01 February 2007

Landes, Striking a Pose, Strikes the Public

As reported by Waldo yesterday, Del. Steve Landes (R-25) introduced HR45, a bill doomed to failure because it threatened to address accusations of closed government, back-room dealing on the part of the House Republicans, who apparently object to the public's right to know what happens on the House floor and in its subcommittees.

We thought Landes struck a blow, exposing a rift between sensible, responsible Republicans who view themselves as representatives of their constituents, and the manipulative, controlling arse-wipe Republicans who believe the people who elected them should be treated like preschoolers and fed an unbalanced diet of all the state government news that they think is fit.

Instead of a blow, Landes struck a pose. Enter House Bill 3113, on which Landes is also listed as Chief Patron. HB 3113 consolidates the State Air Pollution Control Board, the State Water Control Board, and the Waste Management Board--all of which are appointed, expert, citizen oversight boards--into one eleven-member board called the "Virginia Board of Environmental Quality," which will have absolutely no power to issue permits and licenses, nor to hold public hearings on any issues with which it deals. Those duties will be streamlined and given to the DEQ, which has no valid citizen input mechanism and which is not beholden to an electorate for its position and authority.

In other words, Landes, yesterday's darling for defying his fellow House Republicans by asserting John Q. Public's Right to Know about his state government, has done a complete about-face and is now asserting that John Q. Public should have no authority nor voice in the very critical matters of air and water quality and waste control; in fact, no authority in anything having to do with state natural resource distribution, conservation, and protection, including, apparently, land use and industrial placement and discharge.

The only way that I can interpret this 180 is that Landes was lying about wanting to institute a House deliberations broadcast and, instead, was proposing HR45 to save face for himself and/or his party.

Landes is the delegate for the 25th District, which includes western Albemarle, Augusta, Waynesboro, and Rockingham. He comes up for reelection in 2008. May I suggest to concerned Albemarle citizens that you replace him? I don't care if you elect a Republican or a Democrat, or a Libertarian. Just, please, elect someone who thinks that constituents should have a say in government.

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