The Many, Many Lies of Chuck Caputo

By VA Blogger

caputosnotwithus

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On one hand, it’s hard not to blame Del. Chuck Caputo for constantly and desperately spreading mistruths about his opponent and his own record. He was elected on a fluke in 2005 (the long-standing incumbent was ousted in the primary, creating an open seat) and was able to survive in 2007 by benefiting from a great political climate despite being outworked on the ground. Feeling the heat, Caputo has determined that his best chance to win is to deceive everyone, because reality doesn’t favor him much.

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But that doesn’t mean he should be able to get away with it. Voters deserve to know the truth, and more than just correcting the lies he’s spread in this campaign, the truth in the 67th District is that Chuck Caputo has become just another typical politician. But first, let’s get to the lies:

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1) Chuck Caputo skipped out on voting during the 2008 Special Session on Transportation

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This has been covered repeatedly on this blog and others, but amazingly Caputo continues to obfuscate his record. The simple truth? Chuck Caputo missed important votes because he wasn’t there. The record says he wasn’t there. Dels. Dave Englin and Kris Amundson said he wasn’t there. When Chuck Caputo accuses his opponents of “smears” in fundraising emails, he’s deflecting attention from his own record, or lack thereof.

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2) Chuck Caputo is lying about his opponent’s business record

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Chuck Caputo is spreading around that LeMunyon’s business failed to pay taxes and “went bankrupt”, despite the fact that the company in question—which LeMunyon and some business partners did start—was sold off in 2000, before any of these financial hardships (caused by the 2001 recession) occurred. While the company was under the financial control of LeMunyon, every bill and every tax was paid. And the company never went bankrupt, either. It was sold again in 2003 and is now a part of Dow Corning.

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3) Chuck Caputo is lying about taxes

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I don’t believe raising taxes during an economic recession is a prudent idea, but there are other reasons why a gas tax increase is bad policy. For starters, a gas tax is a regressive tax that hurts the poorest the most. It is also a declining source of revenue with advances in gas efficiency and proliferation of mass transit and telecommuting. Finally, the gas tax is not indexed to inflation; the value of $0.175 is significantly less than it was in the 1980s when that rate was set.

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The first two issues are difficult to overcome but the last is fairly simple: index the gas tax to inflation. Doing so from year-to-year would provide consistent revenue, but unfortunately to begin after 20 years of inaction would constitute almost doubling the current rate. Working towards this in phases once our economy has recovered is the best option, and that’s what Jim LeMunyon supports.

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LeMunyon also supports indexing income tax brackets to inflation, which is currently the policy on the federal level but not the state. That means even receiving a cost of living adjustment to keep up with inflation for the price of groceries, gas, rent, etc. could bump you into a new tax bracket and take more out of your pocket. If we restructured the tax brackets to inflation, while there would be an adjustment period, over the long run taxpayers would see a moderate decline in the taxes they pay, even after if the gas tax were similarly restructured. Enacting these two policies would provide the state with more consistent revenue stream while providing income tax relief to Virginia families.

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Unfortunately, Chuck Caputo either doesn’t understand LeMunyon’s positions or is blatantly lying about them. In a press release, Caputo claimed that LeMunyon simply supports a gas tax increase, and accuses him of hypocrisy for attacking Caputo for voting to do the same. The problem? Caputo has voted to just hike the rates, despite the problems with the current structure. Caputo is also not on record supporting a fix to income taxes. The result: Caputo supports extending a flawed taxing mechanism, opposes giving families tax relief, and then mocks his opponent for finding a sensible alternative.

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4) Chuck Caputo refused to be accountable to his constituents– then lied about it

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In the same press release, Caputo threw in a quick turn of phrase: “Chuck Caputo has debated his opponent, and now his opponent is debating himself.” Amazingly, Caputo is able to lie twice in one sentence! Aside from the difference between LeMunyon’s position and Caputo’s, Chuck Caputo has repeatedly refused to debate Jim LeMunyon. This follows from two years ago when Chuck Caputo repeatedly refused to debate Marc Cadin.

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It’s one thing to refuse to debate, refuse to be held accountable for his actions and inaction over the past four years, and deny his constituents a chance to hear from both candidates directly in a public forum. But to blatantly lie about it in a press release and hope that your constituents aren’t engaged enough to know the truth represents a kind of deceitful cynicism that the voters of the 67th don’t deserve.

