VaNews

Monday May 25, 2015

Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw


General Assembly

VIRGINIA REDISTRICTING LAWSUITS COULD COST TAXPAYERS BIG BUCKS

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Virginia taxpayers may be on the hook for as much as $309,000 in legal fees racked up by Republican lawmakers in lawsuits over the makeup of the state’s congressional and House of Delegates districts. Two lawsuits funded by a national Democratic group argue that the maps must be redrawn because they illegally concentrate African American voters into some districts to reduce their influence elsewhere.


PRINCE WILLIAM’S NEWEST HIGH SCHOOL TO BE NAMED FOR VIRGINIA’S OLDEST SENATOR

By MORIAH BALINGIT, Washington Post

en. Charles J. Colgan, who has represented a swath of Prince William County since 1976, is set to leave office at year’s end. But the county school board hopes his name and legacy will live on with the opening of a brand new high school named in his honor, set to open four decades after he took office.

State Elections

GOP CONTEST TO SUCCEED STOSCH IN SENATE HEATS UP

By JIM NOLAN , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The four-way race for the Republican nomination for the open 12th District Virginia Senate seat is heating up in the final weeks leading up to the June 9 primary. A flurry of campaign mailers, political ads and signage has descended on the district, which covers the western halves of Henrico and Hanover counties.


INCUMBENT SEN. STEPHEN MARTIN FACES TWO CHALLENGERS IN 11TH DISTRICT RACE

By JIM NOLAN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

The Virginia Senate’s 11th District has been reliably Republican for decades. But for the first time in his more than 20 years in office, the incumbent faces primary challengers. Sen. Stephen H. Martin, R-Chesterfield, says his experience in the legislature and service to his constituents merit a return to the Senate, where he has served since 1994 in a district that includes Amelia County, Colonial Heights and part of Chesterfield.


DANCE, HOWELL EXPERIENCE BENEFITS OF INCUMBENCY

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Ahead of legislative elections, established donors often bet on known quantities. On Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors donated $14,490 to Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg, a legislative veteran who faces a June 9 primary challenge from Del. Joseph E. Preston, D-Petersburg, who holds Dance’s former seat in the House of Delegates.


VA. HOUSE SPEAKER AND GOP CHALLENGER BATTLE IN FIRST FORUM BEFORE PRIMARY

By JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post

Virginia House Speaker William J. Howell and his Republican challenger, Susan Stimpson, clashed Sunday over taxes, Medicaid and transportation in their first faceoff ahead of next month’s primary. Stimpson is taking on Howell, her former political mentor and a 28-year incumbent, in a district 50 miles south of Washington that includes Stafford County and Fredericksburg.


REPUBLICANS PICK NOMINEE FOR RAMADAN'S 87TH DISTRICT HOUSE SEAT

By JONATHAN HUNLEY , Leesburg Today

The race for the 87th District Virginia House of Delegates seat again has two candidates. South Riding lawyer Chuong Nguyen has been selected as the GOP nominee for the post, Republican Party of Virginia Chairman John Whitbeck announced Friday.


REPUBLICANS SELECT HOPEFUL SUCCESSOR TO DEL. DAVID RAMADAN

By TREVOR BARATKO, Loudoun Times

Chuong Nguyen of South Riding will be the Republican nominee to succeed the outgoing Del. David Ramadan in the Virginia House of Delegates' 87th District, the Virginia GOP announced today. A native of Saigon, South Vietnam, who immigrated to the U.S. as a child, Nguyen is an attorney and member of the Loudoun Bar association.


RETIRED ATTORNEY TO CHALLENGE DEL. BEN CLINE

By CARMEN FORMAN, Roanoke Times

After being the only member of her party to file paperwork, a retired Lexington attorney received the Democratic nomination to run for the region’s House of Delegates seat. Ellen Arthur is seeking the 24th District seat currently held by Del. Ben Cline.


