Monday, October 18, 2010

Rep. Cantor comes to Goochland

A missed opportunity

Eric Cantor, who represents the 7th U. S. Congressional District, which includes all of Goochland County, was the featured guest at a Republican rally held at the Orapax Plantation Hunting Preserve, just west of Courthouse Village on Saturday, October 16.

Sadly, only about 50 people took advantage of perfect autumn weather to interact with Cantor.

His visit to Goochland in the waning days of the current midterm election campaign was a big deal. As Republican whip, Cantor, a frequent guest on news commentary shows, is in the center of congressional action.

Should the predictions of a GOP landslide in November come true, Cantor will be a very powerful man indeed and it could be a long time before he returns.

Why come to Goochland? He is in no danger of losing the county to his two opponents, though some supporters find his refusal to debate them a troubling indication of arrogance. He brought no press entourage.

Cantor’s demeanor was cordial and inclusive. He spoke to everyone who wanted his ear, listened and responded appropriately as an elected official should. He seemed to enjoy a few minutes in the sunshine a bit off the beaten path.

Perhaps this visit to a hunting preserve where guns are welcome, unlike the site of the local Republican Round Up a few weeks ago, was designed to reassure the NRA that Cantor does indeed revere and support Second Amendment rights. While several attendees sported side arms and cheerfully distributed blaze orange stickers proclaiming “guns save lives” guns got little notice.

The main concern of the day was jobs, getting the economy rolling and the impact of policies and programs of the Obama administration on the country’s future.

Cantor contended that this election is about work and the need to put plans and common sense policies in place to get things going again. With an unemployment rate hovering near double digits for the past 17 months, it makes no sense to attack the U. S. Chamber of Commerce or put the crippling energy taxes of “cap and trade” in place, he said.

In response to a question about regulatory agencies circumventing congressional oversight, Cantor said that Congress is able to “deny, delay and defund” those regulations.

Cantor admitted that pork filled earmarks that grow on pending legislation like barnacles on the hull of a ship must be eliminated across the board. He also admitted that many of his fellow legislators are addicted to earmarks and their elimination will be difficult.

He urged everyone there to vote and get ten other like- minded citizens to do the same. He was cautiously optimistic, putting his faith only in the November 2 poll.

“This could be a banner year for the Republican Party,” Cantor observed. “Lord knows we need it.”

Several people at the rally, who also attended the Virginia Tea Party Convention, listened attentively and a bit skeptically to Cantor’s remarks.

They believe that if Republicans do manage to wrest control of one or both houses of Congress from Democrat control the GOP must act swiftly and decisively to counter Obama policies or it will be destroyed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

October meeting of the Goochland supervisors

Government in action

The Goochland County board of supervisors opened its October 2010 meeting with the annual employee recognition ceremonies. Local governmental employees marking service in multiples of five years were honored.

The toil of these earnest folk represents more than three centuries of government service on behalf of the citizens of Goochland.

County government has a good reputation among residents. Newcomers who visit the administration building to register to vote or pay taxes for the first time often comment on the high quality of service they received and the cordiality and helpfulness of the county staff.

Indeed, during the meeting, county administrator Rebecca T. Dickson informed the supervisors that a grateful citizen made an anonymous $1,000 donation for uniforms and supplies for the county's animal control officers. The donor cited the exceptional response by those officers to an animal related issue in her area.

The board also recognized Robert A. Hammond, who retired at the end of September for his 30 years of service. Hammond wore many hats during his years with the county. He also worked on virtually all of the growth and development that took place as Goochland morphed from a bucolic backwater into whatever it is today. Achieving a workable balance between the property rights of landowners and the public good is often a thankless task at best. Hammond’s longevity in the position is evidence of a rare skill set.

Once again the meeting was notable for its blandness. In spite of much oration about increasing the transparency of local government, the supervisors seem content to permit the county administrator to run things and vote on items requiring their blessing.

Now that we have a county administrator who is working for the citizens of Goochland instead of pursuing her own agenda this makes sense.

Beth Moore, chair of the Tucker Park at Maidens Landing public private task force, updated the supervisors on the park’s progress. Nearly a mile of walking trail, potentially with handicapped access, has been completed thanks to the hard work of volunteers and the coordination of Chuck Pebble.

McKinney and Company of Ashland donated a parking lot design and Moore is seeking donors to build the parking lot and a concrete pad to stage events.

This project is a great example of collaboration between citizens and government to make things happen. Thanks to the creativity and hard work of a lot of people, a centrally located access point to the James River will be a reality. There is still much to be done and more volunteers needed to contribute sweat equity to the park.

Plans for Leake’s Mill Park, west of Courthouse Village on the south side of Route 6, are also moving forward. The Virginia Outdoors Foundation accepted a conservation easement on a portion of the property. This will enable the county to pursue grant money to develop the park, leveraging county resources to get a very large bang for our tax bucks. Thanks to those with the vision to make this happen.

Going forward the parks are a worthwhile pursuit.

