Summaries of Past Programs

The 2011 Virginia General Assembly Session – May 11, 2011

At the May 11 SSV meeting, Delegates Rob Bell and David Toscano, provided their perspectives on the 2010 General Assembly session. Both delegates discussed how Virginia’s budget is smaller than it was years ago. Indeed, in 2007 the budget was $17 billion and then went down as low as $14.7 billion and now is up to $16.6 billion. Even though the total pie is smaller, spending on Medicaid and schools is up leaving even less for everything else. Toscano noted that even though Medicaid is the single fastest growing part of the budget, Virginia ranks only 49th with regard to Medicaid reimbursement rates.

Delegate Bell cited the work on legislative changes to the protective order laws. Given such situations as that of Yeardley Love, legislators determined that it should be easier to get an order against someone even if you are not married to that person. The new law enables an individual to get a protective order regardless of the relationship between the parties.

Delegate Toscano talked about the significance of the redistricting process and asked members of the audience, “Do you know what district you’re in now?” Both districts have changed.

Areas requiring major legislative attention cited by the delegates included transportation, the Virginia Retirement System fund (which is $17 billion in arrears), and higher education.

Coming Out of the Great Recession: Changes in Workforce Development – April 13, 2011

At the April 13 SSV meeting, Valerie Palamountain, Dean of Workforce Services at Piedmont Virginia Community College, addressed the topic, Coming Out of the Great Recession: Changes in Workforce Development. It will likely take four to six years for the nation to return to the pre-recession employment peak. Yet the Charlottesville area manifests a number of positive assets: a strong economy, outstanding educational systems, exceptional quality of life, well-educated workforce, technologically sophisticated, and extremely capable people who can meet a diverse range of recruitment needs.

When looking at retirement–whether in 2015 or 2050, Ms. Palamountain says we must look at three issues: How we keep an older workforce active? How we keep an older workforce up to date on technology? How we bridge the gap between 5 generations in the workforce? PVCC provides training for career changes, life changes, and finding jobs; customized training for employers; certification and licensure programs; and demand-driven training for career pathways, apprenticeships, continuing professional education, continuing personal education, and recreational interests.

PVCC focuses on healthcare, construction, green building, intelligence community, viticulture/culinary, technology, hospitality/tourism, and K-12 students. Partners are the key to the future. PVCC partners with employers, the Chamber of Commerce, the Artisan Center of Virginia, the Advanced Technical Intelligence Center, economic development (TJPED, WIB), K-12, and colleges and universities.

Forecasting the future, the focus will be on workplace skills; rapid implementation of new technologies; infrastructure projects; more “green” regulatory oversight; “skills” versus “education”; recruiting and retention; entrepreneurship; and worldwide community.

Our Current US National Interest and Policies in the Middle East – March 9, 2011

At the March 9 SSV meeting, Donald Nuechterlein discussed “Our Current US National Interest and Policies in the Middle East.”  The topic could not have been more timely given the recent developments in Egypt, Libya and other countries in the middle east.  He identified 16 criteria for determining vital interests in case of war.  He divided these into two categories, “Value Factors”  and “Cost/Risk Factors.”  The first include proximity of the danger; nature of the threat; economic stake for U.S.; type of government; effect on balance of power; sentimental attachment; national prestige at stake; and support of allies and friends.  The “Cost/Risk Factors” include economic costs of hostilities; estimated U.S. casualties; risk of enlarged conflict; risk of protracted war; risk of international opposition; risk of U.S. public opposition; risk of congressional opposition; and cost of defeat or stalemate

Mr. Nuechterlein conducted a very interesting and informative exercise involving audience members.  He distributed copies of a “National Interest Matrix” with the vertical axis titled “Basic National Interest” and comprised of the following factors:  defense of homeland; economic well-being; favorable world order; and promotion of values.  The horizontal axis, titled “Intensity of Interest,” was comprised of the following factors:  survival level (critical); vital level (dangerous); major level (serious); and peripheral level (bothersome).  He then asked all members of the audience to place the following countries on the matrix:  Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel and Libya.  This was followed by a discussion of the thinking behind why the audience members selected the particular cells in which to place the countries

Will We Ration Health Care? The Coming Public Policy Debate – February 9, 2011

At the February 9 SSV meeting, Eric Patashnik, Associate Dean and Professor of Politics and Public Policy at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, addressed the issue of, “Will We Ration Health Care? The Coming Public Policy Debate.” Rationing is simply the process of allocating scarce resources, anything from 50 yard line tickets at Redskin games to health care. We ration medical care implicitly and obliquely, and in contrast to other wealthy countries we mainly ration on the ability to pay rather than on the basis of need or anticipated benefit.

“The decision is not whether or not we will ration care; the decision is whether we will ration with our eyes open.” But explicit rationing is upsetting to many: Oregon’s attempt in the 1990s to ration Medicaid services unraveled under constituent pressure and provider gaming; explicit rationing might mean that some people who are accustomed to getting pretty much whatever care they want would be denied care or would have to pay more to get certain services; explicit rationing could increase the role of government, and most Americans don’t trust government to make good decisions

The US spends almost twice as much per capita ($7,290) as the next country (Canada $3,895), and yet in 10 out of 12 measures such as quality, access, efficiency, long health productive lives, the US is in the bottom tier. Within the US, there are huge variations in medical spending, and the areas that spend more on health care per capita do not necessarily get better results. Medicare spent more than $71,000 per end-stage patient in Miami, and only $33,000 in Green Bay. Hospital stays in Green Bay were 25 percent shorter than national average yet had no worse outcomes.

Popular treatments may not work as advertised. A common surgical procedure, arthroscopy for osteoarthritis of the knee, was found to be no more effective than a fake operation in which the surgeon merely pretended to operate.

Comparative effectiveness research (CER): recent legislation (health reform law, stimulus bill) have established funding and infrastructure for research on what works best: use research to establish practice guidelines that doctors should follow. Although the public grasps there is a problem, it is very skeptical of anything they believe will reduce choice or interfere with patient doctor relationship.

What Happened to Civility in Politics, and Can We Get It Back? – November 10, 2010

At the November 10 SSV meeting, Bob Gibson addressed the topic, “What Happened to Civility in Politics, and Can We Get It Back?” In referring to the mid-term elections, he noted a disconnect between those who vote in presidential elections and those who vote in other elections. Younger voters tend to not immerse themselves in issues to the extent that voters who have been around a longer time. Civility is not dead-just gone into hiding during the time of base elections where each side is playing to its base; trying to turn out its own base; and trying to suppress the other side’s base.

The parties engage in advertising that is simplistic, twisted, nasty, and mean. Politicians are expected to play to their base or they are not rewarded. Hurt won over Perriello 51 to 47 percent. The electorate usually votes based on record and constituent service, but this election became totally nationalized–Tom Perriello’s name became “Tom Pelosi.” Who was the number one offender in the fifth district election, Hurt or Perriello? Neither-independent expenditures with undisclosed contributions in the millions were made to define Perriello and Hurt.

Several factors are constantly at work against civility: the 24-hour news cycle with the national cable media’s obsession to find and amplify the loudest and most strident voices and is driven into partisan political camps; four years ago there were four Virginia newspapers with bureaus in Washington-now all gone; we now rely on other avenues-what he calls “designer media” with the public watching the views that comport with own. Political news is celebrity driven, personality driven, and entertainment driven. One factor against stability is the permanent campaign-votes are set up to catch a legislator in a vote that will be politically unpalatable in the next election. Look two years ahead instead of looking five or six years to solve important issues. Politicians are rewarded or punished on a two-year cycle. They no longer socialize across party boundaries. Hurt was a moderate who worked across the isle-you’d never know it now. Bob knows Hurt and Perriello and says they both are much, much better and finer individuals than any of the ads would ever let on.

