From the sheriff's race to Trump

Jones backed for sheriff

I live in the North District of Nelson County and have commuted on Virginia 151 four to six days a week for decades. Tremendous business and residential growth has made travel on this narrow highway an ever-increasing challenge.

I frequently attend Nelson County Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors meetings whenever new development is proposed that potentially impacts this problematic route. In recent years, I have heard neighbors make public comment about a lack of law enforcement patrolling this corridor, and much concern has been raised about the number of new businesses related to alcohol. I agree and have noticed in recent years that I rarely meet deputies on 151, when in the past, I saw them on a regular basis.

I requested and received a record of Nelson traffic stops from the Sheriff’s Office for a three-month period, and tallied North District numbers. Due to lack of address details, my final counts may not be perfect, but reveal what I already suspected. The total traffic stop numbers are impressively high for a small force, but slightly less than 20 percent over this period were in the North District, even though I “gifted” the count with many stops that simply say “151” knowing that they could also be the Central District or West District.

I noticed in my first pass, many stops in the Lovingston and Arrington areas along U.S. 29, so I made a second pass through the report and found approximately 58 percent of the traffic stops within a few miles of the Nelson Courthouse. I have heard Sheriff David Hill respond to North District concerns about coverage on 151, citing less than a full staff of deputies as a factor, and recently he has explained that a high number of transports drain resources for patrol. While I acknowledge the importance of safety on the heavily traveled U.S. 29 through Nelson, my counts seem to suggest that some resources could be assigned to areas further from the courthouse.

I had an opportunity to express these patrol concerns to Daniel Jones, also running for Nelson County sheriff. It was clear that I was not the first to raise it, and I was impressed that he was thinking about it and considering options that might improve coverage in the north end of Nelson. Traffic stops were not the only concern I raised with Jones. I found his answers to my questions to be earnest and thoughtful, and I am certain he was listening.

The Nelson sheriff’s position is extremely important, and I hope Nelson residents will consider the issues and take time to go to the polls.



Reelect Hill as Nelson sheriff

I write this letter to wholeheartedly endorse David Hill for another term as our sheriff.

He has been effective and raised salaries by a bunch to retain and hire new employees. In any work place, there are usually some staff that are disgruntled, but I support Sheriff Hill all the way. He is committed, responsive and polite and is a capable professional. He shows up at all the right places, as does his wife on occasion. He is comfortable with all the diverse members of our community. We appreciate that very much. He is a good family man, husband and father. We can all be proud of him.

I have known him since he was in the Nelson County schools. I coached Dixie youth baseball for six years, and whether we were on opposing teams or on the same Nelson/Amherst All Stars, he was a respectful, responsible young man. As sheriff, he continues to show respect and competence.

I highly recommend that he continues to be our sheriff.

Since this is a nonpartisan endorsement, I would also urge everyone to continue to support our state senator, Creigh Deeds, as he continues to represent us so well.


Massies Mill

Vote Jones for change

I live in Nelson County and have worked for a neighboring police department for 25 years. I served 28 years as a military officer in both active and reserve assignments. I commanded troops in both peace and war. I served under some phenomenal leaders. I witnessed men do incredible things under fire when inspired by them. I also saw the devastating impact that poor leadership can have on morale. The current state of our Sheriff’s Office is a glaring example of this.

My own experiences with Sheriff David Hill compel me to speak. Our Sheriff’s Office is in the midst of a leadership crisis. Recently, we lost yet another deputy. I know this young man. He is an exceptional family man and I served alongside him for many years in law enforcement. He served this community with honor and integrity. He is yet another victim of the work environment created by Hill’s insecurities and sensitivities. Our deputies and our residents deserve better than what currently exists under Hill.

Nelson County is changing rapidly. We have benefited from the explosion of the tourism industry. but we risk losing ourselves in the maelstrom of progress. Drugs and related crime are dangerously impacting our lives. We need a sheriff with vision, experience, confidence and professional gravitas. Daniel Jones is that man. Your vote in the upcoming sheriff election is extremely important. I will vote for Daniel Jones. I implore you to do the same.



Trump has got to go

Lately our president seems to be very concerned about corruption.

