Herstory Channel 
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Re: “Blocking the Plate

"If they were so concerned about preserving history, they should have been banging this drum for years. After all, this is apparently the "most historic" site in Richmond, according to them. Where have they been all this time?"

The drum has been banged. For decades. If you didn't hear it, perhaps that's because the amount of influence people have over the media is directly proportional to the amount of money they have to influence the City/media with. Within the last 15 years or so, passionate community engagement resulted in the reclamation of the African Burial Grounds and a historical marker for slave rebellion leader Gabriel Prosser. Even these items were met with significant resistance from the City, VCU, Dwight Jones, Dolores McQuinn, etc. I hear this question asked a lot lately - "If they really cared about this, where have they been all this time?" Aside from the fact that as just stated, this has actually been a decades-long struggle to get proper memorialization and recognition of the slave trade in Shockoe Bottom, another part of the answer to "where have they been all this time?" is simply, they've been in school. A lot of the opposition is young. Young and engaged. And paying attention. The drum has been banged, and it just so happens that it's getting louder, because, well - that's what happens when movements build.

The question I'd like answered is, if the City, local developers, and CEO's of non-profits like Venture Richmond cared so much about raising tax revenue, then where have THEY been all this time? Oh, that's right. They've been rewriting tax abatement laws and scamming Richmond out of millions of tax revenue for 20 years. (Listen to Louis Salomonsky and Richmond assessor Jim Hester discuss use and abuse of historic tax credits here: ‪http://www.radio4all.net/index.php/program/68321‬)

Ironic isn't it? With all of the development that Richmond has seen in the last 10 years, all the new luxury apartments and renovated historic buildings, and most of them not making the city a cent in tax revenue because they qualify for 10 or 15 year tax exempt status. Sometimes because of major abuses of the program. And yet, Jack Berry asserts that "apartments are what the market demands right now. Apartments are what have been working the best." Where's the evidence of that, Jack? Working best for whom? If we really wanted to raise tax revenue, maybe we'd make VCU pay some for its ever expanding property. Maybe we'd NOT accept another tax-exemption on Venture Richmond's behalf. Maybe we'd take these luxury condos of the tax abatement list. If they were really serious about giving money to schools and not developers, they would effing do it already. On a related note, you can't say "put your money where your mouth is" to people who don't have the power of capital. That only works for those who actually *have* the money. So you can stop using this phrase as a means to call the opposition hypocrites. Or don't, and keep making yourself sound like classist buffoons.

14 likes, 9 dislikes
Posted by Herstory Channel on 04/03/2014 at 3:07 AM

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