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Monday, March 20, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: The political equivalent of a middle finger

Editor’s Notebook: The political equivalent of a middle finger

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In the long run it’s a tempest in a teapot and much ado about nothing (or at least much ado about not all that much), but passions do seem to be running high now that Gov. Youngkin vetoed a bill that would have given the Arlington County Board power to appoint a person to oversee investigations of alleged police misconduct.

The governor came out swinging on March 1, giving the bill (patroned by Del. Patrick Hope) a big ol’ middle finger and proclaiming that it was an anti-cop measure.

Well, that’s in the eye of the beholder, but in this case, the governor is not just the Beholder(er?) but also, in the parlance of George W. Bush, the Decider(er?) as well. When it comes to a [tinkling] match, His Excellency has the more impressive trajectory vis-a-vis County Board members.

Whether the police auditor is appointed by the county manager (as will now be the case) or the County Board is likely, as our brilliant coverage points out, to be a distinction without a difference. But it’s a reminder that with Republicans (mostly) back in charge in Richmond, Arlington County Board members are going to be back playing defense. For them, that may take some getting used to, although for those of us old and gray enough to have been around the track multiple times, it’s just another case of lather-rinse-repeat as Virginia state government bounces between the two parties.


Anyway, and Kindly Uncle Scotty says it with love: Suck it up, County Board members. There’s a new sheriff (er, governor) in town, and you can either learn to play nice or spend the next four years in the wilderness when it comes to having a friend in high office. I’ll be here to chronicle it either way.

WOULD YOU LIKE SOME CHEESE WITH THAT WHINE? With the exception of journalists and Major League Baseball players, teachers are about the biggest crybabies when it comes to their salaries and working conditions.

At it always has been that way, according to our local-history column.

From the March 9, 1968, edition of the newspaper, it’s reported the the Fairfax Education Association was considering ordering its members to “work to the rule” to voice displeasure with salaries.

Ah, yes, the old work-to-the-rule trick, as Maxwell Smart might have put it. The Fairfax Education Association pulled that one when I was a student some 15 years later, too. It’s always ineffective and turns parents against the educators, but as we’ve seen in recent times, leaders of teacher unions don’t really give a crap what parents think.

MORE SPARKS FLY IN RICHMOND: Also from the history file, here’s one from March 13, 1976.

It seems the House of Delegates (with its large Democratic majority) has approved legislation that would increase the number of crimes in Virginia that were punishable by a one-way trip to the ol’ electric chair.

  • Scott McCaffrey
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