Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dulles South Political Forum by DSBA date change

The Dulles South Political Candidate's Forum, hosted by the Dulles South Business Alliance, previously scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 11, is now changed to Thursday, Sept. 20th, 3-5PM, at the Arcola Community Center.

For more Loudoun Politics and Dulles South Politics information concerning the 2007 elections, see Dulles South and Loudoun Politics on Dulles South Online.

Candidates and Political Campaigns - it's not too late to leap-frog the competition in Web 2.0 Internet Advertising; we can drastically and quickly improve your online visibility to the Loudoun County constituents, for very little expense...contact KME Internet Marketing before the Fall rush!

A stirring message of "Taxation without Representation"

Here's Delegate Marshall's message in full - it's spot on, and we couldn't agree more. Having just visited the brand new Mount Vernon addition, and seen a spectacular Disney-esque display of revolutionary fervor and history (what a great new exhibit!), this message is quite timely.

CONTACT: Delegate Bob Marshall, 703-361-5416

Taxation Without Representation Returns to Virginia

An Arlington Circuit Court today upheld provisions of HB 3202, (the Abuser
Driver Fee law), which allows the General Assembly to give away its taxing
power to unelected political appointees of the Northern Virginia Transportation
Authority to impose taxes on home, business and land sales; vehicle sales,
repairs, registrations, inspections; hotel stays and car rentals.

Two NVTA appointees are not elected to any office, and not one NVTA member is
elected to the NVTA! The NVTA can issue sole source contracts which have a
history of cost overruns. (METRO was a sole source contract.)

Over 200 years ago, American colonists went to war with Great Britain and risked
execution over taxation without representation. Thomas Jefferson's Declaration
of Independence called the King of England a tyrant for "imposing taxes on us
without our consent…and altering fundamentally the forms of government."

George Mason wrote in his Declaration of Rights that citizens "cannot be taxed
or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent, or that
of their representatives so elected." Contrast this with the unprecedented
claim supported by the Governor, the Attorney General and the Speaker of the
House that, "The General Assembly's ability and power to delegate taxation is
not constrained."

The delegation of taxing power to an unelected body sets a very dangerous
precedent. Why not set up a vast multitude of "authorities" with unelected and
unaccountable political appointees who can impose taxes for any purpose? Why
have a General Assembly or elected local governments?

Counties must ask voters for road bond approval via voter referenda, but not the
NVTA which wants more taxing authority from the General Assembly and eminent
domain power in 2008.

The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, created by the General Assembly,
short circuits the taxpayers' ability to control how they want their tax money
spent. This is wrong, plain and simple. Citizens deserve better. Those who
impose or raise taxes must remain directly elected and accountable to voters.

Constitutional government, established by direct vote of the citizens of
Virginia, must be preserved. We will appeal this decision to the Supreme Court
of Virginia on these and other grounds.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Google Click-Fraud in Loudoun County

As Search Engine Optimization (SEO) professionals (as well as Technical Security Consultants), we're happy to see more and more Loudoun County businesses, small and large, represented on the Web. Business profiles show up in both the "organic" search results of all the major search engines, plus the "pay-per-click" (PPC) ads around the results. As more and more business flock to local online advertising, there's bound to be a bit of competitive spirit, and in some cases it may not be legal.

Businesses have traditionally snooped on each other and met one's advertising gimmick or scheme with their own (the same holds true with political campaigns). Gas Stations are notorious for modifying prices based on their neighbor's changes. The same goes for online advertising. If one business advertises "Fresh Fish", there's nothing to stop another for advertising "Fresh Fish" in exactly the same manner (though avoiding actual copyright or trademark infringement), and paying more for better placement and profile. "Pay to play" is the going method.

"Click Fraud" is the practice where a business pays for advertisements to show up on websites (for example through Google's content network), and actually pays Google when someone clicks on the ad (therefore going to the business site). If an unscrupulous competitor wants to quickly run up charges for the advertiser, they may continue clicking on the ad (therefore running up charges for their competitor). This generates a lot of false traffic, false charges, and headaches for the advertiser, and is called "Click Fraud".

