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Lorton Valley Star Newspaper
monthly and on the web

Covering the greater Lorton, VA area from Fairfax /Franconia Parkway to Prince William Parkway.

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Floyd Harrison,
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Lorton Valley Star Communications, LLC

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State Legislators are Key to Fixing Washington

By Warren Wheeler

Whether you read this after Election Day (3 November) or not, here’s something you should know about your state legislators: in our system of “checks and balances” they alone hold the final ‘check’ on federal power. They decide whether or not to wield a state’s sovereign authority to change the one thing that makes us one nation—the U.S. Constitution. It’s not well known, but federal officials cannot manipulate, prevent or ignore state legislators if they act collectively to amend the Constitution.

Why is this important? Many voters believe politics-as-usual is failing the American people, and as a result they are more politically engaged than ever. Recent Presidential debates, for example, achieved viewership up to 600% higher than debates four years ago. In both major parties, unprecedented support for non-politicians or those outside their mainstream—dismissed initially as a passing fad—continues unabated. Whether from new voters or newly motivated old voters, fresh political energy is overwhelming the status quo.

One reason is our exploding national debt, which threatens a Greece-like financial collapse. Under first Republican, then Democrat, then mixed control, Washington has doubled the federal debt not once but twice since 2001. Today our debt climbs about $1 million every minute, even after “sequestration” supposedly stopped the fiscal hemorrhaging. Then there are the power grabs of federal courts, and the scandals of irresponsible federal agencies: manipulated VA waiting lists and failed Obamacare websites are emblematic of an unaccountable bureaucracy run amok.

Fortunately, the Constitution’s Framers foresaw the possibility of an out-of-control federal government and they provided a solution. It is found in Article V, which sets out the Constitution’s two-step amendment process: first they are proposed, then they must be ratified by three-fourths of the States.

All 27 amendments were first proposed by Congress, which requires a two-thirds vote of each chamber. Yet the Framers knew that if only Congress can propose amendments, citizens would be powerless to curb the federal government. Those abusing power do not, the Framers reasoned, reform themselves.

This is why Article V includes the option of a “convention of the states for proposing amendments.” It is convened once two-thirds of state legislatures (34 states) invoke it in a formal resolution. Thus our Constitution grants state legislators the power to rein in the federal government.

The Convention of States (COS) Project was launched to educate voters about Article V and empower state legislators to use it. We are active in every state and so far 37 State legislatures are considering our COS resolution, including Virginia’s General Assembly. Four states have passed our resolution, which calls for amendments that impose fiscal restraints, limit federal power and jurisdiction, and establish term limits for federal officials, including members of Congress.

Thousands of Virginia volunteers are working to ensure their state legislators pass our Article V resolution. Join us at to learn more and about how you can help. We must stop our runaway federal government before—like Greece—our national fate is sealed.

Warren Wheeler Virginia Coalitions Director Convention of States Project



Thanks LVS Readers for responding

Virginia Association of Museums Honors Occoquan Historical Society Artifacts

The Virginia Association of Museums has chosen a group of items from the Occoquan Historical Society’s Mill House Museum as one of the honorees of its 2015 Top 10 Endangered Artifacts program. OHS Curator, Dolores Elder, entered a group of items connected to the Occoquan Iron Works established by John Ballendine in 1755. These items, an iron ingot, blacksmith vise, and a piece of conduit, were all crafted at the Occoquan Iron Works.

The blacksmith vise was hand-crafted and used by the Occoquan Iron Works manager, Henry Selecman, while the iron conduit brought water from the mill race to power the Merchants’ Mill. Stamped “Occoquan” the iron ingot came from the furnace once located at the western edge of town. “I am very pleased that our artifacts were recognized,” said Ms. Elder. “Our honoree status will raise awareness in the community about our Mill House collection and start us down the road to the conservation of these historically valuable items.”

