Connect with us
[adrotate banner="51"]

Politics

City Council Votes to Roll the Dice on a Second Casino Referendum Doubling Down with Tax Cuts

Is anybody looking forward to months of casino referendum ads again?

Published

on

x

In November the voters of Richmond rejected the referendum that would allow a casino to be built in South Side Richmond. The vote was close, at 51% against 49% for and broke down on racial lines. Black neighborhoods and voters were heavily in favor of the casino.

Last night the vote wasn’t close. Only Councilwoman Katherine Jordan voted against the measure to put the One Casino Referendum back on the table. The casino would still be built near Commerce Road and Walmsley Boulevard.

Outspoken former 6th District City Council candidate and anti-casino activist Allan-Charles Chipman summed up the situation thusly:
“The passage of this legislation would defy the expressed will of the people in Richmond. It is a frequent tactic of casinos once they lose any democratic referendum to try and break the will of the people with consecutive referendums…While double or nothing is an acceptable tool for someone who lost a bet in the casino, it is not an acceptable option for the members of this body who lost a bet on a casino.”

To sweeten the pot, Mayor Stoney is promising a 2-cent reduction to the city’s real estate tax rate if and only if the referendum passes. The hope being that the promised tax revenue from the casino would fill any budget gaps. The Mayor is betting that the casino will keep paying out long after the “newness” shine has worn off.

As with all proposals, the $600 million One Casino proposal promises a lot, $30 million in annual tax revenue, 1,500 jobs, and an immediate $25 million payment if the measure passes.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

Education

Organizers hope voting becomes habit for ‘wildcard’ young voters

Political organizers and candidates are watching to see if they pull younger voters to the polls in an election that could change the balance of power in Congress. They hope that more education on the importance of voting, and how to vote, can develop a consistent habit among young voters whose participation can be a wildcard.

Published

on

x

By Cassandra Loper

Roughly three years ago, Maria Reynoso determined local policy issues and election information were not readily available or easily digestible to the average voter, and especially younger voters.

Reynoso now runs We Vote Virginia, a nonpartisan digital media resource to help voters become more informed.

“What my focus when creating the organization, and I guess my mission, was really to make it incredibly accessible and fun and engaging to learn about local politics,” Reynoso said.

The most critical change happens in local and state politics, according to Reynoso. Virginia voter turnout traditionally drops off between presidential elections. Candidates are vying for U.S. House of Representatives seats in Congress this year, with other local races and initiatives on the ballot throughout the state’s districts.

Political organizers and candidates are watching to see if they pull younger voters to the polls in an election that could change the balance of power in Congress. They hope that more education on the importance of voting, and how to vote, can develop a consistent habit among young voters whose participation can be a wildcard.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s VCU Votes Student Coalition is a network of the university’s students, faculty and staff that promote voter engagement on campus, according to the VCU Votes website.

“Younger voters are considered a wildcard because they’re still very new to voting, and I think also, they’re still new to the democratic process as a whole,” said Cameron Hart, director of partnerships for VCU Votes Student Coalition.

Young voters understand the urgency of issues, such as climate change, according to Hart, and it can motivate them to the polls.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties of Virginia could do more in terms of encouraging young people to vote by making appearances on college campuses, Hart said.

Generation X, millennials and Generation Z make up over 46% of the Virginia population, according to American Community Survey data by the U.S. Census Bureau. That percentage is totaled from the provided categories of ages 20-54, although the generations are ages 10-57. Gen Z and millennial eligible voters ages 20-44 account for over a third of the population, based on the census data.

Virginia young voter turnout ages 18-29 has been a mixed bag in the past few elections, according to Tufts Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, or CIRCLE. That age group is most commonly used by researchers, versus a precise snapshot of voter participation by generation.

  • The 18-29 voter turnout more than doubled in the 2018 midterm election, according to CIRCLE (13% to 33%). Virginia voters are inconsistent when it comes to midterm elections, in general. Since 2000, anywhere from almost 32% to almost 60% of voters participated, according to the Virginia Department of Elections website.

  • The 18-29 voter turnout was 56% in Virginia in 2020, according to CIRCLE, up from 48% in 2016. Voter turnout for the 2020 presidential election was the highest turnout of the 21st century, overall.

  •  The 18-29 voter turnout decreased in the 2021 gubernatorial election, according to CIRCLE, from 34% in 2017 to 27%.

Social media is a great way to engage young voters, according to Reynoso. The We Vote VA Instagram account launched in late 2019. The account now has nearly 16,000 followers and is one of the organization’s primary methods of reaching voters. It features easy to read and visually appealing posts containing information about polling locations, important dates, redistricting background and more. The concept is to inform and help create a habit of voting.

“It is so important that young voters know their facts,” Ellie Sorensen, press secretary for the Republican Party of Virginia, stated in an email.

Young voters may think their vote doesn’t matter because some policy issues might not directly impact them, according to Sorensen.

“Sometimes, voters just vote based on what other people around them vote, but if they are taught the importance of voting and the facts about what they are actually voting for, it will encourage younger people to vote,” Sorensen stated.

Voting can become a habit, especially when voters can see the “good it can do,” according to Gianni Snidle, press secretary for the Democratic Party of Virginia.

