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Del. Ken Plum: Remember to Vote Tuesday, Nov. 6

by Fatimah Waseem November 1, 2018 at 10:15 am 10 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

The election this coming Tuesday, November 6, may be the most important in our lifetime. We will not simply decide who is elected but the future direction of our country. As is my practice in past years, I have mailed to as many voters as my resources would permit a Voter Guide 2018 that makes my recommendations on the individuals and questions on the ballot. I started doing this because of the great number of people who have asked me how they should vote as well as to educate voters on issues that will be on the ballot of which they may not be aware. You will not find any surprises in my recommendations.

Representing Virginia in the U.S. Senate I recommend the re-election of Senator Tim Kaine for the outstanding person he is and for the work he has done in the Congress and in the past in state and local government. He reflects the personal qualities of honesty and decency that I believe we want in our elected officials.

If you live in the Eleventh Congressional District, I recommend a vote for Congressman Gerry Connolly for re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. He has a strong work ethic, and the personal values that guided his service in local government for many years will serve us well as he moves into a position of leadership in the new Congress. It is time for a change in the Tenth District, and I recommend a vote for Jennifer Wexton. She has shown remarkable leadership and abilities as a legislator in the Virginia Senate. Jennifer Wexton will bring leadership for the interests of the people of the Tenth District and not for a misguided administration.

Also on the ballot are constitutional questions and bond issues. Here are my recommendations:

Question 1: Should a county, city, or town be authorized to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if ­flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property?

I recommend that you vote “YES.”

Question 2: Shall the real property tax exemption for a primary residence that is currently provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be amended to allow the surviving spouse to move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption?

I recommend that you vote “YES.”

Public Safety Bond Question: Shall Fairfax County, Virginia, contract a debt, borrow money, and issue bonds in the maximum aggregate principal amount of $182,000,000 to provide funds, in addition to funds from public safety facilities bonds previously authorized, to finance, including reimbursement to the County for temporary financing for, the costs of public safety facilities, including the construction, reconstruction, enlargement, renovation and equipment of civil and criminal justice facilities, police training and operational facilities and stations, fire and rescue training facilities and stations, including fire and rescue stations owned by volunteer organizations, and the acquisition of necessary land?

I recommend that you vote “YES.”

  • 30yearsinreston

    What a shocker!
    Plum the bum recommends voting for his parties candidates and for borrowing more
    Who could have known ?

    • yawn

      And Republican politicians also recommend voting for their party’s (notice the spelling) candidates and for slashing benefits to the poor and middle classes so that their one-percenter buddies can buy themselves more golf memberships. More news at 11.

  • Mike Ahart

    The Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship (NAPSva.org) board of directors is urging Virginians to vote “no” on this question because it could create incentives that are unwise, unfair to citizens, and detrimental to the environment.

    Firstly, it is fundamentally unwise for any incentives to be given for building or rebuilding on land with recurrent flooding, especially in a tidal region where relative sea levels are expected to continue rising*, It would be much wiser to expand incentives not to build or rebuild on this land, such as currently provided in Article X, Section 6 (a)(7) of the Constitution of Virginia: “Land subject to a perpetual easement permitting inundation by water as may be exempted (from taxation) in whole or in part by general law.”

    Secondly, an ordinance that offers tax relief for the installation of riprap, bulkheads or other types of hardened shorelines would be unfair to owners of neighboring properties, particularly those who cannot afford to install their own flooding resiliency improvements. Not only will their taxes subsidize the neighbor’s improvements, their property will experience increased flooding and erosion from the inflow reflected by the protected neighboring property**.

    Thirdly, where municipalities offer tax relief, waterfront developers would gain an additional incentive to purchase and build up low-lying “improved” properties, further exacerbating flooding of neighboring residents and working waterfronts. Due to hydric soils, heroic engineering solutions are required to protect such developments resulting in high maintenance costs and a drastic altering of the character of the landscape, according to Bryan D. Watts, Director, and Mitchell A. Byrd, Director Emeritus, of the Center for Conservation Biology in Williamsburg. In a letter opposing a proposed waterfront development in Northumberland County, they stated: “If we want to maintain the natural systems that form the basis of the Bay’s appeal, we need to move away from siting this type of high impact development within sensitive habitats.”

    Finally, NAPSva.org is very concerned with ecological damage caused by further hardening of the shoreline and inability for environmentally critical wetlands to absorb the additional inflows, even when done one lot at a time. According to the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), an estimated 1,700 miles of tidal shoreline in Maryland and Virginia have been hardened (about 18% of the total shoreline), with many miles added each year***. Hardened shorelines cause turbulence that scours sediment and deepens the water so it no longer supports underwater grasses or protects small-bodied fish and shellfish from larger predators. They also offer much less support for communities of water birds, according to VIMS. Marshes are the nurseries of the Chesapeake Bay, and the ecology and economy of Virginia’s tidal region relies on the Bay’s health and recovery.

    We acknowledge the Virginia legislature’s good intentions to allow relief to property owners who will continue to suffer damage from increased flooding, and we recognize the effort taken to get this referendum on the ballot. However, we believe this amendment is not a wise, fair, or environmentally sound way to achieve that goal. Let’s all work together to support effective nature-based solutions to this ever-increasing challenge. However, on Nov. 6, please vote “No” on Virginia election ballot question #1.

    Sincerely,

    The Board of Directors of the Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship, Heathsville, Virginia

    References:

    *USGS – https://chesapeake.usgs.gov/sciencesummary-sealevelrise.html

    **FEMA – https://www.fema.gov/txt/about/regions/regionx/Engineering_With_Nature_Web.txt

    ***Chesapeake Bay Program – https://www.chesapeakebay.net/news/blog/by_the_numbers_1700

  • OneReally

    If Tim is this “He reflects the personal qualities of honesty and decency that I believe we want in our elected officials.”

    I have some oceanfront property in the desert to sell you.

    • Conservative Senior

      Timmie is bad news! Hasn’t brought $1 in road funding to VA.

  • just a guess

    The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say “I.”

  • Mike M

    Ken to mindless minions:
    Here’s how you shall vote!

    • dur dur dur maga

      This comment is hilarious, considering the source.

      • Mike M

        Um, . . . . did I tell you how to vote? No. Ken did. And you will do as he said.

  • Rational Reston

    No reasons why. Delegate Plum doesn’t want you to know facts or ideas, he just expects you to blindly follow him.

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