For the last five years I have been enjoying living in the state of Virginia. Before living here I spent most of my life growing up in city in central California. During the time before I moved to a state with some history, I saw a lot of political and law enforcement corruption. For instance in Kern County California the district attorney had a wife that kept getting thrown in jail for her addiction to pain medication and writing her own prescriptions. The assistant district attorney was murdered because the father of his teenage boyfriend got angry when he overdosed on the drugs the assistant district attorney had been giving him. To help you understand the level of corruption, Rolling Stone did a piece on the DA naming him the District Attorney with the most convictions of innocent people in the country!
I met a drug dealer who sold cocaine at police officer’s after work parties. I met a former police officer who had seen another officer sell drugs on his first week on the job. The justice department had been investigating the department for a long time, and was continuing to do so after I moved away. When I was 16 I had been dropped off at a barber shop to get a haircut. When I emerged my mom had not returned yet so I went next door to buy a soft drink while I waited. As I stood outside the barber shop two uniformed police approached me and told me to keep my hands visible. They proceeded to pat me down, while one of the officers insulted me and accused me of breaking into cars. I explained what had happened, and he insisted that I must have some tools for breaking into cars in my pockets somewhere. They walked me to the other side of the shopping area and said a local store owner had reported me for trying to break into cars. Thirty minutes or so later as my mother arrived, not understanding what happened they told her the exact same thing. They put me in a police car in cuffs and asked how I liked it. They then proceeded to pat me down yet again, insisting that I was identified by the mystery accuser who never showed up. Meanwhile the barber came out and explained that I was being truthful, and that I was a regular. The officer decided to take a picture of me and file a report that I had been breaking into cars. Needless to say it was more than an hour of police harassment for doing absolutely nothing.
This was not the only time in my California experience where I was harassed by police. I was also mistaken by a detective for a fugitive. He was at least more polite than the jerk who was taking out his bad day on an innocent 16 year old.
Virginia is Different
The commonwealth is different than California. Here in central Virginia the police have probably not had many encounters with really bad criminals. We don’t seem to have gangs here even remotely like the ones in California. I have not met anyone here who has had a gun pointed at them, or watched a shooting take place while sitting in the drive through. A buddy of mine from California had to hide under his truck in California as rivals gags had a shootout in the middle of the road in front of the mall. Later in his life he had to testify in court against two police who killed an unarmed man without provocation by beating his brains out. I just don’t hear of those kinds of stories here. People seem more peaceful. I believe in part that is because everyone here is far better armed.
The invasive government does not seem to have perverted the police here like in Central CA. However, local government is far more intrusive in other ways. It seems Campbell county is asking me for money every few minutes, and now the liberals who run the county are raising my already high taxes!
Let me give you some examples of taxes I should not be paying. Firstly I just received a letter from the county telling me they are going to call animal control unless I mail in a $5 check for my unregistered dog. How do they know I have a dog? My Lynchburg city Vet reported it to the city, who then notified the county. (Thanks Lynchburg for violating my privacy!). Now should I really care about a $5 check? No.. but the fine for not registering my dog is to have animal control come harass me.
I could understand a weird $5 tax, except that random dogs rummage through my garbage at least once a week. I have drawn a gun on a dog once already because it was clearly sick and moving toward me in an aggressive manner. Luckily a yell scared it off, and I was not forced to shoot it. It does not leave me sleeping easy considering my seven month pregnant wife does not carry a gun, and could easily have been in my place. So if your going to charge me a silly tax, you might expect animal control to actually DO something with the money. Sadly the truth is that I have called them before because of dogs on my property, and they are not going to come do anything about it. In fact they said if I hurt the dogs trespassing on my property they would come arrest me! I have a great idea.. lets just cancel the program altogether and keep our collective $5 license fees!
It is not one thing that has driven me to being frustrated with the county, its endless things. Like when I blew out a tire and flipped my truck upside down in a ditch. It was a good tire, but bad things sometimes just happen. While I was in my hospital daze the state trooper continued to ask if I had fell asleep. I told her no, but she lied to the judge after issuing me a citation for wreckless driving! Getting into the court house was hard enough, as my wife dropped me off at the courthouse and headed to work. My only way to get a cab to take me home afterwords was to bring my phone with me. When I arrived at the courthouse steps the Judge had decided he was not going to allow any cell phones into the courthouse.. period! So not knowing what to do I had to hide my cell phone in a tree until afterword hoping no one noticed and stole it while I was inside. So feeling like I was being treated like a child by the silly rule, I went inside only to find the officer had written down a fake testimony from me on the day of the accident.
What did the judge decide in this case? He decided that even though the only person hurt in my accident was me, emotionally, physically, and financially.. he would fine me so I could pay the county!
These things I can understand, and I can put up with them. However, what blows my mind is that every year I write a check to the county for the vehicles I own. Not the land I purchased, not the building I own.. on the car I own which I am still paying for which is becoming less valuable every moment of every day. This is the counties way of making sure that those of us who do not actually own property still have to pay property taxes. I used to think the high vehicle registration fees in the socialist state of California were bad. That was before I came to the communist republic of Virginia and found that I did not even actually own my own vehicle, I must pay for it every year, so the county can spend my money on the roads which do not get fixed and the poor schooling other peoples children receive.
So this is where I have made my home. I still think its better than the corrupt state of California. I am just sad because it is getting worse. The county supervisors want to add a hotel tax. I am not opposed to this, as I don’t stay in hotels in my own county. The other tax they are talking about raising is a meals tax. This would just give me a good reason to spend my money in another county. What is the excuse they use for this? They say they will have to cut school budgets otherwise. Sure this is true… when you count the free money they took from the federal government into the budget. They are pretending that this extra money is now just a part of the expected budget of the schools.
I have an idea for you supervisors. How about you act like real conservatives and NOT raise my taxes. Better yet, why don’t you go ahead and lower my taxes so that I can actually own my own vehicle, and not be your slave if I want to drive something. These jokers give money to democrats, oppose real conservatives for office, and then raise taxes and they still want us to think they are conservative?
You might be church goers, but you are anything but conservative. Don’t you think we pay the county enough? I have a conservative idea for you. Why don’t you work with the money you already have! My wife and I are not allowed to go create new ways to steal from people when we want to spend more money. The County budget is no different than the budget of a family, except they can just find new ways to spend our money.
So keep it up guys. Spend more of our money, and I will keep asking other local business owners who we can run against you.
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