FCTA's Monthly Messages

FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - October 2020

-- by David Swink, 10/11/2020

What the 2020 Election is REALLY About

An Oct 6 article in ZeroHedge was titled "There Are Trillions At Stake... How Washington Really Works, & Why Its Denizens Despise Trump". The article was rather long, but it posited that the 2016 and upcoming 2020 elections are more than about Democrat versus Republican. Both parties are complicit in a dysfunctional Congress that is now run by K-Street, and that Trump is the first person to point this out and to throw a wrench in the decades-old "good-old-boys" network that is lucrative to congressmen and lobbyists (The Swamp), but devastating to the constituents back home.

Most people think that when they vote for their U.S. House or Senate representative, it's "Mr. Smith goes to Washington" to enact legislation. But not a single person in congress has written legislation since around the mid-1990s. Instead, special interest groups write those 1000- or 2000-page tomes that -- as Nancy Pelosi would say -- "we have to pass the bill to find out what's in it". The job of your representative is merely to sign off on laws that almost certainly do not benefit the American public.

When these bills get passed, the special interest groups reward those compliant representatives mightily -- even more so if said representative is a committee chair. The process resembles insider trading on Wall Street, except the trading is based on who benefits from passage of the law in question.

Now, legislation is based on ideology. If Hillary had won in 2016, a whole litany of feeder bills were already poised for eventual passage, and Swamp creatures would have been happy. But instead, Trump won, and his "America First" policies were antithetical to all of those DC legislative briefs and constructs -- representing tens of millions of dollars worth of time and influence -- which became worthless when Donald Trump won the election. And there was no special interest or lobbying group, currently occupying DC office space with any interest in synergy with Trump policy. And this is why many politicians from both political parties, suddenly without the ability to acquire personal wealth from this corrupt system, chose to retire in 2018.

Most of the legislation that was passed by congress and signed by President Trump in his first term is older legislative proposals, with little indulgent value, that were shelved in years past. The "First Step act", "Right to Try", etc. were all shelved by Boehner, Pelosi, Ryan, McConnell, Reid and others before them. Any new legislation has very little chance of getting passed under the current system.

Before the 17th Amendment was passed, U.S. Senators were appointed by their state legislature and were thus immune to such corruption. But with direct election by the people after 17A was passed, Senators could become just as tainted by K-Street as their House brethren, though it took many decades for this temptation to come to pass. Since it takes both houses of Congress to pass legislation, is stands to reason that if the 17th Amendment is ever repealed, Congress might have to write its own legislation once again just to clear the Senate.

In 2016, the people voiced their frustration with both parties to this system and elected Donald Trump as President. The Left and their media allies thereafter acquired "Trump Derangement Syndrome" (for which there is no cure). They have failed with ObamaGate and assorted other allegations to dislodge Trump from office. Desperate now to prevent his reelection, they have pulled out all the stops. Blue state politicians are willing to continue ruining their economies with Covid fear-mongering lockdowns, and are willing to overlook the well-funded and well-organized rioting by Marxist organizations like Antifa and BLM -- all in hopes of preventing Trump from being reelected. (The extended lockdowns are used as an excuse for mail-in voting, an easy means for facilitating voter fraud -- a specialty of the Left.)

But perhaps the Left has overplayed its hand in 2020. People are coming to realize the nefarious machinations of the Left, despite its media and Big Tech cheerleaders, and will likely counter with revenge across the ballot on Nov 3.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - September 2020

-- by David Swink, 09/10/2020

Vote In Person, and NO to Fairfax Co Bond Issues

The "Wuhan Red Death" pandemic has degenerated into a "scamdemic" -- pushed long beyond its "sell-by" date by the Left and its media allies, including Big Tech with fully-activated "cancel culture" to filter out any ideas that this is merely another Asian flu with a very low mortality rate. The main purpose appears to be to create such fear in the voting public that they submit to the call for mail-in ballots with their potential for rejection and voter fraud. State and local government leaders, especially in "blue" jurisdictions, seem willing to follow the narrative, and destroy their economies (and their tax base) in order to discourage voters from reelecting President Trump.

Which brings us to the main point of this article: If you can get out to shop at Walmart, you can certainly ensure that your vote is counted by VOTING IN PERSON. By voting in person at your local precinct, you insure that your vote is tabulated on election night. You may choose to vote in person early at local government centers, and your vote will be counted by the day after the election. In Virginia, you can request a absentee ballot, fill it out and sign it in front of a witness (made not mandatory just this year by the General Assembly). Still, you should drop it off at a local government drop box rather than risk having it lost or stolen from the mail. Absentee ballots will be verified and tabulated within several days after the election.

Five U.S. western states automatically mail ballots to all registered voters on their voter roles. Even so, most of their citizens choose to vote in person to ensure safe and prompt vote tabulation. So our advice is to vote in person -- on election day if possible (Nov 3). Early voting is available at the Fairfax Government Center starting Sept 18, and 14 satellite government centers and libraries starting Oct 14 -- hence the reason for writing this Message a month early.

As of this writing, there is no official ballot yet available from Fairfax County, but we have the gist of it:

  1. U.S. President and VP (Dem,Rep,Lib)
  2. U.S. Senate (Warner vs Gade)
  3. U.S. Congress (Dem vs Rep in Va 8th,10th,11th)
  4. Voter referendum to approve an independent redistricting (anti-gerrymandering) commission in Virginia
  5. Voter referenda to approve four Fairfax County bond issues.

Items 1-3 are not at issue here. On item 4, some of our board members question the "independent" part of the proposed redistricting commission. On item 5, FCTA encourages voters to vote NO on all four bond issues:

Regarding transportation, over 80% of Fairfax County demand is for highways, NOT transit. Yet for over a decade, our Supervisors and the General Assembly have voted an ever increasing proportion of transportation funds to transit -- 87% in FY2020. The proposed $160M transportation bond does not specify for what projects and where funds will be used. Given major post-COVID declines in Metro ridership so far in 2020, the Metro board's refusal to increase peak period Metrorail fares, and uncertain future revenues, the transportation bond issue must certainly be opposed.

As FCTA president Arthur Purves explains: current bond debt service is crushing; the County has reached its AAA bond rating limit; the County is not transparent about any of this; and Metro is increasingly an unaccountable funding Black Hole. Taxpayers simply can't afford to continue. (Historically, tax referenda fail, while bond issues -- which are taxes plus interest -- pass easily. For some reason, voters seem to view bonds as no-cost items.)

With the County having kept the schools closed to in-person learning, some of the County's massive school system budget could perhaps be repurposed for some of the dollar amount of the bond requests. Considering the disappointing closure of schools against parents' wishes, voters should express their displeasure by voting NO on all of the aforementioned bond issues.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - August 2020

-- by Max Ehrmann, 1927

"Desiderata" (on Life during Chaos)

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - July 2020

-- by David Swink, 07/15/2020

Public Unions Sanction Police and Teacher Misconduct

When George Floyd was killed, the Minneapolis offending police officer had already been cited for 18 prior complaints in 19 years. He was still on the force because the police union would not allow him to be fired. This is not an aberration. Bad cops are protected by their unions across the country. If the infraction is serious enough, the union will convince the offending officer to leave the department for another secured assignment in such garden spots as Baltimore or Detroit.

There is a similar problem in our public schools. It is nearly impossible to fire bad teachers, due to the job protection enforced by their unions. In New York City, bad teachers can be assigned to "rubber rooms", where they can continue to draw full salary while at least "doing no harm" to students. Most other jurisdictions cannot afford this pay-to-do-nothing luxury, and so bad or incompetent teachers are simply reassigned, from a higher-performing school in a prosperous neighborhood, to a lower-performing school in a poor neighborhood.

In Fairfax County, bad teachers are typically processed out of prosperous areas like McLean or Great Falls, to schools elsewhere in the county. But rather than address this bad-teacher problem directly, the School Board advocates "busing" -- a "social justice" concept that is part of the George Soros-funded 'One Fairfax' model. So the Board would propose reversing the situation, by sending the lower-performing students afflicted by those bad teachers imposed on them to the County's higher-performing schools from which those same bad teachers were ejected.

And it is the teachers' unions that are promoting the irrational schools-half-opened policy that Fairfax County has thus far promoted for this fall. Plus perhaps even "hazardous-duty" pay for teaching only half the student coursework. Meanwhile, the coronovirus death rate in the County stands at 0.044% (in Va, 0.023%) -- less than for the seasonal flu -- while school-age children are virtually immune from serious effects and are not vectors for the spread of this virus.

Even FDR agreed that there is no place for unions in the public service realm, as government workers are inherently secure in their positions -- it's the taxpayers which have no such protection. JFK later changed the rules, allowing government workers to unionize. And in Virginia, Gov. Northam & Co. now allow government workers to unionize, and Fx Co School Board has vowed to recognize the unions, possibly overcoming Virginia's Right to Work laws. (Of course, our School Board bargains with the union even now, as if the teachers belonged to the union.)

So public unions are now a fact, but their power over hiring/firing decisions should be recognized as not serving the public interest, and throttled accordingly.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - June 2020

-- by David Swink, 05/28/2020

FUD, Face Masks, and Election Fraud

The Left and its allies in Big media and Big Tech are experts at promoting Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) and by omitting from their articles, de-platforming YouTube videos, or flagging from social media, any content that questions their prevailing narrative. So any facts that contradict the Global Warming narrative or question the Covid-19 recommendations of Dr. Fausi or the WHO are verboten.

The world's economies are being ruined by the current Covid-19 lockdown. And while the President has given the go-ahead for the state governors to reopen their economies, Blue State governors are dragging their heels at the expense of their citizenry, seemingly satisfied to accept devastating their tax base, with many businesses forced to close permanently, with the loss of thousands of jobs. Citizens are being required to "virtue signal" by wearing face masks -- as if Covid-19 were the new Black Death rather than just another Asian flu with a mortality rate not much higher than the seasonal flu. (Note: Due to our over-counting of Covid-19 deaths for political purposes, it is safe to assume that perhaps 3/4 have died FROM Covid, while 1/4 died from other causes, but WITH Covid.)

We're being conditioned to believe that the current situation might continue for years (or at least through the November 2020 elections). And by the way, we'll need to vote by mail, since "social distancing" guidelines would make normal voting at your precinct unworkable. AH-HA, so THAT's their rationale.

Reducing voter ID requirements at polling places (as newly-woke Virginia has just passed into law) is nothing compared to the potential for hanky panky with mail-in ballots, which is why the Left favors vote-by-mail. It is not as easy to rig the paper ballots at your local precinct as it is to intercept mailed absentee ballots to mark up as needed, or to physically withhold mailed ballots that don't favor your candidate. And the Left knows it cannot win the House, Senate, or Presidency in an honest election.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has compiled public data provided from the Election Assistance Commission, finding that between 2012 and 2018, 28.3 million mail-in ballots remain unaccounted for, or nearly one in five of all absentee ballots and ballots mailed to voters residing in states that do elections exclusively by mail -- 7 million ballots missing for each of the last four elections. States and local authorities simply have no idea what happened to these ballots since they were mailed, but nearly 20 percent of mail-in ballots missing is cause for alarm.

