At a Nov. 8 talk at Harvard Law School, Rep. John Sarbanes ’88 (D-MD) advocated for “grassroots democracy” funded by the people rather than by Political Action Committees and other large donors. Sarbanes is a co-sponsor of the Grassroots Democracy Act, intended to empower small donors and to free lawmakers from their dependency on big money. The event was sponsored by the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University.According to Sarbanes, the rise of large donors, often in the form of Political Action Committees, ‘PACs’, or Super PACs, has created a dependency culture in Washington. Average voters, he said, cannot compete. In the last election, what he calls grassroots donors—individuals who give $100 or less—donated 10 percent of what big donors and PACs gave. Because of their reliance on large campaign contributors, Sarbanes argued, members of Congress begin to subconsciously lean toward policy that favors those donors.“We’ve got to break that dependency,” said Sarbanes, who does not accept PAC contributions. “There’s a lot of people in Washington that are plugged into the money matrix, [and] they don’t even know they’re in it.”Read the rest of the article on the Harvard Law School website.
The Army Corps’ Norfolk District has awarded a 120-day period of performance contract to Cottrell Contracting Corp. for the Lynnhaven Inlet Federal Navigation Project.The new contract takes effect in May with completion projected for September.“The ultimate goal of the project is to restore the authorized dimensions to support safe, reliable, efficient, effective and environmentally sustainable waterborne transportation,” said Chris Tolson, district project manager and technical lead.Approximately 170,000 cubic yards of dredged material will be placed on Cape Henry and nearby beaches for secondary storm-risk reduction and recreational benefit.More than 2 miles of beach are expected to be beneficially impacted.Dredging and placement operations will be 24/7 during the period of performance.Tolson added that the dredge pipeline may run along the length of the beach and will be marked. Sand ramps will be constructed over the pipeline for beachgoers to access the swash zone.“Boaters can expect a working dredge, barge and tender equipment in the water that may temporarily restrict channel navigation. The dredge pipeline may be floated or submerged in vicinity of the project, and boaters should use caution and stay aware of the local notice to mariners,” the Corps said in its release.