Metal Bell

About a week ago, I received a pretty troubling email from another political activist.  It concerned a pre-filed bill for the upcoming legislative session, HB 1528 sponsored by Dickie Bell of Staunton.  According to the email, this bill “requires every dealer to prepare a daily report” of precious metal transactions.  Furthermore, these reports would be available to both government and law enforcement agents.  As you would imagine, I found this news to be particularly troubling.  I would assume that more and more Virginians would look toward investing in precious metals given the continued weakness of the U.S. Dollar.  Isn’t it just a little bit disconcerting that the government would take such a keen interest in these transactions?  What do they plan to do with this data now or in the future?

Resisting the temptation to hastily write a letter to Delegate Bell regarding my concerns, I thought it prudent to do a bit of research first.  The most interesting point that I discovered is that the Virginia Code  (54.1-4101) already requires precious metal or gem dealers to keep a written record of both their transactions and customers that are available on request.  Delegate Bell’s bill would primarily change two points:

  1. “Every dealer shall prepare a daily report containing the information required by 54.1-4101 sold to him each day and shall file such report by noon of the following day with the chief of police or other law-enforcement officer of the county, city or town where his business is conducted designated by the local attorney for the Commonwealth to receive it.”  The dealer can submit his or her report electronically as opposed to mailing or delivering them in person, which is the current norm.
  2. Dealers can charge their customers a small service fee to cover the added costs associated with these filings.

As you can see, some of the most onerous parts of the law are already in place.  Delegate Bell’s bill just enhances them and provides a much closer and daily link to law enforcement.  As you can imagine, with this new information I was still against HB 1528 and looked for an opportunity to speak with the Delegate about it.  That opportunity came on Friday when Harrisonburg and Rockingham County Republicans gathered for lunch at our typical First Friday meeting.  All of the Delegates and Senators who represent any portion of the city and/or the county were invited.  Once I got to the gathering, I discovered that neither Senator Hanger could not attend nor could most of the Delegates.  Fortunately, both Delegate Bell and Senator Obenshain were there.

After the meal and a short speech by the Senator and Delegate, I patiently waited my turn to ask about HB1528.  Senator Obenshain moderated the questions from the audience and several times he passed over my outstretched hand.  Amazingly, after just about everyone else’s questions had been answered, the Senator ended the meeting, thus denying me my opportunity and primary reason for showing up to the meeting in the first place.  Although it would be easy to assume such a move as an intentional slight, I really hope it was merely an oversight.

As the crowd began to trickle away, fortunately Delegate Bell stuck around to speak with some of the guests and so I kept my eye on him.  Once the line dwindled, I finally got my chance.

The first thing Delegate Bell said to me was that he noticed that I had been waiting patiently for quite some time. I agreed and pulled out my printed copy of HB 1528 and asked him why he was proposing that bill.  He responded that local law-enforcement officials suggested the bill as an effort to further crack down on illegal trafficking of stolen goods.  However, after speaking with a number of interested parties, Delegate Bell stated that he no longer supports this bill and would be removing it from consideration very soon.  In addition, given the potential privacy violations already present in the law, he mentioned that he would be speaking to the Attorney General about deleting (or at least modifying) 54.1-4101 from the Virginia Code.

It is difficult to find the balance between security and liberty.  Although I’m sure that HB 1528 would aid Virginia police in catching criminals, is the added bureaucracy, hassle, and loss of privacy worth is?  I would say no.  In our post 9-11 world, far too many conservatives and liberals alike are willing to sacrifice just about every right in order to gain even the slightest feeling of security, even if doing so provides no tangible benefits.  For another example one needs look no further than the ridiculous nature of airport security.  First, why do we allow the federal government to look after airport safety?  Shouldn’t that role be the responsibility of the independent airport authorities or at least the states or the localities in which they are located?  Second, aren’t these body scanners and aggressive pat-downs a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment rights?  Must we give up our Constitutional protections in order to fly the not so friendly skies?  I could go on, but the simple fact is that once we surrender liberty in one facet, like travel, it will be that much easier to surrender it in another, like commerce, all in the false and misguided hope of greater security.

Now some activists might be upset by Delegate Bell’s HB 1528 proposal, but I think we should look at this event in a different light.  After all, Delegate Bell freely admits that HB 1528 is a blunder that he intends to correct immediately.  I believe that gesture shows volumes about his character.  He could have ignored the concerned letters and phone calls.  He could have not taken responsibility for this lapse in judgment.  After all everyone makes mistakes and the easiest and most widespread response is to simply deny their existence.  A true mark of strength is when we recognize missteps and correct them before the damage becomes irreversible.

Even though we share many conservative values, I’m sure that Delegate Bell and I will disagree on a few points in the future.  I’m just glad to know that the 20th district has a Delegate who listens to the people and will change course when he discovers he is in error.

