VaNews

Monday April 24, 2017


Executive Branch


VIRGINIA WANTS TO STEAL SOME OF CALIFORNIA’S DRIVERLESS THUNDER

By MICHAEL LARIS, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe bounded into the spare offices of a start-up incubator to make a rapid-fire pronouncement: He will spend the last nine months of his term trying to make Virginia “the capital of automated vehicles.”



MCAULIFFE SIGNS BILL FORCING FASTER REPLACEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA SEWERS

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe signed a controversial bill Friday that forces Alexandria to move faster than it planned to replace Old Town’s 200-year-old combined sewers, which dump runoff and sewage into the Potomac River after rainstorms. The statute, pushed by lawmakers from several downstream districts, demands that the city replace the sewers at all four of its overflow sites by 2025.

General Assembly


STATE BUDGET TARGETS LOCALITIES IN FISCAL DISTRESS

By AMY LEE, VCU Capital News Service

While a study for local government finances was canned this past legislative session, the new state budget has revived the focus on fiscal stress in Virginia cities and counties. Motivated by the city of Petersburg’s financial crisis, Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, filed a bill to study the fiscal stress of local governments during the 2017 session. ... However, the state budget adopted this February has already begun to enact two fiscal stress preventive measures originally introduced in Hanger’s bill.

State Elections


TRUMP DIVIDES HOPEFULS IN GOP PRIMARY FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

The front-runner for the Republican nomination in Virginia's closely watched race for governor expressed lukewarm support for President Donald Trump at a GOP debate Saturday in Goochland. In a sign he may be looking past the June primary towards the general election in an increasingly Democratic-leaning state, Ed Gillespie was critical of crude comments Trump has made about women and largely shrugged off pointed questions about his loyalty to the new president.



GILLESPIE STANDS BY HIS CONDEMNATION OF 'ACCESS HOLLYWOOD' COMMENTS

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican gubernatorial front-runner Ed Gillespie on Saturday stood by his decision to criticize President Donald Trump last fall after the revelation of an old “Access Hollywood” video in which Trump bragged about making aggressive sexual advances toward women. During the final major debate of the GOP primary schedule Saturday at Goochland High School, Corey Stewart, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors chairman, who was fired last year as chairman of Trump’s Virginia campaign, accused Gillespie of failing to support Trump “when the chips are down.”



LOYALTY TO TRUMP EMERGES AS ISSUE IN VIRGINIA REPUBLICAN DEBATE

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia Republicans’ awkward relationship with President Trump was on display Saturday in a debate among the three candidates vying for the GOP nomination for governor. As a tea-party-sponsored debate just outside Richmond wound down, and following some predictable clashes over cutting taxes, the question became whether front-runner Ed Gillespie doesn’t like Trump enough, or whether brash challenger Corey Stewart loves him too much.



DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR VIRGINIA GOVERNOR WEIGH IN ON RURAL ISSUES

By ROBERT SORRELL, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)

Two men vying for the Democratic Party nomination for Virginia governor made a stop in Bristol on Saturday and spoke on issues affecting the state’s rural southwest voters. Ahead of the June 13 primary, current Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello answered questions during a Democratic Party of Virginia Rural Caucus forum at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. It was the first joint appearance for the two men, but they did not share a stage together during the event.



RALPH NORTHAM, TOM PERRIELLO DISCUSS RURAL ISSUES IN FIRST FORUM

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Deep in conservative Southwest Virginia, gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello tackled rural issues at the first in a series of primary forums and debates across the commonwealth. The two candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for governor answered questions on coal, Medicaid expansion and how they could sway voters in a region which overwhelmingly supported Donald Trump in the presidential election.



PERRIELLO SAYS NORTHAM BACKED 'MOST ANTI-CHOICE PRESIDENT' EVER

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Responding to criticism that he can’t be trusted to protect abortion rights, Democratic candidate for governor Tom Perriello on Thursday said Lt. Gov. Ralph S. Northam backed “the most anti-choice president” in American history by voting twice for Republican George W. Bush. “I’m very proud of having supported always the foundations of Roe v. Wade, the constitutional right to choose,” Perriello said in an interview after a campaign appearance in Chesterfield County.



LOFTY PRICES FOR PERRIELLO'S BOLD CAMPAIGN PROMISES

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Pricy campaign promises added up fast in this year's governor's race, particularly for Democratic hopeful Tom Perriello, whose campaign estimates three proposals to cost nearly $900 million. That would fund a major expansion of Virginia's pre-K program, make community college free and guarantee workers eight weeks of paid family leave, the campaign said.



