Talk:Ralph Northam

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Edit warrior keeps adding rubbish sources to the article and misleading text[edit]

1) The editor appears to be extraordinarily confused about WP:RS. A bunch of rubbish sources together do not equate reliably sourcing. and the like don't belong on Wikipedia. Richmond Times Dispatch and WaPo do belong.

2) The editor misleadingly suggests that the tightness of the race has something to do with the decision, which the sources don't say.

3) The editor repeatedly removes text that notes that A) this was on "some" flyers and B) the Northam campaign's rationale for removing Fairfax from some flyers.

4) The sources don't say that Fairfax was removed because he was black, but Wikipedia text strongly implies that was the case. There's nothing wrong with noting that Fairfax was African-American, but it's not WP:NPOV to only denote Fairfax's race. Especially, when the Northam campaign did provide a rationale, namely that Fairfax was removed on flyers in the counties where unions did not endorse Fairfax. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 10:59, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

There are 8 or so reliable sources. WaPo noted it was a tight race. The text description is a fair, NPOV summary. If you like, we can add quotes from the NAACP head from the WaPo article. How about: Phillip Thompson, president of the Loudoun County NAACP, said the exclusion of Fairfax from literature reinforces a perception that the Democratic Party sees him as an outsider and is taking the black vote for granted. “A lot of us feel the Virginia Democratic Party has never been a very inclusive group, and they always kind of marginalize African Americans without providing any grounds for advancement,” said Thompson. “Hillary [Clinton] won the state of Virginia because of the African American, Hispanic and minority vote. . . . Justin is a perfect person to help them do that again, and they still don’t support him.” [1]. Stop trying to spin it away from what all the sources have said. --DHeyward (talk) 11:06, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
I seriously question your good faith and/or editing competence. If you can't distinguish a reliable source from some fringe crap, you shouldn't edit Wikipedia. That you keep edit warring out the Northam campaign's rationale, reported both by WaPo and RTD, as well as the fact that this only applied to some flyers, suggests that you're not editing in good faith. So what is it? Incompetence or dishonesty? You don't even bother to respond to my points. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 11:58, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
My text has always had the campaigns reasons. Northam's campaign said removing Fairfax was done at the request of labor leaders that had endorsed Northam and Herring but not Fairfax. was in there from the beginning. And no, I'm not going to repond to ad hominem attacks. They are not legitimate "points." --DHeyward (talk) 19:43, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

Flier controversy - undue weight[edit]

This edit is classic undue weight - a lengthy quote on a transient campaign controversy, cherry-picked from the source. The change of the flyer was indeed controversial, and it's fair to point out that the campaign later said it was a mistake, but it is cherry-picking to present one critical quote from a county-level leader without presenting countervailing views in the very same article ("Some black leaders called the issue a distraction" and "Michael Halle said the omission of Fairfax from the palm cards was being blown out of proportion"). I question whether this mini-furor belongs on this BLP at all (rather than on Virginia gubernatorial election, 2017). But if we're going to include it at all, it must be proportionate.

And, moreover, some of the language inserted was not supported by the cited source. Fairfax's portrait and name was omitted from the palm cards distributed to the union because the union doesn't support him. He was not "airbrushed" or "retouched" (which wrongly implies some sort of Soviet-style manipulation of a photo ). Words matter. --Neutralitytalk 20:28, 21 October 2017 (UTC)

I agree with this. A brief mention of the controversy would be appropriate, but it should be reworked and would be more appropriate in the Virginia gubernatorial election, 2017 article. --Jpcase (talk) 22:27, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
I disagree. This is a notable event in Northam's political career and should be mentioned. I agree with last version that Neutrality edited. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 22:51, 21 October 2017 (UTC)
I took a shot at reworking the information and put it back in - but I'm still not entirely convinced that it belongs in this article. Let me know if anyone has additional thoughts. --Jpcase (talk) 14:59, 22 October 2017 (UTC)


@Snooganssnoogans:: Please mind WP:BATTLEFIELD. The edits I made attempted to incorporate the new content with the old content in a seamless paragraph. If you read my edits you will find that I included the bit about there being no sanctuary cities. I did not include the piece since it probably fits better in the Ed Gillespie article but I am not completely opposed to including it here. Your edits preserved the reliably sourced content I added but now includes multiple redundancies. Please assume good faith, I was not trying to whitewash anything but trying to reduce redundancies. Instaurare (talk) 16:20, 3 November 2017 (UTC)

A Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons file used on this page has been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 04:52, 21 August 2018 (UTC)

Honorable title[edit]

I seek resolution to a potential conflict in the faulty argument behind this edit (WP:AVOIDEDITWAR). The title Excellency is definitively not used for US politicians, according to the US Department of State (see page 4). But a plethora of reliable sources show that the title of Honorable is indeed awarded to US politicians. Here are two samples of Northam referring to himself as Honorable: here and here. The Guide to Virginia Protocols and Traditions (page 5) explains:

“In the federal government, The Honorable is used to address, by name, high officials and former high officials of the American government (this includes officials who have held a commission), foreign ministers, and heads of international organizations.”

For US official government publications suggesting the title of Honorable for certain elected and appointed officials:

For other reputable sites:

And though Wikipedia is not considered a RS, it strives to maintain consistency. See here for what it says about the use of Honorable for US politicians.

@Therequiembellishere: If you still think that this title does not belong in this article, please, bring your arguments and evidence to assess them here in this Talk Page. However, if you do not show WP:RS or are unwilling or unable to engage this conversation, I would kindly ask you to please return the article to its former version (self revert) or do not intervene on it when others would do it for you (WP:0RR). Cheers, Caballero/Historiador 07:42, 18 October 2018 (UTC)

Governors office declines request for photo[edit]

I attended an event where the governor spoke and asked an aide for a photo from their office to put on Wikipedia. I showed the photo which is currently there. The response I got was "Wikipedia? No."

This is fairly typical - I have asked hundreds of people and offices and almost always the response is either "no" or yes, then later they will not agree to a Wikimedia-compatible copyright license.

Maybe someday things will change! Blue Rasberry (talk) 16:55, 18 January 2019 (UTC)

Blackface/KKK photo in yearbook[edit]

WaPo: "Va. Gov. Northam’s medical school yearbook page shows men in blackface, KKK robe".[2] Should it be included on this Wikipedia page and how should it written up? As far as I can see, no RS has confirmed that Northam is on the photo in question, and Northam has yet to comment on the story, but it looks damning and will probably be a big story in his governorship (unless it turns out the yearbook editor added the wrong photo to Northam's page or some other far-fetched explanation). Snooganssnoogans (talk) 21:54, 1 February 2019 (UTC)

Yeah looks pretty bad but I think we give it a day or two to see if stronger sources pick it up. PackMecEng (talk) 22:46, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
@PackMecEng: I think there is a strong consensus that the Washington Post is a strong source. See WP:Reliable sources/Perennial sources#The Washington PostBillHPike (talk, contribs) 22:55, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
Yes they are a RS, but contentious claims I generally like to see two to three pick up the story per WP:PUBLICFIGURE. I do not think it would hurt to wait a little bit for more to come out. PackMecEng (talk) 22:59, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
The New York Times has picked up the story [3]. — BillHPike (talk, contribs) 23:03, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Include as Northam has just issued a statement admitting he is in the photo. Story is being covered by CNN, NY Times, Fox News, Washington Post, etc. No real dispute about whether it should be included now. Instaurare (talk) 23:25, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
Welp not much I can say at this point. As long as we include his statement on it I think it should be fine to include. PackMecEng (talk) 23:26, 1 February 2019 (UTC)
I have no objections to adding content on this. Snooganssnoogans (talk) 23:28, 1 February 2019 (UTC)


Why is this not in the Political Career section? It seems pretty out of place where it currently is.Nohomersryan (talk) 00:52, 2 February 2019 (UTC) (It appears to be its own section now, so just in case anyone reading this now is confused, it was crammed into the early life section when I made this comment. Nohomersryan (talk) 01:43, 2 February 2019 (UTC))

@Nohomersryan: It is included in that section because the pictures/yearbook are from his time in medical school. It has nothing to do with his political career. – Braxton C. Womacktalk to me! 01:00, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
I disagree, there was no controversy around it because he was just some random student, it's because he has a political career that it is even relevant. If he ends up resigning, it should 100% be moved. Nohomersryan (talk) 01:18, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
This is definitely a big enough story to be mentioned in the article. But as I stated in my most recent edit summaries, I'm not sure that it should be mentioned in the article's lead (yet). And I'm not convinced that it needs to have its own, dedicated section in the article (as it was recently given), when it can simply be discussed in the "Governor of Virginia" section. When dealing with BLP articles, we need to take undue weight considerations seriously. This a significant chapter in Northam's political career, but it will take awhile longer before we know how significant it is. If the story continues to dominate headlines for awhile, then mentioning it in the lead would certainly be appropriate. But there are other major news stories from Northam's time in office (MedicAid expansion, Amazon's HQ, etc.) that aren't currently discussed in the lead - and I don't think that it would be appropriate to exclusively mention negative news stories in the lead, before we've even given them a few days to play out. --Jpcase (talk) 02:21, 2 February 2019 (UTC)


