Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate McAuliffe Endorses Richmond Casino Proposal

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe has endorsed the ONE Casino + Resort proposal that Richmond voters are currently considering.

“I mean, think about what’s going to happen here in Richmond,” McAuliffe said in a Twitter video Thursday. “Construction: 3,000 jobs. 15,000 permanent jobs. $50 million in revenue that will help schools, hospitals, everything else. I’m so excited.”

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Senator Kaine Votes Against Richmond Casino

Richmond voters are currently deciding if the ONE Casino +Resort proposal will be approved or not, and Senator Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) has said that he voted against the proposal.

“Senator Kaine voted on Monday, September 20. He voted against the casino proposal. He believes there are better ways to enhance economic development in Richmond,” Kaine’s office said in a statement.

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Richmond’s Lee Monument Comes Down After Towering over Richmond for 131 Years

The Robert E. Lee statue that towered over Richmond for more than a century is on its way to storage. A crowd of a few hundred people peered through tree branches trying to watch from the public viewing site, and cheered as the monument was lifted off its pedestal. Crews cut along an original seam and removed Lee’s torso from the rest of the statue to allow transport by flatbed truck. The mood among the public was largely upbeat.

“It’s powerful for one day to dig in and celebrate, but you have to remember it’s just symbolic and it really doesn’t change anything about our lives. So we have to make real change,” Richmond resident Emily Gaidowski told The Virginia Star.

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Richmond’s Robert E. Lee Monument to Come Down After Virginia Supreme Court Dismisses Lawsuits Blocking Removal

The Virginia Supreme Court dissolved injunctions blocking the removal of the Lee monument in Richmond, according to an opinion and an order published by the court on Thursday. In June 2020, Governor Ralph Northam ordered the removal of the monument, which sits on a small piece of land owned by Virginia in the middle of Richmond. Courts issued injunctions to prevent removal while considering two lawsuits challenging the legal authority to remove the monument.

In Taylor v. Northam, plaintiffs argued that documents from the late 1800s prevent the removal. But the court said that the restrictive covenants are unenforceable, and said that they unreasonably try to force government speech indefinitely.

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Virginia Prosecutor: No Improper Benefit for Stoney in Richmond Monument Removal Contract

A special prosecutor, working with the Virginia State Police (VSP), found no evidence that Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney improperly benefited from the contract to remove Richmond’s monuments last summer.

“The investigation did not reveal anything criminal regarding the awarding of the contract,” Augusta County Commonwealth’s Attorney Timothy Martin said in a Wednesday press release.

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Virginia Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Lee Monument Removal Lawsuits

The Virginia Supreme Court heard arguments for two lawsuits blocking the removal of the Lee statue in Richmond on Tuesday.

A year ago, protests sparked by Minneapolis’ police treatment of George Floyd spread across the country. In Virginia, those protests spurred politicians to start removing controversial Confederate monuments. Although Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney was able to quickly remove most of the monuments on Monument Avenue, the most famous monument — a huge statue of Robert E. Lee — sits on state property ceded to the state under conditions that have complicated efforts to remove the bronze general.

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Richmond Moves Forward with Southside Casino Proposal

Ocean Casino Resort

An evaluation panel has selected its preferred casino operator and site to be approved by the Richmond City Council, before the proposal heads to the November ballot for approval by voters. The city received six potential proposals and selected the ONE Casino + Resort proposal that would be located at Commerce Road and Walmsley in Southside Richmond.

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Richmond, Charlottesville Councils Consider Next Steps for Their Monuments

It’s been over eight months since Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney removed the city’s Confederate monuments to storage. In a Monday City Council meeting, City Council Interim Chief of Staff Joyce Davis announced that the Organizational Development Standing Committee would hear a resolution about the disposition of the statues. A public hearing and city council vote on the resolution is expected May 10.

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Virginia Leaders Mourn Sudden Passing of Dominion Energy Chairman and Philanthropist Tom Farrell

Tom Farrell

Dominion Energy Chairman and Virginia philanthropist Thomas F. “Tom” Farrell II has died, causing the Commonwealth of Virginia and it’s political leaders to mourn the loss of one of the most powerful businessmen in Virginia history. Farrell, age 66, passed away due to cancer on Friday, one day after relinquishing the Chairmanship of the company he had steered from 2007 to 2020. Mr. Farrell and his family have heavily influenced some of the most important business and political decisions in the Commonwealth.

