Off Topic

I have created this page because, while I enjoy blogging about Hampton Roads, I also like to write about other things as well. Some might be political, others not so much. I will use the comments on this page as my forum and I hope that you will respond, post your own ideas, or make requests.

52 responses

16 02 2009
Russell Manning

I got this in an email:

How the new stimulus plan will work.

Three contractors are bidding to fix a broken fence at the White House. One is from Chicago, another is from Tennessee, and the third is from Minnesota.

All three go with a White House official to examine the fence. The Minnesota contractor takes out a tape measure and does some measuring, then works some figures with a pencil. “Well,” he says, “I figure the job will run about $900: $400 for materials, $400 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Tennessee contractor also does some measuring and figuring, then says, “I can do this job for $700: $300 for materials, $300 for my crew and $100 profit for me.”

The Chicago contractor doesn’t measure or figure, but leans over to the White House official and whispers, “$2,700.”

The official, incredulous, says, “You didn’t even measure like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?”

The Chicago contractor whis pers back, “$1000 for me, $1000 for you, and we hire the guy from Tennessee to fix the fence.”

“Done!” replies the government official.

And that, my friends, is how the new stimulus plan will work..

16 02 2009
Russell Manning

I really hate how the media compares the new Stimulus plan to the plan that was used to create they highway system. The main difference: The highway system plan had a concrete goal: Create a Highway System. The Stimulus plan, has no such goal. Its goal is more creative: to stimulate the economy. This plan has way too much money going to to intangible things. I agree, tax breaks are important to aid the economy. When you add up items like Health Care ($137 billion) and welfare ($77 billion), you get $214 billion in spending that should have been paid for already. welfare does not help the economy. It helps those already affected by the economy support themselves. I would take some of that money and put it in a fund for education of those on welfare. That would empower the poor to move up the economic ladder by themselves. Also, less than $50 billion is actually going to infrastructure improvements. Perhaps if we spent more on updating our infrastructure and improving our efficiency and technology, we could come out of the recession better than we were before. How it stands, however, we will come out of this recession in good health and on food stamps.

16 02 2009
t1ewis

Do u think Kaine should resign or ride it out?

17 02 2009
Russell Manning

Tough question. He’s not much of a leader. He proposes ideas and then lets the legislature walk all over him. Nice guy, but in times like this, we need a better leader. As for him resigning, I know he wouldn’t because it would be political suicide. I know he’s just itching for an Obama position.

17 02 2009
t1ewis

yeah i was thinking that too. He should’ve just went for that instead of becoming Gov and threatening to close facilities for the mentally ill. anyway, about the Feb 24th meetings, they’re going to be held simultaneously right? cuz i wanted to go the Hampton one but i want to meet u guys (lol) i guess trying to come over to Norfolk halfway through the meeting wouldn’t work huh?

17 02 2009
Russell Manning

they will be simultaneous. It will probably work like the last one did. They will have a video link between the two, so both locations will be part of one meeting. i.e. if you’re at the Norfolk one, you shouldn’t miss the Hampton stuff. I think that’s how the preliminary hearing went.

17 02 2009
t1ewis

i see, well i guess it wouldn’t hurt to come to good ol’ Norfolk and meet u guys. I want to meet Randy Wright also, as well as the other LRT enthusiast. anybody that shares my vision for HR has my utmost respect

25 02 2009
t1ewis(aka thesh00ter)

nice meeting you yesterday

25 02 2009
Russell Manning

same for you tlewis. You mentioned in an earlier post that you wanted to meet Randy Wright. I wish he had been at the meeting last night. He will be at his meeting this Saturday at the Azalea Inn. See POST

25 02 2009
Missy Schmidt

Russell-you are one funny dude! Good to see you at last night’s HRT-hosted Transit Vision Plan Public Meeting.

I’m writing a VERY short observation piece about the meeting. Hope you’ll submit something for use on the HRP Blog as well! Thanks!

