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 more ‘no way’ on all police investigative records

By: - February 24, 2021

We don’t have to. So we ain’t gonna. That’s been the response by law-enforcement agencies in Virginia to requests for records and details from the public, virtually all of the time. The state’s feckless Freedom of Information Act provides an easy escape hatch for many government agencies, including police.  Unless FOIA requires police departments to […]


Trying to keep people away from the ballot box isn’t a winning strategy

By: - February 17, 2021

Consider the following: A profligate prevaricator, the de facto capo of the Republican Party, spouted lie after lie in both the run-up to and after the 2020 presidential election. Donald Trump was abetted by craven acolytes who knew better, and conspiracy theorists — in public office both in Virginia and elsewhere — for whom facts […]


Full vaccination of staff should be a prerequisite for going back to schools

By: - February 11, 2021

Nearly everyone wants schoolchildren back in classrooms around the commonwealth as soon as possible, since they’ve coped with roughly a year of the pandemic and less-than-perfect teaching substitutes. Note my use of the word, “nearly.” More on that later. Gov. Ralph Northam wants a return to in-person studies, though he has only the bully pulpit […]


Save the checks for those who need them most

By: - February 3, 2021

President Joe Biden wants to supercharge the sputtering economy, vaccinate millions of Americans against COVID-19, and help people by issuing another round of stimulus checks. He and members of Congress are grappling with the best way to do that, and Republicans have offered less-expensive alternatives to the president’s $1.9 trillion plan.  I have a suggestion […]


‘Anything goes’ in Virginia when it comes to campaign donations

By: - January 28, 2021

Which came first: a state legislator’s stance on an issue, or a campaign contribution?  This quasi-“chicken-or-the-egg” question arises whenever lawmakers accept money from people and corporations with business before the Virginia General Assembly.  Correlation isn’t always causation, as one researcher reminded me. Yet “coincidences” are simply too striking to ignore.  Nor would you expect contributors […]


Holding local elections in the fall is the right move

By: - January 20, 2021

You can hear the passion in Jeanne Hanewich’s voice any time she discusses citizen participation in local government. Nor is this a topic the Chesapeake stay-at-home mother — and former paralegal — just took up. She’s worked for several years to get Chesapeake to move local elections — for City Council, School Board and mayor […]


Republicans have no business talking about the integrity of elections

By: - January 14, 2021

Claims by Republican legislators in Virginia about “voter integrity” can sound so, so seductive — until you peel back the layers of their arguments.  Electoral policies often are near the surface when the General Assembly convenes, as it did Wednesday. Among the areas of debate this time: Democrats, including Gov. Ralph Northam, want to amend […]


Alden sets its sights on Tribune and a shudder runs through what’s left of two Virginia newspapers

By: - January 12, 2021

People who value local journalism should be trembling at the announcement that a notorious hedge fund — dedicated to wringing out every last penny of profit moreso than informing the public — has targeted Tribune Publishing. The Chicago-based company’s media outlets include The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, billed as the state’s largest newspaper, and the (Newport […]


Despite grief and anger, new policing law is progress

By: - December 23, 2020

No new law regulating police confrontations with the mentally ill probably will comfort Princess Blanding. After all, a Richmond police officer gunned down her brother as he was undergoing a crisis two years ago — after he’d struck other cars while driving; fled his own vehicle while naked; and threatened to kill the officer. It […]


There are still bright spots, if you look for them

By: - December 16, 2020

This dispiriting, tumultuous year has shaken this country.  We’ve witnessed a quasi-coup by a president who refused to accept his defeat — and who was cravenly supported by elected officials who knew better. It was no less than an assault on democracy.  People who had jobs when 2020 started are out of work. Schoolchildren struggle […]


State GOP leaders fear Chase might be face of the party

By: - December 10, 2020

It’s obvious the state Republican Party has little faith the bulk of its followers will — as the saying goes — “do the right thing.” Why else would the leadership get twisted up in knots during debate about its gubernatorial nominating process for 2021, all so it could hamper state Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Trumpville? Actually, […]


Clearing the air at last about marijuana prohibition

By: - December 3, 2020

My attitudes toward America’s hypocritical — and racially biased — stance on marijuana were formed during my high school and college years in Washington. Those sentiments have only hardened since then.  I’ve revisited those days as the commonwealth now considers legalizing pot. Gov. Ralph Northam said he plans to propose legislation to do just that […]