‘DARK MONEY’ VS. CORPORATE CASH: DEMOCRATIC RIVALS CLASH OVER FUNDING

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

One candidate takes money from an international activist group that doesn’t disclose the names of the overwhelming majority of its donors. The other takes money from Virginia’s biggest utility, which is also the top lobbyist in the state. As Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam and former congressman Tom Perriello battle for the Democratic nomination for governor, their fundraising is emerging as an issue that defines them as much as their slim differences on policy.



LT. GOV. CANDIDATE FAIRFAX DRAWS ON LESSONS FROM MOM, GRANDPARENTS

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Justin Fairfax is accustomed to high achievement. He grew up in a family of four siblings, all of whom graduated from college thanks to their hard work and a mother and grandparents who nurtured their dreams in northeast Washington, D.C. Fairfax graduated from Duke and earned law review while attending Columbia Law School. Now, the youthful 38-year-old former federal prosecutor is seeking to become lieutenant governor of Virginia



DESPITE THINNER CROWDS, SHAD PLANKING ENDURES

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

Despite a warm, sunny afternoon, the crowds that turned out for the annual shad planking, Virginia’s homegrown tradition of smoking fish and grilling political candidates, were noticeably thinner than in previous years.



IN APRIL 29 CAUCUS, FOUR DEMOCRATS SEEK RIGHT TO TAKE ON DEL. O'BANNON

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In 17 years, only one Democrat has challenged Del. John M. O’Bannon III, R-Henrico, in the 73rd District of the Virginia House of Delegates. This year, there are four. “If there was ever a time to flip this district, I think it’s now,” said Sarah Smith, a medical hearing officer who, at 30, is the youngest of four political newcomers,

State Government


CONSUMER ADVOCATES ARGUE IN SUPREME COURT AGAINST LAW THAT FROZE DOMINION'S RATES

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A law that opponents say allows Dominion Virginia Power to keep hundreds of millions in excess profit is being tested before the Supreme Court of Virginia. Lawyers made oral arguments Friday on the 2015 law, which put a temporary freeze on the base electricity rates of Dominion Virginia Power and Appalachian Power Co.



ELECTRIC BILLS MAY GO DOWN IF VIRGINIA COURT UNDOES 2015 LAW

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Virginians could see their electric bills go down if the state Supreme Court decides a 2015 law temporarily banning state regulators from adjusting a portion of electric rates is unconstitutional. A group of large industrial electric customers and advocates for the poor pressed the high court Friday to undo the law.



CONSERVATIVE GROUP CHALLENGES VIRGINIA ABORTION REGULATION CHANGES

Associated Press

The conservative Family Foundation of Virginia is filing a legal challenge over the way the state did away with restrictive regulations for abortion centers. The group said Friday it filed an administrative appeal in Henrico County Circuit Court over the health and safety regulations, which were updated in October.



SHOULD VIRGINIA RELEASE MORE OLDER PRISONERS TO MAKE ROOM FOR YOUNGER ONES?

By PETER DUJARDIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

When Virginia abolished parole to great fanfare in 1995, a safety valve of sorts was put in place: "Geriatric release." That is, inmates 60 and older are considered annually for release, regardless of their sentence, so long as they have been behind bars for at least 10 years.



‘DISAPPOINTING’ END FOR COP IN TELEGUZ CASE

By PETE DELEA, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Kevin Whitfield, a former investigator with the Harrisonburg Police Department, knows the Ivan Teleguz case inside and out. He has spent the last 16 years studying every statement, every piece of evidence and reviewing every appeal. Whitfield said Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s decision on Thursday to commute the 38-year-old’s sentence from death to life in prison was discouraging.



MORE QUESTIONS ARISE AMID STATE POLICE PROBE OF ROCKBRIDGE JAIL

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Nearly a year before state police began an investigation of the Rockbridge Regional Jail, an inspection pointed to problems. The Virginia Department of Corrections found five violations of health and safety standards during a routine inspection of the jail last June.



STATE SUPREME COURT HEARS DAILY PRESS COURT RECORDS CASE

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Attorneys and state Supreme Court justices keyed in on just who has the power to release electronic public records Friday as the Daily Press' two-and-a-half-year quest to access routine criminal court data got its moment before the state's highest court. The state maintains that more than 100 court clerks across the state remain custodians of basic information, including the names and races of criminal defendants and the outcomes of their case, even after they input it into a database maintained by the Office of the Executive Secretary



VIRGINIA SUPREME COURT HEARS ARGUMENT IN NEWSPAPER'S ACCESS TO RECORDS CASE

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Daily Press took its battle with the Office of the Executive Secretary of the Virginia Supreme Court over access to a statewide court records database to the justices of the state Supreme Court on Friday. The newspaper is seeking the data under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act to determine whether race plays a part in plea bargains in the state’s circuit courts. The position of the OES is that each of the state’s clerks — not the OES — is the custodian of the records.



VIRGINIA LAUNCHES NEXT EFFORT IN FIGHT TO STOP OPIOID EPIDEMIC

By AMY TRENT, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A gap in health care coverage that long has left Medicaid recipients in addiction treatment programs vulnerable is being closed. Motivated by the opioid epidemic, Virginia began reimbursing agencies for providing substance use disorder treatments like inpatient detoxification and medication-assisted opioid treatment to Medicaid recipients April 1.

Congress


VIRGINIA SENATORS WANT DATA ON VA JOB VACANCIES

By HUGH LESSIG, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Although President Trump has lifted a federal hiring freeze, Virginia's two senators say the impact of what they call "an incredibly short-sighted measure" continues to hamstring the Hampton VA Medical Center. The medical center has reported more than 200 open clinical positions. Even though the freeze granted exceptions for most clinical positions, it did not spare the human resources department, which is down 40 percent at Hampton.



AMID CRITICS' CRIES FOR TOWN HALLS, WITTMAN FOCUSES ON DISTRICT VISITS

By JEFF BRANSCOME, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Republican Congressman Rob Wittman fielded his first question of the day from a lady in jeans and a black T-shirt emblazoned with the words: “A woman’s place is in the revolution.” Kim Wyman, whose outfit stood out among the more formal attire at the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce event, introduced herself as a Democrat who used to lose her mind over military spending—or, as she put it, “more planes, more tanks, more guns.” But she added: “With a husband who works for the Navy, it’s amazing how quickly your opinion on military spending changes, especially when your income’s based on it.”

Economy/Business


VICE PRESIDENT PENCE TO VISIT NEWPORT NEWS SHIPYARD

By HUGH LESSIG, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Vice President Mike Pence will speak at Newport News Shipbuilding on Saturday, April 29, to mark the christening of a submarine named after his home state of Indiana. The news came in a media advisory on Friday from the shipyard, which in February hosted President Donald Trump aboard the aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford.



VIRGINIA JOBLESS RATE DROPS TO 3.8 PERCENT IN MARCH

By GREGORY J. GILLIGAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The jobless rate in Virginia fell to 3.8 percent in March from February, marking the third monthly decline. Virginia’s unemployment rate also reached its lowest point since May 2008, according to the Virginia Employment Commission. The state rate was down from 4 percent in March 2016.



19,000 BUSHELS OF SHELLS: THE MAKING OF AN OYSTER REEF SANCTUARY IN THE LYNNHAVEN

By DAVE MAYFIELD, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

It was barely a barge – nothing more than the flattened-off bottom of an old houseboat. But it was perfect for the job, which on this sunny April morning was getting 32,000 pounds of oyster shells into the Lynnhaven River.



BEDFORD TOWN MANAGER: VALLEY PROCESSING CLOSES

By RACHAEL SMITH & ALISSA SMITH, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Valley Processing, a company that produces custom-mixed, rubber-based compounds in the town of Bedford, has closed, according to town manager Charles Kolakowski. The company was bought out by Hexpol Compounding, a Swedish company that produces rubber compounds and owns 41 production units in 10 countries, according to its website....The buyout will affect all 40 employees who were out of work as of Thursday, Kolakowski said.



VIMS TURNS TO CROWDSOURCING TO SAVE BAY SCALLOPS

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In the 1920s, the bay scallop fishery in Virginia was booming, hitting a peak harvest in 1929. Then, in the course of a few short years, the bottom fell out of the fishery — almost literally. A hemisphere-wide wasting disease began attacking eelgrass, a primary habitat for young scallops growing in high-salinity coastal bays.



BRUCE ALLEN FACES GREATEST REDSKINS CHALLENGE: GETTING DANIEL SNYDER A NEW STADIUM DEA

By LIZ CLARKE AND GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER , Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Sports programming blares on every TV screen at the Southern Railway Taphouse, a bustling gastropub near downtown Richmond’s old canals and former tobacco warehouses, where Virginia state legislators and lobbyists, worn down by six weeks of committee meetings and floor sessions, munch chicken wings and meatballs while jockeying for an audience with the president of the Washington Redskins.

Transportation


ASHLAND STAKEHOLDER GROUP FORMING TO CONTINUE STUDY OF HIGH-SPEED RAIL PROPOSAL

By MICHAEL THOMPSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation met last week with stakeholders of the Ashland section of a 123-mile portion of a federal high-speed rail project. The purpose of the meeting was to give an update on plans for high-speed rail between Washington and Richmond and to form a community advisory group tasked with recommending how the project should be implemented in the Ashland area, according to agency spokesman Chris Smith.



ROANOKE AIRPORT TRAFFIC SURGES, AND AIRLINES ADD FLIGHTS

By JEFF STURGEON, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The passenger count at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport has increased for seven straight months after four sluggish years. Airport officials say the surge has strengthened the case for more flights and larger aircraft, a longstanding goal of keen interest to the business community.

Virginia Other


ON PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY INDEX, VA. PERFORMS BETTER THAN NATION

By ON PUBLIC HEALTH EMERGENCY INDEX, VA. PERFORMS BETTER THAN NATION, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Right now, Zika virus — a mosquito-borne illness that can cause birth defects in unborn children — is the only disease outbreak listed on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. But that can change in an instant.

Local


ARLINGTON BOARD RAISES TAX RATE 1.5 CENTS, ALL DEVOTED TO SCHOOLS AND METRO

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Arlington County Board unanimously voted to raise its property tax rate by 1.5 cents Saturday, a hike that elected officials said was entirely attributable to higher costs for Metro and schools. Board Chairman Jay Fisette (D) said “100 percent of the tax increase” will go toward operating and expanding the county’s well-regarded public schools and for improvements and operations for Metro.



SCHOOL BOARD MUM ON BEDDEN'S DEPARTURE

By K. BURNELL EVANS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Members of the Richmond School Board who met behind closed doors to orchestrate the departure of Superintendent Dana Bedden were reluctant to explain their decision in the hours after his June 30 exit was announced. Only two of nine members responded to questions about the move, which put an end to days of speculation capped by a last-minute meeting Friday in which no formal action was taken after a three-hour executive session.



HANOVER EXPANDING WIRELESS INTERNET SERVICE TO RURAL AREAS

By MICHAEL THOMPSON , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Faster internet appears to be on its way to the Hanover County area. Hanover has struck a deal to eventually expand internet service in the eastern and western parts of the county, and Ashland is gearing up for an upgrade to its internet service. On April 12, Hanover’s Board of Supervisors finalized a deal with SCS Broadband Internet Service, a wireless internet service provider, intended to increase the internet availability in rural areas of the county.



CITY OFFICIALS SAY HOPEWELL IS FINANCIALLY STABLE

By SARAH VOGELSONG , Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

Despite Hopewell’s ongoing financial reporting troubles, the city’s financial position appears to be both “solid” and “stable,” according to presentations by senior city officials Tuesday night. As of March 31 of this year, the city had over $44 million in the bank, of which $24 million is in cash and $20 million in investments, according to figures from City Treasurer Terri Batton.



JUDGE, NORFOLK CITY ATTORNEY CRAFTED SECRET DEAL ON APPOINTMENT, EMAILS SHOW

By ERIC HARTLEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

High-ranking Norfolk officials – including a judge and the city attorney – devised a secret agreement on who would become city treasurer after Anthony Burfoot’s removal, emails obtained by The Virginian-Pilot show. But the deal fell apart a month later when the interim treasurer, Amy Ortega, fired her agreed-upon successor, Stanley Stein, whom she described as unqualified to take over.



PORTSMOUTH COUNCILMAN MARK WHITAKER PLANS TO PLEAD NOT GUILTY, WILL NOT STEP DOWN, ATTORNEY SAYS

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Councilman Mark Whitaker plans to plead not guilty Monday when he is arraigned in Circuit Court on 20 felony charges, according to his defense attorney. And, the lawyer said, the councilman had no plans to step down from office. “Dr. Whitaker looks forward to vigorously defending himself in court,” attorney Don Scott said Friday morning in an interview.

Online News


NORFOLK MARCH FOR SCIENCE DRAWS HUNDREDS TO DISTINGUISH OBJECTIVITY FROM POLITICS

By JUSTIN BELICHIS, Southside Daily

Protesters marched, shouted and waved signs crafted with colorful language and vivid imagery down Granby Street, to East 24th Street and ended at O’Connor Brewing Saturday. Chuck Abadam, co-organizer of Norfolk’s satellite March for Science and director of Suffolk’s mosquito control program, said the march’s intent is not to dignify partisanship, but to promote unity.


