Sunday, February 16, 2020
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Sen. Chap Petersen Proposes Ban on Political Contributions from Dominion Power,...

First let me just state the obvious: I have had a LOT of "issues" with Virginia State Sen. Chap Petersen over the past few...

Is Trump En Route to Violating the Constitution?

This piece is running this week in newspapers in my conservative congressional District (VA-06). ************ On January 20, Donald Trump is scheduled to take the oath...

Tom Farrell and Bob Blue: Dirty Politics and Dirty Dominion Power

Dominion, Virginia’s largest utility, has a state monopoly to provide electricity to much of the Commonwealth, and, overall, it does its job keeping our...

The “Virginia Way”: Paragon of Virtue or Cesspool of Corruption? Take...

I just finished a new book on the "Virginia Way," which I will review momentarily. But first, here are some quotes on said "Virginia...

What Virginia Speaker Bill “ALEC” Howell Leaves Out of His Statement...

See anything missing here from ALEC Board member and Virginia House Speaker Bill "Legalized Corruption" Howell? The strength of the American legal system is measured...

Supposedly “Regulated” Utility Dominion Power Continues Efforts to Buy Our Government

Check out that image, from last weekend's DPVA convention, and note who the top "supporter" of the 2016 state "JJ Dinner" was. That's right,...

Audio: For Anyone Still Confused About Why Bob McDonnell’s Actions Were...

With the corruption case of former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell heading to the Supreme Court tomorrow, the Kojo Nnamdi Show earlier today took an...

Dominion Power Play Not Playing Well Across Virginia

Dominion's bill to shield its books from public scrutiny until 2020, with help from the many legislators it has purchased, is not getting a very good reception across the Commonwealth.  Here's a sampling of the THUMBS-DOWN reviews:

AP/Staunton News Leader:

Sen. Frank Wagner is the chief sponsor of legislation that would weaken state oversight of Dominion Virginia Power's rate setting. The move could help the utility giant's bottom line and its shareholders, of which Wagner is one.[...] As a regulated monopoly, Dominion has a strong interest in staying on good terms with state lawmakers. The utility is the biggest corporate donor to state political campaigns and is the most generous gift-giver to state lawmakers. [...] most lawmakers who own the company's stock did vote for the legislation.

Jeff Shapiro, Richmond Times-Dispatch:  

Mayor Jones’s New Church Mouse Losing Its House

Mayor Dwight Jones photo 140311MayorJones_zps3245b2ae.jpgTis the season for miraculous financial initiatives. The man who didn't clearly outline Richmond's obligations for his NFL football summer training facility or find backing for burying hallowed historical ground under a minor league stadium is now preparing to make the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) homeless.

All the get rich land development schemes that characterize Richmond City high finance remind one of the common flights of fancy on The Honeymooners. One difference, though: Mayor Jones is banking with other people's money and trust. After making an effort to gain clarity on the DPVA's financial health, there is nothing to show but despair. Appropriate since Jones and his recent predecessors as Chair have all left the political party borrowing against time while concealing the bottom line. Requests for financial statements have been ignored, so the depth of the hole remains closely held. Miraculously, during six years with a Democrat in the White House and in a state with two Democratic United States Senators plus the election of Democrats to all three statewide executive offices in the past year, time has run out on the Party's mortgage.

A big portion of the DPVA party leadership's responsibility is to provide the hired staff with sufficient resources to run a statewide political party. But Jones, who fought through charges that he doesn't represent the party's principles of equality and equal rights to gain the position of Chair, has been an absentee landlord. The infrastructure, physical and fiscal, has continued to decay since his ascension to the post. He has consistently missed meetings and party conference calls. E-mails go unanswered. The excuse is always that his responsibilities as a pastor and Mayor consume his time. Those responsibilities did not preclude him from interfering in an intra-party state Senate primary race (his influence proved ineffective). Now he's on the verge of missing the payment on the DPVA's "digs" on Franklin Street in Richmond.

McDonnell’s Incompetence Saved Tarnish of Corruption

McDonnell's failed trade mission to China, an expensive effort at personal aggrandizement that netted two jobs (in Shanghai) may have had a blessing in disguise. After all is said and done, his bumbling attempt to conduct economic diplomacy saved him from an association with Bo Xilai's venal Chongquing administration.

With no trade success to report during last year's trip, much of the press coverage of McDonnell's boondoggle was filled with other issues like Virginia's own Republican Delegate Phil Hamilton scandal. The Governor never managed to meet with officials in the municipality that was to be the focus of his visit to promote Virginia tourism, wines, or anything he could claim as an accomplishment. Just as well, these fellows play for keeps, way out of the league of an international neophyte.

'You cross me - never come to China, you'll never get out of jail'. Gu Kailai, wife of Bo, warning a British businessman attempting to start up a tourism venture.

There were so many missteps, it is difficult to fix a cause for the failure. McDonnell's front man for commerce, Jim Cheng might have been one reason for the failed effort to engage. As a practical matter, Cheng's close ties to Taiwan aren't the bona fides the Chinese look at good naturedly. Whether it was that or McDonnell's inept planning, they dodged a bullet. An association with the disgraced Bo would not curry favor with the likes of Hu Jintao, China's leader himself, who is said to have been the subject of Bo's wiretapping. All of this could have been avoided by leveraging State Department resources in China. Or it easily could have been poor relations with staffers in China that set things headed downhill.