Sunday, August 21, 2005

On Oceana, missing mojo, Warner on Potts, and Virginia land use law

Last night, I watched the replay on C-SPAN of the appearance by Governor Warner, Senator Allen, et al., before the base closing commission, as reported here in the Richmond paper, here in the Washington Post, here in the Newport News paper, and here in the Norfolk paper, and it was very interesting.

I didn't hear any of the Florida presentation, but my impression, knowing nothing about the issues before this, was that the commissioners fried the Virginia delegation. One of the commissioners told the mayor of Virginia Beach that her efforts to control development around the base sounded sincere but about 20 years too late. Twenty? The best speaker was the Navy guy, who was told off by some retired general.

The worst speakers by far were Governor Warner and Senator Allen, whiny and defensive in tone, with unspeakably lame efforts at humor. I recalled a seminar presentation from a judge some years ago, where he said that sometimes lawyers betray themselves in oral argument, when they think they're arguing a stinker of a motion. Were they winging it? Had they already been told that Oceana will lose? I've heard from some of my friends about how Warner is such a smooth operator, but somehow he lost his mojo yesterday.

The big news from the Virginia delegation was that the legislature has pledged to adopt zoning law changes in the area of the base - where was the General Assembly on this issue before now? Can development be undone, even by the General Assembly? Should the General Assembly be in the zoning business?

Governor Warner declared that he has written commitments from both of this year's gubernatorial candidates to support the proposed new laws, while throwing in a mindless gibe at Virginia's single-term limit for governors. (Did he say both? I'm almost sure he did. Perhaps the Washington Post will denounce him for excluding Senator Potts.)

No comments: