How Much Have We Lost?

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hurricane Joaquin Storm Information

The National Weather Service issued a flood warning for Northern Virginia due to the approach of Hurricane Joaquin. 
We are expected to receive heavy rain over the next three days as shown on the right. 

The path of the storm is still highly uncertain given existing weather patterns so please continue to monitor events.

The following information should help you prepare for the storm:  

Friday, September 11, 2015

Action Needed on Predatory Lending

Last month, I released my new political advertisement discussing the problem of exploding predatory lending on U.S. 1.

Today, I held a press conference with Attorney General Mark Herring regarding the continuing problem of predatory lending in the U.S. 1 Corridor and his recent decision to set up a unit in the Attorney General's Office specifically focused on enforcing Virginia's laws against predatory lenders.

Car Title Lenders on Route 1 are preying on working families and service members with up to 264% interest rates. It's wrong. As your Senator, I'll stop these outrageous rates.
Posted by Scott A. Surovell on Wednesday, August 19, 2015
There are several things we can do to get this under control:
  • Allow local governments to limit the number of predatory lending businesses that can locate in a neighborhood.
  • Limit predatory lenders from locating within a certain radius of their targets such as military bases or casinos.
  • Prohibit car title lenders from co-locating other financial institutions that offer different products in the same storefront.
  • Cap interest rates at thirty-six percent.
I have here is media coverage of our press conference.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekly Column: More Access to Clean Solar Power for Virginians

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of September 1, 2015.
More Access to Clean Solar Power for Virginians
Last week, the State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved an innovative solar program proposed by Dominion Resources, a project that will enhance consumer choices and facilitate clean, renewable energy production for many Virginians.
As Virginia implements the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the state's utilities  need to transition to systems that reduce carbon emissions and deliver reliable, affordable power to  homes and businesses.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Secretary of the Commonwealth to give Voter Restoration Update in Mt. Vernon

Governor McAuliffe has restored more peoples' voting rights in 18 months than any governor has in 4 years and the Route 1 Corridor has a high concentration of people who are eligible for restoration. It is important to spread awareness about the restoration process and my campaign has already identified a dozen people who are eligible to have their voting rights restored.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Fort Hunt Park Public Comments

The National Park Service is in the process if revising their long-term use plan for Fort Hunt Park.

Their initial proposal was met with a health rebuke from our community.  I wrote about it here, accepted hundreds of community comments, the National Park Service heeded our comments and the process was further revised:

The National Park Service is now out with their final two proposed alternatives (three if you count "no action").  My public comments are below.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Surovell Calls for Debates Across the 36th District

Mount Vernon, Virginia- Today Delegate Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax), challenged Republican nominee Mayor Jerry Foreman to debates across the 36th district.

"It's time for Mayor Foreman to stop hiding behind negative push polls and debate me face to face", Surovell said.  "I propose we hold a series of debates in every section of the District so the voters can come hear our vision for the Route 1 Corridor."

Surovell proposed a debate in every part of the district- organized by the two campaigns or any community groups willing to do so.  To date, no debates have been proposed by any group in the 36th district.

Surovell's plan includes 6 debates, with them held in each of the following areas:

Stafford County
Lee District (Fairfax County)
Mt. Vernon District (Fairfax County)
Occoquan/Coles Districts (Prince William County)
Woodbridge/Neabsco Districts (Prince William County)
Potomac District (Prince William County)

"Our district spans nine magisterial districts in three counties, and runs for over 20 miles along the Potomac River", Surovell noted.  "I hope Mayor Foreman will accept my challenge and we can begin planning debates immediately."

Friday, July 17, 2015

Fairfax County Change on U.S. 1 1960-2010

Fairfax County Channel 16 has come out with a new video featuring some historical highlights of the U.S. 1 Corridor 1960-2000's. 

The video features discussion of change on U.S. 1 through the years has some nice segments on Gum Springs, Mount Vernon High School, Montebello, and Woodlawn.

Great cameos by area history buff Michael Bohn, Gum Springs History Curator Ron Chase, SFDC Executive Director Edyhe Kelleher, Pamela Hess Executive Director of Arcadia Center for Food and Sustainable Agriculture which is about to launch a major initiative at Woodlawn, and a few clips of me.

Great production which summarizes our local history.  You can watch below.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Biking Through Coal County

Woke up this morning at the Comfort Inn in Big Stone Gap, Virginia which is currently populated with about two dozen cherry pickers to restore power lost last night.   This morning, I'm heading over to Wise, VA to serve as a panelist at a continuing legal education class on Drones and Spacelaw.

Driving up here last night, all I could think about was August, 1996 when I rode a bike across the United States. 

After getting a bike "tune-up" from an aggressive technician in Carbondale, IL, I noticed that my rear shifter had become a bit more erratic.  Once we hit the Ozarks in Missouri, it basically started to fail which was lots of fun going up hills with 15% grades.  When I got to Hindman, Kentucky it was basically completely dead and I knew there was no way I was going over the Virginia mountains with only about three gears (the low ones that aren't good on hills).