VA. DEMOCRATS HOPE TO USE CLINTON MOJO TO IMPROVE THEIR OWN POSITION

By RACHEL WEINER, Washington Post

Hillary Rodham Clinton needs Virginia Democrats next year. But they need her now. In what is expected to be a heavily competitive presidential battleground in 2016, Democrats have a more pressing challenge this fall: trying to gain control of one of the state legislature’s two Republican-held chambers.


VOTING MACHINE REPLACEMENT SQUEEZES LOCAL BUDGETS

By ALICIA PETSKA, News & Advance

Facing a new state mandate, Appomattox County is preparing to replace its voting machines, but hopes to spread out the cost and minimize the unexpected hit to its budget. Appomattox and 29 other localities — including Lynchburg and Nelson County — have to replace their touchscreen voting machines this year after the model was decertified by the State Board of Elections.

State Government

HOW A 20TH CENTURY FEAR OF SALOONS GOVERNS VA. RESTAURANTS TODAY

By LORRAINE EATON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In the winter of 1968, a wave of events smashed American sensibilities. In November, officers on "Star Trek" fell into an interracial kiss. John Lennon and Yoko Ono bared their backsides for the cover of Rolling Stone magazine. And the next month, in a bar in Norfolk, a bouffant-haired waitress served a patron a vodka, neat.


NO EASY SOLUTIONS FOR ILLICIT CIGARETTE SMUGGLING

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Illegal cigarette smuggling in the U.S. costs the public coffers at least $2.95 billion annually in lost state tax revenue, yet the problem does not garner much public concern.


STATE BEEHIVE GRANT PROGRAM WORKING, BUT BACKLOGGED, OFFICIAL SAYS

By JEFF STURGEON, Roanoke Times

As federal officials pledged new steps earlier this month to reverse a decline in managed honey bees, Virginia is offering cash grants to those who start new hives. But program administrators cannot process grant applications as quickly as they arrive, resulting in a backlog at the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Higher Education

CONTRACT EXTENSION GIVES SULLIVAN MORE TIME AT UVA, BUT SETS THE CLOCK FOR HER DEPARTURE

By DEREK QUIZON, Daily Progress

The contract extension granted by the University of Virginia Board of Visitors last week gave President Teresa A. Sullivan more time in office, but it also spells the end of her difficult tenure at UVa. Sullivan — whose current contract would have expired in 2016 — was given a two-year extension, along with raises of $15,000 this fiscal year and $25,000 next year.

Virginia Other

LOVING V. VIRGINIA LOOMS LARGE IN GAY MARRIAGE CASE

By MARKUS SCHMIDT , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

In Richard Loving’s message to the U.S. Supreme Court, he simply let his heart speak. His attorney, Bernard S. Cohen, read Loving’s words to the nine justices during his oral argument. “Mr. Cohen, tell the court I love my wife, and it is just unfair that I can’t live with her in Virginia.”

Local

WITH LITTLE RECOURSE IN GUN-FRIENDLY VIRGINIA, ARLINGTON RESISTS STORE OPENING

By PATRICIA SULLIVAN, Washington Post

Neighborhood e-mail lists in Arlington County have been burning up for the past week over news that an empty storefront where a weight-reduction salon once stood will open for business selling handguns, rifles, ammunition and gear. Residents of North Arlington’s Cherrydale and Maywood — neighborhoods of rolling residential streets less than a mile from the Potomac River — say a gun shop is simply not appropriate along a stretch of Lee Highway


DATA CENTERS AND METRO ARE BOTH COMING TO LOUDOUN COUNTY

By JONATHAN O'CONNELL, Washington Post

Maybe the Silver Line delay was just what Loudoun County needed. The second leg of the new Metro line will bring Loudoun County its first two stations, beyond Dulles Airport, but the project is behind schedule and the stops may not open until 2020.


HENRICO FINDS TEACHER TURNOVER RATE BEATS STATE AVERAGE

By TED STRONG, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

When Henrico County school officials couldn’t produce numbers tracking teacher turnover in the district, they weren’t so much sweeping something under the carpet as hiding their light under a bushel, it turns out.


CHESAPEAKE'S RURAL HOUSING BOOM CALLS FOR ROAD UPGRADES

By MARY BETH GAHAN, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The proposed 8-acre development might have seemed unlikely to spark much debate at last week's City Council's meeting. City staff and the Planning Commission had recommended approval, and school capacity, for once, was not an issue. But then came the question of how it would affect nearby roads, and council member Roland Davis had plenty to say.


WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ... BIKE-SHARING IN NORFOLK?

By DAVE FORSTER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A city-supported idea to stage a fleet of bicycles around downtown for rent to the public hasn't taken off like proponents had hoped. Talk of a bike-share program - similar to those that have popped up in Washington, New York and other cities across the country - led to city staff issuing a call in 2013 for companies that might want to help set up a system in Norfolk. Nobody responded, Deputy City Manager Ron Williams Jr. said.


Editorials

VYING TO GO TO RICHMOND

Washington Post Editorial

Virginia seats in the General Assembly — one in the state Senate and two in the House of Delegates — are coming open in the fall elections, and Democrats are holding primary contests June 9 for all of them. The following are The Post’s endorsements in those races. (A Republican primary is being held in District 2, which encompasses part of Prince William and Stafford counties. The Post makes no endorsement in that race.)


COAL-ASH INQUIRY MUST CONTINUE

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The $102 million settlement Duke Energy reached with the federal government this month over its coal ash pollution also stands as a startling rebuke to North Carolina politicians and regulators who have spent years ignoring the same problems. The Charlotte-based utility, the largest in America, earlier this month pleaded guilty to nine criminal violations of the federal Clean Water Act.


SERIOUSLY, THIS IS THE BEST WE CAN DO?

Prince William Times Editorial

Aside from fundraising, canvassing, door-knocking, more fundraising, stumping, rallying, conducting opposition research, forcing primary voters to sign loyalty oaths when they feel like it, fundraising some more and occasionally influencing legislation, the two main political parties in this country have one primary job: Putting candidates on the general election ballot.


SETTING A NEW COURSE FOR VIRGINIA TOBACCO PANEL

News & Advance Editorial

Reform of the newly renamed Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission has finally come, but will the scandal-plagued but economically important agency be able to rise above its past? In the late 1990s, the nation’s cigarette manufacturers were buffeted on all sides in courtrooms across the country.


MORE THAN A ‘CONFEDERATE MEMORIAL

Danville Register & Bee Editorial

The Sutherlin Mansion remains a building that’s stretched in too many directions. Southern heritage groups see the grand old home as a Confederate shrine — Danville’s link to the Lost Cause and the city’s major claim to historical fame. The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History sees the Sutherlin Mansion as one chapter of Danville’s story — and a hub for local arts and culture.


PASSENGER RAIL SAFETY IS COSTLY, REQUIRES COMMITMENT

Free Lance-Star Editorial

In a train town like Fredericksburg, accidents such as the recent Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, as well as the serious freight train incidents that occur, raise immediate concerns about the safety of our community. Attention is often drawn, for example, to the deteriorating infrastructure—particularly the heavily used train bridges across Caroline, Princess Anne and Charles streets that we are assured remain serviceable despite their age and crumbling appearance. We also worry about the hazardous and flammable materials that pass through or are parked here in tankers for any length of time.

Columnists

SCHAPIRO: OFFSTAGE REDISTRICTING DRAMA RATTLES REPUBLICANS

By JEFF E. SCHAPIRO , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

On the southern edge of the Washington suburbs, House Speaker Bill Howell is grumpily batting back a nomination challenge from his former protege, Susan Stimpson. Alex McMurtrie, an intermittent Republican, is living up to his nickname, “Butterfly,” by flitting into a Democratic primary for a suburban Richmond Senate seat. And in Roanoke, Democrat John Edwards awoke the other morning to a three-way race that could kill his party’s chances of taking back the Senate. But the truly gripping drama in Virginia politics is taking place offstage.


THOMSON: STATE-FINANCED HOT LANES MIGHT BE A BETTER DEAL FOR COMMUTERS

By ROBERT THOMSON , Washington Post

By raising the possibility of public financing for the congestion-relief program on Interstate 66, Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne has opened up many new options for the biggest transportation project in the D.C. region, and most of those things are good.


WILL: KAINE'S QUEST FOR WAR LEGITIMACY

By GEORGE F. WILL, Associated Press

The Revolutionary War and Civil War ended in Virginia, which was involved, by the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, in the beginning of today’s war with radical Islam. Now a Virginia senator is determined that today’s war shall not continue indefinitely without the legitimacy conferred by congressional involvement congruent with the Constitution’s text and history. Tim Kaine, former Richmond mayor, former governor and former national chairman of the Democratic Party, represents the distressingly small minority of legislators interested in crafting an authorization for use of military force (AUMF). This is easier vowed than accomplished.


HINKLE: BRAT JUMPS THE SHARK ON IMMIGRATION

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

If Cesar Vargas ever becomes a military lawyer, the terrorists will have already won. Or so says Dave Brat, the Virginia Republican who beat House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary contest a little less than a year ago. Brat says people such as Vargas represent nothing less than the decline of Western civilization.

Op-Ed

KEUFFEL AND WYATT: SWEET BRIAR HAD TO CLOSE

By NANCY H. KEUFFEL AND ELIZABETH H.S. WYATT, Published in the Washington Post

After its president unexpectedly announced that Sweet Briar College would close forever in the summer, many alumnae and others challenged that decision. Here, two members of the board of directors respond with the reasons why they concluded the private women’s college could not remain open.

Elizabeth H.S. Wyatt is the vice chair of the Sweet Briar College board. Nancy H. Keuffel, a member of the board, received her bachelor’s degree in American studies from Sweet Briar.


KILBERG: MAKING MILLENNIALS A REPUBLICAN GENERATION

By CAMERON KILBERG, Published in the Washington Post

In recent years, the Virginia GOP has struggled to win statewide elections. A big reason has been the party’s inability to secure the votes of millennials, the nation’s largest voting-age group. In 2012, roughly 55 percent of millennials who voted did so for Democrats. To turn this Republican losing streak into a winning one, the Virginia GOP must work to reflect the values of the next generation while remaining true to the party’s principles.

The writer is an executive member of NextGen GOP.


TOMLINSON: MAKE THE WORLD REGRET SWEET BRIAR WAS PUT IN JEOPARDY

By TERESA PIKE TOMLINSON, Published in the Roanoke Times

What is so poetic, so tragically beautiful, is that Sweet Briar, in what some say is her last aching breaths, is providing you a leadership lesson of a lifetime . Our lot may appear cast. (Not by us, but by others that we allowed to hold the reins.) But, all of us, all schools, all organizations, all enterprises whatsoever need take heed. A great lesson is afoot. A lesson of perseverance, courage, righteousness and effective decision-making.

Teresa Pike Tomlinson is the mayor of Columbus, Georgia and a 1987 graduate of Sweet Briar College.


WILL: KAINE'S QUEST FOR WAR LEGITIMACY

By GEORGE WILL, Published in the Washington Post

The Revolutionary War and Civil War ended in Virginia, which was involved, by the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, in the beginning of today's war with radical Islam. Now a Virginia senator is determined that today's war shall not continue indefinitely without the legitimacy conferred by congressional involvement congruent with the Constitution's text and history.

George Will is a Washington Post columnist.


FROST: NEW VIRGINIA BEACH APP BECOMES AN OBSESSION

By JIMMY FROST, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

My wife claims that I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. At the grocery store where we shop, there are three sizes of carts. When I return our cart to the corral in the parking lot, I'll arrange all the carts neatly, according to size. I usually take "before" and "after" photos and post them on Facebook....Such compulsions are why the newest smartphone application from the city of Virginia Beach has had a bewitching effect on me.

Jimmy Frost, a web designer and writer, lives in Virginia Beach.