Archives March 2018

Melynda Ciccotti, Champions for Children – Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads


In 2015, Virginia Department of Social Services reported that nearly 50,000 children in the Commonwealth were reported as being abused or neglected in Virginia. In Hampton Roads, there are nearly four children in every thousand who suffer some sort of abuse.

On the podcast to talk about child abuse prevention is Melynda Ciccotti, executive director of Champions for Children: Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads.

Ciccotti is trained in school psychology and childhood development and has spent years combatting child abuse, including unsafe situations. She has seen first hand how kids are affected by traumatic personal, unsafe and harmful environments.

In addition to discussing the organization and its initiatives, we also talk about Erin’s Law, working with children with behavioral disorders, such as the recent Parkland, Fla. shooter, Nikolas Cruz, and the organization’s latest initiative, “No Hit Zone.”

According to Ciccotti, No Hit Zone’s focus “is both behavioral and educational, working to develop safe places for children and adults where physical punishment and physical hitting is not allowed. The education of all adults about the negative effects of hitting is a core component of the campaign.”

Links of note
Champions for Children: Prevent Child Abuse Hampton Roads
Recognizing and Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect
Virginia Performs: Child Abuse and Neglect (metrics)
Erin’s Law (2018 General Assembly Session)
Merryn: Virginia wrong to reject Erin’s Law
Erin’s Law Website
Florida shooting suspect Nikolas Cruz: Guns, depression and a life in trouble

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Chairman Corey Stewart

“The first amendment is the most important right that we have – the right to free speech. Without it, a democracy or republic fails. It is the most important thing. And if people don’t feel free to speak their minds and say the truth, then they’re not free.”

Prince William County’s Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, Corey Stewart, joins us on this show.

Stewart who was first elected to the board in 2003, is one of the few Republicans who continues to be successful getting elected in Northern Virginia. He ran for the Republican nomination for governor in 2017, pivoted shortly after falling short to Ed Gillespie to start his campaign for the GOP nomination for US Senate.

He has famously called members of the House of Delegates who supported Medicaid expansion this year “toilet paper Republicans”, has openly defended Confederate statues, Tweeting “Nothing is worse than a Yankee telling a Southerner that his monuments don’t matter”, and has held a drawing to give away an AR-15 when running for governor to demonstrate his support of 2A.

In this podcast, we talk about his brand of campaigning and campaign messaging, but we also talk about what you would expect: his background, views on government and core principles, and why he is running for Senate. Stewart’s also an expert on international trade, so we discuss the president’s latest actions regarding NAFTA and steel.

Show links:
Board of Supervisors Bio
Campaign website
Trump and Trade
Toilet Paper Republicans
Tweet on Confederate Statues
AR-15 Giveaway
Debate on retired police officers to guard Prince William County Public Schools

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Who’s Watching the Traffic Camera Companies?

Red light and traffic cameras have been pitched to the public as a way to more accurately police intersections, improve public safety, and save money. While this may still possibly be true, a couple of camera companies look like they might be running into issues here in the commonwealth.

First, in Norfolk, Redflex Traffic Systems, a company based in Australia, might not be able to fulfill its contract.

According to a report filed with its Australian regulator (Redflex is an Australian company), it looks like they’re headed to bankruptcy. From TheNewspaper.com:

Redflex Traffic Systems lost $11.8 million in the past six months, continuing the Australian photo ticketing firm’s losing streak. In a report released to the Australian Securities Exchange on Monday, Redflex conceded that it has failed to pull out of the nosedive it has been in since 2014, when news of the Chicago, Illinois criminal bribery scandal surfaced.

Redflex last year leaned on shareholders to contribute $15.6 million to shore up the company’s finances, but the capital infusion was not enough to kickstart a recovery. The best news Redflex had to offer shareholders was that the losses were not as bad as they were in the last report to the market.

That raises some serious questions for Norfolk. Are they going to keep the contracts with the company, which looks like it may not be able to service them? Is Norfolk looking for a new vendor? Will the cameras just go away if Redflex goes bust?

Second, up the road in Richmond and Manassas, a different traffic camera company– Force Multiplier Solutions–has been involved with corruption and bribery in Dallas. In this case, their cameras are supposed to be used on buses to watch for motorists illegally overtaking them and other safety issues.

