Last Word about CW finances, Feb. 3

Williamsburg budget

The Virginia Gazette's recent reporting on the Williamsburg City Council discussions on potential tax increases and the need to add a new position to administer the new Tourism Development Fund is very revealing. If the city ran like a business, as revenues decline, the focus would be on expenses, increasing efficiencies and prioritizing needs. Finding ways to do more with less should be the task assigned to City Manager Collins. Taxing is easy, management is tough.

Colonial Williamsburg

What are the institutions similar to CW that pay their CEO/presidents $802,645 plus giving him a house to live in? Or that hire the president's wife to be an independent contractor? Sending her on travel to meet and work the donor lines in China, England, Italy, California, Texas and Louisiana, New York and Tennessee. Does the president of William and Mary send his wife traveling, too? Plus, the retired president earns a salary of $136,128 yearly — what genius crafted that retirement plan? This saga is getting up there with “Dallas” and the board is a player in all these outlandish goings on.

Tommy Norment is a member of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation’s Board of Trustees and is now proposing a tax increase if the City of Williamsburg repeals its tourism tax hike. He is the State Senate Majority Leader and co-chair of the Senate Finance Committee. Norment needs to stay out of Williamsburg's business and not use his political position to further the agenda of the mismanaged Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The recent report in the Gazette about the 2016 tax form submitted by Colonial Williamsburg Foundation shows a continuing lack of sensitivity and awareness by the Board of Trustees for the loyal frontline employees. When you see that the President and CEO of CW received compensation of $802,645 that included a $100,000 bonus awarded by the board, it is a slap in the face to the dedicated employees, of which 92 percent receive less than 5 percent of what the president does in annual pay. Then you see the same president of the Foundation’s wife, as an independent contractor, received $27,000 in pay, as well as paid travel to China, Italy, England, etc. This does not even reference other perks received by CW’s president and wife. But of course, frontline employees have the perk of being able to work additional hours in night programs and receive additional pay, even if that means they work 12 hour days. Really?

So, if the board of Colonial Williamsburg gave Mitchell Reiss a $100,000 bonus, how much would it take to pay him off to go away?

Mitchell Reiss was dealt a bad hand when tasked with solving CW’s financial problems, which were 20 years in the making. We can agree or disagree with the many changes being made, but closing a $50 million annual shortfall is a daunting task. Whether CW can survive in its present form is uncertain, and we should not presume to know what changes should or should not be made. But here is one personal suggestion: Like the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, Reiss seems to like the camera. His image is everywhere and, like Ryan, always sporting a wicked grin, as if he had just heard a good joke. Given CW’s many problems, he might consider looking more serious and resolute. Mugging for the camera is not going to make the problems go away.

Just curious

They are building something on the lot next to the water treatment plant there at Five Forks. Now this lot, some 25, 30 years ago, was wetlands filled in and James City County at that time would not let anything be built on that lot. So how can this change? Just curious.

Tourism challenge

Interesting to see in the Gazette that chamber learns "new equals fun and fun equals new." I’m just wondering if the movers and shakers consider how to bring in the best known, widest known "attraction" here, Colonial Williamsburg. You want culinary events? Why not include CW culinary events and activities with the other chefs? Sporting events? Pair up with CW sports events. The colonial folk were into anything and everything so let's continue to let that story be part of today's events and activities. Colonial-era activities and events can be coordinated with " today’s" Williamsburg events and activities so visitors grasp that Williamsburg is a coordinated whole, not two separate places, two separate kinds of events. Kind of " anything you can do I can do also" — and our locals and visitors will have a happier time finding about all the choices for fun, learning, relaxing, dining, enjoying. And hopefully the marketing teams are remembering the visitors who come farther than four or eight hours away. Our hotels and restaurants need the multi-nighters, too. Think of all the folks who can arrive by train. No car needed.

Professor Comey

It is ironic that readers, who likely support the most unethical man ever elected president, complain about James Comey teaching ethics at William and Mary. It will be a great opportunity for students of William and Mary to hear a distinguished man of the law talk about the need for ethical leadership and to explain the ethics of his decisions in the face of questions that will certainly be asked. Critics of this decision underestimate the ability of students to discern truth, evaluate ethical dilemmas, and cull knowledge from a man who has served our country in law enforcement at the highest levels in difficult times. I salute William and Mary for giving students this opportunity.

