During the past several months, I have observed the publisher’s proclivity to devote time, space and energy on fault-finding tours of Republicans. On Sept. 27, Walter Nicklin accused Rep. Eric Cantor of being partisan and irresponsible because the 112th Congress adjourned before the Farm Bill was voted upon in Congress. In addition, he ranted about Rep. Robert Hurt’s rating on environmental issues, accusing him of “simply putting party before country.”
Of course, Mr. Nicklin cited none of Democrat John Douglass’ chameleon tendencies and the misrepresentation of his record of being a federal lobbyist. Nor did he mention that we have not had a federal budget in more than three years. In the Sept. 13 Rappahannock News, the publisher stated: “As we’re reminded all too often in this presidential election season, the contest is all about ‘who controls the narrative . . .’ ” As publisher, Mr. Nicklin recognizes that he controls the narrative and uses it to his team’s advantage.
On Oct. 4, Mr. Nicklin wrote another opinion, implying that Republicans (except those of the “old school”) were engaged in a “frenzied . . . spray painting” campaign to deface Democrat candidate signs. Does the publisher have inside information on the perpetrator of the vandalism to the Route 211 sign? If so, he should immediately contact the sheriff. A recent state police search of destruction/vandalism records in Virginia reveals that during 2010 and 2011, there were 151,587 reports of property destruction and vandalism. Of course, there are many other acts that go unreported. Although vandalism in any form is illegal and unacceptable, the destruction of a citizen’s personal property is, in my opinion, of greater concern than, perhaps, a few malcontents enjoying an autumn prank. Mr. Nicklin has made a mountain out of a molehill!
For the record, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has specific rules about where signage can be placed. Manville Carpenter, VDOT maintenance manager, advised that no signage is permitted in the right-of-way. In Rappahannock County, the right-of-way includes the median areas on 211 (where, incidentally, I have recently observed numerous Democrat signs), and signage placed “up to” the highway ditch line. To determine precise rights-of-way on other roadways and in other counties, VDOT must refer to records held by the Circuit Court clerk.
Both Republican and Democrat signage, if legally displayed, should represent enthusiasm for our candidates, our party, our country and, not least, our constitutional right to freedom of speech. The opinion by Walter Nicklin makes a false and biased presumption. I have lived in Rappahannock County for more than 22 years and firmly believe that vandalism is not a byproduct of the Republican Party. If the publisher advocates bipartisanship, I suggest that he write his opinions in a manner that promotes more collaboration, not divisiveness.
Chair, Rappahannock County Republican Committee