Posts Tagged ‘city council’

Tonight at the Richmond City Council Meeting, the first of 2015, things got off to a fabulous start through organization from members of Black Action Now and Justice RVA.
They coordinated a #BlackLivesMatter action at the meeting which had participants from the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, the Nest Collective, Flying Brick Library, Collective X, Defenders of Freedom Justice and Equality, the Sierra Club, Food Not Bombs, Bainbridge Collective, and many more groups we are likely forgetting to name here, apologies yall.
During the public comments section, multiple folks got up to speak including Rebecca Keel, London Perry, Kendyl Crawford, and Vanessa Coleman (sorry if spelling errors please get in touch if you want changes here yall). They presented a list of grievances and then demands on City Council. We posted a picture of those in a previous blog entry. They promise that if the demands are not met by City Council, we will protest, boycott and disrupt the 2015 UCI Road World Championship Bike Races when they come to Richmond in September.
Whoever came up with that ultimatum for the demands was exactly the fire we need in Richmond to push our movements for justice forward.
Here is the text from Justice RVA:

Grievances
Richmond City Council and Mayor Jones are failing Black residents by:
1) Underfunding schools
2) Failing to address conditions in the jail and continued policies of mass incarceration
3) Maintaining and overworked understaffed social services department
4) Reducing access to public transportation
5) Working to bury black history under a private sports venue with stadium in Shockoe
6) Failing to invest in renewable energy
7) Mayor Jones’ lack of support for his very own food policy task force
8) Failing Richmond’s homeless community through the Monroe Park Conservancy Deal
9) Failing to improve the public housing access and conditions therein
10) Failing to support a living wage of $15 an hour
11) Enforcing harsh codes in the mobile home parks that mainly affect POC and immigrant families living in the Jefferson Davis Highway corridor

List of Demands
1) Engage in respect for Black life in this upcoming year as they vote and pass resolutions, approve budgets, and appropriate tax payer funds
2) Provide full funding for Richmond Public Schools
3) Require that the Monroe Park Conservancy Deal is written such that homeless residents are respected
4) Expand funding for the Department of Social Services
5) Adhere to the recommendations of the Food Policy Task Force
6) Allow for greater representation of citizens without the administrations involvement in the Monroe Park conservancy Deal
7) Require that anyone condemned from their mobile home through the code enforcement be offered relocation assistance
8) Stop CARE VAN increases
9) Protect Shockoe Bottom as a historic park
10) Have council boards.commissions appear in public before being appointed
11) dedicated funding source for GRTC with reciprocal funding for the counties
12) implement a more accessible citizens watch board for the Richmond City Police and Richmond City Jail
13) Support for rehabilitation and restorative justice and ending mass incarceration
14) Opposition of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and support and investment in renewable energy

~~~~
This list is pretty intersectional and awesome. Thanks so much to the folks in the Black Caucus at the Virginia People’s Assembly and others who put this together. Now it is up to all of us to hold the government to it. It’s going to be a fun time.

After the Consent agenda there was a period of text blasting at 6:45 to the City Council members on twitter. Then a little before 7, everyone started singing Amazing Grace, then chanting ‘there aint no power like the power of the people cause the power of the people don’t stop’. There were signs and banners and a few other chants then we left the room. We returned later to shout ‘ we told you we’d be back’.

If you haven’t been participating, tune in, catch up, and come out and join us. There are several more events for the #blacklivesmatter campaign this week which we have previously posted about on our website. Aside from that, come to City Council meetings, come to events at collectives around the City, and keep talking to your friends, family, and neighbor. It’s our city, and we are making it a better place.

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Upcoming Events at the Wingnut Anarchist Collective!!!

All Wingnut Events are All ages and sober!

For out of town performers and speakers please bring money for donations and merch if you can!

2005 Barton Avenue Richmond, Va 23222 – wingnut_collective@yahoo.com
More always being planned- check the website for updates! http://www.wingnutrva.org

Monday July 7 @ 6 – Wingnut Meeting (Bimonthly meetings on the 1st and 3rd Mondays at 6 are open to the public who want to get involved or have ideas etc. followed by a private residents meeting @ 7)

Saturday July 12 @ 12pm- Mobile Food Pantry neighborhood grocery distribution at North ave and W. Graham st.

Saturday July 12 @ 7pm – They Flew me to Canada, and Boy My Arms are Tired – Dane Rossman speaks about his experience being extradited to Canada for actions during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto – fundraiser for other G20 extraditees bring $$ to donate

Monday July 14 @ 6 – Richmond City Council Meeting at City hall – 9th and broad st. come see what the bastards are up to, speak out, make a ruckus, whatever you please! Get some!

Monday July 21 @ 6- Wingnut Meeting

Every Sunday in August @ 12:30 – Food Not Bombs Cooking! August 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, and 31st come help prepare a vegan meal at 12:30, we leave around 3:30 to get to Monroe Park by 4pm to share the food and then return to do cleanup! All levels of cooking experience welcome! Food is a right not a privilege!

Monday August 4 @ 6 – Wingnut Meeting

Monday August 18 @ 6 – Wingnut Meeting

Monday September 1st @ 6 – Wingnut Meeting

Monday September 1st @ 8- Bizarro Books Tour – Bizarre fiction readings and performances! $$ to buy books!

 

The Wingnut Anarchist Collective
We Gladly Feast on Those Who Oppress Us

What we are into: autonomy, sustainability, solidarity, mutual aid, liberation, equality, community, Do-it-yourself and do-it-together, direct action, consent, diversity of tactics

What we are not into: the state, police, jails, bosses, capitalism, hierarchy, consumerism, ableism, homophobia, transphobia, sexism, racism, classism, etc.

What we do about it: food not bombs, copwatch, prisoner support, food not lawns, bike repair, radical lending library, public computer, radical zine collection, game nights, potlucks, movie nights, music/poetry/puppet performances, grocery and produce distribution, sobriety support, host and facilitate workshops, attending local city council and other meetings to speak out against bad plans and for good ones (recent examples include the privatization of Monroe park, shockoe stadium, and public $$$ going to Venture Richmond), organize and attend protests on a variety of political issues, critical mass bike rides, host speakers, trash cleanups, support fast food workers and others fighting for a living wage, free store clothing cabinets, little free library, free anarchist and radical literature distribution and more!

Anarchism is the revolutionary idea that no one is more qualified than you are to decide what your life will be!!!

Check out anarchist zines and books online at: http://www.theanarchistlibrary.org or http://www.sproutdistro.com or http://www.tangledwilderness.org

Interested? Get involved! Check the other side for a list of our upcoming events and meetings!
“Anarchists know that a long period of education must precede any great fundamental change in society, hence they do not believe in vote begging, nor political campaigns, but rather in the development of self-thinking individuals.
We look away from government for relief, because we know that force (legalized) invades the personal liberty of man, seizes upon the natural elements and intervenes between man and natural laws; from this exercise of force through governments flows nearly all the misery, poverty, crime and confusion existing in society.” – Lucy Parsons – anarchist, labor organizer 1853-1942

“There is one common struggle against those who have appropriated the earth, the money, and the machines.” – Voltairine de Cleyre – anarchist, feminist 1866-1912

The address of the Mayor of Richmond’s top secret bat cave was revealed by the Wingnut Anarchist Collective in a scathing online post, encouraging writing of letters, legal protests and explicitly discouraging illegal actions.

Richmond Police have responded to the imminent threat of letters and demonstrations by increasing their rounds near the Mayor’s house tonight. Apparently the 400,000 dollars spent annually to protect the Mayor is not enough to combat the potential guilt or discomfort he might feel if being called out for his actions to privatize Monroe Park and put at further risk some of Richmond’s most vulnerable citizens.