It is disheartening to read Last Word comments about James Comey because it confirms the ignorance of the electorate that resulted in the nominations of two of the worst candidates for president of the United States in maybe the history of the country. As sad as the stain Comey has made on the reputation of an organization that we all count on for safety and protection from evil.

Oh, please. If you are more than a tepid supporter of either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, your personal ethics are sufficiently and demonstrably relaxed that you have no credible ethical objection to James Comey co-teaching an ethics class at William and Mary. So stop your absurd pearl-clutching and admit it’s the politics that bother you.

Maybe all those who have made derogatory comments about Comey teaching ethics class at W&M should take his class. That way all their questions will be answered. Trump lies matter.

Kudos to William and Mary for displaying a fine sense of irony and humor by having James Comey (James Comey!) lecture on ethical governing. Just when I though academe had lost whatever sense of humor they once possessed.

I think James Comey is going to be a great ethics teacher at W&M. He did not "leak classified information," contrary to what some people believe. He shared his own personal memos (which are not classified) to let others know what he was dealing with, since Trump is the most unethical person to occupy the White House in decades. The ethics director resigned because of frustration over the lack of ethics in the White House. Comey knew how bad it was, which is why he began writing the memos. I look forward to the Mueller investigation results. And no doubt that James Comey saw first-hand accounts of unethical behavior. He will have plenty to share in class at W&M on how and how not to behave.

Looking for …

Ladies small gold ring with small ruby; very sentimental. It was my mother’s original engagement ring. Please call 757-259-0092 or email at wellseau@cox.net.

We are looking for references for yard work. There is a lot of pruning and mulching that needs to be done. Please answer in the Last Word. Thank you.

I am hoping that some good-hearted soul has found something very precious to me. I have lost a necklace — the thin, silver box chain was the last gift given to me by my son, before I lost him to suicide several years ago. Two silver charms hang from the chain: a guardian angel and an oval with the imprint of my mother’s thumb. (I lost my mom on Mother’s Day last year after a long illness.) I lost the necklace the weekend of Dec. 30-31 while visiting the Williamsburg area with family. We stayed at the Wyndham Patriots’ Place Resort and visited Busch Gardens, the outlets and several restaurants while we were there. I do not know exactly when the necklace came off. If anyone found it, please contact Last Word or me at kwcoxn6@aol.com.

I am looking for some recommendations for a dentist that makes fixed dentures; someone that you’ve been very pleased with. Thank you.

To the person looking for the flagpole: You should try Serendipity, 7405 Richmond Road. They have a wide variety of flagpoles and brackets. Their phone number is 259-0314.

Lost, evening of Jan. 18: White gold ring with light blue stone. It was just given to me for my birthday and is a replica of one my grandmother had, so it means a great deal to me. Lost in the parking lot of, or inside, the Lightfoot Harris Teeter, Centerville Road. It can be turned over to customer service at the grocery store, or call Suzi at 757-532-7739.

I’m looking for someone who repairs dolls. I have a 78-year-old doll that really needs help. Please call 757-229-2317 if you know anyone who does this type of work. Thank you.

Response to the person looking for a local shooting range. Superior Pawn and Gun is a great shooting range located on West Mercury Boulevard in Hampton. I have gone there on several occasions. They have everything you need. The people are extremely knowledgeable and I highly recommend it. For more information, search online for Superior Pawn and Gun. Have fun!

Thank you!

Thank you to the staff at Wyatt Orthodontics. My kid's teeth look great. The staff is like family. Keep up the good work!

Visually impaired

A friend has become unable to see well, to read and it finally caused me to wonder — when people can't see well to read, how can they keep track of their lives? Appointments? Keep their calendars? So, there either are devices now available enabling people to easily record and play back dates and reminders, or someone needs to invent such a thing for the millions who could benefit from such an aid. Whoever knows about such things, please describe and tell us where to buy — or please invent such a device.