Luckily, it's actually quite difficult to engage in simple click fraud for local businesses, as both website monitoring technology and Google/MSN/Yahoo monitoring technology can quickly determine "real" from "false" clicking activity (presuming, also, that businesses are looking after their own interests with reasonable effort). While the target business may therefore not be affected, the Search Engines are affected, and typically don't like it. Many cases of click-fraud have been prosecuted, and continue to be.

We ourselves have been the victim of click-fraud, with a competitor (and their accomplice) executing multiple clicks on our advertisements simply for the purpose of running out our daily budget and having our ad then disappear. Thankfully, Google's technology disallowed this, and between our security/traffic logs and Google's, we've got ample evidence of specifically the actual IP addresses and Person who engaged in this activity (to be used as necessary). Sometimes it's difficult to track web activity to an actual person, but in this case, the person was extremely naive in their online escapades. We are also able to block these IP addresses from further damaging activity.

So the message is, don't do it. Keep Loudoun a business environment of professional values, corporate responsibility and friendly cooperation. Don't just click on your competitor's advertisement to cause them material or traffic loss - not only will you be caught (and exposed in a very public manner), but there's really very little actual harm that can be accomplished. Just do the best you can in your own "white hat" advertising and business, and fortune will show up at your door.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Vote 2007 in Loudoun County because...

Vote 2007 in Loudoun County because...

- It's an excuse to sleep in and play hooky from work, then a long lunch, trip to Starbucks, etc.

- Since so few people turn out, your vote will count for 3% of the total!

- You'll be the only one there, so the local reporters (Erika!) will have to interview you

- Free donuts and water bottles from the campaigns (or at least some pens)

- Let’s elect an all-Independent BOS, to hell with the parties!

- So you can write-in Marion Barry – he really needs to move out to the 'burbs

- So you can post pictures of yourself and the candidates (if only cardboard cutouts) on your blog and flickr badge

- To make sure we beat out Fairfax in the cross-county Senate District constituent turnout

- To experiment with "reverse commuting", and see if the roads are still screwed up going the other way

- You get the chance to approve another 4-5-6-7 whole schools to be built! Yahoo, feels good!

- So you can mess with the exit pollers (um...I voted for Steve York)

- So you can finally see the gamer recluse across the street actually take a shower, power down Halo and leave the house – presuming THEY vote, of course

- There's really nothing on TV, on Tuesdays, anyway, and the local hoi polloi is much more entertaining to watch

- Maybe you can write in some nifty NIMBY legislation, like no more daycare providers...oops, Landsdowne's taken care of that

- So you can prove you’re not an illegal immigrant (even if you do duck out of line at the last minute, right after the newspaper catches a shot of you)

- To stick it to the Man (meaning, of course, the Republicans, who want to keep the voter turnout low in fear of all the latent and leaning Democrats crawling out of the woodwork)

- To stick it to the Man (meaning, of course, the Democrats, who really don't want to see anymore excessive fiscal control and prudence in spending – they just want more for those who don't work)

- To simply do the right thing, and get the sticker (and not have your kids blurt out "Mommy doesn't believe in voting" during the Parent-Teacher conference)

What else?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Protect your privacy from Loudoun Politics

Just received correspondence from Supervisor Jim Burton (I - Blue Ridge District in Loudoun) regarding a FOIA request for all his constituents' email addresses....

"Last week, I received an email from Ms. Milari Madison of Waterford Virginia (a
Catoctin District resident and financial contributor to the Albright campaign, opposing Burton
). Under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
(FOIA), Ms. Madison requested the following records:

* Any and all newsletters and other mass communications sent by Supervisor Jim
Burton in the last two years to constituents or other recipients via Loudoun.gov
email addresses;
* A list of all the recipient names and email addresses to which they were sent.

...In an email this morning which Ms. Madison copied to bos@loudoun.gov, as well as Board of Supervisor candidates Jack Ryan, Michael Firetti, Geary Higgins, and Mark Albright, Ms. Madison chose not to allow recipients of my emails to opt-out of her FOIA request. Thus, I will have to supply her with the names and email addresses of anyone to whom I have sent a newsletter or other mass communication by email."