The secret location of the Mayor’s Bat Cave, which the Occupy RVA movement camped out next to in 2011, was deviously discovered by the Wingnuts on the City of Richmond’s own website. As it turns out, public officials are public, and indeed that info is public knowledge. http://eservices.ci.richmond.va.us/applic…/propertysearch/

Members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective are meanwhile enjoying cookies in bed and mixing beats on the rainy evening. Most likely in a highly threatening manner… like chewing with their mouths open. The arrival of news crews  to talk about this imminent threat disrupted the malicious naps of their adorable dogs.

If we didn’t know better it would seem as though the Richmond Police Department was wasting time and money to try and manufacture a threat that does not exist, and distract the public from information regarding the bad neoliberal practices that the Mayor and City Council are pushing forward.

http://mokarnage.com/2014/04/14/from-redskins-to-monroe-we-shall-not-be-moved/


NBC12.com – Richmond, VA News

The First Will Be Last: On Monroe Park

By Derek Jones (Food Not Bombs member)

wpid-photo-full.jpeg

Editors note: This essay is a creative essay. Neither the author nor the publishers would ever promote illegal activity. But we do promote keeping Monroe Park Public, Open, and Free by Any Means Necessary! You figure it out. This is a slightly edited version of a statement read at the Land Use Committee meeting this week, where the committee made the bad choice to move the Monroe Park Lease to Council for voting. We hope to see you all out on Monday March 24 to STOP this plan.

The Master Plan for the Monroe Park renovations says that, “50 years of crime and vagrancy have tainted Monroe Park’s reputation” (pg. 1). and that the park needs renovations because of the “[…resurgence in popularity of many of the surrounding residential neighborhoods, retail corridors, and the recent increase in enrollment at VCU” (pg. 1).

But this plan is not driven by the increasing need for public, open space in Richmond.

Alice Massie said before City Cuoncil on February 18th, that this plan isn’t about “excluding any type of people or demographic”, but anyone that read the plan knows that is not true.

A permit requirement that is to be issued at the discretion of the Monroe Park Conservancy and a charge of $35 per application for an event will keep feeding and clothing distribution groups from having access to the park.

The Conservancy may well decide that the park needs to be fenced off for an unknown amount og time during renovations, thereby preventing anyone from using it.

Alice Massie would have you believe that the renovations plans are about building fields for plauing quoits and pentanque because they are popular pastimes among park goers in Liverpool, England, about allowing certain vendors the opportunity to sell coffee and pastries in the park, and about cutting down 62 trees and replacing them with 80 new “canopy tree” species that were there 110 years ago because for an unexplained and expensive reason, 1904 is heralded as the “golden age” of Monroe Park.

But the sprucing up of the park detailed in their plan is incidental to it’s main purpose: The displacement of the homeless, the Blacks, and the poverty ridden. I say “Blacks” because according to a 2009 survey by Homeward, out of more than 1,000 homeless Richmonders they surveyed, more than 2/3 identified as African American or People of Color, and it is no secret that Monroe Park is on the outskirts of a “white” part of Richmond.

Page 55 of the plan dismisses the notion that chronically homeless citizens of Richmond are valid and stable park users, calling them instead “transients”, reading, ” Park goers generally fall into 2 groups: VCU students and transients”. It says that Monroe Park WAS (as in used to be) a site for Churches and Community groups to feed the needy on weekends, that as many as 50 people could be waiting in the park on weekends. There were actually about 400 people waiting on food or clothing this past Saturday, and people provide services in the park on weekdays as well.  The plan also says that “though the hiring of a park keeper in 2007 has helped to deter homeless feedings, that park remains a popular gathering place for Richmond’s homeless population during the day” (pg. 55).

Most disturbingly, page 61 of the plan for renovations  says that “[privately financed park managers] must make frequent visitor counts, with special attention paid to female/male ratios… The ratio of non-homeless to apparently homeless ones must be at least 75-100: 1 to draw female visitors in great numbers” (pg. 61).

If you approve the Conservancy’s plan to lease Monroe park you will be declaring Class War on all of Richmond. We will Occupy the Park indefinitely. Instead of petanque and quoits fields, we will plant vegetable gardens, fruit and nut trees. We will march through your neighborhoods and we will expel you from your restautants, grocery stores, and homes as you have done to us. You will become residents of Monroe Park, and you will be treated as second class citizens there because in our kingdom the first will be last and the last will be first.

