Posts Tagged ‘rvacouncil’

Some pictures from tonight’s march and rally for #blacklivesmatter!! Organized by Justice RVA with participants from pretty much the same wide swath of people who came out to disrupt City Council on Monday night.

Light up letter signs spelling out #blacklivesmatter
We blocked Broad street at 9th and had a die in. We also sang Amazing Grace, We Shall Overcome, And This Little Light of Mine, listened to speakers, and black participants made a memorial to their ancestors at 11th and Broad.
Look out for more actions over the next days, week, and year.
We will be working towards the list of demands until City Council acquieces or time comes to boycott and disrupt the UCI Bike races.

Thanks to All Saints Theater for making and bringing beautiful puppet memorials.

If anyone has a picture of two undercover cops please let us know. They were a pair of white guys (obvi), the taller one in a red hoodie and the shorter huskier one in a black sweatshirt. We followed them back to their car, a white jeep SUV which was parked in the law enforcement only zone at the John Marshall court building.

Some local coverage:

http://wtvr.com/2015/01/15/justicerva-protest-planned/

http://wric.com/2015/01/15/blacklivesmatter-rally-vigil-to-be-held-thursday-by-richmond-group/

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Come out today at 3:30 to the John Marshall Court building at 400 N. 9th downtown for a vigil and protest.
All of the events for the week are posted on facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/763669123671001/

It is super important for everyone to get involved and educate themselves and take continuous action – around #blacklivesmatter and all the other (connected) issues we are pushing in Richmond right now.

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

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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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From tonight’s Richmond City Council meeting.
If #rvacouncil does not meet the demands, we will shut down the UCI bike races.

 

According to the City of Richmond’s Property Search and Tax Assessment data, the assessed value of the land that Dwight Jones’ house sits on has dropped 64,000 in the past year.

Mayorstaxassessment

We all know that the market fluctuates, and that the functioning of the real estate market under capitalism is largely speculative and prejudicial. But what is very interesting here, is that the Mayor’s neighbors did not receive the same sorts of lowered assessments. The amount taxed on 64,000 at the current rate would be approx. $768 dollars annually. While not a ton of money, we all know that every little bit counts, especially when our schools, parks, and public transit are hurting like they are.

Raymond Boone of the Richmond Free Press, who allowed Occupy protesters to camp on his lawn in 2011, lives next door to the Mayor. Here are his assessments:Boone

MayorBoonAsses

Boone’s property is about half an acre larger than the Mayor’s, which does not seem to explain the giant discrepancy in land values and assessments.

Another of the Mayor’s neighbors, with a much smaller parcel, did receive a lower land assessment, but it does not seem in proportion to what the Mayor received.

MayorFarrowAsses

 

 
To recap our friend ran the numbers on square foot value:
Mayor’s land: $0.27/sq ft
Boone’s land (2 parcels): $0.86/sqft and $0.69/sqft
The smaller parcel referred to with its new LOWERED value: $1.41/sqft

Ok, so apparently larger parcels get lower value per sqft?…

http://map.richmondgov.com/parcel/

If you zoom out from the mayor’s land, the two larger nearby pieces of land as you look slightly south are $0.42/sqft and $0.40/sqft (for a 1.5million sqft $600k piece of land).

The mayor must be living over a toxic dump.

We can not speak as to whether or not Dwight Jones had or has any knowledge about this assessment discrepancy, but it seems potentially problematic, and certainly deserves an explanation if not an inquiry. It would be a shame if the Mayor himself were not paying appropriate taxes into the City of Richmond.

Civil Rights Attorney, Tom Roberts, who has previously represented members of the Wingnut Anarchist Collective, and also spoke to ABC to confirm the complete legality of our posting publicly available information online like the Mayor’s address, was shocked to see the drop in the assessment of the Mayor’s property, and suggested that an inquiry be made into the matter.

If you would like to explore this issue more, please check out the City’s property finder application. It is a very helpful tool for many applications. http://eservices.ci.richmond.va.us/applications/propertysearch/default.aspx

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.

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Sweet flier made by a good friend.
Make your own and distribute to get word out.
No selling our parks without resistance.

Text reads :
ALICE MASSIE:
Buying Monroe Park;
HOMELESS MUST GO!
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Here are updates from Mo:

3/25 @ 8am

sent to the City Clerk-
Hey there!
Thank you for accepting my bid yesterday.
I’ve also emailed councilman Baliles, but I have a few concerns
First- April 9th at 4 does not work for me. I take care of a 7 year old at that time, and he has soccer practice on Wednesdays. I don’t think it is a bad idea to bring kids to city meetings, but I can’t make him skip soccer to go.
Second- Why is this an emergency Land Use meeting? This isn’t a super urgent matter, so I respectfully request that my bid be discussed at a regularly scheduled Land Use committee meeting, and especially one that I can actually attend.
Third- I’m not sure that it is legal for me to be denied equal treatment with Alice Massie’s bid. She was allowed to do a power point presentation at Land Use, and Public Comment on her presentation and bid was allowed. I am respectfully demanding the same opportunities. I am looking into taking legal action if my bid is not treated in the same manner as hers.

Thank you so much
and feel free to forward this to whomever can make these changes as quickly as possible
Mo Karnage

3/26 @ 8am

Can we please push for the *insert racist name here* training camp building to be used as a homeless shelter – seeing as how it has locker rooms and a big unrented office and the City paid for it…. #rvacouncil #homeless #washingtonnfl #monroepark

3/26 @ 5pm

Just sent this to all Council members, city clerk, city attorney, and land use clerk. Wonder how they will respond…Also I am getting sassy in my old age. Nope, wait, always been sassy. If anyone feels like sending this text with pronouns changed or a variation of this text to the same people it can’t hurt. Thanks!

Hello all.

I have been trying to make a formal request to be allowed to present to the Land Use Committee on my bid for Monroe Park to equal the time allowed to Alice Massie. (more…)

The First Will Be Last: On Monroe Park

By Derek Jones (Food Not Bombs member)

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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

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Yea, so that happened at the Land Use Committee Meeting today. Also the committee voted to forward the Monroe Park Lease item to Monday’s Council Meeting.