Category Archives: Politics

Parents’ Rights Under Assault in Richmond

by Kerry Dougherty

HB2091 – SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:

Parental access to minor’s medical records; consent by certain minors to treatment of mental or emotional disorder. Adds an exception to the right of parental access to a minor child’s health records if the furnishing to or review by the requesting parent of such health records would be reasonably likely deter the minor from seeking care. Under the bill, a minor 16 years of age or older who is determined by a health care provider to be mature and capable of giving informed consent shall be deemed an adult for the purpose of giving consent to treatment of a mental or emotional disorder. The bill provides that the capacity of a minor to consent to treatment of a mental or emotional disorder does not include the capacity to (i) refuse treatment for a mental or emotional disorder for which a parent, guardian, or custodian of the minor has given consent or (ii) if the minor is under 16 years of age, consent to the use of prescription medications to treat a mental or emotional disorder.

Parental rights continue to be under assault by Democrats in the General Assembly. They will never give this up until they are all voted out of office.

Fortunately, the GOP majority in the House of Delegates will be able to kill HB2091, a bill that would create an avenue for “health care providers” to keep information and treatment of mental or emotional disorders secret from parents.

We all know what “mental and emotional disorders” are code for: transgenderism and other associated behaviors. Continue reading

What Happened to All Those Promises to Defend Virginia’s Heritage?

by Donald Smith

Many Bacon’s Rebellion readers — me included — worry that Virginia’s history is being erased and scourged and its heroes demeaned. The November 2021 state elections gave us cause for cheer. During his campaign, Glenn Youngkin indicated that he would stand up to the “Wokerati” working their way through the Old Dominion’s institutions. On November 14, we got more good news: Delegate Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, would be the new Speaker of the House of Delegates. “Todd Gilbert ready to take on powerful House Speaker job,” was the headline of Charles Paulin’s Northern Virginia Daily article on December 30.

“As Speaker,” wrote Paulin, “Gilbert will be responsible for overseeing the business of the House, including deciding which bills are called to the floor for a vote and appointing committee chairs.”

Virginia heritage activists had good reason to cheer Gilbert’s speakership. In 2020, when the sitting Speaker of the House pulled statues and busts of Confederate leaders out of the state Capitol building, Gilbert didn’t ignore it. He pushed back. Mocking the claims of the then-speaker, Eileen Filler-Corn, that she wanted to “truly tell the commonwealth’s whole history,” Gilbert pointed out that the state Capitol building had also been the seat of the Confederate government — so shouldn’t we now raze it to the ground?

When the Northam administration and activists pressured Virginia Military Institute’s Superintendent Binford Peay into quickly resigning over sensational charges of systemic racism at VMI,” Gilbert reacted harshly:

When Governor Northam admitted to wearing blackface and appearing in a racially offensive photograph, he sought the grace of the public’s forgiveness. If polling is to be believed, the public has largely extended that grace to him. Now the Virginia Military Institute stands accused of accommodating racist incidents. It’s a shame that Governor Northam couldn’t extend the same amount of grace that he’s been afforded with his own past, at least until we know all the facts.

Another reason for cheer was that Gilbert appeared to be a “Somewhere,” instead of an “Anywhere.” British author David Gilbert coined the terms to differentiate between people who have close ties to a region or culture, versus people who view their current home as simply an address (perhaps temporary) of convenience. Gilbert didn’t represent Fairfax or Loudon or any of the other Northern Virginia counties now dominated by people new to Virginia. His 15th District covers Page and Shenandoah Counties — two Shenandoah Valley counties with many residents whose Virginia ties go back to at least the Civil War. Those people are “Somewheres,” in other words. Continue reading

Bob Good’s Not-So-Excellent Adventure

Virginia Fifth Congressional District

by James C. Sherlock

Republican Rep. Bob Good (R-Va), who represents Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District, got his five minutes of fame.

Yesterday he was given a tree with which to hang himself on The New York Times editorial page.

His op-ed contained statements that Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Tx) called “stupid platitudes that some consultant told you to say.” The rest of that tweet is NSFW.

There was talk of fistfights about to break out. Mr. Good was not reported to have contemplated fighting the former Navy Seal, Crenshaw’s single remaining eye notwithstanding.

Good clearly wanted to get his goals, from whatever source, in print for the ages. Continue reading

All In The Family

Del. Wren Williams, R-Patrick.  Photo Credit: Roanoke Times

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

It is not just national Republicans that appear ready to tear into each other. A couple of Virginia Republicans have also been at it.

Del. Marie March, R-Floyd.   Photo credit: Newsbreak

Wren Williams is a first-term Republican Delegate from Patrick County.  Marie March, also in her first term, is a Republican delegate from next-door Floyd County. The redistricting has placed them in the same district.

