In brief: Constitutional choices, banned from Grounds, $4-million manse and more

The Rivanna River flooded in May and edged near homes in Woolen Mills.
Skyclad ap The Rivanna River flooded in May and edged near homes in Woolen Mills. Skyclad ap

But wait, there’s more on the ballot

While congressional candidates are getting all the attention, they’re not the only choices that need to be made at the polls November 6. Virginia likes to ask voters to weigh in on additions to its constitution, such as the now-unconstitutional marriage-is-between-a-man-and-a-woman amendment. A repeal of that will not appear on the ballot, but there are two other constitutional amendments for voters to consider on Tuesday.

One expands a property-tax exemption to spouses of service members who were killed or totally disabled in action to allow the spouse—as long as he or she does not remarry—to relocate and still claim the exemption. A “yes” on this amendment means approving the exemption.

The second, more controversial amendment, allows localities to offer property tax breaks to owners who make improvements to flood-prone properties. That means people who put money into protecting their property against rising waters can get a real estate tax break.

Critics say such breaks mean people who don’t live on the water are subsidizing the cost of waterfront living for others, and that they encourage building on flood-prone land. Supporters say the tax relief provides an incentive for owners to make expensive fixes to protect their properties.

A “yes” vote on this amendment means you support allowing localities to offer the property tax break.

Earlier this year, Delegate Steve Landes, who represents western Albemarle, voted against the flood amendment in the House because of concerns about the increasing number of constitutional amendments providing “more and more exemptions from property taxes.” But he says he supports both amendments now, and notes that while the flood amendment allows localities to provide this exemption, “it does not require them to do so.”

Quote of the week

“I don’t need thoughts and prayers—I need change.”—Jordan Bridges, a UVA third-year and president of Jewish Voice for Peace, at an October 27 candlelight vigil for the 11 people shot to death in a Pittsburgh synagogue earlier that day, according to the Cavalier Daily.

In brief

Unite the Right organizer Richard Spencer will not be welcome at his alma mater the next four years. Eze Amos

Banned from UVA

Ten people associated with last year’s August 11 march through Grounds are banned from university property for four years. The list includes alum Richard Spencer, whose wife filed for divorce last week, alleging assault; Elliott Kline, aka Eli Mosley, former Identity Evropa leader in charge of Unite the Right security; former Marine Vasillios Pistolis; the Daily Stormer’s Robert “Azzmador” Ray, and four members of California-based Rise Above Movement arrested in early October.

Fields files charge

James Fields, the man charged with driving his car into a crowd on August 12, 2017, killing one person and injuring many others, was allegedly attacked by another inmate at the local jail earlier this month. Fields filed an assault charge against Timothy Ray Brown Jr, but he showed no physical signs of being beaten up at his October 29 motions hearing,

Too young to drink—and buy handguns

Two UVA students filed a lawsuit challenging a federal ban on the sale of handguns to those under 21 (18-year-olds can legally buy rifles and shotguns, but not handguns). Tanner Hirschfeld, 20, and Natalia Marshall, 18, are suing the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, its acting director, Thomas Brandon, and U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, claiming the age limit is unconstitutional.

George Allen’s old house on the block

staff photo

Social Hall, the circa 1814 house once owned by the former Virginia governor and U.S. senator on East Jefferson Street, is for sale for nearly $4 million. Janice Aron bought it in 2006 for $1.1 million, and extensively renovated the 6,500-square-foot manse, which features five bedrooms, a lap pool, and an unparalleled view of Market Street Park and the statue of General Robert E. Lee.