A significant increase in mail-in voting this fall could greatly incentivize "ballot harvesting", where third parties collect mail-in ballots on behalf of voters and deliver them to election officials. There's long been a consensus that such a practice incentivizes fraud, and ballot harvesting is illegal in most of the country. But California legalized ballot harvesting, and observers say the practice played a key role in ousting several Republican congressmen in Orange County in 2018, a longstanding GOP stronghold.

So Blue State governors are hoping that mail-in voting will be implemented and enable the Left to stay in power. Don't humor them. Put on your clearly marked "VIRTUE SIGNALING 95" face mask and go vote personally in November.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - May 2020

-- by David Swink, 05/06/2020

Trump Derangement Syndrome and the LockdnVID-20 Virus

FCTA normally tries to remain neutral on political issues, but the current shutdown and destruction of the U.S. and world economies to limit the spread of the CCP coronavirus is no longer justified based on the original premise, and you are not being properly informed by the mainstream media. The rationale has become political.

We remain under government-mandated "house arrest" for "safety reasons" and businesses are shut down and threatened with bankruptcy long after the original rationale -- "to keep hospitals from getting overwhelmed" -- is long past. And hospitals themselves are in financial straits because authorities have made them suspend "elective surgeries", their primary source of income. (Inova just announced they're laying off 400 employees.) So how do we explain this continued lockdown and the destruction of the American economy to safeguard against a virus little more deadly than the seasonal flu?

The answer may go back to November 2016, when Donald Trump handily won the electoral college vote to become the 45th president of the United States. The Left and the media (but I repeat myself) was apoplectic; their goal of Obama 2.0 and the continued destruction of America's founding principles had been thwarted, and they simply could not accept the popular refutation of their ideals. Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDSvid-16) was in full swing, and for three and a half years the Left has pulled out all the stops in trying to bring down President Trump -- Spy-gate, Russia-gate, Ukraine-gate, Flynn-gate: all have failed miserably. And the Trump economy took off while the Left's credibility tumbled.

In 2018, the Woke virus (WokeVID-18) infected the Left, partially in reaction to the TDSvid-16 virus, and certain states (including Virginia in 2019) were particularly hard hit.

Then in November 2019 a government lab in Wuhan, China accidentally released the COVID-19 virus, and the Chinese Communist Party deliberately allowed the virus to be spread internationally rather than have China suffer the economic consequences of its fecklessness alone. A few countries like Sweden quarantined only their elderly and frail citizens and kept their economies open, but most of the world including the U.S. decided to follow the advice of their "experts" and quarantine the whole population, bringing their economies to a halt. The president set April 30 as the default end date for the lockdown in the U.S., but properly deferred to the state governors to choose an end date based on their individual situations.

Some states never did go into full lockdown, and as of early May many Red states are opening up again to varying degrees. But most Blue states (including Virginia) are dragging their feet in reopening their economies and are not yet rescinding the house arrest of their citizens. Why? If one were cynical, one would say they simply want to make the transition as painful as possible -- to heck with their economies and freedom of association -- until after the November election, hoping that their media allies will be able to pin the blame on President Trump (whom they refer to as 'Orange Man'). One might thus tag this as the LockdnVID-20 virus, a variation of the original TDSvid-16 virus but much more damaging.

Big Tech is aiding the Left by suppressing information that goes against the prevailing shutdown narrative. Google's YouTube has blocked videos that go against the "conventional wisdom" regarding the COVID-19 lockdown; likewise Facebook and Twitter. And you won't see much news or many videos of demonstrators protesting the lockdown in the various states and localities -- mustn't disrupt the narrative.

The Left thinks their latest strategy will upend the president in November. But more likely, people are aware of what's going on, and November 2020 in the U.S. could very well be a replay of December 2019 in the U.K. -- whereby the Labour Party was sent into the wilderness. What say you?

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - April 2020

-- by David Swink, 04/10/2020

So Much for the "Experts"

As we "stay in place" at home during the country's emergency declaration over the Wuhan coronavirus and listen to the daily feeds from Fox News and talk radio, one begins to see that COVID-19 fatalities -- actual and estimated -- are far less than predicted. Those sacred "models" for U.S. fatalities have come down from over two million to approximately 60,000 -- about the same as yearly deaths from the seasonal flu -- and may well go lower.

And California, which was exposed to the virus much earlier than New York, has far fewer diagnosed cases, suggesting that perhaps "herd immunity" is more effective than "stay in place" -- many people being exposed, developing antibodies, and never being aware of exposure.

Meanwhile, the nation's newly unemployed increase at a rate of over 1,000 for every coronavirus fatality, whose average age continues to be in the upper 70s. One has to wonder whether destroying the economy, and the deaths associated with that including suicides, has even now become the primary national concern -- surpassing COVID-19 as the issue at hand.

Admittedly with 20/20 hindsight, one begins to form the opinion that those so-called experts from the CDC and elsewhere are not giving the president sound advice. Will Anthony Fauci's and his models become as discredited as Michael Mann and his global warming "hockey stick" model. Keep in mind that these people are focused on their specialty (with more than a little CYA), and may have little or no concern for effects outside their field of interest.

The president cannot be faulted for accepting advice of those touted as the most knowledgeable in their field, developing a task force to implement this advice, and working with state governors to help meet their needs. But at some point the president too must be aware of the "Fauci-tian bargain" he has made at the expense of the American people. Hopefully, he will rescind his lockdown order sooner rather than later (an Easter surprise would be nice).

There is a silver lining to this lockdown for Virginia and for Fairfax County taxpayers, in that both the governor and our County executive are recommending rescinding those tax increases that were approved just a month or two ago. Governor Northam will reconsider giving teachers and state workers raises, freezing in-state college tuition, and other new spending in the budget recently passed by the General Assembly. And Fairfax County Executive Bryan Hill has proposed a new Fairfax County FY2021 Budget eliminating the proposed 3-cent real estate tax rate increase and compensation increases for county employees (no mention of decreasing the tax rate to balance assessment increases).

