Deputy Prosecutor Replies

I am writing to respond to the personal allegations made against me by Jerry Johnson, candidate for commonwealth's attorney. In an apparent effort to tarnish Robert D. Anderson, the incumbent commonwealth's attorney, Mr. Johnson has used my name and mentioned cases in which I represented the commonwealth. He says these are examples of "prosecutor misconduct."

Mr. Johnson is in no position to know whether I handled a felony case properly. His lack of professional experience disqualifies him from even offering an opinion on such matters. I have examined the criminal records in Loudoun County and there is no record of Mr. Johnson ever handling a solo felony jury trial. I have been here 10 years, handled 1,255 felony cases, and I know Mr. Johnson has not had any solo felony jury trials in that time. In a recent meeting of the Loudoun County Bar Association, Mr. Johnson claimed to his fellow lawyers and two judges that he had tried 10 felony jury trials in the last 10 years. To convert a zero to a 10 is no memory lapse, and I and the others present concluded that he lied to enhance his qualifications.

My reputation for integrity, honesty and competence is very important to me. I came to Loudoun County in 1989 after more than 20 years as an Army JAGC [Judge Advocate General Corps] officer. As an Army JAGC officer, I was a judge, an appellate judge, a professor of law, the staff judge advocate in Alaska and the Army's first chief prosecutor (Chief TCAP). Here, I became the deputy commonwealth's attorney under Bill Burch, a Democrat, and have been the deputy for the last 3 1/2 years under Bob Anderson, a Republican.

I believe I speak for the other nine assistant commonwealth's attorneys when I say that we are professional prosecutors and not fair game as political mudslinging targets by one who apparently places honesty and integrity at the bottom of his list of values.

OWEN D. BASHAM

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney

For Loudoun County

Seniors Deserve Tax Break

I want to thank Board of Supervisors Chairman Dale Myers for recently proposing to cap real estate taxes for the primary residence of senior citizens in Loudoun County.

Since moving here in 1965, I can reflect on my 34-year tenure to see how this once sleepy town has become a bustling community. Many of you living here weren't even born in 1965, so it's hard to imagine the landscape then. Real estate taxes were very low.

Over the years my taxes have increased to pay for the infrastructure and needs of the new residents. However, I have not gained a benefit from this at all. I want to stay here to be close to my children, but with every additional tax increase, my available funds to run my household are diminishing. More money is being taken out of my pocket to pay for more services, and in turn I have less money to spend on what I need.

If my real estate taxes were capped, this would stop. My friends and I are anxious to hear more about this plan, and hope that it will become a reality. We seniors have more than paid our fair share of taxes and would like to know what our rewards are for staying in Loudoun.

THEA GRAU

Ashburn

Tax-Cut Plan a 'Gimmick'

With just three weeks until Election Day, Dale Myers is trying to reinvent herself and buy votes with her new tax-break proposal for government employees such as teachers, fire and rescue personnel and sheriff's deputies. Now, I am a teacher, and when I first heard about this scheme, I was pleasantly surprised, even stunned, to hear that Chairman Myers finally realized the importance of attracting and retaining wonderful educators.

But upon further examination of the matter, several questions flooded my brain. For example, where was this wonderful proposal during the previous four years of budget deliberations? Where was Mrs. Myers's enduring support for educators who nervously spoke before the board . . . when all she could say was, "Just because we don't fund education doesn't mean we don't support it"?

Additionally, how will our county make up the $20 million in lost revenue? Will all other taxpayers be required to pay more? Do we need an amendment to our constitution to pursue such a tax credit? Will this tax break be for all county government employees? If not, how do you determine who is worthy? Do teachers deserve it more than teaching assistants, school nurses or school secretaries?

The bottom line is, this is simply an election-year gimmick. It is simply not economically or legally feasible, and I'm sure Chairman Myers knows this. Instead of election-year schemes, I have a profound idea that will help us attract and retain the best teachers, deputies and fire and rescue personnel: Pay them a decent salary!

TIM SPARBANIE

Countryside

Editor's Note: The writer was an unsuccessful candidate this year for the Republican nomination to run for the Broad Run District seat on the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

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