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2010-01-05 - 10:38 p.m.

Recent news saddens me in part because of the absolute lack of investigative journalism in Loudoun in covering this story- a total lapse of reporting, and the idiocy of comments that "Loudoun is liberal" in the one article:

Who are these people trying to deceive?

Loudoun is the county that ran out a perfectly decent, good Doctor right after 9/11 because he was of Arabic background.

Purcellville is the town where the Dunkin Donuts owned by another Arabic man went out of business at that time as well.

Loudoun is the town where crimes are reported inconsistently- I know for a fact only SOME domestic violence crimes hit the paper- those that just happen to involve the few lower income addresses where people of color live. I know because I took note that when the incidents in MY HOME or MY WEALTHY neighborhood happened they never hit the paper.

(** KUDOS HERE TO MY BROTHER WHO I SWEAR QUIT HIS GREAT JOB WITH A BIG MEDIA COMPANY TO START HIS OWN PAPER in the interest of truthful reporting an actual investigative journalism in the South!)

Hamilton is the same small quaint town that fought to keep "outsiders" from using their park. I know the history behind that initiative: It was because my Columbian born nanny dared to take kids in her care there near dusk. She actually saw the Mayor's Wife who was there with her child who told her to get out of the park as it was closing. Pocahontas told her that they would be leaving soon. They had words. Pocohontas pointed out that this lady and her son were still there , and then the lady pointed out that SHE WAS THE MAYOR'S WIFE. To read about the inititive that the Mayors wife soon after started to stop those who don't live in Hamilton (like my nanny of color!) from coming to the park one would have thought the part was overrun with a ridiculous amount of folks using it and abusing it. The reality is that it was Pochohontas and her kids (including my kids)!

What kills me is that you can read pages and pages covering the topic of the consideration of where power lines or schools are going to go, and yet when there is an incident of A NOOSE LEFT IN A BLACK MAN'S CAR - A MAJOR HATE CRIME there are NO DETAILS revealed and there will be a glaring lack of response in this community. What is most distressing is that there are NO CHARGES! It has been called a "joke"


I can not believe the editors haven't the common sense to not realize just how offensive and hurtful that is.

Another news piece caught my attention tonight:

This Article talks about the unethical bullying tactics used by debt collectors. What is ironic is that these are the SAME bullying tactics use by the Loudoun court here!

Seriously! There is a COURT ORDER in Loudoun that if I do not pay the court monthly for the legal fees of my now Ex husband, which have been settled to accept a payment of $300 a month until PIF (A $17,000 bill), that should I Miss a payment there is an IMMEDIATE warrant for my arrest to be issued by the Loudoun County Sheriff's Dept!

That really astounds people when they hear that as REMEMBER: I Left my EX due to his abuse of me after THREE cases were brought forth by the Commonwealth of VA against him for physical battery and verbal assault.

In EACH case he was offered a settlement to be on good behavior for a year, go to anger management, check in with a probation officer, and then after that year the charges would be dropped. The caveat was that if he laid a hand on me in that following year there would be an IMMEDIATE arrest and conviction and years of jail time.

So he of course acted like he was interested in working on our marriage, went to counseling etc.. and after the year tolled the cycle of violence repeated.

Now what is most astounding to me is that I was threatened just this past summer to be slammed with a violation of my divorce court order if I didn't pay the LAW GUARDIAN my share (17% , $3,500) in FULL.

So once again I was essentially being told "PAY YOUR DEBT or you could lose custody of your children"

Make no mistake, if there were cause for me being in NON Compliance of the court order, my Ex would be back in court spinning yarns like no tomorrow and sadly , the court just may have no choice but to follow their own precedence in the case which would be to continue to see things as black and white and rule him as credible and me as questionable.

I can't remember when I put a pot of soup on the stove a half hour later with out effort and concentration.

Its so obvious to everyone else that is yet another serious result of trama- short term memory loss. I did read you can gain SOME memory skills back, but its a hard thing to do. And yet when I couldn't rattle off how many rooms there were in that massive country home we lived in I was seen as not credible.

I have lived in this home now for over two years and I couldn't tell you how many rooms there are! I have to THINK about it.

In any case, I am VERY proud of my healing.

The process of healing is an important one. Which is why I allowed my two oldest children to make signs when they asked to and to protest outside of the Loudoun Court holding their signs that said "Should my mother have to pay my abusers court fees?"

It was very therapeutic for them when people would yell out the windows "NO!!" or stop and talk. They complied a list of our local representatives and suggested that anyone who found this outrageous write in protest.