All good things

It is amazing the way charity works in one’s life. On Tuesday, I was at Walmart Neighborhood Grocery waiting in line to check out. The lady ahead of me (I found out later that her first name is Brenda) told me to step in front of her because I had less than a half dozen items. I declined, but thanked her for the thoughtful gesture. However, she would not take no for an answer. So I thanked her again and put my items on the belt ahead of her. I thought to myself, what a nice act of kindness. That is not the end of the story. When I tried to pay, she told me that my items were going on her tab. Again, I declined the offer, but again she would not take no for an answer. Two great acts of kindness within minutes of each other — how awesome! What a wonderful world it would be, if all humanity operated this way. I will certainly pay it forward.

Road worries

Driving along Strawberry Plains Road, I was disgusted to see the collection of garbage along the side of the road, and that was more than two weeks ago. This is a heavily traveled road and obvious from Route 199. I traveled that road recently and the garbage is still there and it looks even worse. Just want to alert our fine road crews that clean up is desperately needed.

You’ll be missed

Is Toano DMV Select losing a great asset? While having coffee with some friends recently, I was told the lady who works at DMV at the county’s satellite office in Toano is leaving soon. I have lived in many different states and dealt with many different DMV offices and I have never met anyone so dedicated to good customer service as this lady is. I know of no circumstance or unusual problem anyone could present that she didn’t research, chase down, call, email or anything else to find the right answer to fix it. I thought I stumped her once when she couldn’t help me while I was there. Two days later she called and told me she found the answer. What DMV employee does that? If it’s true she’s leaving, I hope it’s for a positive change for her and I wish her well. If it’s not true, I’m never having coffee with those guys again!

Women’s march

Coordinators of the Williamsburg Women’s March, Common Ground, seems to have the right ideas for advocating for equal rights for all, emphasizing civility and respect. Sadly, though, the official Women’s March does not promote solidarity for all women. Pro-life groups are not allowed to be official sponsors of the event. The main event is far from nonpartisan. CW is smart to stay out of mainstream politics.

The person complaining to the Last Word about the "raunchy pink hats" in the Women's March seems to have deliberately forgotten that the hats are a purposeful reaction to the current president's casual, immature use of a certain word when describing how he behaves towards women. If you don't want to see the hats any more, just vote next time for someone who respects women instead of belittling them.

In response to Mr. John McNeil's editorial on the Women's March and the lack of CW participation in it: CW does not own the streets in the historic area, the city of Williamsburg owns them, so where were the City of Williamsburg police? When a CW employee, whether in costume or street clothes, is on work time, we are not allowed to participate in such marches, unless it is our day off, bipartisan or not. Perhaps there were some CW employees marching along with you in street clothes. Since this was not a CW-sanctioned function, we are not obligated to let you use our recording or amplifying equipment. You should have provided your own. Or, once again, ask the city for help. When CW offered the program Revolutionary City, which it hasn't since 2016, it never took place during the winter months. When it did exist, it ended the day before Thanksgiving, and started up again in March. Once again, CW gets a kick in the pants for not "doing their job" when it isn't ours to do.

Comments like the one complaining about participants in the Women’s March in ugly terms (harridans, selfish, immature, vulgar) provide a clue as to why our nation has a great divide unaided by civil discourse. The women who participate in the marches are, in my experience, polite, intelligent, kind and there to rally for justice and democracy, not any single ideological issue. I observed mothers, daughters and grandmothers with smiles, not the scolding, vicious women known as “harridans." Young and old, they were united in their concern for our nation and their sense that Donald Trump is neither a moral person nor a competent president. The “raunchy” hats that some wear are, after all, a reference to Trump’s own raunchy language in describing his success with assaulting women.

My husband and I got a little chuckle out of the commenter's description of us as "harridans." Also "selfish, immature, vulgar, repulsive and disgusting." Yes, we marched in the women's march and were so proud to do so. I do have a question: As a psychologist, I am very curious to know how the commenter could tell the character of the individuals by looking at media coverage. It would save me a lot of testing. I must have missed that lecture in graduate school.

When both sides of the political spectrum can recognize our common humanity and love of country by respectfully acknowledging the democratic right to differing opinions, perhaps healing can begin.

