Frontier Former Editor

June 9, 2008

Something more freakish than living-dead dog heads

 

namely, the man who would think he has even a snowball’s chance in the jet blast of an F-15 in afterburner of becoming Virginia’s junior U.S. senator. I give you . . . . . James Gilmore.

Yes, James Gilmore, whose administration gave me more than enough to do during my career as a reporter.

James Gilmore, whose political bright idea was to phase out Virginia’s local personal property tax on personal automobiles. It sounds good, until one realized that:

A) Gilmore’s bright idea included having Virginia replace the phased-out revenue with state tax revenues, so we could all pay for our lower car tax with our own state tax monies.

B) Gilmore slightly underestimated the cost to state coffers – he said $40 million in state revenue annually to pay for the phase-out. The actual cost? Try more than $100 million annually.

C) Gilmore’s vision of lowering the local tax burden on Virginia citizens would have qualified as legal blindness, since localities found themselves raising real estate tazes and other fees to meet the shortfall. Ergo, more local taxes on the hard-working Virginia taxpayer.

D) Less available state tax revenue meant less funding for things like education, transportation, public health, and teacher and state employee raises. (The last item always gives me a big chuckle, since one of my relatives goes on about how Gilmore’s Democrat successors as governor screwed deputies and corrections staff out of their raises. News flash: Gilmore spent damn near all the money on your raises on his goofy pyramid scheme to lower your car taxes).

And, to round out a fun-filled four years of Big Jim the Car Tax King, he managed to make enough of his own party mad enough at him so that two major Republican legislators came out today to support the Democratic candidate for Virginia’s U.S. Senate candidate, Mark Warner.

Yep, it’s in the Washington Post and the Roanoke Times

Warner, incidentally, succeeded Gilmore as Virginia governor and managed to work with most state Republican legislators to rescue basic services and the state’s bond ratings. The two Republicans – Delegate Vince Callahan and state Senator John Chichester – were the top overseers of the state budget legislative process and enjoyed the distinction of having Gilmore veto the budget plan they crafted in an attempt to clean up the mess he helped bring about.

I had the interesting experience of interviewing Gilmore and of observing his arithmetic skills. When asked to explain why he didn’t apply more of his own discretionary economic development fund to seducing businesses to southwest Virginia. Gilmore promptly countered with the fact that he had spent several tens of millions in that fund west of Marion – even after I gave him the out of asking if he meant Marion.

After a little fact checking with the state’s economic development arm, it turns out that he spent more like less than $10 million west of Roanoke. Roanoke, incidentally, is about 100 miles east of Marion.

This – among several other chapters in Gilmore’s four-year success story – leads me to believe that Gilmore’s map of Virginia west of Roanoke consists of a blank area captioned with “Thar be sea monsters beyond!”

It’s not that Gilmore is a Republican and his opponent is a Democrat. It’s that Jim Gilmore has to be one of the dumbest, out-of-touch people ever to be governor of Virginia. I could name three Republican governors of this state who, in their worst ever days each could show without effort the decency, grace and intelligence that would turn James Gilmore into a pillar of salt.

Please, Jim, take the advice of Biff from “Back to the Future” and just make like a tree and GET OUTTA HERE!

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March 23, 2008

Sunday entertainment . . . .

One of the few things I miss about living in Northern Virginia 20 years ago (aside from the fantastic French bakery run by the Vietnamese couple just up the road from my apartment; being able to get Chinese food at 2 a.m.; two great family-owned hobby shops within less than a half-hour’s drive, and; riding the Metro) was getting a Washington Post on Sunday and spending the whole day wading through it. The crossword puzzle and the Post Magazine could take up half the day alone.

These days, I can still get a hard copy of the Post – three days late – but surfing and blogging are a fair substitute.

Something to share while I got do a crossword (online, since my local Sunday paper hasn’t made it here yet) is this little tidbit from Your Three Cents (via that radio babe who definitely doesn’t have a face for radio, Miss Cellania)

 And to be fair to our president (I still refuse to capitalize the title while that f**kwit’s in office), our own former governor Jim Gilmore showed his own continuing fiscal prudence in the news last week.

Who’da thunk that, after running Virginia’s transportation system into the ground and adding another $100 million annual burden to our state budget, that Gilmore would have been given a chance to preside over another good financial screwing?

(fom Associated Press, via Yahoo News)

RICHMOND, Va. – Former Gov. Jim Gilmore, who was criticized for his handling of state finances, was chairman of a Bear Stearns subsidiary set up to market some of its highest-risk securities tied to the home mortgage industry meltdown.

One money manager said Gilmore’s involvement in Everquest Financial Ltd. reflected his “naivete” in finance. Gilmore, a Republican, is now running for U.S. Senate.

Two troubled hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns owned a 60 percent share of Everquest when it was created in 2006. Everquest withdrew its bid for an initial public offering last June amid criticism of the hedge funds — which saw the mortgages underlying the bonds in some of their holdings fall sharply in value because of increased mortgage defaults.

I can’t wait to see the vote tally in our senatorial election.

Stilletto can appreciate this little side story. I got to watch one of the final public appearances of Jim Gilmore in our fine corner of Virginia before that idiot sailed off into hopefully permanent public oblivion. After presenting a big foam core check for some funding with which he had essentially noting to do with obtaining, Gilmore stood around for an hour in a chapel at what was then Clinch Valley College. He and his aides picked at the table of refreshments, half-heartedly nibbling at mini-muffins or cookies and drinking canned soda while waiting for the fog to lift so they could catch a plane out of town.

Several lawmakers who attended the event didn’t stay to talk with the governor – they beat it as soon as the presentation was over. After a few folks who just wanted to be able to say they shook hands with the governor did so, the chapel emptied in about 5 minutes.

Hemingway might have written; “His party stood alone. In the chapel. In the fog.”

I would have written; “What goes around comes around, with an extra 200 knots.”

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