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Wednesday News: “The Age of Fire and Fury”; “Athletes Who Are the Same Size as Donald Trump”; “Do Virginia Republicans know they lost last year’s elections?”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Wednesday, January 17.

  • Quizzical
  • Quizzical
  • 2018 VA GOP US Senate candidate EW Jackson claims that asking about Trump’s mental health means “mob hysteria and group hatred against the President”

    http://bluevirginia.us/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/ewjacksonmentalhealth.jpg

  • Video: Republican Jeff Flake compares Trump to Stalin, says Trump’s “borrow[ed] despotic language to refer to the free press, but…[has] inspired dictators and authoritarians”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ht61YtLu3lI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Uw_K22wDuk

  • From Sen. Jennifer Wexton (D-Loudoun)…yet ANOTHER party-line vote, with Republicans as usual on the wrong side of an issue:

    LOCAL GOVERNMENT COMMITTEE KILLS SENATOR WEXTON’S BILL TO ALLOW LOCALITIES TO MOVE OR ALTER MONUMENTS AND STATUES

    RICHMOND – Yesterday, the Senate Local Government committee killed Senator Jennifer Wexton’s SB 444, a bill that would have allowed localities to move, remove, or alter monuments and statues within their own jurisdiction, regardless of when they were erected. As the law is currently written, localities are not allowed to alter monuments or statues without the express consent of the General Assembly. The bill would require a locality to vote twice on a new ordinance, with a 12-month period between the votes, and have an extensive public hearing process on the new ordinance. In addition, any monument moved from its original location would have to remain accessible to the public in its new location. The bill was voted down by the Republican-held committee on a party-line vote of 6-7.

    Speaking on the legislation, Senator Wexton (D-Loudoun) said her motivation for this bill came from the events that took place in Charlottesville and numerous conversations she had with constituents regarding the Confederate statue in front of the Leesburg Courthouse.

    She said, “constituents came to me to discuss how they felt about the Confederate statue in Leesburg, a statue erected in 1908. Many people don’t feel it was erected to celebrate the valor of the soldiers of the Confederacy but was intended to send a message to a certain population of Leesburg, the African-American residents, that there would not be justice for them inside that courthouse. Since Loudoun County cannot move the monument under the current code, I believe we need to allow localities, the government closest to the people, the ability to have an open dialogue with citizens about this issue.”

    During committee, Senator Jennifer McClellan (D- Richmond) said “It is very important if we are ever going to heal as a Commonwealth, as a nation, and it is very clear we haven’t, the only way to heal is to talk. The best place to have the conversations about whether to move, change, add context, or take down monuments is at the local level. If we don’t allow these conversations to happen in the community where the monument is and allow all sides to be heard, anger and resentment is going to fester again like it did in Charlottesville. I don’t know if the right decision is for any monuments on Monument Avenue to come down but I sure think that decision should be made by the city of Richmond with its constituents, through an ordinance, where the entire public has an opportunity to be heard, not by the General Assembly.”

    In closing, Senator Wexton reiterated that “this conversation and decision should be made at a hearing in a locality where hundreds of residents are able to come speak, instead of at the state level where local voices cannot be heard.”

  • Nice job by Rep. Don Beyer, whose remarks, “as delivered in the House Natural Resources Committee this morning, on a bill (HR 553) offered by Rep. Jody Hice to rename Gravelly Point after former First Lady Nancy Reagan. The bill was marked up today on short notice over the repeated objections of Rep. Beyer.”

    “Mr. Chairman, with true regret I rise to speak in opposition to this bill.

    I have great respect for Nancy Reagan, and my opposition to this bill must not be interpreted as my having any personal animus towards our former First Lady.

    But this bill is the equivalent of someone coming in and changing the furniture in your house without asking you. First, you would have liked them to ask you, and even if you do like the furniture, you probably would have wanted input since it’s your house.

    First and foremost, this bill does not have local support and did not have any local input.

    Gravelly Point is not a national tourist attraction, it’s where local families go to have a picnic, throw a ball around, put a blanket down and watch the planes coming in and out, and it’s also where almost every Northern Virginia Uber driver sits to wait for a pickup.

    In this committee I constantly hear from my Republican friends that local communities know how to manage their land better, and that the feds should stay out of local decisions. I hope that his doesn’t only apply to Republican districts. This bill is Congress unilaterally forcing a decision on a local community – Arlington and Alexandria – without any local say or input.

    And why? Because this bill is the pet project of Americans for Tax Reform, a special interest group. This is what some call Washington at its worst – when we ignore the will of the local community to appease the desire of a moneyed, special interest.

    While I understand the desire to honor political figures, something like this should not be done without involving the local community. This would be the equivalent of my offering a bill in Mr. Hice’s district to rename the Oconee National Forest’s campground the Hillary Clinton campground or the Michelle Obama campground. I’m sure Mr. Hice would like his constituents to be able to weigh in on a decision like that.

    The other reason this is concerning is the process with which it was handled. My understanding typically is that when offering legislation that impacts another Member’s district you either work with them or at least notify them. That respect was not extended to my office.

    When we discovered it was Americans for Tax Reform and not our constituents that wanted the bill, we asked the sponsor’s office to not move forward, and my requests via staff were ignored. I was deeply surprised to find this bill before us here in markup. I asked the committee if they would remove it from markup, but that request was also denied.

    This also [gets to] the process of how we consider bills. This bill had no legislative hearing. This is the first time that I have an opportunity to formally speak expressing my concerns.

    And the other reason we needed a legislative hearing is because there is a potential technical impediment to the bill that needs airing.

    Memorials, monuments and other commemorative works in Washington DC and its environs are governed by the Commemorative Works Act, which lays out a series of guidelines for the establishment of memorials and requires consultation with the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission. The Commission reviewed H.R. 5457 – the identical bill [introduced] in the 114th Congress – and determined that the proposal to establish Nancy Reagan Memorial Park potentially violates several guidelines established by the CWA.

    First, Congressional authorization for memorials to individuals is not supposed to occur until the 25th anniversary of the death of the individual. Since space is limited and memorials should not be established without careful consideration, this provides time for reflection on the individual’s contributions. Since Mrs. Reagan passed away less than three years ago, the designation of a memorial park in her name violates the CWA.

    Second, the CWA requires a comprehensive evaluation of site locations to determine suitability. The commission noted that this hasn’t happened for this proposal and that the designation of this site after the Former First Lady could prevent the establishment of other memorials in the area, since CWA states that no new memorial shall encroach upon an existing memorial.

    So as one of my constituents wrote on ARLNow.com, I ask my colleagues to “just say no.” We cannot allow a pet project of a special interest group to override local consideration or input. Just as I respect my colleagues to know what’s best in their districts, I’d ask the same curtesy be extended. Let’s allow for public comment and local input and follow the Congressionally mandated process.

    Mr. Chairman, I yield back.”

    [After further debate]

    “I would humbly suggest that if we want to rename the park from Gravelly Point, that we engage the Arlington County Board, the Alexandria City Council, the jurisdictions that are there with all the constituents that are using this on a regular basis, and rename it after a vigorous public discussion about which of our many former First Ladies or just American leaders who should be honored in that way, rather than just unilaterally deciding that former First Lady Reagan – whom I admire very much – that this park should be named after her.”

  • Quizzical

    Vox covers the Stormy Daniels scandal
    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/1/17/16901602/trump-stormy-daniels-hush-money-scandal-porn

    How did this guy win the election?