Call it the St. Valentine’s Day Inferno. An argument and the threat of a lawsuit between prominent Virginia political bloggers Brian Schoeneman, Greg Letiecq, and Shaun Kenney, over who is getting paid to write about an historic primary battle, will likely open a discussion about how to balance political advocacy and the pretense – upheld by many blogs – of presenting objective news reporting.
The question must henceforth be asked: Is this a blog, or blogola?
Having arisen from the opportunity afforded by content management system Web technology, in part as a supplement or “antidote” to the ideologies of traditional media outlets, political blogs generally represent a cross pollination between political pamphleteering and news reporting. Many, probably most, Virginia blogs are unabashedly ideological, and most are blatantly partisan.
Which tends to be all fine and good, except during the primaries.
Brian’s appraisal of Delegate Bob is harsh in the same sense St. John’s depiction of the beast is harsh. Brian wants him to leave the House of Delegates, to renounce his ways, and most certainly to bow out of the primary contest for the Republican nomination to replace 34-year Congressman Frank Wolf in the 10th district election in November.
Delegate Bob is one of approximately 47 others currently announced to challenge Barbara Comstock, Frank Wolf’s heir apparent, for the GOP nomination …. and therein lies the rub.
Bob Marshall (R-13) has issued a statement about Judge Wright-Allen’s decision, striking down his eponymous Marshall Amendment to the Virginia constitution, that bans gay marriage. One can hardly be surprised that he disagrees, and at least one of his enumerated points of complaint has a bit of merit to it (that the judge read the Equal Protection clause of the constitution as though it were more closely worded like the Declaration’s guarantee of universal equality, instead of merely delivering on that guarantee’s promise). But he just can’t seem to help himself, sputtering almost apoplectically (maybe not almost, come to think of it) about the fact that, since things have always been a certain way, that God therefore meant they would stay that way forever. And who are we to argue with God? (If you need to know what God has to say on all this, by the way, the statement makes it clear that you can, when in any doubt about His Word, just ask Delegate Marshall. He’ll tell you What It Is.)
It must be particularly frustrating for a man who has devoted so much of his life to oppressing others that, on the eve of his efforts to become a federal legislator, his signature achievement in government is declared to be an unconstitutional form of discrimination. The rest of us could see that coming, of course, and polls even show that his amendment would not pass today. But Bob Marshall has never cared about today. As his statement shows, Bob Marshall is all about the past.
Perhaps the time has finally come, to leave him there.
UPDATE: The preliminary draft of Judge Wright-Allen’s decision referred to the constitution as the source of the promise that “all men” are created equal. The updated version released today identifies the Declaration of Independence as the source. Guess anyone can make a mistake, eh Bob?
Last year, after the release of the special grand jury report on complaints against Sterling District Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio, more than a few local Republicans were heard to wonder: What happened with Eugene?
Known as a savvy politician whose advocacy organization Public Advocate – his regular job – did almost no member solicitation in Northern Virginia in order to avoid even the appearance of fundraising conflicts of interest with his role as a Loudoun County elected official, Delgaudio seemed unlikely to suddenly become as sloppy as alleged by former employee Donna Mateer.
On top of that, Delgaudio’s reputation as a boss was as one who gave young people opportunities for professional development in a less-than-rigid work environment. Like most of the county supervisors, Delgaudio has a full time job apart from his elected position and thus was not physically present during much of the staff’s work day. Publicly, he praised them – management 101.
Unsurprisingly, Eugene Delgaudio and Janet Clarke voted against expanding a Muslim center in Leesburg, after some Very Concerned Citizens suggested that the most pressing social issue of our time (parking) would be a problem. Scott York and Suzanne Volpe were out of the room for the vote, so that left Supervisors Reid, Higgins, Buona, and Williams to do the right thing and vote “yes” on the merits. They could have done only that and moved on, but one paused to remark, on the record, “I don’t remember seeing anybody who came here tonight concerned about traffic on Sycolin Road with this Muslim Community Center come before the Leesburg Town Council complaining about the Cornerstone Chapel. I don’t think it ever would have been this controversy if it had been a church or synagogue, but it is a Muslim community center so we have some folks raising concerns.”
Those remarks came from Ken Reid, who is Jewish. He is also the only supervisor who has to answer to the voters in Leesburg, since he is the Leesburg district supervisor. It might be a stretch to make this connection, but maybe the Leesburg speakers opposed to the application were mostly Republican-leaning voters, too. In other words, Reid stuck his neck out when he didn’t have to, and was the only board member who risked anything by doing so. With not much to cheer about on this board from a leftie’s point of view, let’s not ignore it when one of them not only gets it right, but shows a little backbone in the process.
The online system that tracks Loudoun’s Circuit Court cases is a bit cryptic, but it has an entry that appears to show “Paul Sheridan” has been assigned by the state Supreme Court to preside over the rest of the Delgaudio removal proceedings:
If that’s the case, it would seem to be the Paul Sheridan now working with The McCammon Group, a “dispute resolution & prevention” services firm. Judge Sheridan appears also to have retired from the 17th Judicial Circuit Court of Arlington, after serving on the bench for 18 years, the last five of those as Chief Judge of the court. It seems reasonable to assume that, as a retired judge, he has both the credentials and the time to devote to this important proceeding.
Nothing in the court calendar as yet regarding when the next court appearances will take place, but the statutory requirement that this type of matter take precedence is clearly in full effect. Stay tuned.
[FirewallNOVA got this report from a spectator at today’s hearing.]
Substitute Circuit Court Judge Herman A. Whisenant heard argument today on a motion in the Brambleton v. LCPS case. It’s actually titled “Kelsey v. Loudoun County School Board,” but it exists because a number of parents of Briar Woods HS students who live in Brambleton are unhappy that the school board’s latest attendance-zone map moves their children out of Briar Woods. The law does allow anyone who is negatively affected by a school board’s decision to ask a court to review it, but the review is kind of limited and the court can only overturn the school board if the court finds the decision was “arbitrary and capricious.”
Delegate Todd Gilbert says it in the fewest words possible, as former Fairfax County Democratic Committee chair, and now Fairfax Delegate Scott Surovell does it with (some kind of) style on the floor of the General Assembly:
In case you are wondering, Scott is arguing against tax-breaks for film-makers who want to shoot their movies in Virginia. No word yet on whether the hat has sent Scott to Gryffindor or Slytherin.