NVDAILY.COM | Opinion
Posted March 20, 2010 | 4 Comments
This past winter brought us record snowstorms and floods, continuing collapse of the housing market and partisan paralysis in Washington. I really look forward to March 20, the first day of spring, balmy weather, blooming flowers and the Great American Meatout.
Several years ago, it was a local Meatout information table that gave me a new lease on life by turning me onto a healthful, nonviolent diet of vegetables, fruits, legumes and grains. Now in its 26th year, Meatout has grown into the world's largest annual grassroots diet education campaign, with 1,000 educational events in all 50 states and 32 countries (www.meatout.org).
Meatout's simple message of nonviolence and good health is now touted by major health advocacy organizations and leading health authorities. The supportive "World Peace Diet" has become the No. 1 bestseller on Amazon.com. Adoption of the Meatout diet has been greatly simplified by the rich selection of delicious meat and dairy alternatives in our local supermarkets. Additional transition support and free recipes are available at www.tryveg.org and www.chooseveg.org.
In what way does the eyesore across from the Food Lion that was once a hallowed battleground in its green and natural state contribute to Strasburg's "Golden Mile" and visitors' first impression of our once unspoiled and beautiful town?
Perhaps we should burn it.
Anyone with an appreciation of Strasburg's history and culture would have to question Bob Wooten's definition of a "Golden Mile" (column, Feb. 27 issue).
Does he mean a historic battlefield stripped of its trees, with peculiar pipes sticking up out of the ground for no apparent reason? Does he mean the beautiful "Manassas" townhouses (half of which are unoccupied)? Does he mean the commercial "beauty" of the chain store establishments designed to keep interstate traffic away from downtown businesses?
Perhaps he should look at the historic and beautiful south end of town. I mean the view of the mountain and river, the historic homes and buildings that are certainly a treasure to native townspeople. Oh, there is the exception of a "Golden Mile" of 10 ugly yellow posts that define one of our town councilman's property lines and blocks a 100-year-old right of way.
JOHN M. PAPPAS
We would appreciate if the person or persons living on Breckenridge Court at Strasburg Meadows would keep their trash from blowing between our fence and our backyard neighbor's fence. It makes our yard look trashy.
Our neighbor has to clean the trash up before he mows grass, although he could block the end of his fence off to keep the trash from blowing between our fences.
If the governor or a state legislator tells you that the budget was balanced, don't believe it. If they tell you that there is not a tax increase in the budget, don't believe it. And if they tell you that the budget maintains Virginia's reputation for fiscal responsibility, don't believe it.
According to MSNBC, "The budget also assumes a savings of more than $800 million in deferred state payments into the Virginia Retirement System." In other words, the legislature will not make the payments necessary to fund the employee retirement system and this shortfall will have to be made up at some time in the future. This is the sort of tactic employed by the federal government, which has led to predictions that the Social Security system will run out of funds in mid century.
If you or I were running a private business large enough to have its own retirement system, our outside auditors would issue a finding that pensions are underfunded and require the business to address the deficiency. Under a revision of pension law in 2006, companies are required to fully fund defined benefit pension plans over seven years and loopholes were closed that previously allowed plans to skip payments. The irony is that public pension plans apparently are not covered.
The actions taken by the General Assembly are as reckless and indefensible as those taken by, and created problems for, the federal government, the state of California and Lehman Brothers and will lead to underfunding of programs in the future because of a mistaken belief that a gimmick would enable them to claim that there are no new taxes in the budget. Don't believe it.
Del. Athey's plumping for Front Royal tax hikes raises questions (see your March 13 headline, "Athey statement critical of Parker vote abstention").
Why, for example, is this Virginia delegate poking his nose into the business of local government? I can't find precedent for it, only that his overreach into local issues seems perfectly in tune with his radical pro-growth history. Note: Anyone from Loudoun County will tell you that higher taxes always equal rapid growth.
And this overreaching, and this history, bring to mind the troubling appearance that there may not be enough daylight between state Del. Athey's official actions and how lawyer Athey makes his living. Isn't it improper for a state delegate to make hay as a result of his own legislative actions?
I mean, what kind of legislator concerned with proper appearances, who lawyers for the rezoning efforts of developers in Warren County, would go on to sponsor de facto rezoning legislation requiring Warren (and other similarly sized counties) to set up "urban development areas"?
Maybe legislative bodies now operate on unsavory mixtures of public and private business. Nevertheless, the appearances of such should not go without comment, especially when they confront us in broad daylight.
Richard W. Hoover
I recently learned that "Choose Life" license plates are available in Virginia. What a wonderful way to affirm the sanctity of life, which is what I plan to do.
It is also a great way to remind ourselves of the words found in our Declaration of Independence, which states, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Although most of the news we hear or read these days is bad or discouraging, we need to remember God is still in control. Celebrate life and take advantage of the freedom we have to display "Choose Life" license plates.
EVA R. GOCHENOUR