I would like
to thank the City of Winchester, Fair Housing Commission, the
landlords and anyone else involved in this crusade for tenant
rights. It is an issue that needs immediate attention. Unfortunately
one factor wasn't included in the equation...What ramifications
happen to the tenants?
Landlords are as tricky as an Enron CEO under a heatlamp. Not
only will they pass every cost they incur onto the tenant. They
will resort to unethical measures like my landlord has done to
me. Making myself one of the first victims in the "Landlord
Wars"...I have been displaced.
At first my rent went through two increases since the crusade
started. An extra one hundred dollars a month. Then after six
years and over $25,000 in rent paid, I get a sixty-day eviction
notice. With the reason stated, the property is turning into strictly
commercial. This is a slap in the face since I already run a home-ran
business in the location.
Instead of fixing a neglected property for mandatory inspection.
My landlord adds a new coat of paint. Adds another $500 a month
onto the rent and moves in an insurance agent or accountant to
bear the cost. Now he can take his extra money and fix up a property
that needs to be inspected.
Every property I have looked at this week is double what I have
paid for ten years. I now have to go through credit checks after
I have tarnished my record with a bad three GOP years of business.
I have to incur thousands of dollars in moving and relocating
costs. I have to take time from my already demanding schedule
to even deal with the problem.
This is the kind of action that will probably destroy my business
and my sanity. I have done everything I can to operate a business
correctly and minimize my overhead costs. Now my rent will double
and my profits will drop another 75%. So thanks to everyone that
has helped this process, especially my landlord.
If you see me living on the mall soon with the rest of the newly
created vagrants, please say Hello.
How can we as a community, city, and
state, let fire departments go in debt buying needed equipment.
These departments survive by donations, dinners, and bingo. The
state and cities cover the expense for the paid fire fighters, but
what do they budget in funding? Our police departments receive budgets
of up to a half million dollars per year. even though they remain
the highest revenue maker for the city and states. Our volunteer
services are in far more need of new equipment, than a $50,000 equipped,
unmarked police vehicle that spends most of it's time catching speeders.
Crime is easy to create, but fire can create itself, and it won't
be an unnecessarily budgeted officer saving you. It will be a volunteer
fire fighter or an EMT.
Sky High Productions Inc. is offering
six limited edition prints, from
internationally recognized artist Bryan Fleming. Half of all proceeds
will be donated to local fire departments.
Why would "the city" need to do research
to determine the effects of parking on downtown churches? Here
let me save you some money and trouble. Every church in the downtown
area has feasible parking. With the exception of a few churches,
most have there own parking lots or utilize the street and business
parking, during the off hours. Besides any parking concern over
churches would be on mainly Sundays. I myself, along with others,
live in the downtown area seven days a week. I pay two hundred
and forty dollars yearly for a place to park my car. This is something
I am not happy with. Since I have to walk, three blocks to get
to my car every time I need it.
On July 7, I hope VDOT(The Department of
Transportation) learned an important factor in carrying out their
tasks. A group of men began a small reconstruction job on the I-81
bridge above Martinsburg Pike. This backed up traffic for over five
miles to the Route 37 exit in Kernstown. Making many drivers very
frustrated and stuck in the ninety degree heat. Trapped in their
hot vehicles, like pizzas in the oven. Yelling and cursing the workers
when passing by.The only question is why. Why would you want to
expose people to this dangerous and stressful situation? Why as
a VDOT employee, would you want to work all day on a hot asphalt
road that doubles the effects of the heat. Why not get some lights.
If you don't have any, buy them. Set up at night when it's cooler.
There's less traffic on the road. No irate, screaming drivers. Turn
on the lights and annoy everyone sleeping.
Where is everyone? When are they showing
up? Didn't anyone advertise this? How much did you lose? These were
all questions being said last weekend throughout the area. With
the disappointing turnouts at two major music festival and a few
concerts, one has to wonder what it takes to get people interested
in music. All you ever here is there's nothing to do in northern
Virginia. That's because when there is, no one comes to give support.
