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Virginia Politics Blog: March 6, 2011 - March 12, 2011

Alexandria council votes to create transportation tax, allow increase in property tax rate

The Alexandria City Council voted to advertise higher real property tax rates and a new transportation tax for commercial properties at Saturday's meeting. The council voted 5 to 2 for a rate of $1 per $100 of a property's assessed value, a 2.2-cent increase over City Manager James K. Hartmann's proposed rate. Council members Alicia Hughes (I) and Frank H. Fannon IV (R) opposed the measure.Hartmann's proposed fiscal 2012 budget would lead to about a $16 increase in the average homeowner's tax bill, totaling about $4,395 for a $449,400 property. The council's tax rate would increase the average homeowner's bill by about $100.The council also approved a rate of 12.5 cents per $100 of a commercial property's assessed value that would be dedicated toward new transportation projects.By law, a locality may not pass a tax rate higher than what is advertised but may pass a lower rate....

By Christy Goodman  | March 12, 2011; 3:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Alexandria, Christy Goodman  
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Va. Supreme Court will hear U-Va. global warming case

The Virginia Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case dealing with whether Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) can subpoena e-mails and records from the University of Virginia dealing with the work of a former university climate scientist.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 11, 2011; 5:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Ken Cuccinelli, Rosalind Helderman  
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Contest judges view Va. redistricting maps drawn by college students

Young political wonks from 13 Virginia colleges and universities gave battle Friday against the dreaded gerrymander, unveiling new maps that attempt to redraw the commonwealth's voting districts the fairest possible way.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | March 11, 2011; 3:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle  
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Speedy process for new abortion clinic rules outlined

Virginia's abortion clinics will face new regulations by Jan. 1 under a speedy process for adopting emergency rules for clinics outlined Friday for the state's Board of Health.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 11, 2011; 2:43 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Allen hires architect of 1993 governor's campaign to manage comeback

George Allen announced today that he has hired Mike Thomas -- the man who ran his 1993 campaign for governor -- to manage his attempt to regain the U.S. Senate seat he lost to Sen. Jim Webb (D) in 2006.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 10, 2011; 4:32 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Election 2012, George F. Allen, Rosalind Helderman, Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Senate  
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Virginia's unemployment rate continues to drop

Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) are taking credit for Virginia's improving employment rate, heralding January unemployment numbers in a joint statement.

Unemployment in Virginia dipped to 6.5 percent in January, the lowest rate since March 2009

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 10, 2011; 2:22 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
 
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No decision from Kaine this week on Senate race

Virginians eager to hear whether Timothy M. Kaine will jump into next year's Senate race will have to wait a while longer: No decision is coming until at least next week.

By Ben Pershing  | March 10, 2011; 1:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Ben Pershing, Election 2012, Rick Boucher, Timothy M. Kaine, U.S. Senate  
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Fairfax delegates want to dissolve elected school board

Two Fairfax delegates say they believe the county's elected school board has become dysfunctional and should be replaced by a body appointed by the Board of Supervisors.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 10, 2011; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Fairfax County, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, Rosalind Helderman  
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Mark Center lawsuit seeks $30 million in damages

The Center for Naval Analyses filed a $30 million lawsuit Wednesday against Duke Realty Corp. for breech of contract. The lawsuit in Alexandria Circuit Court contends that Duke Realty violated lease obligations for the center's headquarters in the Mark Center off Seminary Road and Interstate 395. The center's management signed a lease for a business park campus, not a military installation, said a spokesman for the non-profit research firm that serves federal clients. The Department of Defense bought the adjacent property from Duke Realty and built a massive complex that will house 6,400 federal workers as part of the 2005 Base Relocation and Closure, or BRAC, moves. The complex includes the office building, parking garages and a bomb-detection facility. Employees who work at the center will face "a serious negative impact" when the new facility opens, said Robert J. Murray, CAN CNA president and chief executive officer, in a statement....

By Christy Goodman  | March 9, 2011; 7:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Hatch Act complaint dismissed in Alexandria

A federal inquiry into Alexandria City Council member Alicia Hughes was dismissed, according to the Alexandria Times.The U.S. Office of Special Counsel was investigating an anonymous complaint that Hughes violated the Hatch Act, a law that limits political activity by federal employees, during her 2009 campaign. Hughes works as a patent examiner.Hughes, who ran as an independent, benefited from the help of the Republican Party, but she did not ask for it, said an attorney within the Office of Special Counsel in the report. The Alexandria Times reported in September that an attorney from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel seeking information on Hughes contacted the paper. At the time, Hughes said she was unable to confirm the inquiry. She added that any citizen can file a complaint, "whether frivolous or non-frivolous."...

