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Dear Gov. Kaine: Spare Some Stimulus Cash?
In an interview, Barrix, 22, said he took out an initial loan on his 1995 Jeep Cherokee 17 months ago, shortly after his daughter, Emma, was born. He and his wife were living at his grandfather's house, and they needed more than what he earned as a roofer to afford their own place. The lender wrote, offering $400. He bit, then fell behind.
"It's my fault. . . . It was a pretty big mistake on my behalf," Barrix said. "If I miss a payment on it, then they're going to come take it. It's kind of scary, man."
He needs the Jeep for his job with Comcast. He's a bill collector and cuts off service for cable customers who can't make payments. About three months ago, his income dropped roughly in half when disconnections soared and he lost many of the commissions that come from actual collections. "Hey, I still got a job. I'm not complaining," Barrix said.
Barrix made his latest all-interest payment a week ago, and another is already due. So he went to Kaine's Web site. "I figured I'd give it a shot," he said.
Others affected by more serious mistakes are also seeking relief.
Amber Hudson, who lives in Dumfries and works as a massage therapist at the Ritz-Carlton in Tysons Corner, submitted a money-saving proposal for the early release of nonviolent offenders. "Think about the Bible Scripture 'He who is without sin, let them cast the first stone'. God Bless" she wrote.
A friend of hers is locked in an overcrowded regional jail for his second drunk-driving accident, Hudson said in an interview. No one was hurt in either crash, she said. He has been confined to an 8-by-10-foot cell, where one prisoner has to sleep on the floor.
"I'm not saying he doesn't deserve to be there, because he does," Hudson said. But after he has served 65 percent of his sentence, he should be released, she said, and the state should "put him in an alcohol-related program where he can learn, and help him get rid of the problem, instead of putting him in a cell where he's doing nothing because it's too crowded to move."
Her friend, not the taxpayers, should pay for the rehab, she said.
Some derided the entire Web enterprise.
On the day Kaine's effort was announced, a Fairfax man submitted two proposals totaling $5,000.
"I am seeking $1,000 to put hardwood floors in my house," read the first. It would cover 400 square feet, create one job and benefit the flooring company, he wrote. He also wants to improve his yard. "This project has been designed and is literally 'shovel' ready. I have selected a landscaping firm that needs the business but I just need the money."