Keep up the great work…

P.S. was it difficult migrating your Blogger blog to WordPress? I really like the add’l page option and just haven’t found an easy work-around for Blogger yet (since they don’t, as yet, offer this upgrade).

25 02 2009
Russell Manning

As soon as I get a chance, I’ll get something for HRP. As far as WordPress is concerned, I like it WAY better. It was very easy to import from Blogger. There’s actually an import link. WP also allowed me to buy my own domain (757hr.com & 757hamptonroads.com). When I get some more money, I can easily transport my blog to a 3rd party hosting site. WP makes it easy and gives great resources to make great web pages with tons of features.

25 02 2009
t1ewis

ok thanks for the info

was good to see u in person too Missy. i didn’t get a chance to speak to u (no thanks to Russell, j/k) but may i say that ur even more beautiful in person. thanks for all ur hard work, yourself and Russell

26 02 2009
hamptonroads08

tlewis-you’ll have to email me off-off topic (lol) and e-introduce yourself at least. missy@hrp.org I posted about the meeting on the HRP Blog: http://hrpartnership.blogspot.com/2009/02/attending-transit-vision-plan-public.html comments welcome!

26 02 2009
t1ewis(aka thesh00ter)

http://thetransportpolitic.com/2009/02/26/competitors-for-high-speed-rail-grants/

i’m sure u have read this Russell but i want others to see it in case they don’t regularly go to this site

i hope this gets included with the HR transit vision as well as the other regions transit vision. at least mention of it anyway.

2 03 2009
t1ewis

i’m having a hard time swallowing this portion of this article:

Back when the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority was still constitutional, the prospects for uniting real money and transportation vision in one entity had folks who watch such things giddy with the possibilities. Once the HRTA was killed by the courts, though, we found ourselves back under the current system: a weak MPO with the authority to suggest what gets built but without the money to build it.

http://www.gohrt.com/pressroom/?p=237

how can they say that when the HRTA could NOT levy tax.

3 03 2009
Russell Manning

Well, if the HRTA had not been declared unconstitutional, it would have at least had a fundraising method. By the law that created it, it was given the power to collect various fees. That is what was declared unconstitutional. The court said that unelected bodies cannot levy taxes/fees. So, to address your question, the HRTA could collect fees until the court said no. The entire thing could be fixed if we either elected the head of the HRTA or allowed the MPO to collect fees.

3 03 2009
Russell Manning

btw. I hope that everyone out there survived our *gasp* 1/2 inch of snow we got…

3 03 2009
t1ewis

lol, yeah we did. just have to take it slow, but unfortunately, not everybody practices that.

but thanks for ur response. i just realized that that article was in the opinion section of the VP website. but i can say that it is hitting a point. i just wish GA will stop opposing each other long enough to realize that this is hurting transportation wise. if the entire state doesn’t want to pay for them, then let them pass a law that uses taxes on a regional level. i can’t remember if the regions Del want to do that or not but the fact of the matter is, it will just be a constant tug of war between the 2 parties. just like it is now for the entire nation.

what do u think will happen with VA Russell? Henry made the point that the HRP can have an influence on the GA. SOMETHING needs to be done.

3 03 2009
Michael Ragsdale

Your thoughts on Friday’s major service disruption?

I have the complete story covered at http://blog.raggiesoft.com/?p=110 along with what HRT could’ve done to mitigate most disruptions

11 03 2009
Missy Schmidt

@tlewis (and, Russell, of course)

The Hampton Roads Partnership (HRP) has worked hard to influence for many years (since 1996).

We were responsible for getting the bill passed that allowed the 2002 referendum. The public campaign was done by an outside organization (not by HRP) and was, shall we say, less than successful. MOVE Hampton Roads hired the lobby firm that many say facilitated the compromises among General Assembly (GA) members that led to passage of HB 3202 (which authorized NoVA and Hampton Roads to raise revenue through regional authorities, the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority respectively).