Editorials


MARIJUANA LAWS UNDER THE LEGAL MICROSCOPE

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Earlier this month, the Virginia State Crime Commission did something that, a generation or even 15 years ago, would have been deemed radical, if not outright impossible: The body’s executive committee voted to study whether the commonwealth should decriminalize marijuana possession.



CRAB NUMBERS POINT TO NEED FOR RULES

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

If the idea of sitting down to a pile steamed Chesapeake Bay blue crabs floats your skipjack, well, lucky you. This year’s bay crab census suggests it’s going to be a good one for pickers and crabcake aficionados alike—at least initially. The vagaries of nature could take their toll later on in the season.



WHO SHOULD GET THE BLAME FOR ROANOKE'S PROPOSED SOLID WASTE FEE?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

There will be two events in the Roanoke Valley on Thursday night that are expected to be loud, raucous and filled with dire predictions of doom. One will be the Alice Cooper concert at the Salem Civic Center. The other will be the public hearing on Roanoke’s proposed 2017-18 budget.



SEATING COMFORT FOR WHOM?

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review this week denied a request to replace the wooden benches now scattered around the Downtown Mall with backless metal benches. The change was proposed to try to discourage “loitering” — presumably by making the benches too uncomfortable for homeless people to hang out on, even to sleep on.



COUNCIL SALARY BOOST WORTH A LOOK

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

We might not agree with everything Charlottesville City Council decides, but we agree it’s time to consider boosting councilors’ salaries. For the first time since 2008, City Council has taken steps toward raising salaries for the positions of mayor and councilor. The proposed $20,000 annually for the mayor and $18,000 for the other four councilors are the maximum currently allowed by state law for cities of Charlottesville’s size.



DEATHS LEAD TO PROBE OF VA. FACILITY

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Opponents of closing a Madison Heights facility for the severely disabled warned that moving residents would result in deaths. They were right — tragically so. Now Virginia has yet another federal Justice Department investigation on its hands — this one focused on the deaths of three former residents, at least one of whom was transferred without the permission of his family.



RICHMOND SCHOOL BOARD HAS SOME EXPLAINING TO DO

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Two years ago Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Dana Bedden was a finalist to run the school system in Boston. When word got out that he might leave Richmond, a grassroots campaign urging him to stay blossomed. A “Better With Bedden” petition drive sprang up and collected nearly a thousand signatures. Even Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a personal plea.



DEMOCRATS AND THE CORRUPTING POWER OF MONEY

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

“The greatest threat to the integrity of our democracy,” wrote Tom Perriello four years ago, “is the outsized influence of money.” Perriello penned those words in an opinion column for the Albany Times-Union supporting a campaign-finance proposal by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo.



WHY LIBERALS OK WITH SHAMING APPALACHIA?

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

There’s apparently one group of people that it’s safe – perhaps even fashionable – to slur. That would be people living in Appalachia. In the past few weeks, though, there’s been a spate of articles in liberal publications aimed at Appalachia, effectively saying Democrats should ignore the region because it voted heavily for Donald Trump. That’s a fairly antiseptic political point, but the language they’ve used is more provocative – and, to some, offensive.



THE FORTRESS WON'T BE FREE

Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Any discussion of Fort Monroe must begin with the acknowledgment that this decommissioned Army installation is one of the true gems in the historical tapestry that brings our region such pride. Anyone who fails to understand this needs to pick up a history book and start reading. Preservation of that history is paramount, but it is also complicated. History usually is.



SOROS SURFACES IN VIRGINIA

Winchester Star Editorial (Subscription Required)

There’s outside money — and then there’s outside money. It’s well-known and pretty much accepted that Virginia political candidates — both those we support and those we don’t — receive considerable wads of campaign cash from folks and groups outside the borders of the commonwealth. We wish it weren’t so, but it’s SOP these days.



TWO YEARS LATER, STILL LOOKING FOR ANSWERS

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

On April 22, 2015, a 24-year-old man with a history of mental illness was arrested by police at a Portsmouth convenience store for allegedly stealing $5.05 in snacks. On Aug. 19, 101 days later, he was found dead in his cell at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. By now, some details of Jamycheal Mitchell’s tragic journey through the criminal justice system are well known. Members of his family, lawmakers, advocates and journalists have all worked diligently to help put the case squarely in the spotlight and demand answers.



