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Dear Members of the Richmond City Council,
 
I hope that you had an opportunity to read the important editorial in this weeks Free Press regarding Monroe Park (see below).
 
There is no rush on this Monroe Park issue because no work will begin on improvements to the park until after the 2015 bike races.  Please take time to carefully evaluate the give-away  Conservancy lease, which would give away for 30 years all public and City Council control of our oldest city park, and even give the Conservancy free utilities for 30 years!  Leasing our city park is unnecessary.  
 
The city could finance the renovation of the Monroe Park by saving the $2.68 million in public funds annually given to Venture Richmond.  Venture Richmond has three ordinances before City Council on Monday for yet more handouts; Venture Richmond is seeking three exemptions from the current City Council moratorium on real estate tax exemptions by designation.  The City Assessor’s Committee for Real Estate Exemptions by Designation unanimously recommended against Venture Richmond’s three applications for tax exemption, citing the high salaries of the Venture Richmond staff.  (The top four Venture Richmond employees collectively make over $640,000 annually.) Please reject these applications for tax exemption.  These funds can be used for the renovation of Monroe Park instead of padding Venture Richmond’s exorbitant salaries.
 
Please listen to the citizens who want Monroe Park to remain the People’s Park.  If not in Monroe Park, where will citizens demonstrate, feed the homeless, and enjoy the shade of the century-old trees?
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles Pool
(804) 788-0359
 
Richmond Free Press:
 
“Keep Monroe Public

Though Richmond’s Monroe Park serves many important functions every single day, its appearance and its facilities admittedly demand attention. Read the rest of this entry »

Dear Members of the Richmond City Council,
 
I hope that you had an opportunity to read the important editorial in this weeks Free Press regarding Monroe Park (see below).
 
There is no rush on this Monroe Park issue because no work will begin on improvements to the park until after the 2015 bike races.  Please take time to carefully evaluate the give-away  Conservancy lease, which would give away for 30 years all public and City Council control of our oldest city park, and even give the Conservancy free utilities for 30 years!  Leasing our city park is unnecessary.  
 
The city could finance the renovation of the Monroe Park by saving the $2.68 million in public funds annually given to Venture Richmond.  Venture Richmond has three ordinances before City Council on Monday for yet more handouts; Venture Richmond is seeking three exemptions from the current City Council moratorium on real estate tax exemptions by designation.  The City Assessor’s Committee for Real Estate Exemptions by Designation unanimously recommended against Venture Richmond’s three applications for tax exemption, citing the high salaries of the Venture Richmond staff.  (The top four Venture Richmond employees collectively make over $640,000 annually.) Please reject these applications for tax exemption.  These funds can be used for the renovation of Monroe Park instead of padding Venture Richmond’s exorbitant salaries.
 
Please listen to the citizens who want Monroe Park to remain the People’s Park.  If not in Monroe Park, where will citizens demonstrate, feed the homeless, and enjoy the shade of the century-old trees?
 
Sincerely,
 
Charles Pool
(804) 788-0359
 
Richmond Free Press:
 
“Keep Monroe Public

Though Richmond’s Monroe Park serves many important functions every single day, its appearance and its facilities admittedly demand attention. Read the rest of this entry »

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We have a new free zine rack at the Wingnut! Our friend Nic gave us the great rack.
If you have anarchist or radical literature that you can give us for free to distribute for free please send them to us -
2005 Barton Avenue Richmond Va 23222

Cheap Show Tomorrow!!!

Posted: April 11, 2014 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Hey yall – this show is tomorrrow! If you want to help us get ready, come to the Wingnut tonight from 6-9 or tomorrow at 3-6pm. There is setting up to be done. Additionally there might be dumpstered pizza, donuts, and homemade guacamole. (Bring chips) If you can, bring a snack to share! Also bring $5 for the touring bands and extra $ for merch. Yea 5 dollar shows!!! All ages, sober, diy punx yall!!! Build posi punk community and have a good time together!!!

