Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth
Editor’s note: Paul Goldman, a Richmond attorney and former chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, asked us to publish the letter below, which he sent last week to state Sen. Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, a fellow Democrat who serves as president pro tempore of the Virginia Senate. As of today, Sen. Lucas has not responded.
TO: State Senator Louise Lucas
RE: Why Richmond citizens, long concerned about the decrepit, shameful condition of the school facilities serving the city’s overwhelming black and brown public-school students, deserve to be allowed to have a Second Casino Referendum in 2023 as promised them by last year’s budget deal.
I write today not merely because you are the Pro Tempore of the State Senate. Not merely because you are the key to any new Senate action on the Casino issue. But I write today because you and I have long fought hard, against great odds, to remedy the many injustices suffered by the poor children of Virginia from the legacy of segregation. Especially the Black and Brown kids in cities like Portsmouth and Richmond. Continue reading
by Jon Baliles
The Free-Press Editorial page’s second at-bat this week also scored a hit with “No Hot Iron Here.” The piece calls out the Mayor for allowing the hot iron of development opportunity to cool to the disadvantage of the City. It mentions the selection of five teams that bid on the “City Center” development opportunity, which includes the demolition of the Coliseum, the refurbishing of the Blues Armory, as well as building a convention center hotel and ancillary development. That is all moving forward with a development process that it seems the Mayor and the City have finally realized is one worth repeating instead of plans like Navy Hill.
But the editorial focuses on the properties on the other side of Broad Street that hold (or held?) massive potential. They are the rarely mentioned properties and opportunities that would be big wins for downtown but have remained idle since the Mayor took office in 2017.
In the two years since the council killed the $1.5 billion Navy Hill deal, the Stoney administration has yet to issue requests for developers for city-owned surface parking lots at 6th and Grace streets and 4th and Broad streets. Both are south of Broad Street and already had active interest, and both have been ripe for activity while interest rates were still low, which is no longer the case. Continue reading
By Don Rippert
Ear flick. Given the emotions of the recent election I thought a little levity might be in order. Harpers Ferry Brewing of Hillsboro, Va., is introducing a new IPA. It will be called “Sell the Team” in a relatively transparent shot at Redskins’ owner Dan Snyder. The beer went on sale yesterday and is described as “bitter and slightly disappointing, like a day at FedEx Field.” Given its alcohol content of 9.5% (yikes), it should only take about a six-pack to be able to get through another Sunday of Redskins football. Maybe I’ll send some to the mayor of Richmond so he can momentarily forget that fabulous deal he cut with the guy who should sell the team over the training camp. Jim Bacon had this to say … “The first year of training camp was a modest success, creating a $10.5 million economic impact to the Richmond region. A daily average of 10,800 people attended the practices that year. The number over the same span last year fell to 7,500, and then to 4,500 this year. As the Richmond Times-Dispatch wryly observed, the Richmond Squirrels AA-league baseball club has been drawing larger crowds.”
Next summer, I wonder how many people will flock to Richmond to see last year’s 2-14 (or thereabouts) team prepare for the 2020 season.
Hat tip: Charlie Mayer
by Don Rippert
Anywhere but here. Moneywise Publishing is citing a “study” detailing the most and least desirable American cities based on real estate inquiries. Real estate brokerage firm Redfin tracks Americans using their web site to find new places to live. According to the company, 25% of people browsing home listings online are “looking to get outta town.” Tracking the places people want to leave isn’t very encouraging for Virginia. Both the Richmond metropolitan area and the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area are on the list of 19 top places to leave. Redfin also tracks the 10 places people most want to go. No Virginia city makes that list. Continue reading