So hang tough, and always follow these guidelines when evaluating news or opinion:
1. Check the premise; 2. Consider the source; and 3. Follow the money.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - March 2020

-- by David Swink, 03/28/2020

Whatever Happened to Self-Reliance?

Commentator Michael Walsh writes: "For a disease that so far has extracted a relatively small death toll, and from which a quarter of those infected have already recovered, why are we reacting as if COVID-19 is the second coming of the Black Death? In short, what is the cost/benefit analysis of deliberately damaging the world economy?"

Another adds: "In 2009, we had 61 million cases of Swine Flu in America, claiming the lives of 12,469 Americans. Somehow, we weathered that viral storm without shut-downs, curfews, closings, banning funerals, 'social distancing', house arrests, martial law or massive layoffs and unemployment."

Regardless, we are where we are. The only good to come out of this pandemic may be the "lessons learned" -- individually, and politically/economically. The common denominator should be the issue of self-reliance.

Politically/Economically:
For the last three decades, America's regulatory climate, bureaucratic red tape, unfettered trial lawyers, high corporate tax rates, and cheap foreign labor have combined to drive much of our manufacturing base overseas, even to hostile nations like China. So when something unexpected occurs -- whether inflicted intentionally or not -- the supply chain for everything, from pharmaceuticals to cabinet hinges and airplane parts, is severely disrupted and beyond our ability to self-correct.

Hopefully, this pandemic will inspire our leaders to finally realize the folly of continuing in this direction. Emergency easement of red tape may well lead to the sunsetting of many of these restrictions altogether (though one suspects not much constructive will come out of the current Congress). At minimum, we must keep enough manufacturing in the U.S. to provide for our own national defense. ... National self-reliance!

Individually:
We hear tales of woe about people "living paycheck-to-paycheck", and how families and small businesses won't be able to make it without government assistance. While this may be true is some cases, it should not be the norm. Most people, if they were to act prudently, can set aside enough income to weather a month or so of rent or mortgage payments upon sudden disruption of normal income.

It's not rocket science. Live within your means and put something aside for a rainy day. Likewise for small businesses. That way, the government won't have to add $2 trillion to the national debt, to be paid for by the next generation. ... Personal self-reliance!

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - February 2020

-- by Arthur Purves, 01/27/2020

Public Schools: An Investment in Mediocrity

The following is my testimony for the Fairfax County School Board FY2021 Budget Hearing on January 27:

Madam Chairman, Members of the Board, Mr. Superintendent:

My name is Arthur Purves. I address you as president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance.

The "One Fairfax" policy adopted by the Fairfax County supervisors and school board is a stunning admission that decades of strategies to end racial inequality in public schools have been a failure. Also, SAT scores show that overall achievement is low. The average SAT score for Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) seniors is at the 76th percentile. The average SAT score to get into the University of Virginia is at the 95th percentile; for Virginia Tech it is the 85th percentile. A lot of colleges accept students at or below the 76th percentile, but the four-year graduation rates of these colleges are less than 50 percent.

Years ago, as a Scoutmaster, I was helping a FCPS middle-school student prepare the menu for a campout. We had nine campers, and each would get a half pound of hamburger. When I asked how much hamburger we had to buy, he replied that he could not figure that out. My observation is that FCPS seniors do arithmetic at the 4th-grade level.

Low achievement of African-American and Hispanic students is evident in 4th-grade reading and math tests, because FCPS is not teaching reading and arithmetic correctly. This is because of the century-old adoption of John Dewey's (different from the Dewey of the Dewey decimal system) "progressive education". Dewey replaced phonics with "whole word", which has created a nation of 14 million dyslexics. He opposed arithmetic drill, thereby creating a STEM crisis; and he replaced unbiased history with atheistic Social Studies, because he wanted schools to turn out Socialists.

"Progressive education" favors affluent white and Asian students, who learn phonics and arithmetic drill at home, while discriminating against low-income predominately Hispanic and African American students, who do not have that advantage.

More money and staffing are not the solution. Since the first school board election in 1995, spending has increased from $1 billion to $3 billion, or $1 billion more than needed to keep up with enrollment and inflation. Staffing has increased from 17,000 to 25,000, or 3,000 more than needed to keep up with enrollment.

According to the dictionary, a racist is a person who discriminates against people of other races. The FCPS early elementary school curriculum discriminates against Hispanics and African-Americans and also has a negative effect on whites and Asians, which results in low achievement overall.

This can be fixed. Bring back phonics, arithmetic drill, and unbiased history in early elementary school. That would end racial inequality in the school system and would probably end racial inequality in society overall. Fixing the curriculum should be done before FCPS receives any increase in funding. The Fairfax Education Association and the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers, who advocate for higher taxes, ignore low achievement and discrimination against African-Americans and Hispanics.

Investing in public schools is currently an investment in mediocrity and racial inequality.

Thank you.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - January 2020

-- by David Swink, 01/11/2020

The Virginia General Assembly's 'Woke' Agenda

In 2019, the Virginia General Assembly, with Republicans in charge of both houses, considered 2814 bills in the house and 1790 bills in the senate: 4604 bills total (Ref: www.richmondsunlight.com/bills/2019/). Most were confined to tweaks in the laws here and there. The few bolder proposals offended one side or the other, and never made it into law.

In 2020, with the new Michael Bloomberg-bought Virginia General Assembly, 'woke' Democrats are now in charge of both houses and the governorship, it's "Katie bar the door". As of this writing, 1550 house bills and 937 senate bills have been introduced: 2487 bills total so far (Ref: www.richmondsunlight.com/bills/2020/), with many more to come. And instead of minor tweaks, Democrats are attempting to turn Virginia into New York or California, after being out of power for some 30 years.