The timing, makes it seem like an attempt to get rid of him, per his 'abortion' comments. But, we'd need a source for that. GoodDay (talk) 03:08, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

I don't see why we need to even be concerned about the timing of this. We are not doing original research nor investigations - we document what has occurred. Drawing conclusions of this sort is speculative at best and outside WP editor purview. If it is reported there is some ulterior motive and\or that this was somehow a smear campaign, then we can\should cross that bridge then. In any event, Northam has already admitted he was in the picture so the timing really is a secondary point anyway. airuditious (talk) 07:08, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
Well stated.--Artaxerxes 19:09, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
The timing is suspect for sure. But apparently CBS went down there and confirmed it. A reporter from CBS News affiliate News 3, Brendan Ponton, went to the Eastern Virginia Medical School library in Norfolk Friday afternoon and found the page on which the photo appears. They also found in the yearbook his nickname was "Coonman".CBS News uncovered a page from Northam's yearbook at the Virginia Military Institute which had nicknames listed underneath his name. One of them was "Coonman," a racial slur.[4] PackMecEng (talk) 03:26, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Racial slur?[edit]

In what way is "coonman" a "racial slur" when applied to a white man? "Coon", when applied to a black guy, that would be clear. (Of course, he could have earned this nickname by appearing in blackface regularly at VMI or earlier).--Artaxerxes 19:09, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Well, I think the point here is that someone was using the slur in the context of Northam wearing blackface. It appears the pejorative was being used as joke (albeit poor) for the costume Northam was wearing. So in a sense, if we're going to square the corners here, yes it was being applied to a Caucasian but only because he was wearing blackface on at least one occasion. I think one could also suppose that since people labeled Northam with that term, he possibly engaged in wearing blackface on multiple occasions - this is also something Artaxerxes alluded to as well. Yes, we are speculating here on the last part but just noting for discussion purposes. airuditious (talk) 19:18, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Timing (continued)[edit]

We have a SFgate/WP source now: "The source of the tip appears to have been a medical school classmate or classmates of Northam who acted as a direct result of the abortion controversy that erupted earlier in the week, according to two people at Big League Politics, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly. "The revelations about Ralph Northam's racist past were absolutely driven by his medical school classmate's anger over his recent very public support for infanticide," one of the two said". Iselilja (talk) 23:30, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

I'm still a little dubious about including this as yet given that the sources of the statements concerning the tipster's actions are not speaking officially for Big League Politics nor on the record. I don't see any need to rush this aspect of the story if it actually comes to fruition. Personally, I'd rather it mature a little more and get it right. Just my $0.50. airuditious (talk) 23:38, 3 February 2019 (UTC)


WP:NOTAFORUM PackMecEng (talk) 04:55, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion has been closed. Please do not modify it.

  • not include we're not here to slam democrats! besides, this happened 30 years ago. decades-old allegations of college-age wrongdoing just aren't relevant if a leader is as potentially socially-useful as northam could be. the timing is smelly too: looks like an anti-abortion crowd astroturf campaign. if we ~must~ include it or if there develops a tidal wave of calls to resign such that he becomes a liability to 2020 , we should bury or delete entirely that he's a democrat in the manner of the associated press —always a reliable source. there's a widely-circulated AP story (see a great example:] ) where at least as of 23:30 on 2 feb 2019, you can CTRL+F search that page allllll you want for "demo" and there's not a peep about him being D. the quoted people are all prominently party-sourced as republicans, and a casual news-reader (like most people/voters) will just assume he's another deplorable racist republican. that's how to do it, people. there's too much at stake this close to elections to muddy-up any prominent D's image. can we get some copyright-related takedown of that embarrassing image maybe if we need to say somewhere he's a D? surely the news-leaker didn't ask the college for image-use permission, 'm i right? we need to get some damage control going and 3RR any infowars-addicted POV zombies into submission. Cramyourspam (talk) 04:50, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
^note: one editor immediately called my comment, above, FORUM-izing as in NOTAFORUM. i disagree. i'm saying why the info should not be included here. Cramyourspam (talk) 05:07, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Photo of Ralph with his racially offensive nickname "Coonman".

WRIC ABC news link to article discussing his year book image and his racially offensive nickname "Coonman". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:28, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

  • Include--But hold off for now. CNN just released a statement that Gov. Northam now seems to be reversing himself and expressing doubt that he is in the photo. We don’t know what this is about yet. The story should ultimately be included, no doubt of that, but we need to get all the facts before we present this episode and see how it plays out factually.HistoryBuff14 (talk) 16:32, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
Agreed we can document the photo while including his statements regretting it and his statement that he does not remember if it was him. As well as the responses to the controversy. We cannot state for sure it was him in the actual photo. PackMecEng (talk) 16:36, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
The article should reflect only information that can be referenced as it becomes available. So we definitely need to include that he initially admitted he was in the picture and then of course any follow-on retractions. Maybe I'm misinterpreting some here - and apologies if I am - but we shouldn't remove his initial admission just because he may backtrack. Even if he is ultimately shown to not even be in the photo, that admission is a very relevant part of the story. airuditious (talk) 18:55, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
Ditto.--Artaxerxes 19:09, 2 February 2019 (UTC)


Pretty sure the school yearbook where the nickname appears is from the Virginia Military INSTITUTE rather than the "Academy", but I haven't got the power to change that. Can someone with more access make this minor alteration? [1] — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ahtrap (talkcontribs) 19:35, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

 Done. Someone fixed it.--Mojo Hand (talk) 18:44, 4 February 2019 (UTC)


Gubernatorial term limits[edit]

We should 'maybe' point out that the mainstream media is incorrectly reporting that a Virginia governor can serve only 'one' term. Actually, a Virginia governor can serve an unlimited number of terms. Just not consecutively. GoodDay (talk) 06:29, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Does that really relate to this specific governor though? Help me understand how to fit this into (A) Northam; and\or (B) it even being something that belongs on WP? Please don't mistake me as being contentious - I genuinely don't see a fit but if you do, please elaborate. airuditious (talk) 07:14, 2 February 2019 (UTC)


Why does the initial description not mention that Ralph is a Democratic politician? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Siddsam (talkcontribs) 06:35, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Is Ralph Northam a Democrat? You have to search the article to find out. Should it be in the lead paragraph, as it is for Jerry Brown and many other U.S. governors? Why isn't it? Dynasteria (talk) 09:28, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Put it in. GoodDay (talk) 14:05, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

It has always been there. It is the same place as are all political party designations for politicians in WP - within the appropriate space in the information block on the right. I suppose it could be added to the lede but given that most other politicians do not have similar designations in the lede, should we treat Northam differently? airuditious (talk) 18:49, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, I'm out of the country and of course Gavin Newsom is now the governor of California. It's in his lead as well. Dynasteria (talk) 23:06, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

As I mentioned, some politicians do have it in the lede - others do I see this as a style thing vs. being required. In any event, someone (possibly you - not sure) did add it to Northam's lede so it's moot. Enjoy wherever you happen to be. airuditious (talk) 23:10, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

Northam comments on abortion/non-viable births/Repeal Act + Kathy Tran in this article[edit]

I realize that this is hardly going to be at the front of anyone's mind right now, but I'd like to get others' thoughts on whether or not to mention Kathy Tran in this article. Tran's involvement with the Repeal Act is discussed in a separate article about the bill, and to my knowledge, Northam hasn't mentioned Tran in any of his public comments about the bill - so Tran seems irrelevant to the section of this article about the topic. Mentioning her is also inconsistent with how other bills are discussed in this article, e.g. nowhere is it specified who proposed the bill expanding Medicaid or the bill raising the felony threshold on theft. --Jpcase (talk) 22:47, 2 February 2019 (UTC)