Ugly as it was, HB 3202 was to provide money for transportation, that is, until amendments were added that made it unconstitutional. Del. Glenn Oder’s 2009 bill, HB 1580, abolished the HRTA, unanimously passing both the House and the Senate. (Ref: http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?091+cab+SC10213HB1580+HB1REF)

What’s the next step?

At this point, “influence” needs to be directed at state-wide and GA candidates for November elections. What’s missing now is influence from the public. The public needs to get engaged in this debate. Polls showing 70% support is what caused the2009 restaurant smoking bill to pass. That same groundswell has to happen for transportation before the GA will vote for new funding options.

Fear of losing their seats in November will get the GA moving on transportation funding. And, that has to happen with folks like you getting engaged to change the public’s opinion and, thus, the polls.

Could you or Russell or other members of HRT’s User Citizen Advocacy Council help? If you write a post on this very subject, we’ll be happy to publish on the HRP Blog: SmartRegion.org.

11 03 2009
t1ewis

sure i’ll give it shot. i have to really plan out what i’m going to say though.

12 03 2009
t1ewis

where do i post?

12 03 2009
Missy Schmidt

To ALL:

Just send your blog posts to me at Missy@HRP.org for now. I’ve had great response from others who are interested in joining a grassroots “influence” effort. We’ll hopefully have a plan of action together very soon. Your input, thoughts, experiences and YOUR vision for the future of transit in Hampton Roads would be a great start.

Election season is already upon us. Let’s not waste this golden, no, make that platinum, opportunity to affect some real change in the Virginia legislature.

13 03 2009
Michael Ragsdale

@Missy: our name is User Citizen’s Advisory Committee

14 03 2009
Missy Schmidt

@Michael Ragsdale
oops. Thanks for the correction. I will fix on my end right now!

24 03 2009
t1ewis
25 03 2009
Russell Manning

While I sympathize with these people if their homes have truly been damaged, I really have to question their ways of going about this. HRT has gone out of their way to reach out to these people but they have refused their help. People like Jim Chalk seem to want the exposure and the only way they can get that is to refuse HRT and demand extra special attention. For example, HRT’s James Toscano has sent multiple letters to Chalk, who wants a phone call not a letter. Toscano has also said that his office “has spent more time with Chalk than any other person living along the 7.4 mile light rail track.” Additionally, Both Chalk and his neighbor refused to do a pre-construction inspection. Perhaps I’m wrong, but it seems like these people were against Light Rail from the beginning and they have finally found a way to fight against it. Unfortunately for them, they’re too late. My 90-year-old Estabrook house has settled too – our aquarium we used to have used to have a 15 degree slant on the water level! Even though I’m near Norview, can I claim Light Rail caused my house to settle?

26 03 2009
t1ewis

my same thoughts exactly. i mean let’s just say everything is the fault of the construction, what do they really want? do they want compensation, or do they want them (construction workers) to pack there stuff up and leave. I believe the latter. u said it best, they’re trying to find something to complain about and smear the light rail project. now, in the future, if they try to say when it’s operating that it’s a disturbance, i’ll call bull on that too. cuz for probably 30 yrs now there’s one apt complex in know of (amongst several without a doubt) in NN that the CSX/Amtrak ROW is right behind it. for the first time 5 yrs ago i realized the vibration from trains passing. now they aren’t as frequent as the light rail will be but i’m sure without a doubt that they won’t get anymore then slight tremors that won’t even knock things off their shelves. i guess i have to realize that no matter where u are there’s gonna be complaints about any rapid transit projects. but i just feel it’s being targeted because we’re in VA. lol, not trying to bash my home state but it just seems any type of advancement is hated on, and this is the greatest advancement for this region in the last 50 yrs probably.