FCTA has put together, onto a single page (Ref: www.adilindo.com/BeyondFx/Virginia/2020_va_bills.html) the first 768 of these bills introduced as of January 5 -- with bill title, a brief description, which delegate of senator sponsored it, and a hot link to the Richmond Sunlight source (where you can find the status and full description of the particular bill). The page has a search window which allows you to filter out the bills that aren't relevant. For example, if you're looking for bills sponsored by 'kory' or bills flagged as '~guns'; 'kory' will reduce to 16 entries, while '~guns' reduces to 52 (as shown in the browser's status bar).

In this initial analysis, 1) 36.8% of the bill sponsors are from Fairfax (~fx); 2) 8.8% reduce voting requirements including photo ID (~vote); 3) 6.7% are some form of gun control (~guns); and 4) 2.6% deal with (~green) issues including so-called climate change. Not yet marked are numerous bills for (~special) rights for some identity group, numerous (~soft)-on-crime bills, and (~afford)-able housing including in single-family neighborhoods -- all of which tend to favor the Party of Free Stuff at the expense of the citizenry.

If you wish to learn more about what's going on in Richmond, you can use the FCTA or Sunlight sites noted above, or browse Virginia's Legislative Information system (LIS) server (Ref: lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+lst+ALL). Both Sunlight and LIS have email links and telephone numbers for any given delegate or senator whose bill you'd like to comment on.

And if you'd like to meet with FCTA members for breakfast and discussion, please join us...

FCTA January 2020 Breakfast and Va Pol Action-fest: Sat Jan 18, 8am-10pm
Magill's Famous Pizza & Buffet / 7201 Little River Turnpike / Annandale, VA
Cost: $10 all you can eat. RSVP, questions: Bill Peabody, email, or 703-302-0041
*** CANCELLED due to Snow Forecast ***
For Discussion: "The Virginia General Assembly's 'Woke' Agenda"
FCTA has been busy analyzing the Va General Assembly Bills for 2020, and emailing
and calling state legislators. As a special service to our members and breakfast
attendees, we will hand deliver your message to the politicians in Richmond. We will
have envelopes and form letters, or bring your own, available to you at the breakfast.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - December 2019

-- by David Swink

I-66 Tolls and the Laffer Curve

FCTA has posted a 10/27/2019 letter by long-time Northern Virginia resident L.J. Wright of Centreville, who rightfully complains about the obscenely high tolls now placed on I-66 during rush hours. He notes that the tolls are so high that only a few people can afford to use the toll lanes, which consequently are nearly empty when tolls are in effect. He speculates that lowering those tolls -- perhaps to a flat $2 -- would both benefit users while bringing in more money.

Exactly!

In the 1970's, supply-side economist Arthur Laffer used his 'Laffer curve' to show the relationship between tax rates and the amount of tax revenue received. There's a "sweet spot" on his Bell curve in which a maximum amount of tax revenue is received, and the farther away from that optimum rate in either direction, the less taxes received.

The same principle applies to the I-66 tolling situation, and it's amazing that those E-ZPass folks setting toll rates don't take advantage of Laffer's wisdom. With cameras monitoring the traffic currently in place all along the toll road, it would be easy enough to manually experiment, setting tolls low enough to keep the road busy but high enough to prevent congestion. And the current I-66 no-toll periods could still be maintained.

A publicity campaign would be required to let commuters know about the lower-rate experiment, and then a few weeks to allow those commuters to "vote with their wheels", while the rates are being tweaked to the desired optimum. Later on, E-ZPass computers could monitor traffic via the cameras and be programmed to adjust those rates even more optimally.

And consider the Elizabeth River tunnels in Hampton Roads for comparison. The folks down there have fewer options for crossing that river than Northern Virginia residents have for getting into and out of D.C. E-ZPass tolls for those tunnels is due to "increase to $2.33" for automobiles in January 2020. Meanwhile, one-way E-ZPass tolls for using I-66 into D.C. during peak periods can exceed $44.

Clearly, current I-66 toll rates are a lose-lose for commuters and revenue collectors alike. Rational adjustments need to be made.

* * * * *
Unrelated topic: FCTA found and posted this gem last month...
"The History and Future of Climate Change" (5:31 video + transcript)
at www.adilindo.com/Misc/Environment/2019_climatehistory.html

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - November 2019

-- by David Swink

Thanksgiving for Conservatives?
With local and state election results in, Conservatives in Fairfax County and rural Virginia have a right to be depressed. Big money from Michael Bloomberg, George Soros, and Hollywood succeeded in turning our Board of Supervisors, the School Board, and both houses of the general assembly Blue. So residents can undoubtedly expect more crusades for "social equity" and "gun control".

So with all this "wokeness" ascending in Fairfax and the Commonwealth, what can Conservatives be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Here's a short list:

  1. President Trump. Despite his personal style, he has done much to reverse the damage left by the previous administration, including over-regulation and the weaponization of the DOJ, FBI, IRS, and other federal institutions. And unlike typical Republicans, he does not shy from criticism, and actually delights in pushing back against his critics -- to the delight of his many supporters.

  2. The Courts. The Left had been counting on the Federal Courts to "legislate from the bench" those issues they could not get passed in Congress. No more! The President, with help from Mitch McConnell, and sanction from former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (who reduced the filibuster limit), is rapidly filling vacant Federal and Circuit Court positions with judges who respect and adhere to the Constitution as written.

  3. Conservative Media. The Mainstream Media (MSM), suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome, has sacrificed its credibility in order to push their favored "narrative" over factual reporting, and readers and viewers are noticing. Fortunately, Fox news, One America News, Talk Radio, The Washington Times, and the weekly Epoch Times are available with straight news and thoughtful opinion.

