Spotsylvania News

Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.

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Why didn’t Vince Onorato get the GOP’s support?

Why didn’t the Spotsylvania Republican Committee throw its support behind former supervisor Vince Onorato when he announced he was going to challenge Gary Skinner in a three-way race with fellow Republican D.J. McGuire.

Vince wasn’t a Republican for his first foray in local politics. When he ran in his first term he was an independent and eventually joined the GOP ranks. When Skinner ousted him after one term, Onorato said he would never run for election again. The race wasn’t close.

A year later he announced he would challenge Skinner as an independent. A few months after his announcement, he failed to hand in all of the required paperwork to the registrar’s office.

Why did the local GOP choose newcomer D.J. McGuire over Vince Onorato?

Spotsylvania County Republican Committee Chairman Bryce Reeves said Onorato didn’t seek the support. Instead he alienated himself from the party. 

"I think he’s tired of politics," Reeves said. "This is tough, man. I have been doing this for a year and a half now and I am immersed in it. It can wear on you. I just get tired of all the name calling. Let’s just get out and solve some issues."

Onorato was asked to be a precinct captain for the presidential race and around that time he had sent a scathing e-mail to another GOP member, Nancy McNamara, in which he apparently denounced the entire party.  He called everyone in the party "sell outs."

Reeves is trying to rebuild the party after poor performances in the 2007 elections in Spotsylvania County. Only Jerry Logan won as a GOP member, and he was not contested. Reeves came to a party that had no money left and its credibility was in question. 


"I am trying to get the party to a different level," he said. 

The problems that have pitted Republicans against Republicans for what seems like forever continue to divide the party.

For example, the  Spotsy GOP’s Second Vice President Herb Lux told supervisors at the VRE public hearing that they cannot join VRE because the Constitution does not specifically say the county can.He said during the meeting that the GOP Committee passed a resolution denouncing the county joining VRE. During that hearing, two other members of the local GOP approached me and said that no resolution was passed. Reeves confirmed that no resolution was passed. Reeves said he has GOP members who love VRE and members who don’t like it. He said he is not going to cause trouble for those who like VRE, because they still adhere to the GOP crede and principles. 

Herb Lux also wanted all GOP-endorsed candidates to take, and pass, a test on the Constitution taught by himself, and his good friend Claude Dunn.

Reeves described the situation as "New Age Republicans" vs. ultra conservatives.

Any of you interested?



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  • gramps

    on any thing to run for office would be a cold day in you know where. Who the he** is this fellow Lux? What is his claim to fame? What kind of nonsense were the GOP thinking about?

  • lgross

    and I do not care for litmus test endorsement criteria and I really do not care
    for a local political party that have public speakers claiming local party
    principals that are in conflict according to which speaker is up.

    I would expect those who speak for the local Party do so with the explicit
    direction of the party and not be out free-lancing their own beliefs and
    claiming it represents the party plank.

    and I think the R’s hurt themselves at the VRE hearing by talking about the
    Constitution and “illegal” actions on the part of Govt….

    I knew when those guys got up that it would damage the legitimate cons of

    I think if the R’s continue in the current direction – they are liable to become
    a permanent minority with heavy influence from social conservatives and
    fringe groups.

    I don’t begrudge their right to hold to their avowed principles – but if you
    want to govern – you have to embrace wider and more diverse constituencies.

    I do not think we need folks on the BOS that hail from the far right… (nor
    the far left for that matter).

    just my 2 cents worth

    but here’s a bonus question for ya’ll

    How come Mr. Reeves did not topple Mr. Waddy?

  • Northgate

    It was a classic 3 way race. TC did not have the majority. If Beals was not in the race, Reeves had a shot. Good ‘Ol boy politics. Reeves is doing a great job at reviving the GOP in Spotsylvania.

  • gramps

    I agree with northgatenoise. This 3-way business plays right into the hands of the incumbent. It is probably the only thing about non-partisan races that I disagree with. You can end up with three (or more?) people on the ballot thereby splitting the votes.

  • tpifos

    in this area. Progressive ideas are shot down by a
    minority of vocal “locals” who are threatened by
    anything but the status quo. Until feet draggers are
    weeded out this place will always be Fredtucky.

  • lgross

    I would respectfully disagree.

    Real Leadership – represents the folks that elected you.

    We have a natural check on folks who get elected and think they have better ideas than they promised to get

    We call that – getting tossed out at the next election.

    The job of leadership IMHO is to work hard to foster proposals that have wider appeal than just to one

    I think denigrating the values of people who live and work locally because they are different from the folks
    who move here – is an example of bad leadership that divides and fractures a sense of community.

    Many folks who live “in the country” do so now days – because they simply cannot afford the kind of housing
    that is built to cater to folks who commute for much higher salaries.

    The guy that fixes your furnace or the lady that serves your kids lunch or takes your medical history when you
    visit the doctor – or fixes your car – will earn less by working local and not commuting and as a result –
    affordable housing often is difficult to find.

    when we dismiss the values and needs of an entire segment of our community – we divide the community
    instead of working to unite it.

    There is absolutely no reason why the guy that works at the Pentagon for 100K cannot sit down next the the
    guy who earns 60K teaching phys ed and work together for the betterment of the community.

    REAL leaders recognize this. It’s not easy – but it’s the right thing to do.

  • gramps

    larryg. I agree with your position, but I personally have not witnessed this “sperateness” you seem to believe exists between the so-called “come-heres” and the “old timers.” BTW, even some of today’s “old timers” were once “come-heres.” Can you provide us with some examples of this problem?

  • lgross

    yes… it’s part of the backlash against C500 and it’s very much part of the VRE

    and it’s involved in the growth debate and about the lack of proffers on by-right
    land and 3-acre and family subdivisions.

    none of which .. did the citizen groups address and instead they cheerleaded for
    “Smart Growth” which is pretty ironic because Smart Growth principles advocate
    that people live AND work locally and that a variety of affordable housing stock
    also be part of “smart”.

    Instead – it has become essentially a war between those who say the county has
    “sprawled” (and many of those folks live in Sprawl homes) and those who say
    they cannot afford a house unless they go to the rural areas where there are no
    proffers … and they can buy a parcel.. sell part of it and use the profit to build
    their “affordable” home.

    Marshal and Waddy see the sale of rural land and the lack of proffers on rural
    land as a benefit to the folks who do not earn high dollar salaries up north.

    they’ve pointed out that the local workers already cannot easily afford a house
    close in and have to go to the rural areas and that if on top of that, they had to
    pay an extra 30K that they would not be able to afford a house there either.

    people who move here to work here – locally are not counted in their eyes as
    “come-heres”. It’s folks who work elsewhere or are retired that are usually better
    off and demanding of more expensive services and actually speak in favor of tax
    increases – which even further undermines the folks who work locally and own
    rural land…

    so Marshall and Waddy – representing their constituents are in favor of their
    constituents being able to sell some of the land to pay for their needs – including
    being able to build a modest place to live – without having a 30K proffer put on it.

    When VRE was promoted – we did not say: “we give half of the tax to VRE and the
    other half WILLl be used to pave THESE SPECIFIC Roads”.

    Nope – instead – we give the money to VRE and IF there is some left over …we
    MIGHT do some road on a list – but it sorta “depends” on what other roads might
    need to be upgraded including all those arterials the commuters use ….

    In my mind – a good leader recognizes the perception of inequity and works for
    accommodations.. like perhaps actually naming some roads that the county WILL
    pave even if they don’t have enough VRE money or they specifically offer
    more/better transit in the rural areas… in other words.. recognize the
    perception of inequity and work towards a proposal that tends to benefit more of
    the whole community… in the opinion of those who feel they are not being
    treated as fairly – not in the eyes of those who are not in their shoes.

    this is something a citizen group that has a more rounded membership could
    push for… instead of basically being a cheerleader for one side which is
    predominately made up of folks who do not work locally.

    at the least – they should recognize and admit what the opposition is about and
    talk about some ways to put together a more equitable proposal that would gain
    wider support.

    I think Mr. Marshall and Mr. Waddy are shortsighted in their advocacy for more
    unbridled land-development and the consequences but if we don’t work with
    them… on better proposals than are more inclusive.. then they have to represent
    their folks – and they do.

  • Mycomfort

    If you want to know who herb lux is all you have to do is go to the Circuit and General District Courts and look him up == then you will know.

    He is the reason I will NEVER join the Spotsy Republican party.