8 04 2009
t1ewis

wow talk about more reason for a transportation solution. BOTH tunnels were blocked today. i’m sure u heard about it. traffic was backed up on 64W all the way to Norview. oh and i almost forgot the other tunnels and highways. geez

10 04 2009
Russell Manning

Did you see the article about Toyota? The City of Toyota, Japan. Apparently, it is really hurting. If Toyota continues to outsource its plants to their primary markets, the City may end up like Detroit.Story Here
Also, on a separate note, I guess we are lucky. Japan’s national debt is 170% of the GDP

10 04 2009
t1ewis

yeah i remember they were talking about it a couple of weeks ago. yeah that’s not good.

12 04 2009
Russell Manning

i started this twitter thing… so far its just frustrating. it keeps sending me the same text over and over again

17 04 2009
t1ewis

hey Russell u gonna post ur take on Obama presenting a HSR plan?

23 04 2009
Russell Manning

So apparently the Homeland Security Department is warning of an increase of “right-wing extremist groups.” They put out a report with an interesting footnote defining ** “rightwing extremism in the United States” as including not just racist or hate groups, but also groups that reject federal authority in favor of state or local authority. It may include groups and individuals that are dedicated to a single-issue, such as opposition to abortion or immigration,” **
Does this mean groups like the Catholic Church are now ‘right wing extremists?’ They are definitely against abortion. Does it mean that by believing in the Constitution’s original principal of States’ Rights is now a crime? I am sure I will be put on a watch list now, but I really am tired of watching our Constitution get slowly shredded before America’s eyes, especially since the media seems to care very little.
A few notes: I am neither Democrat or Republican. I am not conservative (right-wing) or liberal (left-wing) as it is defined in American Politics. I am what is considered a Classic Liberal. I believe that the power of government lies with the people of America and that our government should not be legislating what we should or should not believe or support. The government should not be so involved in our personal lives. To that effect, I DO support Gay Marriage (it is a legal contract that should not be denied without due process). I support a flat sales tax, not an income tax (everyone would pay taxes including drug dealers and illegal workers). Furthermore, I DO NOT condone fixing this by any illegal means. This problem can and should be fixed through the legal process of creating (Legislative Branch) or striking down (Judicial Branch) laws. No matter what is done to this Country, it can ALWAYS be changed in the future via our system. The only question is how difficult this change will be. Finally, the text above between the ** is all a quote from
Apologies for the rant. Rants like these do not occur frequently but sometimes they just have to happen. Feel free to rant back. I know that what I believe is part of my ideological foundation and that what you believe is part of yours. There is no right or wrong way to believe. To each his (or her) own. Thank You.

24 04 2009
hamptonroads08

That’s the main thing I like about you, Russell. You’re straight forward and you get little”d” democracy: “what I believe is part of my ideological foundation and that what you believe is part of yours. There is no right or wrong way to believe. To each his (or her) own.”

That’s what makes our country great. Thanks for the rant!

8 05 2009
t1ewis

so i guess with all of the elections going on that another GA transportation session is out of the question?

24 05 2009
t1ewis

this is intresting: http://www.ridegrtc.com/mission_2015/index.asp

i don’t think we should sleep on this even if it is another region. Richmond has/is being looked at for a HSR or Commuter rail corridor and to link with Hampton Roads, so to know that they’re taking some kind of steps is pretty good

3 06 2009
RDL

I am addicted to this blog btw. I just thought that i would share that

10 06 2009
Russell Manning

Does anyone else feel ripped off that VDOT spent thousands of dollars to tear down the trees on I-464 last year and now they say it costs too much to mow?

