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The Power of Dominion 

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The Power of Dominion

It is with great dismay that I read Edwin Slipek Jr.'s "False Stimulus" (Architecture, Dec. 4). Mr. Slipek's views and attitudes are evocative of the powers that be who are determined to keep Richmond's potential unharnessed.

Firstly, Mr. Slipek uses the article to pick apart Dominion's $95 million proposal and acts as though there is a plethora of corporations aching to pour money into the city. Anyone who has taken a short drive through the Bosnia-like conditions of downtown knows that this is not the case!

His main argument is what the development will do to the vaunted "rivah." Isn't it about time we as Richmonders move into the 21st century and drop this issue once and for all? While there are some limited economic possibilities that the James may or may not provide, anyone who has had their nostrils assaulted in August can attest that the river is not all that it is cracked up to be.

Secondly, Mr. Slipek says the proposed site (with Dominion's 1,000 employees) is not close enough to Broad Street to support local businesses. He writes: "Dominion doesn't give a hoot about 'a stimulus' for the downtown economy." Isn't it incumbent upon entrepreneurs to find and serve their markets? After all, these 1,000 wallets are only one mile away from downtown businesses. Have they never heard of advertising, delivery services and salesmanship?

Thirdly, Mr. Slipek ponders why Dominion's headquarters "deserted downtown" and moved to Innsbrook. Dominion isn't the only large corporation to attempt to build in the city and then flee to western Henrico. Has anybody ever heard of Capital One?

As long as city government and the local architectural and community mafias sit on their thumbs and affect a holier-than-thou stance, Richmond will continue to suffer. We have a chance to pump $95 million dollars into the local economy during a recession. Isn't it time common sense prevailed for a change? - Chris Saady

Slipek's "False Stimulus" article about Dominion's selfish view-killer plan was a masterful discussion of corporate greed, PR propaganda and more intelligent options. His ability to cite the overblown claims and exaggerated economic warnings of specific corporate parrots was most effective.

I applaud his sensible suggestions about true downtown development — it's a shame that our infamous City Clowncil cannot envision these obvious options. They lack vision and now we'll lack our view.

In spite of consistent citizen protest and cogently argued opposition, the Council voted in favor of the corporation and their misleading claims. Kind of makes you wonder what Council got out of the deal.

Richmonders rightfully disgusted with Dominion's arrogance will soon have the chance to boycott them as competitive energy choices become available to Virginians. Let's make Dominion pay for dominating our view. - Lee Carleton

Editor's note: Lee Carleton writes an occasional Back Page for Style.

Edwin Slipek reminds me of a petulant child who doesn't get his way. Nothing suits! What are his academic credentials for architecture and experience for city planning? - T.R. Jarman

Editor's note: Mr. Slipek has no training as an architect. He is an architectural historian and has written about architecture for 29 years, nine of them at Style. He teaches 20th-century architecture at Virginia Commonwealth University and at the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School and has curated numerous exhibitions on Richmond architecture. Last year he was inducted as an honorary member of the Virginia Society of the American Institute of Architects.

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