POUND, VA, POLICE DEPOUNDED
Pound, Virginia. Surely you’ve heard of it. Located in Wise County, in far southwest Virginia on the West Virginia border, it consists of 2.6 square miles (that’s two point six, not twenty-six) and has a population of 1,037. Townsfolk have been considering eliminating the police for several months as a cost-saving measure. Last year, the county declared itself a Second Amendment Sanctuary perhaps some reassurance to residents and warning to outsiders.
In a 2-hour public town council hearing attended by about 75 people last month, the council voted 3-2, with the mayor breaking the tie, to disband the unit. Most of those attending were in agreement, favoring allowing the Wise County Sheriff’s Department to police the town and firing Pound’s chief of police and part-time officer.
No more cops pounding the Pound pavement.
DOMINION’S GREEK SEA MONSTER HEADED TO VIRGINIA
Offshore wind energy is headed to the East Coast on the back of a monster famous for creating giant whirlpools to overturn ships. Charybdis will be the name for the offshore wind installation vessel Dominion Energy is building in Texas, which will be used to construct Virginia’s proposed 2.6 gigawatt wind farm off the coast of Virginia Beach, expected to be operational in 2023.
Known for the havoc she wreaked on Odysseus’s fleet in Homer’s Odyssey, Charybdis was originally a nymph who was transformed into a monster either for flooding too much land or stealing sheep.
According to Dominion, the name for the company’s new vessel was chosen by British ship designer Seajacks, which has shown a clear fondness for the monstrous in its christening of five other vessels used to install offshore wind turbines: Scylla, Kraken, Leviathan, Hydra, and Zaratan, the latter referring to a giant sea turtle that also appears in Dungeons and Dragons. The Seajacks CEO said he thought the names of mythical sea monsters were much more interesting and would give the vessels more character.
“Release the Kraken (of evidence)” was a favorite of Trump lawyer Sidney Powell and was echoed by QAnon followers. Evidently, Dominion has no fear of mythological monsters and similarly functions in Commonwealth politics.
SW VA SHERIFFS BECOME REPUBLICANS
Last year, two southwest Virginia sheriffs–in Buchanan and Tazewell counties–switched their political party affiliations from Democrat to Republican. Last week they were joined by the sheriff of Smyth County. As of now, only two counties in southwest Virginia remain with Democratic sheriffs, Dickenson and Russell. Sheriffs in Bland County, Grayson County, and the city of Norton identify as independents.
The Smyth County sheriff seemed to speak for all of those who switched, giving voice to themes that have been heard widely in the politisphere: “I am changing to the Republican Party because of the relentless attack on law enforcement by Democrats in Richmond and Washington. My deputies work hard to serve and protect the citizens of Smyth County. As sheriff, it has been difficult to watch my deputies try to move forward during this unprecedented assault on our profession.”
Yes, politically oppressed sheriffs are hurting. A simple solution would be to create police departments in counties and remove electoral politics from policing.
CLARKE COUNTY WON’T BARGAIN WITH EMPLOYEES
Despite a recent state law allowing local government employees to pursue collective bargaining, Clarke County officials do not intend to negotiate. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors recently expressed its intention to adopt a resolution to that effect, saying that collective bargaining processes would be costly and “a burden on the taxpayer.” By adopting a resolution so soon declaring they won’t participate, the supervisors will be “shutting down collective bargaining before they (employees) get to you,” the county administrator recently told the board.
“It’s not that the county isn’t concerned about its employees’ well-being,” said the administrator. “The supervisors are very concerned about making sure their employees are taken care of,” he said. “But they would prefer to address employee needs through (annual) budgeting. We’ve made great effort to hear what our employees’ concerns are and address them through the budgeting process.”
“Collective bargaining,” he continued, “can be very formal and rigid, and costly to work through.”
Sure, let’s not work too hard at governing the county. Let the employees eat cake.