DISCLAIMER: I am not 100% up to speed WRT to the Tran bill and surrounding controversy. That said, I agree that if Tran in not a central part of Northam's involvement with or handling of the bill, then she should not be mentioned here. The only way I could see to include her would be if she was somehow involved in what Northam has done re: this bill. Just my $0.50. airuditious (talk) 22:58, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
It seems to me that the only notable involvement Northam has had with the bill are the comments that he made during an interview with WTOP and his subsequent attempts to clarify those comments. As far as I know, Northam never mentioned Tran in either of those instances. It's certainly possible that he's mentioned Tran during public comments about the bill, but if he has, none of those comments seem to have received a great deal of press attention. --Jpcase (talk) 23:48, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
Sure - and even if he did merely mention Tran, I don't see that as qualification to include those specific remarks nor to mention Tran here. Now if Northam were to remark on how Tran's office worked extensively with the Governor's office in the crafting of the bill, then it probably would make sense to include it here but only if we otherwise include actual discussion of the bill in question or Northam's legislative activity. airuditious (talk) 23:54, 2 February 2019 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and removed her name from the article. --Jpcase (talk) 02:17, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
Actually, Northam's comment was in response to a question from reporter Julie Carey, who asked Northam to explain comments that Tran made at a hearing on the bill. He was directly asked to explain Tran's comments. It's not clear from the abbreviated quote in the article exactly what question he was responding to. I'm going to expand the quote somewhat to include a portion of the exact question that was asked and his full response. This way there is no ambiguity or deception as to what the question was or what his response was. Sparkie82 (tc) 21:09, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
While I appreciate your view on this and the intent to clarify Northam's position on Tran's bill and his abortion views overall, I do think adding that much content re: his response may tiptoe over into WP:UNDUE. airuditious (talk) 21:16, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm not sure if you are referring to the WP policy or not-so-subtly hinting to "undue" my edit. If the former, I see no mention in that policy regarding how quotes are to appear in articles. My edit was made to undo the edit that removed the reference to Tran and to add clarity. You can't remove all mentions of Tran because that is what the question was that was asked and what he was responding to. The decision has already been made to include the quote, so it would be inappropriate to edit the quote down to make it less clear what was said or to add ambiguity to the context. Sparkie82 (tc) 21:31, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
The former (policy) - apologies for any ambiguity - it was not intentional. Clarifying a bit more, Northam has certainly made any number of comments concerning legislation including about what others have said about legislation...yet we do not include similar detail when Northam quotes are included in his article. So then, I would ask...why now? To me, for this level of detail to be included, it must be of sufficient value to Northam's bio that warrant the added detail. airuditious (talk) 21:43, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm inclined to agree with Aleding (airuditious). The only time that Northam mentions Tran in his comment is to say that he can't speak for her, so that part of the quote doesn't seem particularly relevant to this article. The rest of Northam's comments are addressing the bill itself (or late term abortions in general). Northam never references Tran's testimony, so quoting Carey's question isn't necessary to understand Northam's statement. --Jpcase (talk) 21:53, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
It is necessary to quote the question from the reporter because Northam's quote uses grammatical pronouns and pronoun phrases that refer back to the question without explicit exposition: "...the first thing I would say is this is why decisions such as this should be made ..." and "...So in this particular example..." (emphasis added). When I first came to the article and read Northam's quote as it was, I had no idea what he was referring to when he said "this particular example". I had to track down the sources and do a bunch of research just to figure out exactly what he was talking about. That's why we need the quote of the original question from the reporter, which, BTW is as concise as any paraphrasing that we could come up with after a long discussion to determine exactly how to phase such rewrite of the reporter's question. The quote of the reporter's question is necessary for context. A paraphrase of the reporter's question will be less accurate, possibly introduce bias, and waste editors' time. Also, an article or section that discusses events needs to include the five W's, including all the "who"'s that are involved in or referred to in the event. Sparkie82 (tc) 23:59, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Sure - but your research notwithstanding, none of that answers the question as to why we should include this much detail about Northam's quotes concerning a single piece of legislation. To do so is not inline with how his other quotes have been handled nor how other politician's quotes concerning legislation have been handled in their relative articles. I think this is the question we need to answer first. airuditious (talk) 00:20, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

──────────── It seems to me that when Northam said, "in this particular example", he was actually referring back to the very previous sentence of his own statement, when he said, "And it's done in cases where there may be severe deformities, there may be a fetus that's non-viable." He wasn't necessarily referencing any particular example from Carey's question. I agree that providing enough context to readers is important, but there's a separate article for the Repeal Act, where that additional context is already provided. The "Abortion" section of this article isn't about the Repeal Act itself, nor is it about the controversy over Tran's testimony - both of those are addressed in the Repeal Act article. So the "event" that the "Abortion" section of this article discusses is solely Northam's own comments about the bill, and Tran isn't a particularly important part of those comments. The only context that seems necessary for understanding Northam's comments is a basic overview of how the Repeal Act would change Virginia law as it relates to late-term abortions. --Jpcase (talk) 00:17, 7 February 2019 (UTC)

Good points - I concur. airuditious (talk) 00:25, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
@Aleding:@Jpcase: airuditious's point about the level of detail is valid. There is too much detail about this recent event. However, including a partial quote can mis-characterize what was said or create ambiguity. Perhaps we should just eliminate the quote from the body of the article and instead briefly mention the public criticism over statements he made about non-viable, live births. We can include a note tag and put all the detail in a note at the bottom of the article. Sparkie82 (tc) 06:29, 7 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I've changed the name of this discussion to more accurately reflect its content. Sparkie82 (tc) 21:40, 8 February 2019 (UTC)
    • As mentioned on my talk page, apologies about removing your comment; I had thought that I was only restoring the original title.
For the reasons mentioned above, I disagree that the shorter quote is ambiguous or mis-characterizes anything. The part of the quote where Northam says that he "can't speak" for Tran doesn't add any important context to what he goes on to say in the rest of the quote. And the only other parts of the quote that I've removed are a couple of very generic statements about abortion decisions being best left to women and their doctors. Most news sources that I've seen leave out these parts of the quote, so I really don't think that either of these parts are needed to understand what Northam is saying. But if readers of this page are left wanting more context, then they can always check out Wikipedia's article on the Repeal Act, which is linked to.
On the other hand, mentioning the blowback to Northam's statement, without including any of the actual statement would run the risk of giving readers a poor understanding of the topic. Personally, I'm not concerned about the length of the section, I'm just concerned about staying on topic. I'd be fine with including the full quote, if I thought that the full quote was relevant.
I'm not trying to claim ownership of the page, nor have I been trying to start an edit war with you or anything. So if more people decide to join the conversation in favor of using the full quote, then we can certainly go that route. But right now, there's slightly more support for using the shortened quote. And I'm not sure that I really have anything else to add at this point. --Jpcase (talk) 03:17, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
I feel we may be headed for a full circle here so just re-iterating some earlier points:
At present, I think mentioning anything concerning this specific bill risks WP:UNDUE or even WP:OFFTOPIC unless it is somehow directly connected to events involving Northam.
I also think this applies to any legislator\governor and legislation because, as we all know, politicians comment on specific legislation every day and we don't include that commentary in their articles. If we survey articles for those individuals, we are not going to see inclusion of comments made about legislation unless, as an example, that legislation is a bill they sponsored\co-sponsored, was part of a campaign promise, something they shepherded through the process, etc. As far as I know, Northam is no more connected to Tran's bill as he is to any other VA legislation that has been put forth by the Democrats.
If sentiments are against me here - fair enough - but if so, it would be helpful to describe how the bill is germane to Northam - I'm just not seeing it - Thanks. airuditious (talk) 03:59, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
Sentiments towards editors are irrelevant here, it's what's important to the project that counts. (Northam was responding to a question about a bill that he would need to sign for it to be law.) Sparkie82 (tc) 22:48, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
As I mentioned above, the quote as it is uses grammatical pronouns that ambiguously refer to un-quoted material, so it's simply unclear. I agree that including the long quote is too much mainly because of recentism. Including the quote as it is here is too much for the same reason, plus it's unclear. That's why I proposed a compromise solution above, i.e., including the detail in a note so the article doesn't give undue weight to the incident, yet still includes enough material so that it's clear what was actually said. Sparkie82 (tc) 22:48, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
It appears we are debating different things here. I'm not concerned with which quote to include - I'm saying the case for inclusion at all hasn't been made as yet - or if it has been made, I don't see it. Nothing I've seen presented supports inclusion of Northam's comments about this specific bill. Again, governors routinely comment on all manner legislation yet we do not include those comments unless the legislation is somehow relevant to the person in question. Also, I agree with you that it is the project that counts - I think my comments reflect this belief - my selection of the word "sentiments" is merely a stylistic choice. airuditious (talk) 23:08, 9 February 2019 (UTC)
What makes his comments notable was (is) the wide press coverage and commentary about the comments. To the extent that those comments elucidate his political position on the topic, that is also a reason for mentioning them in this section. (Note: If he resigns because of this and other recent controversies, it may need to be moved to wherever his resignation is explained in the article.) Sparkie82 (tc) 00:56, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, the widespread news coverage about comments made by individuals was still about the bill and reactions to it. That said, people having a reaction to or making comments about a piece of proposed legislation doesn't necessarily qualify those comments for inclusion into the individual speaker's WP article. Several people have made comments about the Tran bill and those comments are not universally included within WP. For example, Ben Sasse, US Senator from NE, called the bill "morally repugnant" and surveying his article, there is no mention of Tran's bill whatsoever. Also, Northam is not really taking a different position than what would have been expected given his position on abortion. Now if he were coming out against Tran's bill, then that would definitely qualify for inclusion in his article - but that's not where he currently stands. Curious to hear others chime in here. airuditious (talk) 01:42, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Given that this section has grown quite long and has creeped a bit from the original title, I suggest we do one of the following: (A) Edit the title as Sparkie82 suggested a few days ago; or (B) Split this discussion into 2 different sections such as "Mention Kathy Tran" and "Northam comments on Tran abortion bill". I strongly favor "A" as I think allocating the comments to fit solely into one section or the other will be difficult. airuditious (talk) 02:14, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
If someone wants to re-title the discussion, then that's fine, but honestly, I think we can just end the discussion here. It's unlikely that any of us are going to change our opinions at this point, and no one else is likely to weigh in. I do think that Northam's statement should be partially quoted, because it received considerable news coverage. I don't think that we need to quote the entirety of his statement. As noted above, the portions of his statement that are currently omitted from this article were also omitted from most news sources that I've seen. It seems to me that we should quote the notable things that Northam said in the interview, but we don't need to quote the less notable things. I'd be open to quoting the less notable things, if I thought that they added important context, but for the reasons that I've already gone into, I don't think that any more context is needed in this situation. If readers of this article are confused, then they can always click on the link to the Repeal Act to learn more. --Jpcase (talk) 02:37, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
Well, this doesn't really address any of the concerns or potential policy violation that have been brought up. As I've mentioned before, I have no objection to including any content that is not in dispute as long as it fits within WP policy\guidelines. This content doesn't yet fit that criteria. Also, please take a look at Trump's personal and POTUS articles. This is someone who is arguably the most quotable person around right now and nowhere do we see extensive emphasis placed on anything he's said about other people's legislation or actions. To me, this a clear guideline in terms of deciding this debate here. airuditious (talk) 03:26, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
As far as I'm aware, there's no policy against including quotes about legislation in a politician's BLP article, although if I'm wrong about that, then let me know. The reason that such quotes aren't used in the Donald Trump article has to do with undue weight, I think. Because Trump says so many things that get extensive news coverage, there wouldn't be any objective way to single out which ones are notable enough to include in his article. If Northam had made numerous statements throughout his governorship that had received comparable amounts of news coverage to his statement about late-term abortions, then I'd agree that there wouldn't be any reason to single out this one particular statement for inclusion. But it's because the amount of news coverage received by this particular statement is uniquely significant that I think a portion of the statement probably ought to be included in the article.
Also, it's worth noting that full articles have been created about certain political views that Trump holds, such as Immigration policy of Donald Trump, and those articles do include extensive quotes. If Northam's political views had received presidential-levels of news coverage, then it would be reasonable to create spin-off articles of that sort for Northam as well - and if that were done, then I'd support moving Northam's quote about late-term abortions out of this article and into one of those articles. But currently, the amount of news coverage that Northam has received wouldn't justify separate articles for his political views, and so including the most notable portion of this particular quote in Northam's own article seems like the best way to go. --Jpcase (talk) 13:49, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
  • I renamed this section to: Northam comments on abortion/non-viable births/Repeal Act + Kathy Tran in this article Sparkie82 (tc) 17:59, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
His comments are in the article under the section Political positions:Abortion. There is absolutely no question that his views about third-trimester abortion and so-called "partial birth" abortions are relevant and should be included in that section. The question is how much weight they get (how much is said about those views). In that section of the article other relevant positions such as vaginal ultrasounds, NARAL and Planned Parenthood endorsement, contraceptives, education, Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, each received one sentence or less in that section. His recent comments and position on third-trimester abortion and non-viable births in relation to the Repeal Act should receive about the same amount space, i.e., about one sentence. Sparkie82 (tc) 17:59, 10 February 2019 (UTC)
His position on 3TM abortion??? Of course that should be included just as would any content describing his stance on an issue. But quotes of his comments made in response to questions about one aspect of a single issue? No - I don't see guidance justifying inclusion of that content except maybe in cases where the "why" behind that person's view is itself relevant - we do not have that here.
The only reason I see to include these comments would be to place added emphasis on Northam's position, and his reasoning for that position, on 3TM\partial-birth abortion. To do so, intended or otherwise, clearly violates WP:UNDUE. We shouldn't add content that goes further than is necessary to reliably state what Northam's position is on an issue. Adding his comments made in response to media questions about a specific type of abortion adds more detail than is required. So while we certainly must include Northam's position on abortion, as editors we should not care and therefore should not include the reasons behind his reasoning or position. airuditious (talk) 00:43, 11 February 2019 (UTC)