It was very therapeutic for the kids when they were interviewed and photographed by the Loudoun Times Mirror staff writer. It however was a bit of a slap in the face of my children when instead of running that story the paper ran an editorial entitled "Lucky to Have Judge Horne"

Representative Frank Wolf was kind enough to write back in response to my children's plea for help. I forgot to tell the kids that I got a letter from him until just this past visit. I totally forgot about it! The letter came after they had gone back to school in the Fall, and I didn't think of it! I just told Soren about the letter recently and said that perhaps his efforts DID make a difference in the outcome as for all we know perhaps the court here WOULD have thrown me in jail for the inability to pay the attorney fees of my EX in Full, but for the children's calling attention to the matter!

As it was a court order that I pay those fees, despite the fact its a bullying tactic that bill collectors can not use, perhaps courts are legally able to do so. They do so for dead beat Dad's who don't pay child support, right?

I clicked the link above as the YAHOO grabber to the article of "One of the poorest cities in the country is now home to thousands of debt collectors" immediately spoke "BUFFALO!" to me!

It is with great fondness for Buffalo that even the recollection of my summer job at the Great Lakes Collection Bureau makes me smile! It was the summer of hearing of Molly Olga's art center from the beautiful redheaded Dartmouth girl over lunch breaks, who I can't remember the name of. It was the summer of visiting her family's blueberry farm and the wonder of the gorgeous home her architect Dad built and meeting her brilliant home schooled little sister and fabulous creative mom who set up a pottery studio in their barn. It was the summer of studying the stars in Astronomy class. It was the summer that I received compliments on my own outfits I had made. It was the summer I was hired to sew a black silk suit for a young black man who wanted it to have tails that covered a sheer panel ON HIS BUTT that he could go dancing in NYC in. It was the summer I bought the silk and designed the garmet but never got around to finishing it! It was the summer working at Great Lakes where the FIRST THING THEY DO is TRAIN their collectors on the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. It was indeed the only hope for a really good paying summer job! On top of free room and board as the Summer Rec Coordinator at school and the Summer RA, it was a great way to earn tuition money. Great Lakes Collection make a point of stressing ETHICAL business practices or I wouldn't have worked there. Even at that, it was only tolerable as I quickly set up monthly payments of $5.00 a month from the poor folks in Mississippi who had run up their AMOCO OIL credit cards that were sent out en mass in that area, buying things such as diapers and formula at the local convenience store at the Amoco station, and then instructed the poor folks to write EVERYONE they owe a letter indicating they would send $5.00 a month and DO NOT CALL AGAIN. I got a few thank you letters from people who could never afford to pay off the debt, but would be proud to send their $5.00 a month in an effort to do the best they could who were thrilled to have peace in their lives again! There were regional T-Shirts and hats sent from all over the country to the collectors who were kind and compassionate. I would talk to depressed folks then call the local Wall Mart or McDonald's to find if they were hiring and call back with friendly encouragement that they could get a job to get by and things would get better. At least one person I talked to DID go on an interview as a result of that effort. Finally, by the last summer month of that job I just abandoned my assigned Mississippi AMOCO OIL account and I spent my time seeking out the career criminal debtors who were in the system.

I was good at that. This is the God's honest truth: I located a woman going by the name of "Blondie Orange" in Florida. She was in the computer hundreds of times and when I called her Father and asked "Is the the number for ______ ( named her given name Mary or whatever) who went to _____(named her college-- I forget what one now)? "
He just said "OH YES! You must be one of her old friends"

I answered something like "I know she studied... " or some other quirky weird fact but never actually said I knew HER.

I never lied once in that job and people would just open up and tell me all about the person I was seeking!

So the deal was, that for certain people who were in the system hundreds of times, the lawyers were involved,and on occasion the FBI as well. Some of these career criminals had successfully stolen identities and then opened up multiple lines of credit concurrently and then would take out cash withdrawals of them all concurrently and then jump ship quickly and make off with thousands of dollars. Incredible that they seemed to be able to get away with it for while and it seemed that the Feds had trouble tracking them down as they then used only cash for their transactions until they stole another identity.

There was another dude who I tracked down in Puerto Rico which resulted in number of phone calls with the FBI including a call with a field agent in Puerto Rico.

I never ever did learn what happened with the follow up once I found a person. I wonder what happened to Blondie Orange?

Years later when I was in law school I looked up The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and lo and behold, there it was among the case law: The Great Lakes Collection Bureau, named among the citations of all the precedent setting cases which helped define the parameters of that law, some of which Great Lakes was the losing Defendant in cases that pre-dated my working there.

It seems like change can happen, even in the darkest of places.

There is hope yet.

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