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Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thinking Lynchburg Politics and Beyond

Sometimes, it is difficult to just figure exactly what to write. There are days when I read the stories circulating around Lynchburg, and around the internet.

I make decisions, and jump headlong into a post.

Each time before I do, I engross myself in a great deal of reading. Reading is a passion for me, one that I enjoy. So today, I thought I would just clue you into what I have been reading and thinking.

Here is a list with some thoughts:

1. Mayor Carl Hutcherson: There have been posts today in The News and Advance, WSET, and Roanoke Times. All are about where the trial will happen and if Dr. Jerry Falwell and his son will testify. My thoughts are about the social security fraud charge. There has been little information on that aspect of the case, while there has been a lot of information realeased about the other issues in the case. Who were the disabled people that the state claims he bilked money from? To me this is the most piviotal aspect of his case.

2. Lynchburg City Budget: Both the News and Advance, and WSET are reporting on this. WSET talks about the trials and tribulations of Kimball Payne, City Manager. WSET calls it a tight budget. I think of the 86,000 dollar question. That is the amount the planning commission has as its largest budget item(called miscellaneous), besides salaries and benefits. With a slush fund that size where is the accountability? Why is it the largest line item on the Planning Commission Budget? And why do people think its fine, this is not itemized?

3. Lynchburg Council Elections: Both WSET and News and Advance are reporting on this. We have a race of that is now followed by the endorsements of by Lynchburg Voters League. They are supporting Burt Dodson, Joan Foster and Nat Marshall.

Burt and Joan are resting on what they say is what a great job they have done. Nat Marshall is a new comer who has not made his position clear other than general statements. I think of recent decisions of the council, and how they love to hire outside consultants. They have vision and are ready to spend your tax money, to see more of what some outsiders think. I am still asking the 86,000 dollar question. Where is the accountability for that miscellaneous account?

I have also forwarded questions to Chuck Gammon, I asked him to answer some very specific questions on several issues. He said he would answer them, we are in wait and see mode if he responds. Chuck Gammon could be the candidate who could break the 03 mentality that is pervasive on City Council.

4. I am also reading about a report coming out of the Richmond Times. It is about a young waitress who is young and pregnant received a tip for a thousand dollars. Erin Dogan of Roanoke County gave the tip to Amanda Newkirk in Roanoke. Some fine acts like these need to be reported. Erin Dogan said she could have spent the money at the mall, but this to her was a much better act. We agree Erin, its people like you that restores our faith in humanity.

5. Recently, I have been hard on Islam. I do not think that this has been entirely unjustified, but I am taking the time to read "Moments in Words from Hadhramout." He made a recent comment on the post I made "Wafa Sultan Takes on the Wrong Direction Islam is Heading."

Omar Barsawad said:

"Just like with any kind of religion, ideology or culture - it takes time and interest to understand Islam.Most of my life, I have worked around Westerners - and I am always surprised and even amazed at times, at how little Westerners do understand of Islam. The Western perception of Islam, is mostly influenced by what they they see and read on the news. After 9/11, in particular. "

"Having read much about the other world religions - I find them strikingly similar to what Islam is. And I know, should one intend to - then one can pick a part of any and twist it to give negative meanings. One too, can pick a part of history from any other great religions ang give it 'evilness'.In most cases, it is not facts that influence our perceptions, but the society and culture we are in."

I am thoughtfully considering his blog, and the merits of what he has to say. Although, while we agree on some things there is a chasm of a difference on others, but it may be important to respond to his dialogue.

6. There are countless other things I have been thinking about this morning. One is that Pakistan has blocked 6 websites from their readers, including blogger. Blogger is the host Lynchburg Virginia is on. And I cannot help to think on this censorship, and how it wrongs both their readers and their bloggers. Imagine for a moment you are in Pakistan and have a blog. Well, not anymore. And there are countless other things on my mind about what to write about. But I think, I will get in the car and do some photography today.


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