HOA Fining Power Defeated

NoVa state senator Chap Petersen has shepherded HB791 to passage, but without the odious provisions that would have allowed HOAs to impose fines on residents. Petersen was part of the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate versions of this bill, with the fining power being the point of greatest contention.

Continue reading “HOA Fining Power Defeated”

Mike Turner and Liz Miller Slug It Out

Interesting point/counterpoint pair of Op-Ed pieces in Leesburg Today recently.

Mike Turner takes a shot at the Virginia state senate’s Democrats, claiming they played politics by voting down good legislation sponsored by Republican delegates.

Liz Miller shoots back on their behalf, revealing that Turner didn’t seem to know the senate votes were on substituted versions of the bills he mentions (and those substitutes were, Miller says, completely different from the versions Turner apparently had in mind).

Beyond being a peek at the underbelly of the beast that is local politics, it’s also a bit of a demonstration of just how hard it can be to know what’s really going on during a legislative session. Apparently, a bill can be submitted by a patron and assigned a number, and can then be completely re-written, while still bearing that original patron’s name. The potential for game-playing is unlimited. A good bill could deliberately be rewritten into a bad one, just so the patron can claim political forces stopped them from passing its original form (something like that may even have happened here). Or a good bill could be deliberately rewritten into a bad one, just so the patron has to take the blame for the substituted version (that doesn’t seem to be what happened in this case; maybe a patron can pull a bill before it does?).

Apart from the battle these two writers seem to have waged, both pieces together are a valuable case-study on just how hard it can be to follow the progress of a bill, and on just how far from a bill’s original form its final form can be.

Interested wannabe policy wonks should use these two articles as guidelines as they delve into the online Legislative Information Service, where the full history of a bill can be found. (In this case, HB1, HB994, SB4, and SB373.)

Delgaudio: Caught Between Sharia and Charybdis (Part 2 in series)

Did Delgaudio’s friendliness with the Muslim community heighten animosities against him?

A thus far unmentioned aspect of the sticky situation Sterling Supervisor Delgaudio has found himself in (or, brought upon himself, depending on one’s point of view) relates to the timing of the precipitating events.

In the run up to the 2011 elections, Delgaudio had two nemeses: pro-LGBT and anti-Sharia.

The first was a given. As noted in Part 1 of this series, as long as he holds public office, Delgaudio can expect constant rough sledding because of his decades-old job as chief executive of the Public Advocate organization.

But in a strange turn of events, Delgaudio managed to tick off a segment of what might have been considered his base because of his refusal to join the “no Sharia” campaign against candidate David Ramadan.

Continue reading “Delgaudio: Caught Between Sharia and Charybdis (Part 2 in series)”

DCCC Picks John Foust

Fairfax county supervisor John FoustAlthough he doesn’t even have the nomination yet, candidate John Foust has been named, personally, as a “Red to Blue” candidate to win Virginia’s 10th Congressional District in November by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (“DCCC,” or “dee-trip,” as it is known). This is a big deal because DCCC also sometimes names individual districts as Red-to-Blue districts, without backing any candidate in particular. For Foust to gain this support before the caucuses (to be held later this month) that choose the delegates to the Democrats’ nominating convention (yes, it is confusing) means they already have a preference, and it’s Foust.

The other contender, Richard Bolger, is clearly a smart, decent fellow who has every right to seek the nomination for himself. But he also has the right to pick another time to enter politics. His party has a lot of ground to make up in the House of Representatives. DCCC is obviously trying to send him a signal, and it is one he should receive. The smart, decent thing for Mr. Bolger to do now is step aside, endorse John Foust, and be a team player for his party. That would only help him in a future quest for nomination, whereas digging in and forcing a convention would only make him look stubborn and self-serving.

Local Dems should make Bolger’s choices clear to him, and let him know they remember their friends.

NFL to Add 15yd Penalty for Epithets

In a move too endearing to this bleeding-heart lefty’s love for all things politically correct to be ignored, the National Football League is moving towards adoption of a rule that will impose penalties for the use of racial slurs and epithets by players on the field during games. Specifically, over-the-line trash-talk will, if the rule is adopted, cost your team fifteen yards.

What’s the northern Virginia angle to this?

