Message from the Chair
Camelot Revisited Blue Jeans Ball
FCDC at the DPVA JJ
CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REPORTS
8th Congressional District Report
11th Congressional District Report
Congressman Gerry Connolly
STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Affairs Standing Committee
DISTRICT COMMITTEE REPORTS
Hunter Mill Report
Mt. Vernon Report
Democrats Dine Out at Kalypso’s in Hunter Mill
Mt. Vernon Mardi Gras
Gerry Connolly’s 17th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete
Dulles Area Democrats Networking Reception with Terry McAuliffe
About The Democrat
MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR
Rex Simmons, FCDC Chair
We’ve all seen the game where an object is placed under one of three or four shells on a table, the person in control quickly moves the shells, and then we are asked to guess which shell covers the object. That is what Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s budgets have been—big shell games.
Consider a few things. Last year the newly inaugurated Governor proposed deferring a $620 million state contribution owed the Virginia Retirement System to be paid with interest after he leaves office. Rather than fund the legal obligations to pay pensions (for which actuaries estimate there is a $17 billion unfunded liability), McDonnell proposed using the money to fund K-12 public education and minimize reductions caused by the state’s revenue decline during the recession. Watch the shells.
Then after only a few months in office, the Governor claimed he had managed to turn a budget deficit into a $300 million surplus. Was this “surplus” spent to pay what was owed to the retirement system? No. Instead the Governor gave state employees a year-end bonus (they had received no pay increases for three years) and put aside the remainder for possible use on transportation (more about that later). It seems a little disingenuous, but primary education and the state payroll are surely among priorities for the Commonwealth even if the pensions were not funded. But it doesn’t stop there. Watch the shells closely!
Now the Governor is proposing a 3-percent state employee raise coupled with a new requirement that state employees start paying 5 percent of gross pay annually into the retirement system. That really means the Governor is proposing a 2- percent net pay cut to the same state employees he thought needed a bonus. Keep your eye on the shell!
There is more. On education, the Governor wants to take another $50 million from depleted public school funding. That money will be used to pay for tax credits to corporations who will offer scholarships to lure students into private schools. Essentially public school funding, which already has been massively cut, would be further reduced under this plan to support private schools. There are not even any standards for demonstrating the private schools are better than public schools.
And more. On transportation, the Governor wants authority to use General Assembly approved bond money totaling $1.8 billion from 2007 which has gone un-borrowed because the state would have exceeded its self-imposed annual limit on borrowing. To get around the limit, the Governor wants the limit to be based on a ten-year average instead of an annual limit. Since Governor McDonnell plans to greatly exceed the limit during his term, his successors through the year 2020 will be limited to issuing fewer bonds. And that “surplus” from last year would be used as loans for localities to also borrow for transportation projects. Watch that shell!
And the Governor wants another $1.1 billion in bond authorization based on anticipated future federal transportation dollars coming to the state even though members of his own party in Congress are now threatening to cut off all such aid, including money already committed to funding Metro expansion to Dulles Airport.
And the Governor’s liquor privatization proposal would cost the state General Fund over $40 million annually in lost revenues that could be used for public schools, health care, public safety, and employee pay and benefits. In return, the Governor estimates a questionable one-time benefit of $400 million which he would give all to transportation. Still watching the shells?
Money out of pensions, then money into pensions; money out of education, then in, then out; pay raises for employees, then pay cuts; and so on. Faced with borrowing constraints, remove the constraints. Borrow against money expected in the future; spend big now. Take from schools; give to roads. This is how to promise new spending without raising taxes.
Pick up all those shells and you’ll find….nothing….under any of them.
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SPECIAL REPORTS Camelot Revisited- Blue Jeans Ball
Chilly Night – Hot Blue Jeans Ball!
Five o’clock on a very cold January Saturday afternoon, the transformation of the Ernst Community Center at Northern Virginia Community College began. Bridgit Murphy and her decorating team hung lights and reproduction photos from the Kennedy – Johnson era. Nancy Rice oversaw the placing of the dance floor, the crew from Jimmy’s Old Town Tavern with direction from Barbara Caputo, starting preparing a spread of dip, vegetables, Beef on Wecks, Mini pigs in blanket & cordon blue bites – Yumm.. Soon Ed Robichaud and Alan Kirshnan outfitted the bar and Bruce Neilson and Nadja Golding prepared the sign in table.
Promptly at 7 PM, the crowd began filing in to the retro sound of the Bank Street Band. Pearls and Pill Box Hats (Ginny Peters’ pill box hat was custom made!), 60’s clothes and, of course, blue jeans could be seen on the dance floor.
