It’s rare to see the Washington Post criticize Gov. Mark Warner, but an editorial today takes him to task for delaying a decision on DNA testing of evidence in the Roger Keith Coleman case. One little-noticed reason for Warner’s overwhelming popularity is his avoidance of discussing or acting on controversial, hot-button issues.

No “honeymoon” for Lt. Gov-elect Bill Bolling in the editorial pages of the Daily Press. Should we tell them the Lt. Gov. position is basically ceremonial and that there’s no danger he will implement his “dangerous free-lunch” ideas?

The Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial page advises that Governor-elect Tim Kaine has said that a “non-partisan redistricting commission, made up of individuals who are neither officeholders nor party officials, is the best way to draw legislative districts.” It will be interesting to see if Kaine makes an effort to end gerrymandering in Virginia.

The Roanoke Times editorializes on a pet Bacon’s Rebellion topic: “Kaine’s victory should put sprawl control on the legislative agenda. But finding the right balance between unrestrained growth and regulations that will hold the line on taxes and preserve quality of life is no simple task. Thoughtful debate in Virginia is past due.”

There is grumbling about the noble Brown v. Board of Education scholarship program, according to Jamie Ruff of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. No reparations-like program can ever be perfectly designed. I would have favored a provision allowing eligible individuals to assign their scholarship to a relative or a high school scholarship program, but even that would create potential problems.

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10 responses to “Short Takes”

  1. The Roanoke Times editorial touches on the issues, but there are no metrics, no numbers.

    If proffers raise the price of new homes, and by extension to used homes, some argue that existing taxpayers will wind up paying more for new infrastructure than is ever collected from proffers. If in addition it makes housing less affordable, then it is a double whammy for the community.

    If proffers are available, and paid, it might result in the community having less control over growth as developers can then say, “What’s your problem? We are paying our share, as defined by yourself.”

    In areas that are already highly congested, people argue that adding additional facilities there is far more expensive than simply building new facilites elsewhere. Adequate public facilities laws may lead to more sprawl, not less.

    All of this is highly debatable, as we have seen on this blog.

    But without the numbers, how will we know what policy works at the least cost? Right now, no one knows what is best. Absent that knowledge whatever restrictions and incentives we apply will most likely do more harm than good, disrupt peoples lives, and harm the market.

    “The market” at least has some idea what things cost and wht they are worth.

  2. criticallythinking Avatar

    There’s no such thing anymore as a “non-partisan” person. Sorry. As much as I detest gerrymandering, better to have it done by the people we VOTE for, so we can vote them out if we don’t like what they do.

    Putting that power in the hands of an unelected and unaccountable body is wrong whether it is done in Ohio, California, or here in Virginia.

    The legislators are OUR representatives, and they do OUR bidding. We sometimes forget that.

  3. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Agree, Critically Thinking. Keep the responsibility for redistricting with people who must face the voters.

  4. Disagree, Critically Thinking, although philosphically you are on solid ground.
    The reason I disagree is that redistricting is now so sophisticated that the incumbents pick their voters, so if you do not like what they have done, it is unlikely to matter much because they have scientifically created bullett proof districts for themselves.
    The system is plainly broken. A glance at the district maps reveals an abortion of a system, with lines drawn with utter disregard for the integrity of jurisdictional boundaries and the only “community of interest” that matters is predicting the vote.
    Why not try letting academics trained in political science selected from the major universities in the state by the Chief Justice, who would also chair the committee, take a shot at creating districts that might actually reflect our communities? The legislature could still have the final say by having the system feature legislative approval by and up or down vote, no amendments.

  5. I’m with Kingfish.

  6. Iconclast Avatar

    Thank goodness Mr. Bolling is in a “ceremonial” position without any ability to implement his “mortgage our children’s future” ideas.

    Someone needs to point out that despite what Mr. Bolling says, there really is no free lunch. Thanks to the Daily Press for pointing out this and some of the other basically dumb ideas espoused by public officials of his ilk.

  7. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Icon: Taxes mortgage your children’s future opportunity and freedom. Name one basically dumb idea from public officials of Bill Bollings ilk.

    Tax increases personify stuck on stupid thinking. Until the Commonwealth reaches the point of diminishing returns (and we are way far from that) every tax cut will generate more revenue over time for the Commonwealth and wealth for its citizens.

  8. criticallythinking Avatar

    If “community” means people with common interests and ideas, who’s to say the map doesn’t largely reflect that concept? I won’t try to defend the bizarre boundaries sometimes found (although I would point out that they are often the result of majority-minority districts, predicated on the racist notion that race is a prime defining characteristic which requires racial selection of representatives).

    Incumbents can’t protect themselves — they can only draw districts where majorities have the same philosophy as they do. The incumbents must still appeal to the majority in that district — and if they do, what’s the problem? If a district likes it’s incumbent, why should we redraw districts to generate “competition”?

    The goal of districts is to give voters the best chance to have their specific concerns represented. If one candidate gets 60% of the vote, more voters are represented by that candidate than if the candidate gets 51% of the vote.

    Competitive elections may be exciting, but I think they are damaging. When almost half the country is upset about the results of the election, it’s hard to get things done.

    There is a real problem, and that is how the party apparatus has locked up candidate selection process, keeping voters from having real choices. But the fact is that sometimes the republicans pick a Bloomberg. One of our incumbents was beaten by a republican running as an independent.

    I haven’t formed this opinion very well here, and I apologize. It’s late and I’m tired. But somewhere in here is an idea that I think we should discuss further.

  9. Iconoclast Avatar

    Well, Mr. Bowden, Mr. Bolling’s contention that we can fund our transportation needs out of a non recurring surplus rates as stupid in The Iconoclast’s Notebook. That’s for starters.

  10. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    Thanks Iconoclast. I didn’t know Bill said that. Maybe he means take non-recurring funding today for some transportation spending today. Maybe he didn’t say this is the source of funding FOREVER.

    If this is the stupidest he gets in your notebook, then not bad at all.

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