Meanwhile, Back in the People’s Republic of Charlottesville…

City Councilor Cathy Galvin — divestment a step in the right direction.

Charlottesville City Council has voted to remove all operating investments in “weapons” and fossil-fuel companies from its $50 million-to-$100 million core investment portfolio, reports WVIR-TV.

Divestment proponents said fossil fuels and weapons do not align with the city’s vision and have negative impacts on community members. In response to calls that the measure does not go far enough, Treasurer Jason Vandever said the city is looking into divesting from fossil-fuel and weapons investments in the retirement fund as well.

Fossil-fuel and weapons companies make up only a small portion of the investment portfolio, so the measure will have a minimal budgetary impact, divestment advocates said.

Bacon’s bottom line: I wish there were some way Virginia could divest itself of Charlottesville, but no mechanism readily comes to mind. As a fall-back position, perhaps Commonwealth should divest itself of the University of Virginia, which sits at the epicenter of the city’s radical-chic culture.

I’ll take these people seriously when they divest themselves of their internal-combustion automobiles, scrap their air conditioners, move into Tiny Homes, stop eating meat from flatulent animals, and forego airplane travel to exotic destinations. Until they align their personal lives with the city’s low-carbon vision by reducing their own carbon footprints, actions like stock divestment are nothing more than cheap virtue signaling.

As far as the stocks of defense companies and fossil-fuel companies, I say, divest away. There’s nothing I’d like better than to pick up some Exxon and Raytheon stock on the cheap.

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18 responses to “Meanwhile, Back in the People’s Republic of Charlottesville…

  1. Uh, Jimbo, in case you missed the memo, Charlottesville is the New Blue Virginia. You don’t think that would pass in a half dozen other places, too?

    The real story here: Charlottesville has a $100 million invested directly in some kind of portfolio? Really? Is that instead of being in VRS, or is it that rich a city? Who is managing that portfolio, for what fee, and how was the contract awarded? What is done with the income? Have its taxes been going up while that pot accumulates? Do most Virginia cities have large investment pools not tied to their pension obligations? Why?

    • According to the city’s financial statement, it maintains a Downturn Reserve Fund of no less than 3 percent of its general fund budget. That would be a primary source of funds to invest. Cities also participate in short-term investment instruments when they get a big influx of cash at tax deadlines.
      From what I can decipher from the financial statement, the city has its own retirement program and does not participate in VRS.
      The income from these investments are shown as general fund revenue in the financial statement.

  2. I’m sure Russia, Iran, North Korea, and China are laughing out loud.

    Meanwhile, UVA ‘Great and Good’ Strategic Plan was unveiled. UVA’s President Jim Ryan claims its title reflects his belief that:

    “We should strive not simply to be great, but also to be good, recognizing that in the not-too-distant future, it will likely be impossible for a university to be truly great if it is not also good. The very best faculty, students and staff are going to want to live, work and study at institutions in which they can believe wholeheartedly; institutions that are both outstanding and ethical; institutions that are excellent, but excellent for a purpose.”

    Read how UVA over the next decade will “Nurture a culture of integrity, mutual respect, excellence and innovation,” … and “Be a strong partner with, and good neighbor to, the Charlottesville region.”

    Like the New Green Deal, no price tag is available to the public. But surely Charlottesville will become the Athens of North America.


    • I read the statement by the President and the Board and skimmed the proposed ten-year plan. What is wrong with striving to be good and be a strong partner and neighbor to the Charlottesville region? One particularly worthy objective is to meet 100 percent of the demonstrated financial need of any student admitted through a combination of scholarships, grants, work-study, and need based loans. And there would be an annual cap of $4,500 on the loans, by the way.

      This is a long way from the UVa of my day, which was known as a snobby place and achieved a place on Playboy’s list of top party schools in the country. At that time, UVa was known more for its “Easters” bash than academic achievement.

      • I have written quite extensively here on this subject in the past.