The Race for the 6th District

While other several other congressional districts decide who will be their Republican nominee for the House of Representatives, here in the 6th District we have an important decision to make as well.  Obviously Bob Goodlatte will be our candidate of choice.  But who will be the new 6th District Chairman?  For a little while, the race was between longtime activist and Western RPV Vice-Chairwoman Trixie Averill and Greg Habeeb, Chairman of the Salem GOP.  With Mr. Habeeb’s recent and sudden departure from the race, I figured the election was over.  However, now a new challenger has emerged from Botetourt, the Vice-Chairman of the County Party, Danny Goad.  Here is an email announcement I received earlier today:

Danny H. Goad Announces He Is Running For Chairman of Republican Party, Sixth Congressional District

Danny H. Goad

February 22, 2010

Citizens of the Sixth Congressional District,

It is with great anticipation and a strong sense of duty to serve that I write to you.  After encouragement of many throughout the district I want to let you know that I am running for Chairman of the Republican Party of the Sixth Congressional District of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  I believe as a nation and a state our best days are yet to come and that freedom fought and died for by our Founders is resurging. Great encouragement should be taken in the activity we are seeing in groups in our localities like the tea parties and Constitutional advocacy groups.  For freedom to endure we must set the stage for it to be nurtured.  We cannot sit idly by and think that business as usual will accomplish the task.  We must be deliberate in what we do.  We must have a plan for correcting the things that we are not doing well as the Republican Party.

As Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District I will work hard to strengthen the local units in accomplishing our stated goals and to grow the Party.  The purpose of the Republican Party is threefold. First, we have an obligation to advocate the principles of the Republican Party and represent those electing us in our respective
units.  Second, we have an obligation to work hard to get Republican candidates elected to office.  Lastly, we have an obligation to assist elected Republican office holders as they have need to attend meetings or otherwise assist them.  I believe the Sixth Congressional District does a good job working on campaigns and assisting elected Republicans.

As we reflect on the events of the last year we recognize that our district is not what it was one year ago.  Something has changed. Citizens are on their own volition speaking out in a constructive manner on the issues of liberty and the role of government.  Once again citizens are talking about the Constitution like it means what it says.  While Republicans recognize that this resurgence of liberty is a good thing, we must be true to ourselves and acknowledge it did not originate in the Republican Party.  We must ask ourselves right here in the Sixth District what we must do differently to nurture this freedom.

We have a great opportunity to participate in this renewal of freedom. Our greatest strength is our principles.  What we say we believe is the only thing that makes us different from the Democrat Party.  The principles of the Republican Party are quite simple and are expressed concisely in the Virginia Republican Creed.  Of particular note is the fourth clause of the Creed which refers to Constitutional limitations. As I have intently listened to many citizen groups in the last year I get the sense they feel the Republican Party has let them down in the Party’s failure to abide by Constitutional limitations.  Specifically, they say, “On what authority does the federal government have the permission to dictate what health care plan we have?  On what authority do you pass the TARP legislation and provide no accounting of the funds?  On what authority do you pass ex post facto legislation that targets specific individuals and takes their assets?”  These are but a few examples of concerns of the citizen’s groups.  Many citizens feel to a large degree that the response of the Republican Party has been silence.  Recognizing our weakness is the first step in gaining the confidence of those who feel our actions do not match our rhetoric.  As Chairman of the Sixth District I will not be silent on these issues.

We declare that we are a grassroots organization when we need someone to volunteer with the campaign but we sometimes cringe when we are asked by a volunteer why an elected Republican took a certain position on an issue.  I think this is a natural human response.  We don’t like it when the actions of elected representatives that we campaigned for are questioned.  However, we must be willing to hear the concerns of citizens and be willing to advocate for them when we view their concern and recognize it as consistent with the Republican Creed and Constitution.

The Sixth District Republican Party has the opportunity to embrace freedom in a manner not paralleled in recent history.  If we embrace the principles espoused in the Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution, the Republican Party will grow.  As Chairman I will lead that effort.

Very briefly I will tell you some of my political experience and I’ll follow-up with more at a later time.  In 1992, I joined the Republican Party and went to my first state convention in Salem.  In 1993, I was elected Vice Chairman of the Republican Party of Hampton and was responsible for organizing the city-wide campaign of more than 300 volunteers.  Simultaneously, I was City Coordinator for Mike Farris for Lieutenant Governor.  1994-Elected to Hampton City School Board, organized North for Senate campaign in Hampton.  1997, 1998-Elected Chairman of the Giles County Republican Committee.  2001-SW VA Area Director Jay Katzen for Lt. Governor.  2006,2008-Elected Vice-Chairman of the Botetourt County Republican Committee.  I have a record of growing the Republican Party.

By trade I am a Mechanical Engineer, licensed in two states, and hold an engineering degree from Virginia Tech and an MBA from the College of William and Mary.  I am also a graduate of The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding.

I am married and have six children.

We have a fantastic opportunity to more fully embrace the ideals of our Founders: the opportunity to pass a greater freedom to our posterity.  Let’s work together to promote liberty in the Sixth District. Will you join me in reaching out to Virginians who share our vision of limited government who have not been active in a political party?  Will you join me in my campaign for Chairman of the Sixth Congressional District?  Please call or email me and I will let you know how you can get involved in my campaign.
Sincerely,

Danny H. Goad

(540)354-9556

dhgoadpe@msn.com

This race should be interesting.  Having worked for Trixie Averill back in 2006, I can attest that she is, without a doubt, one of the most hardworking and committed persons that I have ever met.  Most GOP activists in the 6th district not only know who she is, but also like her.  On the other hand, although I haven’t personally met Danny Goad, I have read and written about some of the many positive actions taken by the Botetourt Committee.  In addition, I greatly appreciate his strong statement in favor of limited government and the 10th amendment.

I’m looking forward to learning more about both.  With that thought in mind, Trixie Averill will be attending the First Friday lunch this week in Harrisonburg, so I encourage you to go if you are free.  Once I know when Danny Goad is coming, I’ll share that information too.

And so it begins…