By Christy Goodman  | March 9, 2011; 4:29 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Va. budget cuts have hit mental health programs, report shows

A new national report shows that Virginia has cut funding for mental health programs by 9 percent since 2007, the 17th-largest such spending reduction in the country.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 9, 2011; 3:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly, General Assembly 2011, Rosalind Helderman  
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Va. state political committees hire with November in mind

With the 2011 legislative election just around the corner, it's hiring season for state political action committees.With the balance of power on the line in the state senate, the Senate Democratic caucus has brought in Virginia vet­eran David Brooks as fundraising consultant for the fall. Brooks served on Gov. Tim Kaine's 2005 campaign and then worked as finance director and executive director of Kaine's political action committee Moving Virginia Forward.The Virginia House Democratic Caucus announced three new hires Wednesday, including Cianti Stewart-Reid as executive director of the group. She started with the caucus in December and has previously worked in politics in Nevada. The Democrats also announced that Heidi Lynn Schlicher, a former legislative aide to Del. Joe Morrissey (D) is serving as the caucus' deputy director for member services and Jakob Stewart, a vet­eran of Texas campaigns, is serving as deputy director of operations.Republicans too are keeping a close...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 9, 2011; 1:08 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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UPDATED: New delegate will be sworn in Wednesday

The newest member of the Virginia House of Delegates will be sworn in Wednesday afternoon, as Poquoson Mayor Gordon Helsel (R) takes the seat that was held by Del. Tom Gear (R-Hampton).

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 9, 2011; 11:02 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  General Assembly, General Assembly 2011, House of Delegates, Rosalind Helderman  
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Incumbent Va. congressmen lose out in draft district maps from bipartisan commission

The independent bipartisan redistricting commission appointed by Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) began sifting through possible maps of new congressional and state Senate district lines Tuesday and a couple of topics that usually dominate redistricting conversations didn't even come up.The group, which includes professors, judges, lawyers and citizen activists, didn't mention strengthening districts for one party or the other. And not once did they name a current politician now serving in office and how he or she would be affected by the changes they might propose.That's why there was something notable in the first draft of new congressional maps proposed by two demographers working with the commission.In one of the two maps, three sitting Republican congressmen would find themselves running in 2012 in districts where they don't currently live: U.S. Reps. H. Morgan Griffith, Randy Forbes and Frank Wolf.The other map redistricted out those three Republicans and added a fourth: House...

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 8, 2011; 6:04 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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Fairfax County Economic Advisory Commission urges focus on redevelopment, adjusting to aging population

Six years ago, Fairfax County had approximately 600,000 jobs and 380,000 households. Fast forward to 2030, and the work force in Virginia's most populous county will have grown by an estimated 40 percent to 845,000 jobs.

By Fredrick Kunkle  | March 8, 2011; 5:09 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Fredrick Kunkle  
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Field shapes up for race to replace Whipple

The Democratic field to replace retiring state Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple (D-Arlington) is shaping up: Del. Bob Brink (D) is out, Arlington County Board member Barbara Favola is in. Del. Patrick Hope (D) is...interested in your opinion about whether he should run.And blogger, political operative and provocateur Ben Tribbett isn't ruling out a run either--though, true to form, he's criticizing Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D) along the way for a possible plan to redraw Whipple's seat in redistricting next month so that it would include new precincts in McLean and Great Falls.Whipple announced last month that she does not plan to run for reelection to her seat, opening up opportunities for Democrats interested in replacing her in a currently heavily Democratic district that includes much of Arlington, and part of Falls Church and Fairfax....

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 8, 2011; 12:03 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Virginia Democrats want Kaine for Senate, survey says

Another day, another piece of evidence that many Virginia Democrats want Timothy M. Kaine to run for Senate.Kaine, the former Virginia governor and current Democratic National Committee chairman, has now been mulling for a month whether to enter the race to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D). Kaine returns from vacation Wednesday, and his spokesman has said he should to make a decision this week or next. In the interim, a host of prominent Virginia Democrats have urged Kaine to run for the seat, viewing him as the party's best bet against ex-Sen. George Allen, the likely GOP nominee.Now a new set of results from Public Policy Polling, which has been trickling out data from a Virginia survey for several days, shows Kaine with a wide lead in a hypothetical primary matchup against a host of other Democrats.The poll from PPP -- a Democratic firm that uses autodial technology rather...

By Ben Pershing  | March 8, 2011; 11:36 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (7)
 
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Fairfax delegates urge Mc­Don­nell to veto PE bill

Four Fairfax County delegates are urging Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) to veto a bill mandating that elementary and middle schools devote 150 minutes to physical education each week.In a letter sent earlier this week, the four Republicans -- Dels. Dave Albo , Barbara Comstock, Tim Hugo and Tom Rust -- call the bill an "unfunded mandate" that would, according to Fairfax officials, cost the county $18 to $24 million and "crowd out other mandates and accountability requirements in academics.""In science and math, we need to be increasing our time on task, not decreasing it," they write. "This bill would have the opposite impact and set us back academically."...

By Rosalind S; Helderman  | March 8, 2011; 9:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  !General Assembly, General Assembly 2011, Robert F. McDonnell, Rosalind Helderman  
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Ticer endorses Arlington school board member to replace her in senate

Retiring state Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-Alexandria) has endorsed Arlington School Board member Libby Garvey to replace her in November, according to Garvey's campaign.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 7, 2011; 7:50 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  General Assembly 2011, State Senate  
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Consumer groups hit Saslaw over car title lending

The top Democrat in the Virginia state Senate is getting whacked by a coalition of consumer advocacy groups that are generally more often at odds with Republicans.

By Rosalind S. Helderman  | March 7, 2011; 3:41 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  General Assembly, Rosalind Helderman  
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Cuccinelli political operation plans major Va. Senate effort

Gov. Bob Mc­Don­nell (R) has been open about his plans to use his political action committee Opportunity Virginia to try to help the GOP take control of the Virginia Senate in November.

By Washington Post Editors  | March 7, 2011; 11:46 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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