Richmond Magazine Defends Dress-up

Your Clip File of my Richmond Magazine article on T-D film reviewer Dan Neman (News & Features, April 7) seemed to be taking Neman to task for his willingness to dress up like Aragorn in “The Lord of the Rings” — a trio of movies Neman hated — for his portrait.

I have to disagree. While I have issues with many of Neman’s reviews, I was delighted that he was such a good sport about the portrait. It was a funny picture. It made me laugh out loud. As a magazine that regularly poses its photo subjects, often in outrageous situations, Style is a surprising place to find such a harsh interpretation.

Otherwise, keep up the good work.

Greg Weatherford
Richmond Magazine

Send the Braves to Spider Stadium

Regarding the proposed baseball stadium in Shockoe Bottom (“The Windup,” Cover Story, April 7), Why not a third option? When the University of Richmond abandons City Stadium, there will be no tenant or schedule of events there. The city owns the property, thus the city could make it available to developers tax-free and rent-free.

Let the developers collect the concessions, parking fees and lease fees from the Braves or anyone else they can find in the off-season. The site is large enough to accommodate a new stadium and adjoining parking decks. The site is adjacent to Carytown and its amenities; it rests between two highways; and the neighborhood is accustomed to large crowds.

There are properties in the vicinity that could be had for far less than those in the Bottom. These could be potential sites for inns, motels, hotels, etc. Where would you rather stay if you were from out of town, west of the Boulevard or downtown Baghdad — oops, I mean downtown Richmond?

Nelson Calisch

Out of the Shadows

Your article on the proposed ballpark was a well-aimed spotlight on Richmond [Ballpark] Initiative’s secretive negotiations. The spotlight is precisely what the “ballpark boosters” have been avoiding, at least until the entire scheme has been presented to Richmond area taxpayers as a fait accompli. Do we really need to enhance the quality of life of a few developers at the expense of Bottom residents and metro-area taxpayers? Did we really not learn a thing from 6th Street Marketplace?

Ron Mitchell

Those Greasy Memories

I still enjoy my weekly dose of Style, although it has to be online down here in LaGrange, Ga., and thought I’d suggest an addendum to your “Repeat Business” (Cover Story, March 31): Just the memory of an orange puddle of grease on top of a pizza from Gus Serafim’s Celebrity Room Restaurant on Brook Road. It must’ve been good for me, since I haven’t had a heart attack yet!

And you could do an entire feature article on the stories Gus would tell the regular customers. Like finding a down-on-his-luck Frank Sinatra in a little bar in New York’s little Italy back in the late ’50s, and asking him to sing a request. Sinatra told him he’d sing anything but that song, “ …’Cause that was Ava’s song. ...”

Jim Quinn

Who Is Great Mentioner?

After reading Brandon Walters’ article on the city mayoral election (“The Name Game,” News & Features, April 7), I am ready to nominate Ms. Walters as a worthy successor to the Times-Dispatch’s venerable Charley McDowell, the satirical master of Virginia press punditry.

McDowell, of course, often consulted the Great Mentioner to discern possible candidates for high office. Who is it, McDowell would ask, who “mentions” all these people as candidates, anyway? (As in, “Joe Schmo has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor in ’09 .…”) Why, the Great Mentioner, of course.

Most of the candidates mentioned so far have expressed no interest whatsoever in actually running for mayor, but still ... they are mentioned. In the category of nonresident celebrity candidates — ever a popular category among pundits — the article did omit one possible dark horse candidate for Mayor: McDowell’s fictional next-door neighbor from Alexandria, Mr. Bumbleton. Unlike some of the leading contenders in this category — Robert Bobb and Chief Oliver, for instance — the fictional Mr. Bumbleton at least lives in Virginia, so he could potentially meet the one-year residency test to actually get on the ballot. (If he weren’t fictional, that is).

But getting back to reality for a moment, we aren’t holding a name game this November. We are holding an election. For my part, I am mailing Ms. Walters one of my “Charles Nance for Mayor” bumper stickers as a gentle reminder that elections are won by candidates, and not by names.

The next mayor will be someone who is — right now — beginning to build an organization, raise money, and articulate a vision and agenda for the city. I announced for the office in February, and have formed a PAC — the Committee to Reinvent Richmond Inc. I am building a finance committee capable of raising the money needed to sustain a winning campaign, and will launch a campaign Web site in a few days at www.charlesnance.com, among other initiatives to help build a citywide campaign.

I am not complaining, mind you. As the sole announced candidate for mayor, it was nice to be included in the list of “standbys” — in paragraph 8. There is an advantage at this point to being underestimated. I intend to use that advantage while others continue to test the mayoral winds and read the political tea leaves. Oh, and thanks for the mention.

Charles Nance
2nd District School Board Representative
Richmond Public Schools

Police Deserve Thanks

Mr. Tabor, the next time you decide to come to a public forum to criticize the Richmond Police Department (Letters, April 7), why don’t you take a walk in their shoes first?

My husband has been a Richmond Police Officer for nine years. He works almost every day of his life and his child’s life to ensure that you are safe. He does not take his job lightly. There are simply not enough police officers on the street to control the violence in the city. The only way to fight crime is to start at home. People need to teach their kids respect. They need to be taught at an early age right from wrong. Obviously this isn’t being done; therefore, it’s up to the police to baby-sit these kids. Why not blame the parents. Why not blame you?

Are you a member of a Community Watch? Community change begins with the community and if you are so unhappy with the way your community has become, then you need to get involved. Why not run for public office and try to make a difference? You need to realize that these people don’t make a killing working as police officers. They often make great sacrifices for the jobs that they do and a thank-you every once in a while rather than a complaining letter with no merit to it whatsoever. People like you are so eager to point fingers and place blame.

I am very offended when you and anyone else criticizes the Richmond Police Department. I am very proud of my husband and the job that he does. When he leaves this house, I don’t know if I’ll ever see him again. My child could grow up without a father because he’s out trying to protect people like you. The next time you see a Richmond Police Officer, why not say, “Thanks for the great job you’re doing.”

Martha Kane



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