Suddenly, the band stopped mid tune, a drum roll and Ruffles and Flourishes! A proper entrance for President Kennedy and First Lady, Jacqueline. He in top hat, tux jacket and jeans, she in stylish a-line dress and coat, pearls, long white gloves, and very large sun glasses. We expect to soon read about her outfit in the Style Section of the Washington Post.
In the persona of President Kennedy, DPVA Chair, Brian Moran, (yes, that was Karen as Jackie!) reminded us of why we are Democrats, and delivered the modified Kennedy challenge to “Ask not what Virginia can do for you, but what you can do for Virginia”. He reminded us of the importance of next fall’s election for our commonwealth and our county.
Later in the evening came a visit from Lynda Johnson Robb and Sen. Chuck Robb. She spoke of the important accomplishments of the Kennedy and Johnson era, and gave a special recognition to Sergeant Shriver.
Her contribution of books, written by her mother, First Lady, Lady Bird Johnson, and signed by Lynda and her sister, Lucy were given to our lucky door prize winners. To honor Lady Bird Johnson’s highway beautification legacy, post cards of thanks to Virginia’s Highway workers were signed by attendees to be mailed to the VDOT.
FCDC Chair, Rex Simmons recognized our elected officials in attendance: Congressman Jim Moran, VA House Minority Leader, Ward Armstrong, Delegates Adam Ebbin, Mark Sickles, Jim Scott, David Bulova and Scott Surovel, Chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Sharon Bulova, Supervisors Jeff McKay and Catherine Hutchins, School Board Chair, Kathy Smith, Alexandria Council Member Rob Krupicka.
Special thanks for a special evening goes to our event sponsors:
Congressman Jim Moran
Nancy and Edward Rice
Senator Mark Warner
Congressman Gerry Connolly
Supervisor John Foust
Councilman Rob Krupicka
Robert and Shon Beury
Ron and Nancy Bleeker
David and Jacqueline Roth
And to the Bank Street Band:
FCDC Corresponding Secretary Bridget Murphy is organizing tables for FCDC and District Committees, for the Democratic Party of Virginia Jefferson-Jackson Dinner and related activites on Saturday, February 19th. Please contact her at
firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Newly re-elected Democratic Governor of Maryland and Chair of the Democratic Governor’s Association, Martin O’Malley will be the key note speaker. You can
find more about it on the DPVA website.
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CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT REPORTS 8th Congressional District Report
Pixie Bell, 8th CD First Vice Chair
The next meeting of the 8th District Committee will be March 21 at the Falls Church Community Center, 223 Little Falls Road in Falls Church City. We voted to cancel the February meeting as it would conflict with the State Party Jefferson Jackson weekend February 18-19.
At the January 17 meeting, we brought on two new members: Andy Rivera of the Latino Caucus and Hon. Brian Moran, Chair of DPVA. Two resignations were accepted: VAYD National Committeeman, John Taylor Chapman, to become President of the Alexandria NAACP. John Biechman retired from his Alexandria seat.
DPVA 1stVice Chair, Gaylene Kanoyton, is working on the DPVA Summit, covering training and issues in Northern Virginia. This will be held the last week end in April at the Mark Center Hilton in Alexandria.
We voted $250 to sponsor the Women’s Caucus Breakfast to be held the morning of February 19, in Richmond. Also, the State Party, for the first time, surveyed the members of the Central Committee with regard to their ideas and expectations of the quarterly meetings, including length of meetings, content, location, etc. The response was quite impressive and members appreciated being asked to participate. Margo Horner, Chair, announced that in March, there would be a celebration of Jim Moran’s 20 Congressional and almost 35 years of public service.
The Committee also voted for two Grass Roots Awards recipients from Fairfax: Todd Smyth and Bridget Murphy. Members who wished to sit at an 8th CD Table at the Jefferson Jackson Day dinner on February 19, were asked to bring their checks to the January meeting. Gov. McDonnell created a Bipartisan Redistricting Commission (no staff, no teeth, not required that the G.A. accept their recommendations). Some familiar names you may recognize: Hon. Jim Dyke, former Secretary of Education; Jean Jensen, former Secretary of the SEB and former Ex. Director of DPVA; Hon. Viola Baskerville, former Delegate and former VA Secretary of Administration. On January 19, in advance of the vote to replace the Health Care bill, Jim Moran took to the floor of the House to declare “this is the height of hypocrisy.” He noted that repeal would increase the number of uninsured by 23,000 in Northern Virginia. “The first priority of our Congress should be to create jobs, but instead, the new Republican Leadership is focusing on repealing affordable, quality health care for all Americans,” said Moran.
