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Letter to the Editor, Sept. 17, 2020: Levine tries to distract rather than inform voters

Letter to the Editor, Sept. 17, 2020: Levine tries to distract rather than inform voters

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Levine tries to distract

rather than inform voters

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

The Olympics have been postponed this year, but Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, clearly is vying for a gold medal in mental gymnastics. Even this fellow Democrat thinks his recent op-ed in The Times-Dispatch opposing Amendment 1 is the latest example of his flips and twists to distract voters.

For example, he claims that the General Assembly already solved the problem of partisan gerrymandering by passing a bill during this year’s legislative session. It didn’t.

Article II, Section 6, of the Virginia Constitution is clear: “Electoral districts (are) established by the General Assembly.” Full stop. No stand-alone legislation can undo those words.

Instead, bills like House Bill 1255 would create a commission that merely advises the legislature about how to redraw district lines. From there, they can throw the recommendations in the garbage, if they so choose.

Then he says the Virginia Supreme Court inevitably will gerrymander districts on behalf of President Donald Trump’s Republican Party. They won’t.

Look at recent history. This is the same court that denied a lawsuit by Republicans challenging Gov. Ralph Northam’s “stay-at-home” order, upheld a weapons ban at a gun-rights rally in Richmond and twice extended Northam’s statewide eviction moratorium. That doesn’t exactly sound like a bunch of right-wing hacks.

Levine's op-ed comes on the heels of The Times-Dispatch’s endorsement of the referendum, which called it a “matter of good government.” This shouldn’t surprise anyone who cares about fairness and transparency — just ask the bipartisan list of Virginia-based advocacy groups and nationally recognized anti-gerrymandering organizations that also have endorsed the amendment.

Instead, Levine dangerously walks a balance beam while throwing the kitchen sink at the only thing standing in the way of fair maps for the next decade. Voters should end this sideshow by voting "yes" on Amendment 1. Don’t fall for the distractions.

Brooke Spieldenner.

Henrico.

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