Opinions

Dittmar has needed skills
In this election season, there’s one thing many people agree on, regardless of their politics: Congress is dysfunctional. Members can’t agree. Deadlines are not met. Important business, like the budget, is stymied. Many formerly effective Congress members have given up and will not seek reelection.

A Gallup poll taken in August revealed that 88 percent of adults disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. What has to change for Congress to function effectively? What’s a voter to do?

Unfortunately there is no silver bullet. But fortunately, voters in the 5th Congressional District have the opportunity to elect someone with the skills to resolve many of these issues.

Jane Dittmar will bring to Washington her unique skillset and years of experience bringing people together. She has served as chair of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, past president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, and founder of the Thomas Jefferson Partnership for Economic Development. Dittmar has started and run many small businesses, including a travel business and an Angus beef operation, for the past 40 years. Most importantly, Dittmar is a certified mediator for the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Let’s send a bridge-builder to Washington – someone adept at compromise and collaboration. I urge you to vote for Dittmar to represent the 5th District in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Kathryn Renick
Lake Monticello Add a comment

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Send Trump back to the Trump Tower
As one who graduated from West Point, served my country in peacetime and war, and have spent my life attempting to elect people to public office at all levels who represent the best in American democracy and society, I must admit that I am not alone in being alarmed by the candidacy of Donald Trump.

It would be relatively easy for me to make the case against him; however, I think it more appropriate to let others who have been leaders of this nation to do so.  General Colin Powell, son of Jamaican immigrants who was born in Harlem, was the first African-American to become chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Secretary of State and one our most esteemed citizens.  A Republican most of his life, he has called Trump “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah.”

Mitt Romney, 2012 Republican nominee and former Massachusetts governor, stated, “I want my grandchildren to see that I could not simply ignore what Mr. Trump was saying and doing, which revealed a character and temperament unfit for a leader of the free world.”

Maine’s popular Republican Sen. Susan Collins will not be supporting Trump and stated, “It was his attacks against people who could not respond on an equal footing – either because they did not share his power or stature or because professional responsibility precluded them from engaging at such a level – that revealed Mr. Trump as being unworthy of being our president.”

Here is the statement from the Republican Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois: “I have concluded that Donald Trump has not demonstrated the temperament necessary to assume the greatest office in the world.”

All of these alarming statements are from American citizens who care deeply about this country and have held positions of great responsibility either as appointed or elected officials affiliated with the national Republican Party.  I share their concern and urge Fluvanna voters to turn out in November to elect the most experienced presidential candidate in decades, Hillary Clinton.

Marvin Moss
Palmyra

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Guns facilitate violence

On Aug. 11 I attended the Senior Statesmen of Virginia’s Candidate Forum in Charlottesville featuring the two primary candidates for the 5th District congressional seat, Tom Garrett (R) and Jane Dittmar (D). The podcast of this event can be found at the Senior Statesmen website, http://www.seniorstatesmen.org.

Below are excerpts from the candidates’ responses to a question concerning gun violence and the Second Amendment:

Tom Garrett: “When…you learn that long guns, for example, what some people would brand ‘assault weapons,’ I think you’re four times more likely to be killed with a knife. You’re twice as likely to be killed by hands or feet. Time and a half more likely to be bludgeoned than to be killed by these weapons so, ultimately the problem I don’t think is guns. The problem is violence… So, until we can crack down on knife murder and bludgeoning murder and hands and feet murder, I don’t think vilifying an object, an inanimate object, is necessarily the solution...”

Jane Dittmar: “To protect the Second Amendment, we’ve got to do something and we need to do it in this next Congress. We need to have universal background checks. We need to make sure that people who shouldn’t own guns are not allowed to buy them. Now, there are a lot of guns out there. There is a gun for every person in America. So it’s not as if we are going to be going out and getting those guns, but, in the future, we do not want to sell to people who have certain types of mental illness, a proclivity towards violence, particularly under protective orders, and anybody who we’ve identified as a terrorist.”

On June 12 Omar Mateen carried an assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX into the packed Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, and started shooting, killing 49 people and wounding at least 53 others.

Mr. Garrett obviously does not understand that the weapon is part of the violence. Such a brutal massacre would not have occurred if Mateen’s weapons had been limited to a knife, hands and/or feet.

Jeannine “JJ” Towler
Charlottesville

Dittmar works for constituents

Kudos to the folks that got us more transparency between Aqua and its customers, including Lake Monticello’s Ida Swenson, who worked tirelessly, and state Sen. Tom Garrett, who carried the bill through the Senate.  The law requires Aqua Virginia to let all of their customers know that they are requesting a rate increase from the State Corporation Commission. Previously, Aqua could simply publish notices in the newspaper.  However, the law did nothing to lower our water bills.

Furthermore, it didn’t cost Mr. Garrett anything to carry the bill, except that it points out his hypocrisy in relation to other utilities.  Mr. Garrett voted in favor of SB 1349 last year.

SB 1349 stopped utility reviews through 2023. That means Dominion and Appalachian won’t have to refund excess profits for the next eight years.  In return, the utilities agreed to freeze their “base” rates, which make up only a little more than half of a customer’s bill.  The other portions of your bill have not been frozen, and Dominion raised its rates last September.  Mr. Garrett will not defend us against utilities.

His opponent for the 5th District congressional seat, Jane Dittmar, has refused to take money from Dominion.  She has always worked hard for her constituents.  Just last winter, as chairwoman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, she voted against a real estate tax increase.

Ms. Dittmar has also spoken about the need to reform our tax code so that fewer loopholes exist and everyone pays their fair share, rather than taxes falling disproportionately on the middle class.  Ms. Dittmar will also fight to protect Social Security.  By removing the artificial cap on individuals earning over $118,500 we can sustain a solvent system through 2078.

Ms. Dittmar was instrumental in the approval of a strategy ensuring competitive salaries and benefits for teachers and other county employees. She also championed the creation of the economic development office in Albemarle.

Ms. Dittmar will fight for economic prosperity for the 5th District.  She deserves your vote.  She cares enough about Fluvanna to open a campaign office across from Food Lion in the Jefferson Shopping Center.  Stop by to learn more about Jane.

Susan Wolff
Lake Monticello

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Bike lanes needed

Editor’s note: This letter is in response to one that appeared in the Aug. 18 edition questioning the need for bike lanes on Rt. 53.
Pam [Gregory], surely you jest.
Except for limited access highways, bicycles already have equal rights as cars, buses, and trucks on highways like Rt. 53. Power vehicle operators have an obligation to give bicyclists space. I don’t see how providing designated bike lanes makes travel less safe than now. Rather, it should make everything much safer for everyone. I believe the Board of Supervisors should also request bike lanes on the notoriously dangerous Boston Rd. as well.
By the way, the most dangerous part of Rt. 53, near Monticello in Albemarle County, is actually part of U.S. Bike Route 76 - and does not have a bike lane.
We should be rebuilding all our roads to make them safer for bicyclists. We should be encouraging bicycling as well as other forms of non-motorized travel.

Roger B. Carr
Lake Monticello

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I can surely sympathize with the majority of the Board of Supervisors regarding Supervisor Tony O’Brien’s often quixotic obsession with land use taxation.

Some facts:  per the county’s comprehensive plan, at last count, Fluvanna has more than 31,000 acres in either forest-agricultural districts or under permanent conservation easement.  That is nearly 50 square miles of land and encompasses the vast majority of the “large estates” that Mr. O’Brien claims are somehow “subsidized” by the local taxpayer. Add a comment

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