Last Word on a clean community, March 28

Clean it up

This is an opportunity for your organization, whether small or large, to make James City County and Williamsburg a welcome sight and beautification site. Join the many other volunteers who are part of the Adopt-a-Highway program. Right now, service clubs, churches, scout troops, businesses, social groups, neighborhoods and so on are doing this. However, we have numerous areas, roadways and ramps that desperately need to have the litter picked up. Challenge yourself and friends to do this. Contact the VDOT administrator for this program to find how you and your group can get started. Usually, it’s just three to four times a year. Call 757-253-5138 for information.

Sales tax increase

Sen. Norment, do you realize you are levying an additional expense in the form of your tax on the very people Colonial Williamsburg has outsourced and laid off as well as the rest of us? Do you realize this 1 percent tax increase will cost my family at least an additional $600 a year? Do you realize most of us cannot afford to go on vacation ourselves — let alone help others who are better off go on one? Many people in your constituency struggle to make ends meet. We cannot afford a 7 percent sales tax. People, fight this! CW must learn to manage their business. If Gov. Northam does not veto Bill 942 and it passes, contact Dels. Pogge and Mullin to begin the repeal process. Wake up, Tommy — we don’t all make as much money as you do and your job is to represent us.

By now most folks have figured out this is just another slick tax increase for the cronies. Of course, none of this will come to pass without the governor’s signature and Williamsburg City Council action. No action required by James City County and York County supervisors. It’s automatic except for the spending of the “found money.” But supervisors in either county can bring this deck of cards down “by adopting a new food and beverage, admissions or transient occupancy taxes” for 1 cent. Bottom Line: If this tax comes to pass, there will be nowhere for the elected to hide in the next election.

In response to the Last Word question of whether or not Supervisor Sadler is opposed to the tax bill: She is, in fact, opposed to it. She included in her letter to the editor that she contacted Del. Pogge prior to the vote in the House of Delegates, asking her to vote against it. Her suggestions, mentioned at the last supervisors’ meeting, are an effort to return as much revenue as possible back to the community if the governor signs the bill. I called Mrs. Sadler to confirm this. I applaud her for standing up for the community, not only in opposition to the bill but also for finding solutions if it becomes law. Thank you.

I notice that even though Hampton and Newport News have tourist attractions, such as the Langley NASA Research Center and the Mariners’ Museum, Tommy Norment conveniently excluded his own constituents from his “Tommy tax.”

A few years ago, I had a discussion with Gen. Washington in the Charlton Coffeehouse on whether England was justified in taxing the Colonies to help pay for the French and Indian War. Gen. Washington made the point that the Colonies understood the need to help pay for the war, but the taxing should have been enacted by the local governments and not by the distant British Parliament. He commented that Parliament should have asked the Colonies to provide the taxes and not impose them. Jumping forward to today, I will likely have to pay a local sales tax imposed by my state, not local government. Like Gen. Washington, I would accept a local tax enacted by my local government, but I object to people outside of my locality creating a local tax. In Gen. Washington’s time, the taxes led to a change in government. Today, I hope they lead to a change in state senate representation.

It's my understanding that money generated by the Tommy tax will be given to entities that have little public accountability. Just look at Newport News/Williamsburg airport to see how public funds were used by people with no public accountability. It also baffles me that elected officials are afraid to tax visitors. Do people make vacation decisions based on tax rates? Go to Denver and rent a car and see how much in local taxes and fees you pay for that car.

Instead of a 1-cent sales tax increase to feed the tourism oligarchs, how about a 1-cent tax increase to promote affordable housing for the people that do the work that runs the tourism industry in the area? Seems like the Chamber of Commerce, JCC Supervisors and Williamsburg City Council oligarchs ignore that 58 percent of area households live at 130 percent or less of the federal poverty level, as published in this paper on July 29, 2017, on page 6A. And it’s those people who produce the product for the bosses who are demanding a tax increase they will be forced to pay out of their already meager incomes. To add insult to injury, JCC is giving tax reductions for gentrified development of Jamestown. Does Virginia have a state government that is for the "commonwealth" or not?

Citizens demonstrate great respect for, and confidence and trust in those they vote into public office. Meanwhile, the Norment/Mason sales tax increase demonstrates the utter disrespect shown by these individuals, and those with whom they schemed, in secret, to create this tax bill and present it to Virginia delegates and senators from across the commonwealth, to whom it matters not a whit, whether to themselves or their constituents. The citizens of James City and York counties will accordingly and appropriately remember this disrespect and insult well in coming elections.

Those in need

I understand that homeless people are in need and suffering with by not having a shelter. However, I was floored when I drove past Settlers Market off Monticello today and saw a medium-sized dog leashed to a sign without its owner. Maybe the owner had to use the restroom? That I do not know. However, can’t we do something for this poor animal that lives in the median and also its owner that doesn’t have a home? I would be more than happy to take this dog. How can this be legal?

Looking for …

Does anyone know how I can get a garden plot at the Warhill location? Thank you.

I recently lost a pair of men's grey pants that I had taken to Williamsburg Cleaners in Marketplace Shopping Center (Monticello Ave.). If anyone has picked up a pair of pants (light grey, size about 35x30) there that are not theirs, please email AndrewZZZ@Cox.Net.

Can anyone recommend a company or a person that can come and aerate my lawn? Please post in the Last Word. Thank you.

I was wondering if anybody’s aware of where you can buy shoes that are manufactured by Arlberg. Thank you.

