Tag Archives: Kerry Dougherty

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

Football Is Played Outdoors. Open the Stadiums.

by Kerry Dougherty

Had this been an ordinary Saturday afternoon in September, I would have scanned the “crowd” at the Marshall v Eastern Kentucky football game and shaken my head.

Attendance was sparse. People were seated in knots of small groups throughout the stands. Some were solo. It looked as if the Joan C. Edwards Stadium – which holds 38,227 – was about one-third full.

But, dang these fans were making some noise.

My son attended Marshall and I’ve been to that stadium many times. Fifty years after the plane crash that killed most of the team and coaching staff, they treasure college football in Huntington, West Virginia.

Last Saturday’s anemic crowd was simply college football in 2020 thanks to the fear of COVID-19, which had some colleges, including ODU and the entire Big 10 conference cancelling their seasons.

Yes, I saw the opinion piece by ODU President John Broderick and Wood Selig in yesterday’s Washington Post defending their decision. What did you expect them to pen, a big mea culpa as they watch the rest of Conference USA playing without them? Continue reading

We’ve Been Good, Governor. Ease Up on Virginia Beach.

by Kerry Dougherty

Twenty eight days.

That’s how long cities in Tidewater were able to enjoy the freedoms granted to us by our munificent governor when he graciously allowed us to move from COVID Phase 2 to Phase 3 on July 1.

By July 28th Gov. Ralph Northam yanked some – but not all – of those privileges away from those of us living in Southeastern Virginia.

We’d been naughty.

COVID-19 cases were up, as were our positivity percentages. So we were punished. No liquor could be served — or consumed — after 10 p.m. in restaurants, and eating establishments had to close at midnight.

Because everyone knows that a margarita at 10:15 makes you vulnerable to COVID-19.

While the rest of the commonwealth could gather in groups of 250, we were limited to 50. Continue reading

Hey, Commish, Not So Fast on the COVID Vaccine

GeraldFordgettingvaccine.jpeg

by Kerry Dougherty

Well, he did it again. Virginia’s Commissioner of Misinformation, er Health, shot off his mouth and alarmed the public, and then state government factotums had to do damage control.

On Friday,  WRIC ABC News reported that Virginia State Health Commissioner Dr. Norman Oliver “plans to mandate coronavirus vaccinations for Virginians once one is made available to the public.”

Virginia state law gives the Commissioner of Health the authority to mandate immediate immunizations during a public health crisis if a vaccine is available. Health officials say an immunization could be released as early as 2021.

Dr. Oliver says that, as long as he is still the Health Commissioner, he intends to mandate the coronavirus vaccine.

“It is killing people now, we don’t have a treatment for it and if we develop a vaccine that can prevent it from spreading in the community we will save hundreds and hundreds of lives,” Oliver said.

Under state law, only people with a medical exemption could refuse the mandate.

With that, Oliver became the first state official in the US to threaten compulsory COVID vaccinations.

Hey, College Kids, Take a Gap Year

by Kerry Dougherty

I’m delighted to no longer be part of the parental tuition-check-writing cohort. Because if I were, I’d have to tell my kids that my checkbook was closed.

Take a year off, I’d tell them. A “gap year.”

That way they could escape the dystopian nightmare that colleges and universities have become as they over-react to the danger COVID-19 poses to college students. It would also exempt them from a world where newspapers are so desperate to gin up virus-shaming with headlines like this: “Six Students Sent Off Campus at Roanoke College.”

At the risk of sounding callous, why is this a news story?

Chances are these students have no symptoms or they’re experiencing something like the flu. Funny, I don’t remember hair-on-fire headlines when H1N1 was rampaging across college campuses, killing some and sickening thousands, including my son who was quarantined in his Marshall University dorm room for more than a week in 2009.

The implication is, of course, that these naughty Roanoke students engaged in “risky” behavior, which at this point amounts to ordinary college activities such as going to a party or riding in a car with four other students without wearing hazmat suits.

It gets worse. Continue reading

Who Killed Barbara Jean Monaco?

by Kerry Dougherty

I was alone in the newsroom on that August day in 1985. It was lunchtime and the editor’s phone was ringing incessantly.

“Dougherty. Virginian-Pilot, Ledger-Star,” I said, reciting the five-word greeting I always used because I thought it made me sound like a hard-nosed reporter.

“Hello,” began a polite woman on the other end of the phone. “My name is Pauline Monaco. I was wondering if the newspaper would consider writing another story about my daughter, Barbara Jean. She disappeared in Virginia Beach seven years ago. Your newspaper wrote a lot about her at the time.”

I’d arrived at The Pilot just the summer before that fateful call. I’d never heard of this Monaco girl. I promised her mom I’d dig out the files and get back to her.

Within a few hours of poring over yellowed clips and staring at the face of a cute teenager I had a new goal: I wanted to find out who killed this 18-year-old from Connecticut. Continue reading

House GOP Refuses Per Diems, Dems Cling to the Loot

by Kerry Dougherty

Lemme get this straight.