On the one hand, this sounds like an utter invasion of privacy, misuse of the FOIA act, shallow and desperate politics, etc. On the other hand, if you've supplied the government your contact information, be sure to understand this contact information may and will end up everywhere - available to DHS, CIS, the FBI, CIA, the DoS, to the Sanitation Board, and to essentially all Government employees. Now there's legislation and protocol that should dictate what this information is actually used for, but I really don't think these email addresses should be actually supplied to a private citizen for their unrestricted use (for personal or business reasons). It sounds like a very quick way to build a mailing list for all sorts of reasons; for competitive politics, for soliciting, for profit/resale - I fully expect my email to absorb more spam incursions as a result of the unregulated release of information like this.

So there's three messages. (1) If you supply email addresses to others, be sure the addresses are ones you wouldn't mind seeing on the front page of the Washington Post, New York Times, and Manila Daily. (2) If you're in a business that could use great local mailing lists, execute FOIA requests like this (I should've thought of this earlier!) while they're available. (3) Practice Internet Safety in all aspects of your online activity, as instructed by Loudoun Computer Training and Online Safety Experts at Whizkids and the Dadministrator Internet Safety Blog.

Friday, August 10, 2007

New Mixed Use Business Zoning District Meeting for Rt. 50

A community meeting on the development of a Planned Development-Mixed
Use Business Zoning District is scheduled for 6:00 to 9:00 p.m.,
Thursday, August 16, 2007, at Mercer Middle School, 42149 Greenstone
Drive in Aldie. A new Mixed Use Business Zoning District was a key
recommendation of the Route 50 Task Force.

Loudoun County and its consultant on the project, AKRF Inc., will host
the public forum to present the first draft of the proposed zoning
district text. In addition, the meeting will present AKRF's report that
summarizes the research and analysis done for the district and its
potential use along the Route 50 corridor.

(Provided via the Dulles South Business Alliance and Dulles South Online).

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Drought Conditions and Current Even-Odd Water Restrictions

Following is an email from David Sewell, on Lori Waters' staff (Broad Run, BOS):

"Dear Broad Run Constituents,

On Monday evening, August 6, the Board of Supervisors held a special
meeting with a representative of the Loudoun County Sanitation Authority
to address the near critical drought conditions in Loudoun County.
Attached is the document that LCSA presented to the Board. As of
yesterday, Goose Creek, the main water source for the Ashburn area was
only at 6% of its mean flow. Currently, Loudoun County is under
voluntary water use restrictions; if LCSA does not see a 10% reduction
in water usage over the next month (or if the rainfall does not raise
the water levels sufficiently), however, it will be forced to implement
mandatory water restrictions. Until the drought conditions improve and
the voluntary water restrictions are lifted, please observe the even-odd
rule for watering your yards: even numbered addresses should only water
their yards on even numbered days, and odd numbered addresses should
only water their yards on odd numbered days.

Thank you all and let us hope for rain soon!

David Sewall"

Suit Challenges Governor, Attorney General, Speaker on Abuser fee-Transportation bill HB 3202

...From an email sent earlier today by Delegate Bob Marshall...go Bob, I wonder if any other delegates are compelled by their oaths of office to participate....

MANASSAS (August 6) "Because the Governor, the Attorney General and the
Speaker of the House of Delegates have joined a lawsuit against Northern
Virginia residents to compel them to submit to taxes on the sale of homes and
businesses, car repairs and sales and other taxes imposed by an unelected
regional authority, I am compelled by my Oath of Office to stand by my
constituents and have filed a countersuit to challenge the constitutionality of
HB 3202, the abuser fee and tax increase bill of 2007", Delegate Bob Marshall
(House District No. 13th, R-Prince William-Loudoun) said today.

"The abuser fee provisions of HB 3202 are bad enough. Most other provisions
of this collection of separate bills that were rolled into HB 3202 could not
pass the Assembly if considered separately. Members were coerced into voting
for the parts they did not like, for the ones they did. The abuser fee bill
passed this way, which is why the Virginia Constitution has prohibited this kind
of omnibus legislation for more than 150 years." Delegate Marshall noted.

