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Browsing Posts tagged Verne Dickerson

Verne Dickerson held a campaign fundraiser at O’Faolains in Sterling on May 10, 2011, with a crowd of about 45 people including Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, Clerk of the Circuit Court Gary Clemens, and Supervisor candidates Geary Higgins and Steve Stockman. Verne stressed the importance of leadership and integrity as the primary qualities he would bring to the job, along with his commitment to the community of Loudoun County.

Click here for more information on Verne Dickerson and ways you can help his campaign.

Only a few photos this time – click on each for a larger version. Below is the video of Verne’s speech, or click here to watch. (Technical glitches wiped out a bunch of photos, and suddenly my computer is acting up thus the volume on the video drops off a little at the beginning and end. Sorry!!)

Verne Dickerson at May 10 campaign event

Audience at Verne Dickerson campaign event

Audience at Verne Dickerson campaign event

Geary Higgins, Republican candidate for Catoctin District supervisor, held his campaign kick-off at The Beautiful South restaurant in Hamilton, Virginia a couple weeks back, with about 110 supporters in attendance – a phenomenal turnout with numerous elected officials and candidates in the audience. He stressed the importance of fixing the out-of-control Loudoun County budget, specifically by making the county more business-friendly in order to increase the tax base and reining in school spending.

Click here for more information on Geary Higgins and how you can help the campaign.

You can hover your cursor over the photos for a partial listing of who is in each, and click on each picture for a larger version. Below is the video of his speech (or click here to watch).

Gail Higgins and Roger Zurn in crowd at Geary Higgins campaign event

Geary Higgins with Grandson Noah

Mike Chapman and Bob Wertz in crowd at Geary Higgins campaign event

Dean Settle and Verne Dickerson at Geary Higgins campaign event

Callie Chaplow and Shawn Williams at Geary Higgins campaign event

Randy Minchew and Joe May at Geary Higgins campaign event

Patricia Phillips and Gail Hunt at Geary Higgins campaign event

Crowd at Geary Higgins campaign event

Maureen Whalen, Robert Bruton, Mike Chapman and Dan Whalen at Geary Higgins campaign event

Sharon Schmidt, Dean Settle, Bob Wertz and Dave Schmidt at Geary Higgins campaign event

Janet Clarke and Geary Higgins

Gary Clemens and Verne Dickerson at Geary Higgins campaign event

Matt Letourneau, Joe Budzinski and Gary Clemens at Geary Higgins campaign event

Scott York at Geary Higgins campaign event

Exactly like the young child on Christmas morning who unwraps her gift, squeals with delight, pulls the gift out of the box, sets the gift aside then climbs into the box laughing and clapping her hands, a local blogger yesterday revealed her entire purpose for blogging centers on what many of us would consider the trappings of the medium. In the process she also disclosed the source of much of the disharmony in the local conservative blogosphere.

In a series of comments left here yesterday afternoon (start with this one and scroll down), the blogger stated that the only possible motivations for blogging are: to increase one’s blog traffic, to engage in partisan support or attacks on candidates, or in demonstration of loyalty to one’s “friends.” Here is the key portion:

Surely your motivations can’t simply be to alienate your friends, or to make it ”big” in the LC blogosphere!!! If it’s not to support David’s opponent, what is your motivation? The public has a right to know about bad grammar and misspellings? The public can’t read see those things on their own? Or is it really to bring down a good man, a hard working republican? Why? There’s only one obvious answer. Duh.

And for those who do not know, “friends” in this context is defined as: A). A small circle of Loudoun County Republicans, who pledge tribal fealty to B). the principals of a leviathan-wannabe local political consulting firm, and C). whomever happen to be the client/candidates and employees of that firm at any given point in time.

So as possible reasons to blog, there are traffic whoring, political hackery, or blind boosterism.

