Thursday October 27, 2016
By ALANNA DURKIN RICHER , Associated Press
The Virginia attorney general's office said Wednesday that it will no longer oppose overturning the rape and murder convictions of two former sailors after a federal judge declared last month that "no sane human being" could find the men guilty. U.S. District Judge John A. Gibney Jr. said last month that evidence shows Danial Williams and Joseph Dick did not commit the 1997 rape and murder of Michelle Moore-Bosko. He urged the state to free the men of the "continuing shackles of their convictions."
By TRAVIS FAIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Legislators half way through a four-year look at Virginia's mental health systems are coalescing behind a number of proposals that will likely turn into funding requests heading into the 2017 General Assembly session. House and Senate appropriations chairmen ball-parked the asks at $40 or $50 million on Wednesday.
By SCOTT MCCAFFREY, Sun Gazette
On the off chance you haven’t noticed, election season is a time for partisanship and rhetoric across the political spectrum. But some of the harsh words will be dispensed with when members of the Arlington delegation to the General Assembly troupe down to Richmond for the 2017 session starting in January. At an Oct. 25 forum sponsored by the Leadership Center for Excellence and held at GMU’s Founders Hall, members of the delegation said they planned to cooperate with the Republican majorities in both houses, when possible, on legislation of mutual interest.
By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
Charlottesville attorney Khizr Khan isn’t backing off his criticism of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslims and Mexicans. But Khan vowed during a Norfolk visit Wednesday to work after the Nov. 8 election to reconcile the deep divisions in the country. “The division that has been created by this candidate – by Donald Trump – ought to cease,” Khan said while speaking at a mosque in Norfolk. “That starts with forgiveness, with understanding of each other. Of course we have different political perspectives – different opinions – but we are not enemies. … The conversation of reconciliation should begin.”
By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post
NORFOLK — Khizr Khan, the slain soldier’s father whose criticism of GOP nominee Donald Trump at the Democratic National Convention became a turning point in the 2016 campaign, said Wednesday that he was motivated to speak out by questions he was hearing from Muslim American children. After anti-Muslim statements by Trump, Khan said, “at gatherings, little children would ask — ‘You are an attorney, are we going to be thrown out of the country?’ ”
By ALAN RAPPEPORT, New York Times
With the polish of a seasoned politician, Khizr Khan strode through the door of a seafood restaurant to the serenade of clicking cameras, clasped hands with cheering Democratic lawmakers and, as he has become famous for doing, unflinchingly argued that Donald J. Trump must not be president.
By ANDREW CAIN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
The National Rifle Association has pumped more than $1 million in ads into the presidential race in Virginia in an effort to boost Republican Donald Trump’s campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. The NRA’s ad buys for the general election in the Hampton Roads, Richmond and Roanoke TV markets more than double what the gun rights group spent four years ago when President Barack Obama won re-election against Republican Mitt Romney.
By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Presidential politics dominated the first and only 9th Congressional District debate on Wednesday. Though Democratic nominee Derek Kitts mostly avoided talking about the presidential candidates and their policies, incumbent U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, played up his support of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and — to the audience’s delight — his distaste for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier
A retired combat veteran is attempting to wrest the 9th District U.S. House seat from a three-term incumbent. Derek Kitts, 47, of Christiansburg, is the Democratic nominee seeking to unseat Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem. Independent Janice Allen Boyd, of Harrisonburg, also appears on the Nov. 8 ballot. The challenger readily admits that his positions don’t always align with his party’s national platform.
By GABE CAVALLARO , News Leader (Metered Pay Wall)
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, emphasized his experience and the value of his seniority to 6th District voters and underlined the importance of checking executive branch power in an interview at The News Leader office Tuesday. When voters in Virginia's 6th District head to the polls on Nov. 8, they'll have the chance to reelect Goodlatte for a 13th term and he said he feels he's had so much success with Valley voters because they know he reflects their conservative values, fighting for a decentralized government.
By SARAH KLEINER AND K. BURNELL EVANS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Three whistleblowers in the Office of the State Inspector General described on Wednesday potential conflicts of interest between their bosses and the state’s mental health system, which the office is in charge of investigating. Cathy Hill, Ann White and William Thomas, the whistleblowers, also said key information about overworked employees at the mental hospital where Jamycheal Mitchell was supposed to be transferred was intentionally removed from reports.
