A compilation of newspaper articles
about state government and politics.
VaNews - September 17, 2013
Compiled by Sue Lindsey
Henrico County officials mailed 150,000 meals tax brochures last week to every address in the county – and beyond – at a cost of $26,680, according to county officials. The brochures, which offer information about the wording of November’s voter referendum on the proposed tax and information on why the county is seeking more revenue, were sent to homes, businesses and post office boxes.
A child's death has once again prompted questions about how the Department of Human Services handles allegations of child abuse and neglect. Devin Barrington Abbott, 13 months old, was found dead in his bed Nov. 26, 2012. An autopsy found signs of starvation and dehydration.
When freak heavy rains hit Roanoke in July, residents along one northwest city street caught the brunt of the deluge they sparked. Normally docile Peters Creek swamped nearly all of one section of Meadowbrook Road, and some residents had to be retrieved by swift water rescue workers. Two months later, many of those homes still can’t be occupied. Relief may be coming to some, though, in the form of a government grant that would buy their homes at a fair market price and allow them to move on.
What many residents believe is a hurdle to gainful employment with the city may soon no longer stand in their way. City Council passed a resolution at the Sept. 3 regular meeting to remove a simple box and language on preliminary employment applications asking whether or not the applicant has been convicted of a felony.
Let us start by stating the obvious: Nobody wants to pay tunnel tolls. For that reason, it is easy to understand the passion that has fueled the "No Tolls" lawsuit involving the Downtown and Midtown tunnels, which connect Portsmouth to Norfolk. Final arguments were heard before the state supreme court last week.
Some private-sector executives get bonuses even when their companies are doing poorly. At least the Virginia Retirement System staff led their fund to an 11.8 percent return on investment. Are your investments doing that well?
VIRGINIA ATTORNEY General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) was instrumental in ensuring that new regulations will result in the closure of many of the state’s abortion clinics. Two of the busiest, in Northern Virginia and Norfolk, already have closed. If Mr. Cuccinelli is elected governor in November, most of the remaining 18 clinics are likely to shut their doors within months. That would make access to abortion, as well as to family planning advice, difficult for thousands of Virginia women, particularly in rural areas; in some cases, it would become practically impossible. It would also represent a capstone in the Republican campaign in Richmond to limit abortion, despite Supreme Court rulings protecting it.
The day of reckoning is drawing closer. A federal judge has turned back a challenge by farm and real-estate interests to new rules aimed at cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay. Federal and state officials dragged their feet for years before hammering out a plan. The lawsuit challenged it on procedural and substantive grounds.
The newly appointed president at Norfolk State University brings serious credentials to a campus in dire need of serious leadership. Eddie N. Moore Jr., a longtime figure in Virginia government and higher education, will take the reins of the state's largest historically black university next week.
A new law that ostensibly gives the state the power to take over failing schools faces an awkward future, and if justice is merciful, a short one. Last week, the Virginia School Boards Association and the Norfolk School Board filed suit maintaining the law is unconstitutional. Gov. Bob McDonnell is defending the law, which he views as a key part of his legacy, although he initially sought an amendment to the state constitution to smooth the way for the school take-overs.
Even for folks familiar with historical conspiracies, the billboards advertising a “Negro Project” are provocative. You might take offense — Negro, in some quarters, is the other N-word — but the message is hard to ignore. Now that the folks behind the sign have your attention, they’d like your presence at an upcoming meeting.
Terry McAuliffe, Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate, turned to divorce law this month in his ongoing effort to portray Republican Ken Cuccinelli as insensitive to women. Here’s the text of a TV ad McAuliffe launched on Sept. 4 that contains a picture of a woman pushing two young children on swings:
Oil sheikhs finance Hollywood movies against it. HBO “documentaries” are made about it. TV “news” complains about it. Opposing it is the latest cause célèbre in environmental politics. What can cause such a commotion? It is hydraulic fracturing, a proc-ess essential to our nation’s natural gas future. The battle over this process is now focused here in Virginia.
Michael Thompson is chairman/president of the Thomas Jefferson Institute for Public Policy.
When I was preparing to graduate from Tidewater Community College in 2011, I planned to attend Norfolk State University to complete my undergraduate work in political science, then head to Regent University for graduate school. NSU attracted me for a number of reasons. Chief among them was my thought that, as a political science major, it would be a proving ground of sorts, that I would have my beliefs and assumptions challenged to see if what I believed to be right really was.
Coby W. Dillard is vice chairman of the Norfolk Republican Party and a co-founder of the Hampton Roads Tea Party.