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5) Chuck Caputo is lying about guns

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In his television ad, Caputo makes claims about Jim LeMunyon’s stances on allowing guns in establishments that serve alcohol and allowing those convicted of domestic abuse to purchase guns. The ad references a candidate survey, and amazingly, LeMunyon and Caputo responded the exact same way on those two issues!

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These surveys are intended for voters to understand where each candidate stands on important issues facing the district. Unfortunately, Chuck Caputo is determined to hid the truth from voters and instead spread more and more lies. What’s the point of even having these questionnaires if incumbents like Caputo think they can just make up their opponent’s responses and get away with it? This kind of cheap political tactic discourages future candidates from participating in these surveys, robbing voters of valuable information.

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6) Chuck Caputo is lying about education

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Currently, 46 states in the union have some form of “open enrollment”. This allows parents to choose any school in their system to send their kids as long as the parents provide transportation. There are two general types: intra-district (where a parent can choose any school within their system) and inter-district (where a parent can choose schools in other localities). Jim LeMunyon supports Virginia joining 92% of the rest of the United States and enacting intra-district open enrollment.

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The reasons for this are as good as they are plentiful. On individual bases, parents may decide that another school offering different classes, different extra-curricular activities, different teachers, different peers, or different resources may be better suited for their child’s future. Under our current system, they’d have to move residences, a costly and hassling endeavor. On top of which, school boundary changes could easily change, disrupting a child’s education. This is one of the reasons why such changes are always so contentious.

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But the biggest reason why is because competition creates better options. If parents are able to choose where to send their kid (and the money that follows their kid), it gives schools an incentive to be more attractive to prospective parents. Obviously, reasonable limitations are put in place to prevent issues like over-crowding. And due to the realities of transportation, the vast majority of children would stay in their assigned school. This policy truly has the ability to be low-impact but greatly improve the future of those who participate in it. Taxpayers get a better education system for the same price. All in all, there are many good reasons to enact this policy and virtually no reasons not to.

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In fact, many overlook the fact that Fairfax County already has an example of how open enrollment works with the Thomas Jefferson School. This school, the pride and joy of FCPS, allows enrollment from across the county (on an application basis). Despite a nominally extra amount of paperwork and processing, the school is a resounding success. The fact that the school brings in students from all across the county has made it better, not worse.

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Which is why its puzzling and sad at the same time to see Chuck Caputo’s knee-jerk and reactionary response, which is to simply oppose any proposal made by his opponent and then spread lies about it.

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6a) Chuck Caputo claims open enrollment would drown administrators in paperwork and increase taxes to pay for increased costs.

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As mentioned before, 46 out of 50 states have open enrollment, and their administrations get by just fine with them. States that have made the switch have reported no problems with doing so. But forget other states. Here in Fairfax, Thomas Jefferson’s administrators aren’t overcome by the paperwork. For starters, technology makes this task pretty simple (perhaps LeMunyon can give Caputo a briefing on how to incorporate technology into government). I also wonder why Chuck Caputo believes Fairfax County’s employees are too dumb to handle the task; Jim LeMunyon and I believe they are easily capable of doing their job well.

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6b) Chuck Caputo claims many of the worst states in the country have open enrollment.

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Yes, this is technically true. As the system is near-universal in the United States, many of the worst and many of the best state school systems have some sort of open enrollment. It’s also true that many of the largest and many of the smallest, many of the states with mountains, and many of the states with more than nine letters in its name have also enacted this policy.

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6c) Chuck Caputo claims this policy will overcrowd our schools.

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This is a relatively easy argument to slap down: the policy puts caps on school enrollment and gives preference to those who live nearby, so there’s no risk of overcrowding and no risk of kids being forced to attend a school farther away because someone else took their slot.

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6d) Chuck Caputo claims that Arlington and Prince William kids will go to Fairfax schools.

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Leaving aside the quasi-racist insinuation that our schools will be overrun by Prince William County students (which is much closer to the 67th District than Arlington), this is an important distinction to note. As I noted above, there is “intra-district” and “inter-district” open enrollment. Most states have, and LeMunyon supports, “intra-district”, which means only within the school system they live in. So no out of County kids in Fairfax public schools; that’s just a plain lie.

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Given all of this, it’s difficult to imagine anyone could genuinely be opposed to Jim LeMunyon’s proposal here. The more likely reality is that Chuck Caputo is simply offering a knee-jerk opposition to a sensible policy, not on its merits, but on his ability to exploit and mislead it for political gain. And that’s what’s so sad: seeing someone who could have been a great post-partisan leader be reduced to just another typical lying politician.

