Monday, May 21, 2007

Congrats to Phillips - time to leverage the Internet

Nice win in the 33rd. Though the election activity was little more than a blip on the radar screen of the electorate, otherwise consumed with soccer, yardwork or other busy Saturday schedules, the Phillips team certainly did their part to attract those who would come (only about 100 from Fairfax!).

Obviously, now's the hard part, and money's a problem. We'd recommend her team and the entire republican party looking very closely into beefing up the online presence, through a significant and professional application of "northern virginia search engine optimization and marketing" - getting the message, position, rebuttals and everything else out there to the online crowd is evidently slow-to-recognize by the republican crowd, as evidenced by today's Washington Post article ("Online, GOP is Playing Catch up). There's a lot that can be done to match and beat Herring in cyberspace, for very little actual money. Note that he's likely to do this too, having the advantage of incumbency in search engine rankings (which take a while to evolve).

Friday, May 18, 2007

John Andrews for Virginia District 33 Senate going to have to be the position this particular blog takes for tomorrow's election...this is based on our evaluation of the candidates and their positions on the issues in the last debate (as we covered here a few weeks ago). Nothing much has changed since, in the news or advertising, other than the considerable blanketing of the paper news sources by the Andrews' advertising campaigns.

The Vote tomorrow, Saturday, May 19, between 9:00 am and 2:00 pm, is at one of the following locations:

- Loudoun County Residents: Stone Bridge High School, 43100 Hay Road, Ashburn, VA

- Fairfax County Residents: Rachel Carson Middle School, 13618 McLearen Road, Herndon, VA

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ban on Home Businesses in Lansdowne

Regarding this recent letter to the HOA members regarding home-based businesses in Lansdowne (northern Loudoun County), in which the HOA outlines their position in upholding a ban on "home-based businesses", vs. "home-based offices". While we don't necessarily know all the details and will accept criticism or correction from those who do, it simply reeks on the greasy surface of an HOA overstepping its bounds, or at the very least, not seeking enough collaborative business counsel. Here's our position:

Our line of business and relationships around the region extend to many, many "home" businesses, the vast majority operating almost completely online with very little on-street local traffic. These are hundreds, if not thousands of home businesses micro to macro, from real estate agents, to advertising bloggers, to family content networks, to affiliate "Southern Living" marketers and eBay in-home resellers. Home businesses in this area are multiplying quickly and nearly invisibly, in part due to increasing need by many residents to pull in extra income to counter rising mortgage rates and taxes. We do not agree that a "home business" can be defined from the "business" perspective by an HOA, which is typically neither trained nor chartered to evaluate business cases and operating plans. Issues with property styles, traffic, parking and right-of-way are the domain of the HOA; this is what should be the focus here. If a negative impact to the community within this domain is manifested and found to be caused by an HOA member, the problem lies with the HOA member - and not with a "business" of subjective definition and operating parameters. This HOA needs to regroup and rethink, and should probably request fair and open dialogue with the community's "underground" home business ecosystem.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Feedback to the Local Educators and Administration

A new blog called Loudoun Schools Feedback was recently started - seems like an interesting local experiment in Public School Education 2.0, though there's been some national precedent for example at Rate My Teachers. To be seen if it's helpful, or hurtful.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Andrews 2, Phillips 0

Tonight’s Virginia Senate District 33 Republican debate at Stonebridge High School in Ashburn Farm revealed two candidates: one a clear and well-prepared challenger to Mark Herring (an eager freshman Democrat with the strong taste of recent victory in his mouth) this November, representing both businesses and taxpayers; the other a “thoughtful and careful” representative of the common people. Both are pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, and pro-refuse benefits such as driving, in-state tuition and gun ownership to illegal aliens and the more comprehensively identified mentally unstable.

So what are the electorate priorities? For Republicans, it must simply be to re-take the seat vacated last year by William Mims, now the state’s chief deputy attorney general. For the Centrists or simply non-partisan, now that the Transportation crisis is fully vetted, the next big issues to tackle probably revolve around Education (with 40% of the state budget devoted to it) and Residential/Commercial development balance. For the bloggers, we want a good, hard fight with lots of facts and statistics to look up and debate. For all these groups, Andrews appears to be the most prepared, and most experienced at this time.

The debate itself was woefully under-attended (about 75 from the Dulles South and North areas); we suggest an online debate next time, with some live blogging, Q&A and YouTube mashups for background entertainment to pull in couch potatoes of all ages. Lori Waters and Jey Jeyanathan were present, campaigning for their local Loudoun County BOS district races.

Following are brief notes on the major Q&A, and who won with respect to the priorities above;

Transportation (Tie): Phillips thought Richmond should fulfill their responsibilities; Andrews, the package that recently passed is a good start.

VA Tech and School Security (Win=Andrews): Andrews, Virginia will have some of the safest schools in the Nation after this year; Phillips, we need to balance personal privacy with more involuntary commitments of the mentally unstable.

Illegal Immigrants (Tie): Both Phillips and Andrews want to make Virginia more unattractive to aliens, removing driving privileges (Phillips) and in-state tuition (Andrews).

Balance of Residential and Commercial Development (W=A): Andrews, need to correct balance and provide more economic incentive to attract more businesses, plus leverage impact fees for residential developments; Phillips, also supports impact fees.

And so it went, with ties occurring on issues well-covered by the past 6 months of media, and Andrews winning the debate on any other issue having education, tax, development or political ramifications, contributing many statistics and references to legislation underway or recently passed (thereby supporting the broad Republican agenda). He hit full stride on a Charter/Magnet schools question, stating the problem wasn’t really the State, but the Federal Government in its pressures to “teach to the test”. Additionally, much more investment should be made in the Governor’s schools (like Thomas Jefferson), and other local efforts that didn’t require State-level Constitutional amendments. Phillips had excellent points to make on the Pro-life platform support (and Andrews readily conceded to her long list of activism in this area).

Andrews’ finish with “it’s a sobering time for Virginians, and for Republicans” closed the window hard on the Phillips campaign, cleanly summarizing the priorities for the local electorate. With his campaign investments in paper advertisements in full gear, that’s the additional point in what looks now to be a 2-0 lead. But people still need to get out and vote on May 19th, and if this debate attendance is any indicator, the vote will likely come down to just a few.