Another matter that came before the supervisors, funding a fireworks display for July 4, 2011, seemed all too reminiscent of Marie Antoinette’s comment about cake.

If you received and read the last county newsletter, which was sent to every home in Goochland a few months ago, you may recall an opinion poll about the kind of events the county department of parks and recreation should fund.

According to county administrator Rebecca T. Dickson, of the 186 responses to the survey, 52 per cent cited the fireworks as their favorite event. Indeed, this year’s display was splendid and did much to foster a sense of community as people gathered around Courthouse Village to watch.

However, as District 4 supervisor Rudy Butler pointed out, there are more than 20,000 people in the county (including inmates at the two Department of Corrections facilities) and interpolating about 90 positive responses into an expression of the majority of citizens is a stretch.

Butler said that the FY 2012 budget process will very difficult as revenues may decline even further.

Board chair William Quarles, Jr. District 2 contended that “you can’t just cut out everything because people are still paying their taxes.” He also said that the expression of wonder in a child’s eye when he watches the fireworks is important too. Perhaps, but would it not be preferable to educate that child so that he has the tools to participate in the American Dream and be master of his fate rather than dependent on government for everything including a fireworks display?

Ned Creasey, District 3, said that he is seeking private donors to help defray the $13,600 cost of next year’s display. Half of that amount is paid in the current fiscal year, the rest next year.

A motion made by Andrew Pryor District 1 and seconded by Creasey was affirmed by all supervisors except Butler, who abstained on the vote.

Goochland Fire-Rescue Chief Bill MacKay said that October is Fire Prevention Month. He declared that it is a national disgrace that Americans are four times as likely to die in a house fire than people living in Great Britain.

MacKay urged everyone to check their smoke detectors to make sure that they are in working order. If anyone needs a smoke detector or has any questions about fire safety, call the Fire-Rescue office at 556-5304 for assistance. Smoke detectors will be provided free of charge to those who need them.

Sheriff Agnew commented on the shooting that took place in the upper end of the county and said that it was a “Richmond style murder in Goochland.” Agnew said that there are “one or two shooters out there that have not yet been located” and the incident involved gang activity, which he characterized as an “everywhere issue.”

The Sheriff’s Department is working hard to find the person responsible for the hit and run that killed a Goochland High School student on Route 250. Anyone with information is urged to call the sheriff’s office at 556-5349.

On a positive note, Agnew reported that Goochland deputies worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration on a drug take back program to dispose of prescription drugs that resulted in 40 pounds of unwanted pharmaceuticals being kept out of landfills and the water table.

The first phase of the HCA medical facility planned for West Creek should be under construction soon with completion expected in a few years.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Odds and ends

Major bodywork has put GOMM on hiatus for the past few weeks. To no one’s surprise, the world did not end. Thanks for the kind words and encouragement along the way.

Below are a few items of note that may have escaped your attention.

In order to be eligible to vote in the General Election to be held on Tuesday, NOVEMBER 2, 2010, you must register no later than 5:00 pm on October 12, 2010.

For the convenience of eligible citizens, the Voter Registration Office of Goochland County located at 1800 Sandy Hook Road, Goochland, Virginia, will be open Saturday, October 23rd and October 30th from 9:00am to 5:00pm for registered voters who need to vote by absentee ballot for the General Election.

If you have recently moved to Goochland or moved within the County, please call the office at 556-5803 to verify that your address has been changed.

This year we will elect one member of congress and vote on three state constitutional amendments. Please visit and click on the list of proposed amendments. Please read these and decide how you will vote before you go to the polls to enable you to cast your ballot quickly and keep the lines moving.

On Sunday, October 10 at 3 p.m. the Goochland County Historical Society will hold its October meeting at the Grace Church Parish House at 2955 River Road West in Goochland Courthouse. Local author and historian Maria Rippe will speak about her latest book “Opening Pandora’s Box, The Tinsley Brothers of Goochland and Hanover.”

One week later, local amateur Civil War historian and author Emerson “Willie” Williams will be the speaker at the Friends of the Goochland Branch Library annual day. He will discuss his books “Sinkhole Justice,” Roaring Creek” and “Constant Yen,” which chronicle experiences of his ancestors during the conflict and its aftermath. This event will be held at the Goochland Library 3075 River Road West in Goochland Courthouse and begin at 3 p.m.

Come out to hear these local writers and historians bring Goochland history to life. The Historical Society and Friends of the Library are both worthwhile organizations that do a great deal to build community spirit in the county.

The Goochland Rotary is once again sponsoring a concert by the Richmond Symphony to be held in the Goochland High School auditorium on Saturday, November 6 at 7:30 p. m. to benefit Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services. The theme is kicked back classics. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children and may be purchased from any Rotary member or online at There is still room in the program for ads and sponsorships with special benefits are also available. This concert has replaced the polo match as a prime fund raiser for GFCFS whose services are in high demand thanks to the troubled economy.

This is a great way to gently expose your kids to classical music and help a great charity at the same time.