Monthly Archive for October, 2008

Whom Do You Endorse?

I guess I gave the Daily Progress too much credit when I speculated that they’d endorse former governor Mark Warner for Senate—today they endorsed Jim Gilmore. Warner has become the darling of Virginia Republicans, largely because of his solid business credentials, his centrism, and the work he did to balance the state budget. The former Republican governor, on the other hand, is on track to earn perhaps 20% of the vote in Charlottesville, maybe upwards of 30% of the vote in Albemarle, and he might top 35% statewide.

The Daily Progress has a rich history of chuckle-worthy endorsements, occasionally having to bend over backwards to endorse Republicans who are totally ill-suited for the job. When Kenneth Jackson—a Republican with no political experience or even really work history—was running for City Council, the Progress endorsed him, despite that he’d been convicted of attacking people with knives on three separate occasions over the course of a decade. They asked: “What other candidate has seen the law enforcement system, the court system, the social services system from the perspective of somebody in trouble?” The paper endorsed Bush in 2000, reasonably enough, citing seven reasons why they supported him—he would unite the Republican and Democratic parties, he’d hold his staff to the highest of standards, he’d create jobs, etc. But even though President Bush failed to accomplish a single of those things, they they endorsed him again in 2004.

So, whom do you endorse for House (Republican Virgil Goode vs. Democrat Tom Perriello), Senate (Republican Jim Gilmore vs. Democrat Mark Warner vs. Libertarian Bill Redpath), or the presidency (Libertarian Bob Barr vs. Republican John McCain vs. Independent Ralph Nader vs. Democrat Barack Obama) and, more important, why?

No Campaign T-Shirts or Buttons at Polling Places

In a clear case of unbelievable bullshit (that’s a legal term), state law turns out to prohibit any voter from displaying support for any candidate when voting, and that law will be enforced in the area on Tuesday. If you show up to vote with a John McCain button or a Barack Obama t-shirt, you’ll be told that you must go into the booth topless. If you refuse, you can still vote, but you will be charged with a crime and face a year in prison. Charlottesville and Albemarle will both be enforcing this state law, and while they are basically obliged to do just that, Virginia Beach’s registrar has instructed poll workers to simply ignore the law.

The Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression, the Rutherford Institute, and the ACLU of Virginia are teaming up to file a lawsuit against the state to overturn the policy, arguing that state law simply prohibits “exhibit[ing]…campaign materials to another person” in or near a polling place, but that law was never intended to affect buttons or clothing worn by voters. That suit won’t even be filed until after Tuesday, so it will have no effect come Tuesday, but the hope is have the policy eliminated. The organizations ask that anybody who is asked to remove political garb contact them and report the incident.

I remember the woman voting in Charlottesville’s Recreation precinct in 2004 who walked into the booth wearing just her bra up top, after she was told she’d have to remove her campaign t-shirt. I work the polls at the Stony Point precinct every year, in Albemarle, and this year my wife and I will be bringing some spare work shirts and jackets, so people can cover up.

Now I’m facing the conundrum of what to do. Do I refuse to take off my Obama pin, and let the chips falls where they may? Or do I follow a law that I know to be capricious and unconstitutional? (As I’ve mentioned, I may have helped get Denise Lunsford elected, but I don’t doubt she’d charge me with a crime if I had it coming to me. Awk-ward.)

Maybe if hundreds of us refuse to take off our pins and shirts, if we all break the law, then it simply won’t be possible to prosecute all of us, and we might just help to get this overturned. How about it?

UVa Football Player Arrested for B&E, Theft

The Cavaliers’ fullback RaShawn Jackson has been arrested and charged with B&E and theft, NBC 29 reports. Police say he broke into a dorm room last year and stole a game console. (Inquiring minds want to know: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, or Wii?) If this sounds familiar, you might be thinking of fellow Cavalier Mike Brown, arrested earlier this year for B&E, theft, and selling stolen goods. Or you might be thinking of one of the other three members of the football team who were also arrested this year. It’s getting tough to keep up.

Vinegar Hill Theater Sold

Vinegar Hill Theatre has been sold to a Staunton business, and will remain in operation much as it is now, Liz Nagy reports for NBC-29. They’re shutting down for two weeks, beginning November 3rd, to replace the pair of Century 35mm projectors with a platter system. The Market Street single-screen theater, known for showing art films, was opened in a former auto showroom by Ann Porotti and Chief Gordon in 1976.

Darden Towe Softball Lights Scrapped

Charlottesville has joined Albemarle in abandoning plans to light the softball fields at Darden Towe Park, Stephanie Garcia reports for The Hook. Given the impending budget crunch, the political will just doesn’t exist to spend $500-$700k on floodlights for a sports field right now. The plan to eliminate the McIntire fields is going full steam ahead, leaving softball players in the lurch, at least after dusk.



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