11th Congressional District Report
George Burke, 11th CD Chair
Two big dates in March…
On March 6, the 11th Congressional District Democratic Committee will hold its annual brunch to honor the winner of the John Sturdivant Award (this year from Fairfax County) and the Democratic activists who will receive the 11th CD Community Service Awards from Fairfax County, Prince William County, and the City of Fairfax.
This year’s brunch will take place once again at Vespucci Restaurant, 10579 Fairfax Boulevard in Fairfax City from 11am to 1 pm. Come join your fellow Democrats and a host of elected officials, including Gerry Connolly, to honor our award winners and have a wonderful brunch.
For more information about the 11th CD’s annual Awards Brunch or to RSVP, contact Ginny Peters at
email@example.com or George Burke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On March 17, Congressman Gerry Connolly will hold his 17th annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete from 7pm to 9:30pm at the Kena Temple, 9001 Arlington Blvd., in Fairfax. It is just outside the beltway on Route 50.
Over the years, Gerry’s annual St. Patrick’s Day party for his “holiest day of the year” has grown into the largest political event in Northern Virginia. It is a great place to see old friends, enjoy some victuals with corned beef and cabbage, and talk some politics.
To purchase tickets, visit
http://www.actblue.com/page/fete2011. Tickets will be received via email within two business days. For questions or to RSVP and pay at the door, email email@example.com or call the Connolly campaign office at 703-375-9374.
In other news, Gerry was elected to serve as Ranking Member of a House Oversight and Government subcommittee with jurisdiction over technology, government contracting, and relations between federal, state, and local governments. This is an important post for Northern Virginia’s economy. NoVA has the second largest concentration of technology companies next to Silicon Valley in California.
As the leader of the Democrats on the subcommittee, Gerry will be pushing to protect Northern Virginia’s interests in these critical areas.
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CANDIDATE REPORTS Congressman Gerry Connolly
Gerry Connolly hit the ground running as the 112th Congress began in January.
Gerry won election to two posts that are vital to Northern Virginia’s economy. He won the Ranking Member’s seat to lead the Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Technology, Intergovernmental Affairs, and Procurement. He was also elected Co-Chair of the New Democrats Coalition Task Force on Innovation and Competitiveness.
Gerry has also garnered bipartisan support for legislation he introduced to eliminate the telephone excise tax on landline phones that unfairly targets seniors and small businesses. Two key members of the House Ways and Means Committee, Congressmen John Lewis (D-GA) and Dean Heller (R-NV), have signed onto the bill.
He is also working with Congressman Jim Moran and Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner to seek funding from the Department of Defense to help alleviate traffic problems expected from the influx of new workers moving to news sites due to BRAC.
It’s nearly that time again. The holiest day of the year. And that means Gerry Connolly’s 17th annual St. Patrick’s Day Fete is right around the corner.
Save the date. March 17th. 7 to 9:30 pm. Kena Temple. Better yet, buy a ticket online.
Since Gerry first ran for Providence District Supervisor in 1995, he has hosted the annual St. Patrick’s Day event. It started as a small gathering at the Connolly home and it rapidly outgrew that venue.
It is now the largest political event in Northern Virginia, and it grows larger each year.
Join friends, supporters, candidates, and leaders from across the Commonwealth, along with a few leprechauns, at Kena Temple. Enjoy traditional Irish fare of corned beef and cabbage along with the appropriate victuals, Irish music, and very good company.
And you don’t have to be Irish because everyone is honorary Irish at Gerry Connolly’s 17th St. Patrick’s Day Fete. Thursday, March 17. 7-9:30 pm. Kena Temple, 9001 Arlington Blvd, Fairfax.
To purchase tickets, visit
http://www.actblue.com/page/fete2011 . Tickets will be received via email within two business days. For questions or to RSVP and pay at the door, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Connolly campaign office at 703-375-9374.
Join Gerry for good food and good friends. Celebrate his re-election to a second term in Congress. Size up this year’s candidates for office. And have fun!
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STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS
National Affairs Standing Committee
A Commentary by the National Affairs Standing Committee (NAC)
Sandra J Klassen and Dan Walsch, Co-chairs
Why Is Net Neutrality Important and to Whom?
To understand and fully appreciate the importance of “net neutrality” one must first understand what is meant by the internet or “the net.” Most people have come to think of the world wide web and the internet as one and the same. They are not. The world wide web is simply one of many applications that use the internet. There are others and most us use a few of these alternatives from time to time. Perhaps the most popular alternative application at the moment is Apple Computer’s iTunes. For those of us that used a dial-up connection a few years ago, AOL was the alternative application of choice. To give yourself a good sense of this, the next time you fire up your favorite world wide web browser, try accessing iTunes. You’ll find that there is no www address for ITunes. iTunes “resides” on the internet but not at a world wide web address.
