My Open E-mail Letter to Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon)

Dear Tom:

I was surprised to get your letter the other day, where you complain that there is a lot of misinformation about the traffic abusers fees. If there is an orchestrated misinformation campaign, it originates with members of our State Legislature who continue to make misleading and obfuscating statements about the many unconstitutional provisions in HB 3202.

For example, in your letter you claim that the abuser fees are only applied against the worse of the worst–those drivers who habitually violate our traffic laws. Well, how about telling that to Mr. Charles Mason, who as reported by the Washington Post and repeated on the Raising Kaine blog is facing a $1,050 abuser fee for driving 20 miles over the speed limit?

In all honesty Tom, can you, Dave Albo or Speaker Howell raise your right hand and take an oath in the presence of your constituents that you have never driven 75 MPH in a 55 MPH zone? If you all can’t say that with a straight face, it’s time that you set a good example, by making a series of voluntary abuser-fee payments to the DMV for each time you drove over the speed limit.

Let’s face it Tom, our State Supreme Court, in the guidance issued to the lower courts on how to implement the new abuser fees, lists in excess of 120 traffic infractions that qualify for an elevated abuser penalty. Contrary to all the assurances coming out of the General Assembly, it is now becoming clear that first time offenders–drivers with clean driving records–are being caught in the web that our overzealous legislators have cast against the citizens of our Commonwealth.

Speaker Howell is also quoted saying that the Attorney General had cleared HB 3202. I have asked you for the AG’s legal opinion and Del. Bob Marshall has asked the same of the Speaker–but contrary to your assurances, we have yet to be provided with the AG’s opinion.

Let’s face it, the AG did not issued a legally binding opinion on the constitutionality of HB 3202. So when members of the General Assembly try to hide behind a non-existing opinion, you’re simply adding to the misinformation regarding this bill.

Furthermore, all members of the General Assembly are sworn to uphold our Constitution. So how can you all have voted in good conscience on a controversial bill that appears to have violated many provisions of the Constitution and which has already been found to violate the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution, by two separate state courts?

Sounds to me that everyone who voted for this bill has apparently violated their oath of office. What’s the penalty for a legislator who has knowingly violated his oath of office? At a minimum, I would think that any self-respecting elected official would choose to resign rather than subject our state through additional turmoil.

So when you complain about all the misinformation surrounding the traffic abusers bill, don’t point fingers Tom–just look at your colleagues in the General Assembly who continue to go out of their way to mislead and misinform the public.

Best Regards, Phil
Phillip Rodokanakis
Virginia Club for Growth

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3 responses to “My Open E-mail Letter to Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon)”

  1. Groveton Avatar

    C’Mon …

    First conservative principle – you are presumed innocent until proven guilty. True for Mr? (he was apparently in some uniform) Charles Mason and true for Mr. Michael Vick.

    So, to continue this discussion properly, we’ll have to assume that Mr. Mason was driving 20 mph over the speed limit. I’d rather wait until after the trial but Mr. Mason’s representatives have started sqwaking so let’s start now.

    Mr. Mason is accused of reckless driving on a very dangerous stretch of highway. Reckless driving is now, and has long been, a serious charge carrying big fines and a large number of bad driving points. These facts are unrelated to the abuser fees.

    Mr. Mason’s lawyers (specifically Kyle M. Courtnall) have said that Mr. Mason has a “perfect” driving record. However, the Washington Post (somehow a newly found friend of the Club for Growth – but that’s another story) says differently. WaPo says Mr. Mason was ticked for speeding just last year in Annandale and paid a fine.

    The article goes on …

    Reached later, Courtnall said Mason is still the perfect person to challenge the law. Mason said, “I wouldn’t say my driving record is perfect, but I’m hardly a menace on the road.”

    Actually sir, at 75 mph on 395 in Arlington you are a menace on the road.


    A US Navy veteran driving in full uniform (but identified only as “Mr.”) was accused of reckless driving by violating the long standing law which calls for reckless charges if you exceed the speed limit by 20 or more mph (a considerable sum in most people’s minds).

    First, his lawyers call his driving record spotless but then both his lawyers and the accused admit to a recent speeding ticket in Annandale.

    Immediately on the heels of this story being published in the WaPo the President of the Virginia Club for Growth writes an open letter to Del. Tom Rust.

    Let me put aside the Club for Growth’s romance with the WaPo (like the romance between a young dog and a man’s leg).

    These abuser fees have been a favorite target of pseudo-conservatives lately. Let me broaden the issue from the open letter to Tom Rust to spotlight the endless problems with MSC (Main Stream Conservatism) in Virginia.

    1. Laws / penalties to prevent bad behavior should only be enacted after it can be proven that those laws / penalties will actually prevent the bad behavior.

    MSC position – true for abuser fees, false for congestion tolls. In the minds of the MSC congestion tolls may be implemented immediately to “allieviate congestion” despite the fact that these tolls have never been proven to actually allieviate congestion.

    2. Behavior based “fees” are preferable to general taxes since behavior based “fees” can be avoided by those who choose not to pay them.

    MSC position – true for congestion tolls (alternative: use public transportation) but false for abuser fees (alternatives: obey the law or use public transportation).

    3. The courts are meant to be an interpretive organization which should only intervene in matters approved by the duly elected legislature in rare cases involving crucial matters.

    MSC position – true for things like abortion (overturn Roe v. Wade – it should be a state by state decision), false for abuser fees (use the courts to get them deemed unconstitutional).

    4. The middle class and the common man must be protected.

    MSC position – True for abuser fees where “everybody will stay poor” but false for HOT lanes (aka Lexus lanes) where the wealthy will breeze to work while watching less wealthy working men and women stay jammed in traffic.

    5. Laws must be enforced – it is the duty of all groups within the legal and law enforcement community.

    MSC position – True when it comes to ICE’s failure to deport illegal aliens, false when it comes to Front Royal’s enforcement the abuser fees.

    The conservatives in Virginia are an embarrassment to conservatism. They have no core values. They are a special interest group masquerading as a political philosophy. They are why Virginia is falling further and further into the hands of the Democrats.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Like the cave man says uh What?
    Democrat republican or other This is how they are going to fix our roads. Pure Genius Oh and nevermind that pesky equal protection under the law thing!

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    There are blogs stating that Mr. Charles Mason is a Virginia hero.

    Hero? No I don’t think so…the only thing this proves is that in Virginia you can hire pitbull lawyers and bulldoze your way through the courts.

    If you drive like a moron on the roads, pay your dues and be held accountable. Law abiding people do not expect the Johnny Cochrans and Thaddeus Furlongs of the world to save them – they take responsibility!

    Mr. Furlong, it seems is a former police officer from Fairfax County working now for a team of police officers and prosecutors turned high price attorneys. What a world we live in when those who are taught to uphold the laws use their knowledge and experience to navigate rich people around a system laden with cracks and loopholes! This story is a disgrace. It bothers my sense of justice and fairness.

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