School shootings, guns

I found it ironic that the previous writer found it difficult to comprehend that people at 18 could own a weapon but not drink a glass of wine. How incredulous would you be to know that very same 18-year-old can serve in our Armed Forces, operate dangerous wartime machinery, carry weapons in our defense but can't drink a glass of wine and if you had your way not own a weapon.

Now I’ve heard everything. People writing in stating that we should hold gun and ammunition makers liable for shootings. If we go that route, why not hold car makers liable when a drunken driver kills someone? It’s simple: It’s the person committing the crime, not what’s used to do it.

I have read multiple comments about arming teachers and the biggest concern may be collateral damage. I have seen zero mention of considering tasers. No fatal collateral damage here, it seems.

Bravo to J.R. Bowers’ March 17 fine opinion piece detailing James Madison’s intent when including the Second Amendment. By all appearances, Bowers is directly referencing, in part, noted historian Joseph J. Ellis, who in his acclaimed 2016 book, “The Quartet,” states (pg. 212), “In Madison’s formulation, the right to bear arms was not inherent but derivative, depending on service in the militia.” The 2008 Supreme Court decision (Heller vs. District of Columbia) “is clearly at odds with Madison’s original intentions.” And, as a reminder to constitutional purists, Madison is often called “The Father of the U.S. Constitution.”

Less than 1 percent of the U.S. population are members of the NRA. Why is it that a tiny group which, when spread across the country, is much smaller than the number of stoplights, makes the members of Congress shake in fear? They should fear the high school students who will vote by the millions for the first time in 2020.

Even my child, at 10-years-old, thinks the shooter drills in school are useless. If Virginia has a school shooting and there is no protection on site that can take out the shooter, the school system should be sued. Any business that was having a problem such as this would have some type of armed protection in place. But because it is a school, children are forced to sit next to a wall and hope the bad person does not enter the room. And the only defense they have is a teacher that can only die trying to protect their students.

Retired in Williamsburg

Once again, the “Retired in Williamsburg” cartoon published March 24 mocks Virginia Tech. Would it not have been more appropriate if, on the same day of nationwide marches against school gun attacks, the cartoonist remembered the horrific shooting murders that occurred on the VT campus, leaving 32 dead and 17 wounded on April 16, 2007?

Colonial Williamsburg

In response to the Last Word commenter who asks why CW isn't a national park: In the first place, it was established as a private foundation in 1926. CW receives no federal funding and it costs more than $200 million to operate the foundation. Do you really want that to come out of the federal budget? In fact, the current proposed federal budget cuts funding for the National Park Service by 7 percent, so there is really no way the NPS could afford to take over CW. Further, no national park is as large and complex as CW — certainly, none have multiple museums, restaurants, taverns, hotels, golf courses and a spa, not to mention more than 100 historical buildings. Similar large living history museums, such as Plimouth Plantation, Conner Prairie, Mystic Seaport, Old Sturbridge, are all run privately, and even Mount Vernon and Monticello have private foundations as well. The National Park System does wonderful work, but there is no way it could manage the vast array of programming at CW.

Grocery stores

Once Farm Fresh grocery store is closed, I guess I’m going to have to rely on Game’s Farmers Market in Newport News if I want good, fresh meat.

March 19, 2018, an article I read online lists Earth Fares closing two Atlanta stores. So will this be another empty store in Williamsburg in a couple of years? We need to think about this, and what does Food Lion think of another grocer in the shopping center? Oh, not good.

Recommended

I recently found out about Williamsburg's best new addition, The Lazy Daisy Gift Store, located on Richmond Road right next to the Bounce House. This beautiful store is full of gorgeous handcrafted treasures made by our local artisans and very reasonably priced furniture that has been given "new life" with some TLC and a beautiful coat of paint. Beyond all of the amazing items inside, the ladies who work there are friendly and helpful and they clearly make customer service their top priority. It's a breath of fresh air in this town and I recommend that everyone visit soon.

I attended a special Israeli dinner event at La Tienda. The food was delicious and the presentation was spectacular. There is also a nice outdoor seating area that I will try when the weather permits.

I just discovered a wonderful spot on York Street named Revibe. It is a consignment shop with a different concept. Consigned items do not go lower as time goes by. You can leave dressers, tables and chairs to be redesigned and turned into a great renovated piece. The work is done by the owners, who are nice and friendly. I love their 60s vinyl records. They sell great furnishings, antiques, art, vintage clothing, jewelry and decorative things. Vibrant colors fill this well-kept secret shop in Williamsburg.

I just want to say, as a local resident of Williamsburg for many years, I’m pleased to see the Midtown Row project has included Ace Peninsula Hardware — the local shop there. I’ve been shopping there for years. I get great service.

I want to say thank you to Craig at Gizmoes for great customer service. He recently helped me change cellphones. He is always friendly and very knowledgeable and willing to help. I highly recommend this store for your electronic and battery needs.

If you're looking for a great personal trainer, please contact Amy Metiever at metiever@cox.net. She is a very caring and knowledgeable trainer. With Amy Metiever's help, I have been improving my health, strength, toning my body and having fun doing it. Amy supports me with healthy and exercise tips.

Facebook woes

After a short trial, Mark Zuckerberg should be instructed to pay each user of Facebook a quarter million dollars cash in compensation for the theft of their personal information.

Saving jobs

To the commenter that wants President Trump to save the jobs of Toys “R” Us employees: Seriously, you would compare our national security of having a viable steel and aluminum to a toy store? The reason our basic industries are in trouble is due to unfair trade laws; the reason for Toys “R” Us’s failure is poor management. I might also add that the skilled workers of the steel and aluminum (industries) are much more important than the minimum-wage workers at our retail stores.

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