Schmookler’s vision of a non-partisan, cooperative future

Sixth District challenger’s revolutionary idea – politics as truth, not lies

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

Andy Schmookler, Democratic candidate for Congress in Virginia’s 6th Congressional District issued the following statement Nov. 1, with his seemingly impossible task of unseating long-time Republican incumbent Bob Goodlatte in largely rural, central Virginia less than a week away:

“I’ve spoken often against the threat that I see to all that has made America great. And I’ve addressed many nuts-and-bolts issues that affect our district, including jobs and the budget and healthcare,” first-time political candidate Schmookler began. “Now I want to speak to the vision of the America I am fighting for.

“In some ways, it’s the America I grew up in.

“I am fighting for an America where government helps create a vibrant middle class—as it did after World War II by providing educational opportunities for veterans and by creating a more level playing field for companies and workers.

“I am also fighting for an America where our political leaders come together on the basis of the values we share, liberals and conservatives alike, to achieve our common purposes.

“Americans have always been guided by a vision of our best possibilities.

“Generations ago, a great American president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, articulated his vision. ‘I see an America,’ FDR said, ‘where no businessman can be stifled by the harsh hand of monopoly … I see an America where factory workers are not discarded after they reach their prime, where there is no endless chain of poverty from generation to generation.’

“I too support a market economy that maintains fair competition. I share FDR’s concern that average Americans be treated fairly and have the opportunity to better their condition.

“ ‘I see an America of great cultural and educational opportunity for all its people,’ ” FDR said.

“I agree with FDR that there is no more important investment for a society than developing its people’s potential, and that man does not live by bread alone.

“I see an America whose rivers and valleys and lakes – hills and streams and plains … are protected as the rightful heritage of all the people.

“Nature is not merely a means to private enrichment but belongs to us all and warrants our protection.

“Now let me share some of my own vision:

• An America where citizens get health care without fear of being bank-rupted.

• An America where people –including the most powerful–care as much about doing right as about getting what they want.

• An America that honors scientific fact, and where neither corporate powers nor political parties try to deceive people about truths important to their future.

• An America where the young are educated to be productive, but also to become more whole human beings.

• An America that leads toward a time when horrors like genocide cannot happen, because the world won’t permit it; an America leading humankind into harmony with our planet.

“We once had a sense that we were on a path of continual improvement, and determi-nation to strive along that path. I see an America where that is restored.

“We should always ask ourselves, “What do we want America to be like generations hence?” and try to find ways to make it so.

“As the Bible says (Proverbs 29:18), ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish,’ ” Schmookler concluded.

Andy Schmookler has run for Congress for the better part of two years on a platform of “Truth, for a Change.”

He told me about two months ago he didn’t know if he “had enough time” to turn the traditionally conservative Republican 6th District around – around toward the truth, rather than the expedient political lie so prominent at an estimated cost of $1 billion in political advertising in the post-Citizen United-fueled 2012 Presidential and related campaigns.

I guess it depends on how many people in this part of central Virginia are capable of seeing through the highly-financed political rhetoric, no matter how smoothly packaged and presented, unfortunately it seems, without any legal accountability to the truth …

Published in: on November 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm  Comments (3)  

The Late October, 2012 edition of Warren County Report

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Published in: on October 26, 2012 at 3:42 am  Leave a Comment  

Scary dog costumes on parade

Come out and have a “howling” good time at this 1.5 mile fun walk and costume contest to benefit the Humane Society of Warren County. Sunday, October 21.
Registration: 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.
Town of Front Royal Gazebo on Main Street; Doggie Bags to first 150 to sign in.
Walk: 2:15 to 3 p.m.
From gazebo down Main Street toward Royal Ave. cross Royal Ave. Left on Luray Ave. cross Criser Rd. to Dog Park at Eastham Park
Costume Award Ceremony, 3 p.m. at HSWC booth, Paw Pride Medallions and Top Dog Trophies to:
Funniest Dog Costume
Cuddliest Dog Costume
Scariest Dog Costume
Best Overall Dog Costume
Best DOG/OWNER Duo
Water, snacks, a raffle ticket for all registered walkers

A Celebration of Dogs: 3 p.m. Join us as we celebrate the Grand Opening of the Warren County Dog Park.

