Richmond council doesn’t want power to remove statues; campaigns heat up; Waynesboro weighs moving elections and other headlines

    Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.

    Richmond says it doesn’t want authority to remove Confederate statues

    The City Council voted 6-3 against a measure that would ask the General Assembly to change a law that forbids localities from removing Confederate monuments.

    Opponents said they are worried making the request would weaken other legislative efforts.

    “Putting something forward on the legislative agenda that makes the same request will cloud all of our other requests that we are trying to move forward for the children, the living breathing children in our city today,” said Councilwoman Kim Gray, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

    “The biggest monuments to white supremacy are in our Richmond public schools, when our kids are denied a basic education, and we’re sitting here making symbolic gestures.”

    Mayor Levar Stoney, who supported the measure, tweeted a statement of disappointment at the vote.

    “The ‘culture of can’t’ was on full display tonight at #rvacouncil! We can support choosing our own destiny about the future of confederate monuments in our city AND advocate for the state to fund the true cost of public education. This was not an either/or proposition. #Excuses”

    Staunton votes to drop Robert E. Lee’s name from high school

    The 4-2 vote ends a years-long debate that had divided neighbors and manifested itself in hundreds of competing yard signs.

    The Staunton News Leader reports that “Board member Kenneth Venable, great great great grandson of Virginia slaves, made the motion to remove the name.”

    A new name will be chosen in the coming months.

    More news:

    • Police caught but have not charged a person who wrote the words “slave owner” in marker on a statue of James Monroe at William and Mary. – The Virginia Gazette
    • WTVR announced plans to televise a debate Monday between U.S. Rep. Dave Brat and challenger Abigail Spanberger. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • Brat and Spanberger are out with a fresh round of ads. In one, Brat feeds popsicles to puppies. In a second ad he accuses Spanberger of joining a “liberal mob” and features video of Spanberger at one of his townhalls nodding in response to questions. – The Washington Post
    • Sen. Tim Kaine is running his first negative ad about Corey Stewart, highlighting his decision to skip a vote on opioid prevention to campaign with Roy Moore. The move surprised pundits given Kaine’s 20 point lead. – The Washington Post
    • Some Republicans remain concerned Stewart’s unpopularity is dragging down-ticket Republicans in tight congressional races. – WVTF
    • At their second-to-last debate, Republican 5th District congressional hopeful Denver Riggleman said he believed in climate change but combating it shouldn’t be done in a way that eliminates jobs. Democrat Leslie Cockburn called for a strident response to the threat, doubting Riggleman would follow through and noting his plans to join the Freedom Caucus. – WVTF
    • U.S. Rep Don McEachin says he’s recovering from complications related to his 2014 cancer treatment. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • The state’s architecture review committee wasn’t impressed with plans for a new parking deck on Broad Street. “To me, this is a classic example of a boring building,” said one member. The panel approved the design but with the expectation of some tweaks. Lawmakers are still working out whether the public will also be allowed to use the deck. – Richmond Times-Dispatch
    • Leaders in Waynesboro are considering moving local elections from May to November so they will coincide with general elections as part of an effort to boost turnout above the current 13 percent of registered voters, about 2,000 people, who showed up this year. – The News Virginian
    • CSX filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern alleging a conspiracy to monopolize rail traffic at the Port of Virginia’s biggest terminal. – The Virginian-Pilot
    • Christiansburg is still angling for Amtrak service to be extended to the town from its current terminus in Roanoke. – The Roanoke Times
    • A former Portsmouth public works employee is suing the city, alleging he was fired because he legally kept an unloaded handgun in his personal truck. – The Virginian-Pilot
    • The oyster population in the Lafayette River in Norfolk is the state’s first to reach fully recovered status, a fact state and local officials celebrated Monday by tossing more baby oysters into the water. – The Virginian-Pilot
    • A 13-acre private island on the Potomac River near Quantico was listed for $15 million. It has electricity, a septic system and a decaying house on it. – WTOP 

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