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Editorial: After secrecy in light rail fight, greater transparency is needed in Virginia’s campaign finance law

POSITION: A bill to end an exemption for some nonprofits seeking to influence referenda could mean our public policy and spending choices will be made by better-informed citizens. It deserves support in Richmond. Every Virginian should know who is paying to influence… Continue Reading

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DeSteph bill would end exemption for nonprofit advocacy that kept voters in the dark during light rail referendum

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH – State Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-8th District, has introduced a bill to change language in Virginia law that can let some nonprofit groups shield the identities of financial backers and the extent of their spending to… Continue Reading

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A tale of two rallies near the end of Virginia Beach’s bitter light rail fight

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — This is a story about two different rallies held in two different places by two different groups of people. The rallies were about light rail, about whether or not it should be extended to Town… Continue Reading

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Light rail, dark money: A conflict between election law and guidance is part of bigger transparency issues

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — It may be months before Virginia Beach citizens have any sense how much money light rail advocates spent to influence their votes on Election Day – and the sources of that money may never be… Continue Reading

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Beach voters reject extending light rail from Newtown Station to Town Center

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE — Virginia Beach voters rejected efforts to extend The Tide from Newtown Station to Town Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8. The result of the advisory referendum reflects a repudiation of efforts by the city to expand the light… Continue Reading

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2016 Virginia Beach Elections: Arguments in support of and against the light rail advisory referendum

Ed. note — The Independent News asked representatives of both Light Rail Now, Inc., and No Light Rail Virginia Beach to address this important advisory referendum on extending the Tide from Newtown Station to Town Center. This appeared in print… Continue Reading

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DeSteph wants attorney general to review nonprofit advocacy in light rail referendum that revealed conflict in election law, state guidance

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH – State Sen. Bill DeSteph, R-8th District, wants the state attorney general to determine whether it is appropriate for a nonprofit to advocate a position in the Nov. 8 light rail referendum without forming a… Continue Reading

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Column: Keep light rail on track to benefit the future of all Virginia Beach

BY MARTHA MCCLEES VIRGINIA BEACH — Virginia Beach is far more diverse than most citizens realize – in its history, natural assets and character. As we plan for the city’s future, we will be wise to grow and enhance those elements… Continue Reading

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Nonprofit light rail advocacy group named 2012 donors, but takes a different approach in 2016

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach Connex, a campaign seeking “yes” votes in the November light rail referendum, is part of  the nonprofit Light Rail Now, Inc., which was also active during the 2012 referendum about the Tide’s future… Continue Reading