Last Word on downtown parking, Nov. 15

Downtown parking

Now that the Kimball is closed for movies and the variety of live events it held over decades, the city needn't worry about downtown parking. There won't be the same interest in coming to town any longer. So save the money from the parking study. People will find their entertainment elsewhere.

With all of the talk of Williamsburg possibly instituting paid parking, an easy and convenient way to avoid it is to do what we do and park free in New Town (by Legacy Hall) and take the WATA Trolley to CW or Merchants Square. It runs every half hour and you wouldn’t have to worry about finding a place to park or getting a parking ticket.

Colonial Williamsburg

Two CW donor groups recently had their annual meeting. At the Friday meeting of The Goodwin Society, CW president Mitchell Reiss characterized Williamsburg as a “community of rumors and gossip,” derided The Last Word for its anonymity, and made a snide remark about folks who are worried about not being able to walk their dogs on Dog Street. Mr. Reiss again made the argument that gating CW is essential for security reasons — hinting there is much more that he knows but is not sharing and that he is getting a report from “security consultants” in the next few days. At the same meeting I was told by a CW employee that Mr. Reiss has been having “brown bags” with all CW departments, telling them that CW is on the “top 10 terrorist hit list” for the U.S., and asking them to sign petitions demanding gating for their security. First, if CW is really on such a “hit list,” then the kind of proposed gating Mr. Reiss described at the meeting — fencing similar to what is currently around the Magazine — will clearly not stop a determined terrorist attack. Second, I personally find Mr. Reiss’ remarks and attitude toward the city and its citizens demeaning and insulting. Particularly so, given that Mr. Reiss continues to argue for an “open conversation with the community” about the gating issue. Make the financial argument, Mr. Reiss. If it stands up to scrutiny, perhaps the citizens of Williamsburg will agree with the need for gating. If not, then move on and deal with the real issues: An obvious, if unfortunate, decline in perceived relevance of CW as compared to its heyday; and an increasingly difficult cost/benefit decision for potential visitors, particularly those with large families. Tweaking the old business model is not the answer. What is needed is an entirely new business model that reflects the world as it is today and the role of a CW therein.

Cable service

We also agree with a previous Last Word item that the Williamsburg area needs to allow and bring in FIOS cable service. Why can't our city and county leaders take the initiative to get this done to create more competition?

Guns

Just wondering if those that write in being pro-gun control are actually the criminals or terrorists who would prefer not to have armed citizens that would fight back.

Once again there is a mass shooting, this time in a small town in Texas. Once again Republican leadership in Congress will respond that it is not the time to discuss limits on possession of guns whose sole reason for existence is to kill large numbers of people quickly. As in the past, the cowards who lead the Republican Party will bow to the NRA's will and brush off any responsibility for changing the gun culture in the U.S.

The meaning of words changes over time. The phrase "well-regulated" in the 1700s referred to the property of something being in proper working order. Something that was well-regulated was calibrated correctly, functioning as expected. Establishing government oversight of the people's arms was not only not the intent in using the phrase in the 2nd Amendment, it was precisely to render the government powerless to do so that the founders wrote it.

Hopefully, people can now see the uselessness of declaring a church as a “gun free zone,” as was the case of the shooting in Texas. Once again, criminals don’t care about laws preventing them from doing us harm. If legally permitted people were allowed to carry in church, the number of dead and wounded would have been much less.

Virginia has a militia as well as a State Self Defense Force. If the person commenting on militia is an able bodied, law abiding citizen aged 18 to 55, they are a member of the militia. Read Article I of the Virginia Constitution and the Militia Laws. The Constitution expects, but doesn't require, safe proficient use of firearms.

The President is correct. The shooting in Texas is a mental health issue. It is the mental health and mindset of a Congress and President that are so afraid of losing the money and support of the gun lobby and the NRA that they won't even consider looking at ideas that can tighten some gun laws and not interfere with rights of the honest and law abiding gun owners. It should be a rather simple solution, but our leaders are too interested in maintaining their jobs and the bottom line. Unfortunately, that same lobby has convinced the gun owners that their guns and rights will be taken away. That tactic shows very little respect for the citizens of this country.

Missing the birds

We are also wondering where the birds are. Our feeders are full, but no birds. I hope someone has the answer and will post it here.

We had owls, and they are no longer here. Who has our owls? Who? Who? Who?

In response to recent item on missing birds: do you not know about migration? Thank you.

Monuments

The liberals are quick to tear down the monuments of history. What is taking them so long to get their jack-hammers and dig up the cement slabs on the Hollywood Walk of Shame of Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman? And keep them handy, because this is just the start of it.

Looking for …

For the widow/widower looking to join a support group, here is some corrected information about one of the groups: King of Glory Lutheran Church, 4897 Longhill Road, hosts a 14-week GriefShare support group for people grieving the death of a family member or friend. Participation is by previous registration, is limited in number and is closed after the second session. The next available series will begin in October 2018. For information, call King of Glory Church at 757-258-9701.

For the person looking for someone to recover an existing frame for a lamp shade: We can handle that for you. The name of the company is Collector’s Gallery. They do lamp and chandelier repair, lamp shade replacement. Give us a call, please. Joe at Collector’s Gallery, 564-4424. Thank you.