What might come as a surprise to this neophyte blogger is that for many of us, NONE OF THE ABOVE motivations have to do with why we write and report the vast majority of the time. (Although, when practiced correctly and transparently, traffic whoring as in art form earns a modicum of respect). Some of us want to state our opinions, whether popular or not; or uncover what we consider the truth, whether popular or not; or convey information from our own areas of interest – which often is hardly popular at all. When the traffic builds it is an organic phenomenon, because more viewers take an interest and because we happen to provide data that lots of people eventually seek out. And I will go one step further and say that when traffic, hackery and boosterism are your motivations, ironically you are never going to garner much attention.

As one who has spent most of the last eight years doing this, I will reiterate my Rule #1 for Bloggers – Budzinski’s Sisyphean Axiom – which is: The more exclusively you are focused on hackery and building traffic, the more your blog will suck. You can try and try for more and more hours, but you’d just as well stand outside and flap your arms because some laws simply do not bend.

To get off the ground, a blog needs to have a unique proposition that inspires other people periodically to spend a portion of their time to see what you have to say. You, as a human being, are uniquely qualified to say something original about a relatively limited number of topics, such as what you have spent time on during your life, or what you saw that day. For instance, if all you really know is how to make pies, you would be far better off writing a baking blog and gradually drawing in the pastry demographic, than parroting some politician’s talking points, pretending to be a reporter or jumping up and down yelling “come read my blog, come read my blog!”

If one’s entire raison d’etre revolves around boosterism and self-promotion, people will tire of it quickly. This blogger’s parochial approach shines through in her commenting persona, which usually consists of leaving nasty messages regarding a violation of the “friends” rule and then feigning outrage if anyone pushes back – oh the humanity, you are no longer my friend, you are bullying women around here, etc. It also shone through a recent, surprisingly fierce, critique of Republican sheriff candidate Ron Speakman, called Where DOES Ron Speakman live?.

The blogger, who is a supporter of candidate Verne Dickerson, wrote what purports to be an “investigative” piece but curiously left off what would normally be considered the starting point for such an investigation: the subject’s answer to the question. Amidst the digging for information and data mining, why neglect the rather important rule of investigation, e.g. taking the step of picking up the phone and TALKING to Ron Speakman, instead of trying to tie disparate pieces of data together in purely suppositional fashion? Well, according to the blogger’s philosophy, that the only reason to criticize a candidate is for partisan purposes, this was not an “investigation” at all but rather a political hit piece to help Verne Dickerson. And as everyone knows, in politics there are no rules. Duh.

I don’t know whether or not the hit piece will serve any of the potential goals for this blogger, in terms of getting hits or putting her candidate over the top, but in its failure to provide a full attempt at investigation it shows the downside of blogging for the wrong reasons.

While this post undoubtedly will earn me few “friends,” I hope it illuminates some of the dynamics of the Loudoun blogosphere and the varied perspectives that make what is clear to some so cloudy to others, and inspires a blogger one day to climb out of her box.

Bob Wertz, Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue, had a crowd of about 75 people at the magnificent Merriweather Manor near Leesburg last week for his official campaign kick off. (Thanks to owner Andrew Wright for the amazing venue!)

Having managed a business in Loudoun County for over 5 years, I can attest to the fact that our Commissioner of the Revenue office is a model of government effectiveness and efficiency – as I explained in this post. On top of that, Bob Wertz fully understands the importance of making Loudoun a business-friendly county, and his office is a pleasure to work with. As Bob states, “Besides cutting expenditures and accounting budget, expanding the commercial tax base is the only way we’re going to be able to reduce the taxes on people’s homes.” Hear, hear.

Bob does have a Democratic opponent in November, so if you want to ensure that the Loudoun County Commissioner of the Revenue office is run by someone who brings continuous improvement and understands the importance of economic development in the county, click here for Bob’s campaign Web site.

Below is the video of Bob explaining the duties of the Commissioner of the Revenue and what he has accomplished since first being elected in 2004. (Click here to watch the video at YouTube.) You can hover your cursor over the photos below for a list of who is in each, and click on each picture for a larger version.

