Monday, November 7, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

BrambleDirt's Voter Guide

The election is next week, so I figured I should probably come out of the shadows and make my endorsements. Because you care! Ha ha.

Some helpful info: General Election: November 8, 2011

Please note that Brambleton is all kinds of split up so check your status with the Virginia State Board of Elections (I will give the information as I best understand it, but don't count on me as the final word on your precinct/district/etc.) Also, Virginia doesn't show party affiliation for all races on the ballot, so if that is important to you, figure it out before you go.

My opinion is just that - my opinion. I do not belong to any one political party; I am extremely liberal on many issues but less liberal on others. I hold the local leadership of both parties in low esteem. They embarrass Loudoun time and time again.

Precinct 312 - Briar Woods
(all of Brambleton west of Belmont Ridge Rd.)

State Senate - 33rd District
->Mark Herring (D)
Patricia Phillips (R)

I don't want to be represented by Republicans at the state level.

(Note: One tiny chunk of Precinct 312 (near the Beacon Crest pool) is in the 13th District. See below under Precinct 118.)

House of Delegates - 10th District

->David Butler (D)
Randy Minchew (R)


BOS - Blue Ridge District
Jim Burton (I)
->Janet Clarke (R)

McGimseymandered! I think Janet Clarke will better represent our interests on the Board of Supervisors. I had a lot more written here but I checked myself before I wrecked myself.

School Board - Blue Ridge District
Priscilla Godfrey
->Jill Turgeon

Time for change! If I could vote out Hatrick, I would.

Precinct 314 - Legacy
(Brambleton east of Belmont Ridge Rd., south of Ryan Rd.)

Same as Precinct 312, except:

House of Delegates - 87th District
->David Ramadan (R)
Mike Kondratick (D)

As I mentioned, I don't go for conservatives at the state level. However, I think the BS anti-Muslim smear campaign against Ramadan would make me want to vote *for* him if I were in the 87th. I'm petty like that.

Precinct 118 - Moorefield
(Brambleton east of Belmont Ridge Rd., north of Ryan Rd.)

Consider yourself lucky, Precinct 118. You are the only Brambletonians in the Dulles District.

State Senate - 13th District
->Shawn Mitchell (D)
Dick Black (R)

Dick Black is terrible. Google him.

House of Delegates - 32nd District
-> Tag Greason (R)

Vote for Tag, or not, or write in someone else. We both worked at UUNET, and I helped him with some of his customers' technical problems a few times, but I don't really know him and I know he doesn't remember me.

BOS - Dulles District
Larry Roeder (D)
-> Matt Letourneau (R)

See my previous post. If elected, Matt will make finishing Loudoun County Parkway a priority. That way, he'll be able to get from one side of his district to the other without leaving it. (No, I'm not at all still bitter about redistricting.)

Countywide races:

BOS Chairman
->Scott York (R)
Tom Bellanca (D)

School Board At-Large
Jay Bose
->Bob Ohneiser
Tom Reed

->Mike Chapman (R)
Steve Simpson (I)
Ron Speakman (I)

Simpson has a sports drink problem and Speakman sends nude photos (not of himself!) to campaign volunteers' phones. More from the WaPo.

Commonwealth's Attorney
->Jennifer Wexton (D)
Jim Plowman (R)

[I accidentally omitted this race on my first pass.] Wexton's got my vote on this one, mainly because of how Plowman handled the Ting-Yi Oei case. Loudoun Insider summarizes it better than I can.

Other races of interest:

BOS - Broad Run District
-> Cliff Keirce (I)
Andrea McGimsey (D)
Shawn Williams (R)

Time to teach the Loudoun Dems a lesson. They screwed Brambleton over in the redistricting and created the "amoeba" so that McGimsey could get re-elected. McGimsey needs to go. Plus, I like Cliff.

BOS - Sterling District

-> Al Nevarez (D)
Eugene Delgaudio (R)
Ali Shahriari (I)

Al is a union man. That's my kind of people. But, more importantly, EUGENE MUST GO. If you live in the Sterling District, please educate yourself about his day job. Google him, and see if you want him representing you as an elected official. I wouldn't.

School Board - Broad Run District
Kevin Kuesters

Kuesters is running unopposed. He was recently arrested for assaulting his wife. Only one of his kids attends public school (the other two go to St. Theresa). He doesn't support full-day kindergarten. Write in Joy Maloney instead.

