Archive for July 2010
Governor Bob McDonnell unveiled a schedule that will put him in 8 Virginia cities over the month of August. The Governor will host 8 town hall meetings where he will discuss economic and government reform issues with constituents.
“I have consistently found that the best ideas don’t come from Richmond, they come from Virginians in communities statewide,” McDonnell said in a prepared statement. “We are focused on reforming state government to make it simpler, smaller and more efficient.”
McDonnell will start the tour in Roanoke on August 4th and will conclude August 31st in Bristol. Chester will be the site one of the town hall meetings on August 19th from 7-8:30pm at the Cultural Center of India on Ironbridge Road.
According to the press release, McDonnell will push a number of the agenda items brought up in his Government Reform and Restructuring Committee, chief among them his idea to privatize the states ABC stores.
“Our state government must be focused on core priorities instead of services that should rightly be provided by the private sector, offering Virginians more choice and convenience,” McDonnell said.
In addition to the scheduled events, the Governor is expected to announce additional stops to other communities across the Commonwealth. He also promises to have cabinet members in tow to provide specific information to address constituent concerns.
The entire schedule of the “Virginia Speaks” tour can be found below:
“Virginia Speaks: A Conversation about Jobs, Government Reform and Our Future”
****Town Hall Schedule****
August 4, 2010 — 7:00pm-8:30pm
Roanoke County Administration Center
Board of Supervisors Board Room
5204 Bernard Drive
August 9, 2010 —7:00pm-8:30pm
Old Dominion University
Webb University Center – Hampton/Newport News Room
4201 Hampton Blvd.
August 19, 2010 — 7:00pm-8:30pm
Cultural Center of India
6641 Ironbridge Parkway
August 24, 2010 — 7:00pm-8:30pm
University of Mary Washington
Lee Hall – Room 412
1301 College Avenue
August 25, 2010 —7:00pm-8:30pm
Northern Virginia Technology Council Auditorium
2214 Rock Hill Road, Suite 300
August 26, 2010 —7:00pm-8:30pm
James Madison University
East Campus Dining Hall – Montpelier Room
800 S. Main Street
August 30, 2010 — 7:00pm-8:30pm
Institute for Advanced Learning and Research
150 Slayton Ave.
***Partnering with the Sorensen Southside Public Leadership Series***
August 31, 2010 — 7:00pm-8:30pm
Bristol Public Library
J. Henry Kegley Meeting Room
701 Goode Street
The Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP explained today his rationale for lashing out at Senator Jim Webb. King Salim Khalfani wrote a letter to Webb expressing his anger over an op-ed the Senator wrote for the Wall Street Journal on diversity programs like Affirmative Action.
“You don’t start a discussion by sucker punching someone in the nose, and then breaking their nose and then say ‘let’s talk’,” said Khalfani.
In a live interview on NBC12 First at 4, Khalfani took issue with Webb for writing that the “NAACP thinks the tea party is racist.” Webb began his Op-ed with that line, in an apparent effort to explain the heated rhetoric that comes any time issues of race are addressed. (Webb concluded his first paragraph by writing “The time has come to cease the false arguments and allow every American the benefit of a fair chance at the future”)
But for Khalfani starting the article with that line sent the discussion in the wrong direction and it ultimately led him to fire off his angry letter. “His premise began with a lie,” he said, “and for him to begin an international op-ed piece (that way) is disingenuous at best.”
However, Khalfani himself, has been accused of raising the debate on the issue to a new level. In his letter, he refers to members of the tea party as “tea baggers” and compares Webb to conservative talk show hosts Glenn Beck and Bill O’Rielly. A prominent democratic blogger described the letter as a “tirade“, while another asked “who writes this stuff?” Veteran political analyst Dr. Bob Holsworth predicted that prominent democrats will attempt to distance themselves from what the activist had to say, whether they agree or not.
Khalfani chose not to back down from the inflammatory language. In fact he embraced it.
“If they think this doesn’t affect people, well it affects our everyday lives,” said Khalfani. “Yeah, I’m angry.”
And he doesn’t plan to back down.
“We don’t hope to meet with him,” he said. “We demand it. He works for us, we don’t work for him We elected him.”
Despite the heated words up until this point, Khalfani believes he and Webb can have a civil discourse on the issue.
“I meet with Presidents, U.S. Senators, Governors all the time. You’ve never seen me arrested, I haven’t beaten anybody up yet. I am sure we can, we always do.”
I am in contact with Senator Webb’s office regarding what Khalfani had to say today. If they offer a response, I will share it.
You can see the interview in its enterity below:
You can see a complete transcript of the discussion on our main site- NBC12.com
His scathing letter to Senator Jim Webb is getting press all over the country. Wednesday on NBC12 First at 4, King Salim Khalfani will join me live to discuss his rationale for weighing in on the issue.
Monday, the outspoken Executive Director of the Virginia State Conference of the NAACP fired off a letter that contained the most heavy criticism of Senator Webb’s controversial op-ed on diversity programs like Affirmative Action. In the article Webb argued that federal diversity programs have not helped the plight of disadvantaged minorities and instead have marginalized poor whites.