“If we’re not actively participating in our democracy, then we’re failing,” Snidle said.

Nonprofit organization Rock the Vote has worked to make voting a habit among young voters since 1990. It launched with a public service announcement featuring singer, songwriter and actress Madonna.

Rock the Vote serves as a one-stop shop for all things voting, Carolyn DeWitt, president and executive director of Rock the Vote, stated in an email. Voters can check registration status, request an absentee ballot, get election reminders and view election deadlines through the website.

The organization had direct channels to young voters through their partnership with MTV, and through concert venues where the organization would register people to vote.

Rock the Vote has adapted through the decades and was the first to launch an online voter registration platform in the late ‘90s, according to an L.A. Times report. The organization reports that they’ve helped register 14 million people to vote.

The new generation of voters are extraordinarily in touch with their values, according to DeWitt.

“But over the past few years, they’ve witnessed our political culture become increasingly volatile and our democracy threatened on multiple counts,” DeWitt stated.

Young people know their value and they keep showing up despite the obstacles put before them, according to DeWitt.

State lawmakers have made voting more accessible in recent years. Virginia voters are no longer required to show photo identification at the polls. Voters can prove their identity with things such as a driver’s license, passport, college student ID and even a current bank statement or utility bill that contains the voter’s name and address. Same-day voter registration can be done up to and on Election Day, although voters receive a provisional ballot.

Voters can find local polling places and request an absentee ballot on the Virginia Department of Elections website.

Early voting started Sept. 23 and will end on Nov. 5. Absentee ballots must be requested by Oct. 28 and postmarked by Election Day on Nov. 8.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Downtown

Youngkin calls raid on Trump club a ‘stunning move’ by feds, raising speculation about presidential run

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state.

Published

on

x

By Graham Moomaw

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin called the federal raid on former President Donald Trump’s home at Mar-a-Lago a “stunning move by the DOJ and FBI” and implied it could be politically motivated.

In a tweet posted Tuesday morning, Youngkin drew a connection between the news of the search in Florida and prior events in Virginia.

“This same DOJ labeled parents in Loudoun County as terrorists and failed to enforce federal law to protect Justices in their homes,” read the post from the governor’s political account. “Selective, politically motivated actions have no place in our democracy.”

The governor’s claim about the events in Loudoun has already been widely refuted by fact-checkers. A controversial letter from the National School Boards Association mentioned the arrest of a Loudoun father upset over his daughter’s sexual assault in a school as an example of aggressive behavior toward school boards that could be “the equivalent to a form of domestic terrorism.” When Attorney General Merrick Garland responded by saying he would investigate and prosecute threats against school boards, he didn’t mention terrorism or Loudoun.

In response to protests over the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, Youngkin, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan asked the Department of Justice to enforce a law that bars picketing outside justices’ houses in their states, but no federal prosecutions followed.

Youngkin’s statement didn’t reference Trump specifically, but it was an unusually direct show of support from a Republican figure who kept the ex-president at arm’s length en route to his close win last year in a purple state. Youngkin has been downplaying speculation about whether he might run for president in 2024, a move that could put him in competition with Trump for the GOP nomination.

Controversy over federal law enforcement agencies has particular resonance in Virginia due to the high numbers of federal employees who live in the state.

Facts have been scarce about why the FBI searched Mar-a-Lago, what agents were looking for and what federal authorities believe Trump may have done. But Virginia Republicans didn’t hold back expressions of outrage over the move.

“The dangerous precedent the Democrats set yesterday by weaponizing the FBI should anger and frighten every American,” state Sen. Jen Kiggans, the Republican nominee in a close congressional race in the Hampton Roads area, said on Twitter. “All to settle old political scores and silence their political opponents – it’s corrupt, and it’s flat out unacceptable.”

Kiggans was responding to an earlier statement from her opponent, Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria, a member of the congressional Jan. 6 committee who was pointing to Republican threats to investigate the Department of Justice if the GOP wins back control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

“There is no way to defend Trump, only to deflect,” Luria said.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading

Politics

Democratic Primary is Today

Get out there and participate in electing your political leaders.

Published

on

x

The Republicans have already tapped Glenn Youngkin, a political newcomer with a ton of cash as the GOP gubernatorial candidate. Today it’s the Democrat’s turn to pick their candidate for Governor and other officials.

Five candidates are competing for the nomination as governor in Tuesday’s primary, with former Gov. Terry McAuliffe seen as the heavy favorite. McAuliffe’s opponents include state Sen. Jennifer McClellan and former Del. Jennifer Carroll Foy.

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. If you are in line at 7 p.m., you will get to vote. Voters heading to the polls on Tuesday are strongly encouraged to wear a mask, although it is not required.

Not sure where your polling location is or if you’re registered go here to get the information.

Full list of statewide candidates

Governor

Five Democrats are vying for the nomination to succeed Gov. Ralph Northam, who is limited to one term:

Lieutenant Governor

Seven Democrats are running to succeed Justin Fairfax:

Attorney General

Del. Jerrauld C. ‘Jay’ Jones takes on incumbent Mark R. Herring.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

Continue Reading