In terms of regaining some civility, there is a likelihood that the president and new Congress will reach across the isle for cooperation on some of the major issues. But this newfound attempt at civility and bipartisanship will not last-there is a window during the next six to eight months to work together, but then they will retreat back to their base camps.

So how can we improve our civility in politics? Bob called on members of the audience to share their perspectives. One comment was that politicians should stand up and tell the rest of their base that they won’t accept incivility-adults have become children. Another said that a basis for civility would be to have a common ground of practical, factual truth. Bob noted that nonprofits are offering themselves as partners with the major media outlets to cover news events, and will present reporting that is as fact-based, reliable and nonpartisan as we can find. For example, the SSV programs are covered by the Charlottesville Podcasting Network. There is a need to petition the Congress to enact real, meaningful disclosure. Virginia has the cleanest form of disclosure system-full disclosure of any contribution over $100-and Congress needs to enact legislation before the situation gets out-of-hand nationally.

Public Involvement in Transportation Planning – October 13, 2010

At the October 13 SSV meeting, Steve Williams, executive director of both the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, addressed the topic of “Public Involvement in Transportation Planning.” SSV member Mac Laferty, vice chair of MPO’s Charlottesville-Albemarle Regional Transportation Committee (CHART), introduced the program and noted that CHART decided a year ago that transportation issues are so complex that they would put together a presentation and bring it to the public and get feedback. They want people to understand the process and length of time it gets from an idea to when you can actually travel on a road or bike path. SSV member Jerry Deily, a former CHART member, was also present at the program.

The MPO is the federally mandated planning organization for transportation planning in urban areas that are over 50,000 and will use federal funds for transportation improvements. It is a federal requirement to implement the “3-C” process for transportation planning—“continuing, comprehensive, cooperative”—involve all the stakeholders including the local governments, transportation agencies and the general public. The MPO coordinates transportation agencies and develops short and long range plans.

A new public participation initiative involves going out to the public and seeking input and comment before beginning to draft the plan. The process is intended to gather proactive rather than reactive or confrontational input. Transportation planning involves continually monitoring the transportation system performance and condition and how it is meeting our needs.

Traditional transportation planning going back to the time of WWII reflects a cyclical pattern: land use change increases traffic generation leading to increased traffic conflict, then roadway improvements (which for a short period of time decreases congestion), but this leads to increased land values, then increased development which comes full circle to the beginning of cycle with land use change. The end result of this cycle is that you can never build enough transportation capacity to meet the needs of society, but rather the result is, in effect, to increase the demand. So what the planning is trying to do in the Charlottesville area is to find a way to balance the supply of transportation and the demand.

The cycle will continue to lend the same results until sustainable land use policy is developed so that transportation needs can be met without generating more cars on the road. This can be accomplished by encouraging compact development and increased use of alternative modes. Then when land values increase, it won’t be necessary to build more transportation facilities in the future.

A little know fact is that 28 % of automobile trips made in this country are one mile or less, and 40 % are two miles or less. If we had better pedestrian and bike facilities, then those short trips could be taken off the road and let the roads be used for longer trips.

The Patient Protection and Affordability Act – September 8, 2010

Saunders Midyette, Carol Craig and Jim Haden

The issue of “How the Patient Protection and Affordability Act (PPAA) will Impact Virginians’ access to and cost of medical services” was addressed by three outstanding panelists, Saunders Midyette, vice-president and national sales director for the St. Clair Group, Inc., Carol Craig, government relations specialist at the University of Virginia Medical Center, and Jim Haden, president and chief executive officer at Martha Jefferson Health Services and Hospital.


Mr. Midyette outlined the objectives of the PPAA as: (1) increase access to health insurance by providing coverage to millions of uninsured persons; (2) change insurance rules to protect individuals from arbitrary health coverage limits and exclusions by insurers; (3) build on existing “employer and government sponsored” insurance programs; and (4) accomplish these health act reforms with a phased implementation schedule. A number of mandates on insurers become effective in 2010 including no lifetime benefits limits on coverage; no denial of coverage to children with pre-existing conditions; no cancellation of coverage for individuals if they get sick; dependent children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ plans; rebates will be provided to policyholders under certain conditions; and the temporary use of state and/or federal high-risk insurance pools. Medicare mandates begin with a $250 rebate when the pharmacy “doughnut-hole” is reached and increase until 2020 when the doughnut-hole is eliminated entirely. Mandates on individuals begin in 2013 when families with incomes above $250,000 will pay an additional 3.8% tax on investment income and will also have to contribute more in payroll taxes. All US citizens and legal residents will be required to carry health insurance in 2014 or pay a federal penalty. Beginning in 2010 small businesses (maximum of 50 employees) can receive tax credits to provide coverage.

Ms. Craig compared what the federal government sees as the impact of PPAA with that of the National Center for Policy Analysis. The latter says that the cut over the next decade in Medicare will force 1 in 7 health care facilities out of business, and by 2050, 40% of existing health care facilities will be forced to close. The wait will be longer and there will be insufficient doctors and nurses to handle the increased number of patients. She covered a number of access, cost, and legal issues stemming from the extension of coverage to 32 million uninsured (yet with still 23 million to remain uninsured, one-third of those may be undocumented migrants). Although the act makes more money available to finance the medical education of primary care physicians and surgeons, there could be more medical school graduates than residency slots if the number of residency slots continues to be capped.

Mr. Haden commented that the bill is almost 2,000 pages in length, and the regulations could easily become 30 times that, and the provisions of the bill will be phased in over a very long time. The Medicare plan will be fine, but access will become a challenge with more people covered at the same time as doctors are retiring. One thing he doesn’t see enough of in the in plan is an emphasis on individual responsibility; the population is becoming less healthy and there is a large population of obese. It is also likely that some businesses will choose to take the penalty for not offering coverage because it would cost them less. At this time there is probably more unknown than known about the bill and a lot of it is still to be played out.

Preview of Mid-Term Congressional Elections – May 12, 2010

isaac-wood-ssvAt the May 12 SSV meeting, Isaac Wood, House Race Editor for Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, provided insights into the upcoming Congressional races. Every two years, all 435 houses seats are up for election. Since 1934, there were only two mid-term elections in which the president’s party did not lose seats. In 1994 Republicans picked up an astounding 52 seats. Exceptions: in 1998 the Democrats picked up 5 seats even though the Republicans were threatening President Clinton with impeachment for his personal offenses which was seen as overreach of a popular president. In 2002, President George W. Bush was very popular following 9/11 and before the invasion of Iraq, and the Republicans picked up six seats. The Democrats need to set their expectations that they will lose seats—but how many? Crystal Ball is currently predicting a 27 seat loss, but the Republicans need to pick up 40 seats to gain control of the House. However, there remains lots of time between now and the November elections, and we could see real wholesale gains toward the party that is out of power. There are currently vacant seats that will hold special elections. In Hawaii, President Obama’s birth district, the Democrats could lose it despite his 70% popularity, and in this way Republicans could pick up some seats even prior to November. President Obama came into office in January 2009 very popular but gradually declined to 48 % approval now. Yet President Bush had much worse approval ratings in 2006 and 2008.

Virginia has 11 Congressional Districts that are heavily gerrymandered. Of the 11, six have Democratic incumbents and five Republican, which is a switch from 2008 with seven Republicans and four Democrats. All five Republican seats are safe (Rob Wittman, 1stDistrict; Randy Forbes, 4th; Bob Goodlatte, 6th; Eric Cantor, 7th; and Frank Wolf, 10th). Of the Democrats, only Bobby Scott (3rd District) and Jim Moran (8th) are safe. The four that are competitive—all currently Democratic but in pretty Republican Districts–are Glenn Nye (2nd), Tom Perriello (5th, comprised of Charlottesville, Albemarle and down to the North Carolina border), Rick Boucher (9th), and Gerry Connolly (11th). Freshman Glenn Nye is not yet entrenched and therefore vulnerable. Incumbents have a large advantage, but not so much for freshmen members. An exception to the campaign financing law is that although contributions are limited to $2,000 per donor, a candidate can donate an unlimited amount of his own funds, so party leaders are looking for wealthy businessmen who can finance their own elections. Nye’s district voted 50% for Obama, and McCain performed well here. Rick Boucher served about three decades, but he voted in favor of the cap and trade bill—very unpopular in coal mining country. Morgan Griffith, the Republican leader of the House of Delegates resides just outside of the 9thdistrict, but there is no law that you have to live in the district (or the state, for that matter). The Crystal Ball still sees this very narrowly as likely Democratic win. Northern Virginian Jerry Connelly won election with 55 % of the vote in an open seat race last year, and will be running again against Keith Fimian again if Fimian wins the Republican primary. The problem for Republicans is that since it is seen as a good year for them, candidates are coming out of the woodwork, and the fear is they will fight among each other, attack and tear each other down, and use up all their money in the primary race. Then, after the primaries (June 6), the Republican Party would be split. The upside is that they know they have the best campaigner, effective donor networks, and the strongest candidate. The Crystal Ball sees a slight edge for incumbent Democrat Connelly in the 11th. The 5thDistrict is geographically the size of New Jersey and is a conservative district except for Charlottesville. Pierriello won by just 727 votes in 2008, the closest margin of any House race in the country in 2008, so the Republicans are really gunning for him. Seven Republicans and one independent are running against Perreillo. Freda Kidd Morton has only about $8,000 in the bank and is not well known, yet she did win the recent Republican straw poll; Ron Ferrin has zero dollars; Ken Boyd starts with name recognition in this part of the district but not in the rest of district, and he hasn’t raised much money. Recognizing that only one to 10 percent of the electorate will turn out for primaries, a candidate needs a good base throughout the district. Laurence Verga has loaned over $200,000 to his own campaign. Although Joe the Plumber held an event for him, and Laura Ingraham is a big fan of his, Verga would need a really sustained effort to get name recognition. All money raised for Robert Hurt is from outside donors, and he is the only one to have served in the state legislature and is seen as the front runner due to his experience and the ability to raise money. Support from Eric Cantor is viewed as a sign that Hurt is the favorite of established Republicans. However, Hurt voted for Mark Warner’s tax increase which he now says was a mistake. Jim McKelvey gave himself a half-million dollars which will fund TV ads—the best way to get your name out in Congressional races. Michael McPadden, airline pilot and veteran, has donated lots to his own campaign and is seen as the best second option to Hurt. Jeffrey Clark (Independent) will only run if Hurt wins the Republican nomination in the primary because he says that Hurt is not conservative enough to give conservatives a choice. That could be problem for Republicans because it would split Republican votes and Perriello could then win in 3-way race. Perriello has over $1 million cash on hand, and has lots of advantages due to incumbency, but also advantages and disadvantages because of things he has supported, such as health care and cap and trade.

The State of the City and County – March 10, 2010

SSV Board Member Jim Perkins moderated this meeting of Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chairman Ann Mallekand Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris. They reported on “The State of the City and County.”

Ms. Mallek identified several areas of progress over the past several years including the inclusion of the entire county for 100 foot stream buffer; adoption of consistent driveway standards; improvements to erosion and resettlement regulations; master plans and their careful revision every five years; and a county budget process that helps supervisors understand the will of the people. An immediate challenge is the proposed state budget cuts of 8 percent in the Senate budget and 15 percent in the House (and up to 30 percent for the city).

Mr. Norris discussed the many constraints on relationships: Virginia is a Dillon Rule state which greatly restricts what a city can do. Virginia is also the only state with independent cities. This is a dysfunctional system and creates inefficiencies and antagonisms. He would prefer to do away with the system of independent cities and he strives to implement ways to share services with the county. Still, a lot has been accomplished and there has been good progress in the four primary issues he identified in his campaign: affordable housing; environmental sustainability; race and poverty; and youth opportunity and education.

Audience questions pertained to reversion to town status; revenue sharing and school funding formula; the impact of the university; solid waste; Rio Road and Meadowcreek Parkway; annexation; the need for mutual city-county transportation planning; city-county support for the YMCA; why it takes so long to make decisions (e.g., water supply system); and the rebranding of the Charlottesville Transit System.

Reflections of Sally Thomas – January 13, 2010

Sally Thomas has represented the Samuel Miller district since 1994 when she first won election to the board in 1993 through her write-in candidacy. At the January 13 SSV meeting, she described how 16 years ago the incumbent had dropped out of the race just seven weeks before election day, leaving only one candidate, but too late for a new candidate to be on ballot and so a write-in was the only alternative Even given all the obstacles, she won with 3,238 write-in votes.

Change over the last 16 years include years of effort to get the neighborhood model with compact development. Biscuit Run would have been the best example of this model. We should think very carefully before expanding boundaries of development area when there are 14 square miles of vacant undeveloped land available (more land than Charlottesville), approved zoning for 13,000 homes not yet built and 4,000 in Charlottesville, and 2.5 million square feet of commercial and retail space zoned and ready to go.

Other positives include the dark skies restrictions on commercial lighting requiring caps on lights; the adoption of the ACE ordinance (Acquisition of Conservation Easement) which purchases development potential so family farms can continue to thrive; the “Wireless communication policy” so almost all of the over 100 cell phone towers are not visible; more protection of water resources; affordable housing policy; schools that now have a report card on-line so you can see how they’re doing.

She cited as a failure the inability to pass ordinances to protect from ostentatious mountaintop development. Others see the growth of the budget as a failure, but actually it is due to more competitive salaries, not a per capita increase in staffing levels. One exception is that employers used to release workers to respond to emergencies. Since that is no longer the case, paid firefighters are now employed and that represents the fastest growing part of budget.

Looking into the future, this will be a military town. Will we get tired of our roads and traffic? Will we continue to protect us from getting more ugly like Rt 3 Fredericksburg? We need more energy conservation, and to be better stewards of our water resources. Will we continue to be leaders in education? Can we eat local and support local retailers? Will we continue to have well run, efficient local government (this is the smallest county in the nation to have a AAA bond rating). We must maintain infrastructure. In closing, “Go forth and create good government.”



Health Insurance – June 10, 2009

Three panelists addressed the issue: “Health Insurance: the Problem, the Solution.” The primary debate going on in Washington today is the formation of a national health insurance program that has everyone in and no one out. In the early decades of the 20thcentury, three payment plans sere formed. First was le Cross, a nonprofit. During WW II, when wages were frozen, employers got into the act by providing company paid insurance. Also during this period, Henry J. Kaiser developed the Health Maintenance Organization. Then came Medicare for the elderly, and in the 90’s came Medicare Part D, a drug plan using private insurance companies under government regulation.

Panelist Donna Goings described her experience as a consumer/patient. For 24 years she had paid her own health care premiums with a high deductible. When a skin blemish was diagnosed as cancer, she underwent outpatient surgery, but the cost came to $10,000. She also spoke of a friend who has worked for many years with a company that provides employee health care, but now she is on the verge of reaching the $1 million lifetime benefit limit. Ms. Goings has come to the conclusion that a single payer approach is the solution.

SSV member Bob McAdams moderates the panel comprised of David Shreve, Robert Graham and Donna Goings.

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Panelist Robert Graham, a medical professional, provided extensive information comparing Medicare to six major private insurance plans. In every case, the Medicare allowances beat all of the private plans and also the patient copays were less than all of the private plans, and none of the commercial insurances came close to the cost control achieved by Medicare.

Panelist David Shreve, an economist, addressed the question of how to pay for a single payer system. He suggested a small transaction tax on all stock market sales; a roll back of 2003 tax cuts; a 1.45 percent tax on income; and a gain from economic efficiencies.