2 07 2009
t1ewis

SOOOOO how about that traffic today huh? i tell u, waiting in line to go through an obsolete tunnel makes consider taking up hobbies such as watching grass grow, fungus forming, and my favorite lets time that snail (ZING)

14 07 2009
t1ewis

Google maps has CATS info in Charlotte (finally) i guess it was up to Charlotte to register it. still has the old satellite photo though. but hopefully that will be updating in the near future

9 09 2009
t1ewis

i couldn’t help but listen to one of the comments from tonights VBTES meetings on the news. mind u this guy was old but still that should be no excuse for ignorance. he went on to state the old local urban legend (fitting name) about lower class people using the light rail to come to VB and tourist. then he said that VB would pay for it all. Hmmm? VB would pay for it? doesn’t he not realize that it’s going to be operated and maintained by HRT which is all of Hampton Roads? sometimes i wish that if the news would air peoples concerns they would air intelligent ones.

10 09 2009
Missy Schmidt

sad, very sad.

Russell, where are you? Haven’t heard from you lately????

7 10 2009
Ryan Lilly

This isn’t my original thought but I came across it and saved it. I think its a great argument and idea. When I find who wrote it I will cite it here.

Recently, on the front page of the VA Pilot, there was an article about whether it would be more effective to widen the HRBT or make a 3rd Crossing.
First, lets take a look at the crossings we have today. The HRBT crosses from Norfolk on the Southside to Hampton on the Peninsula via I-64. The second crossing, the MMBT, crosses from Suffolk on the Southside to Newport News on the Peninsula via I-664.
Now lets look at the proposed third crossing. It would connect Norfolk on the Southside to … Suffolk on the Southside… How is it a third crossing? It would take heavy traffic from 64 and transport them down a gridlocked 564 (just from base traffic) and put it on the heavy-traffic 664. It would do nothing but delay the inevitable: gridlock.
A real solution would be back to mass transit. The Peninsula is looking at their own light rail system. Norfolk’s is under construction. The 3rd crossing would cost an estimated $4.2 billion. Norfolk’s 7.4 mile light rail will cost $232.1 million or about $32 million a mile. If the 3rd crossing money was used on light rail, we could get 130 miles of light rail.
I have made a rough map that could cover Hampton Roads by connecting key places such as:
-The OceanFront including Rudee Loop
-VB Convention Center
-VB Municipal Center
-VB TCC
-Great Bridge
-Greenbrier
-Chesapeake Municipal Center
-Cedar Road
-Norfolk Airport
-Little Creek Amphib Base
-Military Circle/Janaf
-ODU
-Norfolk TCC
-Chesapeake TCC
-Portsmouth TCC
-Norfolk Naval Station
-Norfolk Naval Shipyard
-Downtown Portsmouth
-Newport News
-Colosseum
-HR Convention Center
-Langley
-Lynnhaven Mall
The cost to connect all of these with Light Rail? At Norfolk’s $32 million/ mile, this 121 mile addition would cost $192 million LESS than the proposed 3rd crossing. Why not create a SOLUTION to congestion instead of a delay? The $192 million would go towards the crossings for the Light Rail. In the end the cost would be no more than the 3rd crossing. This would be much more beneficial to the region in more ways than I can count/list here.

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF&msa=0&msid=102342212501154530947.00044586953caf8bf41f8

8 10 2009
t1ewis

Russell

what’s your thoughts on Oberstar’s letter to VA?

12 10 2009
t1ewis

well i guess it’s safe to say that the we have a new politcal party in power in the US Government. we already have Dems, Rep, Ind., and now Health Insurance companies

(shakes head in shame)

3 12 2009
3 12 2009
Ryan Lilly

^^ how do you feel about that? I am supposed to be studying but this was more interesting.

4 12 2009
Russell Manning

very similar to my own map. I don’t think that a line could be put on Hampton Blvd south of the 26/27th sts corridor though due to lack of space.

21 12 2009
t1ewis

Russell

what are ur thoughts on the Tide light rail delay?

26 12 2009
Russell Manning

I knew it was coming. I have know for a while that it was inevitable. You could see it in the face of any HRT person asked about the deadline.

26 12 2009
t1ewis

as u said in ur post, they can’t let this stop this from becoming a reality. if feel if they accomplish this, it could be the start of some more serious developments

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