Transparency News 12/7/18



December 7, 2018


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state & local news stories




The Supreme Court of Virginia unanimously ruled that Virginia Beach couldn't redact all entries from the bill of an outside law firm.

The Virginia Supreme Court unanimously ruled the City of Virginia Beach erred by redacting all entries on its bill from an outside law firm that was representing the city in an eminent domain case against a city dentist. VCOG filed an amicus brief in support of the dentist, who asked for the records. The case will be remanded to the lower court to look over the bills again and to weigh whether an award of attorney fees is appropriate.
Read the opinion on VCOG's website

People showed up early—some to find a seat and some to protest—for Wednesday night’s public hearing on a proposed solar plant in western Spotsylvania County. The turnout of about 300 people for the public hearing at the Holbert Building was the most for a Planning Commission meeting in at least the past 15 years, said county spokeswoman Michelle McGinnis. The room couldn’t hold all the attendees. Some had to watch the hearing on televisions in the lobby and others from the nearby Marshall Center, where the remaining meetings on the proposal are scheduled to be held.
The Free Lance-Star

The federal racketeering case against suspected members of Danville’s MILLA Bloods street gang will go to trial Jan. 13, 2020, according to court documents released Thursday. The scheduling comes in the midst of a fight between prosecutors and defense counsel over the government’s emergency motion to prohibit disclosure of witnesses’ names to anyone outside the defense teams — filed in response to a witness’ October shooting death, according to documents.
Register & Bee

The Stephens City Town Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to amend the town code to transfer much of the mayor’s responsibilities to the town manager — a move that incoming Mayor Michael “Mike” Diaz described as a “power grab. Council members Kelly Ann Thatcher and Jason Nauman said the code was amended to give more responsibilities to the town manager because it’s a paid, full-time job, whereas the role of mayor is a volunteer, unpaid position. They maintain it makes more sense to give these responsibilities to a person who works in the town office. Diaz, however, suspects that the council, incumbent Mayor Mike Grim and town attorney David Griffin have a personal beef with him.
The Winchester Star


stories of national interest

The email controversy that dogged Hillary Clinton through much of the 2016 presidential race could well be kicking around through the 2020 contest after a federal judge ordered additional fact-finding into whether Clinton’s use of the private email system was a deliberate effort to thwart the Freedom of Information Act. In a scathing opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said that despite FBI, inspector general and congressional investigations into Clinton’s use of a private account for all her email traffic during her four years as secretary of state, the conservative group Judicial Watch should be permitted to demand documents and additional testimony about the practice.

The Illinois Statehouse’s holiday display includes a Christmas tree, a menorah and a tribute to Satan, which are all protected by the First Amendment.
The New York Times