Transparency News, 10/30/20


 October 30, 2020
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state & local news stories
Another member of the Tribe community has penned a letter on Wednesday to William & Mary administration following the university’s decision to cut varsity sports programs. David Hildebrand, W&M alum, member of the Save Tribe Swimming movement and former Tribe swimmer, wrote a proposal about the future of the athletics department: William & Mary Athletics: Returning to the College’s Core Values ––A Proposal. Hildebrand and the Save Tribe Swimming community is currently pursuing a Freedom of Information Act request with the university for all correspondence between W&M President Katherine Rowe and former Athletics Director Samantha Huge related to the 2025 Tribe Strategic Plan and the sports cuts from 2018-2020. Lillian Stevens, FOIA officers for W&M, originally quoted them for $1,500-$2,500 for the requests, Hildebrand said.After going back and forth for weeks with Stevens asking them to narrow down their request to save her time and save them money. Save Tribe Swimming did not agree to tailor their request further.

In partnership with James Madison University, and with funding from local supporters who include William Dietel and Jennifer Manly, the Piedmont Environmental Council has completed the digitization of thousands of legal documents related to the Commonwealth’s 1930s-era condemnation of private lands in Rappahannock County for the creation of Shenandoah National Park.  The digitization project has made all of the deed book records, court proceedings and individual case files for Rappahannock County properties that are now part of Shenandoah National Park publicly accessible and searchable for the first time. The online database is hosted by James Madison University (JMU) and accessible from the Piedmont Environmental Council’s webpage on the project:
Rappahannock News

Tensions were high during Tuesday’s meeting of the Mathews County Board of Supervisors, as one supervisor questioned the validity of the meeting and ended up walking out, along with a second supervisor. The meeting was held both electronically and in person, with chairman Amy Dubois, vice chair Mike Rowe and supervisor Melissa Mason joining electronically from their homes in a livestream that was projected on a screen above the dais. Supervisors Paul Hudgins and Jackie Ingram were physically present and seated at the dais, along with County Attorney Andrea Erard. Dubois opened the meeting by attempting to read guidelines for public participation, but Hudgins interrupted her, arguing that the meeting wasn’t legal because only two supervisors were physically present.
Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal

The Suffolk Police Department is scheduled for an on-site assessment from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) in November, and part of the certification process includes feedback from the community. Agency employees and members of the community are invited to offer comments at the public information session on Monday, Nov. 9, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. The session will be conducted in the City Council Chamber at City Hall located at 442 West Washington Street. Suffolk City Hall will be accessible to the public for this limited purpose only.
stories from around the country

Philadelphia, still on edge following days of protests and unrest that engulfed the city in response to the police killing of a 27-year-old Black man, Walter Wallace Jr., experienced a relatively quiet night Wednesday. Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw vowed on Wednesday that the department would release "in the near future" 911 tapes and body camera footage worn by the officers involved with the killing. While she did not provide a timeline, Outlaw said the materials would be made public after meeting with members of the Wallace family "to ensure they get an opportunity to view the materials first." If and when the release happens, it will be an extraordinary and rare step for the Philadelphia Police Department to take.

editorials & columns
While all eyes were on the U.S. Supreme Court and hearings preceding the confirmation of Justice Amy Coney Barrett, the Virginia Supreme Court was expanding the reach of the surveillance state in the commonwealth. By allowing law enforcement agencies to collect, compile and indefinitely retain information culled from automated license plate readers — identifying data that would allow police to track citizens without cause — the state Supreme Court has erred in a way that demands legislative remedy.
The Virginian-Pilot