Tuesday, October 31, 2017

If Elected, Could Ken Stolle Handle The Job?


Is Ken Stolle hallucinating? Or just lying?

-by Aleurophile

In a recent DownWithTyranny post, I gave a rundown on the Stolle political machine in Virginia Beach, with Ken Stolle, Sheriff and former State Senator at its head. Stolle is up for re-election on November 7 and is being opposed by John Bell, a former Virginia Beach Deputy Chief of Police.

Ken Stolle has been the Virginia Beach Sheriff since 2009, but serious questions need to be raised about whether he has the health and stamina to perform the job and fill out the term. Stolle was diagnosed with Parkinson’s 11 years ago, and it is apparent even to a layperson that the disease has progressed (see videos below). Stolle acknowledged his diagnosis in the 2009 campaign; at the time he said: "What Parkinson's has done is it's made me re-evaluate my priorities, where I want to be in two years, five years, 10 years." Well, it's been 11 years since the diagnosis and eight years since that statement, and Ken Stolle needs to re-evaluate again - and voters need to be informed about his current health status. The press has been silent on this issue, but voters deserve to know from an independent medical specialist-- not from Stolle’s own self-assessment - whether he’s up to taking on the arduous and critically important position of Virginia Beach Sheriff.

These two videoclips tell their own distressing story:

Above is a video clip of Stolle in 2009 announcing his first campaign for Sheriff. The video above is from a candidates' forum earlier this month.

It’s difficult to speak plainly about this situation without causing offense. Parkinson's is not something any of us could wish on another human being, and we can all want anyone who suffers from this or any other disability to do all they can for as long as they can. But common sense dictates that there are limitations. I cared for my beloved father for the last three years of his life and watched the Alzheimers take over. But my attitude-- and his, too-- was for him to have as happy and fulfilled a life as possible for as long as possible. He was an artist-- a painter-- and produced many paintings during those years, finishing his last work a month before his death. But was he able to pay bills, drive a car, live alone? No. Chronic, progressive, and incurable diseases bring sad realities that have to be faced. Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological disease that can often be managed, but that cannot at present be cured. People with Parkinson’s can and do perform all sorts of jobs, but limitations may well arise as the disease advances, especially since "there is ample evidence that PD symptoms worsen during times of stress." Over time, the characteristic tremors may become more severe; fatigue is a common problem, as is cognitive impairment, including executive dysfunction. According to the American Parkinson Disease Association website:
“Executive function includes the ability to plan, organize, initiate, and regulate goal directed behavior. One can think of the ‘CEO’ (chief executive officer) of a company and the many tasks involved in directing the organization. These activities may include multitasking, solving problems, starting new tasks, and switching tasks. Executive function involves the prefrontal cortex of the brain and the dopamine system, which are affected in PD. Executive dysfunction is one of the most common cognitive changes reported in PD.”
My earlier article made plain my view on the dynastic ambitions of the Stolle family. My guess is that Ken Stolle would, if he won re-election and became incapable of performing his duties, hand over the office to a relative or crony, thus entirely circumventing the democratic process and keeping the family in control of this key position in the region.

Some may say it's dirty politics to consider Stolle's health, but I disagree. Stolle himself has been, perhaps necessarily, open about his diagnosis-- though not about his prognosis. It is this to which we need to call attention for the sake of the voters and of the staff and inmates of the Virginia Beach Jail. This is an elected position of high importance and voters have the right to know whether Stolle has a fair chance of performing his duties well and of finishing the term. Naturally, no one can foretell their own or another’s health with 100 percent accuracy, but common sense should enter the discussion at some point, and when there appears to be a fair chance that a candidate-- already during the campaign period-- may not be able perform the required duties and won't be able to finish the term, then I believe that voters have the right to ask for an independent assessment from a qualified medical specialist. That is clean, indeed transparent, politics.


Since Aleurophile brought us back to Virginia and since next Tuesday is election day (for more than just Stolle), I figured we'd check in on the other races. As you know, the whole Virginia House of Delegates is also up for reelection. Jeff Shapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch did a quick state of the race report worth looking at. He noted that "In the final countdown to Election Day, the Republican ticket is a ticket in name only. [Ed] Gillespie, the nominee for governor, is working to regain traction against Ralph Northam. [Jill] Vogel is spoiling to overtake Justin Fairfax for lieutenant governor and salvage a semblance of dignity for Republicans currently shut out of all five statewide offices. [John] Adams, facing incumbent Mark Herring for attorney general, may be caught in a downdraft. Worried about the possibility of a second consecutive Democratic sweep, Republicans comfort themselves with the knowledge that their majority in the House of Delegates-- artificially lopsided because of partisan gerrymandering-- is safe, though it is expected to shrink." But by how much is the big question. The current House of Delegates has 66 Republicans and 34 Democrats, which is what extreme gerrymandering will do for ya.
To their bankrollers in a Republican-heavy lobbying corps, legislators are predicting manageable losses; perhaps three to five seats. But they could be worse. Indeed, the conduct of several Republican incumbents, particularly in deep-blue Northern Virginia, telegraphs concern.

That Donald Trump is poisoning the environment for Gillespie, Vogel and Adams is an understatement. Because of the president, who lost Virginia to Hillary Clinton last year, the GOP statewide candidates cannot be themselves; that is, generally mainstream Republicans, approachable even to people who disagree with them.

Trump’s endorsement notwithstanding, Gillespie is a big-tent Republican. He advised presidents and presidential candidates who recognized that demographic diversity is remaking politics and that the GOP-- heavily white, increasingly rural, male-dominated-- must embrace it to survive and thrive.

Gillespie has attempted to balance that with the immigrant-hostile themes that Trump Republicans demand. The idea is to simultaneously arouse the conservative GOP base and reach out to moderate voters in the suburbs, increasingly a Democratic bulwark.

Instead, Gillespie wounded his candidacy, running a racially charged television commercial linking Northam to violent Hispanic gangs. Thrown on the defensive, especially in multi-hued, vote-rich Northern Virginia, Gillespie is spending the closing hours of the contest repairing self-inflicted damage.

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At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Tracy B Ann said...

I have been arguing with many about this, and I originally agreed with the Democratic Senator, that attacking someone for their health wasn't fair.

But Ken Stolle brought his health into his campaign. He was diagnosed 11 years ago and he openly talked about it on the campaign trail; implying that he would update the voters about his degenerative condition as the years progressed.
Or at least be honest with himself about his ability to maintain high quality job performance.

There is a lot of corruption/nepotism you can hit Stolle with, his medical condition is only a small part of the political landscape, yet very important.

I was told that "Republicanism" is much more serious an illness than Parkinson's.

Bullshit! I don’t give a fuck if my pilot or surgeon is a Republican (though I do prefer giving my money to Democrats).
But if that pilot or surgeon has a degenerative disease that has even the slightest chance of interfering with the job, I’m not getting on that plane or operating table.

I was then told that I was using "ableist" speech. That disabled people deserved the same respect and opportunity as anyone else.

As for this being an “ableist” argument, there are some jobs where the ability to perform certain duties is crucial.

I think a blind person deserves the same respect that I do, but I don't think they should be given the opportunity to drive a school bus. Or carry a gun. The same applies to Parkinson's.

The effects of cancer on my arm have caused me to not be able to work as many hours, and my ability to perform some tasks has diminished.
I know what my limits are. I would never again allow myself to be put in charge of an infants care. While I have the degree, knowledge, and experience for the job, I won't take the chance of my arm giving out while I am holding an infant. If someone wanted to not hire me because of that it would be well within their rights.

If Ken Stolle was a decent human being he would not be running for Sherriff, knowing the risks he could pose. Even Vito Corleone handed the reigns of power over to Michael when he knew he could no longer do the job.


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