Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Shinyline to Loudoun Academy Awards

Don't miss the next episode of the, PLA / Non-union penalty mini-series, 
"Now you see it, now you don't, now you see it..."

Metro Shinyline to Loudoun Academy Awards

The stars were out Monday night at the Board of Supervisors' Metro Public Input Session in Leesburg and they were having fun as they talked about the pros and cons of the shiny train. Lots of local activists were there but more than a few sat this event out for some reason we just don’t know.

The We Love Rail and We Want it NOW group, were out in force, coming from Fairfax, Arlington, and even a few from Loudoun, many with hopes and concerns about a spending bonanza and the hype of riding the Metro Shinyline train to Loudoun.

Here’s a rundown of who took home the awards from the star-studded evening.

Awards categories

Best of the Best Speakers Were

"The studies have shown that it will not improve transportation," said Joanne LaRock, who opposes the proposed Silver Line. "It will drive higher tolls. It will drive cars off the Toll Road." (judge bias declared)

"The gas tax is presently paying for county services. Would these services be taken away or would real property tax be increased to make up for the gas tax paying for the Metro funding?" Loudoun County resident Patricia Sweeney brought up at the hearing.

"It's a neat thing to have. Everybody loves the ‘choo choo.' Everybody wants a train. Everybody wants a shiny train to get them to Tysons Corner. That would be a really cool thing. Unfortunately, we can't afford it," testified Greg Stone, a resident of Loudoun County.
Bob-On Pillage Watch

Metro supporters had their chants and green shirts. Opponents brought a pig, and if you wanted to know how they felt about the plan, all you had to do was read its butt, which said, "It's not going to benefit me in any which way shape or form."
Bob Costantino, for calling it like it is, "...plunder of the people."

Winners by category:

Award for Best PresentationWhy Loudoun Should Bail Out Businesses with Taxpayer Funded Corporate Welfare 

The Loudoun Chamber led by Tony Howard  and Kurt Krause. The Chamber members cited hundreds of reasons
why they felt it was a good thing for the County to spend big. Howard said “The long-term benefits of the Dulles rail project offer a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to Loudoun County,” Howard has supported the project like so many others who understand that the costs are an unknown but advise us to get past the fog of the controversy.

In his acceptance speech, Howard did not elaborate on how well the countywide business industrial Metro penalty/tax, or the Special 1 mile or 2 Mile Metro penalty/tax districts were polling outside the tight group of Chamber members who hope to profit directly from rail construction.

Most Dedicated Activist Award - 3 Winners

1. The Robin Bartok and Dorri O’Brien Team who snuck out during the busy rally to where the Tax Pig was parked to tear his recycled Scott York-Rail Costs Too Much sign off the trailer and return it to Chairman York for ransom. These girls are showing some promise as do-what-it-takes scrappers. We have a fresh copy of “Rules for Radicals” and a set of beginner’s bolt-cutters for each of you.

2. The man who stood with his NO METRO TAX sign behind the speakers all night so it was in plain sight on the TV monitors.

3. Robin Bartok, wins again, winning for standing in front of the man with a NO METRO TAX after Scott York texted her and told her to block the NO METRO TAX sign. That’s dedication! Go girl!

The Unimaginably Ridiculous Timing Award

This goes to the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors who will meet Wednesday, June 6, to hammer out a plan to pay for its share of the Shinyline - about $270 million and another $16 million a year (extreme low-ball figures) to operate the system. Notice this is taking place at just about the time when the vote was to be cast (before supervisor Janet Clarke asked for 30 more days).
What could go wrong?
This is akin to sitting down at the lawyer's office to purchase a new investment home that is run down, worn out, comes with a tenured property manager that wastes money like crazy, costs far more than it’s worth, and you decide at the settlement table to ask if you are financially qualified  so you can fill out a loan application. By the way, the settlement attorney in this analogy wants you to sign with all the blanks empty or filled in by the seller - WMATA.

Most Ambitious Cross-over Activist Award - 2 Winners

Tom Seeman and Dave D’Onofrio. Many of us know Tom for his lead role against  government over-reach in the epic Chesapeake Bay Overlay saga last year. This time Tom is working the pro-big government side for a change. He has been hard at it working with Green Pro-Rail Team but took time off to slap on a suit and give his $.02 on why he is on the    Kaine   Pelosi   Obama  SEIU Team this time. Tom and Dave get credit for most of the monotonous two minute speeches read by the astro-turf crowd.

Most Bizarre Reason to Like Metro Award - 2 Winners

New young Republican Nick Clemente, ( does that name sound familiar? ) who said Loudoun should embrace the shiny train because it would create jobs and then Obama couldn’t say we don’t like creating jobs or something.  This is strategic thinking young man...big future for Nick.

Scott York closed the evening displaying two binders he said were full of emails representing how people are voting by email. Chairman York more than any one individual bears the responsibility for neglecting to enlighten the public on the project and failing to begin the long and tedious process of forming tax districts that could shift some of the cost burden off the backs of taxpayers. He has failed individual taxpayers and businessmen.
The binder-poll results may be chuck full of input that was organized by unions, people from outside Loudoun who crave transportation without taxation, station area developers, rail contractors, and from people who in general have no stake in the project, other than profit.  It appears this is OK with some Board members. 

Most Promising Young Activist Award

11-year-old John LaRock (who composed his own message) told supervisors he’ll be 41 years old when the county is done paying for Metrorail. (youthful optimism)
“That’s not including the operation and maintenance subsidies,” the young LaRock added. 

