COMMENTARY

Good morning from the Mercury! Mercury commentary ICYMI: Guest columnist Joyce Barnes, a home health worker, remembers the moment her teenage grandson, in his first job as a janitor, outstripped her earnings. She says it's time to boost Virginia's minimum wage. Former State Air Pollution Control Board member and retired UVA...
By Joyce BarnesWhen my grandson was 15, he got a job as a janitor. He was so excited to have a few dollars in his pocket. When I asked him how much he was making, I found out he was making $10.50 an hour. That’s $2.25 more than I...
On Jan. 7, 2019, I posed the following question about the Atlantic Coast Pipeline compressor station proposed for Union Hill: “Is an African-American community in rural Virginia the right place to put a massive compressor station for a natural gas pipeline? This is the question the Virginia Air Pollution...
By Kathay FengVoters should choose their representatives. This is the simple notion that forms the foundation of our democratic system.The philosophy is embedded in the United States’ Constitution’s opening three words, “We the People.” It inspired the 17th Amendment that declared that Americans should elect their senators directly....
Renewable energy advocates are hoping that 2020 will be the year Virginia finally begins to make wind and solar the centerpiece of its energy planning, rather than a grudging add-on. The General Assembly will consider at least two bills that adopt a mandatory renewable portfolio standard as well as...
It’s amusing to watch talking-head pundits pigeonhole Virginia as a blue state in the run-up to this year’s presidential election. November’s election, which gave the Democrats the keys to both the legislative machinery of Virginia government while controlling the executive branch for the first time in 26 years, only deepened...
Gov. Ralph Northam’s pledge to boost funding for the state’s two, public black universities — assuming the General Assembly agrees — will help counteract decades of state neglect and provide financial flexibility to campus administrators. What it won’t do is solve the ongoing conundrum facing historically black colleges and universities:...
Mercury commentary ICYMI: 2019 was quite the year for Virginia, and, through a wild 12 months, the Mercury helped you make sense of it all. I complied a list of some of our best news and opinion coverage here.Jay Bookman, a columnist at the Georgia Recorder, an affiliate website, noted...
By Rebecca RubinOur country’s lands and waters are more than stunning natural features. They are the very foundation of our health, security, way of life and all life itself.This is why Congress established the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) in 1964, which uses revenues from the depletion of...
By Jay Bookman Take a moment to think back to simpler times, to a long-gone era exactly 20 years ago this week, when we celebrated the dawn of a new millennium under the shadow cast by Y2K. Remember all that? Y2K was a universal computer glitch that threatened to shut down...