An email from Christina Newton, Assistant Director at VAM, noted that …“honorees are selected through a strict review of the application and images by our Top 10 Peer Review Panel, which is comprised of collections professionals, conservators, and preservationists with the Library of Virginia, Preservation Virginia, Virginia Conservation Association, Virginia Department of Historic Resources, and in private practice. I’m delighted to share this news with you as members were thoroughly impressed with the Iron Works items and thought they make for excellent objects of research.”

The Occoquan Historical Society’s Mill House Museum is located at 413 Mill Street in Occoquan, Virginia, and is open daily from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information about the museum and the Occoquan Historical Society, go to the Society’s website at

Grassroots Organization Supports Amendments Convention Resolution

Virginia voters’ deep seated discontent with Washington is clear. Last June an unknown college professor defeated (in a primary no less!) the second most powerful Congressman, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor outspent his opponent, Dave Brat, by 40-to-1. “If you go knocking door to door,” Brat told reporters, “you’ll know the American people think they’re in trouble.” In November, incumbent Democrat Senator Mark Warner barely defeated his Republican challenger. Receiving less than 50% of the total vote, Warner garnered less than a one percent vote margin over Ed Gillespie.

Virginians understand the clear and present danger posed by politics-as-usual in Washington.

• Since 2000, the national debt doubled under Republicans and doubled again under Democrats. Now at $18 Trillion, the debt grows daily and yet there’s no serious discussion among Washington politicians about how to stop it. They also ignore “unfunded liabilities” (including Social Security payments) that stretch upwards of $100 Trillion. • Both the President and his government funded MIT propagandist, Jonathan Gruber, repeatedly told lies about Obamacare to get it passed. Gruber then mocked voters’ “stupidity” for believing the President. Obama’s government-mandated policies have astronomical deductibles even as monthly costs skyrocket. • Despite an historic mid-term electoral defeat – in part due to failed immigration policies that saw illegals pour across our southern border all summer – the President in effect suspended the Constitution by dictating new immigration laws which contravene those properly passed by Congress. The financial mess, loss of control of our borders and collapse in rule-of-law principles have turned the attention of many Virginians toward the need for fundamental political change. Voters understand that just rotating the players on the field won’t help; we must change the rules of the game. An occasional Dave Brat going to Washington won’t stop Virginians and their children from being victimized by an overreaching, cynical, often lawless federal government. In searching for a solution as big as the problem, voters are turning to what was hidden in plain sight by the Founders. Led by Lorton neighbor and Virginia delegate George Mason, the Founders foresaw that one day the federal government might become as tyrannical and irresponsible as the British monarch. At Mason’s insistence, Article V of the Constitution was written to allow states to come together and propose constitutional amendments – with no need for Congressional approval – once two-thirds (34 states) agree on a particular subject. It’s called a Convention of States (COSor “Article V convention”) and it will propose Constitutional amendments which Washington politicians cannot control, manipulate or ignore. Fighting for this is the Convention of States Project, an initiative of Citizens for Self-Governance. After just 16 months, we are active in 46 states with 20,000 grassroots volunteers and some 79,000 dedicated supporters. COS proponents understand this is the only realistic way to regain a fiscally sound federal government and restore constitutional checks and balances. We’ve been endorsed by an extraordinary array of national organizations and nationally prominent scholars and politicians (including possible Presidential contenders like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal). (Go to ... you’ll be surprised at who’s behind us!) A resolution that will add Virginia to the list of COS-applicants was pre-filed for the General Assembly’s 2015 Session, which convenes on 14 January. House Joint Resolution 497 (or HJ497) is sponsored by Del. Scott Lingamfelter (Woodbridge) and would only permit Constitutional amendments that impose fiscal restraints and limit the jurisdiction of the federal government, and that impose term limits on its officials and members of Congress. HJ497 will be voted on soon; let your Delegate know that you want Virginia to work alongside other states to fix the mess in Washington. In particular, Del. Dave Albo (Lorton/Springfield) currently opposes HJ497. Go to our website (, sign our petition and your Delegate and State Senator will be directly informed of your support for fiscal sanity and fundamental reform. You will be joining a state-wide network of volunteers who are working to ensure Virginia – as it did in 1776 and 1787 – once again leads the nation in securing the blessings of liberty for its fellow citizens.

