With two days remaining in the 2012 end-of-year holiday gift purchasing season — unless retailers push the post-season sales to encroach, as some did with Thanksgiving, on Christmas Day itself — I want to suggest a less obvious present but one with the potential to benefit many more people, including the giver, than most others you could buy. Intrigued, or at this late date, desperate, to know more? Since time is short, I’ll not go down the network television path with a “cliffhanger” episode. No, let me lay it out succinctly. Go to the Citizens for Accountability in Politics website and click on the “Donate now” bubble.
If you’re scratching your head in bewilderment or shaking your fist in anger because you don’t see how this will solve your last-minute gift-giving problem, you must have been “out of the room” this past year. Just about twelve months ago, the Grinch-in-Chief, Governor McDonnell, approved a deal with Elizabeth River Crossings that for 58 years will consume an ever increasing share of household income for people in our region who rely on the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels for passage to work, recreation, cultural events, religious activities, schools, and anything else that takes us across the Elizabeth River by car or truck. The only way out of this ill-advised contract is through the courts.
Last spring the volunteer civic activists behind CAPPAC pledged to raise enough money — estimated to be in the vicinity of $150,000 — to retain legal counsel with a sterling record of achievement in cases of this kind for the court battle with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Enough of that funding came in up front to start the judicial wheels turning, but the goal is still a bit further out. As Thomas Paine wrote during the winter of 1776-1777, “These are the times that try [our] souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but [s/he] that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.” Your winter contribution to this cause has the potential to benefit your children, grandchildren, great grandchildren, neighbors, unwitting visitors, and yourselves. Winning the suit could also send a message to the Governor, General Assembly, and, more importantly, to our fellow citizens across Virginia, that funding transportation infrastructure improvements cannot depend solely on tolls. Please consider, then, giving the gift that will endure beyond the holiday season of 2012, or, most assuredly, the toll Grinches will see to it that you and your progeny will have less disposable income for gift giving and everything else over the next half century.
With best wishes in this holiday season,