Mr. President, please take a long look in the mirror, that will tell you everything you need to know. Andwhat to do about it? The obvious answer is resign. You are the “dealmaker” — make a deal with the government that they will not follow up after you leave office.

A recent letter writer wrote that “the president is smart.” Granted, he was smart enough to get himself born into a family where he would inherit more than $400 million; I wish I had thought of that.

This past year, I have expressed concerns about the current administration to my congressman, Denver Riggleman, with no response from him. This has been very disappointing. I am guessing that if my notes to Rep. Riggleman had been positive and supportive, I would have received an answer but don’t really know. Mr. Riggleman, you represent all of us here in the Fifth District.

Hopefully, Congress will follow through with impeaching the president and turn it over to the Senate for trial. If they don’t have the nerve to convict, that’s on them.



Rely on facts, not conspiracies

The Democrats are attempting to impeach President Trump, and they will probably succeed.

For Trump and his supporters, this is a conspiracy, a deep state cabal of government bureaucrats with Democratic Party sympathies out to remove a duly elected President. What we are seeing are dueling conspiracies: the Democratic version consists of Putin, the oil and gas industries and various Western monied interests.

The problem with conspiracy theories is they render the average citizen powerless to act in any meaningful way or to find out the truth. It is no use even voting and only the glorious leader sees you and your problems. The media doesn’t help either as MSNBC has just as much of a viewpoint as Fox News. We are a long way from Walter Cronkite signing off with “That’s the way it is” and we believed him.

What is to be done? We face — in Nelson County, the country and the world — many difficult problems such as the cost of health care, climate change, immigration and growing income inequality. You can’t solve those problems with conspiracy theories. The only way forward is to try to find out the facts (newspapers are still worth reading) and voting. It isn’t easy but without our efforts things are only going to get much worse and that isn’t a conspiracy theory.



Whistleblowers and the climate

There’s a line Dolly Parton’s song “Blue Smoke” that goes, “It hurts to know you cheated, and it hurts to know you lied, but it hurts me even worse to know you never even tried.”

I think these words could easily be used to describe President Trump’s efforts at learning and leading the great government established by Washington, Franklin, Jefferson and others. He didn’t even try; he was inaugurated a know-it-all and never did anything but lie and cheat to help himself and the richest of the rich. He raves about his wonderful economy, but give me a $1 trillion deficit and I’ll show you a lot of good too. All the payback has been dumped on the coming generations.

Last week we learned what was probably obvious; his one extortion phone call to the Ukraine was only the tip of the iceberg. He has been extorting leaders from around the world to come up with dirt on the Bidens or suffer the consequences. Now a second whistleblower is coming forward, and I can only wonder how many will follow.

I also wonder what Trump would trade for that Trump Tower opposite the Kremlin on the river in downtown Moscow. Would he dump Mike Pence and insist the Republicans nominate Vladimir Putin as vice president? Then, of course, I wonder if the Republicans would still support him or would that be a step too far?

There seems to be no position or line of baloney that the Republicans are not willing to gobble down to continue supporting this lying, sad excuse for a president.

What about it, Rep. Denver Riggleman, what will Trump have to do to have you see that he’s destroying the document you swore to protect as a member of Congress? You did not swear to protect Donald Trump. You did not swear to protect the Republican Party. You did not swear to even represent the people of the Fifth District of Virginia. You swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. During my lifetime, U.S. citizens colluding with a communist governments to the detriment of the U.S. have been executed. What will he have to do for you to stand up and be counted?

The funny of the week was Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telling the Democratic Congress to not bully witnesses to presidential lawlessness. First, Pompeo should know a bully; he sees one in the mirror each morning. And second, there is no Democrat in the present Congress with the grit to be a bully.

Last week, nature let Virginians know that climate change is real. On both Wednesday and Thursday, Virginia shattered heat records that were decades old. We are also in the grip of a region-wide drought brought on partially by our addiction to fossil fuels so fire danger to our forests is now at very dangerous levels.

Perhaps Dominion Energy will realize millions of more tons of fossilized carbon in the atmosphere is not good for our home. But at the altar of the dollar humanity becomes collateral damage. We can do so much better.



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