airuditious, I think you and I are in complete agreement here. Do you want to take a stab at writing a sentence or two summarizing Northam's views on these aspects? To include: 3TM, non-viable births/partial birth, and his position that multiple physicians need to sign off on 3TM. You can mention that his positions became notable due to the interview comments or not mention it, I don't care either way. Sparkie82 (tc) 03:33, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@Sparkie82: I agree we are in close - I took a pass at this and while I think you may want more here, please allow me a brief moment to clarify where I'm coming from. I kept all of the key details about Northam's position so there should be zero doubt on the part of the reader as to where Northam stands. I did also keep a little bit about his comments on the Tran bill mainly because, given the flak he caught, it does make sense to touch on it. But I kept the bill's specifics (and his comments detailing those specifics) out because I really think that detail belongs on that bill's article page as well as articles about abortion. Let me know your thoughts - Thanks. airuditious (talk) 04:57, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Northam supports abortion rights and has argued for reducing abortion rates through education and expanding access to contraceptives. Northam opposes banning abortions after 20 weeks through a state version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. He was endorsed in the 2017 Democratic gubernatorial primary by the abortion rights group NARAL and its Virginia affiliate. In addition, Planned Parenthood pledged to spend $3 million supporting Northam in his 2017 general election campaign for governor.
In January 2019, Northam faced criticism over comments made during an interview about the Repeal Act (sponsored by Kathy Tran (D), Virginia House of Delegates) specifically concerning the consent of the mother and multiple physicians prior to the performing third-trimester abortions. Northam expanded on these remarks by adding that Virginia requires three physicians to determine that continued pregnancy would be "substantially and irremediably" harmful to a woman's health - a policy Northam continues to support.
In response to intense criticism from various Republicans, including at least one who accused him of condoning infanticide, a spokesman for Northam released a statement where the governar said "No woman seeks a third trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances" and that the governor's remarks were " to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor."
Looks like the ultrasound stuff got dropped. Was that intentional? I'd suggest just leaving the first paragraph as it is in the current version and replace all of the remaining paragraphs in the section with a sentence or so about his positions on 3T, etc. using the same terse form and writing style as in the first paragraph. Sparkie82 (tc) 06:20, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
That was a mistake - good catch. How's this for the 1st-P?
Northam supports abortion rights and has argued for reducing abortion rates through education and expanding access to contraceptives. When in the state Assembly, Northam opposed a bill to mandate ultrasounds (vaginal and abdominal) for women seeking abortions. He opposes banning abortions after 20 weeks through a state version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. He was endorsed in the 2017 Democratic gubernatorial primary by the abortion rights group NARAL and its Virginia affiliate. In addition, Planned Parenthood pledged to spend $3 million supporting Northam in his 2017 general election campaign for governor. airuditious (talk) 06:33, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Okay. For the rest of the section, how about:
For third-trimester abortions, he supports the requirement that more than one physician attest that continued pregnancy would be "substantially and irremediably" harmful to a woman's health and opposes a provision of the proposed Repeal Act that would lower that requirement to a single physician. Northam opposes abortion after labor has begun but attracted intense criticism when he suggested that non-resuscitation and other measures were an option in cases of non-viable births with severe deformities. Sparkie82 (tc) 07:26, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Apologies in advance for how long this comment ended up. There's a lot to go over here though, so it might be best if I just post the comment as is, instead of trying to shorten it:
With regards to WP:UNDUE - I disagree that quoting a portion of Northam's statement would be in violation of that policy. This particular statement received an outsized amount of news coverage compared to pretty much any other statement that Northam has made during his governorship. It was even referenced in Trump's State of the Union address, so going into more detail about it than Northam's other statements about abortion seems like the proper amount of weight. And again Wikipedia articles often include specific, highly notable quotes that political figures have made (e.g. numerous quotes are included in the Immigration policy of Donald Trump article. Those quotes would likely be included in Trump's own BLP article instead if Trump's political career had been shorter, but because Trump is president, it makes more sense to create spin-off articles for Trump's various positions).
Having said that - I think we're starting to zero in on an important point. Northam never really espouses his political views about abortion in the WTOP interview, aside from saying that he believes multiple doctors should sign off on third-trimester abortions. The bulk of Northam's statement simply summarizes what he considers to be common medical practice - and I suppose you could say that he's "defending" what he considers to be common medical practice, but the first paragraph of the "Abortion" section already states that Northam opposes banning abortions after 20 weeks, and the statement that we've been quoting is really just a long way of re-iterating that point.
I appreciate both of you taking a stab at rewriting the information - but personally, I find both of those summaries to be a little too vague. I agree with the point that Sparkie82 made earlier that we need to avoid mischaracterizing Northam's statement. But as long we were using Northam's own words, I felt like we were avoiding any such risk. If we try to summarize what Northam said, then I do think that we could potentially misinterpret things. For example - Northam has never publicly taken a position, to my knowledge, on whether to maintain the requirement that third-trimester abortions only be performed when continued pregnancy is deemed "substantially and irremediably" threatening to a woman's health. Unless I'm forgetting something, the only portion of Tran's bill that Northam ever voiced an opinion about during the WTOP interview is the multiple physicians requirement.
So here's where I'm landing - Northam's statement during the interview, and the subsequent criticism that he received, shouldn't be omitted from the article entirely. But it's already discussed, very briefly, in the "Governor of Virginia (2018-present)" section. Because the bulk of Northam's statement doesn't express any of his political views, perhaps there's simply no need to discuss it in the "Abortion" section at all, aside from mentioning that he supports the current requirement that third-trimester abortions be approved by multiple physicians. The statement is a notable part of Northam's governorship, but it isn't an notable explanation of his political philosophy. If Northam ever takes an explicit stance on the Repeal Act, then we could certainly consider writing about that in the "Abortion" section. But right, it seems like we may be reading too much into what he's said about the bill. --Jpcase (talk) 16:24, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Actual, looking back at it, Northam's comments on abortion/non-viable births didn't receive that much more press coverage than his previous comments on abortion. It was his comments on the yearbook photo that got all the press. The suggestion that we've come up with here gives slightly more weight to his recent comments (2 sentence vs. ~1 sentence for each of the others). airuditious and I have each suggested multiple atlernatives and moved from our original positions on this, but Jpcase, it sounds like you aren't going to be satisfied unless it worded exactly as you want it.
I see no choice here but to open an rfc, which I did. Sparkie82 (tc) 19:12, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Note: I applied the suggested compromise to the article to get a permalink for the rfc. I'm sure Jpcase will immediately change it back to the version he wants. Sparkie82 (tc) 19:12, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
DISCLAIMER: I see the RfC but am also adding my responses here for it will be relevant for the larger group to consider. Also, just a reminder that this medium completely sucks at conveying human cues and proper context. Nothing I state below should be taken with any edge whatsoever - any ruffling of feathers is 100% not intended...when in doubt, please assume good faith .
@Sparkie82: OK, so the paragraph you added is very close to what I drafted but with some important distinctions that I do not find supported in the current list of references. You added that Northam: (A) opposes a provision of the proposed Repeal Act that would lower that requirement to a single physician; (B) opposes abortion after labor has begun; (C) suggested that non-resuscitation and other measures were an option in cases of non-viable births with severe deformities. Those statements, if not accurate, are definitely not allowed. However, if these are actually covered in the refs,, please provide the vector. But even if they are accurate, I would still think this is content that provides too much detail. That said, I will concede it might be worthy of inclusion and I'm definitely more than willing to discussion this this greater length.
