Friday, July 06, 2007

2007 Stuarts Draft Firemen's Parade & Lawn Party...

The Firemen's parade went off at 6:30pm and lasted about 1 hour 15 minutes with the mile long route full of people gathered once again for the yearly favorite Parade & Lawn Party... The South River District of the Augusta County Republicans hosted a float and numerous Republican Representatives were in attendance and welcomed by this Strong Republican district...

(left to right)
Candidate Michael Shull - Riverheads District Supervisor, Randy Fisher - Sheriff, Jean Shrewsbury - Comm of Rev, Carter & Courtland - co-V.P.'s of Cougar Inc, Congressmen Bob Goodlatte - 6th District, Richard Homes - Treasurer, Candidate Jeremy Shifflett - Beverly Manor Supervisor, David Beyeler - South River District Supervisor...

Congressmen Bob Goodlatte walked the parade route with his wife Mary Ellen as he does every year and was greeted with many applauds and greetings from the crowds...

Virginia State Senator and Candidate Emmett Hanger greeted people along the parade route and was welcomed by many who supported him during the recent Republican primary. Senator Hanger doubled back to watch much of the remaining parade and to meet with many of those in attendance...

Delegate Chris Saxman (20th district) walked along with the Republican float and is a favorite of this parades attendance. Many people in the South River District have come to know Delegate Saxman and he receives strong support from this area...

Jean Shrewsbury, Chris Saxman, and Randy Fisher get ready to walk the sidelines greeting those gathered for the parade and a chance to see their elected representatives. Many people approached the representatives during and after the parade to say hello and take the opportunity to talk "local issues"...

Treasurer Richard Homes worked the "Candy Line" along the route ...

South River District Supervisor David Beyeler represented the South River contingent of the Augusta County Supervisors and hosted the parade for the Republican Party..

Michael Shull is the Republican Candidate for Supervisor in the Riverheads District...

Jeremy Shifflett is the Republican Candidate for Supervisor in the Beverley Manor District...

The parade ended at the entrance to the Stuarts Draft Fire Department lot where the Firemen's Lawn Party was in full swing...

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Solution to Virginia’s Transportation Woe’s : Al Gore Jr.


It has been reported that the 24 year old Al Gore III was stopped for driving almost 100 mph in a Hybrid Prius (only after over winding the rubber band) in California at which time the Police Officers found Pot & prescription drugs. Turns out the prescription drugs did NOT have prescriptions with them.

"The deputy smelled marijuana and searched the car, said sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino. The search turned up a small amount of marijuana, along with prescription drugs including Valium, Xanax, Vicodin, Adderall and Soma. There were no prescriptions found, he said."

Looks like this is nothing new for the son of the former Democratic Vice-President Al Gore jr.

"In 2003, he was charged with marijuana possession in Maryland after police stopped the car he was driving for not having its headlights on. In February 2004, he entered a substance abuse program as part of a plea agreement.
Gore was charged with reckless driving in North Carolina in 2000 for allegedly driving almost 150km/h, and in September 2002, military police arrested him on suspicion of drunk driving near a military base in Virginia."

This guy is the perfect solution to the Transportation issue here in Virginia. With the new “Astronomical”, as the Staunton NewsLeader likes to call them, fees now in place here in Virginia for abusive and habitual offenders, WE HAVE OUR ANSWER!!!

All we have to do is get this guy to drive like the apparent “Spoiled Druggie Brat” that he is in the state of Virginia and we will have the transportation “crisis” beat!!!. Al Gore Jr. would probably end up paying the fees with donations he got from Buddhist Monks but that’s another blogpost…

But the truth is we would rather not have Gore "the Third", or anybody else like him, on our roads here in Virginia and that is why we have new fees to help deter drivers like this and hold them accountable. The new “Astronomical” fees as the NewsLeader likes to call them were put in place to hold this type of driver accountable for their dangerous actions on the Virginia roads. The NewsLeader has attempted to portray these fees as the penalty for minor infractions such as “rolling through a stop sign” when in fact they are meant to deter and hold much more aggressive, dangerous, and habitual offenders accountable for their actions.

“Speedy Gore” has been busted twice for speeding at about 100mph, caught with Pot use another two times, and driving drunk. This is the type of driver responsible for many deadly motor vehicle accidents on our highways and the reason why the recently instated fees are needed to make our roads safer.

"He was ticketed for reckless driving by North Carolina police in August 2000 when he was clocked going 94 mph. Military police arrested him for drunk driving near a military base in Virginia in September 2002."

So somebody please ask the editorial staff of the NewsLeader if these “Astronomical” fees would be “Unfair” if Speedy Gore III. was stopped on a Virginia roadway…

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007...

