10 July Town Hall – Dr. A. J. Ferlazzo Government Complex, 7PM

Send your news, notes, events and commentary to Bill Golden at WGolden@PWCPolitics.com


1st Congressional District Town Hall

Thursday, July 10, 7-9pm, Congressman Robert J. Wittman will host a “Congressional District Town Hall on Lyme and Other Tick-Borne Diseases” at the Dr. A. J. Ferlazzo Government Complex, 15941 Donald Curtis Drive, Woodbridge, VA. The meeting will be in the Locust Shade Room and will address the warm-weather dangers of tick-borne diseases.

9 July Annual Town Hall – McCoart Gov Center – Woodbridge, VA

Send your news, notes, events and commentary to Bill Golden at WGolden@PWCPolitics.com


Delegate Rich Anderson (R) and Senator George Barker (D) would like to invite residents to their annual joint community town hall on Wednesday, July 9, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at the McCoart Government Center in Woodbridge.

Delegate Anderson and Senator Barker will lead a discussion of issues currently facing the state and talk about the most recent General Assembly session. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to Delegate Anderson at DelRAnderson@house.virginia.gov or his aide Ryan Galloway at RGalloway@house.virginia.gov.

WEBCAST / Jun 24 / The Future of Global Technology, Privacy, and Regulation

With the advent of mobile devices and cloud services, technology has never been more powerful or more personal. But as issues of privacy, trust, and security become increasingly front-and-center, how do we balance the vital issues of personal liberty and national security in the digital age?

Tomorrow, Governance Studies at Brookings will host an event with Executive Vice President and General Counsel at Microsoft Brad Smith to explore the future of global technology, privacy, and data protection.

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EVENT DETAILS

Day: Tuesday, June 24
Time: 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM EDT
Register for a reminder »
Follow along on Twitter: @BrookingsGS,
#TechPrivacy

Lingamfelter, McPike, Medicaid and cheap adjectives

by Bill Golden, PWCPolitics.com

McPike sent out an email to PWC residents on Wednesday, introducing Lingamfelter to his constituency — followed shortly by a blast from Lingamfelter.

First, let me note that Jeremy McPike probably lost his race against Scott Lingamfelter last year because he went negative at the end, especially during a debate. Lingamfelter eeked out a win but the red flags were there that next time he is most definitely vulnerable to losing his seat.

I know of several voters that were leaning his way until McPike decided not to take the high road. This cost him the election — whereas he had started out a longshot he came within 228 or so votes of Lingamfelter.

Yesterday (May 22nd) McPike was back again talking about Lingamfelter — or at least some ghostwriter for Virginia Democrats was talking about Lingamfelter and putting Jeremy’s name on it.

This time McPike was introducing Lingamfelter and highlighting his record on public healthcare for Virginians. It highlighted Lingamfelter’s "extreme policies", outlined some public metrics on how well medical outreach to less fortunate Virginians was working, reviewed some polling data, and then asked for money.

After seeing "extreme policies" appear early in Jeremy’s email I almost stopped reading … but McPike took just that one swipe and then moved on to talking about metrics and Medicaid expansion.

One of those metrics was that Lingamfelter’s district has over 15,000 constituents that would benefit from an expansion of Medicaid within the Commonwealth.

Overall, McPike’s email appeal was a warning shot that he, or someone like him, will be back in the next election … and that Lingamfelter is considered very vulnerable.

Within several hours Lingamfelter fired off his own email missive about McPike and Democrats and Medicaid. McPike either got under his skin, or synchronicity occurred since McPike gets named in the email. Emails travel fast these days.

Per Lingamfelter, it seems that only the Democrats are holding the state budget as hostage over Medicaid. We also learn that yesterday was Day 74 in "Governor Terry McAuliffe’s Obamacare budget". We are also on the verge of "an unprecedented constitutional crisis".

We also learn that the Democrats and McPike: "They confuse "listening" to constituents with "doing" what far left liberals demand."

It was a great email appeal to the party faithful. And then it also asks for money.

McPike seems to have learned that focusing on the issues and talking about the issues is perhaps a better path to getting something done. Folks will send him money.