@Jpcase: There's a lot there but I will try to keep it short and concise:
  • Undue weight: My statement re: violating of WP:UNDUE was not in relation to the mere inclusion of Northam's comments but rather the content of those comments. As I've stated above, the content we include must be primarily limited to stating what his positions are. Anything further needs to be evaluated carefully for balance and pertinence. I elaborate more on this below.
  • Northam defending common practices: In your 2nd paragraph, you dissect this perfectly as this is the exact kind of content with which we need to be careful. Is it relevant to Northam, his positions, and\or his governorship? Does it add undue weight to a specific part of Northam's position and\or governorship? The answer to both is "possibly" which is why we need to carefully scrutinize this type of content.
  • Relevance of WTOP interview: Your statement "...I think we're starting to zero in on an important point. Northam never really espouses his political views about abortion in the WTOP interview..." - completely agreed - this is essentially what I've been arguing. My view is that the only part of that interview that is relevant are statements Northam makes in response to the fervor over his position vis-a-vis Tran's bill - the key piece here is "vis-a-vis Tran's bill".
  • Vagueness: I respectfully disagree - The 3 paragraphs I drafted, while in some measure terse, concisely deliver Northam's position while also adding a minority part to this recent controversy but only as much as required to present Northam's stance on abortion in relation to that controversy. Anything further definitely risks adding undue weight.
  • Your last paragraph: This is nearly in alignment with my previous arguments and with what I drafted. You did mention that "...[ Northam's ] statement is a notable part of Northam's governorship, but it isn't an notable explanation of his political philosophy..." but this is really the same thing isn't it? Or more succinctly, the latter really is an essential part of the former. And this is why, as discussed above, only select portions of his statement are worthy of inclusion.
--- airuditious (talk) 19:30, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Don't worry! I'm not picking up on any edge at all from you. I'm getting quite burned out by this discussion though, and so I fear that I've likely projected some that unintentionally in my own comments. If I've come across as overly argumentative at any point, then I apologize for that. Like you said, it can often be difficult to convey proper cues and context through writing. I've never intended any disrespect toward either of you in any of my comments, although I realize that I may not have always been successful in expressing myself as intended. (I'll address some of the other points that you raised in a follow-up comment as soon as I can). --Jpcase (talk) 20:38, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks - and likewise on your end - not reading anything negative at all coming from you...all good. But I think you'd agree, given how nasty thing can turn here - and also how quickly they get nasty - I'm really sensitive to making sure I'm not being misinterpreted. It sounds like you have that same sensitivity. At this point, I think I'm just gonna let the RfC do it's thing and see what others besides the 3 of us have to say. airuditious (talk) 20:43, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Sounds good - this will probably be my last post on the topic, unless there's something specific that you'd like further follow-up on. To clarify my comments from earlier though, you're right that Northam's political philosophy could be considered a part of his political career. But not every part of his career is necessarily a part of his philosophy. The distinction that I was trying to draw is that the statement Northam made during his WTOP interview doesn't shed much light on his political positions, and so I'm not sure that it belongs in the "Political positions" section. But the controversy caused by the statement has played a notable role in the history of Northam's time in office, and so mentioning the statement in the "Governor of Virginia" section (which is a history of Northam's tenure) makes sense.
As for vagueness (I'll just address the more recent version of what you wrote, currently in your sandbox): If we use that version, I feel that readers will be confused as to why Republicans criticized Northam's statement. It could certainly be argued that the criticism of Northam's statement has been an unfair misrepresentation of what Northam actually said - but readers should have the freedom to make that determination on their own. If the article is going to mention the criticism that Northam received for this statement, then readers should have a clear understanding of why Northam was criticized. If you want to take a stab at summarizing this, then I'd certainly give some more thought to the matter. But I'm not sure that there's any great way of communicating why Northam was criticized without using at least some portion of Northam's own words. --Jpcase (talk) 23:19, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
@Jpcase: Great feedback - thank you. Let me marinate on this a bit before revising my sandbox. I will ping you when there's something worthwhile to review - sound good? airuditious (talk) 23:24, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
That sounds good! --Jpcase (talk) 00:11, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
@Aleding: A, B, and C are all in the WTOP interview. With A and B he made unambiguous statements about his positions. With C, when asked about abortion after a woman had begun to dilate, he said, "... if a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen..." and then went on to describe it with his controversial comments. He didn't come out and say verbatim "my position is...", but that was the implication. Therefore, in the text of the article describing it we say, "he suggested that non-resuscitation and other measures were an option...". I used the phrase "other measures" because he didn't specify what the other measures would be -- he just said the mother and physicians would discuss it. Some of his opponents assumed infanticide, but those other measures could be removal of live support or a treatment regime or something else, so we just say "other measures." Sparkie82 (tc) 00:37, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
@Sparkie82: I have watched\listened to the entire interview - here is my analysis:
"A" - opposition to reducing # of physicians to only 1: This is not what Northam actually said. He states that he would "like to see" more than one provider - actually "two or more" - but his answer stopped short of what he "opposes" in terms of the req'd # of physicians. This may seem like splitting hairs but it's not - it is drawing a conclusion not based in fact. Because you already have the piece about what Northam prefers, we need to just remove the last sentence stating what he opposes.
"B" - opposes abortion after labor has begun: Northam never says this or anything similar. Also violates WP:NOR.
"C" - suggestion as to reasons for 3TM abortion: Agreed - he does state this or at least his perspective as to why 3TM abortions are done. Definitely OK to keep if the content is otherwise justifiable.
--- airuditious (talk) 02:54, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Re claim A, Northam said, "When we talk about third-trimester abortions, these are done with the consent of obviously the mother, with the consent of the physicians, more than one physician, by the way." Again, not a straight "My position is..." kind of statement, but he also said, "this is why decisions such as this should be made by providers, physicians, and the mothers and the fathers". So at least we can say he believes the decision should be made by multiple providers (a physician is provider, so a provider and a physician is multiple providers) plus the mother and the father.
Re claim B, I know I heard this in the interview. I'll try to find the exact quote. Sparkie82 (tc) 17:53, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
The part where you say "...not straight 'My position is'..." - EXACTLY that disqualifies it for inclusion. As to "C" or really any edit, you can't add content without first accurately being able to show where it came from and it is an editor's duty to remove content when no ref can be found...especially with BLPs. The article has been edited accordingly. Please do not modify the noted sections without first providing reliable refs that conform to WP policy. airuditious (talk) 18:02, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
Another editor had a question about Northam's unedited quote in the footnote. As I said about a week ago above, "Perhaps we should just eliminate the quote from the body of the article and instead briefly mention the public criticism over statements he made about non-viable, live births. We can include a note tag and put all the detail in a note at the bottom of the article." The footnote was done; the extent of the body text is a subject of an RFC below. Sparkie82 (tc) 07:45, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm not really sure what your getting at here as nothing I discuss in this section relates to FNs. As I said below, you never mentioned FNs in this section until your preceding comment made a few minutes ago. So your assertion that I attempted to split this discussion is unfounded. In any event, best to not continue the debate here - it will get resolved elsewhere. --- airuditious (talk) 07:56, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

