Publisher’s Notebook: You Ask; We Respond

As a political activist, I put my name to a lot of petitions, letters to elected officials, and political surveys. One of the last came to me today from the Common Good VA PAC, and the invitation to “leave . . . feedback for Governor McAuliffe” proved irresistible. We believe in telling the truth as we know it, even when it may prove “inconvenient” to the listener. This one will likely fall into that category: Continue reading

Publisher’s Notebook: Open Letter to Council on Filling the Vacancy

The November 21, 2016, resignation of Council Member Danny Meeks presents an opportunity. Under the provisions of our city charter (see Chapter 3 Section 3.04), when a vacancy on that body occurs, the remaining members can appoint someone to fill the seat temporarily. As CM Meeks’s term of office will expire on January 1, 2017, the amount of time the temporary appointee will hold the position is relatively brief. Nonetheless, were council to appoint one of the Council Members-Elect chosen by the voters earlier this month, that person could get her/his feet wet a bit early. In my view, getting a head start on a new job has benefits to both the job holder and her/his constituents. Continue reading

Guest Opinion: Shannon Glover for Mayor Endorsement

[Tracy Link is a small business owner and civicly engaged Portsmouth citizen. She graciously allowed us to share this posting from her Facebook timeline.]

Tonight, my husband, a Cleveland native, is sitting with his remote in hand, flipping channels between the opening Cavs game and the opening World Series game. Like everyone who ever lived in Cleveland, he’s hoping to see it emerge as a City of Champions. But in many ways, it already has. They have improved their economy, attracted some of the best new businesses, fixed much of their crime issues, and started working on being a renaissance city, built for the future out of the ashes of their past. Continue reading

October, and Just Before, Surprises

In national politics, the “October Surprise” is some headline-grabbing revelation about a candidate in a high-profile race in the month before an election. The news, usually negative,  is expected to change the outcome of the political contest. Locally, the post-Labor Day “reveal” of People for Portsmouth PAC endorsed candidates and the just-announced Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Steering Committee PAC endorsements could be considered in the same category . . . almost. In the cases of our hometown PACs, many of the candidates getting the nods from the “powers that be” in the African- and European-American elites were totally predictable (marked TP below). Some were reasonably predictable (RP). Others were complete shockers (CS). Asterisks (*) denote special cases. See if you agree. Continue reading

City Council Candidate Forum, September 10, 2016

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Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance Co-chair and Forum Moderator Pat Simons

The Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance hosted a forum for city council candidates in place of their regular monthly business meeting. Although invitations went out to all ten candidates, seven attended: Rev. Leon J. Boone, Mr. Nathan J. Clark, Mr. Mark A. Geduldig-Yatrofsky, Ms. Lisa L. Lucas-Burke, Council Member Elizabeth M. Psimas, Ms. S. C. “Cathy” Revell, and former Council Member Ray A. Smith, Sr. The candidates had two minutes for both opening and closing statements and up to one-and-half minutes per response to a series of wide-ranging questions submitted in writing by those in attendance. The video record of the forum at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DSDUcRtKmWg. The running time is about an hour and twenty-seven minutes. (Videography by Mr. Peter Olanitori for PortsmouthCityWatch.org)

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Candidate Leon J. Boone

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Candidate Nathan J. Clark

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Candidate Mark Geduldig-Yatrofsky

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Candidate Lisa L. Lucas-Burke

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Council Member Elizabeth M. Psimas

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Candidate S. C. “Cathy” Revell

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Candidate Ray A. Smith, Sr.

Publisher’s Notebook: People for Portsmouth Endorsements and Interview

For a long-time advocate of openness in the civic realm, the candidate endorsements by the People for Portsmouth Political Action Committee were epoch making. Many organizations in our city and region — the Martin Luther King, Jr., Leadership Steering Committee, the teachers association, the firefighters’ union, the police association, the realtors’ association, to name a few — select their favorite candidates, bestowing praise and often contributions upon them. Some of these groups vet candidates through a nominally competitive process involving questionnaires and interviews for everyone running; others, anoint their champions in backrooms without any notice to non-members that they are deciding whom to endorse. Whatever the process, as private organizations they are free to choose whomever they like for reasons known only to members of the selection committees. Continue reading

School Board Candidate Forum, August 25, 2016

The People for Portsmouth Political Action Committee hosted a school board candidate forum at the Scottish Rite Center on Cedar Lane. All eight candidates — incumbent Board Members Sarah Duncan Hinds, Ted Lamb, Keith Nance, and Costella Williams; and challengers Angelia Allen, Lakeesha “Klu” Atkinson, De’Andre Barnes, and Joanne Clarke — attended and gave good account of themselves. Ms. Laura Geller, the lead investigative reporter for WVEC-TV13 News Now, served as moderator. Continue reading

Publisher’s Notebook: The Chat & Chew Saga

DSC03386Earlier this year Bishop Barry Randall initiated a series of conversations about race relations in our hometown of Portsmouth. When he scheduled the second one, I urged him to allow PCW to video record it. I was most favorably impressed with first one, but was regretful that it would not be available to a wider audience than those in the room on the night it occurred. He accepted my proposal, which enabled us to become the official media sponsor of that event. Unfortunately, a “Murphy’s Law” scenario led to the loss of all but the last ten minutes of that program. C’est la vie! Luckily, he afforded us a second chance, and we captured the entirety of the third panel discussion, Chat & Chew III: Hard Talk about Police and Community Relations. Continue reading

City of Portsmouth Presentation on Political Signage Regulations

DSC03317On August 16, 2016, city officials briefed candidates seeking local office regarding the regulation of campaign signs. Given the record number of people running for elective office this year, Director of Permits and Inspections Douglas K. Smith said that the city wanted to get out in front of potential issues of inappropriate sign placement through an education initiative. In (silent) partnership with the city, PCW has posted a video of the information session and a copy of the handout provided to those in attendance. Please direct questions to the Department of Permits and Inspections at 757 393-8531.

Mayoral Candidate Forum Held August 13, 2016

2016 Mayoral Candidates

Mayoral Candidates Shannon Glover, Cliff Page, John Rowe, Jim Sturdevant, Kenneth Wright

Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance Cochair Pat Simons

Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance Cochair and Forum Moderator Pat Simons

A full house at the 2016 Mayoral Forum hosted by Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance

A full house at the 2016 Mayoral Forum hosted by Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance

The Portsmouth Taxpayer Alliance hosted a Mayoral Candidate Forum at their August monthly meeting. In attendance were Candidates Shannon Glover, Cliff Page, John Rowe, Jim Sturdevant, and Kenneth Wright, the incumbent mayor. Candidate Barry Randall was unable to attend as he was officiating at a wedding. After his opening statement and response to a question from the audience, Mayor Wright left to attend another event.

The video recording of the forum is available on the PortsmouthCityWatch.org YouTube Channel.