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A region that's out of touch? page 3
Vote for governor reflects obsolete views about the Fredericksburg area

  Richard Amrhine's archive
  E-mail Richard Amrhine
Date published: 11/20/2005



Stafford County voters decided to oust four one-term incumbents and replace them with four political neophytes. These voters traded the devil they hardly knew for the devil they don't really know. They are impatient now and torn over the future. They think that anything must be better than what they're saddled with now.

Such voter vacillation brings into play all the bad things about term limits. The opportunity for officials to gain experience and share it is lost. Ideas that could have proved sound might not be carried to fruition.

Four years is hardly enough time to set a new course after 30 years or more on the old one. Fine-tuning a growth plan could take a decade.

Residents should vote for change as they see fit--but making wholesale changes in every election could be as bad as leaving the same souls in charge for life. Voters need to blend some patience with their peevishness. Otherwise, as traffic worsens and taxes continue to soar, they'll get into the habit of kicking the bums out every chance they get.

Speaking of taxes, it was candidate Kilgore who offered the brilliant idea that all tax increases be left to voter referendum. That's a cop-out by a politician who fears the fallout of tough decisions.

Sometimes people don't know what's best for themselves and their communities. That's especially true of people around here, who think government's only responsibility should be to cut taxes.

Rather, they should seek visionary elected leaders whom they can trust to run a tight ship. When Gov. Warner and Republican state Sen. John Chichester agree that a revenue boost is needed to keep up with traffic congestion and meet education goals, they're probably right.

The right leaders are also those who encourage the sort of jobs that pay enough for people to live where they work, and let them take that bigger tax bite in stride.

A key step, which many here still seem reluctant to take, is to acknowledge that the area will continue to grow and never be what it was before.

RICHARD AMRHINE is a writer and editor with The Free Lance-Star.

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