Rob Bell and David Tosano – May 13, 2009

Delegates Rob Belland David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2009 legislature. Delegate Bellsaid that the session was dominated by the budget in response to the significant reduction in state revenues caused by the decline in consumer spending and other economic factors. He also cited two areas of legislation he sponsored: reform of practices in assisted living facilities; and identity theft. In demonstrating the breadth of legislation considered, Delegate Toscano pointed to a proposed bill that would have allowed “wind energy drying devices,” (or more commonly referred to as “clothes lines”) even if local homeowners associations wished to prohibit them. On a more serious note he discussed the budget cuts proposed by the governor for education and sheriffs’ departments.

Questions raised by members of the audience covered a wide range of issues including: the revenue sharing agreement between Albemarle and Charlottesville; the stimulus package provision that would extend unemployment benefits from the current 29 weeks to 59 weeks; offshore oil drilling; legislation affecting senior citizens; how the federal stimulus package will help Virginia; the use of fossil fuels; the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund; and the use of new technology to expand the availability of energy.

The Boomer Age Wave Preparations – April 8, 2009

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<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>John W. Martin, CEO of the Southeastern Institute of Research, spoke on the Older Dominion Partnership (ODP), an initiative by business, government, foundations and non-profits to help Virginia prepare for the coming boomer age wave (

Because of the baby boomers, the population in Virginia of 65 and over will increase from 11 percent to 19 percent in ten years. The age wave will impact in five ways: •chronic diseases (e.g., heart disease, arthritis, stroke) will increase by 40 to 50 percent along with multiple severe diseases; •shortage of geriatric physicians and nurses (22,000 more nurses will be needed in 10 years); •enormous shortage of family care-giver workers (nine out of 10 boomers want to remain in their homes); •demands on business, transportation, housing–all must become more age-friendly; •a community’s overall attractiveness and competitiveness may be at stake to attract boomers.

Goals of the Older Dominion Partnership: •Build awareness of the coming age wave; •Broaden pro-aging stake holder groups; •Help facilitate the creation and advancement of community-driven strategies; •Support members through strategic coordination and possible alignment of funding sources; •Help formulate a comprehensive long-term strategic strategy for the Commonwealth; •Document and report on the progress in preparing for the age wave. In sum, “Make things happen sooner rather than later. Don’t play catch-up in 20 years, but rather predict the future by influencing it by taking it in the direction we want it to go in as residents of the Commonwealth.”

Changing Virginia Politics – March 11, 2009

Bob Gibson,executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia, made a presentation on “The Changing Face of Virginia Politics.” Virginia is much changed from 1960 when the influence of Harry Byrd ceased. With regard to its political orientation, Virginia can now be seen as more of an eastern rather than a southern state. The voting power has shifted with half of the population now from out of the state and one in ten born in another country. Virginians are not opposed to labor unions and do not cater to party lines. Virginia is the tenth largest state and no longer a farming state.

Bob outlined ten rules for young people to remember for serving: look for good in all people; tell the opposing side; tell people when they themselves make mistakes; respect others; listen to others and their ideas; give the other side the benefit of the doubt; leave your prejudices at the door; do not take yourself too seriously; read and listen before speaking; and insert a positive thought into any negative comments. Bob described the elements of leadership and then noted that 17 members of the General Assembly have completed the Sorensen program.

With regard to the changing media, Bob observed that in 1968 the average sound bite lasted 43 seconds, but is now down to 5 to 6 seconds. Although newspapers used to enjoy double digit profit margins, there are 10 major newspapers that are now only a couple of months from closing.

Bob fielded numerous insightful questions concerning the upcoming gubernatorial primary and election, redistricting, leadership of the state Republican party, the 2008 presidential election, transportation, and many more.

Martha Jefferson Hospital Status Update – February 11, 2009

Jim Haden CEO of Martha Jefferson Health Services provided an update on the status of the new hospital and plans for the old facility. The question of why a new hospital is needed is often raised. The original hospital was built in 1916, and in 1929 the hospital was given nine adjoining acres. As additions were added over the years, all available land was eventually used, and area residents do not want any encroachment on the neighborhood. Also, half of the rooms are semi-private, and that limits the flexibility and use of some beds. Males and females cannot share a room nor can certain medical conditions or levels of severity. Finally, new facilities are a draw for talented personnel.

Organization and affordability have been primary considerations throughout the process. A team was formed including finance, construction, consultants, personnel and others to plan the hospital from the inside out with an emphasis on family-patient relationships. Nationally recognized experts like Paul O’Neil, former CEO of Alcoa and U.S treasurer under President George W. Bush, and David Nash of Baltimore provided ideas on what systems work and ones that do not. Patient rooms will allow a family member to spend the night and be comfortable. Air filtration was given top priority in order to maintain air quality. A very thorough study was conducted of the 88-acre site with respect to the underlying rock formation and water run-off. The elevations on the site have a 98-foot differential and so the new building is designed into the side of the hill.

The new construction is three percent complete. Financing of the new hospital comes through operating income, bonds ($160 million), and philanthropy. Funds generated from the sale of the present hospital are not part of the financing plan.

After the construction is complete, there will be a four month training of nurses, doctors and other staff before patients will be taken in.

The sale of the old hospital will not necessarily go to the lowest bidder because the MJH board will consider the proposed uses and be sure that it fits into the community.

The Economic Crisis – January 14, 2009

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–> <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>UVa Economics Professor Edwin Burton addressed the current economic crisis. He stated that the economic condition today is not worse than the Great Depression—unemployment now is even less than during the Carter administration. The problem began in early 2007 when the credit (lending) market started to freeze up. The head of the Federal Reserve and administration officials kept saying everything was OK, and that confused the market. Yet there is no way to measure the state of the credit market at any given time like there is to measure the stock and bond markets. <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Housing facts: 30 % have no mortgage; 40 % have small mortgages with no problems; remaining 30% are where the subprimes are. Fannie Mae was set up to make low interest loans for home purchases, but President Johnson did not want the debt to show up on government books and so it was structured to resemble free enterprise systems of other institutions. The administration had taken the position they wouldn’t bail out the mistakes of others, but over one-half of the debt is now owned by foreign countries, and failure would have even more severe repercussions on the US financing its national debt.

Predictions and observations: •Unemployment will go to 8.5 % during the next three months. •Credit markets are already improving and housing markets will improve except in some areas. •We’ll be in deep trouble if the new administration takes the protectionist route—this was one of the causes of the Great Depression. •Although Professor Burton didn’t vote for Obama, he gives the new president an “A” for all of his appointments so far except for Hillary. •Professor Burton does not favor any stimulus package because the results will be so far down the road that they will then contribute to inflation. •A lot of money will be wasted by the stimulus package and banking.

Visit Professor Burton’s blog site at

December 10, 2008, SSV Meeting

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Susan (Sue) Bell Friedman, president of the Alzheimer’s Association, Central and Western Virginia Chapter, presented an information-packed program on “Alzheimer’s 101.” The Chapter is 25 years old and serves 37 counties and 16 cities through five offices, and its mission is to eliminate the incurability of Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, and to enhance the care and support for individuals, their families, and caregivers affected by Alzheimer’s disease.  The vision is to create a world where Alzheimer’s disease becomes curable and preventable while optimizing the quality of life for those affected with the disease, as well as their loved ones and families.

Sue encouraged members to go to the chapter website at for more information on the programs and activities of the chapter, and also to the national site at for a wealth of information on the warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease, symptoms, treatments, affects on the brain, research, and much more.

Limitations of space prevent us from attempting to even scratch the surface on all of the information presented by Sue, but she particularly emphasized the importance of recognizing the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:

1. Memory loss. Forgetting recently learned information is one of the most common early signs of dementia. A person begins to forget more often and is unable to recall the information later. What’s normal? Forgetting names or appointments occasionally.

2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks. People with dementia often find it hard to plan or complete everyday tasks. Individuals may lose track of the steps involved in preparing a meal, placing a telephone call or playing a game. What’s normal? Occasionally forgetting why you came into a room or what you planned to say.

3. Problems with language. People with Alzheimer’s disease often forget simple words or substitute unusual words, making their speech or writing hard to understand. They may be unable to find the toothbrush, for example, and instead ask for “that thing for my mouth.” What’s normal? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

4. Disorientation to time and place. People with Alzheimer’s disease can become lost in their own neighborhood, forget where they are and how they got there, and not know how to get back home. What’s normal? Forgetting the day of the week or where you were going.

5. Poor or decreased judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may dress inappropriately, wearing several layers on a warm day or little clothing in the cold. They may show poor judgment, like giving away large sums of money to telemarketers. What’s normal? Making a questionable or debatable decision from time to time.

6. Problems with abstract thinking. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may have unusual difficulty performing complex mental tasks, like forgetting what numbers are for and how they should be used. What’s normal? Finding it challenging to balance a checkbook.

7. Misplacing things. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places: an iron in the freezer or a wristwatch in the sugar bowl. What’s normal? Misplacing keys or a wallet temporarily.

8. Changes in mood or behavior. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease may show rapid mood swings – from calm to tears to anger – for no apparent reason. What’s normal? Occasionally feeling sad or moody.

9. Changes in personality. The personalities of people with dementia can change dramatically. They may become extremely confused, suspicious, fearful or dependent on a family member. What’s normal? People’s personalities do change somewhat with age.

10. Loss of initiative. A person with Alzheimer’s disease may become very passive, sitting in front of the TV for hours, sleeping more than usual or not wanting to do usual activities. What’s normal? Sometimes feeling weary of work or social obligations.

November 12, 2008, SSV Meeting

Al Weed with Pubic Policy Virginia, gave a presentation entitled, “Climate Change: Challenge and Opportunity for Virginia.” He noted that throughout history in the United States, challenges and crises have resulted in a stronger America. This can also be true of the crisis we are facing today with climate change and global warming. Virginia’s coast line is the second most vulnerable to coastal flooding as global warming leads to rising seas. This is exacerbated because the movement of tectonic plates is causing the coastline to sink. Yet Virginia is well positioned to produce biomass fuels from wood and wood waste, agricultural residue, and animal waste.

Al’s recommendations for actions: at the local level, demand the use of renewable energy sources even if it is more costly. At the state level, urge “conservation pricing” which is the practice of paying power companies for energy they do not use. Also promote “impact pricing,” which rewards communities that are impacted by the presence of new renewable energy production facilities. The most important thing that can be done is to make fossil fuels more expensive by building a “carbon fee” into the costs at the well head and other fossil energy sources. Just as the cost of fees for the use of land fills is built into the costs of products purchased by the consumer, so should the cost of fossil fuels. Also, <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>considering that it only costs Saudi Arabia $4 to produce a barrel of oil, until we establish a floor in the cost of fossil fuels, the market can and will be manipulated by the producing countries. The meeting ended with a spirited debate involving members of the audience as to their views global warming.

October 8, 2008, SSV Meeting

Richard L. Beadles, director of the Virginia Rail Policy Institute, presented a program entitled, “Preparing to Celebrate 200 Years of Rail In Virginia (2030 – – It’s only 22 years away!) A Big Party Or NOT?” Rail service in Virginia dates back to 1830, and now for those seeking ecological and energy solutions, he describes railroads as “Hot!” Passenger traffic is up in all classes. In just three years—from 2005 to 2008, the valuation of railroads has doubled, and people are expecting a lot from railroads in the years ahead. Yet in the last 30 years, the track mileage has been reduced by 107,000 miles, which is 2 ½ times the total Interstate highway system infrastructure. With regard to the operators—freight and Amtrac—volume has held up well until the middle of this year, but is now beginning to decline, yet not as much a truck tonnage or aviation passenger miles traveled. Coal continues to be the economic and operation base of the rail system. Railroads are looking to the federal government, but there is no policy, no money, and no vision for rail. Rail freight service is generally poor, but aviation traffic, revenues and service are down significantly. Port of Richmond will begin a barge service to the train terminals in Hampton Roads. Obstacles to more and better rail service: the silo effect–rail, aviation, ports and harbors, and highways are all separate. And a really big obstacle: “We’re broke!” Also, the lack of good comprehensive planning for land use and transportation. Yet, Virginia is to be congratulated for making an effort to find money for rail infrastructure development. As to the future, America’s “cowboy don’t fence me in” attitude is coming to an end. Mr. Beadle’s vision: Virginia rail transportation will enjoy a <!–[if !vml]–>higher order of priority in the scheme of things. Federal level—fully integrated policy and funding investing in what’s most cost-effective and environmentally energy appropriate. Virginia desperately needs a rail authority. Virginianeeds to fully develop its urban passenger corridors and a rail intermodal operation with multiple terminals to get into and out of the system. The prescription for getting it done: inform ourselves; remind elected officials that rail rings all the bells—energy, environment, public safety, quality of life, economic growth, cost-effective transportation; and then vote for candidates who “Get it.” Mr. Beadles describes himself as a believer, and he sees rail in the mix in a very prominent way. There will be a party in 2030—just don’t get too big a tent!

September 10, 2008, SSV Meeting

Senator Creigh Deeds, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Governor, shared his perspective on the issues facing Virginia at the September 10 SSV meeting. Some of the points he covered:

Jobs and education: the United States cannot compete for low-wage jobs and so we must educate our youth for high tech.

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Energy: we are going to run out of petroleum and gas. The demand for diesel fuel is going through the roof. He predicts we will have two heating oil crises this winter. We must conserve energy but this is not the only answer. We must increase the research capacity of our universities. Government is not the sole answer.

Transportation: Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are the two biggest sources of transportation revenue. US highway 58 must be further developed into southwest Virginia. Northern Virginia has the worst traffic choke points of anywhere on the east coast. We must double our rail capacity.

Other issues: the need for better methods to allocate tax dollars among education, transportation and police; redistricting; the economy and budget problems; term limits; and his recent collision with a 250 pound bear!

August 13, 2008, SSV Meeting

Congressman Virgil Goode, and Democratic challenger Tom Perriello, spoke before a packed audience in a Candidates Forum held at the Senior Center, Inc. Major issues included energy independence, health care, immigration, and term limits.

June 11, 2008, SSV Meeting

Dr. David Chesler and Dr. Jonathan Evans addressed the issue, “Medicare Physician Care in Jeopardy.” SSV member Gordon Walker moderated the program and noted that there is only one geriatrician in primary care per 5,000 citizens, and in Charlottesville the figure is one in 4,000. He also noted that 20 percent of hospitalizations are due to improper use of medicines.

Following are among the points made by Dr. Chesler:

  • <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>In primary care in geriatrics, a doctor so trained becomes a part of the family and advises in making important medical decisions.

  • He learns more things about the patient than other doctors.

  • Primary care is still a small business, but it is a lot busier than other medical practices.

  • Primary care has a lot of hassles with respect to insurance companies and the tort system

  • Geriatricians on call 24 hours per day keep a lot of people out of the hospital emergency rooms

  • Fewer and fewer medical students choose primary care.

  • Of the 260 openings set aside for primary care, 40 percent are filled by foreign students.

Points made by Dr. Evans:

  • Medical care for our citizens is a basic right.

  • In medicine, we have done to the human being what Frank Perdue did to the chicken, i.e., cut it up into many piece and we may not know how many legs we should have.

  • <!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Fewer than 10 geriatric fellowship training positions are available each year at UVa; there are seven geriatric training centers in Virginia with only seven trainees when 5,000 are needed.

  • As we grow older, body functions slow down (e.g., the kidneys of an 80-year-old person function at 50 percent).

  • Age greatly affects one’s ability to seek care, and older persons get over and under treated.

