Without naming donors, some nonprofits can spend to influence voters in ballot initiatives under Virginia election law; it adds up

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE VIRGINIA BEACH — A nonprofit organization that is not required to identify its backers raised more than a half-million dollars last year and spent much of that money to influence voters to support extending light rail to Town Center… Continue Reading


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


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


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


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


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