General Assembly had barely begun when an immediate pall
was cast over the proceedings.
The death of former Senator Hunter B. Andrews,
D-Hampton, shook the institution and put politics as
usual on hold.
to Andrews poured in from all corners of the
Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, in his reporter capacity, anchored excellent
coverage of Andrews’ life and accomplishments. In his Sunday column, he related his personal
experiences with the legislative giant, concluding, “Hunter Andrews always wanted
be better. And if that required he be a cantankerous
pain in the patootie, so be it.”
Gov. Gerald L. Baliles offered a tribute
to Andrews in the Daily
Press, full of colorful anecdotes about a colorful
gave credit to Andrews for his success as legislator,
attorney general, and governor.
Unfortunately, the former governor used
Andrews’ passing to take a partisan shot, unfavorably
comparing “the Hunter Andrews type of
citizen-legislator and some others we read about these
accused current legislators of being pessimists, tearing
things down, and thinking only of the present.
We do not speak ill of the dead is a good rule;
we should not use the dead to castigate the living would
be another good rule.
most heartfelt remembrances of Sen. Andrews were in a Daily Press editorial
that undoubtedly reflected the contributions of Gordon
Booker Andrews died Thursday night, and Virginia
mourns the passing of a true son.
commonwealth is better because of Hunter Andrews. He
was a great Virginian because he believed that
Virginia itself - rich in history and powerful in
potential - was meant to be great. For us to be at our
best was Hunter Andrews' life work.
tributes, in other papers, will surely follow.
were two other transitions to report. Thankfully, they
do not involve a funeral.
Addis of the Virginian-Pilot
Bryant of the Roanoke
Times announced that they were giving up their
pundit pens. Addis
has always been one of the funniest, most acerbic wits
among Virginia’s chattering class. His
wife, editor of the Pilot, is stepping down and
he decided to follow her lead, although he may continue
in some reduced capacity.
Bryant, the Lynchburg Republican Delegate,
recently was bounced from his seat on the House
Appropriations Committee, allegedly as “punishment”
for his leadership role in last year’s tax increase.
Is there a connection between that and ending his
I first ran for office a dozen years ago, I relished
the bare-knuckled side of the game. Today, I’m much
keener on the policy side of it all. That said, I am
certainly aware that such evolution can’t ever
totally leave behind raw politics. After all, it’s
still survival of the fittest -- and you’ve got to
survive if you want to continue thinking broadly,
speaking truthfully, and acting responsibly.
it’s now time that I refocus on the game, that I
return to the mindset I had a dozen years ago, all so
that I can regain some slightly lost footing and
tackle policy goals anew.
-- who knows? -- maybe I’ll have gained a whole new
vantage point from which to begin again writing about
the world around me.
Addis and Preston Bryant will be missed.
Assembly: Two Views
Gibson of the Daily
Progress performed a useful service by explaining
“brochure bills,” those measures that are
exclusively meant “to beef up the re-election bids of
some of the nearly 100 members of the House of Delegates
running in 2005 for new two-year terms.”
Most, he concludes wryly, deserve “a swift and
timely Richmond dispatch.”
A. Barton Hinkle of the Times-Dispatch
scored with a Cliff’s Notes parody.
quarreling grows more intense in Acts II, III, and IV
as patience thins and tempers fray. In the corner the
Scribes, identified by their press cards, busily jot
down cliches such as "patience thins" and
Us How You Really Feel
Schapiro, never one to disguise his good guys or bad
guys, went into a caustic frenzy for his first Richmond
Times-Dispatch column of 2005.
He called Senator George Allen a “gap-toothed
buckaroo,” but the real target of his ire was newly
elected Richmond Mayor and former Gov. L. Douglas
Wilder. He charged
Wilder with a conflict of interest because of his
relationship with Virginia Commonwealth University, an
entity with major business pending before the city.
He scoffed at Wilder’s VCU professorship,
wondering if his class load “could get any lighter.”
bow-tied flame-thrower was just warming up.
In an innuendo-laden fact drop, Schapiro informed
readers the new mayor received campaign contributions
from the wives of VCU President Eugene Trani and VCU
pundit-professor Robert Holsworth.
Wilder, he writes, “perhaps is too busy running
victory laps around the cesspool of corruption he
promises to drain and refill with his own brand of
purified government.” To Schapiro, this is nothing
past ethics problems have done little to slow his
historic ascent -- perhaps imbuing him with a sense of
invulnerability -- Wilder never hesitates to push the
edge of the envelope.” Wilder, eligible to receive
social security as well as other salaries and
pensions, is a potential quadruple-dipper” whose
attacks on severance payments for Richmond City
officials differ little from farewell bonuses he doled
out as governor.
Scarborough argued in the Washington
Post that the General Assembly should return the
budget surplus to taxpayers.
She criticized several examples of new spending,
Warner's proposal to spend more than $21 million in
grants for "regional economic development in
distressed communities." What would these grants
accomplish that isn't already being dealt with by the
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, the
Department of Business Assistance and a dozen other
business development programs?
Barton Hinkle had previously dismantled
the rationale for this piece of spending.
Scarborough missed a chance to give a good
example of why these grants might not be needed: in Gov.
Mark R. Warner’s State of the State speech, he made
three major economic development announcements, all
accomplished with existing resources.
Err is Human
my last column I praised Roanoke
Times columnist Reginald Shareef for reviewing his
year’s work, but chided him for never finding a
mistake. I spoke
too soon. Shareef
does his annual review in two parts.
In part two, he graciously
acknowledged making undeserved and unsubstantiated
charges against US Attorney John Brownlee. Brownlee, one
of the up-and-coming leaders in Virginia, received a
written apology from Shareef.
you haven’t been to the Capitol Square area recently,
Hugh Lessig and John Bull almost make you feel dust
blowing from the massive renovation.…
Fisher looks at an affordable
housing controversy in one of Virginia’s most
Democratic areas. “Arlington County is known as being
liberal and open—until it comes to their backyard.”…
open space in Loudoun County be preserved more
effectively by purchase
instead of zoning? A
UVA history professor has four
problems with the charter university proposal under
consideration by the General Assembly.…
let it be said that Virginia officials aren’t willing
to go to the ends of the earth for the good of the
neatly summarizes fallout from a September safari to Zimbabwe
by the Game Board.
may be developing blog networks that will be as
influential within the state as blogs have been
elected official who blogs under the pseudonym John
Behan has formed the Old Dominion Blog Alliance (ODBA),
a group of conservative weblogs:
ODBA is something I've been thinking about for some
time, as I
Dakota Alliance play a big part in Tom Daschle's defeat
envisioned a similar alliance in Virginia, with
the state keeping Virginia's mainstream media honest,
helping to get
conservative candidates like Jerry Kilgore elected. Once
arrived, I decided it was time to get to work on the
fallen into place since then.
There's a quote from Margaret Mead that has always
struck me as profound:
that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can
the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever
has.” That's what we're
with the ODBA. We want to be a network of bloggers that
Virginia in the right direction.
contribution is Commonwealth
Conservative, where he mixes Virginia and national
interesting blogs in the alliance include the
intriguingly named One
Man’s Trash and Cathouse
Chat. The site
with the most depth is SW
Virginia Law Blog.
have blogs, but no “alliance”: Commonwealth
Commonsense and Virginia
blog that hasn’t clearly established a partisan slant
is Virginia News
Review, although “Hefty Lefty,” a new Virginia
contributor to Polstate.com,
claims it as left leaning.
all this choice in partisan blogs, it may be time for Bacon’s Rebellion to start the definitive Virginia blog that
presents all points of view.