See you at the polls!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Letourneau for the [Dulles] District

During the 2006 election season, you couldn't turn on the TV without seeing an ad for Maryland Senate candidate Michael Steele, or a rebuttal ("Michael Steele likes puppies, but he LOVES George Bush!"). On Election Day, my friend Martha and I turned up at Briar Woods High School to vote. We knew that a politically active conservative from the Brambletonian would be handing out Republican sample ballots, and Martha decided to have some fun with him. She got a ballot from him, read over it, then looked up at him and asked him why Michael Steele wasn't on the ballot. Without rolling his eyes, he very patiently started to explain that Michael Steele was running in Maryland, not in Virginia, but we laughed and stopped him before he got too far and told him who we were. That was the first time I met Matt Letourneau in person.

Matt announced last night that he is running as the Republican candidate for supervisor in the Dean Dulles District. His district includes most of Loudoun Valley Estates, South Riding, Stone Ridge, the Forests, Belle Terra, and the tiny corner of "suburban" Brambleton (as opposed to us rurals across the street). Until that distant day when Loudoun County Parkway is actually finished, he will have to come all the way over to our Blue Ridge District to get from LVE to South Riding. Hope he fills his tank before he heads out!

I am most certainly not a Republican, and Matt and I disagree on many "big-picture" political issues, but at the local level I think those are less important. He is young, but I can't imagine him behaving as immaturely as I've seen some of the current BOS behave during board meetings. He is a good guy, super-sharp, and he lives his convictions. I believe he would make a great Supervisor, and I wish we still lived in the same district.

I urge you to support his candidacy however you can - money, time, word of mouth, or your vote in November if you live in the Dean Dulles District.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A turd by any other name would smell as, uh, turdly

The rally before the board meeting this evening had about 40 people or so (rough count) - small groups from several different communities (Brambleton, Broadlands, Kirkpatrick Farm, and others). Some of the supervisors tried to dodge us on the way in, but Stevens Miller was there talking to people beforehand.

Longtime Brambleton residents Jason and Becca Cook (owners of the Brambletonian) brought the awesomesauce:

We filed into the boardroom a few minutes before the meeting started, and sat in the back so we could hold up our signs throughout the meeting without blocking anyone's view.

Chairman York started off with giving the other supervisors the opportunity to reconsider the adopted plan, but of course none of the "winners" were interested. Our hopes crushed (for now), the meeting moved on to its main business - naming the districts.

I was surprised when Lori Waters made a motion to rename the Blue Ridge District as "Brambleton Ridge." A stunt, obviously, but I appreciated her point. The motion failed, but Miller voted for it too. Then there was some back-and-forth about naming District 4 "Dean District," for Jennie Dean, a former slave from the area. That motion eventually passed after some discussion from Miller about the political motivation behind the suggestion, which had come from the Democratic candidate for the seat. Miller abstained; Waters opposed.

Then the real comedy started. Waters made a motion to name District 5 "Ashdowne" since it's a chunk of Ashburn and a chunk of Lansdowne (my words, not hers). It passed! Nice joke, just like this entire redistricting process has been so far.

It's not over. There is still a chance to convince one of the five who voted for this travesty to change his or her mind. Keep e-mailing them. There are two more chances for public input: April 4 at 6:30 p.m., and April 18 at 6:30 p.m. - both meetings at the board room in the County Government Center in Leesburg. But don't put your hopes on Buckley or McGimsey. I know Buckley isn't running for re-election, but she could stand to have a little less attitude as she "interacts" with citizens (take the "eye-hate" down a notch... we were just a few people with signs.) And McGimsey may need to tone down the sarcasm if she wants to win "the pink amoeba" this fall.

Oh, and speaking of the shape of the districts... looking at the map, I realized something about our new district. It looks like a cat coming through a cat door.

I know, it's a stretch. But once you see it, you can't unsee it. At least I couldn't. Until I rotated the map:

It's Italy! With a much larger thigh (must be all the HFCS - thanks, ADM). Is it a coincidence that the Brambleton Town Center is getting a second Italian restaurant?? In this version of the map, Brambleton is the bootheel. We will stomp* on our opposition.

*Not in a fascist way, but in a sassy "Misguided Angels"** boots way
**To our new district mates - don't worry, it's not a fetish shop***
***They do sell boots, right? I haven't actually been inside yet

Photoshop fun

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Rally on Thursday 3/24

From the Brambleton Community Association:



The County Board of Supervisors has adopted 5 to 4 a redistricting plan that divides Brambleton, where 9,000 residents will be placed in District 8 with Purcellville, Middleburg, Hillsboro, Bluemont and all the rural areas in between. The remaining 1,000 (current and future) residents living around the water towers will be placed in eastern District 4 with Loudoun Valley, South Riding and Stone Ridge. This redistricting plan will divide Brambleton and greatly reduce our community's representation and effectiveness in dealing with our County Government for the next 10 years.

