Joe Kennedy-Roanoke must deal with its realities

Joe Kennedy-Roanoke must deal with its realities

Now you know I rarely agree with anything Cuppa Joe writes, but he pretty much nails this one. With one glaring exception.

In all the things he mentions Roanoke being and not being, having and not having - the list of strengths we have, well - it's skewed a tad bit older than I think even Joe realizes. It took me a 2nd read before I realized it myself. It's lacking in strengths for the young adults of the town. Roanoke can be both the "family oriented city" and still have options for a younger population.

Retirees and Young Adults often look for the same thing when choosing an area to live, especially considering how many retirees are moving on to 2nd and 3rd careers now.

Quite a bit of what Roanoke does is based on assumption. You assume something cannot happen here, something can happen here...

The march of the VMI cadets down Jefferson could have easily been replaced by the March of the High Schools as they make their way towards Victory Stadium, but no one assumed it would work. Much like Martin's Bar and Grill on Luck and 2nd. Most people said it would not work, your too far off market. Luckily, the owners of Martins assumed just the opposite, and are being vindicated nightly.

Sometimes you have to make leaps beyond that which is easily assumed.

Assume this: Roanoke is a better city than it gives itself credit for. Roanoke has an optimal layout, that allows you to go from the south side to the north side in a matter of minutes, east-west takes a touch longer than that. Roanoke has a dense, easily navigable downtown area with limitations on parking, but not on available retail space. And Roanoke has much to offer everyone, and it's a safe assumption that should Roanoke decide to, it could easily become both the "family city" and the "friendly city."

No other place in SW Virginia has the capacity for clubs, concerts, and attractions Roanoke does. If someone would build an amusement park somewhere within city limits, even a smaller one would bring people from all over the area (and beyond) as there is NOTHING similar available nearby. But, we are mired down in assumptions that the big concerts would never book here in Roanoke, the large draw attractions would somehow fail.

Assumptions can go both ways, and affect the end result more than the facts could. Delusions of grandeur, or defeatist attitude?

I've learned one thing from studying the history of this city, and from observing the current: Assume nothing. The second you make an assumption that something will not work, your proven right. Make the opposite assumption, you stand a fighting chance.

Enjoy the festivals, but don't assume chili and strawberries go together.


Some might say forced, I say asked.

It's interesting. This year will be the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the WTC, The Pentagon, and a patch of green in Pennsylvania. So far, we have movies about 2 of the 3 events, one is allready in theatres (Flight 93) and one is on the way (World Trade Center). I also happen to be reading Blue Blood by Edward Conlon, which spans roughly 8 years in the life of a Harvard graduate who became an NYPD officer. Im in the last 5th of the book, and it's easy to see 9/11 looming just pages ahead.

I've heard people say they are "being forced" to relive the events, what with all the media talking about it, Moussaoui being sentenced, bones being found on nearby rooftops in downtown Manhattan...

I don't see it as being forced, I see it as being asked. Being asked to remember that entire week. From the blissful sleep I was in the midst of on the morning of 9/11 - unaware that the world outside my windows was crumbling, to the phone call that ended that. The hours of sitting in cold horror as the world outside my door came to a stop, and the screen on my tv remained fixed on one - then two burning buildings. The absolute lack of sirens in my usually busy neighborhood - the view from my bedroom window of the smoke pluming upwards and out.

The knowledge that my uncle, a New York City Fire Fighter, was probably on his way to the scene. Then finding out the next day he never left Brooklyn, being the only truck left in the area.

The entire city shut down, including the subways - which by my house were elevated. The guy from Guyana walking down the middle of a normally busy street screaming "There will be revenge, bastards!" in the middle of a very mixed neighborhood.

And still, it was a beautiful day - except when the wind shifted, and you caught a scent on the breeze.




Ever find yourself walking, listening to tunes on your IPOD/Nomad/Zen/just in your head, and suddenly your walking along to the drumbeat?

Changing songs can take you from a simple stroll to a grim-faced march to war.

Lately I've been hearing the drums... the slow and steady, rolling drumbeat of change.

It's funny, I've spent 9/10ths my life walking alone, solitary. And now, even at work, I find myself marching with a unit. Lockstep, in time. I've quietly altered the way business is conducted at work, streamlined it and brought everyone on board without quarrel. I did not conciously set out to do so, my only thought being that things could be done differently. Not vastly, but slightly differently. Enough to make a difference.

My unit is one of the quickest, tightest around. Everyone works in unison, even the new guys. It's a natural flow.

But work only lasts so many hours a day. Outside of work, similar things are happening.

