Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - April 14, 2016

Read other newsletters

 Next Meet-Up April 30 at 1:30
We meet at Cafe Del Ray, 205 E. Howell Ave. in Alexandria the Last Saturday of every month at 1:30 pm.
(Washington Post)
(Richmond Times-Dispatch)
(Alexandria Connection)
(Alexandria Gazette)

On the website,
via email,
on Facebook,
or on Twitter.

Richmond Office:
209 N. 9th Street
Room 709
Richmond, VA 23218
Alexandria Office:
301 King Street
Alexandria, VA 22314

"Mark's Monthly Meet-Up"

Starting Saturday, April 30 at 1:30 pm and continuing the last Saturday of every month through the end of the year, I will host "Mark's Monthly Meet-Up" at Cafe Del Ray, 205 E. Howell Avenue.

Please join us upstairs at this lovely Del Ray French restaurant for my very first one. We will sit and talk and discuss and eat. I love to know what's on my mind of constituents and other supporters. And I'm looking forward to this becoming a monthly tradition.

Back on Radio and TV

With the 2016 General Assembly Session concluded (except for our post-veto session next week), I've gone back to my other day job as a television commentator and radio host. Here are some recent clips:

After session, I hosted a local Television show with two of my favorite people in the General Assembly, Senator Barbara Favola and Delegate Marcus Simon to discuss what happened this year in Richmond. Click here to watch this one-hour report.

I've had several ten-minute segments on local television discussing everything from immigration to the 2016 Presidential race to GOP Attacks on Women and Muslims.

I've been on radio from coast to coast and even had a few minutes on air in Australia. You can check my TV and radio schedule here.

I've also been in the news a lot. You can always find press clips in the Left Column of my newsletter.

Keep Gun Stores Out of Arlington Residential Neighborhood!

The fight to protect our families from gun violence doesn’t end in Richmond. Unfortunately, a gun store has just opened in an Arlington residential neighborhood near a pre-school and day-care center. Supported by the National Rifle Association and vast numbers of people from outside of our community, this store sells military-grade weaponry--including the semi-automatic firearms favored by terrorists and other mass shooters--and even fully automatic machine guns.

Given Virginia's notoriously lax gun laws requiring no background checks for private resales and the frequent robberies of gun stores in Virginia, these dangerous weapons will no doubt soon find their ways into the hands of drug gangs, mass murderers, and domestic-abusers. I suppose that's why the gun store brags about its proximity to Washington DC and Maryland (which have far stricter gun laws). They hope to be the criminal arms supplier for the entire East Coast!

Unfortunately, Virginia Law gives no power to local citizens or local government to prevent this unwanted new "neighbor" from diminishing their property values and threatening their children. That's why I was proud to stand with the 90% of citizens of Lyon Park and Ashton Heights who are speaking out against this menace to their currently peaceful community.

Say No to Scalia Law!

George Mason, in exchange for $10 million by the Koch brothers and another $20 million by an anonymous donor, has decided without input from alumni or the larger community to rename the George Mason Law School the Antonin Scalia School of Law. I happen to think that's an asinine idea and not just because of its acronym. 
As we all remember, Justice Antonin Scalia engineered the only successful coup d'état in American history when he and four others invalidated the 2000 Presidential Election and installed his candidate as President in clear violation of law and the Constitution of the United States. I will never forget my astonishment on December 9, 2000, the day I read Scalia's ruling--like a tinpot dictator--to force Florida to stop counting the legitimately-cast votes of its citizens because, in Scalia's view, the actual will of the voters would "cast a cloud" on his candidate Bush's "claim to be legitimately elected." I expected such things in Russia. Never in the USA.
Scalia also once upheld a law (later overturned) that imprisoned for up to 20 years Georgia citizens who had consensual oral sex. Scalia justified the law on the grounds that jailing gay men was an idea well rooted in American colonial history. As to the heterosexual married couples who would also have go to prison for the same practice, Scalia counseled them not to worry: Georgia could just ignore the Constitution's "equal protection" clause to selectively apply this horrible law against gay people only. (Bowers v. Hardwick)
These are just two examples of the long and terrible legacy left by this unapologetic, authoritarian bigot. Ask me at Mark's Monthly Meet-Up about my own personal challenge to Antonin Scalia at Yale Law School where I exposed his hypocrisy before hundreds.
I shudder to think that the once-eminent George Mason University School of Law would, for 30 million shekels (I mean dollars), betray the memory of George Mason, the author of Virginia's Declaration of Rights and one of the earliest American proponents of religious freedom. They would replace Mason with the 20th-Century Supreme Court Justice most notorious for trampling on our religious freedom.
I urge everyone -- particularly local public officials and George Mason Alumni -- to let the University know that their future generosity to the Law School will depend on the tiny administrative group who made this decision opening up the decision to the larger Mason community. Until then, let's redirect any contributions to George Mason to other Virginia universities. It's clear the folks at Mason don't give a damn about their alumni. But they do apparently listen to money. So let's use money to force an appropriate process and conversation before disgracing the once-proud name of George Mason University School of Law.

Day of Action for Clean Power

Virginians across the Commonwealth gathered in twelve different cities to rally in favor of reducing carbon emissions. I was honored to speak at the Sierra Club’s rally in Alexandria in support of transitioning to clean, renewable energy.     

In the General Assembly, Republicans voted not to allow Virginia's Governor to participate in President Obama's Clean Power Plan. Instead they want to force the US Environmental Protection Agency to impose a plan on Virginia. How ironic that GOP representatives of southeast Virginia--a place so severely in danger of flooding from rising oceans (the second most precarious spot in the USA)--would support imperiling their own communities.

I'm proud Governor McAuliffe vetoed the measure and will work hard next week to defend that veto (technically, a Governor's amendment) in the reconvened session on April 20.

We Reconvene April 20

Speaking of reconvening, I will travel back down to Richmond for several days next week in preparation for our reconvened session. In this session, we will consider 89 bills: Governor McAuliffe's 32 vetos and 57 recommendations.

I'm reviewing the Governor's vetos and recommendations now. If you have views on any of them, please do not hesitate to write me at [email protected].

I'm confident that the vast majority of the time I will stand with the Governor. One prominent exception is the Governor's recommendation to allow execution drugs to be obtained in secrecy without scrutiny. I will oppose this particular recommendation (HB 815).

T.C. Williams

The Social Studies classes at TC Williams asked me to speak to them regarding political advocacy. We had a wonderful two-hour exchange of ideas. I gave them various practical steps to implement progressive change. I told them of my history both as a citizen activist and as a Congressional lawyer. And I advised them how they on the outside could help me on the inside.

The students and I both really enjoyed the fast-paced discussion. So fast-paced, unfortunately, that I did not get any pictures. So if any students read this newsletter, please post some pictures on my Delegate Page on Facebook so I can share them with the larger community.

I can’t wait to watch these passionate, intelligent students become more involved in the community in the years to come.

In Richmond and in the 45th (Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax)

The examples above are a small snapshot of what I've been doing since session ended in mid-March. I went down to Richmond to attend the meeting of the Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence. I've attended meetings of various labor groups, four Chambers of Commerce, and Crisis Intervention Teams of law enforcement. I've reported to Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax Democrats; the Alexandria City Council; the SALT Richmond Wrap-Up Forum; Stop Child Abuse Now; and Leadership Arlington. And, of course, I regularly meet with constituents.

I've been very busy but loving every minute. There's so much that needs to be done. And it is always my honor and privilege to serve you.

Delegate Mark Levine

Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax
     in Virginia's 45th District