Letters to The Editor 01-22-20

Published 9:55 pm Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Surry at a crossroads

 Editor, Smithfield Times;

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 Surry County stands at a crossroads, and hopefully will choose a road of change from its history of questionable governmental practices.   The departure of the new county administrator is indicator that all is not well in Surry.  It is past time for the citizens to demand more transparency and accountability from a government which seems to be concerned with providing employment and promotion opportunities to associates of supervisors and current employees, rather than conducting fair, responsible and efficient governance.  It is time to shine the light on “business as usual” in Surry. 

The election of two new members to the Board of Supervisors, and the Board’s initial election of its chairman and vice chairman are encouraging signs of change. It is time to drag county government into the light, and to review county structures and practices reflective of the failures of past administrations.  A zero-based review of the budget, held at a public hearing and documenting how much each line item contains, and what expenditures, programs and benefits it funds, is a first step.  What does the tax revenue go for?  What benefits are being provided by programs, and to whom?  What programs could be cut to allow servicing of the county’s enormous debt?  The citizens of Surry have no clue how their money is being spent, and I suspect that that is by design.  Shine the light.

Another excellent step would be for the county administration to publish in this paper a list of all county positions, both filled and unfilled, and how much each position is paid.  Who are our employees, what are their titles and duties, and how much are they paid?  How do their salaries compare with those of Constitutional officers?  This has been done in the past, and it is time to review this information again. Shine the light.

I call upon the Surry County Board of Supervisors and interim administrator to make this information available to all Surry citizens as soon as possible, in a public and transparent manner.  Shine the light!

David R. Lloyd


Time to prorate

 Editor, Smithfield Times;

Vehicular license fees (stickers) were implemented to identify where vehicles were garaged to ensure that property taxes were collected. Establishment of statewide computerized data systems allowed local governments to be notified by the State Division of Motor Vehicles where a vehicle is domiciled, allowing the county to promptly send a property tax bill and sticker fee to the owner.  Not all cities/counties continue to collect such sticker fees eliminating the administrative cost of such program; the prompt collection of such taxes more than compensated for the lost revenue of eliminating the stickers. Stickers served their purpose (corroborated by the fact stickers are no longer issued) but Isle of Wight County continues those fees for additional revenue.

Virginia Code (46.2-688) left the use of sticker fees to the discretion of the local governments but it mandates their prorating that Isle of Wight County has refused to do.  I brought this issue to the Board of Supervisor in January 2019; the county attorney responded that Isle of Wight did not have to prorate such fee.  I requested our state representative to obtain an opinion from Virginia’s Attorney General’s Office as to the legal standing the county has not to prorate such fee. On July 25, 2019 a response was received asserting that indeed the County “shall prorate such fee.”  About six months later, a change to the county code to comply with State Law was to be implemented during the Board of Supervisors meeting of Jan. 16, 2020.

Instead the county attorney decided to postpone compliance with the state law because changes in the law are coming in 2020; in my opinion just an excuse to prolong collecting illegal fees from the citizens.  Where is the Board of Supervisors moral authority when it allows the continued collection of illegal fees? The Board failed to maintain high ethical standards in the business of the county. Continued non-compliance with the law is no excuse to fatten the county coffers.

Jose Hernandez



Canadian invasion!

Editor, Smithfield Times;

Canadian invasion of Virginia! Be scared my fellow Virginians! There was an imminent threat of Canadian takeover of our state capitol during the Gun Rights Rally in Richmond on Monday, Jan. 20, 2020.  No doubt these one to three Canadian invaders, likely high on maple syrup, will bring with them 500 “Big Foots,” 5,000 polar bears, a neo-Nazi flag, and 50,000 caribou.  Life as we know it will end.  All Starbucks will be turned into Tim Horton’s coffee shops.  Bye-bye Budweiser, only Molsons from now on.  We’ll be forced to be part of the UK’s Commonwealth, having to pay for Harry and Meghan’s security costs.  The NFL can fuhgeddaboudit, we will become hockey fans!  They may even make us speak French. Mon Dieu!

Thus given this Canadian ‘threat,’ Virginia Governor ‘Black-Face’ Northam has yet again demonstrated a new level of ridiculousness, declaring a State of Emergency for the Commonwealth.  Thousands of feet of new fences are being erected around our State Capitol, overtime for our State Police, and extra security measures have all been authorized.  The governor has banned firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds (except for the security and police guarding the governor and fellow scared Democrats of course).

Thank you Governor Northam, but there was no need to waste our tax dollars.  We Virginians can take care of ourselves.  #SupportVirginiaGunRights!

Lt Colonel Richard G. Vaught, USAF, Retired



It’s about freedom from fear

Editor, Smithfield Times;

Even our renowned President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, yes, a Democrat, and the one who ended the depression and led us to victory in WWII, supported our right to personal self-defense.

The ultimate “freedom” in his historic 1941 “Four Freedoms” proclamation was “Freedom from Fear.”

It is our right, indeed our duty, to protect ourselves and others from the “fear” created not only by other predacious humans but also by predatory government, with words if we can, of course, but with weapons if we must. This is the ultimate mandate for all free citizens.

And who are the most vulnerable among us for whom this mandate is particularly important? Above all, women and minorities. One can make the case that if German Jews were allowed to bear arms in the 1920s, the Holocaust may never have happened. And, if American blacks had acquired firearms in the 17th century, slavery here may have been short-lived. But women especially! Being the “weaker sex” (physically, but certainly not intellectually) they should be demanding their right of self-personal defense. As the saying goes, “God made man and woman, but Samual Colt made ‘em equal.”

So I appeal to all women and members of minority groups in our American society to insist on your right to defend yourself. Take a course in firearms use and safety and then purchase a small .38 to keep with you at all times. This is most certainly “freedom from fear.”

Guns will ALWAYS be prevalent in American society, thank goodness, so make sure YOU have an equal fighting chance and the freedom from fearing the next predator who comes at you!

Albert Burckard



Soil issues

Editor, Smithfield Times;

To Carrollton residents — if you have a septic system failure for no apparent reason, sinking lawns and sewer drains, or are unable to build a shed behind your home for no explained reason, please contact the Isle of Wight engineering department. Soil issues could be the reason and should be addressed.

Lynn Faulkner



Thanks to shoebox volunteers

 Editor, Smithfield Times;

I am writing to thank Smithfield residents for sharing the true meaning of Christmas with children in need this past holiday season.

Because of the generosity of donors in Smithfield and across the United States, Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, collected more than 8.9 million shoebox gifts in 2019. Combined with those collected from partnering countries in 2019, the ministry is now sending 10,569,405 shoebox gifts to children worldwide.

Through shoeboxes — packed with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items—Smithfield volunteers brought joy to children in need around the world. Each gift-filled shoebox is a tangible expression of God’s love, and it is often the first gift these children have ever received. Thanks to the generosity of donors, Operation Christmas Child has collected and delivered more than 178 million gift-filled shoeboxes to children in more than 160 countries and territories since 1993.

It’s not too late for people to make a difference. Though drop-off locations serving Smithfield are closed until Nov. 16 – 23, information about year-round volunteer opportunities can also be found at samaritanspurse.org/occ or by calling 410-772-7360.

Thank you again to everyone who participated in this global project — many who do so year after year. These simple gifts, packed with love, send a message to children worldwide that they are loved and not forgotten.

Dana Williams

Operation Christmas Child

Boone, N.C.