        For example, when I was there (1963-67), the emphasis at UVA, contrary to legend, was the teaching of students, and insuring that their real and effective education by flunking out those students who didn’t learn. Instead of promoting the hook up culture among students, doing away the grading and testing of students, and largely doing away with the teaching of undergraduates altogether by tenured professors, while in the process UVA destroyed the humanities, destroyed the students sense of their own history, culture and identity, while UVA has spent vast sums on monies on faculty vanity projects it calls faculty research paid for mostly out the pockets of students who received little or nothing in return.

        All of this is quite well documented today, and recognized by a growing consensus in the country. Charlottesville generally is a mirror image of what ruin elite universities have inflicted on us all, while endlessly preaching to us about their virtue. It’s all empty talk and preening, a sure sign of lack of virtue.

  3. people are not going to change everything over night but they do feel like we need to start changing as we can reasonably and keep that changed until we get better if your response to that is they have to change overnight or they are they’re hypocrites I don’t know what to say. You’d condemn a fat person for not starving to death to lose weight , gotta do it NOW or be a hypocrite?

  4. “I wish there were some way Virginia could divest itself of Charlottesville, but no mechanism readily comes to mind.”

    As a once proud alumnus of Mr. Jefferson’s University, at this point I would suggest napalm, lots and lots of napalm.

  5. What a bunch of clucking old hens! You guys should be thankful there is a Charlottesville. Otherwise, you’d have noting to complain about.

    • Meanwhile, we got John Dean testifying gravely over in the US House of Representatives, yes you got it, the same old John Dean clucking away … preaching to us along with Jim Ryan in C’ville.

  6. Thanks for checking, Dick – if they have their own pension plan then no surprise they maintain a substantial portfolio of investments. And having political arguments about where to put those finds is hardly new or even unique to the Left. Came up in a campaign 40 years or so ago and for some reason I’m think Marshall Coleman was part of that? Wanted VRS to buy road bonds or something? Everything old is new again. It was the idea they might be maintaining a fund like that NOT pension-related that caught my eye.

  7. If Cville maintains a AAA credit rating – which at least in theory, means they are a well run, financially responsible operation then what is all this agnst really about? If Cville were “bad” place or UVA a terrible University – (in their minds) then they would leave in droves.

    It seems to me that most well-run AAA cities are fiscally conservative and socially liberal.

    No? What’s not to like? 😉

  8. Charlottesville bothers some from the Richmond political sewer because that small city is throwing off the yoke of River City elitist oppression. How dare they run a competent retirement program without allowing even a small sip of corrupt skimming by the planter class elite in Richmond? How dare they make their own decisions as to where those investments are invested? How dare they defy the Imperial Clown Show in Richmond by showing independence?

    The Sun is setting on two centuries of the planter class elite in Richmond running Virginia for their own profit and amusement. The sewer rats in Richmond are being decapitated one after another. Whether it’s Northern Virginia holding their elected Quislings to account for becoming Richmond sewer rats or the City of Charlottesville doing whatever they please … the days of Imperial Richmond are growing short.

    • “The Sun is setting on two centuries of the planter class elite in Richmond running Virginia…”

      Don, I’m never sure how much you’re just engaging in hyperbole. But the idea of a “planter class” running Virginia at any point in my lifetime is absurd. Virginia does have elites, as every state does, but the notion of a planter class is pure crazy. If there’s one place in the state where there actually might be a class of wealthy landowners, it’s in the northern piedmont — Piedmont Environmental Council country — and that “planter class” is extremely liberal.

      • Plus, Jim, do not forget the horde of ultra-liberal hedge fund managers now posing in jodhpurs as Virginia’s old planter class in Albemarle County’s hunt country around Charlottesville, all recent emigrants from Wall Street, Greenwich, Silicon Valley & Boston, Mass., but now all nestled beneath Monticello.

        • Virginia has a new planter class. Perhaps “gentry” is a better term than planter. The new wealthy land-owning class raises grapes and horses instead of tobacco and wheat. But it is very new — like you say, most made their money outside the state and moved here — and they have very different attitudes.

  9. Yep, DJ, the Californication of VA continues apace. We’ll sit on the porch, check our stock portfolios, sip our juleps and talk about the good ol’ days to the light of the burning cities….

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