July 6, 2006
The Supreme Court has upheld the controversial redistricting plan that got Tom DeLay in so much trouble. He was contriving to manipulate congressional districts in an unusually blatant fashion (i.e., "gerrymandering"), but that is considered "politics as usual" by most people. See Washington Post. Since fairness in representational apportionment is one of my main reform concerns, this is a disappointment, but hardly surprising. It's somewhat like the question of who has the power to initiate war, which many judges don't want to touch with a ten-foot pole, but I happen to think that that issue needs to be definitively resolved as well. George Will frowned upon what he perceived to be their "splitting the difference" on this critical issue, that is punting on a matter that is inherently political.
Speaking of "The Hammer," a Texas court ruled yesterday (see Washington Post) that DeLay's name must appear on the November general election ballot, even though he has already announced his resignation from Congress. The ruling was on the grounds that the Republican nomination process has already been completed, and cannot be reversed after the fact. It's too bad the judges in New Jersey didn't adhere so strictly to the letter of the law when they allowed Frank Lautenberg to substitute on the ballot at the last minute (well, month) for then-Democrat Senator Torricelli, who resigned in disgrace in October 2002. (See my October 8, 2002 post; scroll down).
The Staunton City Council met to choose a new mayor from among its members, and Lacy King emerged victorious. He replaces John Avoli, who had served as mayor for the preceding 14 years, but decided not to run for reelection to the City Council this year. The lone dissenting vote was cast by Councilman Richard Bell, who said he had no personal problems with Mr. King but did not like the way the decision was made, behind closed doors. See Staunton News Leader.
For the past few years, Mr. Bell has been the only City Council member affiliated with the Republican Party. He did his best to make sure that the various city development programs -- such as the Stonewall Jackson Hotel restoration -- were based on sound financial projections. He is a well-respected coach and special education teacher in Augusta County. Both he and Mr. King spoke to the Staunton Republican Committee last month, outlining their visions of Staunton's future, and discussing the controversial proposed "mega-site" industrial complex in Weyer's Cave. With all of the nasty intrigues in City Hall during the election campaign last fall, that joint appearance may be a good sign that more cooperative attitudes will begin to prevail in Staunton. Or maybe not.
Steve Kijak posted several fine photos of the Staunton Fourth of July parade at his RightsideVA blog. Representative Bob Goodlatte, Delegates Steve Landes and Ben Cline showed up to "press the flesh." Looks like I missed a good time.
One of the new Republican candidates for Congress in North Carolina, Vernon Robinson, is running a clever and very effective TV ad with a "Twilight Zone" theme, poking fun at hypocrisy by Democrats over civil rights, etc.. This was billed by GOPUSA.com as "Rush Limbaugh's favorite TV ad," but I don't recall him mentioning it.