by Dick Hall-Sizemore
In my review of Bill Leighty’s memoir, I quoted at length an incident that was supposed to illustrate Leighty’s deal-making skills, as well as how things are often accomplished in state government. One of this blog’s alert readers, “how_it_works,” pointed that the timing of the events related in the story just did not work out, thereby casting doubt on the story.
I thought the objection was valid and serious enough to warrant investigation. Because the story involved legislation enacted in the late 1980’s and the on-line Legislative Information System does not have legislative history before 1994, I had to wait until the public agencies with the paper records opened after Memorial Day before I could do any checking. This follow-up article sets out the results of my research. Continue reading →
by Olivia Gans Turner
Recently North Carolina passed a bill to prevent abortions after 12 weeks. This new law may save many lives in North Carolina, but most abortions actually happen earlier, in the first weeks of pregnancy.
Now Virginia Democrats are announcing their intention to make Virginia a destination state for abortions. In the upcoming 2023 elections they must hold the Senate and gain the House of Delegates in order to turn Virginia into a place where unlimited abortions are available and paid for with our taxes.
It is tragic that the Democrats in Virginia are prepared to make Virginia a destination state for abortions-on-demand through all nine months of pregnancy. It is infuriating that they have opposed every rational bill that has come out of the House of Delegates during the past two General Assembly sessions. They have even announced their desire to enshrine a permanent, unrestricted “Right to Abortion” into the Virginia Constitution.
In polling done earlier this year by McLaughlin and Associates, 70 percent of respondents stated that abortion should only be legal under very limited circumstances, including the life of the mother or rape and incest, with reporting. Less than 5 percent of abortions are done in the U.S. for those reasons. Another 60 percent oppose using tax dollars to fund abortions.
Pro-life Republicans are committed to passing reasonable laws on abortion, including the bill to protect unborn babies who can feel pain and a bill to provide medical care to babies who survive an abortion. Radical pro-abortion members of the Virginia Senate, led by Sen Louise Lucas, blocked every rational pro-life bill that came out of the House of Delegates.
Virginia Democrats are way out of step with most Virginians and are only committed to the abortion groups that fund so many of them. Abortion with no limits does not help women and it kills their babies. It is not good medicine or real health care. Tragically, it is big business in Virginia now.
It is up to Virginia voters to stop this dangerous agenda.
Olivia Gans Turner directs American Victims of Abortion (AVA), an outreach project of the National Right to Life Committee. This column was originally posted in The Republican Standard. It is reprinted here with permission.
by Jeanine Martin
Loudoun County Circuit Court Judge James P. Fischer has ordered Loudoun County Public Schools to turn over its internal investigation into the assaults and rape that occurred in 2021 at two Loudoun County high schools.
The school system had argued that it was privileged information that they need not share with the public. Judge Fischer disagreed and ordered the report to be turned over to the public within 7 days.
The ruling is a win for Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares, who has been fighting to expose how he says the school district mishandled the incidents.
The judge agreed with prosecutors from the Miyares’ office that the internal report on the 2021 sexual assaults and rape on school grounds was not protected under attorney-client privilege — noting that then-Superintendent Scott Ziegler gave the perception that any findings from the independent investigation were for the public’s benefit.
In a statement, Miyares’ spokeswoman Victoria LaCivita said in part, “We appreciate the courts time and attention to this matter.”
More on the story here.
This piece was originally appeared in The Bull Elephant and is reprinted with permission.
Photo credit: Richmond.com
by James A. Bacon
University of Virginia President Jim Ryan begs to differ with critics of “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.” The term “equity” has become a lightning rod in the debate over DEI, he writes in an essay recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Somehow, he muses, people got the idea that equity means “equal outcomes” as opposed to “equal opportunity.”
“I have no idea where this idea came from, but it ought to be rejected out of hand,” he says. “I know of no college that assures equal outcomes.”
Where, oh where, could critics of UVa’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion policies have gotten the idea that equity stands for equal outcomes?
Perhaps they got it from “Audacious Future: Commitment Required,” which summarized the 2020 findings of UVa’s Racial Equity Task Force, established by Ryan. The document was endorsed by the Board of Visitors, and never has Ryan, the Board, or anyone else in authority at UVa distanced themselves from its goals and objectives.
The task force report makes abundantly clear what “equity” means to its authors (my bold face): Continue reading →
by James C. Sherlock
There is a dominant engineering problem in bringing offshore wind-generated electricity ashore in Virginia Beach. Flooding and water tables very close to the surface are the twin reasons there are few basements in Virginia Beach. And those that have them regret it.
The 2020 Virginia Beach FEMA Flood Hazard Map is 56MB. It is too big to display here. So don’t try downloading it on a phone. But take a look. It is important to the discussion.