McPike and the Democrats should know that Prince William County leans ever more heavily their way — Lingamfelter having lost PWC voters to McPike by 11 percent — but they are on probation. What they need are a few Bluedogs that leave the trashtalk at home (am thinking about the disgraceful race run by Delegate Rich Anderson’s Democratic opponent).

Lingamfelter’s emailer will also undoubtedly bring him money too — but constant focus on ‘liberals’ and ‘Obamacare’ and claiming that Virginians are getting care if they need it doesn’t cut it anymore.

Let’s really listen to our constituents and hold a townhall on Medicaid expansion and public healthcare for those less fortunate. Let’s really hear what constituents have to say. Am looking forward to putting that townhall on my calendar.

Bill Golden
WGolden@PWCPolitics.com

Education / Schools / Why are our schools so overcapacity?

The OUR SCHOOLS Facebook blog asks:

Why are Forest Park, Hylton, Osbourn Park and Woodbridge High Schools over capacity? Transfers in, not boundaries

Why are Potomac and Freedom High Schools under capacity? Transfers out, not boundaries.

Why do schools continue to accept transfers in that greatly exceed their transfer out numbers when they are out of space? High scoring students look good even in trailers and packed in like sardines.

Patriot is the only above capacity high school that had more students transfer out than in. The school decided to close the school to transfers in starting in Sept of 2013. It was a wise decision.

The numbers don’t lie:

Battlefield High School is 408 students above capacity with a net gain of 109 students from transfers in.

Brentsville District High is 188 student below capacity with a net loss of 109 students from transfers out.

Forest Park High School is 296 students above capacity with a net gain of 429 students from transfers in.

Freedom High School is 133 students below capacity with a net loss of 370 students from transfers out.

Garfield High School is 385 students below capacity with a net loss of 184 students from transfers out.

Hylton High School is 341 students above capacity with a net gain of 470 students from transfers in.

Osbourn Park High School is 333 students above capacity with a net gain of 335 students from transfers in.

Patriot High School is 561 students above capacity with a net loss of 127 students from transfers out.

Potomac High School is 733 students below capacity with a net gain of 694 students from transfers out.

Stonewall High School is 91 students below capacity with a net loss of 157 students from transfers out.

Woodbridge High School is 114 students above capacity with a net gain of 282 students from transfers in.

Spreadsheet of school student loads

April 2nd, Meet and Greet with Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity and Delegate Barbara Comstock

Fairfax Supervisor Pat Herrity and Delegate Barbara Comstock will hold a Meet and Greet on Wednesday, April 2 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm.

This Meet and Greet is being co-hosted by Paula and Peter Sabo and will take place at the home of Supervisor Pat and Nancy Herrity, located at 13929 South Springs Drive in Clifton. This event provides the opportunity for us to speak about the issues you care about and answer any questions you may have about the election.

Please RSVP to Erika Dyer at Erika@BarbaraComstockForCongress.com or (703) 906-6368.

McAuliffe Proposes Fed Funded Medicaid Program

RICHMOND – Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s Biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the Commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state. McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which has been scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage for more than 400,000 Virginians.

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McAuliffe Proposes Fed Funded Medicaid Program

By Eric Luther

Capital News Service

RICHMOND — Gov. Terry McAuliffe addressed critics of Medicaid expansion as part of Virginia’s biennial budget by proposing a two-year pilot program he says would close the commonwealth’s healthcare gap without financial penalty to the state.

McAuliffe’s 45-minute address signified the beginning of the General Assembly’s special session, which was scheduled in effort to reach an agreement on the roughly $96 billion two-year budget currently at odds over expanding Medicaid coverage to more than 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians.

McAuliffe says the federally funded pilot program would allow Virginia to once again “lead the way” by helping its sickest citizens gain access to healthcare, keep hospitals and clinics afloat, and bring taxpayer dollars back to the commonwealth.

“Opponents have thrown up road block after road block,” McAuliffe said in the Monday address on Capitol Square. “But their arguments have been overcome by simple facts.”

Detractors said closing the healthcare coverage gap would cost Virginia millions of dollars. However, according to McAuliffe, expanding Medicaid would in fact save Virginia’s state budget more than $1 billion between now and 2022.

