Letters to The Editor – April 25th, 2018

Published 6:54 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The issue is transparency

Editor, Smithfield Times
I represent the Dendron — Walls Bridge District on the Surry County Board of Supervisors. Each month I attend the Town of Dendron’s monthly meeting and hold a district meeting to discuss the County Board’s upcoming agenda. These meetings are held to give citizens the opportunity to be informed on County matters and voice their opinion. It gives me the opportunity to listen and be informed on how citizens want me to vote.
I read the Smithfield Times article “Taxpayer unrest” in which I was quoted and want to further explain. The issue is not all about taxpayer funded restaurants and grocery stores. If a majority of district citizens want such, I will be in support. If citizens do not, I will not. My issue is about “open and transparent government”. In my opinion, Surry County government does not do a good job at such.
When I informed district citizens on the restaurant matter, I was asked to not vote in favor of a new lease without citizen comments in an open forum. The board met in closed session to discuss the new lease and it was approved without public comments. I voted no. The Va. Code suggests that a locality’s property shall not be leased or sold until a public hearing is held.
I now need your input. Should I continue to seek citizen input, vote in accordance with citizen opinion or allow myself to be silenced? Let me hear your thoughts at: Michael_Drewry@yahoo.com.
Michael Drewry

Unnecessary destruction

Editor, Smithfield Times
This letter is in reference to Mr. Albert Burckhard’s letter published in The Smithfield Times on April 11. I do not know Mr. Burckhard, but he is a very perceptive man. His letter concerning the “Clearing for the bike trail” was spot on! Having travelled the Battery Park and Nike Park Roads for personal reasons since January 2018, I am inclined to agree that once many of these old growth trees are down, they can never be replaced, and to cut them just for a trail to ride a bike is absurd.
If you must have that trail, be environmentally friendly or we will eventually resemble Mercury Boulevard when all is done.
Would you like this done to your property? Eminent Domain be damned! Make the trail, if you must, from Ringo’s to the Nike Park. Get a great snack when a biker leaves or returns. but don’t wreck a lovely drive just to accommodate a few cyclists who will use the trail. Good for business? Get real! To misquote an old saying “Regret is something best served warm.” If regret comes later, it is then too late, and a lot of money, badly needed elsewhere in the county and town, will have been needlessly wasted.
L. F. Chapman III

Bike trail a bargain

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Editor, Smithfield Times
During the recent news coverage of the firing of acting FBI director Andrew McCabe, it was reported that he regularly biked from his home in northern Virginia to FBI headquarters. This is consistent with what I observed when I worked in a government facility near the Pentagon. The building where I worked had a large sheltered area near the main entrance that served as a bicycle parking lot. The bike trail network that served recreational cyclists on the weekends served commuters during the week.
Construction of the first two segments of the park-to-park bike trail is now underway, and some of the same characters who agitated against the creation of Windsor Castle Park have now directed their ire toward the bike trail. The cost estimate for the third segment has come in approximately $1 million over budget. It’s logical to ask what else the town could do with $1 million. Well, the current cost estimate for the right turn lane for the new ball fields is $852,800. Some will object that the estimate seems ridiculous, but consider the fact that it was recently reported that the cost to fill a typical pothole is $1,500. The bike trail is actually a comparative bargain.
Greg Vassilakos

Voting for Butler

Editor, Smithfield Times
I am endorsing Valerie Cofer Butler to be elected to town council. She has a commitment to civic mindedness. She is able to solve problems through careful analysis. She has the ability to keep Smithfield vibrant and face its future. Please join me in voting for her. Thank you.
Jerry Tenney

Two major changes

Editor, Smithfield Times
Our Town is facing two major, important changes in the next two months, changes that will affect us for several years: Town Council elections and the selection of a new Town Manager. First, consider our election on May 1 for four Town Council seats. It’s imperative that Town citizens show up and vote for those candidates they think have earned the honor of serving us for the next four years. If you’re like me — tired of cronyism, conflict of interest, lack of financial planning and forecasts for major town investments (ball park, Windsor Castle barns, renovations, etc.) that ignore infrastructure challenges — then you will make it your most important act of the day to vote on May 1 for those candidates who will bring much needed change to our Town government. 
The second change will be the selection of our new town manager. He or she should be someone who is experienced as a town manager, who has a degree in Public Administration (preferably a Master’s Degree), and who has a totally fresh approach from outside of Isle of Wight.
The individual must have perspective to fully recognize and understand the challenges our town is facing with finances, infrastructure, growth and future developments. The new town manager should be worth his or her weight in gold for the six-figure salary our current manager is earning. We deserve and desperately need the best possible town manager we can possibly hire, as he or she will be leading, not following, the Town Council into the next decade.
Susie Gay

Successful golf tourney

Editor, Smithfield Times
Not only is Smithfield a great and safe place to live, it is a wonderful place for giving back to our church community. Special thanks to our sheriff deputies, first responders, active military, veterans and all our volunteers.
Congratulations to all the Mens’ Golf Committee Members, Hole Sponsors, Golfers, Participates and Volunteers in meeting our goals with the 7th Annual Trinity United Methodist Church Charity Golf Tournament! Your generous contributions will go a long way in helping worthy causes in the church like Christian Outreach Program, Hands and Hearts, Lizzie Fund and Youth/Adult Missions.
On behalf of the Trinity United Methodist Church Golf Committee, I would like to thank all for the generous contributors to our annual charity golf tournament.
Trinity United Methodist Church appreciates your investment in our mission and your compassion towards helping others in our community.
For more information on how these wonderful donations are helping to make a difference at Trinity United Methodist Church, we invite you to visit our Web site at www.mytrinity.org.
We hope you will again join us next year on April 19th in supporting TUMC in this wonderful and fun event. Your generosity here in Smithfield, Virginia is so appreciated.
Ted Bright

Doesn’t trust radar

Editor, Smithfield Times
While my wife and I were driving home from West Virginia last fall, I was issued a speeding ticket via a Virginia State Police officer. Two months later, we entered Bath County’s Traffic Court at 8:45 am. My security scan revealed a gold-fringed American flag. An uneasiness surfaced within me because according to HYPERLINK “http://www.findlaw.com” www.findlaw.com, “The Gold Fringe represents no Nation and no Constitution, but Martial Law that rules our nation and court system!” Also, under the United States Corporation (1871) that operates outside the United States Constitution (1787), the original Constitution (1787) was modified, and ‘We The People’ have “relative rights instead of absolute and unalienable rights.” As a result, my quest for justice in Bath County’s Traffic Court was doubtful.
When my case was called, I pled “Not Guilty.” The judge’s body language revealed his surprise. The police officer read the alleged traffic violation and I described the circumstances. “As I rounded a curve and dimmed the headlights the police vehicle’s blue lights immediately popped on. The police vehicle was between two vehicles. Did his mobile radar pick up my vehicle, one of the vehicles he was between, or some other object(s)? With both hands on the steering wheel, eyes on the winding road, I didn’t believe that I was speeding.”
I informed the judge that mobile radars are believed to provide false readings 30 percent of the time. The judge said that he had never heard that, subsequently, he said it was hearsay and pronounced me guilty. Based on internet information, mobile radars are unreliable and inaccurate at least 30 percent of the time. Radar information can be found within the “Police Traffic Speed Radar Handbook,” “Police Site Information Center,” and Radars.com.
With 5.7 million licensed drivers in Virginia and thousands of tourist driving Virginia roads yearly, the Virginia governor and General Assembly should commission an empirical and scientific study to determine the accuracy, reliability and continued use of police radar devices. The results should be made available to Virginia drivers.
Cary Atkins