After the Roanoke Bloggers meeting last Saturday, I noticed a difference in the way we blog. It's almost more cohesive, like a linear story told by a multitude of voices.
It's a story of change, of hopes and fears, moments of greatness and "senior moments." We could bounce ideas back and forth amongst the different members of the group, and still everyone would understand the final product. At least thats my take on it.

This group of bloggers represents every faction of life in Roanoke, from the business owner, to the civil servant. The blue-collar worker, the white collar worker, the religious and the not so much. The technologically aware, and the... well.. is Amish a strong word? The college student who would love nothing more than to stay here in Roanoke, the emigrant population, and possibly those who would love nothing more than to leave.

And we are just regular people, each with different ideas, each with different passions, but all of us able to hold conversations. Exchange ideas, experiences, and thoughts.

We learn, grow, and form alliances through this type of communication. We march together, ever forward. The one thing we have in common, we all are able to talk and listen, and communicate.

To my ears and eyes, it would seem that some Roanokers are resistant to that idea. Resistant to the discourse that is daily life. When the Times did its piece on "Is it harder to make friends in Roanoke", I started putting 1 and 1 together. Based on personal experiences, hearsay from others, and the Times articles - Roanoke comes across as a very friendly, but very shallow community. There is a resistance to actually fully befriending someone, especially among the "young adults."

Yet you can see the want for that level of friendship, the want for something beyond the shallow. And it's not just Roanoke - its symptomatic of the nation at large these days.

Who is your neighbor? No, seriously. Can you tell me how your neighbor feels about life in general? Not many can these days.

Look at my comments on this blog. Or the new messageboard I set up. Nothing usually. Why? Fear of interaction? I don't know really, all I can do is theorize. I know there are plenty of daily readers. Do you just read, consume the words and move on? Or do you feel anything, maybe a spark of passion or anger? I don't know, you don't tell me.

I'm not that hard to find. I can assure you there is no one else wearing a Forgotten-Roanoke.com denim jacket around town in this warm weather. I don't bite, well occasionally I have, but usually I try not to leave marks. I get more nervous downtown when people smile and pass a greeting, but never make sincere eye contact.

Even the dim light of sanity in the eyes of certain homeless on the market is preferable to the "cold fish" treatment that seems to be the order of the day.

This is not static people, it's interactive - just like life.

Allright - everyone remain calm.

I'm home, and I'll have something to say shortly.


Most. Activity. Ever.

Dialogue, comment, and consternation abound in the Comments link for the post below.

Under normal circumstances, I would applaud the dialogue and exchange of ideas. But in situations like these, I find that the exchange is not happening. Rather than discussion, it becomes a war of ideas..

I will move the entire comment thread over to the messageboard.. keeping it active for all eternity.

Let's talk.

Election wrap-up.

The Roanoke Times is absolutely glowing this morning in the wake of the victory of the TMD trio. Ostensibly Independant canidates, the trio struck gold with voters in certain areas. Areas which previously voted heavily for Mayor Harris in the past, so it's not much of a suprise.

Our newly minted City Council members; David "And how does that make you feel?" Trinkle, Gwen "Middle Management" Mason, and Alfred "Carlton Banks" Dowe are now claiming not only victory, but a mandate from the voters.

Of course, lets not even bring up that the working-class neighborhoods of Williamson Rd. and Garden City suprised everyone by going mainly for the Republican ticket.  They have a mandate.

And a positive message. Pretty river, getting rid of the ugly stadium, pretty library, and free lollipops and kittens for all.

Although once again, the Times misses the mark in its analysis, but that's to be expected when your canidates just won. You tend to get a bit giddy.

Kudos to the Times though for absolutely marginalizing the Republican canidates, making them sound just as redundant as the Democratic slate, if they allowed for any real difference at all.

Total number of Votes counted: 40,062
Total number of Registered Voters in the City: 53,000 and change.
Claimed turnout percentage: 25.8%
Total number of votes/claimed turnout: 13,674 (approx.)

Interesting how these numbers work out.

Besides all that, The Times notes that Mayor Harris might push to erase Party Affiliations from elections after this one.

Why? What does the Mayor have against affiliations? What does this city have against identification of ones ideals?

Regardless, life goes on - we all still have to get up, go to work, eat-sleep-do it all again. In 2 years time, when the next cycle comes up, if there is still a Victory Stadium standing, it will be no suprise. If they level the Stadium, it will be a beginning. But in 2 years time, I can assure you - nothing will be done with the land. It's not in this crews best interests.

Although I feel I must say this, and say it loudly: The Young Adults Roanoke so wishes to to attract and retain, they have just lost a voice in the council. Many more Roanokers have lost that voice as well - and come July 1st, you will understand what I mean by that.