Camp Pendleton and Sandbridge are Virginia Beach shore landing spots proposed for offshore wind electricity generated by two different fields. Both will have similar infrastructure pictured below.
Below is the SCC-approved transmission line route from Camp Pendleton for the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind (CVOW) project. The map does not show flood hazard zones.
I am not sure any public version of it ever did. Continue reading →
by James A. Bacon
As the University of Virginia Board of Visitors gears up for a discussion of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at its June board meeting, President Jim Ryan has made the case for a kinder, gentler DEI in an essay recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Forgoing the rhetoric of “anti-racism” theorists such as Ibram X. Kendi, Ryan argues that DEI is misunderstood. There is no talk in the essay about “white supremacy,” “white privilege,” “structural racism” or other leftist buzzwords.
Indeed, Ryan argues that the most contentious element of DEI — equity — does not mean striving for equal outcomes, as many conservatives say it does. Sounding very much like Virginia’s Republican Governor Glenn Youngkin, Ryan contends that “equity” really means equal “opportunity.” Unlike Youngkin, who renamed the state’s office of DEI to the office of Diversity, Opportunity, and Inclusion, however, Ryan is satisfied to retain the equity label and redefine it in more benign terms.
The tone in Ryan’s essay is moderate and reasonable. Political conservatives and moderates would not find much to argue with. The problem is that the words are largely divorced from reality. One is driven to conclude either that UVa’s president, insulated by layer upon layer of management, does not know what is occurring at the institution he leads or, worse, he does know and he is doing his best to obscure it. Continue reading →
by Shaun Kenney
Last week, TRS was able to sit down and talk with Virginia’s Attorney General Jason Miyares (R-VA) about the challenges he is facing from opioid and fentanyl abuse to the FBI Richmond’s targeting of Catholics in the public square.
Miyares — a longstanding conservative in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and a leading thinker in his own right — shares his convictions, his hope for civility over violence, and some discussion on what he rightly calls the American Miracle.
So it seems as if some congratulations are in order. Russian President Vladimir Putin has put you on the Russian sanctions list. What did you do to earn such an esteemed award?
Yeah, I keep making lists!
I keep visiting with the Uigurs in Northern Virginia. I find it interesting but not surprising because we have such a different worldview. I detest autocracy and tyranny in all forms. When Putin said that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the single greatest catastrophe of the 20th century, I view that as Ronald Reagan’s greatest victory.
Yet the reality of any autocratic regime is that ideology trumps the individual. C.S. Lewis said that of all the tyrannies in the world, the tyrannies that are for your benefit are the worst in the world. Solzhenitsyn writes about this in the Gulag Archipelago.
Continue reading →
Posted in Children and families, Crime , corrections and law enforcement, Culture wars, Education (K-12), Elections, Governance, Immigration, Leadership, Parental Rights, Uncategorized
Tagged Shaun Kenney
by John Butcher
Table 15 in the 2022 Superintendent’s Annual Report includes the division expenditures per student for operations. Let’s juxtapose those data with the 2022 division Standards of Learning (SOL) pass rates. But first: Economically Disadvantaged (ED) students (those eligible for Free/Reduced Meals, receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families [TANF], eligible for Medicaid, or identified as either Migrant or experiencing homelessness) pass the SOLs at rates about 20 percent lower than their more affluent peers (not ED). Thus, division SOL averages are affected by the relative percentages of ED and Not ED students in the division. The (very nice) SOL database provides data for both groups so we can look directly at the divisions’ performance.
To start, here are the 2022 SOL reading pass rates graphed vs. the per student expenditures.
There’s no room to label that crowd of data points. I have settled for labels on some of the high performers and three not-high performers. The aqua points are the state averages. Richmond is the gold points.
As you can see, some of the high-expenditure divisions do very well while some do not. And a number of low expenditure divisions do just as well as the best high expenditure ones. Falls Church leads the pack for the Not ED rate but is just above the state average as to its ED number. Continue reading →
Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
by Dick Hall-Sizemore
For all the ink that has been used on this blog concerning the “illegal” and “unconstitutional” new admissions policy at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, here is a story that has strangely escaped comment here: the federal appeals court has upheld the policy.
In a 2-1 decision, the appeals court panel found that the group challenging the new admissions policy as discriminatory toward Asian Americans “cannot satisfy its burden of proving that the Board’s adoption of the race-neutral challenged admissions policy was motivated by an invidious discriminatory intent, whether by way of “racial balancing,” “proxies,” or otherwise.” Furthermore, the panel ruled that “expanding the array of student backgrounds in the classroom serves, at minimum, as a legitimate interest.”