It is $25 to register (registration form available at the animal shelter or by email at lavenda.director@humanesocietywarrencounty.org). Your entry fee includes your walker registration, doggie bag, entrance into the costume contests, one raffle ticket, water and snacks.
Walkers are encouraged to get additional pledges on behalf of their dog. Pledge forms also available.

Special thanks to our Early Bird Cash Sponsors:
$500 Aire Serve
$250 First Bank
$100 Little Red Dog Pet Services
$100 Radiant Child Yoga
$100 Handyman Connection
$100 ING Financial Partners
$100 Syntax Communications, Inc.

Published in: on October 19, 2012 at 5:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

Front Royal man airlifted after apparently accidental shooting – FRPD

The Front Royal Police Department is investigating what appears to have been accidental shooting that occurred Tuesday afternoon. Officers responded to 508 Grand Avenue at about 2 pm after receiving a 911 from the victim’s wife that her husband had been shot, Chief Norman Shiflett said. The victim Jon Michael Bryzinski 26 was shot in the chest after he tried to dislodge a round from a shotgun. The victim was transported to Warren Memorial Hospital and later air lifted to Fairfax INOVA Hospital with life threatening injuries. At this time our investigation is not complete.

– From a release

Published in: on October 16, 2012 at 5:11 pm  Comments (27)  

The Mid October, 2012 edition of Warren County Report

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Published in: on October 12, 2012 at 4:57 am  Leave a Comment  

The Early October, 2012 edition of Warren County Report

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Published in: on September 28, 2012 at 3:52 am  Leave a Comment  

The Mid September, 2012 edition of Warren County Report

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Published in: on September 14, 2012 at 5:02 am  Comments (1)  

The Early September, 2012 edition of Warren County Report

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Published in: on August 31, 2012 at 3:31 am  Leave a Comment  

A Virginia Political Campaign Made for Television

With cameras in tow, Tareq Salahi kicks off underdog bid for Governor’s mansion Sept. 16

By Dan McDermott
Warren County Report

Alleged White House gatecrasher and Real Housewives of DC star Tareq Salahi will have his entire gubernatorial campaign taped for a reality documentary to air after the November election, according to campaign officials.

It is perhaps the first-ever statewide political campaign filmed for an independent reality show. Public taping will begin at a campaign kickoff at Salahi’s Linden, Va. home Sept. 16.

Although he and his ex-wife and Real Housewives reality tv co-star Michaele refused to answer questions before a congressional panel probing their attendance at President Obama’s first state dinner, Mr. Salahi appears to have come around to embrace the incident that immediately thrust him into the national spotlight and global stage. The event is being billed as the “Crash the Candidate BBQ.” In addition to the media and a camera crew of four, the event offers “entertainment, a DJ, and a Hollywood green screen photo op.” Further homage to the state dinner incident can be found in his campaign website’s name: crashthevote.com

The film is tentatively called “In It To Win It” and is being produced by veteran PBS executive John Campbell who now runs his own production company. In a statement Campbell said he approached Salahi about doing the project not out of any political motivation but rather to focus on the human interest element. “Here we have a guy who’s triumphs and tribulations have been aired globally…and he could have easily hidden for a few years…yet he didn’t,” Campbell said.

It is his first political film. Campbell’s previous documentaries have focused on a diverse range of topics from U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds to a Canadian folk/rock band to a trip through the Adirondacks in a 1976 motor home.

Salahi concedes that one of his motivations to run for governor occurred in April when one of his potential opponents, Va. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli announced a lawsuit alleging that Salahi’s wine tour company had violated the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, a charge Salahi says he denies. Salahi filed paperwork to enter the Republican primary the next day. Salahi’s spokesman Eric Miller “took a shot at Cuccinelli” in a statement to CNN, saying the attorney general had wasted “huge sums of taxpayer dollars on witch hunt type investigations,” including the lawsuit.

