Your editorial on the backpedaling of The Cavalier Daily on their offensive comic strip [Read This First, March 18, 2007] was most interesting. You are right, Christians do sometimes lose their heads when their faith is assaulted, but isn’t it wonderful that with Christians at least the cartoonists don’t lose theirs?
Opposing the details
I am glad C-VILLE considers the matter of a state and national historic district for Fifeville worth coverage [“Opposing history: State approves Fifeville historic district,” Development News, March 25, 2008]. I am sorry, however, to see much that is misleading in your item on that district’s March 20 review by Department of Historic Resources boards in Richmond.
To begin with, no one who made the effort to speak at that meeting opposes history, nor do any of the property owners who took the trouble to file 20 notarized letters of protest with DHR. Those speakers and letter-senders oppose mistreating history, making up history, and imposing historic designation on a community that repeatedly said no to it.
Regarding the “Castle Hill” aspect of the “Fifeville-Castle Hill” nomination reviewed, your reporter wrote that I and others “objected to the name, arguing it’s an anachronism.” No one argued any such thing. We objected to “Castle Hill” because it was a fiction—something confirmed at the meeting by both DHR’s director and one of the consultants who prepared the nomination.
Regarding testimony by former City Councilor and Vice Mayor Kendra Hamilton, your reporter wrote that she “asked the board to vote down the district, arguing that it did not include enough on the subject [of African-American history].” Ms. Hamilton did note that lack. But as she explained eloquently in her opening statement, the motivation for her remarkable request was the failure of city officials (including herself) to meet terms they had set for themselves respecting response to community concerns and questions posed by the incorporation into the nomination of material taken from a protest letter I had written.
Regarding Jane Covington, the lone speaker who supported the nomination, your reporter wrote that she is “a Fifeville homeowner who is interested in the state and federal tax credits that come with historic designation in order to help pay for renovations.” Ms. Covington’s home is in Albemarle County. She is interested in tax credits because she is a for-profit restorer to whose business plan they are crucial.
The matter of a Fifeville historic district became a contentious mess because those in charge consistently failed to focus on detail, sort disparate issues and interests accurately, or hear what people were really saying. To get that story right, a reporter must do better than the mess-makers. Careless coverage will only aggravate the civic corrosion already caused.
Antoinette W. Roades