The reports out of Texas includes allegations of funneling millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks all while the actual deliverable – the cameras – have gone missing.

As a committee works to shut down the Dallas County Schools agency, officials hit a new roadblock with the failure to locate some of the surveillance cameras that were the root of DCS’ financial collapse.

The dissolution committee, formed after voters in November elected to dissolve the century-old agency, sent teams to El Paso and San Antonio last weekend in an attempt to find some of those cameras.

[…]

“They weren’t very successful,” Alan King, CEO of the committee, said of the search for cameras outside Dallas County.

King said all of the cameras have been accounted for in Dallas County.

But that’s not the case, he added, in El Paso and San Antonio, where school districts also reached agreements with DCS to run the program.

“We purchased … 5,800 camera kits. And there’s 12 cameras per kit. We don’t know where they’re all at,” King told other committee members.

Force Multiplier Solutions has registered with SCC with the same registered agent for BusPatrol – the company attempting to do business in Manassas.

At a minimum, the fact that all these companies have been embroiled in controversy, it’s worthwhile to wonder whether or not Norfolk, Manassas, and Richmond did their homework before entering into any agreement. It also begs the question whether the services/products promised have actually been rendered? And, will the municipalities review their contracts with these companies to ensure compliance?

Finally, do any other localities, such as Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, or others have agreements with these companies and will those go under review?

We’re just beginning to find out more about this issue and clearly it’s worth looking into. If they’re policing us, who’s policing them?

Delegate Nick Freitas

“Government has a role to play, but it’s a limited one”

Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, a two-term, liberty-minded Army veteran stops by the show to talk about his background, views on government, frustrations with the federal government and why he is running for Senate.

We also discuss the state of the campaign, why he’s the candidate to choose, how he beats Senator Tim Kaine this fall and convinces those who have not been voting Republican to support his campaign. He also refutes the accusations that his speech recently “gone viral” from the House floor was racially insensitive and how he will outreach to the African American community during the course of the campaign.

 

  • Other points discussed:
  • His view on offshore energy and pipelines – and the use of eminent domain and the balance to support our strategic security interests.
  • His path to becoming a Virginian and fascination with American history

“Virginia has a special place in the history of this country and when you feel a connection to that history, and you’re adamant about preserving it and preserving the fundamental principles that make our country possible Virginia is just a wonderful place to be.”

  • #LibertyRising
  • He explains his fundamental, liberty-based approach to government and how it matches his faith as a Christian.
  • Why the Senate? Explains his frustrations with the federal government, regulations, and overreach.

“Show me in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution where the federal government has the authority to do what you’re telling me they’re doing?”

 

We also talk about the state of the nomination contest, including this recent poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.

To find out more about Freitas’ Senate campaign, visit his campaign website.

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State Senator Ryan McDougle

J.R.: “So, we’re in the last week. Heading into the homestretch! How do you feel about it?”
Sen. McDougle: “I am not yet convinced it’s the last week.”
J.R.: “Uh-oh.”

So began this week’s podcast with Senate Republican Caucus Chair Ryan McDougle to talk about a whole array of things related to the long session of the General Assembly. By his prediction, it might just go a little longer.

The gap between the House and Senate Budgets- S850 million – is no trivial matter. And getting the conferees to agree is not going to be an easy task. McDougle gives the reasons why.

Also in this podcast we talk about the governor’s threat of a Medicaid expansion amendment, Senate health care insurance proposals, Opioid addiction reforms, the felony larceny threshold, the electrical grid/rate plan, and his wireless initiative.

Show notes:

Northam threatens (nicely) to use amendment to muscle in Medicaid
Senate Republican Initiatives To Lower Cost Of Healthcare And Health Insurance Headed To Governor Northam
Opinion/Editorial: Mental hospitals lose so Medicaid can win?
Legislation Inspired by Opioid Crisis Headed to Governor’s Desk
Virginia Democrats, Republicans Reach Deal on Criminal Justice Reform
“It is unjust that a theft of something like a pair of shoes or a phone could send someone to prison with a felony conviction on their record for life,” – Northam
With Few Remaining Detractors, Bill Overhauling Utility Regulation Advances
HB 1258 Wireless communications infrastructure; zoning

If you liked this podcast, please support it by subscribing either on iTunes, Google Play or Stitcher – and please leave a review. It helps!

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