The problem with Roanoke
More specifically, the problem with Blogging in Roanoke.
How many times can you bitch and moan, complain and point out, show proof of and categorically deny the same things over and over.
I could come on here every day and sing to the high heavens about the Roanoke Times and it's impending downfall, I could point out that the use of the internet at the Times for dissemination of news is lacking, but where would it get us?
Truth is, a good chunk of households here in Roanoke do not bother keeping up with the news. They are more than happy to get by on rumor, and the Sunday paper (it being the one with the coupons). There are also many households that do not have internet access. It's a double edged sword.
The Times could boost up it's internet presence, allow reporters to file via mobile methods, take and prominently display user-submitted news items, and possibly still see no gain from it.
And as for the Roanoke Prozac Sentinel, the "feel good" paper of the valley - well, it's an alternative - but still a weekly. That is it's biggest drawback.
I could come on here and lambast the City Council for multiple violations of civic good, failure to market Roanoke City appropriately, and keeping the harpie Darlene (who did not look so hot when last spotted in public - maybe the transfusions and elixers are wearing off). But honestly - the City itself (citizens) bear more responsability in this situation than the Council does.
When the electorate cannot be bothered to get the facts straight about a situation like Ivy Market (I have overheard many people stating they will not shop at Ukrop's because the City gave them money to open. wrong.) how can we expect them to reasonably understand rising taxes?
It's hard knowing I have something to say, but dropping it so as not to repeat myself. Other than the strange weather, what is there really new to gripe about? I have spoken with many new residents of Roanoke, of varying ages. They tell me about the problems they have, the concepts they cannot fathom, the ass-backwards way of doing business - all I can do is nod my head in agreement.
But the citizens have let it get this way. We have a wonderful FREE trolley system, that runs one route, linking downtown with the secondary downtown (well come on, that's how SoRo thinks of themselves) yet there still have been no moves by the city (publicly, and I think everyone would like to know frankly) to take control of the Patrick Henry Hotel. If you'll recall - the hotel was deep in debt to the City for past taxes and such - and the City was able to take the building as of last month. You want to aid the recovery of the Jefferson Corridor? Get the PHH back up and running, give people a place to stay downtown other than the old, leaky Hotel Roanoke.
You want to talk about a struggling economy, commercial building being down and whatnot as reasons these large projects are not complete - well what about the old Woolworths on Campbell? Thats been boarded up for well over a year now, there's nothing the city can do about that? Seems to me like if you slap a "stop work" order on a building, there should be some fine associated with it. Not to mention constant checks to see if the building is being worked on, and if not - inspections to check the safety of the building. For one that sits mid-block downtown, I would hate to see a fire start in it - we could lose a good chunk of Campbell that way.
But we seem to focus only on the dreams of tomorrow - the Art Museum (a solidly meh enterprise, all the way around, at least to anyone who has been to a major gallery), plans for the Market Building, rooftop patio and dining at Center in the Square... All nice things, once we fix the real problems.
You know, the real problems - parking downtown, the failed Vision 2010 plan, revitalization of key industrial areas in Roanoke (incubator out on 460 is nice, but why not more centrally located?), abundant dead space at key entry points into the city, a bus service that is still inconveinient for most commuters, not to mention the host of other social problems that people expect a city to solve for them.
Laugh at Alfred Dowe - 11 counts of being a dope. Chuckle at Cruella De Mason, the "Clean Green Queen", or Bowers with the whole market debacle - this is all the new material I have. Nothing of substance.
I plan on laying out some primary concerns soon, with possible solutions - but honestly, does anyone care anymore? Or would you rather hear me gossip and make fun of the council?
I can do both, but only one will have any impact on the city.