  • FYI - Aleding (aka:airruditious) just changed his username to VeritasSapientia (Log entry: 01:56, 13 February 2019 1997kB (talk | contribs) renamed user Aleding (455 edits) to VeritasSapientia (Per en:WP:CHUS)) Sparkie82 (tc) 07:59, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Racism in United States category[edit]

Someone recently added this article to the Racism in the United States category, which while understandable, doesn't seem like a clear-cut decision to me. Northam's actions in college were certainly racist and may very well force him out of office - but I'm not aware of many people who are calling him a current racist. To the contrary, several of the people who have called on him to step down have said that they don't believe that the actions he took in college reflect who he is today. His decision to (so far) remain in office has caused the backlash against him to grow, but I still don't recall anyone out-and-out calling him a racist (It's admittedly possible that I could be overlooking some statements, but at the very least, the sentiment doesn't seem to be wide-spread).

So it's a little unclear to me what the standards are for including a BLP article in the "Racism in the United States" category. If anyone should be included in the category who's ever done something widely condemned as racist, then sure, it would be appropriate to include Northam - but by that standard, Donald Trump, George Allen, Ed Gillespie, Corey Stewart, and arguably even people like Franklin D. Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson should probably be included, and none of them currently are. Heck, Ted Danson was widely condemned for donning blackface in the 90s, but he isn't included in the category. And if someone wants to argue that all of those people should be added to the category, then that's fair enough. But without any definitive standard for which BLPs should or shouldn't be included in the category, it seems subjective and inconsistent to include Northam. --Jpcase (talk) 15:54, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

You make a very valid point. For example, if we classify Northam as racist solely based on his blackface missteps, then basically any comic who ever told a race-related joke is now racist including those who joke about their own race. This would further include jokes made about Caucasians and their "Caucasian-ness". Seems to me it is definitely premature to classify Northam as a racist despite his recently discovered poor judgement. airuditious (talk) 19:45, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm not going to say that wearing blackface is as trivial as telling an offensive joke; what Northam did is a big deal. But there are definitely nuances to how Northam is perceived by those who are calling on him to resign - and so adding Northam's page to such a contentious category doesn't seem like a good idea, especially without consensus. I've gone ahead and removed the category. --Jpcase (talk) 22:01, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Clarifying - My comment was not intended, nor should it be taken, to indicate any content involving race is "trivial" so please do not misunderstand what I'm saying here. Context does matter and in the specific case here with Northam, I think it's safe to presume his contextual reference was that his "costume" (for lack of a better phrase) was essentially parody and therefore comical (again, from his contextual perspective). To others - for example you, me, and likely many - it would not be taken as comedic. However, similar contextual perspectives would apply from the standpoint of comedians or really anyone else telling racially-oriented jokes. I think we do agree here and my additional comments are again more for clarification purposes. Thanks. airuditious (talk) 22:17, 3 February 2019 (UTC)
Makes sense. Thanks for clarifying! --Jpcase (talk) 22:33, 3 February 2019 (UTC)

New Article on the Ralph Northam yearbook controversy (or whatever you want to call it)[edit]

The time has come for someone to propose that a new article be created on the Ralph Northam yearbook controversy. Rationale: per the essay known as WP:RECENT this bio article is now becoming bloated with incident specific details out of proportion to the life and career of Governor Northam. Understanding that this is a dynamic situation, I would propose that a new article be created to accumulate the details of this "news-cycle-by-news-cycle" drama... possibly to include a background section on the previous week's abortion / infanticide controversy. I figured I would float it here before creating an article to avert a painful deletion discussion later. If there is editorial consensus I will create the article. Thoughts? Peace MPS (talk) 21:54, 4 February 2019 (UTC)

While I have not been involved in too many discussions as to when is the right time to split off a portion of one article for it to then stand on it's own 2 feet, I think your proposal makes sense. In reading WP:RECENT, it does seem clear this article has suffered sufficient churn to qualify. But then I would just ask do we think this controversy is one that merits its own article or would it be best kept here but we find a away to reduce the churn for a bit - perhaps protection? I'm not advocating either way - just bringing it up for consideration. airuditious (talk) 22:03, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
MPS, I think it would be better to address the recentism here by trimming out the non encyclopedic details, rather than creating a WP:CONTENTFORK that might be entirely made up of recentism. – Muboshgu (talk) 22:33, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
This should be the first course of action. Emir of Wikipedia (talk) 22:50, 4 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't think WP:CONTENTFORK is necessarily a bad thing, because sometimes legit articles are born through WP:SPINOFF process... agree that we don't need to be hasty, but just wanted to point out that the controversy is probably notable enough (given [ don't need to be hasty, but just wanted to point out that the controversy is probably notable enough (given Trumps mention of Northam in the state of the union address, for example) to have its own freestanding article. I guess at this point the controversy isn't developing as much, but if it reaches the point where the event boils over with real consequences (such as the much-discussed possibility of Northam's resignation or the governor switching to become an independent) then I think we would see more desire to expand the current article section. Again, I don't disagree with leaving it as it is for now, but just wanted to put it out there that at some point the scandal section might get even longer, and at some point it would not be inappropriate to WP:SPINOFF. Peace, MPS (talk) 16:15, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I don't have any position on whether or not to create a standalone article for the controversy. Just thought I should note that I'm pretty sure during the State of the Union, Trump only mentioned Northam's comments on abortion. I don't recall Trump saying anything in the speech about the yearbook controversy. --Jpcase (talk) 19:34, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
My brief 0.25, I agree re: only hearing the abortion part of the Northam story - I was actually waiting for the yearbook comment but alas he held back - or possibly forgot. airuditious (talk) 19:37, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
  • Support new article I feel that we need an article on this. The other related scandals (the abortion comments, allegations against Fairfax, Herring's blackface) mean that we can't reasonably cover the whole thing in this article. power~enwiki (π, ν) 19:42, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
Or perhaps on the existing WP blackface article? I checked Blackface disambiguation and did not see any subset of blackface articles as it seems all similar content is consolidated in the main blackface article. Or perhaps time to break up the main article as well? airuditious (talk) 19:47, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
  • The blackface controversy might deserve a new article as coverage is continuing, but we should absolutely not jump the gun on the other things. Sexual assault allegations are sensitive on BLPs and shouldn't be connected to other things as per guilt of association and WP:NOTGOSSIP. The abortion comments and positions belong to Northam's biography and shouldn't be split off anywhere else. wumbolo ^^^ 20:21, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
"...blackface controversy might deserve a new article..." - Playing Devil's advocate for a moment, what would be the criteria here for not including this in the existing blackface article? As I mentioned, I did not find any other Wikipedia articles that deal with specific incidents of blackface - for example, we don't have a specific article about Al Jolson's blackface performances. That content is discussed both in the main blackface article and in Jolson's article but not also in its own article. airuditious (talk) 20:41, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
It might be WP:UNDUE as there are too many instances of blackface. If it's listed there, it shouldn't be in its own sub-section because the level-4 heading is "21st century" under "United States" and we don't make level-5 headings. wumbolo ^^^ 20:52, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
This is a really great discussion... I think the blackface article is currently long and bloated too... Ideally blackface should be short and sweet article covering the topic of blackface (what is it, what do people think of it) in a timeless way. We would then have a List of blackface scandals (perhaps in time order) that could be the long listing of every time some prominent figure received criticism or lost his or her job due to wearing blackface. Analogy would be how sexual harassment is a standalone article and then you have Me Too movement listing each and every time a famous person has a sexual harassment incident. That said, (back on the topic of Northam) I could see Wikipedia handling this whole week in Virginia Gubernatorial chaos (yearbook(s) scandal... admitting then denying then near-moonwalking, then Fairfax accusations, accusations about where the leaks came from, and now Mark Herring) as a unitary topic called 2019 Virginia government blackface controversy. The abortion/infanticide controversy (and SOTU piling on) is relevant, but really just context / background information, since some people have alleged that the leak was in retribution for the abortion/infanticide thing. Peace, MPS (talk) 21:38, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I wholly concur that the existing blackface article is in need to some careful editing\dissection with the resulting goal to have a mini-library of sorts concerning blackface. As to the Northam + VA gov't scandals now in play...and especially if the # of incidents increases any further...then agreed...we probably need something akin to "2019 VA governmental meltdown" or similar. So the moment this set of incidents crosses over into being relatively unique (which they may have already done), then to me it likely demands its own article - especially if we have a few resignations\removals as a result. airuditious (talk) 21:49, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
I still don't have a firm opinion one way or the other as to whether a standalone article should be created, but if we do decide to go that route, then I feel that the article should collectively focus on all of the scandals currently enveloping Virginia's executive branch, from Northam's comments on late-term abortions up through today's revelation that Mark Herring also donned blackface in college; and then any further developments that may arise could also be mentioned there. Creating an article exclusively about Northam's yearbook photo (and Michael Jackson costume) seems too narrow, considering how interconnected all of the various scandals are. With regards to Justin Fairfax, yes, we have to be extremely careful on how we address that aspect of the story - but the allegation is currently discussed in Fairfax's own article (by consensus), so if a new article is created for the collective scandals, then I don't feel that it would be inappropriate for such an article to briefly and carefully mention the controversy surrounding Fairfax. --Jpcase (talk) 22:10, 6 February 2019 (UTC)
2019 Virginia political crisis? I would almost suggest "constitutional crisis", but most sources are saying that is as a threat of something that could happen, while many sources describe the current situation as a "political crisis".--Pharos (talk) 13:00, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Started 2019 Virginia political crisis[edit]

I have started a minimalist 2019 Virginia political crisis article. i leave it for others to link/merge/expand as appropriate.--Pharos (talk) 19:25, 10 February 2019 (UTC)

Thanks, this is a good start... I am ok with the title "political crisis" because it is specific enough for people to know what it is, but general enough that it will still apply even as the crisis continues to develop. Peace MPS (talk) 15:54, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Treatment of Northam's recent comments on third-trimester abortion/non-viable births[edit]

Should Northam's recent comments on third-trimester abortion and non-viable births given during an interview with WTOP be explained in the article using four paragraphs and including an edited quote, or should they be explained with two sentences including a footnote link to a complete quotation/explanation?

