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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

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The Independent News recognized with three awards during annual Virginia Press Association contest

BY CHRISTOPHER MELE The Independent News won three awards – two for news and one for photography – from the Virginia Press Association at a ceremony on Saturday, April 8, in Short Pump. The honors were given for works published… Continue Reading

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Budget: Virginia Beach proposal would raise taxes for all day kindergarten, restore agricultural reserve money

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – Virginia Beach City Manager Dave Hansen on Tuesday, March 28, unveiled a spending plan that would raise real estate taxes to help establish full-day kindergarten throughout the city while redirecting money from a previous property… 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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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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Spore’s long career as Virginia Beach manager ending, but a regional role remains ahead

BY JOSH WHITENER COURTHOUSE — City Manager Jim Spore, who will retire on Jan. 1, attributes many of his accomplishments to the others that helped make them happen.  “I’m a believer that if you create a vision and a plan to achieve… Continue Reading

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Referendum: Dyer seeks yes or no question on extending the Tide to Town Center

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE — City Councilmember Bob Dyer this month introduced a draft resolution that would ask the circuit court to place a light rail referendum on the November 2016 ballot. Dyer said the draft is only a starting point, but… Continue Reading

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Atkinson, duties as treasurer aside, forming anti-Light Rail PAC, pushes fall ‘referendum’

BY JOHN-HENRY DOUCETTE COURTHOUSE – John Atkinson, the city treasurer, is following what was a self-funded anti-light rail advertising campaign in local newspapers with the formation of a political action committee, or PAC, focused upon influencing the City Council. Atkinson on Monday,… Continue Reading