fault. It’s wholly out of their control. It’s because of the “lingering effects of the nationwide recession.” What’s the solution. Raise taxes? Even an idiot can see that the survey expects this to be the 5 = Last Resort”… as opposed to the 1 = First Course of Action. Language is a powerful tool. We are being pre-conditioned to believe that the General Assembly does not want to raise taxes. They are telling us that they are being forced to do it because of the recession, and only as a last resort.

“Cut needless spending.” Needless spending is, well, needless. What if I rank this solution only as a “5 = Last Resort”? Does that mean that our General Assembly will only cut needless spending if it’s a last resort?

Perhaps, we can “cut outdated, duplicative and unnecessary boards.” No, I think not. Outdated, duplicative and unnecessary boards create government jobs. Needless jobs, but jobs nonetheless. The private sector is slowing bleeding jobs. Perhaps we can all get hired on the Hill. That’s good, right? But I digress.

Think long and hard about what you are being asked/told here. If the economy had not forced the General Assembly to act, none of these solutions would be implemented. We could carry on, spend needlessly, retain duplicative and outdated boards, avoid making the government more efficient and so forth.

Baaa . . .

Michel P. Cassier


Government needs to economize

In reference to the letter in the Feb. 6 issue stating that Chesterfield balances its budget on the backs of its employees, [the writer] needs to realize that citizens pay his salary. In the private sector, if you don’t like your pay, then improve your performance. If the company can afford it, you will probably get a raise. If not, you can always try to get a job meeting your expectations elsewhere. That is true capitalism.

He states [he hasn’t had a] raise in four years. Since when are raises a guaranteed right? Does he guarantee his work as a teacher? How about the people who have lost their jobs and maybe their houses?

The true issue is governments all over the country have overspent to satisfy the wants of those governed. Everyone wants [his/her] piece of the pie, as long as someone else pays for it.

If government at all levels would stop spending wastefully, then pay-for-real-performance for teachers, police, etc. may be possible. An example is building Taj Mahal-type schools that don’t do much to educate but sure look pretty. The problems are a lot deeper than you think.

Ronald T. McGuigan vice president, Kozak Beverages Letters can be emailed to letters@chester, mailed to P.O. Box 1616, Midlothian, VA 23113, or faxed to 744-3269. Letters should include the writer’s phone number and home address, but neither will be printed. All letters should be limited to less than 500 words and may be edited for clarity or space. For complete guidelines, visit www. and click onletters policy.”

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