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]


Times have changed, but the disenfranchisement game is the same

By: - September 30, 2020

State officials, a half-century after her momentous voting rights victory, have decided to honor activist Evelyn Butts in her hometown. The Virginia Board of Historic Resources recently announced a marker will rise in Norfolk, noting her importance in ending the poll tax in the commonwealth. It’s not that Butts, who died in 1993, failed to […]


Equity goes way beyond law enforcement

By: - September 18, 2020

Protests this summer nationwide – including here in Virginia – have correctly focused on police brutality against Black and Brown people and the quest for humane treatment. Most interactions with officers, especially for minor crimes, shouldn’t end in death. Another issue dealing with racial inequity doesn’t involve law enforcement, but it still reveals the disparate […]


Virginia needs to stop treating its citizens like bad stepchildren

By: - September 11, 2020

If open-government advocates have their way in Richmond, relatives of crime victims and the news media may finally learn more details about a host of violent incidents – many that are several years old and votes of the State Parole Board will be pulled into the light of day. It’s way overdue. When it comes […]


Access to ballot boxes and other measures will help all voters

By: - September 2, 2020

Voting drop boxes aren’t sinister repositories of fraud. They’re not working overtime to deny candidates their proper electoral victories. That’s true no matter what opponents of greater ballot access contend. Their fevered suspicions aren’t supported by something I call “proof.” That’s why the Virginia General Assembly deserves kudos for passing initiatives in the current special […]


Time for qualified immunity to go

By: - August 28, 2020

A federal judge’s impassioned comments about police overreach provide powerful evidence for Virginia legislators who want to weaken something called “qualified immunity.” The legal doctrine makes it nearly impossible for citizens to win certain civil suits claiming wrongdoing by police officers — often in excessive force incidents.  Here’s how the libertarian Cato Institute, which has […]


Virginia must fight Trump’s corrupt motives for restricting mail ballots

By: - August 21, 2020

Let’s start with his unmitigated gall, his unparalleled obtuseness. Most national leaders, having so thoroughly botched a health emergency that’s killed more than 170,000 Americans and sickened millions of others, would protect citizens trying to vote in a national election. They would recognize that, as president of the United States, they shouldn’t force Americans to […]


‘Truth, trust and transparency’: What Black Americans want from policing

By: - August 18, 2020

Two recent findings on the attitudes of Black Americans toward police — taken amid the national uproar following the slaying of George Floyd in Minneapolis — may sound diametrically opposed. They’re not. The surveys do, however, provide insights into the way Black motorists and pedestrians, usually with dread, approach encounters with officers. Understanding African-Americans’ love-hate […]


Why aren’t high-level nurses in every school now?

By: - August 11, 2020

Two state legislators want to force Virginia’s K-12 public schools to hire more registered nurses – especially now during a pandemic that’s ravaging people across the United States. And here’s all I could think: You mean, we don’t already have RNs in in every school? What kind of nonsensical, sanctioned penny-pinching is this? The Chesley […]


HBCUs get a much-needed financial lift

By: - August 5, 2020

MacKenzie Scott, author and ex-wife of Amazon honcho Jeff Bezos, has elevated her profile in a humongous way.  You can bet historically black colleges and universities are grateful for her attention. As well as the stroke of Scott’s pen on checks worth at least tens of millions of dollars.  Scott announced last week online she […]


Governor’s emergency powers shouldn’t be limited during pandemic

By: - July 29, 2020

If you take state Sen. Steve Newman at his word, he merely wants to recalibrate the relationship between the executive and legislative branches when an emergency strikes – like during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Lynchburg Republican has introduced a bill for next month’s special session that would limit the time an executive order lasts […]


Disparity in police decertifications should alarm Virginians

By: - July 24, 2020

Picture this scenario: A local police officer is accused of getting overly aggressive during an arrest, seriously injuring someone in the process. The chief of police and other supervising officials review the case. They decide to fire the officer.  The officer shrugs, packs his bags, and simply moves to another agency in the commonwealth. He […]


‘If we don’t fix it now, we’ll never get it right:’ How to restore trust in policing.

By: - July 14, 2020

What will restore trust between police departments and the communities they serve, particularly with people of color? A local law enforcement executive in Virginia – thrust into the spotlight since the slaying of George Floyd by officers in Minneapolis – has some ideas. “A real quick fix will be banning chokeholds,” Norfolk Police Chief Larry […]