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A religious experience…

The Free Press just came out with an Editorial for keeping Monroe Park public:

Keep Monroe Public

Though Richmond’s Monroe Park serves many important functions every single day, its appearance and its facilities admittedly demand attention.
We do not endorse a specific park renovation plan.  But we do hold strong views about this public space.
It should always fulfill the purposes of a public park.  It should be free, open and inviting to all.  It should be a respite from the sometimes gritty nature of our urban environment.  There should be plenty of grass, trees and flowers.   It should be a place to come with family and friends.
We love the varied festivals and events held there by VCU and other organizations.  We applaud the weekly feeding programs and other services that are often made available there; they must be preserved.
We fervently believe that Monroe Park must always welcome a wide variety of strongly felt opinions.  A prominent area should be available for rallies large and small.
We are not anxious to lease this much-used and much-loved [park] to a private group.  When considering such “public-private” ventures, we are often too eager to sacrifice public responsibility and public accountability in return for a few dollars.  Our city should not shirk basic obligations.
We want to improve Monroe Park.  We want city government to remain its primary caretaker.  We welcome the advice and the financial contributions of all who share our vision.

———-

PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
April 10 2014

Better Government Richmond questions Monroe Park lease.

Mayor Jones and Council President Samuels have introduced an ordinance proposing to lease Monroe Park to The Monroe Park Conservancy. The Conservancy is a private organization.

The proposed lease states that “[t]enant, through its Board of Directors, shall establish policies for the use of the Premises (the “Use Policies”). The Use Policies shall be subject to the approval of the Chief Administrative Officer of the City of Richmond or a designee thereof.”

On several occasions the city administration and the Conservancy have represented that Monroe Park will remain a public park open to all.

Better Government Richmond believes that “Use Policies” are inconsistent with a public park open to all.

———-
Background

Mr. Beschler, Deputy Chief Administrative Officer: “this is a city Park and it will remain a city Park” 2014 MAR 18 Land Use Committee.

Mr. Samuels, Council President: “creates a beautiful open space that is open to all” 2014 MAR 24 Council Meeting.

Ms. Massie, Monroe Park Conservancy: “The Monroe Park Conservancy, should we win the bid, has no intent to exclude homeless or anybody else” “it is a public park” 2014 MAR 24 Council Meeting.

City of Richmond Website – Monroe Park

http://www.richmondgov.com/parks/parkMonroe.aspx

Monroe Park Renovation Website

http://monroepark.com/

Monroe Park is one of Richmond’s most culturally, historically and environmentally significant public spaces.

Once a state fairground and later a military encampment, the registered historic park forms the western edge of Richmond’s downtown and borders a prominent gateway into the city.

Monroe Park Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization created to facilitate the renovation of Monroe Park through a public-private partnership.

The City will continue to own the Park and retain the right to terminate the lease at any time.

Monroe Park Master Plan

http://monroepark.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Monroe_Park_Report_Master_Plan_Chapter_2.pdf

Ordinance 2014-10
20140127 Introduced
20140218 Land Use Committee
20140224 Council public hearing
20140324 Council
20140414 Council
———–
Better Government Richmond (Better Government – US LLC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization established for the purpose of encouraging the Mayor and City Council of Richmond, Virginia, to increase public trust in city government.  Better Government Richmond advocates for rules, policies, procedures and practices that encourage public participation and create public confidence in city government. http://bg-us.org/

Hey yall
Food Not Bombs will be cooking at the Wingnut in May. We only have $19 in our wee coffers for food not bombs. We have been too busy with Monroe Park stuff and our garden to organize fundraising. If we could raise a couple hundred dollars that would allow us to restock plates, cups, forks, spices, oil, rice, sugar, oats,  pasta, vegan salad dressings, and more! If we can raise more than $200 we can use the extra money for a May day cookout in Monroe park! We do not have a bank account any longer – all banking options require a $2500 min balance or else there is a $15 a month fee. So we can not cash checks written to Food Not Bombs. But if you make a check out to Mo Karn with FNB in the memo we can cash it for FNB. Additionally there is a paypal donation button on the Wingnut website you can use – just put FNB in the memo there too. If you or your business would like to make a tax deductible donation, I have arranged those capabilities with another local non profit. If you would like to do that, we would really appreciate it. Message me here or at mokarnage@gmail.com for details on making a tax deductible donation. Summer is coming and it would be great if we could afford drink mixes and occasional popsicles to share in the park too. If you just want to buy us some of the items listed above that too would be amazing. Drop off at 2005 Barton ave. And remember the paypal donation button is at http://www.wingnutrva.org please share this info!!!

Hey yall –

It has just been brought to public attention that members of the Monroe Park Conservancy Alice Massie, Ukrop, and Dray have all made campaign contributions to Charles Samuels.

Due to this obvious conflict of interest I am requesting that Samuels not be allowed to participate in votes regarding the MPC and that his decision to allow no public comment at today’s land use committee meeting and Monday’s city council meeting be revoked. Charles Samuels should have zero say on this matter.