Salahi says he plans to announce major pillars of his campaign platform at the BBQ kickoff but says that a large focus will be on supporting the military, both as an economic force in the state and of course the troops as well as boosting Virginia’s small businesses including the agriculture industry and the economy in general. Salahi’s family has decades of experience in the wine trade.

Salahi currently has two co-managers for the campaign, one of whom is a former DoD staffer, Mark Vargas and the other a former White House staffer during the Reagan administration, Andrea Ross.

Ross said the filmmakers aren’t paying for any of the campaign expenses and that royalties to Salahi, if any, will likely come after the election when the movie will air on an unnamed national television network or cable channel.

Ross describes herself as a fairly private person and isn’t quite sure what to expect when she ends up on a tv show. “This isn’t Real Housewives and I am not a drama queen. This is a serious business to us. We’re looking forward to getting out there and meeting people and getting people enthusiastic about not just the democratic process but about Virginia and her future. People havent seen this side of Tareq before,” she said. “Most people don’t even know that he has deep political roots in Virginia and has served three different Governors both Republican and Democrat.”

Ross says for now they are focused on the kickoff event. “We are all looking forward to having people in the local community be a part of this. Anyone in the local community. There is going to be a national television show and they are a part of what we booted a king out to be able to do,” she said.

“We are excited for them to be a part of that. Let’s face it, it is an exciting thing.”

The campaign event is Sunday, September 16th at 5 pm at 440 Scenic Overlook Drive, Linden, Va. For more information visit the website crashthevote.com

editor@warrencountyreport.com

Published in: on August 30, 2012 at 11:58 pm  Comments (8)  

Commissioner of Revenue Smedley reported dead

By Roger Bianchini
Warren County Report

After the sudden onset of chest pains within the last 48 hours, it has been reported from multiple but unconfirmed sources, that Warren County Commissioner of the Revenue John Smedley is dead. We first got the news that Smedley had passed from a friend citing a source within county government around 9:30 p.m., Friday evening, Aug. 24. We later discovered a second source in county government had e-mailed us of hearing the same news just before 9 p.m.

As reported in the accompanying press release, Warren County acknowledged Smedley’s death at 11:38 p.m., Friday evening.

At the Aug. 24 press conference introducing Norman Shiflett as the next town police chief, both town and county officials told us around 4:30 p.m. that afternoon that Smedley was clinging to life following what they believed to be emergency quadruple heart bypass surgery within the past 36 hours.

Prior to the police chief press conference (see accompanying story), Town Councilman Hollis Tharpe first told us Smedley was on life support following complications believed to have arisen after Smedley initially came out of what appeared to be successful surgery. Then Happy Creek Supervisor Tony Carter arrived and said the news was worse – that Smedley had taken a pronounced turn for the worse and was scheduled to be taken off life support at some point after 7 p.m. that evening.

Carter said it was his understanding Smedley had driven himself to the local hospital after experiencing chest pains and that he had then been transferred and the surgery had taken place at Winchester Medical Center.

Smedley was a self-made man with a GED, who fended off numerous electoral challenges to the county constitutional officer position he has held for two-plus decades. Even after establishing himself in the well-paying revenue commissioner position, Smedley continued to augment his income delivering The Washington Post newspaper in the county before he lost that job to cutbacks in the newspaper industry, which even impacted the mighty Post this past decade.

While considered too brusque or confrontational by critics and his diverse political challengers, we found Smedley, if not always in agreement with our coverage of county tax assessment and revenue issues, to be accommodating and humorous in our interactions with him.

Whatever one’s view of John Smedley, he was without doubt an old-school, small-town success story and a political figure who broke the mold.

Published in: on August 25, 2012 at 1:12 am  Leave a Comment  
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