(the subject section of the article is Ralph_Northam#Abortion) Sparkie82 (tc) 19:08, 11 February 2019 (UTC)


  • There is a third version that should be part of this RfC - I have posted it below. I vote for version "C".
  • Version "A" - Previous version recently replaced and what gave rise to this debate. As noted in the discussion elsewhere in this Talk page, I oppose "A" for the reasons therein.
  • Version "B" - Current version which replaced version "A". Some of the claims are not found in the refs - for example, "Northam opposes abortion after labor has begun..." - I do not see that in any of the articles provided as refs for that sentence. Please provide vectors for that statement if it was actually made. airuditious (talk) 19:50, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Version "C" for consideration

Updated version w/ references found here.
Northam supports abortion rights and has argued for reducing abortion rates through education and expanding access to contraceptives. When in the state Assembly, Northam opposed a bill to mandate ultrasounds (vaginal and abdominal) for women seeking abortions. He opposes banning abortions after 20 weeks through a state version of the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. He was endorsed in the 2017 Democratic gubernatorial primary by the abortion rights group NARAL and its Virginia affiliate. In addition, Planned Parenthood pledged to spend $3 million supporting Northam in his 2017 general election campaign for governor.
In January 2019, Northam faced criticism over comments made during an interview about the Repeal Act (sponsored by Kathy Tran (D), Virginia House of Delegates) specifically concerning the consent of the mother and multiple physicians prior to the performing third-trimester abortions. Northam expanded on these remarks by adding that Virginia requires three physicians to determine that continued pregnancy would be "substantially and irremediably" harmful to a woman's health - a policy Northam continues to support.
In response to intense criticism from various Republicans, including at least one who accused him of condoning infanticide, a spokesman for Northam released a statement where the governar said "No woman seeks a third trimester abortion except in the case of tragic or difficult circumstances" and that the governor's remarks were " to the actions physicians would take in the event that a woman in those circumstances went into labor."

Option D: Omit it from the "Abortion" section of the article entirely

I proposed in our earlier discussion that the vast majority of what Northam has said about the Repeal Act seems irrelevant to the "Abortion" section of this article. That section of this article is supposed to deal specifically with Northam's political "positions", and Northam has never taken a public position on the Repeal Act. During the WTOP interview, when Northam discussed this topic, all he did was explain how third-trimester abortions are handled under current medical practice. And the "Abortion" section of the article already states in an earlier paragraph that Northam supports the current law allowing for third-trimester abortions in Virginia. So any discussion of the WTOP interview would simply be re-iterating what's already been said.

Northam's statement from the WTOP interview certainly got quite a bit of news coverage, and so I absolutely think that it should be mentioned somewhere in the article. But the statement is already mentioned in the "Governor of Virginia" section, which seems like a more appropriate place for it.

So my feelings on this depend on what we want the "Abortion" section of this article to be. If we want it to be a depository for any notable statements that Northam has ever made about abortion (and I'm not necessarily opposed to going that route), then I strongly support Option A, because I think using Northam's own words is the best way to go when dealing with a statement that has caused significant controversy. On the other hand, if we want the "Abortion" section to exclusively deal with Northam's positions, then I don't think that we need to discuss the WTOP interview in that section at all.

I should also note that both "Option B" and "Option C" appear to contain factual inaccuracies, as both suggest that Northam supports the current law in Virginia requiring that third-trimester abortions only be performed when continued pregnancy is deemed "substantially and irremediably" dangerous to a woman's health. As far as I know, Northam has never taken a public position on that particular policy, although if I'm mistaken, then my apologies. --Jpcase (talk) 20:07, 11 February 2019 (UTC)

Regarding Option "C" - correct. That is my fault as I was consolidating what was already in the article coupled with my arguments. I am in the process of adding refs to Version "C" and will make that correction - Thanks airuditious (talk) 20:16, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
But the statement is already mentioned in the "Governor of Virginia" section Not the whole statement. In fact, it only contains 26 out of the 113 words in Northam's quote in Version A. wumbolo ^^^ 21:58, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
Sure - I'm open to using a shorter version of the quote than what's contained in Version A. I just feel that it's important to use Northam's own words. Whether we use a lot of his words or a few of his words isn't super important to me, but I do think that we should at least use some of his words. I like version A, because the portions of Northam's statement contained in that version are the portions that have received the most news coverage - but at this point, I'm leaning more or less in favor of going with Option D. --Jpcase (talk) 22:16, 11 February 2019 (UTC)
"Version C" implies that the intense criticism was focused on Northam's comments about maternal and physician consent. The intense criticism was actually focused on his comments about non-viable births.
  • The general question posed in this RFC is whether the description of his recent comments/positions should be covered in two sentences or four paragraphs. I think two sentences is better given WP:DUE. Sparkie82 (tc) 01:06, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
As mentioned on my Talk page, removing editor content from a Talk page is a huge no-no. That said, this RfC fails to include all of the suggestions from all editors primarily involved in this topic. As such, I urge that this RfC be amended to properly include all key discussion elements or we will need to initiate another RfC that is more inclusive all pertinent editor feedback. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Aleding (talkcontribs) 01:45, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Potential copyright issue with the footnote content

Anyone have any concern about the FN content being covered under copyright and therefore subject to WP's non-free policy? Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure radio broadcasts are copyrighted works and even though this is a public official being interviewed, it will likely still be the broadcaster who holds the copyright. So, if this is non-free content, the FN quote may violate:

  • element 1 - isn't the free version available by just linking to the actual interview?
  • element 3b - is the whole quote required when inline refs are more than sufficient?
  • element 8 - does the full quote significantly increase reader understanding?

Thanks. --- airuditious (talk) 08:40, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

I did a little bit of researching. According to this transcript from an NPR program, "because a politician's words are in the public domain, anyone can quote them. But any broadcast footage belongs to the networks." The example offered is a speech by a president, carried by various news networks. The news networks own the tape of the speech, but no one owns the actual quotes from the speech. That might not be a perfectly analogous situation, but I think that we're probably okay quoting Northam extensively. As for anything said by Julie Carey (the interviewer), I'm not sure - her quotes might be copyrighted. --Jpcase (talk) 15:24, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Jpcase: Great job here...and it does make sense re: the dissection between the words and the actual broadcast. While I'm inclined at this point to agree with you, I still wanted to just bring it up because it looked like it might be an issue and something to consider. Again, great research. --- airuditious (talk) 22:36, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

Incredibly long footnote quoting Northam interview[edit]

Sparkie82: This is the second time in as many days that you have violated Talk page protocol. The first was deleting discussion content you did not author and now by inserting comments ahead of all other content. The guidelines are very clear - we are not to move other editor's comments when doing so changes the meaning. By inserting your comment ahead of all others, you are essentially hijacking this discussion - I see this as very disruptive.
Next, please search the entire Talk page and you will find the that the first use of the word "footnote" is in the RfC. Furthermore, my question posed here was not initially about content - it is about proper use of footnotes and referenced the FN in the article as an example This is a completely different question than what you pose in the RfC - you are asking specifically about content - not using FNs in general. So if you have a comment about using FNs in this manner, then please reel free to participate. If not, then please allow the other editors to work toward achieving consensus. Thanks. --- airuditious (talk) 07:15, 13 February 2019 (UTC)

This FN was properly removed and reverted - can someone please describe the relevance of that FN to Northam's article? I fail to see it conforming to anything in WP:CITE. Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm pretty sure quoting interviews and semi-transcription are not proper uses of FNs. airuditious (talk) 20:46, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Aleding, I was just about to inquire about that myself. MPS, this seems to be an odd use of footnotes and the content appears to be contested (as it refers to Kathy Tran, and there's discussion above about whether or not to include it at all). Why did you reinsert it? – Muboshgu (talk) 20:53, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
The transcription was not done by a wikipedia editor, it was sourced to, which I would argue is a reliable and independent secondary source. Snopes's intent in quoting is to evaluate what Northam really said or did not say about "infanticide" versus "execution" versus other ways that Northam's position has been interpreted. The actual words Northam used are extremely relevany IMHO, and would be of interest to a wikipedia reader, as this Northam's actual opinion is a point of contention. Rather than us niggle over what is the best neutral source to interpret Northam, I find it pretty neutral to include Northam's actual words in the article and let people judge for themselves. Peace, MPS (talk) 21:19, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
edit to add... the "shorter quote" (which I think is what people are picking up on) is "The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother. " ... now if you only read that part of the interview, it does sound like the governor is advocating for infanticide. (i.e., talk to the mother about whether to care for an infant that has been delivered)... but we don't want the quote to be taken out of context, how much of the quote do we include? Peace, MPS (talk) 21:26, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