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Pro-Gun Rights Car Caravan Planned for Lobby Day

Lobby Day, the annual tradition where Virginians from across the state gather in Richmond to engage lawmakers on pressing issues, is going to look quite different this year.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) Lobby Day 2021 is set to take place on Monday in Richmond, but this year, instead of a massive gathering of mostly armed individuals at the Capitol, the gun-rights advocacy group is organizing a car caravan through the heart of the city.

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Richmond, Virginia Offering Utility Relief Assistance to Residents

Richmond residents struggling to keep up with their utility bills or already several months behind as a result of economic hardships from the coronavirus pandemic can now apply for assistance from the city.

The city of Richmond Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has received funding from the COVID-19 Municipal Utility Relief Program – originally provided by the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) – to make this assistance possible.

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Richmond, Virginia to Start Accepting Proposals for Resort Casinos, Releases Expectation Document

With the release of the Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P) document, Richmond can now begin accepting submissions from established operators to build a resort casino in Virginia’s capital city.

Monday’s release of the RFQ/P marks the official start of the months-long competitive process to potentially bring a resort casino to Richmond in the coming years. The document outlines what the city expects from a proposal.

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Virginia Legislators Expect to Legalize Marijuana in 2021, but Massive Changes Needed Might Slow the Process

It’s not quite a nonpartisan issue, but Virginia legislators expect an effort to legalize marijuana will receive enough bipartisan support to pass in the 2021 regular session. The biggest hurdle to the plan is the massive legislative changes that are required. Legislators have to choose how the cannabis business will interact with many sectors of business and government including banking, law enforcement, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Taxation, and the Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

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Richmond Releases Public Comment Survey on Potential City Resort Casino

Richmond released a survey for local residents Tuesday asking for feedback on what the city should consider in proposals for a potential resort casino in Virginia’s capital.

The online survey will be open until December 14. The results will help inform the Request for Qualifications/Proposals (RFQ/P) document and outline the expectations of Richmond and its residents for any proposals.

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Virginia Democrats Call for Removal of Richmond City General Registrar

The Democratic Party of Virginia is calling for the removal or resignation of the Richmond City General Registrar J. Kirk Showalter.

In a letter to Richmond’s electoral board on Thursday, Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA) Chair Susan Swecker, and Richmond City Democratic Committee Chair Jamie Nolan criticized Showalter for her handling of the recent elections.

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Six Virginia Counties Vote to Keep Confederate Monuments

Residents of six rural Virginia counties voted to keep local Confederate monuments in place on Tuesday. The referenda are non-binding, but demonstrate voter preference to the local boards of supervisors. In four of the counties, over 70 percent of voters chose to keep the monuments, according to the Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP). Two counties were closer; Charles City County voted against removing its monument by 55.11 percent, while Halifax County voted against relocating its monument by 59.69 percent.

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Follow the Richmond Money: Mayor’s Race Wide Open

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney blew away challengers Alexsis Rodgers and Kim Gray with September campaign fundraising. Data from The Virginia Public Access Project shows Stoney’s campaign reported $224,602, Rodgers reported $98,283, and Gray reported $83,455.

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Latest Poll: Gray Drops to 16 Percent, Stoney Stays Stable

Kim Gray’s support has plunged from 33 percent to 16 percent, just ahead of Alexsis Rodgers at 15 percent, according to a new poll from the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University. Incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney stayed solid at 36 percent. Justin Griffin dropped to 3 percent, and Tracey McLean got 1 percent. 30 percent of Richmond’s voters are undecided about the mayoral election.

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Sparks Fly at Richmond Mayoral Debate Between Stoney and Gray

The top four candidates for Richmond’s mayor debated in a forum on Tuesday night that saw incumbent Mayor Levar Stoney again defending his record from attacks on all sides. Councilmember Kim Gray and candidate Justin Griffin took turns attacking Stoney for corruption and mismanagement while candidate Alexsis Rodgers suggested that many of Stoney’s best ideas for the future are cribbed from her own platform.

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New Poll Suggests Richmond Mayor’s Race is Between Stoney and Gray

A new poll by the American Research Group (ARG) shows Mayor Levar Stoney and Councilmember Kim Gray at the top of the Richmond mayoral election. Stoney has 37 percent of voters, while Gray has 33 percent, with a 4.5 percent margin of error. The poll was first reported by the Richmond Free Press.

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Richmond Mayor Proposes ‘Racially Equitable’ Affordable Housing Plan

Richmond Mayor Levi Stoney proposed a “racially equitable” affordable housing plan on Tuesday.
The mayor will give a majority of the city-owned land parcels to Maggie Walker Community Land Trust. The organization’s mission statement is “to foster racially equitable communities” within their constructed affordable housing.