The internet is the structure that carries the electronic data of the world wide web and iTunes. The best analogy I have heard likens the internet to electricity. It is the source one plugs into to transmit digital information. So, like electricity, it is probably best thought of as a public utility
that has a common set of standards that allow anyone to build devices meeting those standards and to plug their device in and have them work. The standard for US electricity is 110v at 60 cycles. Plug in an appliance, be it as benign as an electric toothbrush or as potentially lethal as a buzz saw, it works.
The debate over “net neutrality” should probably focus on keeping this transport utility, this “transport infrastructure”, available at high quality to anyone who wants to plug in information appliances, like the world wide web and iTunes and others, and have them work.
Right now the net neutrality debate focuses primarily on delivery of content from the world wide web which is an appliance. But the decisions that are made regarding what happens to handling content on the world wide web eventually brings us full circle to what could happen across the internet with regard to content delivery. Today we have been drawn into the grumblings of the hardware companies with whom we contract (Comcast, Verizon, Cox, Time Warner, etc,) to give us connectivity to the internet, our data sockets, about how to manage data flowing across the internet through their copper and fiber optic cables. As electronic data on the internet has grown in complexity and density, the demand for hardware capable of moving these larger, more complex chunks of data have grown as well. The hardware companies are finding themselves less and less capable of handling, without compromising efficiency, the demands of all content providers. Companies that provide online movie services for instance, demand more capacity than those that pass email.
Should service provides be able to charge high capacity content providers more, control their rate of delivery, restrict their access in any way? That is the open and thorny question that has sparked the current “net neutrality” debate. There is no easy answer. It seems perfectly reasonable for providers to want to not be brought to their knees by content providers that place such heavy demand on their systems that everything flowing over their lines is slower or less efficient. The slippery slope is that the connection provider, given the option to discriminately control content type, time of access, perhaps rate of flow, would be given de-facto power to censor content delivery, not just on the appliance called the world wide web but on any appliance plugged into the internet.
There is a common belief that someone is “in control” of the internet and all its workings and problems such as this one will simply get handled and all will be well. That also is not definably true. The internet is governed by an association of individuals selected collaboratively from
government, private industry, not-for-profit organizations, and independents ventures. These individuals, by agreement, serve as independent voices in a series of governing organizations that look at every aspect of the “internet” and try to serve the “common good.” In addition,
there are the many “hardware” or “pipeline” companies like the cable companies, telephone companies, etc., over which internet data is carried. They play a huge part in building out the physical structure that supports the internet. The “internet,” by and large, is the cooperative inter play between these entities. Without exaggeration, the internet is an amazing and, in many ways, “magical” utility created and operated petty much on handshakes and trust among the many organizations, and people, including each of us, cobbled together over time.
In a lot of ways “net neutrality” means keeping this complex arrangement intact and not streamlining any aspect of down to narrower control. The contention being, that it is just this free wheedling “open” approach, “net neutrality,” that has:
driven economic innovation
made possible democratic participation and free speech online
protected the consumer’s right to use any equipment
access to unfiltered content
freedom to use content as one chooses
freedom to access content using any service without interference from network providers or the government.
For now, the issue of net neutrality is one we need to keep our collective eyes on. It is as complex as the internet itself. Beware, we don’t want to create unintended gatekeepers. While the hardware companies push and shove one another a bit over who will manage the problems of the technology of today, we need to heed lessons from the past that made these squabbles even possible. It was a free and open collaboration of the many that constructed the internet we have today. Let’s not let the short term problems and preferences of a few, no matter how large or influential, bully or frighten us into making policy or laws that narrow the possibility of similar collaboration, growth and innovation for the future.
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DISTRICT COMMITTEE REPORTS Dranesville Report
Ron Bleeker, Chair
Dranesville Committee had a strong showing at the Jan. 2 Road to Richmond brunch, including Supervisor John Foust and former Congressional candidate Jeff Barnett at its tables.
The Committee looks forward to a busy 2011. Our next meeting will be on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 7:30 PM at the McLean Government Center.
Best wishes to all of our Dranesville Democrats for the New Year!
Hunter Mill Report
Bettina Lawton and Robert Haley, Co-Chairs
Hunter Mill District Democratic Committee holds its meetings on the second Thursday, 7:30PM, every month, alternating between locations in Reston and Vienna. Typical meetings include guest speakers, campaign information, and notice of HMDDC events. Recent
events in which the Hunter Mill members participated include the FCDC Dining Out, the Northern Virginia Democratic Business Council Breakfast, and the Dulles Area Democrats breakfast, the FCDC Road to Richmond Brunch on January 2 and the FCDC Blue Jeans Ball on January 22. Our next HMDDC meeting will emphasize preparation for the Hunter Mill Annual Lasagna Dinner, to be held Saturday April 2.