Additionally John Baits of the MPC has donated to Hilbert and Robertson, and Ukrop has donated to Graziano, Baliles,  and Hilbert. Mayor Jones also a board member has given $1025 to Ellen Robertson.

These council members should recuse themselves from any decision regarding Monroe Park or the Monroe Park Conservancy.

Thanks to Montigue Magruder and Silver Persinger for these discoveries.
Look for yourself here:

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_donors/152342?end_year=2012&start_year=2011

http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/12564

http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/11236?end_year=2010&filing_period=all&lookup_type=year&start_year=1996

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_donors/9426?end_year=2013&filter_schedule=all&industry=all&locality=all&max_years=15&order=amount&page=2&start_year=2012&submenus=cands_local&zip_code=all

Robert Ukrop has also given to Graziano[$400], Hilbert [$500], Baliles [$200], and Samuels [$150]  http://www.vpap.org/donors/profile/index/7730?cmte_type_1=all&cmte_type_2=all&end_year=2013&lookup_type=year&max_years=15&order=amount&page=2&start_year=1996&submenus=donors

Looks like Mosby is the only clean member of the Land Use Committee!

http://www.vpap.org/candidates/profile/money_in_donors/198803?end_year=2013&filter_schedule=all&industry=all&locality=all&max_years=15&order=amount&page=3&start_year=2012&submenus=cands_local&zip_code=all

Here is the power point presentation created by Mo Karnage for presentation to the Land Use Committee. So far, they refuse to allow Mo the time to present, even though they allowed Alice Massie from the Monroe Park Conservancy to present her bid.

If you would like Mo to come to your school, organization, religious group, or whatever and make a presentation with this powerpoint please email Mo at mokarnage @gmail.com  to schedule.

There is a narration that is missed in just the powerpoint. But hopefully you will still find it to be a useful educational tool.

Again thanks to all who helped with research, pictures, editing, and more.

From our friend Scott Burger. This is an important issue regarding economic justice, environmentalism, and also the terrible neoliberal spending practices by Mayor Jones:

Looks like time to retool and restart the water rates reform campaign. In recent months, reformers have focused on the very questionable PILOT(payment In lieu of taxes) for federal taxes in the water bills, but this proposed rate raise by Mayor Jones is troubling.

http://www.change.org/petitions/reform-richmond-s-water-rates

Notice that most communities show consumption in number of gallons used per day.  We still get a number of ccf’s used per month.  I doubt that many people know how many gallons are in a CCF or what CCF even stands for. If consumption was shown on the bill as gallons used per day people would understand that they are probably using more water than they realize.  (And the service charge is still not shown on the bill!)

I am concerned that Richmond is still not really encouraging customers to conserve water because the utility makes more money by selling more water … until the next drought hits!

Thanks,
Scott

http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/richmond-budget-includes-utility-rate-increase/article_90d24931-66ed-5252-af3b-9ee795153810.html

Richmond budget includes utility rate increase

In Richmond, the budget proposed by Mayor Dwight C. Jones increases school maintenance funding by $14.9 million over five years, puts all parking-related money in a new enterprise fund and creates a standalone Department of Emergency Communications to reduce emergency response times.

The city budget also calls for higher utility rates, with monthly bills set to increase by $6 for the average household.

The Richmond real estate tax rate would remain unchanged at $1.20 per $100 of assessed value.

For the fiscal year that starts July 1, Jones proposed a total general fund of $777.3 million, up from $760.5 in the current year.

The budget includes an additional $1 million for school operations, which still leaves an estimated $3.8 million gap in the schools budget to be addressed.

The mayor’s budget has no salary increases, but the plan absorbs an 8.4 percent rate increase for health insurance.

The budget was presented on March 13. The City Council is in the process of reviewing the details and hearing presentations from city departments.

A public hearing will be held April 14. Council amendments are due later this month, and the budget is scheduled to be approved in May.

For the month of April the Food Not Bombs Sunday meal will be prepared at 3100 n. 1st Avenue in Highland Park.

Please come to help cook at 12.

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The meal will as always be served at 4pm in Monroe Park at the corner of Main and Belvidere. A grocery giveaway will happen after the meal.

The host house also really needs help with clean up after the meal, around 5:30-6. Please come back to help clean!!! 3100 n. 1st Ave.

In May the Wingnut will be hosting the Food Not Bombs cooking for the month, and we look forward to seeing you then!
Solidarity not Charity!!!

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