Monday, January 25, 2010
Council Gives $600,000 to Wealthy Landowner-Developer Ronald Stallings & Abolishes Admission Taxes for Businesses at Request of Business Group
Above, you may listen to my comments during the citizen comment periods speaking in opposition to Ordinance 2009-217 to grant $600,000 for the Hippodrome/Taylor Mansion renovation on 2nd Street and Ordinance 2009-237 which abolished the Admissions Tax on complimentary tickets.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
According to an article from the Richmond Times Dispatch [Dec. 22, 2009]:
"Larry Traylor, spokesman for the Virginia Department of Corrections, said the general terms of contract reached but not yet signed with Pennsylvania call for a payment of $62 per day per inmate to stay at the 1,000-inmate prison near Chatham.
Gordon Hickey, spokesman for Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, said the contract could bring in $20.4 million annually, of which the Department of Corrections would keep $10.5 million for operating expenses and the remaining $9.9 million would go to the general fund."
Another interesting bit from the article:
"Virginia now hosts 269 inmates from Wyoming, 38 from the Virgin Islands and two from Hawaii, Traylor said.
After parole was abolished in 1995, the state picked up the pace of prison construction. But the prison population did not rise as fast as expected. As a result, the state was renting out 3,300 prison beds and grossing $78 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2001."
The Pittsylvania County Branch of the NAACP is circulating a petition to oppose the transfer of local inmates because it would place additional burdens on the families of inmates. On Tuesday, January 19, the Pittsylvania County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution to the same effect.
Please Sign this Petition to show your support for keeping inmates close to their families at Green Rock Correctional Facility.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
$600,000 Grants for Millionaire Ronald Stallings' Hippodrome Theater / Taylor Mansion Project / Abolish Admissions Tax Revenue Now?
Hippodrome deal merits further Council scrutiny as City finances become constrained
Ron Stallings and The Hippodrome; the final act or only intermission in a lengthy play?
At Thursday's Finance Committee meeting, I spoke in opposition to Ordinance 2009-217. It would give a $600,000 grant to millionaire Jackson Ward developer Ronald Stallings' Hippodrone Theater and Kelvin Hanson's Taylor Mansion. By chance, Kelvin Hanson's name was on the agenda, named as a reappointment to the Economic Development Authority. The summary of Ordinance 2009-217 reads, "To authorize the CAO to execute a Development Agreement between the City of Richmond, Virginia and the Economic Development Authority of the City of Richmond, Virginia for the purpose of implementing economic development and HOME grants for a mixed use development..."
Does something sound wrong? Should a developer who is a member of the Economic Development Authority also be a primary developer in a project financed by the Authority?
Finance Committee Discusses $600,000 Grants for Hippodrone Theater - Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Above, listen to the entire Council discussion of the ordinance. The final vote from the Committee was 2-1 . Mrs. Ellen Robertson [6th District] and Mr. Charles Samuels [2nd District] in the affirmative and Mr. Bruce Tyler [1st District] voted in the negative.
Silver Persinger Speaks Against Exemption from Admission Tax for Business - Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Ordinance 2009-237 proposes to abolish admissions taxes on complimentary tickets. I spoke in opposition to the paper. This paper was inspired by the Virginia Automotive Dealers Association not being happy to pay the $7000 for handing out 20,000 complimentary tickets. So they sent their representative to their friend Mr. Doug Conner [9th District], a friendly ear in the auto body repair business, himself.
Why should businesses be exempt from paying the same taxes that us regular citizens have to pay? When I buy two tickets, I am paying the admissions tax. This is the cost of doing business. Perhaps there are better ways they can spend their marketing dollars. Corporations and business organizations should not have so much influence creating legislation.
As you can see from the existing legislation, there are already exemptions for children under 12 and for free admission to "museums, botanical gardens, or zoos."
Part 2- Shall Business be Exempted from Tax? Jan. 21, 2010 from Silver Persinger.
Above, watch the entire discussion on abolishing the admission tax on complimentary tickets, the discussion starts around 3 minutes, 30 seconds [3:30].
According to a blog post at richmondvacitynews.blogspot.com yesterday at 12:18 PM, the Press Secretary's Office announced the newly redesigned website.