RALLY: Homeowners from Brambleton and homeowners from Kirkpatrick Farms, Broadlands, South Riding, and other HOAs will rally at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 24th, outside the Loudoun County Government Center (1 Harrison Street, S.E., Leesburg) in an effort to persuade the Board of Supervisors to reconsider the redistricting plan they adopted and to substitute the HOA Plan 4 (which would keep Brambleton and other communities united.)

We need as many Brambleton residents as possible to join us there. The rally should be about 1/2 hour, no speeches by any of you are expected or required - just bring yourself and any homemade signs. We will have some signs available that say People, Not Politics; For the People, By the People; Please don't split my community!!!; Similar Communities, Similar Districts; Communities First!!!

Let's see if we can have success as we team up with other large Loudoun HOAs. Please send an email to if you plan on attending.

Hope to see you there. Thank you.

Tom Gurganous (Neighbor and BCA Director) and Rick Stone (Neighbor and BCA General Manager)


Background to Rally: Loudoun County is currently redrawing its legislative districts due to the dramatic increase in our County's population demonstrated by the new census numbers. Thus, the County needs to be redistricted to conform to the 2010 census results in time for the 2011 County elections. Earlier, your HOA Board unanimously endorsed the proposed, bi-partisan HOA Plan for County redistricting (a plan developed and supported by the County's largest HOAs) that would have kept all of Brambleton in a single county district (like we are currently) with other suburban communities (like we are currently.)

But on Tuesday, March 15th, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors rejected the HOA Plan by a 5 to 4 vote (with Supervisor York (D, Chairman, At Large), Supervisor Stevens Miller (D, Dulles District-our current Supervisor). Supervisor Lori Waters (R), and Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R) supporting the HOA Plan.)

The plan adopted by 5 members of the Board of Supervisors splits Brambleton, where 9,000 residents will be placed in District 8 with Purcellville, Middleburg, Hillsboro, Bluemont and all the rural areas in between. The remaining 1,000 (current and future) residents living around the water towers will be placed in eastern District 4 with Loudoun Valley, South Riding and Stone Ridge.

Opportunity to Correct Redistricting Plan: The Board of Supervisors will vote on Thursday, March 24th to reconsider the adopted redistricting plan. We need only one vote (or more) to switch to have the Board adopt the HOA Plan which will maintain a united Brambleton community.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Our new district....doesn't look like us

After reading on a couple of political blogs about how the gerrymandering of Loudoun went down at the last board meeting (and elsewhere?), I started wondering about the demographics of our new district. Sure, we all know it's predominantly "rural," particularly compared with our acres and acres of townhouses and tiny SFH lots, but what about the people?

Here's how Brambleton looks as of the 2010 Census: (numbers rounded)

58% White
30% Asian
7% Black
7% Hispanic
5% multi-racial

Here's how the new District 8 (Blue Ridge, or whatever) will look:

80% White
11% Asian
6% Black
6% Hispanic
3% multi-racial

(note: this is based on what I can tell is included after the amendments; I didn't include Hamilton because I'm not sure if it is in or out, but I don't think it's going to swing it much differently)

And, just for kicks, here's how our district would have looked under the HOA-4 Plan (again, these are super-rough numbers because I don't have race/ethnic numbers for the precinct splits used in this plan):

61% White
28% Asian
6% Black
6% Hispanic
4% multi-racial

Are Asians disenfranchised under the adopted plan? Thoughts?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!

The Irish prince and princess of Brambleton hope you have a lucky day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


From the comments over at Too Conservative:

Blast email going viral in Brambleton right now discussing an effort to organize to defeat Burton. Quite the behind the scenes deal he crafted today with the Loudoun Democrats, who some are saying promised not to run an opponent against him.

C'mon...who's gonna send me that e-mail?? I'm totally out of the political loop. I was sitting here all alone at my laptop, plugging Burton's election history numbers into a spreadsheet.

Be careful what you wish for...

So, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors just approved the Miller 5 Plan for redistricting. Good news...all of Brambleton (except the Overlook neighborhood) is together in one district. Bad news... that district is a western district which includes Middleburg, Round Hill, and Purcellville.

More after I have some time to think about this.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

More on redistricting

Well, it's back to the drawing board for Loudoun's redistricting. The population estimates were way off - the actual Census data shows that the county underestimated by 22,000 - and, as Supervisor Miller's analysis shows, some areas were really off (like the Dulles District, which actually had 81,409 people, instead of 71,192 as estimated).