The proposed pilot program is backed by a letter from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and states if Virginia implements an expansion of Medicaid coverage for two years, and then drops such coverage at the end of that time period, there would be no financial drawback and no reduction in federal dollars otherwise available to Virginia for its Medicaid program.

The letter is significant, McAuliffe says, because it opens the door for a pragmatic and balanced approach to closing the healthcare coverage gap that all sides should find reasonable.

“There can be no more excuses,” McAuliffe said. “Hundreds of thousands of working families throughout Virginia are counting on us to set aside partisan politics and get the job done.”

McAuliffe harked back to the days of former Gov. Bob McDonnell to further the notion of setting aside partisan disagreements, and urged delegates and senators alike to reach a compromise in the coming weeks.

“Gov. McDonnell included funding in his budget for the Affordable Care Act as early as 2012,” McAuliffe said. “And please let us not forget that the Medicaid Innovation Reform Commission itself was a creature of the budget.”

In addition to Medicaid expansion, McAuliffe highlighted some of the other elements of his biennial budget, including $1.8 million for mental health initiatives, $4.8 million for extended school year grants and $17 million to fund the Line of Duty Act with the Virginia Retirement System.

Prince William, Virginia / Education / Schools and tax revenue-sharing

Prince William, Virginia / Schools / Education

Bill Golden
WGolden@PWCPolitics.com

What if they held a debate, invited you, and you had little to say?

Last night I was a panelist on the Committee of 100 to discuss ‘Should the revenue-sharing deal between the county and the school system be kept in place?

A good topic. A great topic … however this is a conversation that could go in various directions.

My position was that I could support either outcome depending upon the details and once we knew more about what the prioritized needs of the schools. HOWEVER, my stated position was ‘No, do not continue the revenue-sharing agreement’. Due to a changing, challenged economy we need all parts of our government to be transparent and to justify every expense. We need expenses linked to a strategic plan that focuses first on needs and then on what we can do.

The conversation did not go there: it being all about the economy.

Committee of 100 attendees were focused on the internal processes and procedural relationship between the BOCS and the PWC schools. Fair enough. That is appropriate. Supervisor Candland of Gainesville and Chairman Milt Johns were on the panel — both did a great job of handling the line of questioning. Both are lightning rods on this issue and both comfortably answered questions and gave solid responses to those asking the questions.


It is all about the economy to me.

Our local economy (as are most in the region) are undergoing a fundamental reset. If we cannot afford the schools that we have then we are in real trouble … not real trouble eventually but now, tomorrow, beginning with the next budget.

Our local government derives 77% (2013) of its revenue from residential real estate taxes. 22% of revenue comes from commercial properties, and 1% from various odds-n-ends. Bad news: Commercial property shifted downwards in 2013, placing more of the burden on homeowners.

Once you blow past the bluster: we live in a great county devoted to people actually just living in the county. There are no major industries. There are barely any minor industries.

Major non-federal ‘in county’ employers as of 2013:

#1 PWC School System
#2 PWC County Government
#3 Walmart
#4 Sentara Hospital
#5 Wegmans
#6 Northern Virginia Community College
#7 Minnieland Private Day School
#8 Target
#9 Lowes’ Home Centers
#10 George Mason University

Source: Virginia Employment Commission, 2014

THE employer in Prince William County is the Federal Government and Department of Defense; 10 percent of their metro Washington DC employee base lives in Prince William County … and that is before counting its many contractors with jobs located outside of the county.

Washington’s Business Journal (2012) best summed up our local economy:

Prince William County is a jurisdiction of 400,000-plus residents, the second largest county in Virginia, and yet it remains a sleepy suburb. People eat there. They shop there. They rest their weary heads there. And then they wake up and go to work someplace else. Despite its exploding population, recently released data suggests Prince William is very much a bedroom community.

The Future arrived during the summer of 2013.

Summer of 2013 is when defense contractors began slashing salaries and laying off employees by the busload. Hundreds, if not a thousand locals, got pink slips. In some cases, professionals working at Quantico saw their paychecks cut from $120,000 to $75-85,000 … if they wanted to keep their jobs. Even those with technical skills and high-level security clearances were not safe.

So what is the future?

George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis (cra.gmu.edu) issued an insightful updated report in December 2013 entitled: “Housing the Region’s Future Workforce, 2012-2032” by Lisa Sturtevant, PhD and Jeannette Chapman.

The theme of the report may be housing but what the report’s authors did brilliantly is to tie housing to jobs. It is all about the economy.

Some quick takeaways:

  • There will be continued jobs growth but the overwhelming number of jobs will be low or moderate paying.
  • Prince William County can expect to see an average of about 4,000 jobs added annually — which equals nothing more than normal population growth.
  • Housing that costs less than $200,000 will be needed for a significant number of people in newly created jobs.
  • More transient rental living units are needed. Home ownership is expected to slide from today’s 65% to 56%.
  • RED FLAG: a major threat to jobs growth will be falling wages and an inability to afford to live in the area.

It is all about the economy.

Housing, roads, public facilities, etc., all compete with schools for tax dollars. If we have trouble keeping up now then tomorrow (2015+) will be an even greater challenge.

If we strategically plan immediately for what the next five years look like and prioritize then we should do just fine.

Our challenge is that we are a suburb-based community living on the edge of other counties with dynamic industry-driven economies. We are dependent upon their economic health for our own. That pays for our way of life. That pays for our schools by us having good jobs that pay out-of-county wages that enable us to have median county salaries of $96,000 and not the in-county wages of less than $50,000 annually.

What are we going to say when our median salaries drop to $76,000 or $86,000? This is much more than just a possibility.

I oppose the continued tax revenue-sharing plan between the county and the schools because we need to start thinking differently. Thinking differently begins with establishing priorities, linking them to a strategic plan and then being willing to pay for it … or figuring what to scale back and how to smartly do that.

Best regards,
Bill Golden
WGolden@PWCPolitics.com

 

Dale City’s Connie Moser selected as a Virginia Community Leader “Making Democracy Work” by the League of Women Voters

Anne Sterling, President of the League of Women Voters of Virginia (LWV-VA), enthusiastically announces that resident and community leader Connie Moser will be honored at the March 22, 2014 LWV-VA Spring Awards Luncheon at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond.

Connie was nominated by the Prince William Area League.  Along with ten other outstanding citizens and leaders from across the Commonwealth, she will be recognized for significant contributions to “Making Democracy Work” locally and regionally.

Connie actively encourages and empowers others to participate in the democratic process at many levels in the Prince William area. She educates the community using several types of media in a manner that initiates and encourages civil dialogue and action on a wide range of public policy issues.  Her creative initiatives and community education efforts result in more well-informed voters and empowered citizens.  She is Making Democracy Work.

The celebration also will feature a presentation by Bob Gibson, Executive Director of The Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.

The public is invited to attend.  Information on reservations and other details are available at www.lwv-va.org and from the President of the Prince William Area League, Carol Noggle, at cnogg@comcast.net, 703-743-1831.

Connie Moser

Rural Crescent – Does it have a viable future?

Rural Crescent

Went to a meeting about the Rural Crescent last evening. Was an education. Got to hear differing views: farm families that are unhappy with current policy (it severely depresses their worth if they should sell), current policy is supposed to prop up farming but does just the opposite, and PWC Gov has no staff member responsible for agricultural issues. There are numerous environmental issues and there are many tools (fiscal strategies) that PWC should probably be using but isn’t — but other counties are and are reporting general success.

2013 PWC rural crescent study

Throughout the discussions, the future of Woodbridge kept popping up. It seems that economic and neighborhood development of Woodbridge needs to be an essential component of keeping the Rural Crescent rural as PWC adds 100,000 new residents over the next 10 years. If we do not develop, or over develop the Rural Crescent, then all of these new PWC citizens need somewhere to live and to work. Woodbridge seems to be the right location due to transportation connectivity, its appropriateness for redevelopment (no longer a commercial hub; lots of developed idle space that can be redeveloped), and its proximity to jobs (not in our county, so access to transportation is essential).

It is complicated. Lots to learn and to think about.

Am adding ‘Rural Crescent’ to my Top 10 list of things to learn more about when it comes to PWC.

– Bill Golden