Webb’s editorial was printed at the same time Washington was boiling over with tension after the firing of a black USDA director, whose comments at an NAACP dinner were taken out of context. Webb’s editorial and the Shirley Sherrod controversy have made issues of race a hot topic across the country. Khalfani strong criticism of Webb’s writing has added to that narrative.
Wednesday we will unpack these issues with Khalfani and ask what he h0pes will come of the letter he sent to the Senator.
NBC12 First at 4 airs at 4pm on NBC12-TV. It is also streamed live at NBC12.com
Virginia senior Senator Jim Webb is still feeling the impact from a controversial column that he penned in Friday’s Wall Street Journal. The Op-ed discussed an issue that Webb has long had strong feelings about, the role of federally backed diversity programs like Affirmative Action.
The piece titled: “Diversity and the Myth of White Privilege” outlined Webb’s belief that programs like Affirmative Action have done more to hold back unprivileged whites than they have helped minorities.
In the wake of the article, the Democrat has received a smattering of criticism and some applause for his willingness to take on a such a sensitive topic.
For the most part the reaction to the piece remains mixed and unclear. That is one of the reasons the leader of one of the Commonwealth’s key minority organizations has decided to weigh in. King Salim Khalfani, the outspoken executive director of the Virginia Conference of the NAACP made it clear, he feels the Senator is wrong.
“We vehemently disagree with your analysis and wonder if serving in the elite, rich United States Senate has skewed your vision of the world in which we live,” wrote Khalfani on behalf of his organization. “Your opponent then and coming George Allen would not have had the gall to write about the “myth of white privilege”.”
In the letter, Khalfani requests a meeting with Webb to discuss his views on the issue. We have a request into the Senator’s office to see how he will respond.
UPDATE: Senator Webb’s Spokesman Will Jenkins responded to the Khalfani letter. Jenkins said that their office has not formally received the letter, but when they do it will receive a “careful response”.
Here is his entire statement:
Senator Webb has dedicated his time in the Senate to bringing fairness to America’s economic system and to our work force. He has been particularly attuned to the concerns of African-Americans, including the advancement of education, workforce development, and criminal justice reform. Our office has not yet officially received Mr. Khalfani’s letter. When we do, it will receive a careful response. With respect to the issues raised about African-Americans, it is useful to quote from the article itself:
“Lyndon Johnson’s initial program for affirmative action was based on the 13th Amendment and on the Civil Rights Act of 1866, which authorized the federal government to take actions in order to eliminate “the badges of slavery.” Affirmative action was designed to recognize the uniquely difficult journey of African-Americans. This policy was justifiable and understandable, even to those who came from white cultural groups that had also suffered in socio-economic terms from the Civil War and its aftermath…
“The injustices endured by black Americans at the hands of their own government have no parallel in our history, not only during the period of slavery but also in the Jim Crow era that followed. But the extrapolation of this logic to all “people of color”—especially since 1965, when new immigration laws dramatically altered the demographic makeup of the U.S.—moved affirmative action away from remediation and toward discrimination, this time against whites. It has also lessened the focus on assisting African-Americans, who despite a veneer of successful people at the very top still experience high rates of poverty, drug abuse, incarceration and family breakup…
“Beyond our continuing obligation to assist those African-Americans still in need, government-directed diversity programs should end. Nondiscrimination laws should be applied equally among all citizens, including those who happen to be white. The need for inclusiveness in our society is undeniable and irreversible, both in our markets and in our communities. Our government should be in the business of enabling opportunity for all, not in picking winners. It can do so by ensuring that artificial distinctions such as race do not determine outcomes…”
You can see the entire letter from the NAACP after the jump.
Governor Bob McDonnell believes that in order to close a deal you need to see a potential client in person. It is one of many reasons that he went to Europe for 6 days to pitch companies to either open or expand their business in Virginia.
“You have to go and look the CEO in the eye,” said McDonnell “(and) tell them about the benefits of investing in Virginia, and ask for the sale.”
We spoke to the Governor today live on NBC12 First at 4 from the last leg of his trip in Frankfurt, Germany. He said that he is poised to announce a number of deals that were hatched as a direct result of the trip.
“I know, like many things in life, having a personal contact, talking to people and asking for their business is very successful and we’re hoping to have a number of announcements in the next 60 to 90 days,” he said.
McDonnell also responded to criticism from Senator Mark Warner, a former Governor himself who at one point explored privatizing the Commonwealth’s ABC stores. During a press gaggle this week Warner called McDonnell’s projections of a $500 million windfall from the sale a “wild optimistic” estimate. The Governor believes the Senator is looking at the wrong numbers.
“I don’t know if Senator Warner has done as much research on this as we have,” said McDonnell. “I will say he’s looking at numbers from Ohio which is a different model than what we’re proposing in Virginia.”
