Remember "Joe vs the Volcano"? How about Tom vs the Machine. | THE POLITICUS

Remember "Joe vs the Volcano"? How about Tom vs the Machine.

     Having been born and raised in Chicago, I know a little bit about political machines, basically because I grew up in one. There are two things that make any efficient machine run, money and power. It’s really not such a complicated thing, but trying to combine both and hold onto it can be tricky, everybody else wants one or the other or both too.

     There are a myriad of ways to make money. When you bribe a cop to close your bar later than limits, or for a little “action” in the back, the cops only keep a portion, the rest gets split and funneled up the ladder. When I was growing up, and even in my young adult life, each “ward boss” had his annual golf outings and corned beef dinners. The precinct captains sold these tickets to residents, or ate the cost themselves. Each ward boss had an annual “services directory”. These were free to residents, but local merchants paid to advertise in the directories. Ward bosses didn’t have any empty pages. They kept what they needed, and funneled the rest up to the party. Money.

     But power is where the real action is, the disposition of favors and punishments. One entire office in City Hall in Chicago did nothing but fix traffic tickets. You got a speeding pinch, you gave the ticket to your precinct captain. Once a week he took all the tickets and any local paperwork downtown, and those tickets went away. But if you owned a restaurant or business, and had a friend from the other party running for office, and as a favor you put one of his posters up in your store window, this would fetch a visit from your precinct captain wishing you would take it down. A refusal, no matter how polite would bring a visit from a city inspector, and the resulting fine for “violations" ensured the sign would come down, lest you go out of business paying fines.

     If you live in the Virginia Beach Virginia area, this might sound somewhat like a historical version of old home week to you, since you have the dubious honor and privilege to have the Stolle family in your midst. For those of you who do not live in the area, this is a rogues gallery that would make some Chicagoan’s jealous. Chris Stolle is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, brother Colin Stolle is the Commonwealth Attorney (read prosecutor) for Virginia Beach, and other brother Ken Stolle is the Sheriff of Virginia Beach. There’s also a married Stolle sister who is a state Senator. Think of it as the Virginia Beach WalMart for all of your political legislative, legal and law enforcement needs. But, just like in Chicago, only if you are someone who knows how the game is played, and follow the rules. Gotta be on the right side to get things done.

     This is what Tom Brock will be facing if he wins his primary on June 13th and goes to the general election. While none of the Stolle clan is running in this race themselves, it is critical to them. VA-21 is the linchpin. Both Colin Stolle (currently unopposed) and Ken Stolle are up for reelection this year. This is a district that Hillary carried in 2016. A strong Democratic performance in November could send at least one Stolle off the public teat and looking for honest work. But it’s not going to come easy. Remember my previous Chicago example of the sign for a friend in the store window? The methods may have changed and been updated, but you’re going to see some manifestation of it in this race, the stakes are too high for the GOP in general, and the Stolle bunch in particular.

     I’ll be frank. Tom has had an issue brought up during this campaign regarding past statements. Tom has been dealing with that issue here, as well as in his district, I will neither defend nor condemn him or the statements. That’s his job. Normally I tend to avoid primaries, letting the locals write the diaries, not living there I have no dog in the fight, but this one feels different, so here I am. I will say two things. One is this, even in Chicago, Democrats in a primary didn’t publicly savage each other. That’s what party meetings and backroom alliances are for, it takes place in the dark. Why savage a teammate who may run for something else down the road, and can now be tarred by an opponent with your brush? I’ve never seen it before in my life.

     The other reason sticks out even more for me. I’ve been a serious political junkie for right around 40 years now, and I’m pretty good at figuring the angles. But if I were running in a primary, especially as a political newbie, the first thing I would think of would not be to go more than 6 years back looking for any kind of mud I could find to throw at my opponent, that's for the general election. I wouldn’t have the time, since I'd be out talking about my vision for the community, and besides, who has the kind of skill to do a dig like that, especially since the info source was Tom’s son, not him? And why pay somebody else to do it for you when you could have them out knocking on doors and passing out flyers or talking you up? In this case I’m going to side with our own Crimson Quillfeather and call ratfucking when I see it.

     Tom is a frequent poster on our site, you can scroll through his diaries HERE. If you haven't heard of Tom before, you can find out more about him HERE. And to donate to his campaign and get him on the way to making a dent in the Stolle clan, you can always pootle on over HERE. We have just over a month to get this done and let tom Brock go on to become the Stolle’s worst nightmare.