The Bulletin

The Weekender: a round-up of opinion and commentary from across Virginia

By: - November 17, 2019 4:30 pm
Virginia Mercury

The Weekender: a round-up of opinion and commentary from across Virginia

In Mercury commentary you might have missed, Bob Lewis noted that Virginia is increasingly looking more like two states than one because of growing “economic, cultural and demographic differences.” Guest columnist Irène Mathieu, a pediatrician, listed the risks of the proposed Cumberland County mega landfill and Susan Demas, editor of the Michigan Advance, an affiliated site, broke down the president’s impeachment PR offensive: “It’s all about making liberal heads go ‘splodey,’” she wrote.

The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star wonders whether Gov. Ralph Northam, who as a candidate called for an end to corporate donations, still cares about campaign finance reform. “The problem (is) that, with some exceptions, the folks who raise the most money tend to win the elections, which means they will have more clout to decide whether to come up with stricter contribution limits.”

The Roanoke Times penned a letter of introduction to the state’s new Democratic leaders on behalf of Southwest Virginia. “It’s you in Northern Virginia who have the privilege — the privilege of wealth, the privilege of education, the privilege of economic opportunity, the privilege of not watching your sons and daughters move away because there are no jobs for them. And now you have the privilege of political power. We hope you use it wisely. And we hope you use some of it to help parts of the state that didn’t elect any of you.”

The News & Advance in Lynchburg also had some unsolicited advice for Democrats: “Sic omnia gloria transit … ‘All glory is fleeting.’” And New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie says opening up access to voting should be the party’s main priority here in the wake of its win.

Beware Dominion’s wind project: Former State Corporation Commission Chairman Hully Moore sees a potential pig in a poke in Dominion Energy’s large proposed offshore wind project. “The General Assembly can encourage environmentally friendly projects including offshore wind, but it must not forget that ratepayers pay the bill,” Moore wrote in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. “The assembly should not take over regulation and prohibit the SCC from determining whether plans and expenditures are prudent and in the public interest. … The SCC must be able to determine whether spending over $7 billion of ratepayer money for 78 cents /kWh is in the public interest.”

More solar PPAs: Also in the Times-Dispatch, Robert W. Lazaro Jr., executive director of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, says it’s time for Virginia to raise the cap on solar power-purchase agreements in Dominion Energy’s territory. “By all measures, the PPA Pilot Program has been a success, creating jobs, reducing costs and bringing more clean power to Virginia. Now is the time to keep a good thing going and permanently approve an increase to the cap,” he wrote.

Speaking of Dominion, RTD columnist Jeff Schapiro explores the new political landscape for the utility, long accustomed to getting its way in the General Assembly. “Politics is about parsing,” he wrote. “With Dominion, Democrats will be doing a lot more in January, when they install new majorities in the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate. There is a restless progressive vote demanding immediate accommodation. There is, too, an establishment wing that believes compromise makes for a long game.”

The Virginian-Pilot says the State Crime Commission, which issued a three-page report with no legislative recommendations on new gun laws, let the state down. “This game of Whac-A-Mole being played by legislators and the commission is unbecoming, especially considering gun violence kills more than a thousand Virginians each year,” the paper wrote. The Daily Progress likened the episode to a “clumsy game of soccer.”

Letter of the week: “Paris, Nov. 11, 1951,” Robert Huston of Yorktown wrote to The Virginian-Pilot. “I stood on the top of the Eiffel Tower. I had watched the fountains below shut down and wondered. The street sounds faded, and then silence. A cab driver exited his vehicle and stood beside it. I looked at my watch. It was 11 a.m.”

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Robert Zullo
Robert Zullo

Robert spent 13 years as a reporter and editor at weekly and daily newspapers before becoming editor of the Virginia Mercury in 2018. He was a staff writer and managing editor at Worrall Community Newspapers in Union, N.J., before spending five years in south Louisiana covering hurricanes, oil spills and Good Friday crawfish boils as a reporter and city editor for the The Courier and the Daily Comet newspapers in Houma and Thibodaux. He covered Richmond city hall for the Richmond Times-Dispatch from 2012 to 2013 and worked as a general assignment and city hall reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette from 2013 to 2016. He returned to Richmond in 2016 to cover energy, environment and transportation for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He grew up in Miami, Fla., and central New Jersey. A former waiter, armored car guard and appliance deliveryman, he is a graduate of the College of William and Mary. Contact him at [email protected]