McDonnell claims that Senator Warner’s model was based on a version of privatization in Ohio that was “agency” based. In the Ohio model, the state still owns the inventory and controls its sale, but private companies act as “agents” for the state. McDonnell’s proposal would surrender government control completely and in his opinion create a free market model that would flourish.
“We believe government shouldn’t be in the business of alcohol distribution at anyway rate,” said McDonnell. “But to generate $3 to 5 million for transportation is something people ought to embrace.”
You can see our entire interview with Governor McDonnell below-
You can read the transcript on our main page NBC12.com.
McDonnell has already made stops in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before arriving in Germany. The focus of the Governor’s trip is to encourage European business in Virginia, specifically in the areas of aviation, wine and tourism. He is joined on the trip by First Lady Maureen McDonnell and Secretary of Commerce and Trade Jim Cheng.
In this photo, The Governor is in London with His Royal Highness Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and, President and CEO of Rolls-Royce North America Jim Guyette. The trio are reviewing the Band of the Irish Guards at the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London. (Photo courtesy of VEDP)
Today the Governor held a conference call with the Virginia media where he discussed the progress he has made on the trip to this point. Friday he talks with us on NBC12 one on one.
You can see First at 4 on NBC12-TV and streamed live on NBC12.com.
It has only been law for almost two weeks, but the debate over allowing concealed weapons in bars is still raging. For defenders of the second amendment, allowing permit holders to bring their weapons into a bar or restaurant, without anyone knowing, is a constitutional right. For gun control advocates it is a recipe for a dangerous situation.
Wednesday on NBC12 First at 4, we heard from both sides of this contentious issue. Both Phillip Van Cleave of the Virginia Citizens Defense League and Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback are on the front lines of this debate. Van Cleave leads an organization of 14 thousand Virginians who work to defend the second amendment. His group heavily lobbied the General Assembly to get the bill passed. Lauterback tends bar at some of Richmond’s hottest downtown haunts and writes about his experience on his blog and for Style Weekly.
You can see our discussion below:
You can also read an entire transcript of the exchange on our main site, NBC12.com.
As expected, thousands of people showed up Tuesday at Deep Run High School for a job fair hosted by Richmond Congressman Eric Cantor. This is the third job fair hosted by Cantor, the 2nd most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives.
Cantor’s involvement in the event drew swift and heavy criticism from Democrats who accused him of co-opting businesses that benefited from federal stimulus dollars for the event, despite his opposition to the plan.
Democrats calculated the total amount of taxpayer dollars provided to these employers at $50 million.
Andy Jenks covered the story for NBC12. You can read and watch his complete report here.
It has been two solid weeks of positive press for Rep. Eric Cantor ahead of his job fair which will put 90 local companies in front of hundreds of people looking for work. Past job fairs hosted by Cantor have been very successful and in turn have led to positive media coverage for the Congressman.
Democrats have been sending subtle shots in the direction of the 2nd most powerful Republican in the House, walking a fine line of slamming him, but not attacking the idea.
Today they did not mince words. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee called Cantor’s work on the job fair “hypocritical”. They attacked him for going to Washington and fighting against stimulus funding and then hosting a job fair featuring companies that have benefited from the Recovery Act.
“It’s become a dangerous habit where Eric Cantor goes to Washington and fights against job creation and then goes to his district and claims credit for the jobs created,” said DCCC spokesman Jesse Ferguson.
Cantor has taken the high road and worked to make his job fair effort about one thing: jobs.
The question is, which message gets out to the people who elect him, and which message gets out to the power players inside the beltway?
The complete release from the Democratic Campaign Committee is after the jump:
Virginia native John Morton has worked on the front lines of U.S. Immigration for more than 20 years. The current Director of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE) believes that the system isn’t working and is in need of reform.
“The present system doesn’t work as well as it should,” said Director Morton, “but my view is that reform should start at the federal level and not through 50 individual state laws.”
Morton agreed that there are problems with illegal aliens in all parts of the country, but in his opinion, the drastic action taken by Arizona and similar laws like one in Prince William County are not the answer.
“I don’t think at the end of the day that individual state immigration enforcement regimes are the right answer,” he said. “We need a uniform federal law but one that’s aggressive and one that works very closely with the states throughout the country.”
According to Morton, ICE is forced to prioritize exactly what it spends time enforcing. Limited resources make it difficult for the agency to go after every single lawbreaker. It is one of the many reasons he believes a comprehensive reform package is a neccessity.
“We work in a world of limited resources. We focus first and foremost on criminal offenders.”
And while he waits for reforms that have been promised for years, Morton and his team must continue to do the best they can under the current conditions. A job that must be done regardless of the political climate.
“On the one hand, it’s what makes our country great,” he said. “We’re a nation of immigrants but we’re also a nation of laws and we can’t forget that we’re best when we try to balance those two things and make sure at the end of the day we’re trying to keep the streets safe and yet be a welcoming country.”
You can see my entire interview with Director John Morton below.
*You can see an entire transcript of the interview on our main page- NBC12.com