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Richmond Bans Guns While City Collapses from Rioters

Richmond Police Department (RPD) officers were seen at the Robert E. Lee monument on Saturday morning posting signs on the recently-passed Richmond city gun ordinance. 

The new ordinance, passed unanimously by the Richmond city council early this month, does not outright ban firearms in public spaces, but it does call for restrictions when a permitted event is taking place.

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Outside Prosecutor Investigating Stoney’s Contract Removing Monuments

Augusta County Prosecutor Timothy Martin will investigate a contract used by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney earlier this summer to remove parts of eight of Richmond’s Confederate monuments.

In August, Richmond City Councilmember and candidate for Stoney’s seat Kim Gray called for investigation into the contract. The contract paid $1.8 million to NAH LLC, which has ties to Devon Henry who, in 2016, donated $4,000 to Stoney’s campaign for mayor.

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Mayor Levar Stoney Campaigning on Universal Pre-K for Richmond

In his latest campaign appearance, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced a plan to provide universal pre-k throughout the city for three and four-year-olds. Stoney was joined by Virginia’s First Lady Pam Northam and former Secretary of Education, who endorsed the mayor for re-election.

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It’s About the Incumbent: Five Richmond Mayor Candidates Debate in Zoom Forum

Candidates for the Richmond mayor’s race took turns establishing their policy priorities and attacking the incumbent in the Southside Mayoral Forum held on Tuesday via Zoom. The candidates answered questions focused on economic and political priorities and better road and parks infrastructure.

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Windows at Virginia GOP Headquarters Smashed Overnight

Multiple street facing windows were shattered overnight at the Republican Party of Virginia headquarters in downtown Richmond.

This is the second time in three months the office windows in the Richard D. Obenshain Center have been smashed by someone.

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Governor Northam, Richmond Political and Business Elite Line-up Behind Mayor Levar Stoney

At a campaign kick-off event in Church Hill Tuesday, Governor Northam announced that he is endorsing Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney for re-election.

On Monday, Stoney announced via his Twitter that the Virginia legislative Black Caucus Chair Del. Lamont Bagby (D-Henrico County) endorsed him for re-election.

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Kim Gray Interview: Mayor Stoney Dodges Procurement Rules Awarding $1.8M to Donor Shell Company While Richmond Students Go Without Technology For School

Wednesday morning on The John Fredericks Show, host Fredericks talked to Richmond mayoral candidate Kim Gray about Mayor Levar Stoney’s recent $1.8 million bid to remove statutes and how that money could have been better allocated to students in need.

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Richmond City Council Delays Gun Ordinance Vote

The Richmond City Council chose to delay a vote on an amendment to its firearms ordinance. The council heard over an hour of public comments and discussion in the virtual meeting on Thursday afternoon. Eventually, the council members concluded they needed more time to clarify questions about vague wording in the amendment.

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Virginia Citizens Defense League Lobbies Virginia Localities to Become Gun ‘Sanctuaries’

Gun-rights activist group the Virginia Citizens Defense League is lobbying 193 local jurisdictions to declare they will not ban guns. The proposed Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions vary, but contain language stating that a jurisdiction “shall not exercise any authority granted to it … to regulate or prohibit the otherwise legal purchase, possession, or transfer of firearms or ammunition.”

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The John Fredericks Show: Mayor Levar Stoney Responds to Richmond Riots and Looting by Demanding to Legalize Pot

Live from Virginia Friday morning on The John Fredericks Show –  weekdays on WNTW AM 820/ FM 92.7 – Richmond, WJFN FM 100.5 – Central Virginia, WMPH AM 1010 / FM 100.1 / FM 96.9 (7-9 PM) Hampton Roads, WBRG AM 1050 / FM 105.1 – Lynchburg/Roanoke and Weekdays 6-10 am and 24/7 Stream –  host Fredericks was dumbfounded by the recent letter written to the Governor of Virginia by Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney which revealed his top priority was marijuana legalization in the wake of Richmond’s violence.

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Four People Arrested and Charged with Rioting in Richmond

Richmond police arrested and charged four individuals with rioting Tuesday night after buildings in downtown Richmond were damaged and defaced.

“On Tuesday night a group of individuals broke windows and damaged and defaced property in several neighborhoods in the city of Richmond,” Richmond police said in a statement obtained by The Virginia Star. “At approximately 11:50 p.m., officers detained several individuals. The Department consulted with the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney on possible charges and charged four.”

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