Double-Down Drubbing; Casino Comments; Caught on Camera; Regional Tides; Gimme Shelter.
RVA 5x5 - November 10, 2023
No algorithms. No content filters. Honest and insightful analysis from Richmond, VA.
This week check out our five stories on:
The numbers in the overwhelming defeat of the second casino referendum and the unexpected blowout margin.
Some of the comments made during and after the vote on Tuesday that show a lid voice of doing the hard work instead of chasing big, shiny jackpots.
The seismic shift in the makeup of the Boards of Supervisors in Henrico and Chesterfield in our region’s future.
A look at the city’s new speed camera program that will hopefully slow speeds and increase drive awareness that city streets aren’t racetracks.
The city is moving ahead with plans for its main winter shelter and so far so good, but one local association is not happy with the plans or being kept out of the loop in the process.
THIS WEEK’S SPONSOR: RVA YIMBY
RVA YIMBY is hosting a state-wide meet-up with all the YIMBY chapters in Virginia on Sunday November 12, 2-4pm at Bingo Beer to share wins from the past year across the commonwealth and plan for the upcoming legislative session. All are welcome! You can RSVP here.
STORY #1 — Double-Down Drubbing
The second (and hopefully last) casino referendum went down to a landslide drubbing on Tuesday 62%-38%, just two years after a narrow 51%-49% defeat and after the casino developers spent more than $10 million to try and convince people to vote yes. The rumor is the final tally will be north of $12 million spent, but either way, the casino advocates spent more than $400 per vote using free lunches, rides to the polls, and up front largesse for many as enticements.
The voting numbers are intriguing. Unlike the first referendum, this time around seven of the nine Council districts voted against the casino. In 2021, in a heavy turnout gubernatorial election, the NO vote carried five Council districts and rung up 40,243 votes against the casino while 38,750 voted in favor.
In what is considered an “off-off year” election when turnout is its lowest (it was actually 43% total in the city this year), the city saw no competitive races for the General Assembly which should have kept turnout very low; but people turned out to vote on the casino issue. This time around, 39,768 voted against and 24,765 voted in favor.
Some turned out to oppose it because Mayor Stoney and most of Council ignored the first referendum’s result and forced it back on the ballot. Some turned out because of their opposition to casinos and their predatory and addictive nature that only make money for the owners. Others turned out because of the vile audio clips made by casino supporters in the weeks leading up to the vote, including the head of the Urban One group leading the effort.
And if you look at the numbers of those that did vote, they tell an interesting story. Several, actually. Of the 73 voting percents in the city, 53 voted against it. 14 of the 26 precincts south of the river voted for the casino, and 12 were against it. Only six of the 47 precincts north of the river voted for the casino.
The 8th and 9th Council districts closest to the proposed casino site saw light turnout (only about 20%) and voted overwhelmingly in favor, but even in those districts, about 30% opposed the casino.