City retirees deserve
A 1% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for retired city employees requested by Mayor Levar Stoney went to the finance committee and was not approved. It has been more than 10 years since retired city employees have received any COLA raises. With the millions of excess dollars that the city has determined it has, the mayor asked that retirees receive a 1% COLA. The retirees who served the city for 25 to 35 years apparently do not deserve additional compensation from the city, according to the finance committee. It’s a shame that city government does not appreciate retired employees who have served the city well. It’s time to show some thanks to those who put their lives on the line for little compensation.
Richard L. Acampora.
Cut developer handouts,
improve city leadership
In his recent op-ed column regarding downtown development, Jack Berry’s comments contradict themselves. First he poses that Richmond needs an infusion of new hotel rooms and then argues that developers cannot afford to build them without incentives from the city. In my world, demand justifies the supply of that commodity without government subsidy. Let’s face it, giving millions of dollars to millionaires to make more millions is an unfair redistribution of our tax dollars. We have had enough corruption, poor planning and weak ethics in our city governance without more handouts to favored vendors and political financial supporters. All government handouts to private individuals and businesses should be stopped immediately due to the corruption and unfair business favoritism it engenders. To the city of Richmond I say: Clean house, stick to the basics and when we finally see fiscal responsibility and moral behavior, then come to us with a proposal for the development project you desire.
Ernest A. Mooney Jr.
Symphony season opener
rekindled fond memories
Recently I attended the 2019-2020 season opener of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in concert at the Dominion Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Needless to say, the program was superb in every way.
Returning to Richmond for this occasion was guest conductor Marin Alsop. Interviewing her before the concert was none other than Fred Child, moderator of the radio program “Performance Today,” which airs on weekdays on National Public Radio stations.
Child and I go back to June 2014. I, along with two other people from Virginia, were among the 50 people chosen throughout the United Sates for his very first tour. This “London Rhapsody” proved to be the seed that grew into more musical tours led by Child. Now an “adopted” son of Richmond, Child will be back in May 2020 to announce the winner of the Menuhin violin competition.
I found it most interesting as I flipped through my symphony program that, as a young instrumentalist seventh-grader attending a summer music camp, I was under the direction of RSO conductor Edgar Schenkman. Little did I realize that this was history.
I wish to thank the ushers at this special event for allowing me access to take pictures of Child during his preconcert talk with Alsop. To reconnect with Child will be a memory that I will never forget. Thank you, Richmond.
Robert (“Bobby”) J. Spiers Jr.
Insight page on lefties
balks on Koufax
I really enjoyed the recent Insight page “Irritations of the Southpaws.” However, I was wondering why legendary baseball pitcher Sandy Koufax was not on the list of famous lefties? As one of the greatest baseball pitchers ever, I feel like that left arm deserves some recognition on a list devoted to famous left-handed people.
Amend State Code
to restore felon rights
How do you change the Virginia State Code for convicted felons who want to teach? The State Code 22.1-296.1 makes no sense. If a person who is a convicted felon has been rehabilitated and makes one mistake that is not a crime against children, then why is the state code so unfair? A one-time felon cannot vote, adopt, own a home or work because of one mistake that is permanently stained on his or her background.
The United States stands along with Virginia among modern democracies in stripping voting rights, along with the right to teach in Virginia, from millions of citizens on the basis of criminal convictions. Across the country, states impose varying felony disenfranchisement policies, preventing an estimated 6.1 million Americans from casting ballots. To give a sense of scope — this population is larger than the voting-eligible population of New Jersey. And of this total, nearly 4.7 million are people living in our communities — working, paying taxes and raising families, all while barred from joining their neighbors at the polls. The state code needs to be changed.
Many people have a loved one who has been affected by the state code that has destroyed their lives. If we don’t make a stand and get out the vote in 2020, the old ways will continue and we will have more homeless women and men. Everybody deserves a second chance in the land of the free.
Proposals for ‘free’ stuff
should not sway voters
This presidential campaign is far less about what candidates intend to do for America, and far more about what they intend to do to each other. And when the discussion does turn to things being offered, the subject is grounded in what they intend to give away for “free” — free education, free medical care, free housing and a host of other “free” stuff. One can only imagine where they intend to get their funding for all these things.
Useful social programs are necessary and should be funded. But without wealth, funding them is impossible. Wealth is only created when goods and/or services can be traded for something that is needed somewhere down the economic line. In the short term, the U.S. Treasury could print money. But printing money only makes what already is out there less valuable. There are plenty of recent examples as well as historical examples that support this claim.
Basic to American stability is our ability create wealth, and the environment here continues to allow for that to happen. It’s hard to believe that these candidates are serious when they tout programs that would likely destroy our American progress and success. Fortunately, for the most part, voters in the U.S. are not easily fooled by the candidates, their media partners and the theatrics. For the realist, the hope is that America still believes that what is offered here is an opportunity for everyone to grow, economically and culturally, all of it promoting some sort of peaceful existence.