It is expected that the decision will be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. There is speculation in legal circles that the plaintiffs are “laying the groundwork for a much bigger legal transformation” that could ban any public policy effort to close racial gaps.
by James A. Bacon
Six Virginia newspapers owned by Lee Enterprises — the Bristol Herald Courier, the (Charlottesville) Daily Progress, the (Culpeper) Star-Exponent, the (Danville) Register & Bee, the Martinsville Bulletin, and the (Waynesboro) News Virginian — will begin publishing “expanded” print editions three days a week and deliver them by postal mail rather than using traditional newspaper carriers, reports Cardinal News… a digital publication.
How long until the Richmond, Norfolk, and Roanoke newspapers are reduced to three days a week? Continue reading →
by James C. Sherlock
Sentara brass will not believe that I wrote that headline. We have a history.
But right is right.
A Sentara mobile care unit will start June 1 to provide primary care service two days a week in two separate locations in Petersburg.
The people of Petersburg desperately need it. That city is rated the Commonwealth’s least healthy jurisdiction.
Without good primary care, a health system never has a chance.
The partners in providing the mobile unit are Sentara, Potomac Health Foundation and Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center Auxiliary.
Congratulations to all of them. Continue reading →
Leighty, Bill. Capitol Secrets: Leadership Wisdom from a Lifetime of Public Service. Holon Publishing, 2023.
A review by Dick Hall-Sizemore
The public sees the result of policy development. What the public does not see is the sometimes- messy process that produced that policy nor, more broadly, what goes on behind the scenes to make government work.
In his recently released memoir, Bill Leighty has drawn back the curtain a bit to reveal some of the inner workings behind some of the activities of Virginia state government during a recent 30-year period.
Bill Leighty is not a name widely known by the general public. However, he was, and, to some extent still is, known by legislators, lobbyists, reporters, Cabinet members, agency heads, and other denizens of Capitol Square.
Through the course of his career, Leighty cut a wide swath through state government. After a stint in the Marine Corps following high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Mary Washington and an MBA from Virginia Commonwealth University and landed a job in 1978 with the Virginia Department of Taxation. The agency assigned him to a new unit established to prepare revenue forecasts. That unit also prepared fiscal impact statements on tax bills for the legislature. Continue reading →
by James A. Bacon
The Bacon family has just returned from vacation in Italy, which included two days in Rome. We saw the Colosseum, of course, toured the phenomenal Vatican Museum, and marveled at the Trevi Fountain, all of which are well known to American tourists. The big surprise to us was the Altar to the Fatherland, a massive memorial erected between 1885 and 1935 to honor Victor Emmanuel II, Italy’s first king after the nation’s unification.
Among the more prominent features of the Altar to the Fatherland is the Tomb to the Unknown Soldier, dedicated to Italian soldiers who fell in World War I. The tomb was evocative of America’s own Arlington National Cemetery: two soldiers stood at permanent guard and two flames marked eternal remembrance. Continue reading →
For context, read Robin Beres’ uplifting tribute to the Arlington National Cemetery in the post below. Then, if you can stomach it, read Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro’s take on Memorial Day today. Memorial Day, he writes, “began as a commemoration by Southerners of husbands, fathers and sons who perished in the 19th-century Confederate revolt to preserve Black slavery. ”
“Time,” concludes Schapiro, “has obscured the Southern roots of Memorial Day and the paradox that a holiday that is supposed to be about national unity was born of regional revolt.”
Well, Memorial Day was a holiday about national unity — celebrated no less in the South than anywhere else in the country. But don’t be surprised if the holiday becomes collateral damage in the culture wars. Continue reading →
U.S. Army photo by Elizabeth Fraser / Arlington National Cemetery
by Robin Beres
Virginia is brimming with famous and consequential landmarks and tourist sites. From the Historic Triangle to St. John’s Church in Richmond, to great beaches, mountains, and countless old plantation homes, vineyards, and breweries, there is a lot to see and do in the commonwealth. It’s little wonder that Virginia is ranked No. 6 in most visited states in the U.S. according to the World Atlas.
While there is much to see in Virginia that is upbeat and fun, there are also solemn and sobering experiences to take in as well. Some of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War took place in Spotsylvania Court House, the Wilderness, and Chancellorsville. Both Revolutionary War and Civil War victories happened in our beloved state.
It is important that we all take time to appreciate the sacrifices so many Americans serving in uniform have made to ensure our freedoms. That is the very reason we have this Memorial Day weekend.
While by no means a tourist site, Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) is one of the most visited places in Virginia. Located just across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C. The national cemetery is built on the grounds of a plantation that once belonged to Mary Anna Custis Lee, wife of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. The family vacated the home shortly after the Civil War began. Continue reading →