Tag Archives: Kerry Dougherty

Radical Idea: Elections Should End on Election Day

by Kerry Dougherty

Here are four words Democrats don’t want to hear: “Elections must end sometime.”

They were written by Justice Neil Gorsuch in a recent ruling that required Wisconsin to stop accepting ballots after 8 p.m. on Election Day.

Pity that rule doesn’t apply everywhere in the United States.

I know, I know. States get to make their own election rules. But a little consistency might be nice. In federal elections, anyway.

That way we’d have some hope of knowing who will be the next president during the first week in November rather than getting the news on Thanksgiving. Or worse, Christmas.

The post-election season is going to be crazy this year. Lawyers, start your engines.

Continue reading

Casino Gambling a Risky Bet

by Kerry Dougherty

“I thought you were a libertarian,” a friend of mine said accusingly last week. “So why would you vote against casino gambling if you lived in Norfolk?”

I’m not against gambling, I explained. I just don’t want it in my backyard. There’s no benefit to society. Plus, it brings sleazy activity, crime and poverty to places that legalize it.

Gambling almost never lives up to the hype.

Last winter the General Assembly approved casino gambling for Virginia and allowed five “economically disadvantaged” cities; Norfolk, Portsmouth, Danville, Richmond and Bristol to hold referendums on the matter. Four of the cities vote next week. Richmond is holding off for a year.

What this means is that cities with more than their share of poor people will get casinos. I’m not sure that will work out the way the politicians think it will. Continue reading

Open Schools and Students Will Return. Maybe.

by Kerry Dougherty

Whoa. Who could have foreseen THIS?

Public schools — offering a substandard educational product this year — are seeing an alarming drop in enrollment as parents yank kids and enroll them in private or homeschools.

Virginia public schools are down 37,000 students from last year, according to The Daily Press. And because schools are funded on a per-pupil basis, public school districts are getting less money. A lot less.

Naturally, school officials are howling and demanding that the state find the loot to make up for their “shortfalls.”

You’d think educators would have a passing knowledge of economics: Educate fewer students and you get less money. It’s quite simple.

Why should schools be paid for kids who are no longer enrolled?

If administrators want their coffers full, they have to reopen schools fully and get kids back in class. They’d better do it fast, before their parents realize how much better the alternatives are to what’s been offered in public school classrooms. Continue reading

News Flash: Teaching Is Not a Work-from-Home Job

by Kerry Dougherty

This is rich.

Some Chesapeake teachers – you know, people who went to college to learn how to teach kids — are balking at orders that they return to the classroom in early November.

They don’t feel safe, apparently.

While it was initially expected that the first semester would be entirely virtual, a sharp downward trend in COVID-19 infections means that schools are reopening faster than expected. As high school kids return, more teachers are needed.

This does not include teachers with medical exemptions, by the way. They can continue to work from home.

Chesapeake was the first local school district to bring students back to the environment where they learn best: The classroom. Continue reading

Enjoy Driving at Night Without Headlights? You’re in Luck!

by Kerry Dougherty

Oh my. This really is special.

Virginia’s General Assembly – in the midst of an expensive special session with no end in sight – just passed a bill that, if signed by the governor, will forbid police officers from stopping a car that is being driven at night without headlights, tail lights or brake lights.

This is what happens when Michael Bloomberg bankrolls extreme left-wing candidates in your state and these blockheads will vote for any measure that’s aimed at crippling the police.

You’re not hearing much about this deeply flawed bill because the slobbering lapdogs in the media are overjoyed that it also prevents the cops from stopping cars due solely to the aroma of marijuana. A milestone for the Old Dominion.

But pot is only one part of the bill. Continue reading

ODU’s Fumble

by Kerry Dougherty

Here’s an unsurprising, entirely predictable tale.

On Monday, The Virginian-Pilot published a story headlined, “With Few Students and No Fall Sports Business Dries Up Around ODU.”

Businesses near the campus of ODU have been through mandated closures and restrictions on their capacity, but the fall semester has brought with it more trouble: no sporting events and a decreased student presence on campus.

Yep, college towns around the country are suffering as students attend online classes and even those on campus are limiting their social activities. The Pilot reports that 58% of ODU students are entirely online this year.

Not good for local businesses.

Making matters worse, of course, was ODU’s boneheaded decision to cancel football this year. Continue reading

Virginia Beach’s Nutty Local Elections

by Kerry Dougherty

Last week, a friend who was voting early couldn’t decide whom he should vote for in the At-Large race on the Virginia Beach ballot. So he texted me.

“Who’s your pick?” he asked, adding, “I don’t need the names for Centerville, Kempsville or Rose Hall Districts because I don’t live in those districts.”

Oh no, I thought. Not again. This happens in every damn local election.

Even smart, engaged Beach voters don’t understand the city’s nutty hybrid voting system.

No wonder. It makes no sense.

The Beach doesn’t have a simple ward system, nor does it have a pure at-large system. Instead, Virginia Beach has an 11-member city council, made up of a mayor, three at-large representatives and seven district members. Continue reading

Jury Duty? Pick Me!

by Kerry Dougherty

Maybe it’s because I once covered courts for The Virginian-Pilot and always wondered what went on behind those closed jury doors. Perhaps it’s because one of my favorite movies is the 1957 classic, “Twelve Angry Men.” I suppose it could be because I read too many John Grisham novels.

Whatever the reason, I’ve always wanted to serve on a jury.

I had a shot last year when I was summoned to federal court. I couldn’t wait to hear evidence in a big drug, wire fraud or racketeering case in the Walter E. Hoffman U.S. Courthouse in Norfolk, within spitting distance of the old Virginian-Pilot building where I worked for 33 years.

I phoned the courthouse number at the appointed times week after week and was never needed.

The same thing happened a few years ago in Virginia Beach.

Apparently Norfolk residents are not nearly so eager to serve. One week into the resumption of trials in Norfolk Circuit Court and almost no one is showing up for jury duty. According to The Virginian-Pilot, 90% of those summoned for duty this week were no-shows. Continue reading

Common Sense: Open the Windows

by Kerry Dougherty

Somewhere, my mother is smiling.

The woman who made us sleep at night — summer and winter — with our windows open to fight germs has been vindicated by no less an expert in public health than German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

OK, Merkel isn’t a public health expert, but politicians everywhere seem to think they are, and at least the German leader’s recommendations make sense. (That’s more than we can say about officials in Alexandria, who began mandating outdoor masks today. Idiotic.)

The Guardian reports that as the weather turns colder and folks are driven indoors, the spread of COVID-19 is beginning to accelerate in Germany. Studies show that 90% of cases spread inside. To combat this, Merkel is asking folks to “Lüften,” the age-old German custom of opening windows and letting in fresh air.

But we’re way ahead of her.

Back in March, German native Krys Stefansky wrote a piece urging everyone to do just that.

Continue reading

A Tale of Two Governors

Pam Northam

by Kerry Dougherty

Every once in a while we get a delicious example of agenda-driven news coverage.

Last week, for instance.

On Thursday, headlines across the country gloated over news that Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons and his wife, Teresa had tested positive for COVID-19. Here, have a peek:

CNN: This Republican Governor Refused A Mask Mandate. Then He Got Covid.

AP: Missouri Governor, Opponent of Mandatory Masks, Has Covid-19.

Washington Post: Missouri’s Governor Has Refused to Mandate Masks. Now He Tested Positive…

Dripping with schadenfreude, aren’t they? Although they didn’t dare say it, the message clearly was, “We hope he dies. Would serve him right.”

Fast forward one day and these same media outlets learned that Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and his wife, Pam, had tested positive for COVID-19. Did those headlines point out that he is part of the mask mandate crowd? Continue reading

Virginia’s Parole Board in the Shadows

by Kerry Dougherty

Last spring we ran an accidental series of stories about the Virginia Parole Board, which was busy releasing some of the commonwealth’s most depraved criminals.

At first we learned of one murderer being released from prison. A few days later we heard about another and another until we had six. Before we knew it, we had a series.

