Editorial – Move over to the right lane, slowpoke | OUR OPINION

Sen. Elizabeth Warren says it’s time for a single-payer health care system. Does that mean she’s volunteering?

Henrico officials are taking the managers of the notorious Essex Village apartment complex to court over its rundown condition. Good. The complex is owned by an absentee landlord. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development pays most of the rent, but HUD employees don’t live there themselves, so what do they care? Evidently not much: Essex passed HUD inspections with ease for years until Henrico got involved.

Don’t jump to any conclusions: On Monday, Petersburg Treasurer Kevin A. Brown was interviewed by forensic auditors, then found two police officers in his office helping auditors copy the contents of his hard drive. On Tuesday, Brown stood nearby as the city’s mayor, Samuel Parham, called on him, “for the good of the city,” to resign. “Maybe this is just a sign that it’s time to move on,” Brown conceded afterward. Can’t get anything past that guy, can you?

On The Jeffersoniad, a Virginia political blog, Brian Kirwin asks an interesting question: “Is Republican Governor the Worst Job in Virginia?” It certainly doesn’t seem like a stepping-stone. Kirwin notes that George Allen went from the Executive Mansion to a forgettable single term in the Senate, Bob McDonnell nearly went to prison, and Jim Gilmore disappeared into the mists while the man he beat, Don Beyer, is now a congressman. In the current race, Democrat Ralph Northam has an early lead. Maybe Republican Ed Gillespie should be grateful.

Speaking of elections: Rob Longley, managing editor of the Waynesboro News-Virginian, has correctly lambasted the campaign of Attorney General Mark Herring for a pants-on-fire email. It accuses Herring’s opponent, John Adams, of saying women’s reproductive health care is “not an issue I think about. It’s not an issue I care about.” What a blankety-blank, right? Well, here’s what Adams actually said: “I have zero interest in limiting women’s access to birth control. None. It’s not an issue I think about. It’s not an issue I care about.” Somebody’s acting like a blankety-blank here, but it isn’t Adams.

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission made the right call when it approved a new Dominion transmission line across the James River. The power line, which will help avoid rolling blackouts as coal-fired electricity generation fades away, already has been approved by the State Corporation Commission and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Ideas we like (1): Charlottesville recently hosted a Civic Innovation Day, in which software developers, designers, and civic-minded residents came together to noodle over possible solutions to challenges confronting local governments. The nonprofit SmartCville put the event together. Seems like a good idea that Richmond could easily replicate.

Ideas we like (2): Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is establishing a $200 million philanthropy to support innovative urban policy approaches. The American Cities Initiative could do a lot of good — so long as it isn’t beholden to Bloomberg’s liberal political preferences. America’s big cities have been trying such nostrums for decades, with little to show for them except decay and flight.

The overwhelming consensus that public subsidies for sports stadiums are a sucker’s bet evidently hasn’t filtered up to Prince William yet. Supervisors there defeated a proposal to let voters decide whether to issue $35 million in bonds to build a new ballpark for the Potomac Nationals. Why should taxpayers get to have a say? It’s only their money at stake, after all.

Lead, follow, or get out of the way: A bunch of new laws take effect starting today, affecting everything from Airbnb rentals to voter-registration drives. The most important, by a country mile, is the one to slap a $100 fine on drivers who linger in the left lane (e.g., 93 percent of motorists on the Powhite Parkway). If you’re not passing someone, then move over to the right lane where you belong, slowpoke. Some of us want to get to work before the sun goes down.