Well…

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And Then There Were Two…

Sam Kubba has dropped out of the race for the Democratic nomination to succeed Frank Wolf. That leaves Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust and Fairfax attorney Richard Bolger still contending. The smart money’s on Foust, but the Democratic 10th Congressional District Committee has chosen a byzantine nominating process (involving a two-week election period during which you get to vote for some number of Delegates, some other number of Alternates, which you can do by slate or on an individual basis, who then go on to a convention during which the committed Delegates are bound to vote for their candidate on the first round only, unless that candidate has dropped out, and then, well… you can read all five single-spaced pages of rules for this process on your own time).

Seems like a lot of trouble to go to, but there are only just so many ways to choose a nominee and you do want the process to be fair. On the other hand, if you are a political party, you also want the process to choose the candidate most likely to win in the general election. However, parties and candidates are not one-in-the-same. Parties want their candidates to win, but candidates want themselves to win. Messrs. Kubba and Bolger were, as far as anyone seems to know, politically unknown before announcing they would run for Frank Wolf’s seat. Now, at the time, Wolf was widely expected to run again, and the practice of running political unknowns for seats you can’t win is fairly well established, so no one really cared who they were. Supervisor Foust’s entry into the race, combined with Wolf’s retirement, changes all that, because of one simple fact: Foust could win in November. So why is Bolger running? Could he win? Theoretically, anyone can win. But, realistically, his chances seem very slight compared to Foust’s. Then again, both men are from Fairfax, while the single most populous jurisdiction in the district is Loudoun county. This could be an issue if the Republicans choose a candidate with any Loudoun ties name-recognition. At the moment, it’s hard to say who that Republican will be, as the list of contenders is pretty long:

  • Barbara Comstock
  • Bob Marshall
  • Richard Shickle
  • Stephen Hollingshead
  • Marc Savitt
  • Rob Wasinger
  • Brent Anderson
  • Donald Duck

Okay, one of those hasn’t yet declared, but the top two are the most likely to include the actual nominee, and both have established support in Loudoun county. Both will appeal to voters outside of Loudoun and not in Fairfax. Either Foust or Bolger (and it is going to be Foust) will take Fairfax (readily, if Marshall wins, but with a bit of a fight if Comstock wins). The hinterlands of the district will go to the Republican. Which brings the battle home to Loudoun, where almost all of the interesting political battles in Virginia seem to be happening these days.

Both parties will choose their nominees on April 26. On April 27, if you live in Loudoun county, draw the shades and lock your doors, because it’s going to be heck outside.

Tis the Season

Financial reports came out yesterday for members of the General Assembly. Considering the grief experienced by Bob McDonnell arising from gifts, the reports are a bit surprising. Compared to 2010, when Bob took office, the gifts reported for his last year (the one with all the trouble) did not consistently trend one way or the other. For a few of our NoVa legislators, here are the totals:

2013 2010
Greason 2872 9858
Comstock 2149 3057
Ramadan 1155 0
Minchew 863 0
Favola 5434 8207
LeMunyon 1963 521
Plum 2479 6497
Rust 6232 3283
Surovell 1373 103
Vogel 576 298

Some took more, some took less. Maybe the 2014 reports will be more telling, as the governor’s real troubles came to light roughly mid-year. The details of what’s in those 2013 totals are below the fold. Continue reading “Tis the Season”

Latest Blogola Controversy Shows Need For Transparency

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?

Brian Schoeneman, Greg Letiecq, Shaun Kenney
Key players in the current blogola controversy (l-r): Brian Schoeneman of Bearing Drift, Greg Letiecq of Black Velvet Bruce Li, and Shaun Kenney, also of Bearing Drift.
 
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.

The present controversy began on Thursday when Brian finally told us what he really thinks about Virginia Delegate Bob Marshall.

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.

Continue reading “Latest Blogola Controversy Shows Need For Transparency”

NoVa Delegate Bob Marshall Comments on Gay Marriage Decision

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?

Manassas City Council’s Stealth Attack on Women

Ten days ago, the City Council of Manassas (an unlikely war-zone for Virginia’s creeping siege on freedom of choice, at a whopping 40,000 residents) tried to continue its stealthy plans to close an abortion clinic. Following the road-map laid out by the City of Fairfax, and unable to attack the clinic directly, they are using the one form of law that any local elected official can tell you trumps the Code of Virginia, the constitution of the Commonwealth, and the United States Bill of Rights: the city zoning ordinance. Continue reading “Manassas City Council’s Stealth Attack on Women”

Diagnosing Delgaudio’s Troubles, Part 1

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?

Delgaudio - Public Advocate

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.

Continue reading “Diagnosing Delgaudio’s Troubles, Part 1”