MURDEROUS GANG WAR IN PWC
Four Prince William County men killed by gunfire in 2019 were the random victims of a local “clique” of the criminal street gang Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), who carried out the fatal shootings “to further their standing” within the gang, according to police. A joint investigation involved “hundreds of law enforcement officers,” resulting in the arrests of the 12 people in connection with the homicides and four others on related drug trafficking charges. Of the 16 suspects, 14 are in custody and two are still wanted for arrest. None of the victims had any known connection to the gang. The investigation revealed that the gang members were part of a narcotics trafficking ring that involved cocaine being transported from the New York area to Prince William County, where it was then sold during street-level transactions.
Frightening events in a peaceful community.
DAMN! I FORGOT ABOUT THAT COUPLA MILLION DOLLARS!
New federal paperwork filed by Republican congressional hopeful Bob Good (5th Dist.) shows he owned at least $250,000 in assets that have not previously been disclosed in similar state filings. An amended financial disclosure form filed recently by Good shows he owned securities in various retirement accounts worth between $257,000 and $1.8 million as of November 30, 2019. It also showed between $30,000 and $100,000 in student loans to pay for his children’s college education.
“I don’t think this question is of any concern to the voters of the fifth district,” Good said.
None of those assets or debts appeared on a January 8, 2019, Statement of Economic Interest Good submitted to Virginia’s ethics board while serving on the Campbell County Board of Supervisors, or in any of his annual state filings since 2015. Virginia law requires board of supervisors members to list any securities, debts, business interests, and real estate holdings (aside from a primary residence) valued at more than $5,000. A “knowing violation” of the law can result in misdemeanor charges of up to one year in jail and/or a fine of $2,500.
The former financial services manager and former Liberty University athletics director is locked in a tight race against Democrat Cameron Webb in Virginia’s sprawling 5th Congressional District. They’re vying to replace Rep. Denver Riggleman, whom Good unseated in a bitter nominating convention in June.
Good’s most recent filing included between $1,001 and $15,000 in stocks from Abbott Laboratories. It’s not clear when those stocks were purchased, but that question may have bearing on a potential conflict of interest; state code requires local officials to recuse themselves from votes where they have a financial interest. In July of 2016, Good voted alongside all but one member of the Board of Supervisors to give Abbott Labs a $567,000 incentive package to expand a facility in Altavista. Good spoke in favor of the deal, arguing the plant would result in an increase in revenue that the county could use to pay for other services.
Good’s down play of the lapse or mistake is, to his mind, a mere bagatelle. Readers may recall Ralph Kramden of The Honeymooners TV show who would have described the matter as a “bag of shells.”
PUBLIC EMPLOYEE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING BEGINS TO TAKE HOLD
Portsmouth council members have voted unanimously to let city employees bargain collectively for their pay and work conditions through unions, making it the first local government in Hampton Roads to do so under a new state law passed by the legislature that takes effect next May. The new law partially undoes a 1993 Virginia statute barring collective bargaining in the public sector. Virginia and the Carolinas were the only three states in the country with such a blanket ban.
The debate over the law during the General Assembly session earlier this year focused mostly on teachers’ unions being able to bargain with cities. But the law would also give that opportunity to police unions. That means that police unions around Virginia could seek to use the new law to become more powerful than ever — even as people around the country cry out for the kinds of reforms police unions often oppose.
Since then, the president of a union that represents more than 450 Virginia Beach police officers has said he plans to launch a campaign to persuade city leaders to let rank-and-file officers collectively bargain with the city. And the president of the local union representing more than 100 Norfolk officers said he wants his members to at least consider the idea. “(Collective bargaining) has been our goal for a very long time,” said the president of the Virginia Beach Police Benevolent Association.
This new law is, in fact, actually a derogation of the Dillon Rule and an affirmation of what is known as the “home rule” principle in governance. Never let it be said that the Commonwealth rushes into new territory.