Federal debt

To the Nov. 1 commenter patronizingly giving us all a math lesson regarding the debt increase under Obama: You conveniently omit the fact that much of that increase resulted from tax and spending policies already in place before Obama even took office. Plus, the Great Recession drove up spending on safety net programs (i.e., Medicare and food stamps) without the president or Congress doing a thing. Obama's contribution to the debt increase, however, was his 2009 stimulus plan, which experts feel averted a second great depression, and his making the Bush tax cuts permanent in 2012. A president cannot take any financial steps without Congress' approval, and keep in mind Republicans controlled the House for six of his eight-year term and the Senate for two. If you're going to tell the story, at least be informed and unbiased enough to tell the whole story.

Panhandling

In response to panhandling: No worries. Trickle-down economics works. MAGA, Make American Great Again.

While I am obviously unfamiliar with the life stories of those poor folk who, in asking for money, have engendered so much hostility in these pages, I suspect that my ignorance is shared by those who have, nevertheless, shown themselves to be devoid of charity. Might I suggest that such people consider that not all disabilities are visible, especially those of a psychiatric nature? That a disproportionate number of the indigent are veterans abandoned by the population for whom they served? That many of those imprisoned for minor felonies find themselves trapped in a cycle of poverty whereby their convictions prevent them from finding employment and make them more likely to reoffend? And that a surprising number of those experiencing food and/or housing insecurity are gainfully employed in jobs that fail to pay them a living wage? Instead of engaging in drive-by judging, why don’t you stop your car, buy them lunch and try to find out why they find themselves in, what to them, are undoubtedly humiliating circumstances? You might momentarily alleviate some suffering, and also learn something about yourself in the process.

Road worries

In addition to those who don't know how to use the turn signal on their vehicles, it's irritating that we have so very many drivers who don't know how to lower their high beams when coming from the opposite direction when a vehicle is facing them. Where have the considerate drivers gone?

From the terrible way the driver of the Honda SUV was driving, it’s obvious that he can either drive a car or talk on the phone, but he’s incapable of doing both.

Prison time

We are very upset, disappointed and disgusted with the military judge, Col. Nance, sparing Bowe Bergdahl any prison sentence for deserting his post in Afghanistan. Bergdahl is a disgrace to his country, military services and his fellow soldiers. His lack of prison time, as one of the soldiers who was wounded looking for him and still not does not have full use of his dominant hand said, "That's the one that's completely unacceptable..."

Kimball Theatre

The person who “thanked heaven” that the Kimball Theatre was available to the opera and symphony should have thanked William and Mary for stepping in and making it available to these local groups.

Thank you

I looked in my rear view window while making a purchase at a fast food restaurant this morning and saw one of our brave Williamsburg police officers in his patrol car behind me. I'm on a limited income but wanted to show my appreciation by paying for his breakfast purchase. The lady at the window accepted my money, but someone later told me they didn't think he could accept the small token of appreciation I had hoped would brighten his day a bit. Does anyone know the answer?

I just want to thank Lisa L. Ownby for all of her efforts as W-JCC School Board member. She approaches the job with compassion for all students and pragmatism to ensure long-term goals are met. Powhatan District is lucky to have her. Many thanks!

I’d like to thank Betty, who stopped and stayed with me when I had a medical emergency last Thursday on Strawberry Plains Road. She stayed until help arrived, and I really appreciate it.

Car repairs

OMG — Can the city of Williamsburg or James City County bring in more auto shops? Instead of decent hotels and restaurants on Richmond Road, we will now have three tire retailers and a new auto glass shop in the old 7-Eleven. At our Harris Teeter center, we will now have another auto shop. Come on, folks, do we really need so many auto shops?

Tax plans

To compare our corporate tax rate with, say, Ireland is a joke. Ireland doesn't have three aircraft carrier groups sitting off the coast of North Korea. But they and China will be loaning us money when Trump explodes the national debt.

Once again, the Democrats don’t care about the majority of Americans. This time, it’s Trump’s tax plan they’re attacking, stating it really is for American corporations. Well, here is a rude awaking — who do you think works for American corporations? The answer is the majority of Americans. Democratic politicians will continue to be obstructionist, saying anything that will derail Trump’s plans for a better America.

No surprise that the Democrat politicians from New York and California don’t like the Trump tax plan because it eliminates the deduction for real estate taxes. What they won’t admit is the reason for their high taxes, such as way-too-generous retirement benefits for their government workers and teachers. Upon retirement, I had to move out of New York due to my real estate taxes, so I speak with credibility.

Cutting corporate taxes is not the way to make the economy better and stronger. If businesses get tax breaks, more money goes to the top and does not a guarantee more hiring or higher wages. However, if people who have been living on a very tight budget with very little money to spare get a tax break they will have more money to spend, which will grow the economy. Supply will be fulfilled by demand where all people benefit, including business owners.

Up in Washington

With the exposure of Commerce Secretary Ross's financial ties to Putin’s inner circle, it now appears that you couldn't get a job cutting the grass on the White House lawn unless you had ties to Russia.

With his Asia trip this week, the President will finally do something he should have done 50 years ago. He will go to Vietnam. Let's hope that once he returns to the U.S. he doesn't start making noises about fake memories the trip brought back to him.

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