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Weekly Column: Prompt Action and Cooperation Needed to Clean the Potomac River

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of July 6, 2015.
Prompt Action and Cooperation Needed to Clean the Potomac River
This past week, the senior member of Virginia’s congressional delegation introduced legislation to remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) ability to hold Virginia accountable for failing to clean up the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay.  People should be deeply disturbed. The Potomac provides drinking water to five million people.
A Rich History  
The Potomac River was once a bountiful asset and source of employment.  In 1604, Captain John Smith wrote of fish so plentiful he could spear them with his sword, oysters that “lay as thick as stones” and schools of fish so plentiful that his men attempted to catch them with frying pans. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Weekly Column: Predatory Lending Continues Its March Through Virginia and U.S. 1

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of June 23, 2015.
Predatory Lending Continues Its March Through Virginia and U.S. 1
The Virginia’s State Corporation Commission latest annual report says that predatory car title lending is thriving in Virginia .  With nearly three dozen car title lenders between Alexandria and Quantico on U.S. 1, this is troubling news, except to the lenders out to make big profits.    You can read the full report on my online newsletter –The Dixie Pig – at 
Car title lending began in our state in 2010 after Virginia limited interest rates on payday loans and predatory lenders argued that a new option was needed.  Virginia law authorizes lenders to lend money at rates up to 30% per month which equates to around a 297% annual percentage rate (APR).  A consumer can  borrow up to 50% of their vehicle’s equity and the loan term is limited.   

Monday, June 15, 2015

California Ordered to Repay $331 Million - Is Virginia Next?

Today, $350 million worth of chickens came home to roost in California.  Virginia might be next and here's why. 

In the aftermath of the 2008 mortgage-driven financial crash, federal, state and local government budgets were walloped.  One of the jurisdictions hardest hit with foreclosures was Prince William County.  Property values plunged.  Vacant houses were everywhere as people dumped houses that they could never afford with adjustable rate mortgages coming due for readjustment purchased with "no doc" loans.

In 2011, Attorneys General across the United States reached a $25 billion settlement with five major banks regarding illegal and abusive mortgage lending practices.  Virginia's share of the settlement was over $66 million and was directed to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to disburse.  As part of a floor debate, I made the card on the right.   

Here's what the court's order said Virginia could do with the money:
Each State Attorney General shall designate the uses of the funds set forth in the attached Exhibit B-1.  
To the extent practicable,such funds shall be used for purposes intended to avoid preventable foreclosures, to ameliorate the effects of the foreclosure crisis, to enhance law enforcement efforts to prevent and prosecute financial fraud, or unfair or deceptive acts or practices and to compensate the States for costs resulting from the alleged unlawful conduct of the Defendants.  
Such permissible purposes for allocation of the funds include, but are not limited to, supplementing the amounts paid to state homeowners under the Borrower Payment Fund, funding for housing counselors, state and local foreclosure assistance hotlines, state and local foreclosure mediation programs, legal assistance, housing remediation and anti-blight projects, funding for training and staffing of financial fraud or consumer protection enforcement efforts, and civil penalties 
Accordingly, each Attorney General has set forth general instructions for the funds in the attached Exhibit B-2.
What did Virginia do in the 2012 Session? 

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

My Endorsement for Mount Vernon Supervisor

With the retirement of Supervisor Gerry Hyland, Mt. Vernon is losing passionate fighter with decades of experience. Our next Supervisor must be an experienced leader that will fight for our community's fair share of resources and who has a track record and results.

Mount Vernon has four good candidates who are running.  Each have their accomplishments and positive attributes.

However, Dan Storck is the only choice for Mount Vernon and I am proud to endorse his campaign for Supervisor for the TUESDAY, JUNE 9 DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY. 

Dan has lived in the Stratford Landing neighborhood of Mount Vernon for over 25 years with his wife Deb and their three children. He previously served as President of the West Potomac High School PTSA and President of Good Shepherd Housing's Board. Dan was first elected as the Mount Vernon Representative to the Fairfax County School Board in 2004. 
Unlike the other candidates, Dan can also point to specific concrete results that he has achieved for the Mount Vernon District.
  • Opened three brand new schools (South County H.S., South County M.S. and Laurel Hill E.S.) in Mount Vernon in order to tackle overcrowding issues
  • Worked to fund construction for two entirely new elementary schools on the Route 1 Corridor in the next few years (at Fort Belvoir E.S. #2 and Pinewood Lake-Area E.S.)
  • Renovated or expanded ten existing Mt. Vernon schools with an additional Mt. Vernon seven schools in planning or currently under renovation
  • Personally re-worked the financing of the South County Middle School development and saved taxpayers $35 Million in financing
  • Fought for full-day kindergarten for all Fairfax County Schools
  • Created the Smart Services, Smart Savings initiative that has saved taxpayers $1 million by increasing efficiency and cutting unnecessary costs
  • Secured a needs-based staffing formula which secured a lower relative student-teacher ratio for most Mt. Vernon area schools
  • Fought to create the Priority School Initiative which supplements staffing at the neediest schools
  • Prioritized teachers' salaries in the budget
Dan understands the challenges facing Mount Vernon's schools because he has been forced to deal with the underfunding of our schools for the last twelve years and understands why Supervisor Gerry Hyland has been fighting to raise funds for our schools for years.  Like Supervisor Gerry Hyland, fully-funding Fairfax County Public Schools will be a priority for Dan.

Dan also understands that the strength of our schools is directly tied to the quality of housing and transit on the Route 1 Corridor and has made clear to me that he will work to revitalize Route 1 and extend the Yellow Line as soon as possible.

He has also made clear that he finds the explosion of predatory lending on U.S. 1 intolerable and that he will fight to get them under control. 

In order to fight for these priorities, he needs your support.   Please join me in voting for Dan Storck on Tuesday, June 9 and click below to get involved with his campaign this week.
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