The next HMDDC meeting will be help on Thursday
February 10, 7:30PM, at the Flint Hill Elementary School in Vienna. On Thursday March 10, the Hunter Mill committee meeting will be held at the Southgate Community Center in Reston. Please refer to the Hunter Mill web site calendar at www.huntermilldemocrats.org for other local area political events, and to the FCDC web site calendar at www.fairfaxdemocrats.org for Fairfax County wide events.
Rachel Rifkind, Chair
At the January MDDC meeting we discussed the proposed process (which was subsequently approved at the FCDC meeting in January) for endorsing at large school board candidates. At this time, there are at least five people expressing interest in running for the at large seat. At the
district level, Sandy Evans will seek the nomination for reelection as the Mason District School Board member on the Fairfax Board. There was much discussion about having candidates for the al large seats complete a questionnaire; a resolution opposing the questionnaire failed. A
resolution opposing a questionnaire for the Mason District candidate passed unanimously.
Supervisor Gross spoke about redistricting after the 2010 Census. Mason will grow a little and the final plan will have to be approved by the Justice Department. Delegate and Senate districts will also more than likely change and some of the elected officials in Mason may be redistricted out of their districts. No matter what happens, what is certain is that we will not have our new house and senate seats until late summer. This all makes for a short campaign for all of our
candidates, including supervisor, school board and constitutional officers. They will all need our support in the intense shortened season. If you are working on a campaign and have items for our calendar and website, please let me know so that I can see that they are posted timely. Please look at the
MasonDems website and calendar frequently for events as they are scheduled. We have a tentative schedule for our meetings at the Mason District Governmental Center (these dates are also on the Mason and FCDC calendars).
Speaking of events: two come to mind:
Supervisor Gross’s 15th Annual Champagne and Chocolate will be on February 13 –invitations will be in the mail soon. Mark Your Calendars.
Gerry Connolly’s 17th Annual St Patrick’s Day Fete on March 17 at the Kena Temple, 9001 Arlington Blvd, Fairfax.
The Annual Jefferson Jackson Day Weekend, February 18-19 in Richmond (if interested in being part of a table, please let me know). See the DPVA website for details.
I know that many of you are aware that Sidney Savage died on January 5. Sidney was interred at Arlington National Cemetery in the Columbarium on January 19 and the Savage family hosted Sidney’s many friends at the Army Navy Club after the interment. It was very nice to see so many Mason committee members at that reception. A Joint House resolution was presented and read at this gathering and I was very pleased to read it again at the FCDC meeting on January 25.
Also at the MDDC meeting we voted to bring Ayman Eldarwish (Baileys) back onto the committee. We welcome Ayman back on the committee. Ayman’s membership was confirmed at the FCDC meeting on January 25.
Mt. Vernon Report
Janet Myhre, Chair
Mt. Vernon Democrats are gearing up for our big fundraising event, Mardi Gras, which will be held Saturday March 5, 7:30 – 10:30 at Don Beyer Volvo on Richmond Highway in Alexandria (see flyer in this issue of the Democrat). The event will feature Cajun food, music, dancing, a
silent auction, and mingling with our favorite electeds and candidates.
Our executive committee is preparing a work plan and budget for 2011 with an emphasis on regular local events to keep members engaged as primaries will be postponed until fall because of redistricting. A task force on volunteer information headed by Bob Veltkamp is working
out processes for tagging volunteers and tracking new volunteers. Communications VC David Mendes has developed a new free MVDDC website at www.mvdemocrats.com that will save us quite a bit in service fees.
Last month the executive committee met with local electeds to discuss how we can help them in the coming year. Also in December, we hosted a volunteer party attended by about 60 of the 250 people who helped out during the November election.
Former MVDDC member Jean Jensen was recently appointed to the governor’s advisory commission on redistricting and has agreed to speak on the process at an MVDDC meeting soon.
The next MVDDC meeting is February 15 at the South County Government Center.
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SUSTAINERS Honor Roll
One-page fliers advertising Democratic fundraisers and events will be included with
The Democrat if submitted by the deadline. Limited numbers of The Democrat are mailed, primarily to those who do not have access to email. FCDC charges $35 for each flier from non-FCDC organizations.
Contact Rachel Rifkind, email@example.com with any questions about how to submit material or fliers.