There were also allegations that the board wasn’t following procedures. Prosecutors told us they were not being given adequate notification before criminals were released. Victims’ families said they weren’t contacted at all.

Unacceptable. All of it.

Most Virginians became aware of the Richmond freeing frenzy when they heard in May about the impending release of Vincent Martin, a Richmond cop killer. The outcry from law enforcement caused a delay but Martin was released in June.

Continue reading

Bloomberg Buying Votes

by Kerry Dougherty

Virginia’s House of Delegates is both doctrinaire and ineffective. Oh, and scared witless of Covid-19. They’re working in their bathrobes, while members of the Senate actually show up every day.

If you’re wondering why these lawmakers turned what was supposed to be a short summer special session to deal with a hole in the budget into a marathon soft-on-crime-screw-the-cops festival, blame Michael Bloomberg.

The meddling billionaire from New York poured millions into Virginia state races in 2019  through two of his PACs. His money helped flip both houses of the General Assembly blue. The Democrats, who were beneficiaries of Bloomberg’s largesse, slurped up his loot and are now busy pushing the former New York mayor’s far-left agenda in Richmond.

You can’t say they aren’t grateful.

It’s all legal. Completely repugnant. Continue reading

More Bad News for Our Local Newspapers

by Kerry Dougherty

Yes, yes, we all complain about the local newspaper.

Its editorials are too liberal. The news coverage is too thin. Mistakes are too frequent.

No one can deny that The Virginian-Pilot is a shadow of what it was 15 years ago when the paper was humming with reporters and editors, when its military coverage was the best in the nation, when the newspaper relentlessly collected scalps of corrupt businessmen and politicians.

There was a time — not that long ago — when The Pilot was also considered the most elegant paper in America, with a crack photo department and a genius artist and designer, Sam Hundley, who won award after award for his artistic pages.

The newsroom staff numbered close to 300 at its peak. Shoot, our Virginia Beach bureau, in the old Beacon building, may have housed as many reporters as are covering the entire area now. Continue reading

Protesters, Stay Away from Hospital ERs

by Kerry Dougherty

Since Virginia’s lawmakers are determined to waste our money and their time on a special session in Richmond where they’re ramming through laws that should wait until they officially meet again in January, here’s one more to put on their list:

How about making it a felony — with mandatory prison time — to demonstrate, protest or in any way interfere with the entrance to a hospital emergency room? I’ve combed the Code of Virginia and can’t find a statute to cover this.

You might remember that back on June 28th something went down outside the Atlantis Apartments in Virginia Beach. There were conflicting accounts. All of them disturbing.

According to The Virginian-Pilot, a man was badly injured in a motorcycle accident there. When rescue workers arrived, they were hassled by some in the crowd who had gathered around the injured man. In a later Pilot story, the fire chief walked back the account a bit, saying that the crowd was merely “emotional” when someone kicked and pushed fire fighters.

Continue reading

Defund the Police? Heck No.

by Kerry Dougherty

It was easy to miss. Buried near the bottom of page 2 in Monday’s Virginian-Pilot was a five-paragraph story headlined, “Officials: Va Beach police fatally shoot man during domestic dispute.”

Pay attention, because the volatile situation at the heart of this news report is repeated night after night in big cities and small towns all across America, while the rest of us sleep peacefully in our beds.

According to the report, police were summoned to a “violent domestic situation” on Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m. in the 300 block of Garrison Place. Once there they encountered a man with “bladed weapons” — I’m guessing these were knives or machetes, although I suppose they could have been swords. Naturally, the man refused to drop the sharp objects when ordered to, hastening his death.

The guy then grabbed a woman — again, I’m guessing this was his wife or girlfriend, probably the person who had called the police — dragged her into another room and barricaded the door. The woman was screaming for help so the police officers broke down the door, found the victim badly injured and they shot the man.

The woman is in the hospital.

We’ve all seen videos of police officers behaving badly — the exception, not the rule — and those rogue officers need to be removed from service and punished. But the explosive situation in this Virginia Beach home is far more commonplace: A woman was being menaced by a violent lover or husband and she called the police to save her life. Continue reading