  • Within the health care system there are negative attitudes toward Medicare and Medicaid and towards older patients in general.

  • Geriatrics is not a high priority for medical schools nor hospitals, and the choices of specialties by medical students are influenced by the mentorship environment. Fewer geriatricians means fewer role models. Less than 20 percent of medical schools require rotations in geriatrics. Many community hospitals would have to close if it weren’t for the foreign medical students.

  • Some positive signs: an increase of four positions in the last five years; an increase in interest in geriatrics among medical students; an increase in Medicare reimbursements for office visits and to hospitals and nursing homes; increase in number of geriatric fellowships, and UVa has agreed to require a two-week geriatric clerkship for all medical students beginning in 2009.

  • Things we can do: increase the number of training positions, create incentives for geriatricians to move to Virginia, and support faculty positions in geriatrics across Virginia.

Audience participation:

  • What do doctors need to know about treating older people? How the elderly respond to various drugs; understand the delivery of medical services and know what Medicare provides; understand what older patients need and want.

  • Observation by SSV founding member Gene Ecton Davis: there is a bill (S-3101) before the U.S. Senate to cut payments by Medicare in the amount of five to 10 percent (note: since our meeting, this bill was defeated).

  • Statement by SSV member Dr. Peyton Weary: there is a terrible shortage of care givers in the United States including a shortage of 800,000 registered nurses which is expected to rise to three million; alternate ways of delivering medical care to the elderly must be considered including a new position that could be call the “physician extender.”

Closing remarks:

  • What is needed is loving care—we must create a system whose people care for one another.

  • Applicants for medical schools are now 50 percent female.

  • The hospital has become the social safety net.

  • Many medical insurance benefits do not start until the person becomes a patient in a hospital.

May 14, 2008, SSV Meeting

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Senator Emmett Hanger delivered an informative and provocative presentation on his perspective of the 2008 General Assembly session. Budget shortfall: a $700 million shortfall was closed by taking $360 million from the rainy day fund combined with belt tightening and the use of bonds. Revenues: favors income and sales taxes and some users’ fees. He no longer favors the 20 percent Homestead Exemption because it does not provide local governments with an alternative revenue source. Mental Health: capital expenditures of $100 million to replace Western State Hospital, Central Virginia Training Center and construct a new facility in Chesapeake. Comprehensive Service Act: just to keep up with the increase in need and services to children requires $200 million. Senator Hanger has worked with the governor’s office to develop a more effective working model to address these needs. Environment and state parks: Virginia ranks 50th in spending on state parks but number one in the condition of the parks. He served on a subcommittee that developed a plan to set aside land for conservation with an original cost of $1 to $2 million—now at $100 million. His goal is one million acres for the set aside. Substance Abuse: 60 percent of prison inmates are there either directly or indirectly due to substance abuse, and one new prison per year for five years must be built. Eighty percent of pregnancies in urban areas are paid by Medicaid. He is not opposed to taxes to fund needed services. Transportation: since 1986 the Virginia state tax has been 17 ½ cents per gallon as compared to North Carolina’s at 31 ½ cents, yet the total price per gallon is about the same in both states. Each additional one cent of tax per gallon in Virginia brings in $52 million in revenue, yet it is very unlikely any increase in gas tax will be approved or even considered.

April 9, 2008, SSV Meeting

Delegates Rob Belland David Toscano began their “Rob and David” road show at a joint Senior Statesmen of Virginia and Senior Center, Inc. program at the Senior Center on Pepsi PlacePeter Thompson, director of Senior Center, Inc., welcomed everyone and turned the meeting over to SSV President Marvin Hilton, who in turn introduced SSV member Michael Ludgate as the moderator of the program.

David Toscano began, “The good news is we’ve got a budget.  Next year we will tweak it.”  Other accomplishments of this session of the General Assembly include rebenchmarking the Standards of Quality (SOQs) for education which has pay raises for teachers, new money for higher education and elimination of the User Driver fees which unfortunately left a $60 million hole in revenue.   Both Rob Bell and David Toscano served on the Mental Health Subcommittee and Rob Bell was the Subcommittee Chair.  They were both proud of the legislation that passed from their committee.  Delegate Toscano said the challenges they still face are passage of a bond package to prime the economic pump and continuing transportation concerns.

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Rob Bell said the part-time legislature of Virginia was good in two ways–the legislators come back to their district and live under their own laws, and they are very deep and focused on getting through the proposed bills effectively and efficiently during their 60 days in Richmond.  Sixty bills resulted from the Virginia Tech tragedy and the issues are very complicated.  Under what circumstances can an individual be made to become involuntarily committed (to an institution or hospital for treatment against his/her will)?  Once a mentally ill person is identified, the system needs to keep an eye on him/her.  Community Service Board staff have to go to the court hearings for the individual and send the person back to the judge if treatment is not taken.  Delegate Bell continued by saying the mental health legislation was the biggest bipartisan effort in his seven years as a legislator.  There are university issues such as: When can you tell mental illness by appearance?  To whom is access to student records given?  Parents can be told only if the actions or concerns become serious.   The language “of danger to himself or others” was changed to “capable of serious bodily harm in the future”–thus broadening the ability of someone to commit.  Other issues successfully addressed by the legislators, Delegate Bell said, were smaller transferable development rights, requiring background checks for new teachers, animal fighting and payday lending.

Many questions from the audience dealt with transportation:  Question: What are the funding options for transportation?  Answer: Take funds out of budget, raise taxes, or float bonds for future generations to pay.  Delegate Toscano said, “First dollars are required by law for maintenance, so there is less and less money for construction.  User fees are the fairest fees of all–gas tax, tolls, congestive pricing.  Delegate Belldoubted a gas tax increase, saying transportation  had a 66% raise in the last ten years and $47 billion to $78 billion in the last seven years.  Most of the money now is going to maintain primary roads, not secondary roads.  He added the Transportation Trust Fund is not really a trust.  It is a “piggy bank.” Delegate Toscano countered that numbers of vehicles, vehicle models, and drivers have expanded dramatically and the gas tax has not increased since 1986.  Fuel efficient car owners are not paying as much gas tax.  Taxes for transportation are increasing at the local level as localities have to increase their budgets for transportation to fix the local problems.  He added a one-cent increase in the gas tax could raise $50 to $60 million a year.  Mass transit must be part of the solution and the good news is that the General Assembly increased funding last year for mass transit.  However, Delegate Bell observed that rural areas do not have the population density for mass transit.

Delegate Toscano asked the audience to call and write him their views on a Charlottesville/Albemarle Regional Transportation Authority proposal.  Should the two localities have a Transportation Authority?  What powers should be given to the authority?  Such an authority would require state-enabling legislation.

On the question of bipartisan redistricting proposed by Senator Creigh Deeds (passed by the Senate, but killed in the House), Delegate Toscano said legislators should not be choosing their own constituents.  Districts are thus less competitive.  Delegate Bellsaid he was not comfortable having a nonelective body choosing the districts.

Question:  What is benchmarking?  Answer: It is the process every two years used to support schools.  A composite index shows how wealthy each school district is.  Some localities are wealthier than others so the Commonwealth, which pays for the implementation of the Standards of Quality (SOQs) in the schools, pays less to those wealthier counties. Albemarleloses because lost revenue from the 1981 historic revenue sharing with Charlottesvilleis not included in the composite index.  Revenue is given from the county to the city due to growth in areas which were proposed to be annexed by the city at one time.  The SOQs are costed out for the number of math teachers, English teachers, etc.  The locality matches the state funds and may go beyond them.

When Dr. Peyton Weary said Medicaid reimbursement for dental care is either low or nonexistent, he explained that Virginia is one of eight states which does not reimburse for adult dental care and the state only pays 89% of the cost for children.  Delegate Bell asked him to discover the cost of providing this in the other states and get back to him.

