Depressing Local Politics

After listening to a talk by local mass transit experts today, I am feeling pretty down. The universities and counties are still very noncommittal when it comes to financial support of the new BRT or expanded GRTC service. The universities would rather keep running their private shuttles and students are ok with that. I expect that means City residents will bear most if not all operating costs, as with so many other supposedly ‘regional’ projects. This is in turn is going to force many poor people out of the City, never mind any mobility advantages. Perhaps this was the hidden intention all along.

Also, along those lines… I did not attend the meeting of City Democrats last night (I am a Green, not a Democrat), but my understanding is that they rejected endorsing the federal Kaine/ Warner/Evans legislation to allow historic tax credits for school buildings. They also rejected endorsing the local Put Schools First referendum because it would require the Mayor to come up with a school modernization plan that does not rely on a big tax increase and the Democrats, including Mayor Stoney, want to put a big tax increase forward next year. That’s what I am hearing….

Oh, and despite public opposition, the City’s Urban Design Committee approved the latest Monroe Park Conservancy/VCU plan to to remove MORE trees from Monroe Park, AND (conversely) if you happen to be one of those Richmonders who think the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue should be removed, the state and City governments will not allow it.

Welcome to RVA, still very much like the old Richmond, which does not tolerate any uppity grassroots politics.

Schools Before Stadiums!

From the Times Dispatch article today:

A majority of Richmond voters say they’d support a tax increase to build and repair city schools but are opposed to any public money going to support the construction of a new coliseum, according to a poll conducted by Christopher Newport University on behalf of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

“I am really surprised by the level of support to increase taxes to pay for schools,” said Quentin Kidd, who oversaw the poll and directs CNU’s Wason Center for Public Policy. “Especially in the context of how little support there is for the coliseum and baseball stadium. This is Richmonders basically saying, look, these are our priorities.”

Gee, Quentin, you are surprised? Perhaps you missed the previous instances where our school kids have marched on City Hall? Or as citizens have expressed their disappointment in watching the Center Stage and Redskins boondoggles? Perhaps you heard my own personal response to your telephone polling, where I stated that Dominion’s Tom Farrell and VCU Emperor Eugene Trani should profanity fully retire already. And since the Times Dispatch neglected to mention it in their article, I will- there’s a (revenue/tax-neutral) referendum on the ballot this November about this very topic.

Hazmat At Cary Street Gym

Pool problems at VCU’s Cary Street Gym have lead to a scene with the Virginia Commonwealth University police and Richmond firefighters, including a hazmat crew.

The facility has been closed down while they figure out what is going on.

From the Times Dispatch article:

The gym was evacuated as a precaution, said Richmond Fire Battalion Chief Christine Richardson, adding that at this time they don’t believe there’s any immediate risk to anyone in the area.

This Thursday, Richmond Industry – Tredegar and The James River & Kanawha Canal

From FaceBook event page:

A Joint Event with the support of the Central Virginia Section of the American Society of Mechanial Enginners (ASME); the American Society of Metals (ASM), the Richmond Joint Engineers Council (RJEC), and the Penninsula Engineers Council (PEC), and the American Civil War Museum.

Several professional mechanical engineering societies have come together to sponser an evening of industrial history in Richmond!

The evening starts with a brief tour of Historic Tredegar, begining at 4:30 PM; attendees are free to explore the grounds until 5:30. The tour will be given by Nathan Vernon Madison, an historical consultant to the museum and co-director of The Richmond Economic History Project, a non-profit organization concerned with researching and digitizing the industrial, economic and infrastructural history of Richmond.

At 6:00 a social, with beverages, snacks, and Bottoms Up Pizza, will be held at VCU’s School of Engineering, with a lecture and presentation begining at 6:45, by Mr. Madison, regarding the history of Tredegar and its machinery, as well as the James River and Kanwaha Canal and the power it brought to the myriad of industries across Richmond in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Historic Tredegar
500 Tredegar St.
Richmond

VCU School of Engineering
401 W. Main St.
23220 East Engineering Hall, Room E1232
Richmond

4:30 – 5:30 PM Walk the grounds of Tredegar
6:00 – 6:40 PM Dinner/Social at VCU
6:45 – 8:00 PM Presentation at VCU

Tour at Tredegar is free, as is attending the lecture. A $15 fee is requested for anyone wishing to attend the social and partake in Bottom’s Up Pizza.

Are You Ready? VCU Alarm Test Today At Noon

From Times Dispatch article:

Outdoor sirens will sound, digital signs will light up and alerts will be sent to phones and computers when Virginia Commonwealth University conducts a test of its emergency communications and alerting systems.

The full test will be conducted Wednesday at noon. In addition to sirens, it will include text messages, mass emails, desktop alerts, and notifications through social media and VCU’s website.

In addition to the semester test, monthly checks of the siren system are conducted at noon on the first Wednesday of each month.

Congratulations To Open High! Another Excellence Award

Open High School has been awarded a 2017 Board of Education Excellence Award.

This is the second tier in the Virginia Index Of Performance Awards. The VIP incentive program recognizes schools and divisions that exceed state and federal accountability standards and achieve excellence goals established by the governor and the board. This means Open High also met all state and federal accountability benchmarks and made significant progress toward goals for increased student achievement and expanded educational opportunities set by the board.

Oregon Hill is lucky to have such a great neighbor, which can trace its history (and protection) back to Grace Arents’ legacy.

Hopefully, this will add pressure to put ALL schools first. It would also be great to see Open High’s aging building get more fully renovated in a historically sensitive manner.