Last September, after a Republican meeting in Wytheville, March was standing with a group of people when Williams, according to her, “slammed into me.” She was able to brace herself to keep from falling. Moments later, she said, “I heard him mutter, ‘oh, sorry,’ from a distance.”

March felt that the collision was intentional on Williams’ part and filed a criminal complaint of misdemeanor assault against him.

At the trial earlier this month, Williams’ attorney admitted to “a touching,” but contended it was accidental. The Commonwealth’s Attorney, based on witness testimony, argued, “The bottom line is it was an unwanted touching that was purposeful. We have met our burden to prove it was assault and battery.” The judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to prove that contact between Williams and March in a crowd of people was intentional.

Speaking to reporters after the trial was over, Williams called the accusation against him “a political hit job.”

All this should make for interesting dynamics in the Republican House caucus meetings in the upcoming session.

Note: I am indebted to The Roanoke Times for this story.

Politics, Virginia Style

by Bill Bolling

It has been said that if you love politics, Virgina is a great place to be because there is an election every year! This year, 2023, will be no exception with all 140 seats in the Virginia General Assembly up for grabs.

But 2023 will not be your typical General Assembly election year.

Thanks to the complete failure of the new Virginia Redistricting Commission to successfully complete its work, new legislative districts were drawn by the Supreme Court of Virginia, and to say that the Supreme Court shook things up would be a gross understatement.

For example, consider the Virginia State Senate.

Under the new redistricting plan approved by the Supreme Court, no less than 14 of the Senate’s incumbent legislators find themselves paired in districts with another incumbent Senator, often a Senator of the same political party.

Some of the notable pairings include: Continue reading

Democrats Want to Raise Youngkin-Proposed Mental Health Budget Increase

Health Resources and Services Administration Mental Health Care Health Professional Shortage Areas, by State, as of September 30, 2022, data.HRSA.go.                 Courtesy Governor Youngkin

by James C. Sherlock

There is fundamental agreement in Richmond over mental health services.

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia’s forecasts of long-term budget surpluses mean this year’s General Assembly has a chance to catch up with years of under-funding Virginia schools and the state’s behavioral health system, General Assembly Democrats say.

To govern is to choose. “Democrats” may wish they had used different words than “years of underfunding,” considering who had control in Richmond in 2020 and 2021.

But it is actually helpful that they now think even the governor’s proposal for a 20% increase in the mental health budget approved last year is not enough. If (a big if) more money can be spent efficiently and effectively.

The governor has proposed a $230 million increase in behavioral health program spending over what was approved last year.

So, as the old saying goes, they are just discussing price.

Let’s look at the behavioral health situation to see why. Continue reading

Trust, but Verify

by Jim McCarthy

Thirty-five years ago this past December, President Ronald Reagan asserted U.S. policy with respect to international nuclear arms controls was to be guided by “Trust, but Verify” (TBV). Mikhail Gorbachev who led Russia from 1985-1991 through dissolution of the Soviet Union had led the promotion of glasnost, a policy of openness and transparency, as that nation’s initiative in global activities. Capitalizing upon these dynamics, Reagan co-opted a Russian rhyming proverb – doveryai, no proveryai or trust, but verify – to appeal to and connect with the Russian ethos to create a common understanding and criterion in nuclear arms control.

For the most part, TBV has been limited as an axiom within the international order of public policy and has achieved little traction within the U.S. national politisphere. TBV might have better informed Georgia voters about Herschel Walker and New Yorkers about George Santos. Essentially, however, John Q. Public is left to his own devices with respect to assessing trust by way of verification. Too often, however, trust results from acute or even painful experiences, e.g. Nigerian princes phishing emails, robo calls from IRS agents, crypto Ponzi schemes.

Prior to the events of January 6, 2021, the election results from the November campaign had been challenged by more than 60 failed lawsuits and confirmed by multiple re-counts among several states. Despite such verification, mistrust and distrust persisted across a broad spectrum of doubters including thousands who assembled at the Capitol on the day Congress was in session to verify the results submitted by the states. Of the thousands who protested, over 950 (January 6 Capitol Riot Arrests at usatoday.com) have been criminally charged and over 450 have entered guilty pleas.

Forty-three Virginians are numbered in the totals. Continue reading

Farewell to the Conscience of Virginia Beach City Council, John Moss

by Kerry Dougherty

If you were in Virginia Beach on Wednesday morning, November 8, 2022, you could almost hear the sighs of relief.