People lose money & they don't try again.
Sky High Productions is trying to create something that doesn't
exist here...a music scene. Do you ever wonder why bands make it
on tv and radio. Because of the local support to the music scene.
If you create a music scene, the scene creates rock stars. Look
at the examples from big music scene areas: Richmond has launch
Cracker, Timberland, Missy Elliot, plus five more. Charlottesville
gave us Dave Matthews, Everything and a few others. DC & the
Metro area have launched many and don't forget what & who Seattle
The Sky High End of Summer Blast music festival showcased 12 local
Winchester bands that have the potential to be in heavy rotation
on the radio. That's one of those songs that's played incredibly
too much and drives you crazy every time you hear it. So why aren't
we hearing about these bands? The same reason big stars back out
of shows...lack of support.
The next question is why are people not supporting the scene. Let's
look at the only function last weekend that did extremely well (as
always) the wine festival at Great Meadows. Which had music and
alcohol. Stompin', the concert in Strasburg and the End of Summer
Blast advertised no alcohol. The Blues House Showcase was a complete
success, and of course, they advertised beer and went through quite
a few kegs.
For my parents and a few others, I tried to prove a non alcohol
function could work. What cost me a large amount of money to find
out was NO IT CAN'T! I was told at a local bar this week "Without
alcohol, you're just a Girl Scout Jamboree. If you can't get drunk.,
they won't remember it. But once they get drunk, it's forgotten
anyway." Over 100,000 people new about Sky High's festival
alone. We sold tickets that were not even used. We had thousands
of verbal commitments. What about Stompin' who advertised nationwide!
I've asked people this week about the festival and they say...
"Aw yea. I'm gonna go to that. When is it?"
"It was last Saturday!"
Sky High's next festival advertising budget will not be spent on
promotion. It will be spent on enormously huge guys to kick in doors,
slap remotes out of hands, and drag people to the festival.
Ever since the serious beating of a pedestrian
last year, which was an isolated incident springing from an argument
at a local establishment. The downtown mall has been patrolled like
the Gaza Strip. Being a resident and business owner on the mall.
I am in no way, considering that the mall should not be patrolled.
I just think the way it is being patrolled is getting severely out
of hand. Patrol cars speed down the mall five to ten times an hour.
Young teenagers are being harassed and subjected to full body searches.
Bike patrols are riding through walking pedestrians. You do not
break the law, to enforce it! Any traffic down the mall, causes
an immediate risk to pedestrians. Especially when the speeds of
vehicles are over the normal speed limit. This is a growing concern
throughout the city. For so long, enforcement has tried to keep
bikes and skateboards off the mall. This is a petty law, that is
worthless and not needed. Is this a problem on the D.C.'s national
mall? Of course not, and they have thousands more pedestrians. I
am simply trying to say, with our current laws. During normal business
hours. No patrol car should drive down the mall. No bike cop should
ride down the mall. Unless there is an emergency situation. During
after hours, the speeds of transit down the mall, needs to be reduced
Why do we call ourselves civilized? Because
of our elaborate toys or our intelligent intellects? Because we have
a vocabulary or can buy food? Maybe because we can comprehend and
express our feelings. Go to work. Live independently. Is that why?
Do these things make us civilized? What about the communication skills.
The sharing and compassion. Getting along with each other. With ourselves.
Being civil and respecting others. These our violent times. You can
no longer brush off a verbal threat as a loud bark. Times are very
A parents greatest accomplishment is an intelligent, living child.
Now children do drugs, have sex and kill each other by the age of
ten. In elementary school I could run from a fight. Now children have
gun fights at the playground. Can we blame it on our existence. Aren't
we all products of the environment. I used to enjoy watching the fights
on the Jerry Springer Show, but now it's so common that it's boring.
Besides who needs television. A trip to a local bar will always produce
some sort of confrontation for your amusement and someone else's heartache.
As much as I try to point the finger. It's not the agitators that
create the incidents. It's our ability to cope with the agitators.