  • lgross

    Oh.. I’ll vote for Republicans.. have in the past and
    might do in the future if they can rid themselves of
    these wingnuts that have infested their ranks as of

    They used to be the voice of reason especially when
    it came to fiscal issues… but a lot of them traded
    that in for a life-time supply of stupid pills.

  • MAVRICKinc

    With all due respect, I believe and agree TIPFOS pinned the tail on the donkey with his/her observation we’re standing in concrete that was poured by current and past elected officials and THEIR constituents.

    One day, Larry Gross will have to translate HIS take on leadership. Not sure how his definition that leadership are based in hard work “to foster proposals that have wider appeal than JUST ONE CONSTITUENCY when in fact he supports only one constituency.

    As I moved through the rhetoric I found his remarks that “when we dismiss the values and needs of an entire SEGMENT of our community-we divide the community instead of working to unite it.

    Which SEGMENT of our community is he refering to; BOS, Development Communities, the FAMPO transportation and landuse agendas or the community leadership provided by the Committee of 500 behind closed doors.

    I’ve read enough of Dan Telvock’s blogs and his gruesome twosome’s offensive strategies to understand they speak of only one constituency, that continues to evolve as just another version of yet another closed door.

    Larry: in response to your bonus question, “How come Mr. Reeves did not topple Mr. Waddy?”

    My question is which member of the Beals family opted into the election as a third ticket and dividing the vote between Reeves and Waddy?

    Since this is Dan Telvock’s first political initiative and journalistic assignment, I’ll wait to see how many bridges he burns down and see what’s left, after everything is said and done by Larry’s SEGMENT of the population shows up at last call.

    Since Vince Onorato started out as an independent, chose to join the GOP and found them out as just another thought process warring with itself. Any question? Check the results.

    So, did Onorato make the right decision to call out the GOP and let them fall on their own petard?

    Supv Skinner may have gotten the vote, but look which SEGMENT of the population supported his run. Between Cosner, Silver, Tom and Timothy Welsh and Meadow’s and their SEGMENT of the population, who, if anyone stood a chance against their leverage. Not even the BOS thought to be on the other side and SEGMENT of the OUR population?

    Simply said, CHANGE has CONSEQUENCES which this blog and its guardians can’t bring themselves to tell US, it’s there way or no way.

    This ain’t rocket science folks, it’s how our elected officials conduct business, whether we like it or not, or even if it doesn’t make sense, or serve in OUR best interest.

    I actually thought we learned something, after 30 years of trust being flushed down the commode. What is it about this recession, the fallout, and those institutions that are just too big to fail, that we just don’t get?

    I was recently amused by Arlington County suing the US Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Commonwealth of Virginia over a “Categorical Exclusion” thatr would allow the hot lanes project move forward WITHOUT the full environmental and public he health analysis and PUBLIC REVIEW required by federal law.

    You are invited to read the FINAL press release of 8-18-2009 OR call Diane Sun at 703-228-3247.

    Anything you would ever want to know about “Hot Lanes” construction, you might want to ring up Supv. Hap Connors who chairs the County BOS and the FAMPO Board. Mary Lee Carter, as one of Virginia States Transportation Board member who should have even more details on the HOT LANES issue which the Commonwealth of Virginia is backing away from.

    So, what does Arlington County have anything to do with transportation? They are just another “Contributing Jurisdiction” of the VRE agenda and Master Agreement.

    So, we get to underwrite 500 Spotsylvania County Commuters with Country budget dollars, to support an agreement the BOS made with VRE with only a projection on what we might get back from VRE to spend on transportation.

    It’s little things like this that give more meaning to the definition of leadership and SEGMENTS of our population, brought to this table, which for all intents and purposes has been deeded over to Larryg, Gramps and Dan Telvock’s last recollection.

    If the bandwidth doesn’t get any bigger than this, it’s no wonder the rest of us have anything to say, contribute, or proffer as another way of thinking in pursuit of finding real business solutions that simply do not conform to the likes of the good ole boys definition of what segement of the population they serve, with our money.

    I can hear the sabers rattling all the way from here.

    Let the politics,postured positions and scripted rhetoric begin.

  • gramps

    Okay, now I think I understand better where you are coming from.