Delegate Chris Saxman sent out this e-mail newsletter to help explain the recent changes in traffic fees and "Abuser Fees"... I grew up in New Jersey and this type of plan has been in use for decades and works well to address the problems of repeat offenders.

Many of you have contacted me recently about abuser fees. I hope the following information will answer your questions and address your concerns.

House Republicans championed the adoption of a comprehensive approach to improving Virginia's transportation network. Components of the Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007 (
HB 3202) include addressing accountability and efficiency at VDOT, incorporating land use changes to prevent sprawl, injecting $3 billion in additional funding for important projects, and increasing highway safety by more appropriately assessing those drivers who repeatedly abuse the rules of the road.

Because the need to increase safety through monetary penalties on repeat offenders was recognized by members of both parties, abuser fees were a feature of transportation plans promoted by the Governor, the Senate, and the House. Already working to improve safety and increase revenues in other states (NJ, TX), abuser fees adopt the sensible assertion that those who commit crimes on the roads or who habitually violate traffic laws should pay more. Only those with serious criminal convictions or a massive amount of demerit points are subject to the fees. Because every driver starts with 0 demerits for abuser fee purposes on July 1, 2007, those who obey the laws or who have an occasional traffic infraction pay zero.

ØCivil penalties (a.k.a. "abuser fees") are targeted at chronic and dangerous drivers - the estimated 2.5% of those most likely to cause traffic accidents and congestion. These bad driversare estimated to be responsible for more than one quarter of all congestion on Virginia roadways.

Ø The basic premise of the transportation abuser fee is that Virginia's most dangerous drivers should pay their fair share for safety improvements to our roadways rather than the general public. The possibility of being assessed these fees is meant to serve as a deterrent to unsafe driving.

Ø The abuser fees have wide, bi-partisan support as they were part of numerous transportation plans advanced by the legislature and Governor Kaine. Also, the Attorney General's Office has not found reason to question the constitutionality of any aspect of the abuser fee.

Ø There are two ways the "abuser fees" can be assessed.

o Based on Demerit Points - Annual fee assessed for having 8 or more demerit points against your license. $100 fee for 8 points increasing by $75 with each additional point. This penalizes chronically bad drivers. Here is URL for a DMV primer on demerit points that is very helpful:

o Based on Traffic Offense - Three year annual fee based on seriousness of offense. Only applies to certain motor vehicle-related or driving felonies and misdemeanors. Penalizes dangerous drivers.

Ø The abusive driver fee is just that - a variable registration fee that is higher for bad drivers. Registration fees are assessed on a Virginian's registered vehicle, not on out of state drivers. While a component of it is charged based on traffic offenses, it is not a criminal fine (which could be applied to out of state drivers) but an increased registration fee based on the increased likelihood that a person is adding to roadway costs by unsafe driving as evidenced by traffic offenses.

Ø The overwhelming majority of these crimes are felonies or misdemeanors involving the consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs while driving, reckless driving, vehicular homicide, and driving after being declared an habitual offender or driving on a revoked license. For the civil remediation fees to be assessed, the offender has to be found guilty of those crimes, not just charged with them - meaning the judge could lower the charge to avoid the assessment of the fees.

Ø Unless you commit a crime on the highway of the level that is punishable by jail time, or if you rack up a bunch of points (eg. the equivalent of four major tickets in one year) you won't pay anything. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of Virginia's drivers - more than 97% - will NOT have to pay these higher fees.

Ø Many of the perceived "lesser crimes" defined in Code as reckless driving are commonly ticketed in combination with other reckless driving offenses (i.e., the officer has the option to include "not signaling" as reckless driving if the offender also is committing another class 1 misdemeanor.) While the Court has no ability to suspend fees if a person were to be convicted of a qualifying offense, an officer does not have to charge a person with reckless driving for all activities and depending on the nature of the situation, can charge them with lesser offenses.

Ø Some may have seen a sensationalized and inaccurate account on the blogs at, which has served as the basis for e-mails to several offices recently. In one (false) example, it says going 15 MPH over the speed limit would net an offender a $3,550 ticket. Here are the facts:

o A 15 mph over ticket is a traffic ticket, not a reckless. It carries -4 points. So, the person would need to get another one to be at -8 and then the "demerit point-based" fee would be $100, NOT $3,500. But, if the person went on-line and took a safe driving course, he/she would get +5 and the fee would then be ZERO. Remember: every Virginia driver starts off with 0 points, and gets +1 point each year for good driving up to +5. So, again using the example above, a driver would really need to have 13 demerit points or more - which is equivalent to 4 moving violations in one year, definitely NOT a safe driving record - for the fee to even apply.

o Also, $2,500 is the maximum fine (not what's typically meted out) that a judge can levy for reckless driving under existing law - something that was not changed by the Abuser Fee bill.

o The Reckless Driving Article of the Code of Virginia is a law that can be traced back to pre-1950. It says that failing to use a turn signal is "reckless." After checking with an attorney who handles thousands of cases like this who has been in the courtroom for 19 years (three years as a traffic court prosecutor), he said he has NEVER seen anyone charged with "reckless" under that code section. This anachronism undoubtedly will be fixed next year.

