General Article Archive 3 for Bristol VA-TN



Also before someone plays the race card on black Muslim Islamo-fascists, see the stupid whites in Terrorism takedown: Seven Charged in North Carolina We also can't ignore why black people are poor even with anti-white racism known as affirmative action.

Local Issues

 

Bristol Virginia Utilities

Travelocity: A warning for region? Travelocity.com got about $10 million in corporate welfare and decides to dump Clintwood, Virginia for India. Congressman Rick Boucher (D VA 9th) calls this a success story and that he deserves full credit. Companies like Sykes and Travelocity are dumping rural America in droves while the local press asked why Congressman Boucher never saw it coming.

Sex and Sin in Bristol

May 20, 2005. Panic gripped the Bristol Community in April. Special called sessions of City government met in hurried discussions on the crisis. The local press screamed for action. The sanctity and moral fiber of our community was at stake. "We don't want it here," said Bristol Virginia Mayor Paul Hurley. And the City attorney is quoted as saying, I think everyone's trying to protect the integrity of the city." While the city budget is a wreck, this is what brought a wail of protest and concern to our fair community. Their efforts to end sex in Bristol had failed.

Dan Bickley the owner of Exotic Illusions Adult Bookstore, had "beat the city to the punch." He opened his store on State Street almost across from a Bible bookstore. He did it before the city could pass laws to prevent him from opening. The end result was lots of free press and a month later the City of Bristol has not collapsed into barbarism and the Bible bookstore is still in business. In fact porn has been available for years at a local flee-market on Volunteer Parkway, but the idea that we can actually see it will upset our phony homegrown Walton's image. Bickley has eight full time employees and is doing well.

Earlier, protest had broken out at the Barter Theatre in nearby Abingdon over a nude scene in a play. In 2002, Sullivan County and Bristol, Tennessee railroaded two local strip bars by the use of zoning laws. They claimed this would prevent the rise of crime. Religious fanatics that were behind it, claimed God wanted them to do it. The crime rate went up anyway along with the poverty rate.

Just released on our local news in September 2005 is the fact Bristol, Virginia has the highest rate of child abuse in Virginia. This was long before this store ever opened. In 2008 the porn shop is still there along with the Christian book store across the street.

September 22, 2005 to quote Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Governmental Studies

"The most corrupt region is Southwest Virginia...more indictments for political and public office corruption have happened in this region than all other parts of the state combined."

Nothing to cut

Printed Bristol Herald Courier May 19, 2005

I wish to commend Bristol, Virginia Mayor Hurley and City officials for their honesty regarding the City budget at the May 10th public hearing. I've seen the projected City budget and I see nothing they can cut. I suggested across the board pay cuts for all city employees that brought gasps of horror from school officials.

We can argue all day if $60 million for socialized telecom or $10 million for a new library is worth cutting teachers or police, but the public took no interest in these issues three years ago and now the day of reckoning is here.

The public is to blame.

Where was everybody while all of this was going on? Public hearings only draw interest when the bills come due or a smut shop comes to town. Bristol already spends above the state average per pupil even without the additional funds requested by the school board.

Our public employees deserve more money, but so do most Bristol workers earning among the worse pay scales in Virginia. City employees average 2.5 times the average pay of those working on Commonwealth Avenue or Exit 7. Local governments have mainly unstable meal/lodging taxes and property taxes to work with while state and federal funds are declining.

A similar problem is looming in Washington County. We whine about sky rocketing property taxes, but sit in silence as county officials committed about $50 million to Mack Trammell's strip mall or gave thousands to the Barter Theater. Regardless of merit, local residents will bear more and more of the cost.

Pretending country music hype is economic development or Exit 7 will save us is insane. Public officials must be honest even if the truth is unpopular. The public must also have reasonable expectations of our elected officials. Thank you Mayor Hurley

Lewis Loflin Bristol, Virginia

Updates March 21, 2005

Virginia Lt. Governor Tim Kaine and former Governor Lynwood Holton (his father-in-law) visited Bristol at 12 noon at the courthouse. I was there carrying my protest signs and was the first to greet them. I made it clear he was welcome and the protest was over utility bills. He and Mr. Holton are really nice people, and I was surprised he knew who I was. He got one of my flyers, and I got to visit the party inside. I met many of our top local Democrats and the City Sheriff, a really nice man. Mr. Kaine had just come from Gate City.

Updates March 11, 2005

For the background on this see Cable Ready Socialism

The big news in Bristol community is inflated utility rates, especially electric rates. While Bristol suffered large hikes in water, sewer, and cable rates in 2005, the January 1 electric rates have created real hardship for many in a community already burdened with the worst social statistics in Virginia. Anger boiled over at the city council hearings on Tuesday March 8.

This all began when Jeff Stowers started a petition drive that netted over 4000 signatures from Bristol and Washington County residents protesting high utility bills. Citizens packed City Council meeting where over 20 residents blasted away at the City Council over cost of electricity. Bristol has the highest utility rates in the area. The petitions were presented to the City Council, who didn't seem to care.

Bristol Virginia Utilities is owned by the City of Bristol who took as much as $25 million out of the publicly owned non-profit utility to pad city tax coffers at the same time the utility ran up $50 million in debt. All Mayor Hurley could say was "we hear you" while wringing his hands. The other council members sat in silence, their faces a mask of contempt and boredom.

Washington County March 2005

Bristol city residents recently got their usual four-year inflated property assessments in addition to exploding utility rates. Red McCulloch of Bristol Virginia doesn't understand why his house went up 30 percent in the past four years. Assessments are up an average of 15.5 percent across Bristol, Virginia. Red is lucky, Washington County resident Kenneth Upchurch's tax assessment went from $63,000 to $107,000 - a 41 percent increase. Across Washington County the average is 27 percent.

When Congressman Rick Boucher (D. VA 9th) held a town hall meeting, residents brought up this issue, but he refused to address it or be involved in it. He said take it to the County Board of Supervisors. According to the Bristol Herald Courier, a Request for meeting with Washington Supervisors falls on deaf ears. Quoting Supervisor Bobby Ingle, "We get jumped on every four years when this happens, There is no point in calling a meeting to have us jumped on." In other words, screw you Washington County residents.

But perhaps Bobby should discuss a little surprise the county got stuck with. Last May Bobby and fellow supervisors voted unanimously for a multi-million dollar corporate welfare package for businessman Mac Trammell. ($10 million) My supervisor Odel Owens, claimed this project was to be paid for from future sales tax receipts. To quote, "The county is looking for ways to provide the services Trammell's tenants will need, including water and sewer service...County officials say they are committed to providing the needed services, though they haven't yet said how they plan to do so." (Herald Courier 1-11-05) Real cost, perhaps $40 million to county taxpayers.

A Look at the Last Ten Years