We all look for hope and faith somewhere. We need something that we
can depend on. Our fix to get us by. It doesn't have to be a drug,
belief or action. But whatever the reason, we will create a fix to
cope. No matter what society takes away or deems illegal, there will
be a way to cope. Chemical, physical or mental. If it doesn't exist.
We'll make it. In a way that answers my own question. We adapt to
the elements and environments. Educating ourselves from the mistakes
and chances we take. By definition, this makes us civilized, but our
actions still classify us as animals, beasts and savages.
We cannot and will not be a collective. No matter how much we dream.
Life is not a team sport. It is an individual game. Even if we are
one of many players on the same team. Personal agendas have already
been planned. A smile, like every thing has two sides. If you're hindsight
is developed. It's only a defensive move. If you are clueless, either
side could destroy you. Like the raindrop that hits the ground. Life
can be over before you know it.
I know there has been some great opposition
to the downtown jail and I would like to add some more. I have lived
across from the jail for almost four years. I have a unique view of
the entire property. In those four years I have seen a lot of occurrences.
I've watched the neighborhood become one of the highest crime rated
areas. Even with two police officers living on both sides of the neighborhood,
it has done nothing to deter the crime.
Here is a basic day at the jail. One to twelve police cruisers are
dropping off & picking up. One to three paramedic vehicles (rescue
squads or fire trucks) are stopping by to do what ever it is they
do. Usually with sirens on. Some of the most unruly characters are
hanging out at all hours of the day and night waiting for rides to
their "jobs". Every night crams the streets up with cars
for the people attending ASAP and other various programs. If you're
lucky you might get an accident, fight or argument on the street.
This brings almost 24 hour traffic to the building. Now ad over 100
more reforming convicts and the staff to handle them. Where should
we build our next parking garage?
My vehicles and property have been broken into and tampered with on
numerous occasions. I have had to add many security devices to just
feel safe. The area around the jail is filled with single and multiple
family dwellings. Unfortunately most rent only, but I am sure they
have experienced their fill of noise from the jail and crime from
I'm not here to convince you on the success rate of reforming a convict.
I will just point to the arrest around the corner on South Kent of
a man acquitted for murder and convicted more than two times for distribution
was busted with massive amounts of every drug on the market and thousands
of dollars of mine and my neighbors stolen property. I'm sorry...it
takes a certain person to be a criminal and there's a good chance
they will remain a criminal for life.
My point is, my life and my neighbors lives are compromised now. If
you enlarge and ruin one of Winchester's oldest landmarks this will
further compromise our lives and lower the property value of every
property the city has spent years trying to increase in the area.
Putting a crime reform center of that magnitude in that location is
like having AA meetings in the back room of a liquor store.
I personally, will be the first to file a class action against the
city and county for the reckless endangerment of my life. I'm sorry
I forgot. This is now a country where the ones in charge don't listen
to the majority of the speech.
I just found out I have to go to my second
funeral in less than 2 months for another person I called a friend.
I guess I wasn't that good of a friend. Because they both died of
heroin overdoses and I didn't even know they ever were using it! What
the hell would possess someone to even consume something like that?
Doesn't it have a ratio like 10 out of 10 addicts die? I have been
in the entertainment business now for almost 5 years. Not once have
I ever seen the stuff or have even been offered by anyone. But I keep
hearing there is a BIG epidemic and I keep finding out about people
that have touched my life among others, keep dying. WHY!
I know a letter to the editor doesn't reach my target audience, but
I am furious! I cannot stand anyone who lowers their self to live
a life like this. I can't preach to them. They hide secretly among
their kind. I have no patience for anyone like this. I don't have
a reference of hard narcotics or overdosing. I can't explain or understand
the infatuation, the benefit or the thrill. What I can understand
is the pain it causes me and anyone else just to here the news of
There are too many factors in life that already cause death. Why would
you want to do something that any factor of the whole experience could
To everyone that reads this...If you know anyone that is using or
pushing substances that can kill. Please take what ever action you
feel appropriate. If it's turning your head...I hope you can live
with it, because I can't.