Ø The only role of the court is as a collection agent since they are already collecting criminal fines for these same offenses. Their role was one of convenience and to reduce administration costs. As such, non-payment results in no cost to the Commonwealth. Collection activities are likely to be handled by an outside agent, with the Commonwealth retaining the majority of the revenues collected.

Ø Why are the Abuser Fees set up this way?

o Under the Virginia State Constitution, all fines are to be deposited into the Literary Fund for school construction. Thus, to ensure that these funds would be available for transportation, they were made into variable registration fees on bad drivers. This is why they do not apply to out of state residents. Registration fees are only charged to Virginians.

o The original intention was to have the abuser fees collected entirely by DMV. But, DMV was concerned about collection procedures, so a compromise was reached whereby the Court would serve as the collection agent for the first year's fee, with DMV collecting second & third year fees.

Ø The fees assessed based on the number of demerit points can be avoided by taking a driver's training course to earn 5 positive points. Points on one's license prior to convictions on July 1, 2007 are NOT counted for the demerit based abuser fee.

Ø Does this mean Virginia residents will have to pay more than illegal aliens?

o The short and simple answer is "no."

o Illegal aliens cannot lawfully obtain driver's licenses in Virginia, thanks to the Republicans in the House and Senate who were the first in the nation to enact a law in 2002 that banned such practices. Also, there is no "international driver's license" that is valid in Virginia.

o An illegal alien in Virginia driving on his/her country's license would have to say he/she is not a resident of Virginia, admitting their unauthorized status. Otherwise, if they are Virginia residents and do not have a Virginia license (no 60 day free period for persons with foreign driver's licenses who move to Virginia), they are driving without a license, which is a criminal misdemeanor.

o If an illegal somehow has a valid Virginia license, then he/she would be charged with the same charge that any Virginia resident would. However, they hopefully would be deported.

Ø Research indicates - from a variety of "national studies" as well as a Virginia Transportation Research Council study presented at the 2005 Virginia Fall Conference on Transportation - that more than 25% of all congestion is caused by traffic incidents. A large proportion of these incidents are caused by unsafe driving - such as reckless and aggressive driving, DUI, etc. By charging those who commit those offenses, and thus increase congestion on the roadways, the state is charging those citizens - who make our transportation system more congested and infrastructure repair and construction more costly - a fair and proportionate share of those costs. The Kaine Administration estimates that the abuser fee will generate approximately $65 million each year.

Ø The abuser fees are a part of the Comprehensive Transportation Funding and Reform Act of 2007, which raises over $1.2 billion annually for improvements to highways, including needed improvements in each of the 9 transportation districts in Virginia. The landmark statute also ties local land use decisions to transportation and brings much-needed reforms and streamlining to the operations of VDOT. The Act was a compromise between those who wanted to avoid a statewide increase on income, sales, gas or property taxes, while providing needed funding for Virginia transportation by using state budget surpluses, through the issuance of bonds, and through assessing abuser fees that the average citizen can avoid by obeying the law.

Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

Chris Saxman

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Augusta County United States Marines


The bridge carrying Va. 608 over Interstate 64 in Fishersville, was named the Lance Corporal Jason Redifer Memorial Bridge this past week in Augusta County...

The Va. 256 span over Interstate 81 at Weyers Cave officially was renamed the Lance Corporal Daniel Scott Resner Bubb Memorial Bridge during a ceremony at the Augusta County Government Center.

A third Shenandoah Valley native, Marine Lance Cpl. Todd Morris, a Wilson Memorial High graduate, was killed in February near Haqlaniyah, near the Anbar province, by a landmine. The 19-year-old Morris was from Raphine.

Republican Delegate Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, introduced the bill to rename the bridges in honor of Bubb and Redifer.
“They served the United States and the commonwealth ably. They went above and beyond the call of duty,” Landes said.

The NewsVirginian had the above story written by Bob Stuart and can be viewed at:

The Staunton NewsLeader provided no coverage or acknowledgment of this event at all... Not a word...

Pulling out the Race Card...


"Let me just put this in perspective: If HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34 there would be an outraged, outcry in this country," said the New York senator.

Hillary Clinton (D) N.Y.

at Democratic Party debate Howard University...