Delegate Marshall noted that the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that
Virginia's Constitution "establishes the procedures that must be
followed in setting taxes at the local level. The use of any other procedure,
even if sanctioned by the General Assembly, would be violative of the
Constitution." (Wright v. Norfolk Electoral Board, 223 VA 149)

HB 3202 relies upon members appointed to the Northern Virginia Transportation
Authority to raise taxes, including two members who do not hold any elective
office. The Virginia Constitution states: "No ordinance or resolution "imposing taxes" shall be passed except by a recorded affirmative vote of a
majority of all members elected to the governing body." (Article VII, Section

Delegate Marshall twice requested formal legal opinions from the Attorney
General on HB 3202, but received none. The claims filed today in Arlington
Circuit Court by Delegate Marshall and several other Northern Virginia residents
allege numerous additional constitutional defects in H.B. 3202.

Delegate Marshall and co-defendants* are also asking that Arlington Circuit
Court judges remove themselves from hearing the case because the judges are
also defendants in the bond suit filed by the Northern Virginia Transportation

*Delegate Marshall was joined in his suit by other Northern Virginia residents.

CONTACT Del. Bob Marshall at 703-361-5416

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Inside the Lenah's Run Speed Patrol

Here's an inside look at the speeding along Rt. 600 Lenah's Run, courtesy of the Loudoun County Sheriff's department, between Braddock Rd. and Rt. 50 - evidently a nice cut-through for those avoiding Gilbert's corner, and a race-course for the residents...watch your speed, here and everywhere in Dulles South!

"I know from my observations that very few drivers disregard the speed limits in Lenah Run. It is a residential area that has posted speed limit signs of 25
miles per hour. I am sure that not one of your residents would argue
that the speed limit should be anything but that.

However, the speed limit on Lenah Road (Route 600), the primary highway
that runs between John Mosby Highway (Route 50) and Braddock Road (Route
620), and provides the only access to Lenah Run, is also posted at 25
miles per hour. There are signs that are visible as you turn onto Lenah
Road from either Braddock Road or Route 50, which is in compliance with
the Virginia Traffic Code. I have been observing traffic speeds on
Lenah Road to be an average of 40 miles per hour during my daily patrols
though the area. Some vehicles are observed traveling in excess of 45
miles per hour which is reckless driving per Virginia Code 46.2-862
(Speed 20 or more miles per hour over posted limits).

I recently conducted a radar enforcement on lenah road and stopped
motorists who were traveling 35 miles per hour or greater. I issued a
verbal warning to ALL motorists that I stopped. I observed 53 vehicles
during a 30 minute period (approximately 8:00 am). The breakdown of the
speeds were as follows:

Speed 25 mph or less = Zero,
Speed 26 to 34 mph = 12,
Speed 35 to 44 mph = 28,
Speed 45 mph or greater = 13.

I also ascertained from the drivers whether they were residents of the
Lenah Run subdivision or not. Almost 75% of the drivers were from Lenah
Run (37). The rest of the drivers (16) were from out of Loudoun County
and travel to job sites in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties. Those drivers
admitted that they travel northbound on James Monroe Highway (Route 15)
and then use Braddock Road, and subsequently Lenah Road, to avoid the
traffic build-up at Gilbert's Corner (the intersection of routes 15 and

If you would, please send an announcement, or reminder, to your
residents that the posted speed limit on Lenah Road is 25 miles per
hour. Hopefully this will help to lower the speeds on this road, as
well as save your residents the costs associated with a traffic

By the way, with the new "Civil Remedial Fines" associated with
reckless driving charges, a conviction will incur the following

Traffic fines for Reckless Driving = up to $2500.00 (at the discretion
of the court),
Court Processing Fees = $56.00,
Civil Remedial Fine (MANDATORY) = $1050.00,
License Suspension up to 90 days (at the discretion of the court).

Which means a ticket for driving 45 miles per hour or greater on Lenah
Road will cost the driver a total that will range from $1156.00 to
$3656.00. Not to mention the increased insurance rates associated with
a six point traffic offense.

Hopefully you will be able to educate your residents so that I will not
have to "see them in court". I will continue to monitor speeds on Lenah
Road, as well as on the street within your subdivision, but I will no
longer issue warnings for vehicles that I observe exceeding the speed
limit in excess of 45 miles per hour. For the time being, I will use my
discretion when dealing with drivers that are in excess of the speed
limit, but not greater than 44 miles per hour.

Deputy A. Gonzalez #2033
Loudoun County Sheriff's Office"