Warren Wheeler, 
Virginia Coalitions Director, 
Convention of States Project Email: Tel. (617) 899-7679

Sony Pictures Shows Bad Taste

Opinion by Floyd Harrison, Publsiher

I think that Sony Pictures shows bad taste in producing a movie portraying the idea of an attempt at killing the current North Korean leader. How do you think it would be thought of if they produced a plot to kill our own current President Obama? It’s just as tasteless either way. I don’t understand why I haven’t heard anyone else say this already. Sony Pictures should retract the movie permanently.

Too many people who would defend Sony Pictures misinterpret the freedom of speech. We have laws to control libel and slander so obviously our civil law recognizes what we should all know. That is that the freedom of speech is not absolute but rather a right with responsibility. That really applies to all of our rights. We have inalienable rights to do as we please so long as we don’t hurt others. We may not threaten the freedom, health, safety, welfare, reputation, or pursuit of happiness of others while we are doing as we please. In fact you may be held responsible if your actions are only reckless not malicious. You may not drive while intoxicated.

Sony Pictures’ freedom to fan the flames of international tension in the name of entertainment is questionable and the conflict was avoidable. I hope you don’t think it’s funny that a kid shoots up a movie theatre so why do you really think that Sony Pictures’ premise is funny? Two good things have come of it: One, is that we got a heads up to what hacking technology someone is capable of in the name of the North Koreans. Did President Obama bemoan that threat? No, he just trumpets reprisal when he doesn’t have a plan. That’s not responsible, it’s just being belligerent useless noise.

The relationship with North Korea is tense enough without Sony Pictures’ tasteless foolisness and President Obama’s bluster. Now we have children on both sides of the Pacific who are pleased to call themselves leaders, making threats which could turn into war. I’ve had enough war and I’m disappointed by President Obama who ran on a platform of getting us out of war and yet has put us in more trillions in debt to inspire ISIS. But, that’s another subject. We’ll be paying the price for that for a long time. But, if you only listen to the Hollywood defenders, you only get half of the story.

The other good thing that came out of it is that we found that Sony Pictures is apparently still attempting to resurrect proposed Internet content-restriction laws – the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Google general counsel Kent Walker wrote a scathing blog post.

“[O]ne disappointing part of this story is what this all means for the MPAA itself, an organization founded in part ‘to promote and defend the First Amendment and artists’ right to free expression,’” Walker wrote. “Why, then, is it trying to secretly censor the Internet?”

Do you see the irony? Everyone is defending the would-be censor for getting censored as they see it. No, they got exactly what they deserved by hook or by crook.

The Department of Justice should haul Sony Pictures into court for their political recklessness. But, the Department of Justice is useless; they’re only concerned with Edward Snowden. And Homeland security should totally invade North Korean communications to assess their ability with an eye to defending our own security.

Those who don’t understand that, with rights come responsibilities and that freedom is relative, need to get another thought. But, association with Hollywood tends to make people stupid anyway. That’s my opinion and I may say that.


Dumfries’ Foreman for 36th State Senate

Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman announced his intention to run for State Senate in the 36th District today, saying fresh voices and strong leadership is needed to move the state forward. Foreman said he looked forward to outlining his plans to address the issues facing Northern Virginia in the coming weeks and months, and urged voters to visit his campaign website ( often to learn more about his views and ideas. Likewise, he plans an aggressive social media presence that provides voters a platform to share their ideas with him. “I pledge to be a powerful advocate for the common interests of Fairfax, Prince William and Stafford Counties. We need officials in Richmond who will pass legislation based on merit not on partisan politics. Regardless of party affiliation, the men and women representing this region must discuss and support each other’s goals for the betterment of their shared constituents. That kind of coordination doesn’t happen on accident; it requires strong leadership.” Mayor Foreman is a United States Marine Corps veteran with twenty-five years of service. Foreman is currently an Aviation Consultant with the Department of Homeland Security. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation Management from Southern Illinois University and his Master’s Degree in Aviation Science from Everglades University in Florida. Foreman was first elected to Dumfries Town Council in 2010 and elected and re-elected Mayor in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Virginia Ethics Reform – Epilogue

by Solomon A. Botage'

In the wake of the conviction of Governor McDonnell and his wife for corruption, songs are again chirping for enforceable ethic laws to reign in Virginia's elected public servants. Only in the political arena is the line separating “clean” behavior from corrupt behavior to be imperceptibly razor thin.