Best Bootleg Informational Flier Award

Tax Pig wins with the "Goodbye Buses with Cushy Seats and Hello Metro Train Cattle-car" flier.

Second runnerup was MWAA for the handout they used to try to mislead property owners that they could expect real property increases to come with the Shinyline. This was part of the Loudoun County OFFICIAL information session materials.  Their flier stated, 

"Proximity to stations significantly boosts property values: Residential by 6.8%, multi-family by 9.4%, commercial within half a mile of a station by 8.9%." 

Buy those rail station properties while you can.

Best Documentary on What the Shinyline Rail Cars Will Look Like

Here's the video explaining how nice and shiny the new Shinyline cattle cars are for Metro:  
Check these babies out and remember the practical reality is that people won't be willing to stand for 1 hr 30 minutes if they're commuting all the way downtown. Dooh!

Best Outside Loudoun Group of Speakers

"Transit is a Right"- File Photo
The 20 or 30 young folks from Arlington who love the idea of riding the Shinyline out to Loudoun to enjoy the vineyards and countryside on weekends. No mention was made of how they hope to get from the Shinyline stations to spread patronage throughout the County... without cars.

Never in the history of any county have there been some many non-residents impetrating to a local government they are not connected to, kinda like they want to "Occupy" Loudoun.

Party Pooper Award in Financial Documentary Category

Congressmen Paul Ryan was a write-in winner read his comments here.

“Americans deserve better than the European-style austerity offered by the President’s broken promises and bankrupt policies. Repeating Europe’s mistakes, the President’s policies call for job-crushing tax increases and harsh disruptions for beneficiaries of government programs as the debt spirals out of control. 

What's the connection? States and local Governments should be getting as lean and as debt free as possible. Loudoun County Virginia, believing they operate in a vacuum is preparing to do the exact opposite. In other words, they are preparing to do what the Obama administration has been doing for the last three and a half years, spending , borrowing, and taxing. Greg S.

The What's Ahead Award

‘Buyers' remorse for California's 'bullet train to nowhere'

California voters are experiencing buyers' remorse over a $68.4 billion (£44.4 billion) high speed rail project which critics say risks becoming a "bullet train to nowhere."

Very Best Off- Message Speaker

Jeffrey J. Fairfield, P.C., who appeared to be an expert in tax districts, reminded the Supervisors that Special Tax Districts (STD's) can go wrong even after you put tremendous effort into them. This might make some Supervisors and taxpayers a little uneasy if there is an opt in vote based on the ASSumption that STDs are going to happen.

Best Comments of the Week Newspaper Category-2 Winners

Jun 04, 2012 - 11:34:44 PM
Why on earth would Loudoun County taxpayers want to commit huge tax dollars for this white-elephant boondoggle project? It's outrageously expensive to build; it will LOSE money in operation; and it will do virtually nothing to relieve traffic congestion. Even worse: The agency building the Silver Line (MWAA) has a non-responsive Board, and is trying to drive the cost UP, through high-cost union labor. The agency operating the Silver Line (WMATA) is proven to be incompetent - with unreliable service, endless safety problems, no clue on customer relations, out-of-control labor & pension costs, and arrogantly forces higher subsidy costs onto local taxpayers. What Loudoun County SHOULD do is to help commuters find an alternative to the dysfunctional Metrorail system. That means developing an effectivec, cost-efficient express bus system, which will allow riders to bypass Metro completely.

Not a rent seeking developer

Jun 05, 2012 - 01:10:48 AM

Odd coalition of greedy rent-seeking developers, contractors hoping for a piece of the action, and union hires lined up against taxpayers from across the county. They've been organizing lots of pro-rail emails from DC residents to Loudoun's Board of Supervisors.

This evening of input and some of the pro Shinyline train lobbying was bought and 
paid for in part with your tax dollars 
funneled through groups like the Loudoun Economic Disaster Commission, and the Visit Loudoun Group who claim to be independent but are financially attached to the County’s proverbial hind you-know-what.

Tax Pig

Public Avocate


  1. Speaking of Rep. Paul Ryan. Find below some comments sparked by his House Committee press release yesterday on the CBO report.We here in Loudoun should be forcefully making the connection between what Metro 2 will would do to Loudouns fiscal stability against the backdrop of our Nations debt. This stuff is connected.

    States and local Governments should be getting as lean and as debt free as possible. Loudoun County Virginia, believing they operate in a vacuum is preparing to do the exact opposite. In other words, they are preparing to do what the Obama administration has been doing for the last three and a half years, spending , borrowing, and taxing. They are doing the exact opposite of what needs to be done in order to prepare for the austerity at our doorstep. The frustrating aspect of this is the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors is comprised of NINE Republicans, and ZERO Democrats.No one to blame here, Republicans own this lock, stock and barrel. To make matters even worse, the very project for which they are eager to dump Billions, was rejected by the Obama administration as a transportation project. In other words Loudoun County Elected Republicans are governing to the LEFT of the Obama administration ! This is fiscal irresponsibility at a whole new level in the face of what Rep. Paul Ryan and the CBO label as Danger Ahead. Downright reckless !

    Contact every member of this board and tell them in no uncertain terms, they were elected as fiscal conservatives, and need to be getting Loudoun Counties fiscal house in order. If they can't make the connections, help them. If they don't see it, educate them. If they lack political will, hold their hands, or if need be, put your boot on their backside. Tell them that signing onto billions of dollars in the form of future obligations to Metro is counter to sound economic policy in these turbulent and uncertain times.