    My view on local politics is such that when a particular issue comes to the public forum it is fair game for vigorous and sometimes rowdy debate. I do not consider that process to be a war. However, once such an issue has been “debated” and the BOS has voted, then I am of the persuasion that it is time to move on to the next issue. Continuing to “harangue” and “whine” about the result of the vote is quite counterproductive.

    The “war on growth” as it applies to rural areas should be over. It is my understanding that Marshall won that battle when he successfully got the BOS to pass by-rights on 3 acre parcels of family land. I also believe there are no proffers required on these parcels. Time to move on.

    Now, just a comment about the Marshall/Waddy description of all those “poor” folks in their districts. My in-laws lived in the Berkeley district from the early 1970’s until their passing a few years ago. I lived in the Livingston district until recently when we “downsized” and moved to the Courtland district. IMHO it is somewhat insincere for M/W to constantly plead “poor mouth” concerning their constituents. There are some pretty wealthy old boys out there in them “hollers.” Therefore, not all those by-right deals are being done for the indigents. And that is fine with me too.

    Onward and upward to the VRE. Here we have a case where the BOS has “voted” but the result is still in limbo because of some carefully crafted political maneuvering. You and I are still waiting for someone on the BOS to explain that curious “public hearing.” (And we may be waiting for a very long time.) I am in complete agreement with the argument about the use of some part of the gas tax revenue. In fact, shortly before the “public hearing” I wrote to Mr. Logan and in part said, “First, there is the argument that all Spotsylvanians should not subsidize the few that use VRE daily. On that issue, I believe the thoughtful citizens would drop their objections if the BOS would declare that some portion of the revenue realized from the gas tax would be used to support the other commuter programs in the county. Naturally, there are some that will never change their mind.” I consider other commuter programs to include specific rural as well as other roads.

    So the “war” about VRE is not over by any measure. In fact, this issue may be a “defining” issue in Spotsy for many years to come. To me, this will be a shame because with or without VRE, Spotsy absolutely must move on because there are many other issues on the horizon.

    Hence, it is my view that it will fall to these citizen groups and all citizens in general, to move us forward. We need better candidates for our elected positions. I am disappointed that we seem to be re-cycling candidates rather than getting new blood in the mix.

    One other point about citizen groups and this will probably raise Mav’s “hackles,” but I was very disappointed when the BOS stopped accepting the recommendations of the citizen’s budget group. If any member or members of the BOS can not take any heat then they need to get the he** out of the kitchen.

    How’s that for “blathering?”

  • lgross

    This is an example of why I cannot understand
    these (pointless?) tomes….

    ” I was recently amused by Arlington County suing
    the US Department of Transportation, the Federal
    Highway Administration (FHWA) and the
    Commonwealth of Virginia over a “Categorical
    Exclusion” thatr would allow the hot lanes project
    move forward WITHOUT the full environmental
    and public he health analysis and PUBLIC REVIEW
    required by federal law.

    You are invited to read the FINAL press release of
    8-18-2009 OR call Diane Sun at 703-228-3247.

    Anything you would ever want to know about “Hot
    Lanes” construction, you might want to ring up
    Supv. Hap Connors who chairs the County BOS
    and the FAMPO Board. Mary Lee Carter, as one of
    Virginia States Transportation Board member who
    should have even more details on the HOT LANES
    issue which the Commonwealth of Virginia is
    backing away from.”

    What is the point here?

    what does this have to do with leadership in

    Arlington is suing because they are concerned with
    the potential impacts of the HOT Lanes on their
    local streets AND with the assertion that air quality
    will not be further harmed by an increase in traffic.

    It’s a legitimate concern and it required some
    leadership on the part of Arlington to step forward
    and raise the issue.

    What I get out of the previous tome is that
    somehow.. this issue proves “something” about
    the way that leadership in Spotsylvania operates
    and the implication that the folks involved are up
    to no good.

    someone else tell me if I’m reading more into this
    than I should?

    but that’s about all I get out of these tomes…
    they all work the same basic way.. bad stuff is
    going on because the folks in charge are up to no


  • gramps

    Went to County web site, then Courts, then District, then General District, then searched for Herb Lux. Got nothing, nada, zip. If it is important I know who this gentleman is then someone gotta help me out! You listening trailmix?

  • gramps

    Oops also wnet to Circuit Court…still nothing there????