Question: What receives the lottery moneys?  Answer: Every dollar of the lottery money goes to schools after administrative costs–a lot is used for school construction.  The problem is that moneys are taken out of the schools budgeted money separate from the lottery funds and given to other projects.

Question:  Why are Charlottesville and Albemarle County not consolidated?  Answer:  There are differences.  The City has higher services and higher taxes and the County has lower services and lower taxes.

March 12, 2008, SSV Meeting

SSV member and retired dermatologist, Peyton Weary, M.D., was introduced by SSV President Marvin Hilton. Dr. Weary and his artist wife, Janet, are longtime supporters of the Miller Center of Public Affairs and valued members of its Presidential Cabinet. Dr. Weary, in turn, introduced Gerald L. Balilesas an attorney whose public service included former terms as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Virginia Attorney General and Governor of Virginia.  Governor Baliles is presently the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia (The Miller Center).

The topic of the program, covered by Rob Graham of WINA, was “The Miller Center:  Research, Reflect and Report.”  Governor Baliles explained the Research is Academic Research, the Reflect is public discourse and the Report is policy on issues of national importance. One research project is the Presidential Recordings Programs. Roosevelt started the taping; Kennedy had a button which he pushed when he wanted to record conversations; Johnson taped everyone; Nixon’s recordings were voice-activated.  Scholars take the tapes and use presidential calendars to help the transcription.  It takes one hour to get one minute of transcription.  In the Oral History Project, the researchers meet with people in and out of the administration being studied during a series of interviews.  The Miller Center‘s “American President, an Online Reference Resource,” features peer-reviewed articles and is listed as one of the top 10% most visited websites in the world. The GAGE program, Governing America in a Global Era, features a series of fellows and scholars discussing domestic and international issues.

Public programs are offered twice a week between September and June.  Janet and Peyton Weary just endowed an annual public lecture on the Contours of Health Care.  The first programs featured Arthur “Tim” Garson, M.D., and Carolyn Englehart, MPH, who co-authored a recent book on health care.  The public programs are offered as a free service.  The Miller Center partnered with McNeil/Lehrer of Public Broadcasting System to launch National Discussion and Debates, a series on critical issues of our time.  Past debates with two authorities on each side have addressed the war in Iraq, Americans’ expectations of privacy, and religion in politics and government.  Future debates focus on health care and immigration.  Dismayed by sound bite solutions to national concerns, the Miller Center brings debate on both sides of the issues and gives listeners the opportunity to decide for themselves after reflecting on both viewpoints.  The programs can be viewed online at

In the area of policy and planning, the Miller Center will host the final report of the National War Powers Commission led by Co-Chairs James Baker and Warren Christopher, former United States Secretaries of State.  Other conferences with scholars and engaged citizens will be held on the Confirmation Process of Presidential Appointees and Governance of Global Warming.

The Miller Center relies on endowment income and annual giving to finance its operations.  Speakers do not get honoraria.

On a personal note, Governor Baliles concluded by saying, “The opportunity to engage in policy without politics is intellectually rewarding.  My name is Baliles.  It rhymes with Smiles!”

February 13, 2008, SSV Meeting

SSV member and JABA CEO, Gordon Walker, introduced Richard W. “Dick” Lindsay, M.D., as “The Evangelical Geriatrician”.  Dr. Lindsay said aging is not a disease.  It occurs at different rates in our diverse population.  Average life expectancy in the world is age 42.  In the U.S. in 1900 the average life expectancy for women was 47 years of age–now it is 79 years of age.  There is a difference between active life expectancy and functional life expectancy.

Healthcare plays a minimal role.  Other factors are genes, social circumstances, environment and behavioral patterns.  Dr. Lindsay listed behavioral patterns as sexual behavior; use of alcohol, motor vehicles, guns and drugs; obesity; inactivity and smoking.

Dr. Lindsay named five diseases which have a disproportionate use of the hospital–including heart disease and diabetes.  Among the goals of care in geriatrics are to make terminal illness comfortable.  Geriatricians usually see people with chronic diseases with acute illness superimposed.

He recommended WALKING!!  Exercise is associated with reduced risk for incident dementia and it lowers risk for cardiovascular disease.  He stressed dental care as a prevention.  He warned everyone to reduce the risk of falls.  Take care of your knees.  Forty percent of those who fracture a hip do not recover.

Then he turned to a major social crisis–the labor shortage in healthcare in both recruitment and retention.  Entry point of healthcare is primary care and significantly fewer medical students are entering the field.  In geriatrics for the 2004-2005 academic year only 334 medical students opted for geriatrics.  There is a crisis in the labor shortage of faculty, medical technicians and certified nursing assistants (CNAs).  The average age of CNAs is 47 years.  Fifty percent are divorced and they lack child care and benefits such as healthcare coverage.

The Older Dominion Project members met in December 2007.  The project is funded initially by a grant from the Richmond Memorial Hospital Health Foundation.  It is led by John Martin, and it is composed of philanthropic and non-profit organizations, government entities and corporations.  They are in the process of surveying business leaders and residents as to the needs the community faces now and in the coming years of retiring baby boomers.  The last survey similar to this was done in 1979 by the Virginia Center on Aging at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Mark your calendars…

Wednesday, April 9, 130 until 3:00 p.m., Senior Center,Delegates Rob Bell and David Toscano.

Wednesday, May 14, 1:30 until 3:00 p.m., Northside Library, Senators Creigh Deeds and Emmett Hanger.

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>

The purpose of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational and advocacy organization is to enable seniors to identify and articulate their viewpoints on the issues affecting all the citizens of Virginia; to encourage knowledge of and active participation in the public processes of government; to disseminate information about the social, governmental, and educational institutions; and to prepare resolutions stating positions on member-selected issues for distribution to appropriate public officials.

Membership in the SSV is open to those over 50. Join now! Annual dues are just $15.00. Mail your check in the amount of $15.00, (payable to “SSV”) to Senior Statesmen of Virginia, c/o Jim Peterson, 1969 Ridgetop Drive, Charlottesville, VA 22903-8808. Telephone: 434-987-9014. E-mail:

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Dr. Lindsay’s parting words were, “Use it or lose it–ride fast–love hard–and stay regular!”

January 9, 2008, SSV Meeting

Dr. Rosa Atkins, superintendent of Charlottesville City Schools, and Dr. Pamela Moran, superintendent of Albemarle County Schools, discussed current issues relating to their respective programs and to the operation of these two public school systems. Some of the challenges cited for Albemarle were the increasingly diverse educational marketplace; shifting local demographics; decreasing revenue increases; competition for highly qualified staff; increasing expectations for curriculum; No-Child-Left-Behind expectations for student achievement across all student groups; raising the rigor for all students through more performance; and project-based expectations. For Charlottesville, the enrollment of students for whom English was not their primary language increased from 151 students in 2002 to 367 in 2007 representing 39 languages. Emphases now are for 21st century skills for global competition; new literacy in math and science; and relevance to today’s workforce and society.



December 12, 2007, SSV Meeting

Bob McAdams, SSV board member and treasurer, has published a book of poetry titled, Not By Fear / A Progressive Vision in Verse for the Inhabitants of America. He distributed copies of his book to all in attendance and then delivered a very moving, thoughtful, thought provoking and intense presentation, “Not by fear – a better way to confront terror.” Following are some notes from his presentation: Bob spoke about how persons on all sides are stoking the fires of fear which then leads to hate, cruelty and war. One group demonizes another and wars are waged against people and people die. Anyone who has served in the armed forces knows “Not by Fear,” because they are trained to act without fear. It isn’t that they do not have fears, but rather that they manage their fears.

The need is to value and revere the truth, and as FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Words are used for their psychological impact. We need truth most in the toughest times. Are we telling the truth? Getting to the truth is no mystery, but we must work at it. Having the truth is meaningless unless we speak out. We should declare 2008 as a year of atonement, truth, reconciliation, amends and peace.

