With a Friend Like This . . .

I read with dismay John Feegel's letter to the editor ["GOP Can Do Without Black," Loudoun Extra, Oct. 20].

Many newer residents might assume from reading his letter that Feegel has a long list of Republican credentials, but he forgot to mention a few.

Feegel, for instance, is the only Loudoun County Republican Committee member to be procedurally removed from the local party in the past decade.

In his letter, Feegel attacks Del. Richard H. "Dick" Black (R-Loudoun). In 1999, during the primary for revenue commissioner, Feegel attacked his Republican opponent. He won the primary, but by Election Day in November, his tactics backfired: The voters reelected the sitting Democrat.

This is exactly what you would expect from a supporter of Democrat David E. Poisson: He claims to be a Republican, but everything that comes out of his mouth (or pen) is vehement hatred of Black and the Republican Party.

As the former chairman of the Loudoun County Republican Committee, I can tell you that Black has the wholehearted, unwavering support of the party. He has stood for the principles of the party throughout his career and will continue to do so when he returns to Richmond.

Suzanne M. Volpe


Black's Empty Promises

I voted for Rep. Richard H. "Dick" Black (R-Loudoun) in the past because I believed his promises to work hard on education and transportation issues as my delegate. It also helped that he ran as a Republican, making it likely that he would succeed with legislation to benefit us in Loudoun.

Well, now he has a record I can look to, and I see clearly that his promises were empty and that his record is a miserable failure for Loudoun.

Black has no record to speak of when it comes to public education. His latest stand on education is: Teachers don't need higher pay, and raise local taxes if Loudoun schools need more money. Only 18 percent of Loudoun's school budget comes from the state, and he thinks we should shoulder more locally? He belatedly says we should get more from the state, but what has he been doing for seven years? Not a single thing.

He quotes numbers and statistics in his fliers and mailers. Perhaps he hopes we will believe that no one would actually make up numbers and publish them. Well, some are unverifiable, others are just plain inaccurate and all are beside the point. How dare he take credit for how well Loudoun schools are doing? The credit belongs to all who work hard in our schools and to the families that never fail to support them. None goes to Black.

I have asked countless questions of David E. Poisson and researched his background. His answers have unfailingly shown a thorough understanding of the issues and how to work in a legislature to enact solutions. His record as a business executive and lawyer are beyond reproach. He has offered positive, concrete ideas to make Loudoun schools not just good enough but excellent and to help our children attend Virginia universities, and he has shown he has the ability to lead and work with others to ease our transportation woes.

Black has stated and proved that he is not a team player. I'm tired of Loudoun being the odd one out in Richmond, tired of having a delegate who hasn't even bothered to submit legislation that we desperately need and, even when he has, couldn't even get members of his own party on his own committees to vote his way.

I care deeply about my community, and I don't want Loudoun to be a joke in Richmond anymore. It's time to stop voting the party line and instead vote the candidate. I am voting for Poisson on Nov. 8.

Deborah Hawk


Time for a Change

We at the BlackOut 2005 organization always knew both sides of the aisle had issues with Del. Richard H. "Dick" Black (R-Loudoun). What has been most encouraging is the momentum all parties have created in providing an environment for change in the 32nd District.

It has been humorous to hear Black try to tie our activities to the Democratic Party. Black shouldn't be the least bit surprised that Democrats are against him. What should really surprise him is the number of Republicans who have joined the effort. BlackOut has truly hit upon a bipartisan issue.

There are serious consequences to Black's lack of leadership. The amount of time he spends on his one-trick social agenda is way out of proportion to 32nd District priorities. In the process, he has completely eroded his political capital and ability to advance either a moderate or conservative agenda in the General Assembly.

Recent legislation (HB 1596) introduced by Black exemplifies his ineffectiveness within the Republican majority of the House of Delegates.

There is broad agreement that Virginia's system of legal defense for the indigent is a national laughingstock. Public defenders carry workloads far in excess of national norms. Caps on fees for court-appointed attorneys are the lowest in the nation. Errors in representation are frequent. The executive director of the Virginia Indigent Defense Commission described Black's bill as "a major step forward" for the commonwealth in upholding its constitutional obligation to the accused.

With such a clear need, why did Black's bill die in committee on a 22 to 1 vote? Because of his inability to work with others to find solutions.

This election is going to come down to turnout. Many people are fed up and ready for a change; hence the large support BlackOut 2005 has received. We hear many Republicans cheering on David E. Poisson from the crowd. Black just doesn't want to admit this. If it takes a Democrat to kick out Black, so be it. Just because Black has an "R" after his name doesn't mean his candidacy should be endorsed.

Effectiveness, competence and pragmatism are all hallmarks of the Republican agenda. Black serves none of these. Republican voters are urged to go to the polls and help return to a common-sense agenda in Loudoun.

Glenn Maravetz


Maravetz is president of BlackOut 2005.