Red scare

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Thank you for the article on the project proposed for the current RSC site at West Main and Ridge/McIntire [“City ‘asks’ for more affordable housing,” Development News, September 4, 2007]. You were very diplomatic in your article when you addressed the city’s “request“ that the developer contribute more. Perhaps that is the mark of a good journalist. I can only find one way to label the city’s stance on this issue and that is to call it what it really is: extortion. 

Let’s look at the current proposed project. Private investors want to build a multimillion dollar nine-story building in the Downtown area of the city. In an area that is already filled with shops, upper-end condos, a U.S. Court House, restaurants and other businesses. The building will generate enormous amounts of tax revenue for the city, including: real estate taxes, business taxes and sales taxes, to name a few. The likely occupants of the building will place very little burden on city services. Their school-age children, if they have any, will probably go to private schools. They will not likely place high demands on police, fire and EMS services. Other services such as water and gas will not only be paid for by the occupants of the building but the income will subsidize others in the city that do not pay for these services. The developer wants to spend millions of (private) dollars on a project that will benefit the city for decades. (The bastards…how dare they try to inject capitalism into “Berkley on the Blue Ridge,” a.k.a. Charlottesville.)

When another project in the Cherry Avenue area was recently denied for lack of “mixed use,” we got a look at how the city wants to achieve what they are incapable of producing on their own. They want control of the project but they can’t pay for the project. I’ve got news for them, the investors don’t have spend their money HERE!

It seems that whenever Norris and the other socialists on City Council take a break from passing anti-war resolutions, visiting sister cities in Europe  and conducting other  U.S. State Department-like activity from Charlottesville City Hall, they attempt to stifle the growth of the city’s economy. Way to go guys. Lenin would be proud.
 
Jon McKay
Albemarle County


Know more about Nestle

In response to the Nestle letter to the editor last week [“Browning the water,” Mailbag, September 4, 2007], I would like readers to check out the knowmore.org entry on this company. Anytime a multinational corporation feels threatened of losing their foothold in a market, they resort to such a PR form letter. Once people learn what kind of company Nestle really is, however, Jane Lazgin’s attempt to set the record straight comes off as rather laughable. In fact, no matter how hard she argues for Nestle to keep polluting the world with plastic waste, using valuable resources to make the bottles, and unnecessary bottled water, there will never be any reason for Nestle, Coke (Dasani), Pepsi (Aquafina), Deer Park, and others to exist—other than to make money for their owners by trashing the world and tricking consumers into throwing away their money.

First of all, no one needs to buy bottled water when they can buy a water filter and their own steel or aluminum container to drink from. Secondly, the water that Nestle, Coke, Pepsi, and others market is nowhere near as safe or pure as they suggest. Commondreams.org has an excellent article about how New Yorkers could not tell the difference between bottle and tap water in a blind taste test. The NRDC has a report on its website exposing the contaminants in bottled water. It is also well documented in the news this year how the big two (Coke and Pepsi) have had to change their labeling to reflect the fact that their contents are simply purified tap water.

Thirdly, the amount of oil and energy used to make plastic bottled water far exceeds the benefits of recycling said item. In fact, there is no need to even make this product since water filters eliminate the need for plastic bottles. Fourthly, the statement that only a third of a percent of the total waste in landfills is taken by these bottles is disingenuous, because on the knowmore site, Nestle is revealed to have partnered with its competitors in order to insure their mutual needs and goals are met. So much for capitalism creating competition, right?

Finally, the desperation of Lazgin and Nestle to preserve their market-share is nothing short of reprehensible when compared to the environmental damage and dodgy financial donations their company has been making in the past decades. Nestle is not truly committed to environmental matters. If they were, Lazgin and company would withdraw their products from the shelves, and release some public awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the hazards of bottled water. It is not up to multinational corporations to tell us what to drink, or to lie and say we mostly drink from their bottles and cans. At some point, people will have to boycott these companies so they finally get the message that lying, and destroying the planet and our people just to make a profit, is not acceptable behavior.

Kai Safran
Charlottesville

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