We need to analyze the use of terms such as “war” and “We want to fight for you.” Get the facts. Find the real definition of problems. Understand the commonality of humankind. We need to change from fear to understanding the commonality of mankind and compassion. Desmond Tutu said there is no future without forgiveness. Compassion means feeling together, feeling other person’s feeling. A question was raised about those who take advantage of another person’s compassion. The understanding of South Africa came from writers, playwrights, the involvement of the arts. Peace will be brought by giving up the right of retribution. “Vengeance is mine” says God. If we all practice retribution, there would not be anyone left.

SSV member Bill Rennolds ended the discussion with a quote from Gandhi on his grave stone in New Delhi, India: “There are seven sins in the world: wealth without work, knowledge without character, pleasure without conscience, commerce without morality, science without humanity, worship without sacrifice, politics without principle.”

November 14, 2007, SSV Meeting

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>Mary Loose Deviney, president of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Chamber of Commerce, answered the question “Will they come if you call?” with a resounding “Yes!”  She is vice-chair of a study of fire and rescue services in the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County.  Delegate David Toscano is the chair.  Some differences in area jurisdictions include: Charlottesville does not have a paid ambulance service, but Albemarle County does. Charlottesville does not have a rescue squad, but Albemarle County does.  The University of Virginia hires its own ambulance service.

The study reviews all aspects of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) delivery in the City of Charlottesville.  Do they have enough “rolling stock”–ambulances, fire trucks, etc.?  Look at more efficient ways to deliver services.  What use can be made of advanced technology?  What are the needs?  What are the financial resources?  What are the maintenance requirements?  How can response times be improved?

There are two types of life support required for the ambulances and fire trucks.  One is basic support and the other is advanced life support for which a medic is needed on the truck.  There is a need for more paid medics.  If there were a medic on every truck, the response time would be cut two or three minutes.  The study group

wants to establish a response time of nine minutes anywhere.  Your insurance rates reflect the response time.

Additional staff is needed because human resources are depleted from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. while volunteers are working in their regular job.  (In response to a question about a major catastrophe occurrence, she assured the audience that the volunteers would stop working at their regular jobs and go to their Emergency Medical Service positions).

Options considered are: (1) City provide 24/7 ambulance service in the city.  Buy two ambulances as one will need to go down for maintenance periodically.  This would cost $500 thousand to $600 thousand; (2) The Peak Hour System occurs from 6 a.m. until 6 p.m. Hire all medics to serve after 6 p.m. and put a medic on the fire truck; (3) The County has two paid medics on 12-hour shifts.  The City of Charlottesville could reimburse the County of Albemarle for their use.  Now it is by contract.  This could be changed.

She concluded:  “The system is not messed up.   You do not have a problem with your EMS system.  We need to find ways to put more capacity into the system.   Look out for what’s happening in the future.”

October 10, 2007, SSV Meeting

The Senior Statesmen of Virginia hosted the Candidates Showcase at the Northside Library for the seven candidates seeking constitutional offices in Albemarle County. The candidates for Commonwealth’s Attorney are incumbent Jim Camblos(Republican) and Denise Lunsford (Democrat). Democrat Larry Claytor and Republican Chip Harding are vying for the office of Sheriff. Seeking the office of Clerk of the Court are John Dawson (Republican), Debra Shipp(Democrat) and Alan Van Clief(Independent). The following notes were taken by SSV founding member, Gene Ecton Davis, and reflect the major points made by each candidate.

Jim Camblos lives in Crozet and is a lifelong resident of Albemarle County. He has served as Commonwealth’s Attorney for 16 years and has a staff of four attorneys, all of whom are proactive in the community. His candidacy has been endorsed by the Albemarle Law Enforcement Association along with 100 police officers. A particular concern of his is crime against the elderly and the protection of elderly against fraud and crime. He said he has the necessary skill set, is fair, knows the law and that the prosecutor represents all the people. He is required to turn over facts to the defense, but the defense is prohibited from doing that. With regard to decisions, 50 percent of the people are going to be satisfied, and 50 percent not, but the assertion by his opponent

that his staff is rude is simply false. He noted his office is frequently complimented on its effectiveness and fairness, and has been rated as a top office in the Commonwealth. He has a lifelong commitment to the area. He loves Albemarle County and his job, has a great working relationship with the police, 24 years in military management, and experience—and that is what it is all about.

Denise Lunsford has 17 years of experience, both state and federal, as a defense attorney. She notes that the Commonwealth’s Attorney decides life, liberty, reputation and who and when to prosecute. Justice is her main theme, and she would like to see crime stopped before it happens. She would make sure that the staff are fully prepared and that everyone is treated with respect. She wants to run the office in a way that everyone will feel a sense of justice and fairness.

Larry Claytorwas born and raised in the western part of Albemarle County, is a member of the Crozet Baptist Church, has served in law enforcement, is a fire fighter, a senior leader for Crime Scene Investigation, and a leader with the rescue squad—named the busiest rescue squad in the country. He heads up the Underwater Recovery Team. He received the 2007 Albemarle County Community Services Award. The office of Sheriff is responsible for courtroom security, civil process, and the transportation of prisoners. There are 18 sworn officers in the Sheriff’s office. He has a deep knowledge of the county and the people, and he has a particular concern for victims of domestic violence.

Chip Harding has been a resident of Charlottesville for 30 years and graduated with a degree in social work. He served as chairman of the State Board of Juvenile Justice, has been a full time narcotics agent, and a leader in the implementation of DNA technology. He would like to expand the use of volunteers in the Sheriff’s office, work more closely with other groups, and collaborate with other agencies to bring about a more productive result and help save tax dollars.

John Dawson is a graduate of the University of Central Florida and worked his way up in the YMCA to the position of executive director. He founded the Fitness Gallery with his partner David Bowerman and later opened the Dive Shop. He points to his years of experience in business and managing people as essential assets for the position of Clerk of the Court. He would convene a citizen’s advisory committee to help with the preservation of records. Voters should support him because the Clerk’s Office is a big business and he has 32 years of business management experience.

Debbie Shipp grew up in Fluvanna County and has been a deputy clerk for 31 years, and has an 18 year old son and a daughter, age 22. Her work has covered all aspects of the Clerk’s Office including marriages, divorces, law suits, criminal records, and the recording of deeds. There are nine deputies on staff. All records are now on film. She encourage everyone to vote for her based on her 31 years of experience in the clerk’s office.

Alan Van Clief is married to Cyndra, an attorney. Alan worked in the White House Law Library, is a Rotarian and a soccer coach. He would institute a smoke-free clerk’s office In order to better assure the preservation of valuable documents. He points to his experience in education and business as compelling reasons to support him.

September 12, 2007, SSV Meeting

<!–[if !vml]–><!–[endif]–>and a vision for transportation, the lack of which is choking growth. Connie Brennan is running to represent the largest House district in the state. Living in Nelson County for over 30 years, she has served on the County School Board and the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. She is for an increase in the minimum wage, farmland preservation (the average age of farmers is 57), improvement of access to healthcare, economic opportunity, a cap of 36% on payday loans because many people in the county and state are just one paycheck from disaster. David Cox of Lexington turned 60 years of age. Kendall of Lexington opened in 2000 and took over the nursing home component when the hospital closed its component down. There is a need for waivers. He is against red light cameras. He wants to add an adjustment for inflation to the gas tax. Arin Sime of Crozet in Western Albemarle has two sons ages 2 and 4. He is employed in Internet Software Development. He supports limited government by reducing taxes and spending, family farm protection, redistricting, and property tax reform (his personal mortgage payment went up $75 from $825 to $900.) He proposes a tax assessment of the original price plus 1% a year. Questions from the audience ranged from payday lending laws, laws creating penalties and fees to fund transportation needs, HB 3202, need for ways to help school districts attract and retain teachers, a more even alignment of political parties, red light cameras.