Dominion Shouldn't Beat the Law; Why Not Include Us?; Katzen's Attack Is Shameful; Winning Image Was Insensitive 


Dominion Shouldn't Beat the Law

I applaud Style's coverage of Dominion's demand to build a skyscraper on a flood plain (Back Page, Aug. 21; Architecture, Sept. 24). One topic needs to be covered, however: the role of property rights and city laws.

Zoning regulations are no exception to the rule of law. As citizens we can participate in the zoning process. Now Dominion wants to put 1,600 people on a flood plain with only one way in and out. In that effort, Dominion is an applicant for a zoning change and a special-use permit that virtually triples the height allowed in the B-5 zoning to 160 feet. This request should be treated as a request, not as a forgone conclusion, by the city.

Special-use permits must not be used to undermine the zoning laws. We cannot issue special-use permits without regard to citizens' input every time a company or an individual says they'll bring money into Richmond. If we do, that implies that the laws of Richmond are for sale to highest bidder. Is this what we want?

Caroline Cox

Why Not Include Us?

I was disappointed that Diversity Thrift was not included in Style Weekly's annual listing of Richmond thrift stores (Inside Richmond, Oct. 16). Since our August 2000 opening, we have donated more than $100,000 to nonprofit organizations that benefit the gay community, and we are about to award another $50,000 in grants.

Diversity Thrift has received national and even international attention. In June our announcement of a $12,000 grant we awarded to the Virginia Holocaust Museum (to establish a permanent exhibit on the Nazi persecution of homosexuals) was reported in newspapers as far away as Los Angeles and Canada. (Ironically, our store is located just a few blocks from Style Weekly's offices.)

I know that Style has an excellent track record of covering the local gay community. So I'm sure being omitted from your thrift store list was simply an oversight.

Perhaps you could make up for your omission by reporting on our upcoming move from our 4,800-square-foot store on the Boulevard to an 18,000-square-foot building on West Cary Street?

Jon Klein
Manager, Diversity Thrift

Katzen's Attack Is Shameful

In response to your article on Jay Katzen's ad attacking Tim Kaine for defending a murderer (Street Talk, Oct. 23): Mr. Katzen should be ashamed of himself. As a lawyer, he should know better. Tim Kaine, by accepting a court-appointed matter for an unpopular client, was upholding the highest traditions of our Constitution and judicial system. A defendant, regardless of how heinous his acts were, is entitled to representation by competent counsel.

Lem Tuggle got lucky and got an outstanding lawyer appointed for him. Tim Kaine is to be commended for fulfilling his duty not only under our Constitution, but as a member of the Bar as well.

Murray J. Janus

The writer is a past president of the Richmond Bar Association and the National Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys.

Winning Image Was Insensitive

You know you're in Richmond when ... the winner of a costume contest sponsored by Style is a person apparently in blackface dressed up as Aunt Jemima (Oct. 30). That this happens in 2001 indicates that much of Richmond is still ignoring our history regarding race relations and is still insensitive to the feelings of African-Americans.

I am saddened and angered that such behavior is not only condoned but rewarded. In my opinion, the rating for Richmond this week is -90 (years).

Jeffrey Clark

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