2 years and counting before everything changes, again.
We need to keep this City Council in check so they do not so horribly wreck the future of this city, it is beyond quick repair.

Congradulations DMT: You now have the power you wanted, use it wisely.


Well I guess someone has called Ms. Cleo

TMD has won, allegedly - of course, they still need to count the other ballots and certify the results.

But kudos to the Roanoke Times for being so darned psychic! I mean, they had pronounced them the winners weeks ago - if you read the editorials.

Well, does not change anything for me.. Im still going to be pushing for change.

And change will come.

Election Results from NEWS 7 - Campaign 2006

Election Results from NEWS 7 - Campaign 2006

Follow the numbers live!

It's like Lotto, without the happy lady hosting it.


A message from the Overlord:

"The stars are quiet on the face of the deep

All the dogs and angels are turning

Burning in their sleep

You can't see me now, but I'm watching over you

A broken smile never lies

A busted mirror cannot see you cry

I'm looking through one glass eye

You can't see me now, but I'm watching over you"
    -copshootcop (alltheclocksarebroken1992)

Oh sure, I might not win this one. I realize the city is divided over the alleged "future." But this "future" the newspaper and media continually refer to, it's lacking in several things. Most notably, a population that actually gives a damn.

The City Council of Roanoke has built upon the fact that the citizenry of Roanoke tends to be on the dormant side, politically. Oh sure they are easily distracted by little things; a stadium that was allowed to rot for ages, a library system that is widely ignored. Show them something bright and shiny and they go away, like the new designs for the City Market area.

But when it comes to the substansive issues, very few ever bother to get involved.

I don't know if the political apathy of Roanoke is genetic, something handed down after ages of beatings by the elected officials. Or perhaps just a reflection of the modern times. I lean towards the former over the latter, but thats my opinion.

The City political machine thrives on the general ignorance of the population. The easy way they pass mis-information, and continue to feed fears is astounding. And disturbing.

On the eve of another election day, the citzenry of Roanoke stands to lose yet again. The gains will be insignificant, a pair of high-school stadiums - perhaps a renovated Victory Stadium. But nothing will actually improve the quality of life. And I mean nothing.

Not the Greenways, although they are a great idea which I fully support, just not in the half-assed way the council is "promising" to see it to fruition.

Not any stadium, ampitheatre, IMAX, redesign or anything like it.
Not promises to fix the library system, or listen to the youth more often.

Empty headed promises designed to appease a powerless and apathetic electorate.

So worried about property taxes and valuations, but no questions about the services recieved because of those taxes. Why bother asking why the city has to choose between fire trucks and garbage trucks.

Those are of no matter, as education falls to the wayside as well.

Lower property taxes, that will appease the masses and keep the city council from having to show something for the monies it recieves.

Since when do the results not matter Roanoke? Have you been so beaten and ignored in the past that now, when the very life of the city is on the line - you still feel powerless and marginalized?

In short order, the classes that built this city will be swept out. Making way for the dollars of retirees. You will be pushed to the fringes - and the County will offer no harbor. The City Council wants the available funds of retirees, more than they desire a liveable community. Do not fall for this line. They want to attract and retain only high-paid young adults, and make little effort to ensure that the working class is also retained.

The police and firefighters, sanitation workers and maintenance people - they live in fear for their jobs. Did you know that? They worry that one false step, one word wrong and they will be fired, or relocated to a position that would not afford them the ability to do the job they were hired to do. Such is the climate that exists in our fair city.

The Overlord will be on duty, regardless of position or persuasion. Ever watchful, bringing you the real truth. Attempting to aid you in retaking the City for all Roanokers.

Vote wisely today, vote with your head AND your heart - but vote.

Change is possible, absolutely necessary, and vital to the future of Roanoke. Either you become a part of it now, or you watch the City fade and your livelyhood come to an end.

Yes, it is that drastic. Don't be fooled into thinking it is not.

For all of you:

Those of you out there who wish Roanoke was more exciting like New York City, Charlotte, or DC, some recently released numbers that might make you think otherwise.

New York City: 3 year bodycount (murder, homicide) 1662+ (Per 100k pop.) 7
Charlotte: 3 year bodycount (murder, homicide) 125+ (Per 100k) 8
DC: 3 year bodycount (murder, homicide) 600+ (Per 100k) 33

Roanoke: Total 2004 bodycount (most recent available) 8 Total.

Think it can't happen here? Keep ignoring the citizens of the city and the basics of life here.

Focus on Victory Stadium, 2 high school stadiums, and you'll have the city you want.

And so it begins

The youth of Roanoke rise.. and speak mightily.

Kudos to ATL.

Come, stay, live a little....

