Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jan 2012
Source: Daily Press (Newport News,VA)
Copyright: 2012 The Daily Press


A Weekly Roundup of Short Opinions Offered by the Daily Press Editorial Board

Stop and smell the Mozart

What do a professional third baseman and an orchestral percussionist 
have in common?

To some legislators, it's not just that they're both five-tool players.

Del. G. Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond argues symphony musicians should 
be treated like sports team members when it comes to unemployment 
claims. He's sponsoring a bill that would deny symphony members 
benefits during the months they aren't under contract.

Under current Virginia law, seasonal employees may be eligible for 
unemployment if they meet all other requirements. However, certain 
professions that look like seasonal occupations -- such as 
professional sports team members, teachers, and professors whose 
contracts aren't for a full 12 months -- are ineligible during their 
non-contract months. The idea is that their contracts are actually 
ongoing and continuous, so they aren't really unemployed during their 
non-contract weeks.

Loupassi wants to add orchestra members -- a profession that for 
years has relied on unemployment benefits to supplement meager 
salaries -- to the short list of exceptions.

The bill is ridiculous because it singles out one tiny segment of one 
broad industry, the arts. Tax-season workers, furloughed workers -- 
even federal employees who stay home because their government shuts 
down -- would still be able to file and collect benefits.

This bill sounds like a loud wrong note.

Everyone wants to be chief

The town of Smithfield received 41 applications to be its next police chief.

That so many people would want to be top-dog law of enforcement in a 
jurisdiction that covers 9.5 square miles and 8,089 residents says a 
lot about this rural community in Isle of Wight County.

The crime rate is relatively low, the salary is a bit higher than 
comparable towns and there is plenty of support from local 
government, businesses and offices -- all "golden apples" for anyone 
seeking to be chief, according to Dana Schrad, executive director of 
the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police.

The good news for Smithfield is that the larger the applicant pool, 
the better the chance of choosing the best person for this important job.

One-stop shopping

If Del. David Englin, R-Alexandria, has his way, customers at ABC 
stores will be able to pick up more than just a pint of brandy.

Englin is proposing a study of the potential revenue impact of 
selling marijuana at Virginia's state-run liquor stores. The idea is 
that people are buying it anyway, so why not move the transactions 
from the alleys to the storefronts and let our cash-strapped 
government make a little money?

Because anything that makes it easier to purchase what many perceive 
to be a gateway drug carries huge moral and health concerns and isn't 
likely to move quickly with most Virginia lawmakers. This isn't 
California, after all.

Medical marijuana is one thing. Sixteen states -- including the 
commonwealth, for cancer and glaucoma -- have laws in place allowing 
restricted use under medical supervision for certain conditions. But 
we don't need an expensive study to tell us that over-the-counter 
sales of pot to anyone who walks into a liquor store is a stinky idea 
that should be snuffed out immediately.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom