March 28, 2007

And the Survey Says...

A while back my representative to the Virginia House of Delegates sent a survey to our house, asking our views on various local issues, so as to better understand what his constituants expect from him as he represents us in Richmond.

Today we got back a nice letter showing some of the results of the survey.

85% support amending the Constitution of Virginia to require the Transportation Trust Fund be used exclusively for transportation.

Transportation is probably *the* issue here in Northern Virginia. We're barely keeping up working like mad to not fall behind faster as growth overwhelms the roads. Every new major artery proposed is delayed for years as the environmentalists pile lawsuit after lawsuit on top of it to keep it from happening. The'll only be happy if all new transportation infrastructure consists of bike paths paved with the ground-up bones of oil company executives and windmill powered busses. It's so bad that a couple of counties have passed (largely symbolic) moratoriums on new development until the local infrastructure catches up. Oh, and 94% favor giving local governments the authority to deny new development for just that reason.

Meanwhile, much of the rest of Virginia complains, with good reason, that Northern Virginia and Richmond suck up almost every available transportation dollar raised state-wide. Tell Ma and Pa Kettle that patching the pothole their tractor disappeared into isn't as important as adding that seventh lane to the expressway up near DC.

And yet, somehow, the Transportation Trust Fund gets raided on a regular basis to fund other state priorities.

In related results:

71% favor bonding to finance transportation projects.

78% favor spending the state surplus on transportation.

77% support phasing out the car tax.

I indicated that I was against the bonding. I prefer to not run up personal debt, and I'd rather my state acted the same way. Slow down the rampant growth and stay in the habit of pay-as-you-go. While we have a surplus, set it aside for emergencies because as sure as the sun rises, when the surplus disappears the programs it funded aren't going to disappear as well.

The car tax? I hate it. I love that they're phasing it out. I'd love it even more if the state were cutting spending to match the reduced tax income. Fat chance of that happening. In fact, our new govenor, Tim Kaine, has already mentioned raising taxes way too often for my comfort level. So far the legislature is fighting him off, but his first instinct for everything seems to be "more taxes".

74% support requiring public schools to dedicate at least 65% of state education funding for items related to classroom instruction.

79% oppose a taxpayer-funded, mandatory, universal pre-kindergarten program in Virginia.

The first seems like a no-brainer. Education funds should be spent where it does the most good, in the classroom. But look at that second one. "Taxpayer-funded", "mandatory", "universal"... I bet the proponents want it to be bilingual as well. That's a pretty emphatic "NO" from the people, I'm pleased to see.

68% do not believe that additional gun control laws are necessary.

If I remember correctly, the question specifically mentioned enforcing the laws already on the books instead of passing new laws to be ignored. I was slightly surprised by that number, I thought it'd be higher than that. Then I considered the folks up even norther than here, since the closer you get to DC the more nanny-staters per capita you'll find. And many firmly believe that the perfect way to live your life is to smile politely and do what the nice police officer tells you to, because the police are your friends and protectors.

87% support requiring abortion clinics to comply with the same health and safety standards as other health care facilities.

Again, to me this is a no-brainer. The clinics are legal according to current laws, so requiring them to conform to modern medical standards is sensible. The thirteen percent dissenting probably would rather the clinics be razed, leveled, and the ground salted so that nothing will grow for a hundred years. That'll keep the weeds down around the feet of the giant statue of Billy Graham that they'll want to erect next. Of course, construction on that will be delayed by lawsuits from the tree-huggers who would rather put in bike paths. Snark aside, if you want the clinics gone, then debate, make your points and change minds to eliminate them, but in the meantime make them as safe as possible for the women who use them.

82% favor amending the Constitution of Virginia to prevent local governments from taking away a person's property through eminent domain and using the seized property for private commercial development.

I still do not understand the reasoning behind the 18% who favor that one. What good are property rights if someone richer than you can come along and convince local officials that he can make "better use" of your land than you can. Come to think of it, how is this different than the government taking more of your money as taxes because "they know better than you how to spend it"?

91% oppose giving illegal aliens in-state tuition rates at Virginia public colleges and universities.

90% believe that businesses which hire illegal aliens should be penalized.

Yes, yes, a thousand times YES!

And finally:

73% support requiring that family life education courses in public schools which include discussions of sexual intercourse emphasize that abstinence before marriage is the accepted norm and the only guarantee against unwanted pregnancy.

Re-read this one carefully. First off, I don't think schools should be in the sex-ed business. But, pragmatic man that I am, I realize that many parents either cannot or will not provide proper guidance to their children. As much as I hate it, I know that if the kids are getting at least the basics in school, then they won't be running around with a vial of gypsy tears around their neck to prevent AIDS.

Note that word "emphasize". Despite the alarmist cries, that doesn't mean "teach exclusively" and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but in Christian cultures (and America *is* primarily a Christian culture) "abstinence before marriage is the accepted norm". That statement is absolutely, completely and 100% factual. Don't confuse reality with "accepted norm" since you'll just sound shrill and idiotic because even the clergy knows that there's a lot more pre-marital sex going on than they would prefer.

As for "guarantee against unwanted pregnancy", no form of birth control is foolproof, yet other than one notable exception some two thousand years ago, abstinence has by far the best track record in that regard.

So those were some of the survey results. I found them interesting, especially the ones I don't necessarily agree with. I like the way he ended the letter too, with "I am here to serve you."

He's started off on the right foot as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Ted at 09:50 PM | category: Politics
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1 Wow, I'm impressed. The survey wasn't an exercise in politics or futility. AND he actually got back to you!

Nice. very nice!

Posted by: michele at April 01, 2007 03:01 PM (xerWZ)

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