  4. The Marxist Left. The Democrats, with help from their MSM allies, have become something of a national joke to many Americans. They can't find a presidential candidate that Americans consider serious. They let AOC and her "Squad" dictate Party policy. They let "Ahab" Schiff proceed with groundless Impeachment hearings against the "Great White" Trump -- an effort that will haunt the Party in the 2020 elections. Good news for Conservatives, bad news for Democrats.

  5. Booming economy. With the new federal tax code in full effect, the economy is booming, unemployment is at an all-time low, and employers are having trouble hiring people to fill vacant positions. Anyone who wants to work can find a job.

  6. The NRA. With headquarters located right here in Fairfax County, the NRA has an army of lawyers to fight against any "gun control" laws which will inevitably come forth from Virginia's new general assembly next year. But stock up on guns and ammunition now, and support the NRA.

  7. Rural Virginia sheriffs. Of local interest, sheriffs in some 30 Virginia counties are sending Richmond a warning before the next general assembly session. They may emulate the "Second Amendment Sanctuary" movement, started in selected Western state jurisdictions... To wit: "We will not expend any local funding to enforce any state law that infringes on the Constitution's Second Amendment right to bear arms." One could be excused for thinking: "OK, if woke prosecutors can illegally protect MS-13, unwoke sheriffs can legally protect your AR-15."

So cheer up, Conservatives, and remember ...

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - October 2019

-- by David Swink

Change 'Woke' Fairfax on November 5:
To emphasize the importance to Fairfax County residents of the upcoming local elections, FCTA's Fred Costello has written a 7-page report entitled 'The Destruction of Fairfax County', as well as a 2-page summary; links listed below along with the Fx Co Comprehensive 2019 Ballot:

I would like to add my own observations, having been a County resident (Vienna) for over 50 years.

Up until 2000, Fairfax County was run fairly competently, having just recently left its old digs in the Massey Building in Fairfax City. Thereafter, the County started spending like a drunken sailor, and my taxes went up, from $1999 in 1999, to $6984 in 2019 on the same house (See www.adilindo.com/FxCo/Taxes/2014_fx_REtax40years.html) -- x3.5 in 20 years! All manner of social programs were indulged in, while your kids (to this day) are still being taught out of trailers. And salary and benefits to County workers increased much faster that their counterparts in the private sector.

The likely reason for this is that the population of the County changed. Long-time Northern Virginia residents suddenly had many new neighbors from high-tax left-leaning states like New Jersey and Maryland. And the new residents, who likely left those states to come to low-tax Virginia, kept voting for the same Party that caused them to leave their former domiciles. Meanwhile original residents have been moving to more tax-friendly counties farther out. So Fairfax has gone from bright red in 2000 to solid blue in 2019.

The County leadership has given developers carte blanche for all manner of commercial development, especially in Reston and Tysons, without a sound infrastructure plan -- namely proper roads. They seem to think that light rail will solve all those problems, so almost no money goes to road improvements, and we likely have the worst road conditions in Virginia. Metro is in constant crisis, commuters are staying with their cars, and we have perpetual gridlock every single day.

In 2014, the County went 'Woke' by introducing 'One Fairfax', one of many similar plans across the nation funded by George Soros to fund localities that include "equity" in their government policies. This vague language is used as a cover to promote leftist desires such as sanctuary counties, transgender bathrooms, renaming of schools, tearing down of historical monuments, and busing (See https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/08/liberal-network-racial-equity-policies/).

A similar 'Fairfax Forward' policy aims to turn suburban Fairfax into a county that prioritizes high density over single-family living; we see that in Tyson and Reston, as well as the "bicycle jihad" the planners are pushing -- even along I-66.

And Woke-iness has especially infected the public schools. Education in Fairfax County has been in a long slow decline for 40 years, with approximately half of the students entering college having to take remedial classes to bring them up to speed academically. The County has long ignored proper instruction and drill in reading, writing, arithmetic, American history, and civics. But lately it's been indoctrinating your kids in Climate hype, graphically instructing first graders on the 'Facts of Life', and promoting abnormal sexual behavior as normal.

You and your friends can help fix all the above by voting in a new School Board, a new Board of Supervisors, and NOT that Soros-funded County prosecutor. So wake up and 'UnWoke' Fairfax County; vote like you wish to stay here!

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - September 2019

-- by David Swink

FCTA's Annual Luncheon:
We're holding our annual luncheon on Saturday October 19 at the same location as last year, with the same menu choices, details below:

Other Items of Note:

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - August 2019

-- by David Swink

Fixing the School Board:
America's public schools are nothing to brag about, with student achievement ranking behind that of most developed countries, while the amount of money we spend far exceeds that of those other countries. And while Fairfax County likes to claim its schools are top notch, such is not the case, except for its TJ magnet school, which could legitimately claim world-class status.

However, it is not the point of this article to bemoan the gradual "dumbing down" of American education since 1900, but to ask: "Why does Fairfax County have a school board which insists on accelerating this trend?!" The 12-member board for the last few years has busied itself in "social justice" causes: 1) Radicalized Sex-Ed; 2) Transgender bathrooms; 3) School renaming; and now 4) Boundary changes infused with race and "social equity" implications (i.e. - Busing) -- none of which lead to the betterment of our kids' education. Meanwhile, those trailer classrooms have not gone away.

Now, nobody disputes that school boundary adjustments are periodically required, as some schools are way over capacity (e.g., Oakton H.S.) while others are comfortably under capacity (e.g., Langley H.S.). Great Falls residents are up in arms over the school board's mention of (Langley's) coming boundary changes. And while that may be regarded as a "NIMBY" response, the ten social justice warriors on the school board have damaged their case by touting 'social equity' via the County's 2014 'One Fairfax' war on merit.