Crowd at Bob Wertz campaign event

Rob Jesionowski, Robert Bruton, Suzanne Volpe at Bob Wertz campaign event

Matt Letourneau, Ralph Buona and Verne Dickerson at Bob Wertz campaign event

Bruce and Cathy Tulloch and Shawn Williams at Bob Wertz campaign event

Bob Wertz, Randy Minchew and Andrew Wright, owner of Merriweather Manor

Mike Chapman and Roger Zurn at Bob Wertz campaign event

Crowd of more than 70 people at Bob Wertz campaign event

Ken Reid, Jim Plowman and Eugene Delgaudio at Bob Wertz campaign event

Randy Minchew and Bob Wertz

Charlie King, Gary Clemens, Mike Chapman and Jim Plowman at Bob Wertz campaign event

Ron Speakman, Mike Chapman and Verne Dickerson at April 26 debate
I have a full plate today so no full “report” on last night’s debate, but will put down some random thoughts below and invite all who are interested to comment. (Photos by Matt Vecchio added at bottom of post).

Main impression: All three candidates – Ron Speakman, Mike Chapman and Verne Dickerson – presented themselves well, spoke cogently, and provided a couple hours of interesting, civil discussion before a packed conference room. I don’t know how many people but it was probably in the neighborhood of 100+ with standing room only … the photos may give a better idea. Anyway, it was the best-attended and most substantive local political event not conducted under party auspices in at least a couple years (based on personal experience). Nice work by the organizers!

Impressions of the candidates – in the order they were sitting:

Ron Speakman: Best public speaker of the three; he was the only one who had actual applause lines. He made some good points about management at the Sheriff’s Office – why DO they have so many deputies manning the metal detector? One of his challenges was to tell how his extensive stretch of time in the business world would translate to being a good sheriff, and I think he did that well by referring to the inherent, unique difficulties of being at the top of any large organization. His proposed “self-deportation” solution to illegal alien crime is unique and has rightfully received a good amount of discussion. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: Prior to the debate, I had heard from people who follow law enforcement issues that Ron’s numbers regarding the increases in various types of crime in Loudoun County may need to be fine tuned. He referenced a fair amount of data and I could not judge how much of it was accurate – he was corrected on one point by one of the other candidates. He seems to be a very clear-thinking individual and I would like to feel certain that his information has been double-checked.

Mike Chapman: One of his strongest arguments is the importance of recent service in law enforcement and experience in various levels from local to international, and he made it well; in the answers to a few questions he pointed out innovations of the past ten years that would come into play if he was the sheriff and practices he had seen elsewhere that could apply here. His closing statement, delivered without notes, was by far the strongest. As my neighbor noted, “he seems the most confident.” Because of my caveat regarding the next candidate, Mike seems to be the one who could best walk into the Sheriff’s Office and speak the same language as the deputies, and he noted he would look to promote from within. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: Sometimes Mike gives the appearance of having a clearer idea of what he wants to do than he is able to communicate, and sometimes when the question only requires a 10 second answer he will try not to waste the rest of the allotted time. Plenty of public speakers do this, and they don’t need to, in my opinion; there are probably coaches who say otherwise. Most of his law enforcement experience is beyond the local level which connotes both positives and negatives.

Verne Dickerson: On the difficult question of “what would you do to address youth crime?” he was the only one who had a really substantive answer – involving new programs, one in collaboration with retired athletes. Though soft-spoken, Verne projects that he knows what he is talking about, has a quiet confidence that I would imagine deputies would pick up on – he seems like a reticent public speaker but when he speaks he is articulate and makes perfect sense. For every question his response indicated he was competent to handle that issue. OPPORTUNITY FOR IMPROVEMENT: He needs to explain exactly what the deal is with Mark Davis (candidate who dropped out and is now supporting Verne, and brings the “recent, local experience” element). Unless I am missing something, I think Verne still has to spell out whatever the position is that Mark will hold, because otherwise the combining of resumes is confusing. As with Mike Chapman, Verne has to really explain the positive aspects of bringing experience primarily from other levels – in Verne’s case, FBI.

Photos of the individual candidates are by Loudoun County’s own renaissance man, Matt Vecchio of the Loudoun Times Mirror. Thanks, Matt!

