Alexandria Renew, our sanitation facility, is seeking public input on RiverRenew, the city's initiative to overhaul its19th-century combined rainfall/sewage overflow system. A state law passed in 2017 required Alexandria to remediate all four of its combined sewer outfalls by July 1, 2025. You can learn more about the project here. Click here for details on possible comment topics.
As Florence approaches the Carolinas -- further south than originally expected -- the level of concern for major damage up here as receded a bit. Still, an influx of onshore winds at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay should cause water levels to increase. A Coastal Flood Watch has been posted for southern MD, DC, and Alexandria, and accompanying rainfall may produce significant river flooding across the entire Commonwealth.
Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the potential impact of Hurricane Florence and ordered the evacuation of low-lying coastal areas of Virginia.
While the impacts are still uncertain, forecasts increasingly expect Florence, which was first classified as a tropical storm, to strengthen into a Category 4 hurricane (~130 mph winds) that could affect the East Coast, including Virginia, next week. Impacts could include flooding, high winds, and a possible storm surge. While Northern Virginia is not expected to be in the eye of the storm, people should start preparing for the storm now, especially considering that Alexandria is especially prone to flooding.
Ultimately, elected officials must be taken completely out of the redistricting process. I believe we must amend the Virginia Constitution to require an independent, non-partisan commission to draw all our district maps for both state and federal elections. The partisan division of districts should reflect the overall partisan divisions of the Commonwealth.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has ordered the legislature to go back into special session on August 30 to undo the scourge of the racial gerrymandering which the US Supreme Court and the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals found the Republicans illegally imposed on Virginia in 2011. The Courts held the Virginia GOP illegally drew 11 House of Delegates districts for the purpose of concentrating black voters so as to diminish their (and Democrats') power in Virginia's House of Delegates.
Salem Republican Delegate Greg Habeeb announced last Friday that he is resigning in the middle of his fourth term, effective August 31. This is great news and not only because Delegate Habeeb, as subcommittee chairman of various committees, made it his regular practice to kill hundreds of common-sense progressive measures that helped Virginians. The special election to decide the next Delegate from Virginia's 8th District will take place on November 6, 2018, the same day as the General Election for Congress. The Democratic nominee for this Southwestern Virginia seat in Salem, Roanoke County, and adjoining rural counties should be determined on Wednesday, August 15.
On Saturday, July 21st, I had the honor of being the first ever state-elected official to speak at the Shenandoah Valley Pride Festival. Unfortunately, state officials representing the Shenandoah Valley all oppose equal rights for the Rainbow (LGBT+) Community. But it was wonderful to see the love, solidarity, perseverance, and yes, pride, of local Rainbow folk. I was glad to show the thousands of people who enjoyed the day's festivities that they do have people fighting for them in Richmond.