Fairfax resident Luke Rosiak and his wife have put together a professional 5:25min video titled "The Truth About 'One Fairfax' Reboundarying" (www.youtube.com/watch?v=iM4AfGQqTWE), which puts together annotated clips of board members pontificating at their various recorded meetings. At the end, Elizabeth Schultz lambasts the board:

"The notion that we would identify a child, or the neighborhood the child lives in, and target them for a boundary change based on the color of their skin or the size of their parent's bank account is a frightening prospect on legality alone. Considering the amount of legal issues this Board has, I don't understand why we're going there. We're going to consider moving or busing children based on their characteristics instead of delivering to them the services that they need where they are. That should be the role of the Board."

Which brings us to the point: On November 5, the entire school board is up for (re)election. County residents have two friendlies on the board -- Elizabeth Schultz (Springfield district) and Tom Wilson (Sully district) -- who represent traditional values and academic rigor. FCTA recommends that you vote to replace the candidates for the three at-large positions, plus the candidate for your district as listed below:

The Fairfax County School Board has lost all credibility with the students and their parents that it supposedly represents. Only you, the intelligent voter/taxpayer (and your friends), can fix this problem.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - July 2019

-- by Fred Costello, Bill Peabody, and Mike Albin

For Members Only: FCTA is pleased to announce a new service to its members. Property tax information is now available for your home. You no longer need to wade through FFX County websites in futile search. And we're not talking about those abstract graphs and equations beloved of economists and politicians. We provide real numbers for your own home.

FCTA's Fred Costello has developed a system for querying County records. Given any County street address, his system can provide tax information for that home, including 1) a table and line graph of real estate taxes paid for the last 20 years; 2) a bar chart of County plus School expenditures; and 3) a textual overview showing the 20-year expansion in that home's real estate taxes vs County plus School expenditures vs inflation. Here is an anonymized example of the report you'll receive:

Real Estate Tax History for ... 4123 Strawberry Ct

Thank you for belonging to the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance (FCTA). To the right is the history of the real-estate taxes on your residence.

If you lived in Fairfax County in Fiscal year 2000, you realize that your real estate tax has increased 3.29 times since then, while County and public school expenditures increased 2.22 times, and inflation increased only 1.50 times.

The steep increase in taxes started with the housing bubble, flattened during the bubble collapse, and has since resumed at nearly the pre-collapse rate. The expenditures increased because the County, plus the schools, increased wages and benefits so much (see chart).

FCTA keeps pressure on the County to hold expenditures to inflation plus population. In addition, FCTA studies the individual expenditures, exposes the causes of the increases, and reports on its findings so voters can vote intelligently.
燳earYour燭ax
2000$2,123
2001$2,442
2002$2,955
2003$3,185
2004$3,413
2005$3,754
2006$4,281
2007$4,281
2008$4,426
2009$4,397
2010$4,295
2011$4,690
2012$4,658
2013$5,081
2014$5,547
2015$5,783
2016$6,243
2017$6,423
2018$6,838
2019$6,984

So, dear members, drop Fred an email (ejc@facinc.com). And thank you again for joining. Your dues are being used wisely -- primarily for the FCTA Bulletin and the FCTA web site, where you can read our numerous reports and links to issues and perspectives of concern to the citizenry.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - June 2019

-- by David Swink

This month's message is about the upcoming primary in Fairfax County on June 11. As you may have heard, all 10 Supervisors, 12 School Board, 9 state senators and 17 delegates from Fairfax are up for reelection, as well as the Sheriff, one Commonwealth's Attorney, and 3 Soil & Water Conservation District Directors. The Democrats have multiple candidates for many of the available positions for final vote in November, while the Republicans have at most one candidate for each position, and therefore have no need for a primary.

In Virginia, you do not register to vote by party, and anyone can vote in one primary. So the question is: Should Republicans and Independents vote in the upcoming Democrat primary? That choice is up to you. This Monthly is merely to point out the stark choices you face as a taxpayer.

In the last two decades, Fairfax County has gone from a well-run suburban county to a fiscally irresponsible semi-urban one. People from New Jersey and Maryland "escaped" from those jurisdictions, moved into Fairfax, maintained their old voting patterns, and thus changed the complexion of our county. And our schools, which used to adhere to sound educational practices, are now drowning in dumbed-down curricula and identity victimization. Moreover, the tremendous numbers of teachers, first responders, and other county personnel all vote to preserve the status quo at the expense of you, the taxpayer.

As a result taxpayers and businesses are moving out of Fairfax County, as shown on the site www.howmoneywalks.com.

If you favor fiscal sanity and cultural traditions, few of your choices come November will likely not be elected. So for the upcoming primary, you might consider voting for "who is the least bad" in each district -- just in case. For example, the Democrats have 5 candidates each for Providence and Hunter Mill Supervisor races. With Linda Smyth and Cathy Hudgins both retiring, you in those districts can help moderate the Democrats' choice for the November race. (The only disadvantage to a Republican voting in a Democrat primary is the possibility of not being chosen as a delegate for a Republican convention. If your voting pattern has been consistently Republican, except for this one year, you will probably not be denied the delegate selection.)

In our questioning of candidates we find all the Democrats in favor of AOC's Green New Deal, but with no cost or benefit analysis. The Democrat candidates also favor "One Fairfax", which includes "equalization" policies such as busing (coded as "changing boundaries"). So "Location, Location, Location" becomes meaningless.

The Democrats have their candidates listed nicely, with links to each candidate's web site. Also, check the Sun Gazette, Connection, and other local papers for the various townhall discussions that have transpired for the contested races.

The November results portend serious changes in Fairfax County and Public School leadership, so make your decision to vote on June 11 accordingly.

