Empowering the People

Living in a gerrymandered district like the 25th  which serves an odd smattering of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham Counties, and is currently represented by Republican Steve Landes, means that the votes of urban democrats going to the polls aren’t represented.  The district is too skewed rural, republican, and conservative.   Gerrymandering has cut up the more populated areas so the impact of urban voters is weakened.

Here is part two of my interview with House of Delegates Candidate Angela Lynn

Angela Lynn:  “The issue is helping the voter.  I feel robbed of my vote by the gerrymandering.  Years and years of elections come and go and no one runs against Steve Landes.”

Question:  “In Albemarle County, are the voters  different from voters in the Valley?”

House of Delegates Candidate Angela Lynn and her campaign manager
House of Delegates Candidate Angela Lynn and her campaign manager

Angela:  “Yes, and they deserve representation for their issues and we deserve representation for ours.   If I’m knocking on a door – regardless of a citizens’ politics – if I say ‘I live here, but do you know that the person representing you lives 38 miles away, in a very rural area?  I think you deserve someone who understands what you’re dealing with here.’”

Question:  “How many terms has Steve Landes had?”
Angela:  “19 years in office, and he has only been opposed 2 times in those 19 years.”

Question: “So that means in the last 19 years he’s only had to state his positions openly and clearly twice.”

Angela: “Exactly.  People are now paying attention because there’s a challenger.  Issues need to be talked about.  Questions need to be asked.  I’m constantly challenging him to talk about issues.  I’ve asked him to debate.    The most important thing is challenging him to stand by what he’s doing [in the House of Delegates].  It hasn’t been as wonderful as he keeps saying it is.  We aren’t satisfied.  His vote on the Medicaid expansion decision impacted everybody.”

Question:  Where is the 25th district and who does it serve?

Angela:  In Albemarle, my district goes up to Waynesboro but not in Waynesboro.  It’s Crozet, Ivy, East Ivy, Yellow Mountain, Bellaire, Jack Jouett.  North up to Harrisonburg. [Currently, the 25th district also represents parts of Augusta and Rockingham Counties.]   It would be nice to have another democrat in the area.  Right now David Toscano is theblueberry in the tomato soup’.”

Question:  “What is the split right now in the House of Delegates?”

Zack [Angela’s Campaign Manager]: “There are 67 Republicans in the House of Delegates now, which is one more than they need to override a veto.  That’s why there is so much focus on the Senate this year. ”

Question:  “How will the redistricting be done?  Who is in charge?”

Angela:  “If the redistricting plan is implemented, a nonpartisan commission (that’s picked by the legislators) will aim to a divide the districts fairly.   This plan has worked in other states.    That model is fair and unbiased and doesn’t have anything to do with political appointments.  It gives the voters more power.   That’s the whole idea.”

Question:  “How does gerrymandering actually happen?”

Angela:  “It’s been around for a long time and has been abused because it took away minority votes.  Virginia is a very gerrymandered state.  Texas is another one.  And it needs to be reformed.  It’s in the Supreme Court now to talk about it.    It robs voters of their vote.  We only have a few things that make a democracy and one of them is our vote.  Our voice is the other.  Republicans, Democrats, and Tea Partiers all agree that democracy is suffering.   Campaign finance reform needs to happen.  We all agree that we need to get the money out of politics.  Let’s just do it.   But my opponent does a lot of ‘hiding the bills’…

. . .  and that’s another thing:  Ethics.  We should expect our leaders to have ethics.  This isn’t something that’s gray lines.  We know what ethical behavior is.  They keep changing the definition.  Ethics reform, campaign finance reform, redistricting, these are all nonpartisan issues that would help every voter feel that we had empowered the people.”

Read More about Election 2015 in my next blog, including the Atlantic Coast Pipeline controversy.


Clean the Bay Day

Meadow Creek runs behind the restaurants along Rt. 29, including Cook-Out and Seminole Square Shopping Center
Meadow Creek runs behind the restaurants along Rt. 29, including Cook-Out and Seminole Square Shopping Center

Following up on last month’s post about  Clean the Bay Day trash pick up at Meadow Creek.    Since Meadow Creek runs parallel to Route 29, the trash build up in and around the creek is bad.  But where does the trash come from?  In all the years I’ve lived in Charlottesville, I’ve seldom seen anyone throw trash from their cars.   Is it coming from overflowing dumpsters?

With that in mind, here is my request to my readers:  When you see an overflowing dumpster along Route 29, please take a photo.  Send me the photo along with the location of the dumpster (i.e. name of the restaurant or apartment complex) and I’ll try to alert the business to make changes, like putting in extra dumpsters.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll contact the city.2015-06-06 10.08.03

You can e-mail the photo and information to me at authorcarolynoneal@gmail.com


Our dirtiest oil by-product sent to China

Petroleum coke (petcoke), a by-product of petroleum refining that is high in contaminants, has quietly emerged in China as an inexpensive, but very dirty, alternative to coal. A significant share of the petcoke used in China is imported from the United States, where it is generally considered waste. The Chinese government is committed to reducing coal consumption for environmental reasons, but petcoke is not yet well-known to the country’s policymakers. Still, its use and resulting emissions must be addressed if efforts to reduce air pollution and climate change are to be effective.

Wang Tao


Petcoke, referred to as the “bottom of the barrel,” is one of the last products manufactured during the oil refining process, with a carbon content of over 90 percent,11  the highest of any petroleum product. Most of the value in crude oil comes from lighter oil products, such as gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel. As such, heavier oils are increasingly fed into coking refineries that reject excess carbon to yield more light products plus greater volumes of petcoke.  Read More Here

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