Take for instance the recent case of ESI's campaign contributions to Fairfax County Supervisor Sharon Bulova. How does Bulova's actions contrast with that of the McDonnells? Only when confronted with the results of an investigation that uncovered ESI cash “gifts” to Ms. Bulova, did Bulova reluctantly acknowledge her beholding to ESI by making a quick administrative “disclosure” of her inappropriate relations during a Board meeting where she was adjudicating an ESI decision – and not before. While ESI did not bestow her with a Rolex or a NY shopping spree, a few thousand dollars of cash goes a long long way at the lower County level.

Nonetheless Bulova remained true to her contributor, and despite compelling information and evidence of the defects, problems, and misleading provisions of ESI's proposal, in particular ESI's not so “green” energy savings representations, Bulova was only one of four affirmative ballots of the ten member board to approve ESI's petition to extend dump operation so far into the future that Jules Verne would laugh at its credibility. Even supervisor Herrity, known for his “Damn the Torpedoes” pro-business style, couldn't make good eye contact when discussing ESI's outlandish claims - and thus voted to kill the proposal. Despite an overwhelming showing and letters by legitimate Fairfax County residents opposed to enlarging Lorton mountain even further, Bulova favored ESI over her constituents and voted “YES”

While some may feel that Ms. Bulova's deserves a guest appearance at whatever prison resort planned for the former governor and his wife, we wait for the powers that be to straighten out Virginia's ethics mess and finally etch in the legislative stone, conflict-of-interest rules that every other profession has lived by for centuries.


Rebuttal to the August, 2014 Lorton Valley Star artical by R. Kennedy.

Why Marijuana Should Be Not Legalized

By Lisa Adler, president Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County

Youth Use will Increase if marijuana is legalized…Marijuana and Youth are a bad Mix!

The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) and its partners in the Northern Virginia -Marijuana Prevention Task Force are specifically focused on all aspects of how marijuana effects youth. First of all in what world does legalizing a drug that has not been thoroughly vetted and researched make any sense? In the past 15 years the THC content in marijuana has tripled; it is dangerous and not safe for the growing brains of youth and young adults; it can lead to dependency, lack of motivation, decrease in IQ, mental health problems, impaired driving, poor decision-making, and school drop-outs in this age group!

Marijuana contains 50-70 percent more carcinogens than tobacco smoke.

Evidence linking marijuana and cancer is mixed. However, marijuana smoke contains an enzyme that converts hydrocarbons into a cancer-causing form. Do people smoking or ingesting marijuana just use that substance, how many are combining it with alcohol? It’s not just the actual, physical smoking or eating of marijuana…people have got to consider the risks associated with marijuana use? Educate yourself, read all the articles coming out of Colorado where incidents of impaired driving has become a major problem and where visits to the ER now include children and pets who get their hands on edible forms of marijuana. In 2008 there were 374,000 cannabis related emergency hospital admissions vs. 16, 251 in 1991.

Looking for employment or have employers which drug test? Marijuana can stay in your system for up to around 28 days.

