This week: Waynesboro referendum, JMU basketball, Staunton elections

Winners and Losers column by Chris Graham

PUSH: Waynesboro decides to hold fall capital-projects referendum
I don’t know who will get the upper hand out of this one.
Certainly the moderate majority on city council is thinking that it will be their side – and that a victory in November will spell doom for their conservative friendly foes in next May’s city elections.
But … this year’s elections are going to be of the low-turnout variety, what with there being no presidential or gubernatorial or U.S. Senate race at the top of the ticket and all.
I would be surprised if turnout in the city in November is even at 25 percent – which means that it might not be so much the merits of one side or the other but the side that can get its voters to the polls that will be the key factor here.  

  

WINNER: JMU basketball coach Dean Keener

The Dukes looked good on a recent tour of Spain – which had the added bonus of giving the JMU men’s basketball team some extra time to get ready for the 2007-2008 season.

They’re going to have needed every second of it by the time the season starts. Keener is in Year Four of his five-year deal, and obviously needs to make a dramatic leap forward if he wants there to be a Year Five.

  

PUSH: Staunton considers moving city elections from May to November

Pros: More people vote in November, less costs associated with running one election versus two

Cons: Local issues run the risk of being drowned out in state and federal elections, more voters likely to be out of touch with what’s going on at home will decide future

WINNER: Rockbridge, Lexington, Buena Vista

The three localities won approval last week for a planning grant that will go toward trying to find a way to provide so-called last-mile broadband in the region.

Broadband is almost as important a part of a local infrastructure as water or sewer anymore – so localities that have issues with access are almost left in the dust economically and otherwise.

Good luck to Greater Rockbridge as leaders there try to find a solution to their access issues.

  

WINNER: UVa. football coach Al Groh

I’ve had him on the hotseat for a couple of years now – but 2007 is shaping up to be maybe a breakthrough year for the UVa. football program.

Longtime ACC observer Caulton Tudor of the News & Observer in Raleigh has Virginia finishing second in the Coastal Division of the ACC, and ESPN college-football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has Virginia as his national sleeper pick this year.

Now all the ‘Hoos have to do is translate that to the field, and Groh will be off the hotseat.

That, of course, is easier said than done.

  

WINNER: Jill Vogel names Lisa Gable to serve as campaign chair

If you have to have somebody in the position of campaign chair, it’s not bad for you to have somebody with White House and Pentagon experience who is also known as a big-league fund-raiser do it.

That one was an attention-getting announcement right there – no question about it.



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