The Commonwealth of Virginia is facing a possible $2.7 billion shortfall over the next two years, due to lost revenue from the pandemic shutdowns.

Yet, in the wake of this fiscal crisis, Democrats decided to award themselves a fat per diem – more than $200 a day it turns out – while working from home. The per diem is intended to be used by members for hotels and meals while in Richmond.

Are House Democrats insane? Did they think Virginians wouldn’t notice this misuse of public funds?

Worse, are these greedy politicians unaware that tens of thousands of Virginians remain unemployed and are struggling to support their families while they merrily slurp up extra tax dollars? The optics of this chicanery are obscene. Continue reading

Lacking the Courage of Supermarket Clerks, Virginia’s Delegates Flee for Home

by Kerry Dougherty

It’s official.

Virginia’s supermarket clerks, hair stylists and nail techs have more courage than the elected members of the House of Delegates

Hours after arriving in Richmond to gather in a socially distanced manner in the VCU Siegel Center gym, the nervous Democratic majority decided that it was too dangerous to meet in person. They immediately voted to hold Zoom meetings for the remainder of the special session.

These shameless greedballs then voted to continue to collect their $180 a-day tax-free per diem that is supposed to cover the cost of hotels and meals while doing the people’s business in the Richmond. These pathetic excuses for public servants will be slurping up tax dollars as they wander around their houses in their bathrobes.

And the only way the public will be able to watch these lawmakers in action is online. Continue reading

Masks Outdoors? That’s a Hard NO.

by Kerry Dougherty

Every writer has a favorite place to sit and create.

Mine is my screened porch. Most days I grab my laptop and coffee to head outside for most of the day. I’m there now, in fact, enjoying a drizzly, warm and quiet Sunday afternoon. There are no high-spirited beachgoers walking by with kids and beach chairs today. Just unseen birds singing in the trees and the occasional dog walker sloshing by in squishy boots.

I like to watch the world while I write.

Lately, working on my porch has provided me with a new distraction: I find myself pausing numerous times a day to watch the construction of a new house just across the street. The old place that stood there for at least 75 years was charmless and dilapidated. It was razed several years ago.

In its place, a gabled, three-story home is rising. I’m in awe of the skill it takes to build such a structure. Continue reading

Substandard Schooling for All!

by Kerry Dougherty

File this under “You just can’t win.”

Parents of Fairfax County school children have had enough. For decades these folks were accustomed to excellence in public education. They proudly sat atop the Virginia educational heap. Shoot, Fairfax is home to Thomas Jefferson High School, widely considered the best public high school in the country:

“Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology is a Fairfax County public magnet school so competitive that its 17-percent acceptance rate is identical to Georgetown University’s. Since 2008, Newsweek and U.S. News & World Report have both ranked it the number-one high school in the country three times,” according to Washingtonian Magazine.

So, imagine parents’ chagrin when they found that the county was completely unprepared for distance learning when the governor ordered the schools closed last spring. Fairfax County’s experiment in virtual education was a complete disaster.

This is not what families in one of Virginia’s wealthiest counties expect or will tolerate.

To make matters worse, militant teachers groups in Northern Virginia — including a bona fide union, the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers — made their opposition to in-person learning abundantly clear earlier this summer. Continue reading

Bashing the Beach

by Kerry Dougherty

I love Virginia Beach. This cul-de-sac by the sea has been home since 1984.

We locals might complain about the place — greedy developers, corrupt politicians, no waves — but we don’t much like elitist outsiders blowing into town and bashing us after they leave.

And that’s just what one man did when he penned a hit piece on the Resort City this week for Forbes.

Why Forbes published this drivel is a mystery. I suspect it fit a certain narrative.

The story was headlined “A Trip To Virginia Beach Showed Why We Aren’t Beating This Virus,” but a more accurate header would have been “Rich Guy Visits Virginia Beach And Spends Entire Trip Counting Masks.”

The author launched his diatribe this way (boldface is mine):

CV101 started when we parked near the beach. We donned our masks and stepped out of the car, and immediately noticed that almost no one else was wearing a mask. Now, it was a sunny and warm day and we didn’t see big crowds or lack of reasonable distancing. But coming from the DC Metro where wearing a mask is the norm and not wearing mask is likely to get you accosted, this was surprising to us.

Continue reading

About that Shiny New Contact Tracing App…

by Kerry Dougherty

After months of being next to last nationally – in COVID-19 testing – Virginia is finally first in something:

A brand new contact tracing app.

Yippee!

“Virginia officials on Wednesday launched a smartphone app that uses Bluetooth technology to alert people when they have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19,” reports The Richmond Times-Dispatch. 

“The app, COVIDWISE, is the result of a collaborative project between Google and Apple, which have been in talks with Virginia and other states to develop and roll out the app for months.

“Virginia on Wednesday became the first state to fully launch an app with this particular platform.”

The governor unveiled the app along with a public relations campaign: “Add Your Phone To The COVID Fight” to persuade Virginians to download the free software that will alert them when they’ve been in contact with someone who tested positive for the virus, even if that contact was weeks earlier. Continue reading