David Reynolds: It’s next year!
Contrary to last year’s press clippings, fist fights did not break out at this year’s Lexington-Rockbridge-Buena Vista “State of the Community” breakfast. Instead it was the usual sea of harmony sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce, aka the local Pollyanna Society. The breakfast proved once again that there is a media bias.
Representatives from our three area governments told the usual bacon and eggs crowd how well everyone gets along. That is, if burning issues, such as incinerators, are not discussed. They said that any lack of cooperation should be placed squarely where it belongs – on those taxpayers who fail to appreciate higher taxes. Therefore with higher taxes and fees, both Lexington and Buena plan to remain independent. (BV restaurants plan to recoup the city’s latest surcharge by charging for water.)
As for our state reps, they did their usual revenue shortfall song and dance act, “We love you, but.” This means that Santa Claus will again not be able to swim upstream in the cold waters of the James and the Maury. In summary, all the speakers had the same bitter message, along with their coffee: The 2012 budget will be worse than the 2011 budget , but not as bad as the 2013 budget.
As for other big news this new year, that’s about it. It will be a quiet year in paradise. Just as planned. Nonetheless, allow us to mention a half dozen 2011 happenings of interest:
There was a full reading of the United States Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington. This took place thanks to the Rockbridge Tea Party and our very own representative, Bob Goodlatte, known for proposing such controversial measures such as a balanced budget amendment. With his usual keen insight, Bob said, “This Congress has been very aggressive in expanding the power of the federal government.” The great Constitutional debate will be a year long affair, but there will little romance. Instead, the Supreme Court will maintain its usual cold silence and sing its theme song, “Still, still, still.” No common ground will be discovered by either side. Liberals will move to strike the practice of Senate filibusters, for at least the next two years. Conservatives, whose spokesman is the head of the Roanoke Tea Party, said this, “If it was up to me, they could spend the whole congressional session reading the Constitution and nothing else.”
A press conference was held at the Raphine Industrial Park to announce the end of the Virginia Tech-UVA football rivalry. Both schools agreed that no rivalry can exist without competitive games. In the interest of improved competition, UVA will meet VMI every Thanksgiving in Lexington, with the hope that the games will not be turkeys. Replacing UVA on Tech’s schedule will be JMU. Coach Beamer said that James Madison is on a par with Stanford. The Beamer, who is no Mercedes, said that he should be ready to play JMU in ten months.
The new I-81 northbound climbing lanes from Exit 195 opened. But not quite as planned. The new lanes have been taken over by sleeping truck drivers due to the overflow at Governor’s McDonnell’s reopened rest stops. Delegate Cline blamed VDOT for the mess. VDOT blamed the General Assembly for not raising the gas tax. And the General Assembly blamed the voters for not being sympathetic to the truckers lobby.
The State of West Virginia continued its successful tourism campaign: “West Virginia welcomes the Boys Scouts of America to our wild and wonderful state. East Virginia did not!” Strong objections were voiced by former Virginia governor and current Democrat National Committee Chair Tim Kaine, “If you think losing the Boy Scouts was bad, how about losing 63 Congressional seats to those rich and fat Republicans. I’ll take the scout loss anytime.” Mr. Kaine was asked to turn in his merit badges.
With golf courses hurting for revenue, Vista Links and the Lexington Golf and Country Club announced a special Two-for-One deal, play both courses for the price of one. However, there was considerable opposition from both BV taxpayers and LGCC members. The special offer was revised. It will be good for play only on Christmas Day.
After a tour of all 100 Virginia courthouses, the owners of an auto repair shop and a large abandoned red brick warehouse filed suit against the City of Lexington and the County of Rockbridge. They claim that the new courthouse is a blight on their corner. They asked that it be torn down and rebuilt in keeping with the standards of the other 99.
That’s it! Enjoy what is left of 2011. Make the most of each day. Carpe diem.
Column by David Reynolds