Our reaction to Mr. Kennedy’s statement…”Kids absolutely should not use drugs but making it legal for adults would help keep it away from them because sellers have to check ID,” is this: You have got to be kidding me! Where do you think youth get their alcohol and prescription medicines from? Data will show you that the majority of youth get their alcohol and non-medical prescription medicines (Adderall, Vicodin, Percocet, etc.) from an older sibling or friend and from their own home. Ask a teenager or someone under 21 how much it costs to get a fake ID and how hard is it to get. This behavior will not change with legalization. Mr. Kennedy reasons that because alcohol and tobacco are legal and policed by adults use has been reduced. However, alcohol use especially binge drinking among youth is still too high and the adults who produce the creative marketing for all the different types of alcohol, directly market to the young person. From where UPC is sitting, underage and binge drinking among our youth is still a huge public health problem and binge drinking leads to all sorts of risky behaviors including sexual assault, rape, fights, and car crashes. In addition there is already precedent being set for huge marketing of marijuana to young people in Colorado

Here’s why the argument for tax revenue does not work. Remember, I’m speaking from a youth perspective.

a) Drug cartels know that youth are not going to want to pay any more than they have to for weed. Adults in Colorado are still buying from local dealers to avoid taxes and ID checks. Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that black market sales of marijuana will stop.

b) For every $1 gained from alcohol and tobacco tax revenues, $10 is lost in legal, health, social, and regulatory costs.

c) 2008 data: Revenue from alcohol in USA- $14 billion/ Health, and Societal costs- $185 billion

Revenue from tobacco in USA- $25 billion/ Health, and Societal costs- $200 billion

In the coming months and years the argument for legalization of marijuana will be in the spotlight. There will be many opportunities for our Fairfax County residents to hear all sides of the issues surrounding marijuana. If and when the time comes to put this to a vote in Virginia, know the facts!

UPC does not want our youth having increased accessed to legalized marijuana. We do not want them putting their young minds and overall health, nor their futures at risk as they continue to grow, mature and become productive members of society.

For additional information contact the UPC at 703-938-8723 or visit

Data and key facts were used, with permission, from Dr. Kevin Sabet, Director of the Drug Policy Institute and Assistant Professor in the College of Medicine at the University of Florida. He also is Co-founder and Executive Director of SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana). Dr. Sabet is nationally recognized in the drug policy field and routinely interviewed by major news media about his policy work and publications. He is an advocate for a sound drug policy.

© 2014 Lisa Adler, Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County.

Marajuana Tripe

Opinion: Floyd Harrison, Publisher

The anarchist tripe is misguided that says make it legal so that three times as many black kids won’t get busted. By that flaky logic, would we make other prohibitions legal so that the poor, ignorant, unruly and under-privileged people won’t get charged and have records? I know they like to say that the drug law is stacked against blacks. That’s coming at the problem from the wrong direction. Prevent poverty, and ignorance and give all kids a productive creative outlet and opportunity so that they have a positive choice. Letting kids be doped up won’t get them out of their mire and it’s not cheaper for law enforcement when they eventually run into trouble for greater crimes. That’s one of the most asinine arguments I’ve ever heard. Make everything legal for me so I won’t get into trouble and I’ll thereby become the best citizen you ever heard of. Right? You’d vote for that? If you would, then you don’t need Marijuana, you’re already in a fog.


Local Teen Seeks to Educate About Disposing of Prescription Medicines

Sixteen-year-old Hannah Brinkley is starting her junior year in a few weeks at South County High School. But her summer vacation was spent on her own education campaign to help the greater Lorton community understand the importance of properly disposing of prescription medications. Hannah’s efforts are part of her project for the Gold Award, the highest achievement in Girl Scouting, similar to the Eagle Scout Award for the Boy Scouts. Lisa Adler, president of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC), said she and other UPC leaders are serving as project advisors for Hannah. “Hannah is taking action on an issue that is critically important in Fairfax County, as a way to prevent the growing prescription drug abuse problem, and we applaud her for her leadership,” Adler said. Hannah, who hopes to study biology in college and possibly attend pharmacy school, said she got the idea for her project from her grandmother. “She collected a lot of medications and didn’t know what to do with those she no longer needed,” said Hannah, adding that properly disposing of the drugs protects the environment, prevents children from accidental poisoning and keeps them away from teens who might be tempted to use them. This week Hannah has delivered UPC’s Prescription Drug Abuse fact card to local pharmacies and doctor’s offices. The card includes how to properly dispose of medications and information for parents and grandparents on things they should know about prescription drug abuse. She set up a booth at the Kingstowne Center for Active Adults in Alexandria to educate senior citizens on the need to dispose of unneeded medications and secure those they do need (UPC recommends a RxArmory lockbox to secure medications). She and volunteers she she recruited visited 476 homes in her South County neighborhood distributing the UPC fact card. They’ll also be letting neighbors know of the upcoming Sept. 27 National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, sponsored by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and supported by UPC and its partners. For more information, visit


