Category Archives: Blogs and blog administration

Jim Bacon nominated for Nobel Prize

Boomergeddon CoverStockholm Syndrome – In dramatic news the Nobel Foundation today announced that James A. Bacon has been nominated for the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his groundbreaking economic work – Boomergeddon.  Nobel spokesman Lars E Faire said, “Of course we nominated Bacon – just putting a picture of a detonated atomic bomb on the cover of a cult economics book all but guaranteed a nomination.  Most authors use graphs or currency symbols.  Bacon uses nuclear annihilation”

The Bacon School –  Bacon could not be reached for comment.  His publicist claimed that he was busy getting small somewhere in South Carolina.  Inquiries were referred to Bacon’s spokesman Lawrence Gee.  Gee explained the Bacon school of economic thinking.  “Baconomics is not trickle down.  Rather, it’s drizzle sideways.  City governments which genuflect to private enterprise invariably become techno-modal innovation hubs.  The private enterprise focus of these cities causes them to avoid building roads, bus lines, subways or any other form of transportation infrastructure.  So, people walk.  These are walkable cities,”  Gee said with the conspiratorial nod of a man revealing a deep secret.

“Walkable areas force people into close proximity where good ideas flourish and capital can be raised by passing the hat without any government interference or regulation,” Gee said.  “The cheek to jowl conditions in the walkable city not only lead to effortless capital formation but also attract new entrepreneurs from distant cities which waste their money on roads, police and schools.  They make sure the walkable city is well supplied with essentials like meat pies and craft brewed beer.  This is the drizzle sideways effect.”

Competition beware –  Bacon will face stiff competition for the Nobel prize. Other nominees include Peter Galuszka who recently published a research paper linking all past, present and future economic issues to George W. Bush and Dr. T.M. Taxes who mathematically demonstrated that the Matrix is not only real but being operated by Northern Virginia land developers.

On the Road Again…

It is spring vacation, which means the Bacon family is on the move. I’ll be reporting in this week from one of the country’s great historic walkable and historic cities.

– JAB

Citizens Take on Crony Capitalism in VA Beach

cavalierby James A. Bacon

Arlington County had its $1 million bus stop scandal. The City of Richmond had its mayoral cronyism scandal. Now Virginia Beach has its Cavalier Hotel redevelopment scandal. The FBI has undertaken a criminal investigation of a vote by Councilman John Uhrin in favor of providing $18 million in city funds to subsidize redevelopment of the landmark Cavalier Hotel. Days later, his wife Catherine Sassone was hired to sell luxury properties associated with the project. Uhrin has said he did not know when he voted that his wife would be hired.

I have no idea if Uhrin is guilty of anything — I have not followed the controversy closely enough to have an informed opinion — but I do admire how Virginia Beach residents residents are responding to the revelations. A group of about 25 citizens who believe “the taxpayers of Virginia Beach have been pushed aside for too long” have banded together to dredge up public records, publish them online and expose the crony capitalism at the heart of Virginia Beach government. The result is The Document Project:

When City Councilor John Uhrin arrived at City Hall on July 2, 2013, he did much more than just vote to give Cavalier Associates, LLC, the largest upfront taxpayer incentive in the city’s history. Uhrin’s vote unintentionally opened a window into the inner workings, backroom negotiations and financial wrangling that for a decade has become the shameful signature of Virginia Beach government.

And it’s all published here, for the first time. Courtesy of a federal subpoena, the FBI and Virginia’s weak, but still sufficient, public records laws.

Among the accusations:

  • Mayor Will Sessoms and former City Manager Jim Spore scheduled Cavalier meetings at the developer’s headquarters even after the mayor recused himself from voting because he had a conflict of interest.
  • A firm run by a member of the Cavalier Task Force, an independent body formed to protect the city’s interests, was working for the Cavalier developers without telling the public of his dual roles.
  • A city engineer describing a 968-foot roadway to be built with $2.5 million in public funds said the cost was so inflated that the developer could use “gold-leaf pavers” and still build the road for less.
  • During negotiations on city incentives, the city’s point man for the project, Barry Frankenfield, asked the developer if he might entertain a “pitch” from his son’s firm. Two months later Frankenfield wrote e-mails stating that the city could “edit out” and “tone down” critical comments made by its own engineers that questioned safety and financial aspects of the development.
  • The Cavalier’s developers applied for a tax break under the state’s GAP financing program. State regulations require all financing to be in place before approval. The developers did not have the financing in place when they applied, and in fact didn’t receive its $77 million loan from TowneBank until February 2016.

I have not examined the substance of the allegations. What I find encouraging, though, is the way citizens have taken matters in their own hands and done the hard work of sifting through a large body of public records to expose questionable ways of doing business.

Why is Hampton Roads among the worst for economic growth in the entire state of Virginia, when we have so much more to offer? Because we’ve long ago traded capitalism for cronyism. …

This website is here because the taxpayers of Virginia Beach have been pushed aside for too long as the same few developers and our elected officials make deals behind closed doors while saying, “trust us.”

Well, those days are over. And with Light Rail, the 15th Street Pier, the 27th Street boondoggle and so many more projects on the horizon, we’re just getting started.

Bravo. Virginia is sliding into a cesspool of corruption. The media is a largely defanged watchdog lacking the resources to conduct the investigative journalism that once was its hallmark. Citizens must take matters into their own hands.

Apology to B.R. Newsletter Subscribers

While doing some file clean-up in WordPress, I accidentally published an unfinished version of an article I am in the process of writing, which probably triggered an email to many Bacon’s Rebellion subscribers. The article was incomplete. I have not fully thought it through, and I have not fact-checked it. You will do yourself no favor by reading it. Hopefully, I will be able to publish a polished version within a few days. My apologies.

Update: Ouch. I did it again with a second  article, this one under Reed Fawell’s byline, that we are radically revising. Please ignore. Thanks.

— JAB

Introducing John Szczesny

A quick note to  readers: John Szczesny, a Chesterfield resident, urban planner and telecommunications consultant, is joining the stable of Bacon’s Rebellion contributors. He has a B.A. in political science from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and a Master’s in Planning from SUNY-Albany. He will write about a variety of issues relating to planning and telecommunications in Virginia.

He’s a good guy. Don’t scare him off!

— JAB

Out of Action Today

wedding-bellsHonorable Daughter Number One is getting married tomorrow in North Carolina, and I have a number of fatherly duties to attend to this weekend. Sorry, but no posts until next week!

— JAB

Swimming with the Sharks

sunset

I’ll be blogging sporadically this week, as I am vacationing with the in-laws at Emerald Isle, N.C.

— JAB