How Many Candidates Have Signed The Declaration of Solar Rights?

So the local Chamber of Commerce (ChamberRVA) is holding a Mayoral candidate forum tonight at the nearby Altria Theater.

It is free and open to the public (get there before 6:30 pm), and will be broadcasted live on NBC12 television at 7 pm.

By the way, you may notice that ChamberRVA has moved on from promoting the Shockoe stadium scheme to pushing for doing something with the Richmond Coliseum. Anyway, I suspect that the Coliseum will come up in the questions, but there is one question I doubt will come up, though it should:

As someone running for Mayor, have you signed the Virginia Declaration of Solar Rights?

Solar energy empowers Virginians to harness clean local energy, creates jobs, and enhances our energy security. Sadly, Virginia’s current laws violate our right to invest in and benefit from solar energy by limiting consumer choice. This fall, the General Assembly will hold a special session to review solar policies that will help all Virginians fairly access solar energy. This is a great opportunity for Richmond leaders and citizens to let our state senators and delegates know there is broad, bi-partisan support for legislation that will enable all Virginians to go solar.

There is more detail here:

The Pool Under Main Street

While we are still in the heat of summer, WTVR has a cool little report on “Richmond’s most famous pool, built 90 years ago – under the Altria Theater”.


Tile from Spain and Italy covered everything, even some of the ceilings.

The pool was deep – nine and a half feet in the deep end, which had a diving board. It was still there until just a few years ago, Miller said.

The city would take over the historic building, turning it into the Mosque concert and theater venue.

The pool was filled in and covered over with concrete – it was just too structurally unsound.

But the original wall tile and floor edging, including the depth markers, remain in this 90-year-old uncanny pool room now serving as a storage area.

ABC Notice for Altria Theater

From notice, as published in the Times Dispatch:

SMG Food and Beverage, LLC d/b/a Savor trading as Altria Theater, 6 N. Laurel St., Richmond, Virginia 23220 is applying to the VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE CONTROL (ABC) for a Wine & Beer On Premises; Annual Mixed Beverage Performing Arts Facility license to sell or manufacture alcoholic beverages. Harold L. Westley, President and CEO. NOTE: Objections to the issuance of this license must be submitted to ABC no later than 30 days from the publishing date of the first of two required newspaper legal notices. Objections should be registered at or 800-552-3200.

Bob Dylan At Altria Theater Tomorrow

As previewed by Richmond Magazine’s Don Harrison:

If you’re Bob Dylan, at this stage in your career, you can do what you want. You can ignore the guitar and prowl the stage like an angry cowboy (like he did in Richmond two years ago). You can cut a music video with Scarlett Johansson, record an inexplicable Christmas album and make a score-settling speech at the Feb. 6 MusiCares tribute concert that gets everyone in an uproar, especially Merle Haggard. You can release a critically acclaimed box set of legendary recording sessions (The Basement Tapes) and basically ignore it while cutting a moody album of oft-recorded Frank Sinatra-style standards (Shadows in the Night) — probably the best Dylan album in 15 years. One of those songs asks, “Why Try and Change Me Now?” Indeed. Dylan returns to the Altria Theater on April 12. 8 p.m.

“Helicopter Ben” Appearing At Altria Theater Saturday

On Saturday evening, the Richmond Forum will host a speech and Q&A by Ben Bernanke at the Altria Theater.

From the Altria Theater web page:

In 2013, Forbes called Ben S. Bernanke one of the ten most powerful people in the world. Bernanke served two terms as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 2006 to 2014 under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. At The Richmond Forum, the former Fed Chief will discuss the critical role of the central bank of the United States, the events and policies of his tenure, and the domestic and global economies.
Mr. Bernanke’s presentation will be followed by an audience Q&A.

In a sense this is a victory lap for “Helicopter Ben”, having seen his policies seemingly stabilize the economy, even after going into “quantitative easing”. Some even credit Bernanke with holding off a second, deflationary “Great Depression”.

However, there are still critics. “Many argue that QE has not reduced unemployment, but has diminished the Fed’s independence and credibility, offsetting the effects of adopting a numerical inflation target. Now, only a year after the latest round of QE began, the Fed is struggling with how to unwind it, just as many had warned” – John B. Taylor.
Others are even more bearish about the future of the economy in the longterm response to these policies, adding to a “wall of worry” for investors.

I wonder if Chris Dorsey will try to attend?

Regardless, with Wall Street coming out of a “Fed watch”, it should be an interesting q&a for anyone interested in macroeconomics.

CenterStage, Altria Theater Exempted From Real Estate Tax

From Style article:

Richmond CenterStage and its parent group ignited a minor furor in October when they revealed they owed $1.75 million in back real estate taxes and wanted the city to cover the tab.

Following a heated public hearing, City Council eventually consented to pay the bill. What was left unclear was whether the performing arts organization — which operates the Altria and Carpenter theaters — would begin covering its own real estate taxes.

As it turns out, that won’t be an issue because Richmond-area state lawmakers have CenterStage’s back. Both houses of the General Assembly passed legislation specifically tailored to exempt CenterStage from any real estate tax obligations.

Theater Foundation Asks For Bailout

From Times Dispatch article:

The organization that oversees Richmond CenterStage and the Altria Theater is asking the city of Richmond for $1.75 million to a pay a tax bill it never expected.
Richmond Performing Arts Center, the public-private partnership behind both renovation projects, created a for-profit company called RPAC Inc. in order to take advantage of historic tax credits for the renovation work.
But the organization and the city apparently overlooked or misinterpreted a law that requires for-profit companies to pay real estate taxes on leasehold interests in publicly owned properties that would otherwise be exempt from taxation.

“What I can’t understand is how one might think that they wouldn’t be required to pay real estate taxes from a private, for-profit entity,” said Agelasto, 5th District. “It seems to me that somebody got advice that didn’t quite mirror to what the federal law was.”

See earlier posts on this subject here, here, and here.