The Bulletin

The Weekender: Virginia opinions

By: - December 8, 2019 11:04 pm
Virginia Mercury

Our round-up of commentary from around Virginia:

Mercury commentary you might have missed: Ivy Main reminded readers about why biomass isn’t a great deal for power customers and the environment. Guest columnist Bobby Vassar warned Democrats against succumbing to gerrymandering temptation. And I had some thoughts on law-abiding gun owners who won’t abide any new gun laws.

Speaking of “Second Amendment sanctuaries”: The Roanoke Times compared proponents to anti-pipeline demonstrators. “Both are engaged in a colorful act of futility that won’t accomplish what they think they’re accomplishing,” the paper wrote. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro said the movement recalls “interposition,” the “specious, 19th-century notion by John C. Calhoun, a South Carolinian whose unrepentant defense of slavery pushed the nation toward the Civil War.”

The Winchester Star: “We have no doubt Mr. Northam advances these solutions with the best of intentions, but the question still remains whether any of these panaceas will prevent any of the violence at which they are directed. Perhaps the converse is true — that the resolutions signed by so many will never stand up to a legal challenge.”

The Free Lance-Star says Democrats need to look in the mirror after employing similar rhetoric on immigration and marijuana: “Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. What goes around comes around. Except that such law-ignoring balkanization does not bode well for the future of the commonwealth.”

Dillon rule: The News & Advance says the General Assembly should consider “modifying and perhaps loosening the Dillon Rule strictures local governments have long struggled with.”

Richmond’s new statue: “Good art challenges the viewer to see reality in a new way. That is what Kehinde Wiley does in his monumental sculpture soon to adorn the front lawn of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts on Arthur Ashe Boulevard,” writes Bruce Birdsey, an episcopal priest, in the TD.

A new carrier: The Virginian-Pilot marked the christening of the John F. Kennedy, the second Ford-class aircraft carrier built by Newport News Shipbuilding. “That means a moment for celebration across Hampton Roads, home to the men and women who build these marvels as well as the women and men who serve aboard them,” the paper wrote.

The rural vs. urban argument:  “We might be able to, as (Hank Jr.) Williams sings, ‘skin a buck, we can run a trotline,'” The Roanoke Times noted in diving into a testy debate on rural America. “But we can’t do a lot of other things on our own.”

“Been had”: The Winchester Star says Republicans are right to feel double-crossed by Gov. Ralph Northam, who has backed away from the work requirement that got Medicaid expansion across the finish line. “For good reason, state Republicans are seeing red. They feel like they’ve been had — and they are right.”

Legalize it: Bill Farrar, director of strategic communications for the ACLU of Virginia, in the TD, says it’s time for Virginia to legalize marijuana. “Pent-up demand for positive change is real. The question remains: How much change is possible in one 60-day session?” And, writing in The Roanoke TImes, Elizabeth McCommon, a retired former substance abuse prevention specialist in Blacksburg, questions why marijuana remains classified as a Schedule I drug by the federal government, an issue that became very personal for her as she grappled with pain from a car crash.

Health care should top the list: Writing in the Pilot, retired Navy officer James C. Sherlock says the General Assembly must tackle competition restrictions in health care that drive up costs for Virginians. “Virginians could have saved $500 million in 2017 if we had the same access to independent outpatient facilities as the people of Maryland,” he wrote.

Where the bodies are buried’: The TD’s Schapiro reports that Democrats are consulting with a pair of crafty former state lawmakers and behind-the-scenes staffers as they prepare to pick up the reins of power. “They know where the bodies are buried. More importantly, they know how to bury them,” he wrote.

Smarter-scale: The Free Lance-Star says it’s time to make the state’s system for funding transportation projects fairer. “State transportation officials have long admitted that the Fredericksburg region is something of an outlier when it comes to Smart Scale scoring.”

Letter of the Week: Blame it on too many Commonwealth cups. In a letter to the Times-Dispatch, Rob Wilhoite deplored the drunken game day behavior of a UVA fan at the Hokes-Cavaliers matchup.  “My 62-year-old wife was assaulted by a drunken UVA fan while she was buying bottled waters,” he wrote. “While it is OK to drink, it is not OK to drink so much that you attack someone over a ballgame.”

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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]