Roger Chesley

Roger Chesley

Longtime columnist and editorial writer Roger Chesley worked at the (Newport News) Daily Press and The (Norfolk) Virginian-Pilot from 1997 through 2018. He previously worked at newspapers in Cherry Hill, N.J., and Detroit. Reach him at [email protected]


No solution, but gun buybacks can be a small part of overall crime prevention

By: - September 1, 2022

They’re easy to sponsor and hold. They allow residents, especially in crime-ridden communities around the commonwealth, to feel encouraged. They take a handful of tools of murder off the streets. Many localities in Virginia have sponsored gun buybacks this summer. They include Richmond, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Roanoke. The town of Dumfries adopted an ordinance paving […]


Innovative partnership for Petersburg shouldn’t be judged by politics

By: - August 26, 2022

Few cities have boosters as effusive as Yvette Robinson of Petersburg. The longtime resident attended this week’s unique, wide-ranging partnership announcement by Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Petersburg Mayor Samuel Parham to bolster the struggling community. Robinson was so pumped by the announcement she wanted EVERYBODY to know it was time to jettison negativity and work […]


Blacks, others shouldn’t have to obliterate their presence to receive fair home value

By: - August 23, 2022

Another case of likely racial discrimination in housing appraisals has cropped up, this time in Baltimore. The New York Times recently reported a Black husband and wife first received an appraisal of $472,000. After they “whitewashed” their home – removing family photos and having a White colleague stand in for them as the “owner” – […]


Doing just the basics could have prevented worst of I-95 January storm

By: - August 18, 2022

State officials kept a list of preventive measures for dealing with a major snowstorm on the shelf. They issued promises of help to desperate, stranded motorists that they couldn’t keep. Those were two of the most damning findings of the newly released audit by the Office of the State Inspector General of Virginia’s response to […]


Elections need civic-minded workers – and fewer lies by politicians

By: - August 11, 2022

If you’ve ever wanted to work the polls on Election Day in Virginia, you’re in luck. Several localities around the state need help, especially from newly trained aides. Some cities and counties have boosted pay, appealed to residents’ sense of civic duty and emphasized the role everyday Virginians play in ensuring elections run smoothly. “It’s […]


Medicaid expansion’s positive ripples come as no surprise

By: - August 4, 2022

Veteran newspaper people in Detroit taught me the saying, “No (rhymes with spit), Sherlock,” when I was a young journalist back in the early 1980s. The profane phrase – I can’t do it justice in a family publication – was used to refer to a headline or story stating something so obvious, so predictable, that […]


Voting restrictions, bereft of evidence, threaten fairness in elections

By: - July 29, 2022

Only once this century, over six presidential contests, has a Republican candidate attracted more popular votes than his Democratic opponent. That was in 2004, when incumbent George W. Bush narrowly took both the popular and electoral votes and won reelection. Drop boxes for ballots, decried as a nefarious tool by Republican critics, didn’t cause major […]


Estimates from government officials are no more, no less than that

By: - July 26, 2022

Another embarrassing result has befallen the government officials who tried for decades, unsuccessfully, to erect a mammoth reservoir in King William County. The project ultimately disintegrated in 2009. The city of Newport News has begun selling off the nearly 1,500 acres it acquired, but at just a fraction of the $8.3 million it paid for […]


Road rage and highway shootings are on the rise. But why?

By: - July 14, 2022

We’ve been a cantankerous, rude, anxious bunch over the past 2 1/2 years, ever since the pandemic consumed us. That’s understandable – and not exactly news. What is news, and dangerous for anyone driving along highways in Virginia, are the number of shootings and other road-rage incidents plaguing those trips. We’re taking our personal traumas […]


Virginia Employment Commission’s overpayments shouldn’t cause people stress – or heartburn

By: - July 8, 2022

Picture this scenario: A friend offers you a slice of scrumptious, calorie-laden, chocolate cake – no charge! You devour the cake, delighting in its sweet decadence.  A few hours later, long after you’ve discarded your plate, the friend demands you pay for the dessert you’d thought was free. He says he erred in calculating his […]


Before changing abortion laws, improve state’s child support system

By: - July 5, 2022

It’s astounding the steps and resources the government must expend to force noncustodial parents — almost always fathers – to do right by their children. I saw that up close when I rode along with sheriff’s deputies and police officers hunting down scofflaws. The debtors were frequently tens of thousands of dollars behind in payments. […]


Late attorney’s pardon work revealed sentencing madness

By: - June 28, 2022

John Coggeshall could’ve easily been called “the anti-Sisyphus.” The late Norfolk defense attorney handled the pardon applications for several state prisoners, and the self-taught jurist won them freedom after years — even decades — behind bars. Defendants and prisoners sought him out after other lawyers rejected their cases. Coggeshall represented people who faced insanely long […]