  • lgross
  • gramps

    Jeez, larryg you are a veritable warehouse of information. This chap was a convicted grand larcenist, general contractor, and bankrupt. Wonder whatever gave him the idea he ought to teach others about the constitution? Ye gods! When I saw the larryg referenced web site I LMAO!! Still chuckling!

  • MAVRICKinc

    So, what was the point of rewriting and sharing some part of a suit being brought by Arlington County, and trying to make sense of how it applies to Spotsylvania County.

    I’ll assume you have read some of translations being provided by the FLS and members of the public.

    And then there is the matter of you being a member of the FAMPO Transportation Advisory Group, and would necessarily know most or all the details surrounding HOT LANES in Spotsylvania. You’ve been sitting on these details for years. So why would FAMPO be conducting emergency meetings to see how backing away from the hot lane issue and it’s effect on transportation and landuse agendas and mandates circling the development of a REGIONAL GOVERENMENT through FAMPO, not local governments. Spotsylvania County is already on board.

    For details, I have only suggested you contact the makers of this agenda and closest to what’s really going on behind closed doors.

    I’ve done my homework. You might consider doing the same and sharing what you find, or are allowed to find.

    Hot Lanes are just part of the puzzle. Remove it from the puzzle, even you will concede the ripple effect alone will bare some serious consideration. But you, of all people, already know this.

    We’ll continue to measure your calling by your ommissions, not your admissions.

  • lgross

    Geeze … 217 words .. and on a SINGLE subject then you backslid a
    little by getting back into personalities.

    Here’s the deal with HOT Lanes – whether you like them or not.

    The Fredericksburg Area through it’s Federally-mandated MPO – FAMPO
    .. is REQUIRED to generated what is known as a CLRP – an acronym for
    Constrained Long Range Plan.

    Now what does that mean? It means that – that plan can not have any
    more projects in it that they know they will have funding to pay for it.

    Further.. the estimate for a project has to have a projected build date
    and the cost – in inflation-adjusted dollars.

    Now why is this? It’s an attempt to get away from wish lists and to force
    the regional leaders to use credible financial data and to prioritize the
    projects so that , in theory, every project on the list will get built.

    The HOT lanes were intended to help fund some of the stuff that was
    in the plan and other things in the planning – depended on HOT Lanes
    getting constructed.

    For instance spaces for about 4000 car/van/bus riders.. was

    So.. delaying the HOT lanes has some substantial impacts.

    Okay.. so you may not support the idea of HOT Lanes, or MPOs, or
    regional cooperation for transporation… you might disagree on the
    merits… of such

    … but the personalities involved are a separate issue as to the merits
    of these entities and their missions.

    .. I don’t doubt for a minute that politics is involved at these levels but
    that would be true of just about anything that involves government

    so I prefer to focus on the issues and the merits rather than
    personalities.. which I don’t think you really know and understand in
    the first place and whom you seem to sometimes ascribe less than
    pure motives to…

    leaving the impression that we have issues with FAMPO because of the
    people involved with it… as opposed to the reason why it exists and
    it’s operation.

    I have a problem with FAMPO not being direct-elected.. but it’s not
    because I think the folks running it are evil or immoral or whatever..
    it’s because I think direct-elected would bring better accountability..

    so that’s what I work for.. as opposed to cursing the darkness and
    blaming people…

    but you did stick to one subject and kept it succinct so I give you credit
    for that.

  • MAVRICKinc

    So, why do WE find so many of our elected officials, and Spotsylvania County staffs, make decisions for the County with absolutely no accountability to its citizens?

    PEOPLE make decisions for us everyday, and we don’t have a clue how those decisions are being made. I attend FAMPO meetings and can realistically conclude that less than 1% of our County’s population knows anything about what our elected officials are putting into place in yet another forum that stands outside citizen knowledge or comprehension.

    Is this bad, evil, skuldugerous? How would I know, or for that matter anyone who might just want something more out of our officials to make an informed decision.

    For the past two years, I don’t see where our elected officials have sought to inform or even make available to the public. Does that make them evil or have ulterior motives in conducting business for Spotsylvania County? Don’t believe so.

    How would any of us know or even accuse our officials of wrong doing, when we don’t even have clue what business is being conducted from behind their closed doors.

    It was the publication of the VRE Master Agreement, for the first time in County history, that caused me to wonder what the h**l is going on.