keepmonroeparkopen

Intimidated by getting involved in local politics? Not sure what to expect from a meeting?

This guide will help you be prepared!

City Council Survival Guide

Editors Note: This is an anonymous submission which was sent to one of the Wingnuts. The anonymous author sent it to several Council members and news outlets. We heard that at least one local magazine would not oublish for fear of financial retribition.

I apologize for the anonymity. Lots of pressure going around.  Sending this to all Council members. Thank you for your consideration.

Dear Honorable Members of Richmond City Council,

I am writing you this afternoon because we are at a major crossroads in the great city of Richmond. In the next couple of weeks you will be asked to vote on a variety of issues that will weigh very heavily on the future of this city and the people within it for many decades to come.  While there are a variety of different development projects including the Revitalize RVA proposal, the Brown’s Island Amphitheater plan, and the ongoing management of Monroe Park on the table for you to soon vote on, there is a much more serious civic situation that you have the heavy burden of addressing. The yay or nay ballot that each of you will cast in regards to Mayor Jones’s Shockoe stadium proposal will be a vote on much more than whether or not to build on a historic site in Shockoe Bottom: It has now become a yay or nay vote to validate a model of how business is to be conducted by both non-profit organizations and well-funded commercial enterprises in the City of Richmond.

Over the past 4 months since Mayor Jones’s initial announcement of the RevitalizeRVA plan, his conduct, as well as that of Venture Richmond and LovingRVA, have been questionable at best (and spinelessly manipulative at worst) to both the democratic process and the non-profit model that has been at the heart of much of RVA’s lifestyle and cultural expansion over the past 3-5 years. On the surface it may appear that there is a large amount of support in the form of  Facebook “likes” and signatures from both the commercial and non-profit sectors of the city for this plan, the reality is that many of RVA’s small businesses are being kept in a silent, financial stranglehold around raising any questions or concerns around the RevitalizeRVA plan. Because many of our city’s non-profit organizations receive funding from major corporations such as Capital One, Bon Secours, and Altria there has been a passive aggressive mandate issued that if you want to keep receiving funds for your organization that you most “go along” with the stadium plan or risk losing some level of funding for your organization. This has been echoed by a number of different employees across many sectors under the cover of anonymity for fear of fiscal retribution.

Many of these organizations know that building another recreational facility is not in the best interest of the city. Regardless of the mayor’s blind eye to the educational issues in RVA’s currently rock-bottom education system, most RVA taxpayers overwhelmingly agree that our schools and infrastructure across the entire city are the immediate priority, not recreational sports and an illogical design that puts a hotel (typically consider a place for rest and relaxation, no?) right next to 7,000 screaming fans and fireworks going off at 9:00 at night. It doesn’t take a civil engineer to understand the problems around that and the many other shoddy details around financial liability and infrastructure assessments for this project. But alas, nothing can be said by many local organizations about that for fear of losing much needed funding dollars and threats of being “white-listed” from certain opportunities regardless of if this deal is successfully railroaded through or not. That is a detrimental and n unfavorable situation for businesses, their employees, the city, our culture, and the democratic process as a whole.

So, this is where you, our elected city officials come into play. (more…)

Please come out to Richmond City Council on February 10th at 6pm at City Hall to speak out against giving Venture richmond a real estate tax exemption.

Venture Richmond is a massive “non profit” heavily involved in lobbying for gentrifying plans to benefit developers and the wealthy, without helping the people of Richmond.

They are currently involved in the Revitalize RVA which plans to waste almost 80 million tax oayer doklars on a baseball stadium and development which will benefit private developers and is not wanted by the people of Richmond.

The letter below by Charles Pool has an excellent break down of why Venture Richmond deserves no breaks from the tax payers of Richmond. They have more than enough money and too little regard for the citizens.

If you want to file a complaint against Venture Richmond with the IRS, please do. IRS form 13909 Tax Exempt Organization (referral) Complaint Form.

Dear Honorable Members of Richmond City Council,

The Richmond City Council will vote on February 10th on whether to give Venture Richmond a real estate tax exemption for its “Tredegar Green” property.   City Council should not approve this tax exemption for Venture Richmond for the following reasons:

1). The City Council has a moratorium on granting tax exemptions by designation.  Venture Richmond submitted this application in 2012, and Venture Richmond failed to meet the deadline of April 8, 2013 , as established by City Ordinance 2013-19, for introducing an ordinance exempting property from taxation by designation.

2). State code requires that City Council consider whether the non-profit applying for tax exemption engages in substantial lobbying for legislation.   According to Venture Richmond, it has spent the substantial sum of at least $32,000 lobbying for the Mayor’s Shockoe Stadium proposal.   The Mayor is President of Venture Richmond, and Venture Richmond has been engaged in substantial lobbying for the Mayor’s legislation.

3).  State code also requires that City Council consider whether the executive salary of the non-profit is reasonable when considering an organization’s application for  tax exemption.  Venture Richmond Director Jack Berry receives a salary of over $240,000 annually, according to IRS filings.   If Venture Richmond can afford to pay its Director over $240,000, it is unreasonable to believe that it cannot afford to pay $43,000 in city real estate tax.

4).  Richmond’s Tax Exemption by Designation Committee recommended AGAINST a real estate tax exemption for Venture Richmond, and the committee sessions generally focused on the amount of executive salaries, revenue sources and any duplication of city services being performed by each applicant. 

(more…)

keepmonroeparkopen

There is a scheduled Land Use meeting at City Hall on Tuesday February 18th at 3pm, where the proposal for the privatization of Monroe Park will be presented by Alice Massey.

Please come out with friends, signs, and voices to be heard. It is imperative for the freedom of citizens of Richmond, the houseless, low income, radical social movements, and spontaneous events that we STOP the City from leasing Monroe Park to any private party, and STOP there from ever being a permit process or fee for holding events in our public commons.

For more information please check out the following article and links:

Op Ed: Monroe Park Needs Renovations NOT Privatization

Monroe Campaign

Monroe Park Occupation

 

 

Recap of the first City Council Meeting of 2014 –

where citizens wonder if this is a sports council or a city council

http://www.quailbellmagazine.com/3/post/2014/01/council-called-out-on-sports-interests.html

 

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Richmond Water Rate Reformers Respond to Utility Report

Richmond water rate reformers had been eagerly anticipating the Sept. 17th City of Richmond Department of Public Utilities Report to Council (pursuant to City ordinances 2013-58-77 and 2013-61-79, study performed by DPU with consultant Ratfelis Financial Consultants). A copy of the study was finally earlier this month and is attached to this press release. Disturbingly, the report has not been worth the wait. It lacks substance and appears to be written to support the existing rate structure. At this point, City Council has asked it’s staff to review and make some comments and recommendations for next steps, which suggests that it will consider the issue further in the next budget cycle.
Citizens are urged to contact the press and their City Council representative and ask why the base charges cannot be further reduced and why the PILOT for federal tax is still part of their bills. 

Report lacks substance:
Pages    Topics
00-01    Table of contents
02-03    Executive summary
04-05    Purpose
06-09    Concepts
10-12    Reconciliation
13-13    Expenses
14-15    PILOT cost
16-20    Affordability measures
21-26    Low Income assistance

The only things new are some subsidy ideas, which are arguably not the purpose of DPU. There is no consideration for the relatively high base charges of $26.11 (which Mayor Jones only partially addressed last year) or the unlawfulness or appropriateness of the federal PILOT (payment in lieu of federal taxes, which, again, no private business pays to the City). In the report chart (page 3) showing how rates would change if this PILOT payment in lieu of federal income tax was eliminated, instead of showing a reduction in the base service charge, the report shows only a reduction in the volumetric charge. It does not justify the allocation of the charges to the base service charge vs. the volumetric charge.  (more…)