It has a nice look. My only criticism so far of the updated site is that URL addresses changed. This would make links on bloggers, individuals, and organizations websites return a broken link. It is important to preserve the accessibility that the community builds around the City's website.
Also worthy of note is the Jones Administration's recent effort to improve communication with the public. Here is a list of official City of Richmond, Virginia blogs, many are new.
Richmond Police Department's Blog
richmondvapolice.blogspot.com The Police Department's blog began in January. Track crime in the "Noteworthy Reports." View photos of wanted and arrested individuals. I learned this interesting fact from the blog, "Further details can be obtained from incident reports at RPD Headquarters’ Information Desk or by calling the numbers listed below. Reports are kept on file for public review for 24 hours."
Press Releases from Mayor's Press Secretary richmondvaannouncements.blogspot.com This blog is a collection of Press Releases that have been issued by Press Secretary Tammy Hawley and Michael Wallace, Public Information Officer III.
Mayor Dwight Jones' blog, nothing on here yet.
Department of Community Development Blog
Department of Parks, Recreation, and Community Facilities Blog
Department of Public Works
richmondvirginiapublicworks.blogspot.com Nothing yet on this blog.
And a heck of a lot of blogs about Procurement.
Procurement Requests richmondvaprocurementrequest.blogspot.com
Procurement Request Proposals richmondvaprocurementrequestproposals.blogspot.com
Procurement Informal Bids richmondvaprocurementinformalbids.blogspot.com
Procurement Formal Bids richmondvaprocurementformalbids.blogspot.com
Procurement Construction Bids richmondvaprocurementconstructionbids.blogspot.com
Procurement Awards richmondvaprocurementawards.blogspot.com
Monday, January 11, 2010
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Part 1- Ellen Robertson's 6th District Town Hall Meeting - Jan. 9, 2009 from Silver Persinger.
There were two topics of discussion at today's meeting. The first hour was spent reflecting on the monthly town hall meetings, themselves -- the format, substance, and purpose of the monthly 6th District Town Hall meetings. Should they continue meeting monthly, every other month, or quarterly? Would a newsletter be better? Councilwoman Ellen Robertson wanted suggestions from everyone in the room about how to increase citizen participation at the monthly meetings.
There were suggestions from nearly every person in attendance. The discussion ended with the decision to continue with monthly meetings, however they will be moved around the district quarterly,
Friday, January 8, 2010
CITY OF RICHMOND
For Immediate Release
Friday, January 8, 2010
Additional Parking Spaces Available for City Council Meetings
Richmond, VA – Virginia Commonwealth University has agreed to allow the city of Richmond to use the surface parking lot at the corner of Broad and 10th Streets for public use during City Council formal sessions. This lot will provide more than 100 free parking spaces for each City Council formal session, which are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6 pm in the second floor of City Hall.
The entrance to the parking lot is on 10th Street directly across from City Hall. A parking attendant will allow entry into the lot and provide parking directions to residents. Exits to the parking lot are located on both 10th and 11th Streets. The exit gate will open automatically when the sensors are triggered.
Virginia Commonwealth University and the city of Richmond are not responsible for vehicles parked in the lot. Any vehicle left in the lot at the conclusion of a City Council formal session will be towed at the owner’s expense.
Contact: Michael Wallace
Monday, January 4, 2010
Saturday, January 2, 2010
From a description of the video:
"THE CENTURY OF THE SELF Adam Curtis' acclaimed series examines the rise of the all-consuming self against the backdrop of the Freud dynasty. To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really?
The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests?
The Freud dynasty is at the heart of this compelling social history. Sigmund Freud, founder of psychoanalysis; Edward Bernays, who invented public relations; Anna Freud, Sigmund's devoted daughter; and present-day PR guru and Sigmund's great grandson, Matthew Freud. Sigmund Freud's work into the bubbling and murky world of the subconscious changed the world. By introducing a technique to probe the unconscious mind, Freud provided useful tools for understanding the secret desires of the masses. Unwittingly, his work served as the precursor to a world full of political spin doctors, marketing moguls, and society's belief that the pursuit of satisfaction and happiness is man's ultimate goal."