FOOT SOLDIERS FOR RESEARCH, DATA

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

This morning in Washington, Norfolk and locations across the country, activists plan to hold rallies and marches to advocate for science and promote policies grounded in evidence-based research. Relying on science and proven, verifiable data seems a rather common-sense approach to governance, but organizers are right to believe that it’s vitally important now, more than ever, to hold these events. Considering what’s unfolding in the nation’s capital, the event couldn’t happen soon enough. Expect plenty of invective to be directed toward the White House and its wrong-headed stance on key science-related issues.

Columnists


SCHAPIRO: CLUES OUT OF NORTHERN VIRGINIA ANYTHING BUT CLEAR

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Democrats are entitled to boast — a bit — about an unexpected win in a special election in a Northern Virginia swing suburb for an office that few people know or care about. But it is clear their excitement could be clouding their judgment. Jackie Smith, a Democrat who has never held office, was elected clerk of court of Prince William County on Tuesday, defeating 11-year Del. Jackson Miller, a member of the House Republican leadership who had a lopsided advantage in name recognition and campaign cash.



HIATT: METRO’S TEST: CAN OUR POLITICS STILL SOLVE CRITICAL PROBLEMS?

By FRED HIATT, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Can U.S. politics still deliver in the public interest? A test case is taking shape in the Washington area. The test is this: Can the transit system of the nation’s capital be saved? On one level, a rescue should be easy. Pretty much everyone, even people who don’t use Metro, agrees that its demise would be a disaster.



FAIN: DEMS TRY TO HANG 'ENRON ED' TAG ON GILLESPIE

By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

An investment banker named in an SEC complaint during the fallout of the Enron accounting scandal gave $5,000 to GOP gubernatorial hopeful Ed Gillespie's campaign last month, one of a few connections Gillespie's opponents may point to in an effort to stick him with the nickname "Enron Ed.

Op-Ed


DOUGHTY: SUCCESS REQUIRES A SOLID STRATEGY

By BETH DOUGHTY, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Behind every economic success story in the Roanoke Region is a solid strategy. Wins like Deschutes Brewery, Ballast Point Brewing, Eldor Corporation and others came about because our region not only met the needs of companies – we created a compelling story to attract them, supported by regional cooperation from municipalities that understand jobs and investments don’t stop at invisible borders.

Doughty serves as executive director of the Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority.



DAVIS: WITHOUT COAL, WHO WILL WE BE?

By CHELYEN DAVIS, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Since the presidential election, I’ve repeatedly heard people ask how voters in Appalachia -- painted by news stories as Trump supporters -- could vote against their own self-interests. Who is defining those interests? Apparently not the voter. It suggests the questioner knows what’s best for Appalachian people better than Appalachians themselves do, and implies that such a choice is less valid because the questioner disagrees with it. What I heard from many people in Southwest Virginia last fall was a plea for the economy of the coalfields.

Davis, a native of Bluefield, Va., lives in Richmond. She writes about Appalachian issues on The Homesick Appalachian website.



MCAULIFFE: RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS, ONE YEAR LATER

By TERRY MCAULIFFE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

It's not every day you can change a life for the better. It’s even more rare to do it for many thousands of people at once, even if you’re a sitting governor. This week marks one year since my proudest moment as governor of Virginia: the restoration of civil and voting rights for Virginians who now have a second chance to be a part of their communities.

Terry McAuliffe is the governor of Virginia.



LAROCK: NEW 'RIGHTS' FOR LGBTQ FOLKS?

By DAVE LAROCK, Published in the Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Responding to Jackson Clark’s Open Forum published March 28, I’m grateful she invited me to the recent panel discussion on LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) issues sponsored by her Valley Equality Project held at Shenandoah University. Speakers on the panel shared the opinion that people choosing a homosexual lifestyle and those who choose to present themselves as inconsistent with their biological sex should be granted new rights on the premise they will otherwise suffer if those behaviors are not granted full legitimacy in school and public policies.

Dave LaRock, R-Hamilton represents the 33rd District in the House of Delegates



FEIT: REFUTING LAROCK

By JEFFREY FEIT, Published in the Winchester Star (Subscription Required)

Where do we start? Years ago, my dog Dylan had a day when he was violently ill. I stood there stupefied, with no idea where to begin to clean up the mess. I had the same reaction this week reading Del. Dave LaRock’s commentary on what it means to be gay or transgender in our community in 2017. I just don’t even know where to start.

Jeffrey Feit is a family physician and resident of Winchester.