2014-02-12 / Opinions


Race shouldn’t have been focus of board chairman story

We have finally become a proper county. This is what Michael Buettner’s Jan. 15 article makes Chesterfield out to be when he makes race the major issue in his article. Has he done this to put a bull’seye on the back of Jim Holland, the newly appointed chairman of the Board of Supervisors, if everything does not go perfectly. Or is this a way to embarrass the county for not having a more racially diverse government?

Give me a man or woman, white, black, green or purple that is willing to run, whether they are Democrat, Republican or independent. These things are not important. Just make sure they can do the job and they do not lie every time they move their lips and you have a winner. It is good to see a well-rounded and qualified person working and giving his time to our government, not because of his race.

The article gave a good biography of Holland. The article states that Holland was a supporter of the meals tax and is a CPA.

When Holland stated what he plans to do because of the loss of the meals tax, Buettner should have asked questions about how the meals tax proposal was flawed in its conception and writing. Why was the meals tax not tied directly to the bond referendum so that both had to pass? Why did Holland and the other supervisors fail to put back-end locks or closeout guarantees on the meals tax so it would end when the bonds were paid off?

These are simply things any businessperson should know, especially a CPA. It would have helped if the tax had passed. Instead we were given something that scared more than half of the Chesterfield voters.

Instead of a fluff article, next time ask the hard questions and stop trying to make it a race issue. We need hard decisions made by solid, qualified persons; that is all we need in this county.

For the record, I vote for the person only, not party or race or gender. I also voted for the meal tax and all my children are all out of public schools. We need to better our schools for the future of this county.

Jack O’Brien

Jim Holland, chairman of the Board of Supervisors, responds: “The meals tax referendum is history and I will not comment on the merits or any aspects of the tax. The most important thing to note is that the voters rejected the tax.”

The Chesterfield Observer typically interviews a new board chairman after his/her election about future issues facing the county. In this case, we thought it was newsworthy that Supervisor Jim Holland was the first African-American to be elected chairman of the board. Publisher

Real estate values averaged 3.3 percent higher

The Jan. 29 article on Chesterfield County assessment increases stated that Clover Hill District assessments increased 3.3 percent, a reasonable number for one year. In the same mail delivery, I received my home’s new assessment, which showed an increase of 10 percent over last year’s assessment.

Your article failed to mention that the 3.3 percent is an average, with some homes receiving little if any increase and some receiving very large increases.

We still don’t know what the real estate tax rate will be for 2014. I doubt it will decrease. It appears we homeowners are going to pay a heavy price for voting down the meals tax.

William E. Wheeler
North Chesterfield

Chesterfield is overtaxed

More taxes, more fees, more public employees. Will it ever end?

The ballots had not been certified before the county administration started beating the war drums after voters defeated the 2 percent meals tax. County leaders ignored millions in bond issues that were passed. Both this bond issue and the previous bond issue of 2004 had plenty of school maintenance built in, already.

The real estate and personal property rates here are already more than the surrounding counties. Why? Partly because Chesterfield has 374 employees making more than $75,000 per year, not counting perks.

Another item not escaping attention is the outrageous giveaways of tax dollars to charity. According to county records, over a six-year period it gave $4.8 million of our tax dollars to charitable organizations. Last year it was $635,000. Let’s see some of who got the money: Children’s Museum of Richmond ($46,600), First Tee Chesterfield ($20,000), Lifelong Learning Institute ($10,000), Maymont Foundation in Richmond ($55,000), Richmond Symphony ($75,500) and Swift Creek Mill Theatre ($50,000), plus state schools John Tyler Community College ($60,000) and Virginia State University ($25,000). This included two student scholarships to those state supported universities plus the YWCA Chesterfield Woman’s Advocacy Program ($30,000), FeedMore ($15,000) and Resources for Independent Living ($20,000).

I do not care how noble or how good these charities are, the Board of Supervisors needs to give their own money, not my money. There can be no justification for confiscation of my money by law and then giving it to charity. This is thievery, pure and simple.

It does not escape my attention that during the recession the county changed my ZIP code and the state collected between $800,000 and $1.2 million in additional sales taxes last year. If you remember, the county raised all fees and water and sewer rates the year before. The main garbage dumps are still closed one day to save money. Whose money? The county does not provide any curbside refuse collection and charges $7 per visit to the dump ($10 to $15 for appliances).

Now get ready for the biggest game play of all. Each January, it holds hearings as to whether they need to raise our taxes. The tax rates are based upon two factors: The actual dollar rate per thousand of value and the assessed amount of the property.

It is time now for the people to say to the county and school employees: You get no more.

Conway B. Moncure
North Chesterfield

Erroneous impression

I respectfully take issue with the headline of the article “GOP fights law – and loses.” I understand the temptation to make a clever play on the words of an old country song, but that cleverness shouldn’t come at the expense of accuracy. The headline gave readers the erroneous impression that the Chesterfield County GOP establishment was firmly lined up on one side of the contest; that wasn’t the case.

The truth is that there were two good Republican candidates for sheriff and each had the backing of multiple local Republican leaders. The party conducted the fairest nomination contest it could in the limited time available. More than 1,200 citizens showed up to support their choice in a true case of “democracy in action.” Runner-up Jerry Baldwin offered a gracious concession, and we nominated an outstanding candidate in Karl Leonard. The party moved forward.

By contrast, the Democratic Party nominated – nobody. I don’t see that as the GOP “losing” at all.

Jim McGuire

Confederate flag should not be dishonored

In his letter of Jan. 8 Delwyn Logan states the Confederate battle flag “has become a true banner of evil for millions of Americans.” This is the result of 150 years worth of the propaganda from the victorious, who have deliberately perpetrated this lie in order to cloak their war of invasion and conquest of the Confederate States of America in robes of morality. All of the issues that were wrangled over before the war of the 1860s evaporated into thin air when the Southern states peacefully seceded from the original Union and formed their own confederation.

But President Lincoln and his radical political party would have none of it. So he launched his war and invaded the Confederacy to destroy it and to drive the Southern States back into his Union at the point of the bayonet, in order to “save the Union” for Northern industrial and financial interests.

The Confederate battle flag was a soldier’s flag. It was born on the battlefield and carried by the men who were fighting to defend our country from an enemy bent not on liberation, but conquest. Are we to take it down then, and meekly acquiesce in the perpetuation of that colossal lie that has been leveled against us for 150 years? Or should we let it fly to honor the truth and the men who fought under it?

The Holy Scriptures tell us that to bear false witness against one’s neighbor is a cardinal sin, and that the wages of sin is death. The truth of the Confederate battle flag is, therefore, that it is an indictment against imperialism and coerced political allegiance, just as the Stars and Stripes used to be in 1776.

H. V. Traywick Jr.

Appreciates the Observer

My husband and I wanted to thank you and your staff for sending us a copy of your Chesterfield Observer each week. We enjoy reading it and catching up on the local news.

May God bless you for doing this for us and for others.

Bill and Jane Bennett

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