Richmond needs

the Navy Hill project now

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Kudos to Brad Armstrong for his positive and informative letter, “Navy Hill project will bolster Richmond.” He is a force to be listened to as he has the experience and knowledge to know his conclusions are right on the money.

Naysayers should pay particular attention to the names he listed who are behind the plan. They are well respected and have put their reputations on the line advocating this project.

A friend who works in the area recommended those who are against the project should walk the walk and see how the Coliseum and the blocks around it are deteriorating. The only things being attracted to the area are rodents and unacceptable refuse and litter. Then envision how it could change and be a vital energetic place to live, work, shop and be entertained while providing much needed revenue for the city.

Richmond needs this and City Council should approve it post haste so the work can begin to renovate and beautify Navy Hill to bring more people and funds here to support the needs of the community. There is nothing there now to accomplish that goal, nor will there be without this project.

Dolly Hintz.

Henrico.

Why hold a gun

rally on MLK Day?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

I find a dreadful and appalling irony in the choice of January 20 for the gun rights rally. That date is a holiday set aside for a Civil Rights leader who was assassinated by a gun.

Jo Ann Stoddard.

Midlothian.

Parent gets soaked

for rainy day wreck

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

In November, during a rainstorm, my son slid off the road into a guardrail on Interstate 64. He dented the metal rail but thankfully there were no significant injuries. In January, we received a letter from VDOT telling us we would be receiving a bill for the damage. I hadn’t heard of this as that is the point of guardrails but thought to myself, “OK. How much could it be to hammer out a piece of metal?”

To my shock, a week later we received a bill for nearly $5,000, including a 10% “inspection fee.” This was significantly more than the damage to the vehicle. VDOT essentially just forwarded the bill from the contractor.

Someone needs to investigate this scam. In the meantime, I will investigate what it takes to become a contractor for VDOT.

Dave Jarvis.

Glen Allen.

How Marines stay safe

surrounded by weapons

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

It was my privilege to serve 23 years in the United States Marine Corps, on active duty and in the reserves, in peace and war. If an AR-15 is inherently dangerous, likewise its typical 30-round magazine, then I should be dead by now, given the accumulation of years I have spent around these inanimate objects.

Of course, no weapon by itself is dangerous, it is the user who makes the difference. So how does the Marine Corps stay safe when there are assault weapons everywhere? There are three main ways, and these are the steps government organizations can take a step toward a safe and still free society: (1) Keep weapons away from unfit persons; whether drunk, depressed or otherwise unfit, they should not have a weapon while unfit. (2) Have a respect for the lives of your fellow Marine and the allies around you. (3) Be trained on how to use, clean and maintain your weapon.

The various laws being proposed about what a gun looks like (If I painted an AR-15 a teal green, would it still be as “assaulting”?) or how much ammunition it can carry are well-intentioned but will do nothing to make us safer. Let’s focus our attention on the mental fitness of gun owners, a respect for life and training instead.

Roger Galbraith.

Glen Allen.

Who wants to seek

a career in education?

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

As a follow-up to Bill Pike’s recent op-ed column, “A teacher resigned today,” and related news stories: I am that veteran teacher who has spent 40 years in the classroom. I am also that teacher who did not benefit from the salary compression. My passion is working with high school students in the classroom and not on the administration side of education.

In the spring of 2019, when we received notification of additional opportunities to receive increased compensation, it was a low moment in my educational career. To think that having worked with more than 4,000 children in those 40 years, being a Gilman scholarship nominee three times, having re-certified every five years through various courses and attending countless in-service school and county workshops were not enough is astounding. Why would today’s students seek out education as a career or why would teachers new to the profession stay when this is the reward that is before them?

Anna Bryant.

Glen Allen.

Democrats should avoid

governing like GOP did

Editor, Times-Dispatch:

Like South Africans’ apartheid experience, Virginia Democrats will govern after years of subjugation. Nelson Mandela did not take up the same reins of governmental subjugation as the Afrikaners feared. He found a new way to govern. With unity of the South African people as a fundamental goal, he institutionalized reconciliation.

Yes, Virginia is not South Africa, but there are parallels. Gun owner fears due to Obama’s election went unanswered, generating eight years of unheard high gun sales. This first time a fear-fueled event is known and we ignore it at our nation’s peril.

Democrats’ greatest challenge is choosing between ruling like Republicans had or finding new, inclusive ways like Mandela did. News of the Democrats’ first days of pushing through resolutions on party-line votes and Republican objections that they hadn’t seen the resolution ahead of time sounds very familiar. Switch party and issue names and it’s the same old thing — might makes right.

We don’t see significant action to address voter fears generated by recent election tactics. We don’t see ruling party efforts to be inclusive, to find a middle ground and to address concerns of all the voters.

The true test will be if Virginia Democrats choose not to subjugate and pass inclusive laws. We’ve proven government through bipartisan animosity does not work and establishing party branded policies only incentivizes the other party to win and change them. Politics has become a dead heat on a merry-go-round and its time we got off.

Stephen Mandas.

Ashland.

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