Apparently CW was negligent in its civic duty by not endorsing the "non-partisan" Women's March. Funny, but the handouts urged "Vote Democratic" only listing contacts for Democratic and leftist groups. I guess CW was also expected to provide free shuttle service, a public address system and security, too. A real revolutionary doesn't depend on a free bus ride. Typical of these groups to feel entitled to more free stuff. Here's what you're entitled to: Freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble peaceably. I believe you received that. To complain about not getting something you don't pay for is pathetic and symptomatic of intolerant groups. If this had been a conservative march, these same people would have had no trouble arriving with their bullhorns, signs and whatever else deemed necessary to drown out any speech found to be disagreeable.

Recommended

I have been using Tasha's Own goat milk soap and moisturizer for two months. My skin has never looked so good. Her goats live here in Williamsburg and she grows her own ingredients. Each bar is made by hand. Prices are reasonable for the quality you receive. Maureen can be reached at 757-918-4166. Web site williamsburgfarmersmarket.com/vendor-page/tashas-own.

Are you looking for a good, caring local doctor? Call Dr. Jared Harrison with Family Medicine at 7364 Richmond Road, 757-345-0111. We are very pleased with his service and invite you to call.

Movie club

The suggestion for a movie club using the Kimball Theater is a nice idea, but unfortunately not as simple as outlined and would be a violation of copyright law. Showing DVDs, whether individually purchased or checked out from the library, would constitute a public performance and would require a public performance license for each film unless that film is in public domain. Without a public performance license, CW and W&M likely would be liable as contributory infringers. This isn't an insurmountable problem, as there are numerous companies that provide licenses for public performance, such as Swank Motion Pictures, Criterion Pictures and Motion Picture Licensing Corporation.

Immigration

Our country is a country of immigrants, who are defined as persons who come to live permanently in a foreign country. Whether the immigration is due to war, economics or personal/religious persecution, our perhaps naive presumption as Americans is that an immigrant wishes no ill to the U.S.A. where he is seeking shelter. An immigrant should actively support and follow our country's laws, financially support himself and his family and take the steps necessary to become a legal citizen of our country. If someone is here only for temporary financial or personal gain, he, by definition, is not an immigrant.

I just listened to Sen. Perdue. They did a study to find out who wants the wall. Seventy-nine percent of the American people want the wall. Same 79 percent want to do away with chain migration and want to do away with the lottery for immigration. There you have it. So those whose voices are heard the most are in the minority.

U.N. funding

Each and every time someone gets something for nothing, someone else gets nothing for something. The U.S. gives the UN far too much of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The UN deserves little or nothing from us, because we get little or nothing in return from it. When will the U.S. wake up and end this wasteful multi-billion dollar welfare program? The UN is anti-American, corrupt, and a totally worthless organization that truly despises us. President Trump is on the right track and has begun reducing their funding. Trump’s work will not end until he cuts all future U.N. funding.

Up in Washington

Fuji film is taking their tax cut and absorbing Xerox and laying of 10,000 people. Thanks Trump.

How can evangelical ministers support Donald Trump? He lies constantly. He exhibits racist tendencies. He has refused to pay contractors for their services. He admitted groping women. He paid off a porn star to "keep quiet." Some pastor said he deserves to be forgiven — yes, if there is repentance, but there hasn't been — he never admits he is wrong. How can these so called “mouthpieces for God” get in the pulpit each Sunday and share God's word?

Did Trump put a 30 percent tariff on the clothes and jewelry he and Ivanka have made in China, etc.? Of course not. He put one on solar panels, which will add $1,000 to the cost of a residential installation and cost 20,000 installers their jobs.

Time for voters in the state of Virginia to consider starting a recall election to remove our two Democrat senators that chose illegal aliens over representing the best interest and security of their legal U.S. citizens.

The reason 17 women say Trump sexually harassed them is he only thinks in the moment. Now he wants to go to 51 votes in the Senate to pass one spending bill, when the consequences for the future is that if the Dems take the Senate next year, they could pass single-payer health care.

Who knew that Trump has such a riotous sense of humor? I got quite a laugh from his tweet attributing the Women’s March to their gratitude for all the good things his reign has done for them.

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