Roanoke City has recently launched an "Attract and Retain" campaign aimed at young adults here in Roanoke.

If your in Roanoke now, or looking at Roanoke to move to - or perhaps even want to come home to Roanoke - you now have an inside track to over 20 of the best employers here in Roanoke.

Like my grandmother says: "Try it, you'll like it." Hey, I've done it, and I'm not even a professional.

Try it now, just click the link below to get started.
Submit your information...

Vote for Roanoke in the future tense

Of little suprise today, and for the 38th time since they announced - the Roanoke Times has endorsed TMD "For the City". I suppose the constant choice of letters to the editor polishing the apple for DMT didn't hurt either.

Meh - thats the Times for you. Amazing how a past-tense newspaper can ask you to vote future-tense. The Times is doing a stunning job of extracting themselves from the daily lives of Roanokers.

I told you, if you won't vote for me as Overlord; Vote for McConnel/Revercomb. Two bright lights with the ability to lead, not load. Based on all available statements, platforms, and opinions - I'd say these two understand that the business of Roanoke is a failed business, but can be fixed easily.

Plus, they both promised to keep a seat warm for me, next election cycle comes quickly you know.

This will be the last stand of the Old, Ineffective Roanoke. No matter what happens tomorrow, you can be sure Roanoke will never be the same. It might be another few years before we can fully set our sails for the horizon, but it is happening. Roanoke is going to have some hard decisions put upon it in the next few years, and no matter how much the city council and the governing bodies of Roanoke attempt to hide from those decisions, they will have to be made.

If I cannot do it yet, Revercomb and McConnel can.

Give Roanoke a future.

Can someone explain to me this insanity?

As a future businessperson, I had chance to plug through the VABC license types and costs page.

Aside from the On and Off premises banter (which really stretches the concept of having a business in the first place), it's interesting to note that there is no section for "bar", "pub", or similar.

Way to stifle the business market, Virginia.

As I've said before, the biggest asset any neighborhood has is its community bar.

Generally considered to be the standard "bar" license. Allows
on-premises consumption of liquor, wine and beer and also allows for
sale of beer (only) for off-premises consumption. Food, such as soups
and sandwiches, MUST be served."

From the VABC page: Well, actually there is no direct comparison to the NYS one. There are something like 38 different kinds of licenses one can apply for, as compared to NYS' 21. But the only real difference is the one "standard 'bar' license."

Allright - someone, anyone - give me a reason why the state of Virginia does not have a simple, standard bar license.

Also in the list of "bad business" pratices enforced by the VABC, the
"no buybacks" rule. Which I absolutely agree with. Why would you ever
want to reward your loyal customers? Why leave it up to the owner of the establishment wether or not they want to swallow the cost of the drink (plus tax) to show some love to a regular? Then again, why allow competition to raise revenue tax-wise when the state can lock down the entire bottled liquor racket for themselves?

I know, there I go asking the stupid questions again. Of course, competition which could only increase the public coffers goes untouched. Thats smart business sense.

Although - it is nice to note a worker in a place that has a mixed drink license can, infact, consume alcohol (as long as not to the point of intoxication) while on a break or lunch.

Read over the VABC license types, and tell me theres no tilt towards the larger businesses. Hotels and the like have no problem serving what they want, but don't you dare try to open a small tavern.

While I applaud VABC for attempting to control and curtail "DIP" (drunk in public) behavior, I also note there are many drunk driving accidents regardless of the laws. And seriously, where does personal responsibility come into play?

There are hard questions that need to be answered as Virginia steps into the 21st century, and they must be asked. Progress does not come easily anywhere, but sometimes change is necissicary for the good of the public.


The Blogging Convergance Report

Yesterday was a study in group dynamics. The Roanoke Blogger Meeting at De Espresso was a nice "sit and shoot" session. Well attended by most of the bloggers you see linked to your right (along the sidebar), and the chat flew back and forth between topics.

Interestingly enough, not one of the attendees was Roanoke born and raised. It would have been nice to have at least ONE true local attend, but theres always next time.

Come on Roanoke, you gonna let a bunch of transplants discuss and debate the city and its future?

I'll have more on this later. I need time to wake up..

1931-2006 Different? Not so much...

1936 "What Americans shall do with the hordes of aliens within the
boundaries of the country presents one of the staggering problems of
the time, Clifton A. Woodrum, Virginia representative in Congress told
members of the social and community welfare committee of the Elk's

2006 - a Spanish language version of the National Anthem, Immigration rallys and "walk-outs", debate raging on every front about the problem of illegal immigrants, and legal ones too.

Yep - even here in little ol' Roanoke, we are not immune to the current events (no matter how much we might act like it.)