    I don’t recall getting any answers back from County officials, The Committee of 500, Fredericksburg Town Counsil, the Stafford BOS, YOU, Gramps or the FLS.

    So, now I am to understand WE can no longer ask questions of our governments, for want of an intelligible response, or must we confine our thinking to the foregone conclusion that the politicans stance is preordained and their silence toward any issue of concern is beyond circumstection or public comprehension.

    Excuses for those who keep making the same decisions over and over again for the same “stakeholders” doesn’t sound much like “best business practices” to me, but what do I know.

    What have you gotten back from elected officials that address YOUR concerns or does that remain hidden behind closed doors. I think we need to get something back of substance, not speculation, innuendo and dancing around
    real issues.

    By the way, I’m not AGAINST anything or anyone. If I get straight answers and a plausabile means to make an informed decision, and persuade me we’re headed in the right direction, who am I to question further. First comes the question. You can take it from there.

  • lgross

    This was an EXCELLENT contribution Mav so now I know that you ARE CAPABLE of it.

    And for what it is worth, I pretty much agree with your premise.

    But I do not blame officials for people not knowing what is going on.

    For the most part, much of that info is available (not all, and not enough I agree).

    It’s basically up to citizens to follow the issues and express themselves clearly at
    venues of opportunity.

    and to work for change – through dialog with other citizens, citizens groups, polls,
    hearings, referenda and elections.

    The truth is that many elected officials – after presiding over hearings and other
    issues under consideration where no one shows up – after awhile they do get the
    impression that accountability is apparently not a big deal with many citizens.

    I’m especially disappointed in C500 because this is why they were originally
    founded was to fill this gap and the get to the issues, perform some due diligence,
    talk about the pros and cons – and take a position. Instead, they pretty much are
    cheerleaders for sound-bite type ideas… like “smart growth” …

    My involvement in FAMPO is for the most part for two reasons – to better
    understand how the transportation process works and second, to urge them to
    better connect with and engage the public on these issues because many, many
    folks in our area do not know who they are and what they do beyond some vague

    And I’d like to see FAMPO – direct elected not appointed because what people don’t
    want is yet another VDOT-like entity where the principles are not elected and
    accountability is slim to none … you’ll find I agree with you on these aspects but I
    don’t ascribe these failings to particular personalities because long ago.. it was
    decided that FAMPO leadership would be appointed like every other MPO in the U.S.
    save one.

    Folks who educate themselves on the issues and this share this with others in
    reasoned dialog that stays away from personalities can make a difference. – in my
    view an thus blogs like this exceptional opportunities for citizens to “compare
    notes” and work together to develop more info.. explore the issues ..pros and cons
    and make some conclusions… and finally.. ACT.. by speaking out at meetings,
    writing LTEs, supporting candidates, etc.

    I’m sure I have not covered everything here but perhaps I have covered enough to
    let you know how I feel about these things.

    One final thing… in a particular individual has gotten himself (or herself) directly
    involved in something – then discussing that person if fair game) but I don’t think
    talking about personalities in the context of an entity like FAMPO accomplishes
    anything if there are no specifics …

  • MAVRICKinc

    Larry: I’m not really sure you know what my capabilites really are. I’ll let you decide, but it’s bigger than a bread basket and I feed on both sides of the fence, without regard to politics, labels or political agendas.

    If I’m to be persuaded of anything, I prefer the litmus test, with or without the lies. It really doesn’t matter much to me which side you’re on.

    Larryg, you are the loyal opposition and the other side of this equation and multiple issues. We would expect to see nothing less than YOUR interpretation of which agenda to cow to.

    We call it a “predictable anomoly.” To attempt change or even be persuaded otherwise is beyond your control, much in the same way as Minuteman would have us believe.

    You are not underestimated. You are a foregone conclusion, much the same way as this community. That’s why we invented the “sleepy hollow community” and all that comes with it.

    This is not rocket science, no matter what you think or bring to the table, which is seriously wanting of details.

    Any questions you may have about this conclusion, I suggest you take them up with Dan Telvock and the Free Lance Star.

    There’s more to come, but that’s entirely up to Dan Telvock and the FLS. They have the power of the press, whether any of us like it or not.

    The only problem I have is having to live the lie, but I’m sure I’ll get over it, much like you have.