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Just Another Typical Politician

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By all accounts (including my own) of those who have met Chuck Caputo, he is a kind man, a caring grandfather, and a community institution. He seems the type to be able to weather ideological swings in his district due to his personal appeal. That type of appeal–non-ideological, bi-partisan, reasonable, straight-talking–is how most incumbents are able to survive in districts typically unsuitable to their own party. Unfortunately, feeling the pressure of a strong challenger, Chuck Caputo has opted for the opposite route. Despite a reputation for being a “nice guy”, Caputo has run a shameful campaign based on lies and scare tactics.

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And this is a sad revelation compared to what the 67th District could have representing them. Instead of a true post-partisan representative who can bring all people together and look people in the eye and tell them the truth, they have a manipulative partisan who refuses to face his constituents directly in an open forum while sending out misleading mailers, and who opposes reasonable policies on taxation and education simply because someone from the other political party proposed them and scares voters instead of defending his position on the merits.

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It appears after two short terms, politics has caught up with Chuck Caputo and turned him into just another typical politician. It’s time that the 67th does better and elect a good man in Jim LeMunyon to be their Delegate on November 3rd.

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Comments

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Excellent post, VAB.

    I’m in the 67th, and LeMunyon pretty much had me at hello.

    He’s kept me for all of the reasons you lay out and more.

    It’s wonderful to have someone to vote FOR.

  • CHS Fly on the Wall says:

    Chantilly HS is in an uproar today over the fact that certain teachers staged a photograph of the Democratic Club in a school classroom, so the picture could be used in a Caputo attack mailer. This happened without the knowledge of the school’s administration, and in blatent violation of Fairfax County school rules and state law. The picture shows the class in total disarray, and is offensive to anyone who knows what a great school CHS really is.

    Q1: Is Mr. Caputo cooperating in identifying his teacher friends so they can be fired, or stonewalling in what will be a futile attempt to protect their identity?

    Q2: Mister Theodore Velkoff, Caputo’s campaign treasurer, is the PTA president at CHS. What did he know, and when did he know it?

  • A Voter says:

    The 67th district will be better represented by ANYONE other than Chuck!

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    CHS fly, does CHS have a PTA or PTO? If they have a PTA this could endanger their tax-exempt status too, which is a pretty big deal for the organization. PTAs can’t take political sides, PTOs are unique to the school they are organized for, and can do a lot of direct advocacy PTAs can’t.

    As a former school board member and no-longer novice incumbent, Caputo should KNOW these things.

    However, given his habit of both literal and figurative absenteeism, maybe he approved something he knew nothing about? Some of his insiders certainly operate under the assumption that they can do whatever they want, whether they know what they’re doing or not, and there seems to be little oversight from the top down.

  • a crock says:

    I have to laugh how A VOTER and friends let this seat slip away back in ’05. There wouldn’t be any of this talk if you would have supported Reese back then and not the nut job Craddock. Blame yourselves. Oh and Lemuny won’t look you in the eye. He looks at the ceiling when he talks to you. This R will be crossing over and voting for Caputo in this race again.

  • A Voter says:

    Oh, don’t get me wrong… the one thing Caputo has going for him is that he is an unabashed liberal democrat. Reese was a waste, and certainly no republican. Reese worked hard to increase taxes and kill babies. Heck, the first thing he did, once ousted, was to help a Democrat! Getting rid of him was a GREAT thing!

  • Not John S. Mosby says:

    I like this Reese guy, did he kill mostly Republican babies?

  • Val says:

    Velkoff is president of the PTSA at Chantilly. LeMunyons reps contacted Mr. Kacur, the principal, and he will be investigating how that picture was taken and who was responsible. FCPS Regulations and Virginia law were broken and possibly Virginia Finance Laws according to the LeMunyon campaign. Since Caputo also used CHS students in the ad
    did their parents give their permission for their images to be used in a political flyer?

  • CaptainCaputo says:

    a crock,

    Chuck looks you in the eye and lies to you. chuck is going overboard tuesday.

  • Too Conservative says:

    I went to Chantilly sadly enough, and I bet I know who the teacher was!!!

  • VW says:

    WOW- Chantilly HS has a building along Stringfellow rd. with “CAPUTO TERRITORY” painted in huge letters. I’ll try to get a picture.

  • Barbara Munsey says:

    Val, if it is organized as a PTSA then there may be some issues tax wise that no PTA wants to have to deal with.

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