Verne Dickerson, photo by Matt Vecchio

Ron Speakman, photo by Matt Vecchio

Mike Chapman, photo by Matt Vecchio

A new location for the debate has just been announced for the debate between Republican candidates for sheriff, Mike Chapman, Verne Dickerson and Ron Speakman:

April 26, 2011, Tuesday, 7:00 pm to 9:30 pm

NEW LOCATION-Executive Conference and Training Center
22685 Holiday Park Drive, Dulles, VA 20166 (Near the Holiday Inn Dulles Airport)

Sponsored by:
Loudoun County 912 Tea Party,
Loudoun County Young Republicans,
Republican National Hispanic Assembly of Virginia

Please RSVP to joachase@aol.com, cb_cooper@hotmail.com or genarojp@hotmail.com

In the interest of keeping facts straight, this seems like a good time to provide a brief overview and timeline of the “civility pledge” issue in the Republican contest for the Loudoun County Sheriff nomination. As more people begin paying attention to the candidates they are likely to see references to the controversy. For the benefit of voters and also the four campaigns, it is to everyone’s benefit that going forward our conversations reference facts rather than suppositions.

In the first comment to a recent discussion thread, a local blogger asked why one of the candidates had not yet signed the civility pledge, and implied she had inside information that the pledge had been forwarded to one of the other campaigns. During the further discussion on that post, we have seen the suggestion that certain parties are permitted to refer to the controversy when they think appropriate, while others who do so are guilty of causing a distraction.

Some clarification obviously is needed. Here are the basic facts:

In late February 2011, the Mike Chapman campaign sent out a direct mail postcard that included a chart purporting to compare the four candidates’ qualifications for the office of sheriff. This campaign mailer depicted Mike Chapman’s qualifications as superior to those of the other three candidates.

For those who have not seen it, the campaign postcard is featured prominently on Mike Chapman’s Web site. (For a full size version of the card, click here).

On February 28, 2011, Verne Dickerson addressed the Loudoun County Republican Committee and criticized the Chapman postcard. Mr. Dickerson’s speech is reprinted in full on his campaign Web site. Regarding the postcard, Mr. Dickerson said:

…let me take care of a troubling issue:

I received a hand-addressed postcard in the mail from an opponent this past week. In a race that all candidates pledged would be clean and positive, this opponent sunk to a new low, skewing the truth to smear fellow Republicans.

To the one responsible: Shame on you.

Loudoun County and the Republican Party deserve better from its public servants, especially those that espouse an upgrade in professionalism. As an actual long-time citizen of Loudoun, I warn you that Loudouners can spot a hypocrite when they see one…

I will not slam my fellow Republicans without provocation. After all, I value my integrity…

On March 8, 2011, the Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson campaigns announced their civility pledge in a joint press release which can be found on the Mark Davis campaign Web site:

Davis and Dickerson Call For Civility in the Republican Nomination Process for Sheriff

Middleburg, Virginia — March 8, 2011 – Republican Sheriff’s candidates Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson have made a public pledge to run clean, positive campaigns in the race to be the next Sheriff of Loudoun County. In a joint statement, the candidates committed to providing the citizens with the information needed to make an informed decision on Election Day without the filth.

“When the Republican candidates met in January, we made a pledge to keep our campaigns positive. Today the campaigns of Mark Davis and Verne Dickerson reaffirm that commitment.

“The people of Loudoun County know that the Sheriff’s Office needs a change. We believe that the decision to elect the next Sheriff of Loudoun County is too important to allow slander and attacks to muddle the race.

“We stand together to reject the type of negative campaigning that divides fellow Republicans and demoralizes the electorate.”

On the morning of March 19, 2011, as noted above, a local blogger suggested that the civility pledge had been sent to candidate Ron Speakman requesting he sign on to the pledge.

As of March 22, there is no mention of the civility pledge on either Mr. Speakman’s Web site or Mr. Chapman’s Web site.

While the Republican nomination for Loudoun County Sheriff likely will be determined by how well each of the candidates present themselves to potential voters and talk about a variety of issues, the controversy over the civility pledge boils down to the simple question of whether one believes the Mike Chapman campaign postcard deserves a reprimand.