He's rather helpfully pulled some data from the Census's new American FactFinder, which is an accomplishment in itself (the tool is difficult to use, and I say that as a former Federal agency webmaster who has seen my fair share of user-unfriendly government applications). Go check out his blog for more info.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Petition for no street parking on Regal Wood

Brambleton residents, I'd like to call your attention to a petition started by becca and el8 (husband-and-wife superduo who run the Brambletonian): No Street Parking on Regal Wood Drive between Olympia and Vickery Park. If you live here, you know that Regal Wood Drive is often nearly impassable, due to a combination of poor design, people who park illegally near corners, lack of stop signs at Cartier, and the fact that some of the legal spots dangerously block people getting out of their driveways. Throw in some snow, garbage cans, and inconsiderate people who park their Canyoneros two feet from the curb, and it makes for one congested street.

Here's the Brambletonian thread discussing the petition, including some back-and-forth between residents of Regal Wood who support the petition, and one who opposes it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

NO to "The Miller Plan"

Redistricting is coming. Census results were fast-tracked to Virginia and three other states that have elections this year. Loudoun County's estimates were off, and now there's a scramble to come up with workable plans. For an overview of the issues involved, I'd recommend this blog entry from Stevens Miller, our Dulles District Supervisor. Be sure to read the comments. I wrote that Route 659 should NOT be used as a divider. Miller responded:

I don’t want to draw any lines through neighborhoods that naturally identify themselves as a community. That’s going to be tough, though, even if we split precincts. My back-up plan is to try to draw the two districts on either side of any such line so as to include two communities that not only have common interests within themselves, but will tend to have common interests with each other. If we can do that, both districts will actually gain strength on the board, because their common interests should motivate two supervisors to vote in support of those interests instead of just one.

So, life got busy and I never got to sit down and look at the nitty-gritty details of how what I wanted would jibe with the bigger issues for the county to consider (even though I wanted to, wonk wonk). And last night, when I read Brambleton's Friday Flash, I was surprised:

The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors (hereinafter LoCo BoS) have begun the process of redistricting election precincts. Supervisor Miller has proposed a plan that divides Brambleton into 3 separate election districts. This plan is in conflict with the very guidelines that the LoCo BoS adopted and is not in the best interest of the community. Once adopted, the election districts will be set for the next 10 years.

The Brambleton Community Association Board of Directors has expressed their concerns to the LoCo BoS and requested that they revise Supervisor Miller's plan to include Brambleton within one election district. BCA Board strongly encourages Brambleton residents to become current with this ever changing issue and promptly communicate any concerns that you may have to the LoCo BoS. You can also add your name to the Petition opposing the redistricting plan on the intranet by going to RESOURCES>E-FORMS>ELECTION REDISTRICTING PETITION.

Three separate districts???

Here's "The Miller Plan" and here's what Stevens Miller has to say about it.

Under this plan, the west side of Brambleton (north and south of Ryan Road) would be in a district that includes Middleburg, Round Hill, Purcellville, all the way west to the county border. Uh, NO. What about "communities of interest"?? Their issues are NOT our issues. Meanwhile, the east side of Brambleton south of Ryan would be in a district with South Riding, Dulles Airport, and Loudoun Valley Estates; the "water tower district" north of Ryan and east of BRR would be in a non-contiguous district with some other parts of Ashburn.

I personally find this plan to be unacceptable. For Brambleton, it is worse than any of the nine original staff plans that were floated for discussion. Following Miller's argument, if this plan were to be adopted, we'd have three supervisors championing our needs, right? I doubt it. We are going to get the shaft politically, just like we seem to be headed for a future shafting with high school boundaries. (Jury's still out on that one, but I'll let you know in 11 years when my kids are either walking to Briar Woods or getting on the bus to LVE. Meanwhile, post-Miller-Plan, what do you think will happen the next time they try to kick the west side of Brambleton out of Legacy ES? Someone will say, "They're not even in the same district!")

So what to do if you agree? First, sign Brambleton's petition on the intranet. Second, let Stevens Miller and the BoS know how you feel. Third, have a look at Loudoun County's Redistricting page. The Board will be discussing redistricting at its February 15 meeting and will be taking citizen input at its March 7 public hearing. If you really want to get involved, make your own plan. See the "Alternative District Scenarios/Plans" section of the county's redistricting page for details.

Remember, whatever happens, we're stuck with it for the next 10 years.