By THERESA CLIFT, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Ray Williams received a letter from Virginia Department of Transportation informing him that the agency would be assessing his Hampton home — taking soil samples, locating power lines and other routine work. The December 2015 letter didn't say why, but Williams didn't think too much of it — until nearly a year later when he got a call from a Daily Press reporter asking him how he felt about his property being flagged for potential relocation to make way for I-664 widening.
By ROBERT ZULLO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
A labor union is taking aim at the track record of one of the firms under consideration by the Virginia Department of Transportation for the $2.1 billion Interstate 66 Outside the Beltway project, in a report published Monday that highlights a series of bankruptcies and disputes over past projects by the company. The report on Ferrovial, a Spanish multinational company that operates infrastructure such as toll roads and airports and provides municipal services, was released by Unite Here, which represents 270,000 workers in the hotel, gaming, airport, food service and other industries.
By KARIN KAPSIDELIS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Longwood University would absorb New College Institute in Martinsville as an “affiliate location” and eventually take over its assets under the latest recommendation for the higher-education center. NCI’s board of directors is scheduled today to consider the plan recommended by Peter Blake, director of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia, that would establish an 18-month timeline for bringing the institute under Longwood’s control.
By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
For the first time in at least 15 years, a parade through downtown Lexington that features Confederate flags and a celebration of Lee-Jackson Day will be marching to a different beat. An anti-racism group has obtained a parade permit for Jan. 14 — taking the date and route that traditionally has been claimed by a local Sons of Confederate Veterans chapter.
By KATE MISHKIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
After failing to agree on an increase in the 2017 Atlantic menhaden catch limit at an August meeting, regional managers voted Wednesday to increase it by 6.45 percent. ... The Atlantic Menhaden Management Board — a board within the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission — passed the vote 16-2 at a meeting Wednesday. Pennsylvania and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife dissented, hoping to keep the status quo.
By ROBERT ZULLO, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Hexavalent chromium contamination of hundreds of private drinking-water wells near Duke Energy coal ash facilities and discord over the risk it poses to human health have convulsed the highest levels of North Carolina’s state government, including the resignation of the state epidemiologist and finger-pointing between the governor’s office and environmental officials.
By ANTONIO OLIVO, Washington Post
Virginia’s largest jurisdiction has moved closer to creating a civilian review panel for cases of alleged police abuse, part of an ongoing series of police reforms in Fairfax County being launched at a time when such cases have stirred concerns nationwide.
By MIKE CONNORS , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
Math teacher Amanda Graven had questions last year when she learned the label the state had placed on her school, King’s Fork High School. Its test scores had fallen just shy of full accreditation, and the Virginia Board of Education gave it a rating of “partially accredited-reconstituted school.”
By ERIC HARTLEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
The City Council voted Tuesday to hire Doug Smith as interim city manager. On Dec. 1, Smith will replace Marcus Jones, who is leaving Norfolk to become city manager of Charlotte, N.C. Smith, who lives in Norfolk, left his job as deputy city manager in Virginia Beach this summer to start a consulting firm. In late September, Norfolk contracted with him for advice on development deals.
By ANA LEY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
The final City Council meeting in a dramatic election season devolved into a flurry of political sniping Tuesday night, drawing howls and jeers from observers. The evening was tame until Barry Randall, a mayoral candidate and pastor, criticized the council for its response to public housing tenants who have gone without heat or hot water since Hurricane Matthew.
By BOB STUART, News Virginian
An anti-discrimination organization said Wednesday it is asking both the Virginia and U.S. attorneys general to investigate Augusta County Commissioner of the Revenue Jean Shrewsbury, Harrisonburg Commissioner of the Revenue Karen Rose and G. Ray Ergenbright, an employee of both offices. Representatives of ARMED (Americans Resisting Minority and Ethnic Discrimination) point to Ergenbright's use of Hitler emojis in emails and a social media post.
By PETE DELEA , Daily News Record (Subscription Required)
WHSV-TV3 received $9,550 for more than 300 commercial spots from Americans Resisting Minority and Ethnic Discrimination — a city group leading an effort to oust Harrisonburg Commissioner of the Revenue Karen Rose, according to documents filed with the Federal Communications Commission.... The documents, obtained by the Daily News-Record on Wednesday and available on the FCC website, list Mayor Christopher Jones, who works for WHSV, as the account executive. The commercials call for Rose to be “fired” by the public.
By EAMON O'MEARA, WDBJ
Virginia's top industry is now at the time of year where most money is made, as farmers across the Commonwealth are harvesting crops. And according to experts, it's a fantastic year. According to the Virginia Farm Bureau the Commonwealth's top two crops, corn and soybeans, are growing this year, with 11 and 9 percent increases in bushels from last year, respectively.
Free Lance-Star Editorial
I t's akin to using a hammer to kill a fly. It may do the job, but it does considerable, unnecessary damage in the process. That’s what the Virginia General Assembly is doing in asking voters on Nov. 8 to approve a constitutional amendment about the state’s “right to work” policy. A “no” vote is appropriate for Ballot Question 1, “Article I. Bill of Rights. Section 11-A. Right to work.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Decorum matters, but there’s a line between decorum and pearl-clutching. State election officials crossed it this week when they suspended a registrar from an email list. Cameron Sasnett, the registrar for Fairfax, was quite properly outraged to find absentee voter applications from August and September had been sent from the state to his system only recently. “Where in the hell were these?!?!” he asked in a message to the listserv, a group email list.
Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
There’s something wrong in Virginia when parents of a deceased young adult cannot obtain copies of the investigation into his death. It speaks to a larger problem in the commonwealth’s apprehension about allowing the public to access to law enforcement records. Hope for altering that approach, even in some small but meaningful way, was all but snuffed out last week when the state commission reviewing the Virginia Freedom of Information Act rejected a modest proposal to tweak a provision of the statute.
Sun Gazette Editorial
InsideNova and the Sun Gazette have endorsed U.S. Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-10th) in her re-election bid against Democrat LuAnn Bennett. “Comstock has shown that the trust we placed in her two years ago was well-deserved, and she is well on her way to filling those big shoes that Frank Wolf left behind,” the media group said in an editorial published this week. “She has earned the opportunity to continue that work on our behalf.”
Daily Press Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
When U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell announced in January that he would not seek a fourth term in Congress representing Virginia’s 2nd District, he left a lot of people wondering who could take his place in our state’s delegation. Congressman Rigell, a Republican, has been a strong, sensible voice in Washington, steadfast in his principles but never afraid to go against his party if that is where his conscience led him.
Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
The Virginia Beach City Council has done well in recent years to advance a thoughtful vision for the community’s growth and future success. Members have been responsible stewards of tax dollars while also pursuing investments that promise to make the city a more attractive place to live, work and visit. This year, voters will select four of the 10 members who, along with the mayor, form the city’s governing body. The races on the ballot include one of the three at-large seats, and the Centerville, Kempsville and Rose Hall districts.
By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)
I’ve been debating the best response to Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s announcement this week, in which he traveled to our region and proclaimed toll relief for some of the poorest users of the Midtown and Downtown tunnels. A golf clap? Muted cheers? Maybe a “thank you” note – with a huge asterisk? I don’t want to be too negative.
By WARREN FISKE, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Levar Stoney, a 35-year-old political operative running for Richmond mayor, was asked at a recent debate if he has the managerial chops to lead the city. "We know you served as head of the Democratic Party (of Virginia) and as secretary of the commonwealth," said Craig Carper, news director for WCVE Public Radio. "How do these skills translate to an executive position like mayor? How many people did you manage in these positions?"
By KAI DEGNER, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
The Founding Fathers designed the Constitution with two basic principles in mind: 1) Congress should have rigorous and honest debates between competing ideas to reach better decisions for Americans, and 2) Congress should not be full of career politicians. I agree with 80 percent of Americans who say congress is broken, and I believe our 24-year incumbent, establishment, career congressman is a big part of the problem.
Degner is the Democratic candidate for the 6th District seat.
By BOB GOODLATTE, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Opportunity — that’s what our Founding Fathers saw in America. They risked everything to form a country founded on freedom and liberty, and a country where opportunity was well within reach. For generations of Americans, a sense of opportunity has long defined the promise of our nation. I want to see that promise protected and remain a reality for you, your children and grandchildren, and for my granddaughter. That’s why I serve in Congress today, and that’s why I’m asking for your vote on November 8.
Goodlatte, a Republican, is seeking re-election in the 6th District.