Why Marijuana Should Be Legal, Taxed, and Regulated

By Dick Kennedy--retired CIA Senior Analyst, non-smoker, PhD economist, Lorton resident since 1978, and member of Virginia NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws)

Legalizing marijuana will save thousands of lives because “pot” is much safer than tobacco or alcohol. Tobacco kills 480,000 people annually (including 49,000 from second-hand smoke!) and alcohol 88,000, while marijuana deaths are zero--or at least too few to detect. “Health risks”, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, are: Tobacco: “chronic lung disease; cardiovascular disease; stroke; cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, pancreas, cervix, kidney, bladder, and acute myeloid leukemia; adverse pregnancy outcomes; addiction.” Alcohol: “increased risk of injuries, violence, fetal damage (in pregnant women); depression; neurologic deficits; hypertension; liver and heart disease; addiction; fatal overdose.” Marijuana: “cough, frequent respiratory infections; possible mental health decline; addiction.” It’s not a “gateway” drug--a long-discredited idea--although alcohol might be. As for addiction, the percent of users who become dependent on various drugs is: tobacco-32; heroin-25; alcohol-15; cocaine-15; marijuana-9. “Weed” does cause mental problems in some people, and it impairs driving, but only as much as two or three drinks of alcohol. Marijuana is also a safe and effective medicine for treating seizures, nausea, weight loss, PTSD, glaucoma, and neuropathic pain, and it shows promise for other diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimers; unfortunately the government severely impedes research. The Virginia Nurses Association endorsed medical marijuana in 1994; 23 states and DC, plus countries such as Canada and Israel now have it. (Good information from the Harvard Medical School is available at About 750,000 people are arrested annually for marijuana, diverting police from better uses. Moreover, a Black user is 3.7 times as likely as a White to be arrested, making it a major civil rights issue and the NAACP endorses legalization. Kids absolutely should not use drugs, but making marijuana legal for adults would help keep it away from them, because sellers have to check ID. The proof is that teen use of alcohol and tobacco both fell to all-time lows in 2013, while marijuana use has almost doubled since 1991. Note: the Campaign for Tobacco-Free kids says that 152,000 Virginia kids will die from tobacco. Tax revenue is another benefit from marijuana legalization. New York City--same population as Virginia--estimates that it would get about $400 million annually, money that otherwise would go to the Mexican cartels and other criminals. A striking fact is that prestigious commissions in many countries have studied marijuana and always concluded that it is not a serious problem. The US National Commission on Marijuana, for example, voted 13-0 for decriminalization, even though President Nixon appointed nine of its members. Finally, in a democracy the will of the majority should prevail, and since 2012, seven out of seven national polls found majority support for legalization, including Gallup at 58-39. (In Virginia, a 2014 Quinnipiac poll found that residents oppose full legalization 46-48 but support medical marijuana 84-13.) If you believe in sensible drug policy, check or email If you’re not convinced yet, just keep watching Colorado and Washington.


Lorton Valley Star Publisher does not endorse the legalization of Marijuana. We provide here greater Lorton’s most vocal activist this opportunity to present the pro-legalization position. Short of evaluating arguments, we do notice that they have not distinguished between the type that has been sought for medical purposes, and the types used for “recreational” high neither of which has been scientifically evaluated or tested. We would remind readers that drug evaluation, standardization and approval is handled at the Federal level through the FDA not by states. A drug is just that, whether you absorb it, inhale it, shoot it, swallow it, or stick it somewhere. It must cure or treat symptoms of a disease without causing likely harm.

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