PostScript: Here is an important reminder for those who sat out the primaries: George Soros succeeded in buying two more district prosecutors, paying $580,000 to Parisa Dehghani-Tafti and almost $400,000 to Steve Descana, commonwealth's attorney candidates for Arlington and Fairfax Counties respectively. So illegal aliens will not have to worry about prosecution in those two jurisdictions.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - May 2019

-- by David Swink

Most of you probably don't visit the www.adilindo.com web site very often. After all, taxes and local issues are boring. As FCTA's webmaster, I can sympathize -- most single-issue web sites are places to go when you're suffering from insomnia. But since webmasters get bored too, this one has taken a different tack.

Of the 2600+ articles posted on out site thus far:
??1. ~26% deal with Fairfax issues, half of which is authored by FCTA.
??2. ~9% deal with Virginia issues.
??3. ~65% is left, in the category I call "Perspectives".
These are arranged in order from top to bottom, on our home page.

So nearly two thirds of the articles posted deal with National, World, Health, Environment, and other issues of interest to this webmaster, and hopefully to you, dear reader. These articles are not so much news, as they are thoughtful opinion and perspectives you won't find in the mainstream media.

The best source for serious perspective comes from The Washington Times (daily) at 19%, and The Epoch Times (weekly) at 4.4%. The Washington Post, at 4.4%, often provides good local coverage, as do the local weekly papers (Sun Gazette, Connection, and Fairfax Times), at ~4%. British papers often provide more thoughtful content than the U.S. print media. The Drudge Report is great for locating other good content.

You can find articles of interest on the FCTA banner's drop-down menu. Or you can press the "Post by Date" button on the home page, and view our archive of 2600+ titles list chronologically -- newest first -- where you can type in a string of characters (lower case is fine) in the search window to narrow the list to what you're looking for (e.g., diabetes).

With this in mind, we hope you will take a look once again at the FCTA site and find find the aforementioned "Perspectives" to your liking.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - April 2019

-- by Fred Costello and Bill Peabody

Fairfax County spending is up three times family incomes since 2000 due to uniquely expensive compensation. Age 55 retirement and pre-social security supplemental payments are among the many generous payments not offered in other counties. The county pension is underfunded by over 5 billion. (Your share is over $13,000, based on 370,000 taxpaying households.)

FCTA's own Dr. Fred Costello has designed a plan that brings compensation in line with the private sector by saving over $3,000 a year per household, based on 370,000 taxpaying households. The specifics can be viewed here. We summarize the annual savings below:

Schools -- Immediate annual savings: $28,123,979, Per household: $76.01
-- Reduce raises to match household income: $8,559,056
-- Reduce materials cost to match student: $55,854
-- Delay salary increases by 4 months: $19,509,069

Schools -- Long-Term annual savings: $578,757,070, Per household: $1,564.21
-- Require $2000 deductible in health insurance: $48,314,200
-- Raise the retirement age to 66: $324,000,000
-- Return ERFC to legacy version: $206,442,870

County Gov't -- Immediate annual savings: $54,406,006, Per household: $147.04
-- Reduce raises to match household income $9,820,038
-- Tie pension COLA to actual cost-of-living: $2,336,988
-- Reduce litigation reserve to 3x 2005 value: $15,000,000
-- Reduce school transfer to realize cost reductions: $27,248,979

County Gov't -- Long-Term annual savings: $190,195,449, Per household: $514.04
-- Require $2000 deductible in health insurance: $23,081,400
-- Terminate the DROP program: $37,402,527
-- Delay retirement benefits to start at age 66: $129,711,521

County Contingency Funds annual savings: $339,630,304, Per household: $917.92
-- The adopted budget is often 1% below the advertised: $44,378,629
-- Starting balance (not needed in reduced budget): $166,824,206
-- Managed reserve (typically 3% of the budget): $128,427,469

GRAND TOTAL . . . . . . . . annual savings: $1,191,112,808, Per household: $3,219.22

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
www.adilindo.com


FCTA's MONTHLY MESSAGE - March 2019

-- by Fred Costello and Bill Peabody

We know we're spending too much and taxes are driving people of means away from Fairfax County. Compensation is over 78% of the budget. so it needs to be the focus. School test scores are going nowhere.

What are FCTA's plans to correct this?

  1. Raising the retirement age from 55 to 62. Millennials can't expect to retire before their late 60's.
  2. Dropping the double dip DROP plan.
  3. Keeping raises in line with the private sector. Since 2005, county and state pay have gone up about twice as fast as the private sector.
  4. Constantly challenging new programs the county and state offer up. New programs pop up in the boom years as taxpayers become complacent. For example, former Supervisor Connolly had a mini EPA, tree program, and many others that were discontinued after the recession started. The biggest was the pre-social security payment for county workers. That finally will be discontinued for new hires in 2019.

BOS Candidates

We are losing two supervisors that voted against most spending hikes. The only remaining friend of the taxpayer is Pat Herrity.

Jason Remer, a conservative, is seeking to replace outgoing John Cook. Remer is a P/E with the math skills needed for budget math. His opponent is James Walkinshaw, a Connolly clone who favors lofty green ideals and gun control. (Someone needs to remind him that the job is limited to county issues.)

Gary Aiken is seeking to replace Penny Gross (who has voted for all spending programs). Aiken has actuarial skills and firm budget plans.

We will review candidates as they declare. All the remaining Democrats voted to continue allowing county workers to retire at age 55.

School Performance

The $300,000 a year school superintendent never seems to mention scores or STEM achievements. The school board promotes equity, which may result in more students receiving better grades while dumbing down the curriculum. Why not make teacher compensation more merit based? After all if they leave teaching for the private sector all compensation is merit based.

In the meantime FCTA will be at the town halls, budget meetings and anywhere else we can spread the word.

Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance is fighting for you!
Thanks for your support.
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