That collective exhalation came from the cronies on city council who would no longer have to deal with Councilman John Moss, who came in second in a three-way race for the newly created District 9.

The other members would no longer have to squirm when the Republican pointed out that his colleagues deceived the public when they boasted that they’d held the line on property taxes by keeping the RATE static. Rising real estate assessments in the city meant taxes WENT UP for most residents, he always pointed out.

Holding the line would mean lowering the rate.

Moss was right, of course. But it seems you really can fool most of the people most of the time.

Beyond that, city council would no longer have to deal with a budget wonk who was skilled in monetary matters. He was not content, as they were, to let city staff cook up spending plans with excesses that necessitated the falsehood about taxes staying the same.

Year after year Moss accused the city budgeteers of deliberately funding vacant positions, using the loot as a slush fund for their pet projects.

And year after year, Moss’ “revenue neutral” budget proposal died with little or no support from his colleagues.

Beyond that, the local newspaper often ignored Moss, sometimes treating him as a kook, adding to the perception that he was simply a gadfly who’d managed to steal a seat on this body filled with friends of powerful developers and entertainers.

Truth was, Moss had served the people since he was first elected as part of a good government slate in 1986 with a mission to slow down the rampant construction of homes that were springing up in a hodgepodge fashion around the city. Uncontrolled growth contributed to the flooding crisis that the city experiences today. Continue reading

RVA 5×5 – Holiday Briefing

by Jon Baliles

It’s Friday! Which means this newsletter would normally be filled with stories and analysis about what is happening in the RVA region (not all of it good), with an honest and insightful take (so far as that is possible). For instance, this week we could have stories about:

A non-profit that presented a homeless shelter plan to the City in June and still hasn’t received the go-ahead or money to open; so they raised $30,000 on their own this week to open a shelter this weekend because the Mayor and City haven’t been able to get their head out of the sand for SIX MONTHS to execute a contract. If a timeline helps your perspective, the City sent the latest contract to the non-profit on November 13th, which returned it to the City within two days. The non-profit did not receive a response until December 20. Temperatures will get down to ten degrees tonight and won’t get above 32 degrees until Monday. The only explanation has been another word-salad buffet from the mayor’s press office. Shameful.

The first concepts are coming into view about VCU’s 42-acre athletic village across from what will become the Diamond District development. This area is exploding!

At least eight to 10 very old and huge trees (some close to 100 years old) in Mosby Court were razed to the ground this week. Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority said that the trees were being cut “as part of a curb appeal improvement request that came from the City of Richmond to RRHA for several of our public housing sites.” The Mayor’s Office replied that “The city requested RRHA to pick up trash and remove brush — not trees.” This has got to be a government operation. More breadsticks, please. Continue reading

Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness — No Longer Applicable?

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

In Virginia, registered voters are not identified by political party affiliation. Political parties do not like this provision because it allows non-party members to participate in their primaries.

Parties try to discourage this incursion by non-members into their primaries by requiring various sorts of pledges, either to support the eventual nominee of the party or that participants consider themselves members of the party holding the primary. For the upcoming unassembled caucus, or “firehouse primary,” being held to choose the Democratic nominee for the upcoming special election in the Fourth Congressional District seat, Democrats are requiring people wishing to participate to sign a statement declaring themselves to be a Democrat.  Republicans have had similar requirements in the past. See here, here, and here.

According to The Washington Post, conservative radio host John Fredericks, who was chairman of Trump’s Virginia campaigns, has made a radio ad urging Republicans to participate in the Fourth Congressional District Democratic firehouse primary to be held on Tuesday and to vote for Joe Morrissey. As for the statement declaring the participant to be a Democrat, Fredericks said, “Sign their stupid pledge — it means nothing — and stick it to them.”

Is this what conservatives and Republicans have come down to in the Commonwealth: publicly urging their members to lie and make false promises?

Shootout At the Fourth District Corral

Sen. Jennifer McClellan Photo Credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

For Bacon’s Rebellion readers who do not follow politics in the Richmond area, you are missing a real donnybrook. The tussle is over filling the Fourth Congressional District seat held by the late Donald McEachin and the most in-fighting is over the Democratic nomination. Because the district is solidly Democratic, there is a reasonable assumption that the Democratic candidate will be the winner in the special election for the seat.

Governor Youngkin set Feb. 21 as the date for the election, with Dec. 23 being the last day for candidates to file.

Del. Lamont Bagby Photo Credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

Early on, the most prominently mentioned Democratic candidate was Delegate Lamont Bagby, who represents Henrico County in the House of Delegates. The chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, Bagby presented himself as a mentee of McEachin and vowed to carry on his legacy.

From the beginning, another name frequently mentioned as a possible candidate for the Democratic nomination was that of Senator Jennifer McClellan, who represents Richmond in the Virginia Senate. A longtime member of the legislature, in both the House and Senate, she is a widely respected legislator. Because Democrats have only a two-seat margin in the Senate, there was some initial speculation that she might not run. However, she quickly dispelled any doubts.

Sen. Joe Morrissey Photo Credit: Richmond Times Dispatch

On Monday, December 12, Bagby announced his candidacy.  On the next day, McClellan announced hers. Also announcing his candidacy on Tuesday was Sen. Joe Morrissey, a somewhat surprise late-comer to the race.  Morrissey, a colorful and controversial character, represented Richmond and Henrico in the House for many years. His current Senate district includes Petersburg and he has aligned himself with that jurisdiction. Continue reading

Back To the Patrick Henry Building

Governor Glenn Youngkin presents Derek Schmidt, candidate for Kansas governor, with a red vest. Photo credit: Kansas City Star

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

Governor Glenn Youngkin spent late summer and the fall campaigning around the country for Republican candidates for governor. He was passing out his signature red fleece vests all over the country.

His main goal was to help Republican candidates knock off Democratic incumbents, but he did appear with three incumbent Republican  governors. So, what was his record?

The three incumbents, Kemp (Georgia), Noem (South Dakota), and Stitt (Oklahoma) won, capturing from 53.4% to 62% of the votes.

In one race in which the seat was open: super-red Nebraska. Youngkin appeared in a campaign event for Jim Pillen, the Republican candidate who won with 59.9% of the vote.

In two more competitive open seats, Youngkin’s Republicans lost: Arizona, where Kari Lake got 49.7%,  and Oregon, where Christine Drazan got 43.6% in a three-way race. Continue reading

Suggestions to Ease Virginia’s Housing Crisis without Additional State Money

Courtesy californiahumandevelopment.org

by James C. Sherlock

The Richmond Times-Dispatch, on cue, wrote in an editorial the other day that more state money was needed to fund local housing.

Maybe.

But that is not the first place to look.

The governor wants to condition development aid to local communities on their reforming land-use policies to permit more construction.

I have a few ideas along that line.

Proffers, also known as conditional zoning, are a recognition that real estate developments have impacts on other properties and on services provided by the local jurisdiction. Fair enough.

The money for roads, sewers and schools has to come from somewhere. Proffers make the developers and their customers pay for a share of capital improvements deemed necessary by city/county planners.

Wielded unpredictably, and sometimes unethically, they are also part of the problem. See the excellent article Politics and Proffers by Matt Ahern for the games played with proffers and their cost to the housing economy.

Then there is low-cost housing.

The Commonwealth by law permits but does not require localities to waive fees for low-cost housing. That law, originally and curiously restricted to only non-profit developers, was updated in 2019 to permit the same waivers to for-profit builders.

Send state housing funds only to jurisdictions that do so. Require in law a limit to the costs of proffers for low-cost housing.

Finally, tax Virginia’s astonishingly profitable non-profit hospitals to help them with their mission of caring for the disadvantaged — in this case in low-cost housing. Continue reading

Remembering Donald McEachin

by Chris Saxman

Virginia lost a good man this week when Congressman Don McEachin passed away at age 61 due to cancer. Having served with McEachin in the Virginia House, I can attest to his fine nature and dedication to his principles. While I didn’t have the fortune to work with him directly on legislation, he was, without fail, a kind and thoughtful man who had deep respect for and from his colleagues. It was an honor to know him and I will remember him very fondly.

Don McEachin was a good, gentle, and kind man. Please keep his soul and his family in your prayers.

While it is still a tad early for candidates to publicly begin the process to replace McEachin, the private conversations will turn quickly to whether or not his wife, Colette, Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney, decides to run for his seat in a special election.

Other candidates who have been mentioned but have not said, “No, thank you.” include Delegate Lamont Bagby and Senator Jennifer McClellan. The 4th Congressional District was won just a month ago by McEachin with 65% of the vote. It will again be represented by a Democrat.

Possibly a January 10th special election date could be held since that’s when the special election will be for Congresswoman-elect Jen Kiggans’ state Senate seat.

By the numbers, 30% of the 4th is Richmond, 24% is Chesterfield, and 18% comes from Henrico.

From Chris Saxman’s The Intersection. Used with permission.

Whiplash on Virginia’s Economy

by Dick Hall-Sizemore

“Our beloved Commonwealth is in a ditch.” Glenn Youngkin, May 7, 2021.also see here.

“The commonwealth has never been in a stronger financial condition.” Glenn Youngkin, Nov. 21, 2022