MPS, Muboshgu: " much of the quote do we include?" - that has been the debate. So prior to obtaining consensus, the editor decided to remove the quote from the body of the article and moved it as an "expository" FN which is now the subject of this discussion. I have asked elsewhere - and do so again here: (A) how is this content eligible for inclusion in the Northam article?; (B) how does this long FN conform to WP policy most notably WP:CITE? As an aside, transcripts are available for literally any citable work yet those transcripts are not, for reasons passing understanding, included within the article itself. airuditious (talk) 21:32, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

having been around wikipedia for a long, long time, I have seen a lot of creative/novel uses of things that later became standard practice (for example, using tables to frame images). I agree that use of footnotes to house long quotes is non-standard, but I do not think it is inappropriate in this case. Is there a WP:FN policy that bans putting long quotes into footnotes? What is the policy for maximum length of blockquotes. I think the quote is incredibly relevant, and it is up to editorial judgement (WP:BRAIN, anyone?) to figure out the best way to provide the reader the information. Peace, MPS (talk) 21:57, 12 February 2019 (UTC)
There is no explicit policy about length - but there is policy about what is proper use of WP's tools with FNs being one such tool. And for guidance with FNs and refs, we do have, among other things, WP:CITE. As to the quote being relevant - the content is relevant to a degree which is why those relevant points remain in the article and sourced properly. This isn't a situation of the key elements of that interview being absent - this is a case of some wanting, at any cost, to make sure that quote is in the article somewhere. Again, not seeing the justification to include a quote in addition to prose that does present the relevant elements from the same interview. As to WP:BRAIN...while I will AGF you really see that as an issue in this particular case here is it? airuditious (talk) 22:13, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

As an aside, I just realized that taking a direct quote from the radio interview - even though quoting Northam - might likely be a copyright violation as well as against WP:Non-free_content_criteria. I know that some see a fuzzy line between quoting a mere "snippet" and a bonafide infringement but we are talking about a lot of directly quoted verbiage. And because I have not yet found a release on the Hubbard Radio site (owners of WTOP radio), I would think it might make sense to remove if only on that basis. airuditious (talk) 22:35, 12 February 2019 (UTC)

Aleding, please discuss this issue in the original thread rather than starting a new thread. (see WP:DISCUSSFORK) Sparkie82 (tc) 07:03, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Sparkie82: First, as I mention above, the word "footnote" first appears in your RfC - not elsewhere in this Talk page. Second, we are are not discussing the same topic WRT footnotes. Yours is content related - mine usage related. Third, please read the fork policy you mention and you will find it references having the same discussion on multiple Talk pages so it really doesn't apply to anything that has happened on this Talk page. --- airuditious (talk) 07:34, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I certainly don't think that any policy has been violated in creating a separate discussion about the use of footnotes - but in Sparkie's defense, it's going to be extremely confusing if we have three separate ongoing talk page discussions about Northam's WTOP statement (even if those three discussions aren't about exactly the same thing). It seems to me that the simplest approach would be to remove the footnote for now, and then if someone feels strongly about re-including it, I suppose that they could add an "Option E" to the Rfc above. --Jpcase (talk) 15:02, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
Y'all, I don't know what you are trying to achieve with respect to "options" but I hope that you hear my comment loud and clear: the Governor's verbatim remarks are 100% relevant to this article IMHO, and should be included as much as possible (in footnotes or in cites or blockquotes) to establish the context in a NPOV way, Now I will let y'all continue to rehash the the "process" of defining all these options that, quite frankly, confuse me. Opinion hereby registered. Peace, MPS (talk) 15:57, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I somewhat agree with you, which is why I'm not opposed to going with Option A in the Rfc; option A would include in this article's "Abortion" section a substantial portion of Northam's statement as a block quote. Even if we go with Option D though, (Option D would omit all mention of the WTOP interview from the "Abortion" section) a small portion of Northam's statement would still be quoted in this article's "Governor of Virginia" section. I agree that Northam's statement should be discussed in at least some capacity, and I agree that the best way of communicating his statement in an NPOV way is by using his own words. I also agree with airuditious that including such a long footnote is probably not the best way to go. So if we decide to quote Northam extensively, I'd prefer to see it as a block quote.--Jpcase (talk) 16:22, 13 February 2019 (UTC)
I've been around these parts for over 12 years and I've never seen anything like it. It's waaaay too long. Gandydancer (talk) 01:06, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
I'll go ahead and remove it. If anyone feels strongly about re-adding it, then they can include it as an option in the above rfc. --Jpcase (talk) 01:28, 15 February 2019 (UTC)
It's already there in the initial part of the RfC: "...two sentences including a footnote ...". But agreed - it should be removed as the relevant content and context can easily be delivered via prose in the article. Otherwise, one could argue block quotes as the #1 goto in order to convey context in all BLPs. --- VeritasS (talk) 01:48, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

Hand shake incident[edit]

Our article presently contains this information:

The yearbook photo also brought renewed attention to a 2013 video clip in which Northam appeared unwilling to shake hands with his African-American opponent for lieutenant governor, E. W. Jackson, after a debate, though it was unclear whether Northam saw Jackson extending his hand.[92]

Watching the video one sees that the discussion had nothing to with race. If there was an element of race in the discussion or even if it vaguely related to racial issues it might be reasonable to assume that Northam refused to shake the hand of an African American man. As I watch the video it is my impression he would have refused to shake hands regardless of race, if even it was his intention to refuse since we already state that it is unclear if he even was aware of the hand shake offer. Furthermore, this issue was not picked up by the major news sources but rather more tabloid type outlets. We need to be very careful about what we include in our BLPs. I have removed it while it is discussed. Gandydancer (talk) 23:38, 14 February 2019 (UTC)

Furthermore, it should be noted that this supposed 2013 racist incident with Republican nominee E.W. Jackson "[who has made] past statements denouncing Democrats as “anti-God,” gays as “perverted” and non-Christians as following a “false religion.” [5] occurred after a rather passionate argument during the final minutes of a 90 minute debate. At that time there were no news reports about racial incidents. That was suggested only recently. Gandydancer (talk) 05:20, 15 February 2019 (UTC)

Criminal justice section[edit]

The article contains the following:

In June 2018, six months into Northam's governorship, a class action lawsuit was publicly disclosed, which had been filed the previous October, claiming that teenage detainees at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center had been physically abused by staff members there. Several of the plaintiffs were being held at the facility on immigration charges. The abuse described in the lawsuit was alleged to have occurred from 2015 through 2018. The Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center denied all claims in the lawsuit, while Northam called the allegations "disturbing" and directed state agencies to conduct an investigation.[142][143] Around two months later, the investigation concluded with no findings of ongoing abuse. Allegations of past abuse were not included within the scope of the investigation and the lawsuit is still pending.[144]

I can't see where this has anything to do with Northam's views on criminal justice. Most of the claimed abuse went on previous to his time as governor and he responded as, one would assume anyone would, by asking for an investigation. I think it should be deleted. Gandydancer (talk) 02:12, 16 February 2019 (UTC)

As the editor who added the content, I'd like to see it remain in the article. You make a valid point that the investigation isn't particularly relevant to Northam's views on criminal justice. But I do think that the investigation is relevant to Northam's term as governor. As far as I know, Northam hasn't ordered any other investigations during his time in office - and even if he has, this one certainly seems to have received the most news coverage. Perhaps it would be better to include the information in the "Tenure" section of this article, similar to how I've suggested we handle the WTOP abortion comments. But I've expanded the paragraph that you quoted above to include more information on how Northam's administration responded to the Shenandoah Valley incident. Northam has authority over the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice, and so anything done by that department while Northam is in office should be considered a representation of Northam's views. I added a couple of sentences about how the department revised its practices in response to this incident, and hopefully, that should make the information more relevant to the "Criminal Justice" section of this article. --Jpcase (talk) 17:00, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the reply. I would agree that the Tenure section would be better and I can see that broader coverage in that section seems reasonable. I'll move it, OK? Gandydancer (talk) 17:23, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
I'm open to that! I'd slightly prefer leaving it in the "Criminal justice" section, since all of Northam's other actions as governor (expanding Medicaid, raising the felony threshold, implementing a new family leave policy for state employees) are discussed under "Political positions". So it seems like leaving the information where it is would be the most consistent approach with how the rest of the article is written. And as noted in my previous comment, I think that any actions taken by the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice while Northam is in office could be considered a representation of Northam's views, so I'm not sure that this information is totally out of place under "Political positions". Having said that, I don't feel very strongly about which section of the article includes this information. Moving it to the "Tenure" section makes sense. So whatever you want to do is fine with me! --Jpcase (talk) 19:32, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
OK, I'll move it. Actually that thought came to me, to move it to Tenure, when I first read the section, though at that time I was not as aware of the full facts of the situation which your posts and especially the latest information/refs that you have posted provided. At this point, due to your information, I have come to believe that it does belong in the article. I can also see your reasoning for including it in the Justice section. However since you do not feel strongly about that and I do, I will move it. Gandydancer (talk) 20:28, 16 February 2019 (UTC)
Just a note on Northam and Juvenile Justice Reform... Virginia is currently changing its Juvenile Justice system to be less like a prison and more rehabilitative. [6] While the previous governor began this trend by instituting reforms and closing Beaumont Juvenile prison in Powhatan, [7] Northam has continued to prioritize this, even visiting the Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Center within the first month in office. [8] Whereever you ultimately decide to put it, I think Juvenile Justice Reform should be mentioned somewhere in this article. Peace, MPS (talk) 17:20, 19 February 2019 (UTC)