9/24/07

125 years

The city celebrates it's 125th with an Arts festival, a housing symposium, and a botched kick-off parade and expo at the newest jewel in the Civic Center.

Wayne Newton is playing the Civic Center for the first time in ages, and it's not even associated with the 125th (it was booked outside the 125th celebration scope). No, instead Crystal Gale is the featured performer for our 125th.

Now word on the street comes that there is nothing else planned of any consequence for the 125th.

No, even though 100 years ago this month, the Great Roanoke Fair was just winding down - a tradition which lasted many years (held on the old Fairgrounds, recently home to Victory Stadium). Why did we not renew this tradition? Why is this the best we can do?

Could it be the ego-tastic CEO of Roanoke's doing? The woman who publicly screwed over Bob Dills, yet now sweetly wants him to be part of YET ANOTHER oversight board?

In 125 years, the City of Roanoke has seen a great many things. The winter of 1887, when snow buried the entirety of downtown and land values fell like stones. The Flood of 1892. The great Roanoke Fairs of years gone past, not to mention the boom of industrious growth, and the vacuum of industrial vacancy. And yet the City has survived.. endured.

We are now a medical mecca (regardless of weather or not you wish to like Carilion), a great attractor for retirees who move to the general area, and a simmering hotbed of creativity (again, you might not want to see it, but it's true).

All this after 125 years of surviving layoffs, downturns, floods, fires, con-men (no one recently, eh Warner?), and the Commonwealth's insane "Independent City" rule.

And apparently this 125th celebration is worthy of all that. This 125th reflects the struggles, the triumphs of this history that is Roanoke.

Everyone, Quick! To the History Museum of Western Virginia - where we might actually glean something about the past!

Before that Juke Joint Jezebel erases that too, and replaces it with her version of things.

Who would have thought that Roanoke would have it's own Hillary Clinton?

5 comments:

Lotzothoughtz said...

In order to compare her to Clinton, the Old Hag that runs Roanoke would have to be smart....which she isn't...or be a good politician, which again....she isn't because technically she is supposed to be above the political world (yeah council-manager systems are stupid).

I don't agree with you about the Independant City deal. It makes sense to separate large governmental/infrastructual (i think i just made up that word) entities that would simply complicate those same structures within a county.

RoanokeFound said...

We agree to disagree on the whole Hillary thing (I believe it more to be psychosis than smarts, and the problem of being surrounded by "yes men"), however the Independent City thing I fully disagree with you on.

If it makes sense to do it that way, why is it the most profitable and growth-oriented states don't do it that way?

The entire concept of a "Commonwealth" is as backwards and rediculi as the Independent City concept. But starting locally is the easiest way to fix things.

Philosofik said...

The independent city idea is one of the largest obstacles in the way of Virginia's growth and development. I had a friend who got into a minor car accident exiting 581/220 at Tanglewood Mall. He called the Roanoke City police who told him he was in Roanoke County and to get in touch with them. Roanoke County folks told him the opposite. He finally pushed his car fully into Roanoke County so that one of them would claim jurisdiction and send him some help.

The whole idea of a county government is that it's smaller than the state government so it's better suited to handle the particular needs and interests of its citizens. City governments, on paper, do the same thing. But when a city is entirely surrounded by a county, and when citizens of one often work in the other, there's twice the confusion there would be if it were just one county.

From a taxation standpoint, it couldn't be more complicated or unfair. Consider that if I live in the county, my taxes go toward all of the things I enjoy while living there. However, when I drive through the city which exists within my county, I use roads I didn't pay for, and receive protection from crime by policemen I didn't pay, either. That's fine if you're just visiting, but what if I work there and thus spend five days a week or more within the city limits?

Statistically, the impoverished tend to live in urban areas, especially in the downtown areas of cities where shelters and free clinics abound. Simultaneously, cities are expected to offer more cultural attractions like museums and educational programs. Yet their income stratifications are at an imbalance with these expectations. How can an area with such a high percentage of poor and homeless pay for shelters and museums? They find a way, and always have, but now we complicate it by entirely surrounding the city by other municipalities where more affluent people are likely to live (away from the homeless, etc.). This draws the well-to-do out of the city and into the county, putting even more of a fiscal strain on the area.

Independent cities are an outmoded practice, evidenced by the fact that Virginia is the only state in the US that has them. You're right on.

RoanokeFound said...

You know what would change the Independent City stature we have?

Commuter Tax.

Charge the folks who work here, but live outside the city for using city infrastructure and services a tax based on income.

1% sounds about right. Not enough to make a difference, but enough to be noticed.

TheYardmaster said...

I couldn't agree more with you, We have seen alot, and yet they fail to see it the next time (In a sense) and move back to the times of the old. Holding yearly fairs and such! And about the Bob Dills thing, Im happy she did do that, He f'in deserved it. But to now ask him to come back? Thats just crazy talk...

Well, another day in this half crazy, half strange and bewildered city, and maybe to endure another major flood, or snowstorm... And maybe again, not learn from it, and so on...

Thanks RF,
Con