Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tommy Smiegel has common sense

I would like to extend a hardy Bravo Zulu to Tommy Smiegel for doing the right thing.
Why is it that Tommy Smiegel is the only council member with the political will to say what most every Norfolk citizen is thinking?

This is not complicated.  Even if they can't make Councilman Riddick resign, every member and the Mayor could all come out and ask for his resignation.  This isn't hard.  When an elected official owes $250K in back taxes over a span of 14 years, shouldn't he be expected to resign?  And shouldn't other elected officials be expected to lead?  Not in Bizarro Norfolk.  Here we put our heads in the sand and hope the problems disappear.

When you have a backbone and aren't afraid to do what is right, leading isn't hard.

It's just plain common sense,.

Amazon Prime is even BETTER than I thought

Guess what I discovered today?  You can share the benefits of Amazon Prime with up to 4 members of the same household. 

Holy Free Two Day Shipping Batman!

If you have Amazon Prime, commence to sharing with your significant other ASAP.

If you don't have Amazon Prime, run, don't walk to the nearest computer and sign up because it just got better. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

On a lighter note - The Pro Bowl makes Pre-Season Watchable

Today is the Pro Bowl and no one cares.  I love watching football both the NFL and the collegiate games.  I have a certain affinity for a college team on the banks of the Severn River.  While I am not a die hard fan, I do consider myself pretty "committed" when it comes to the gridiron game.  But for the life of me I can not bring myself to care about the Pro Bowl.   My four year old asked me if there was any football games playing today and I said no.  I would rather watch the pre-season.  At least there some guys are trying to make the team and give 100%.  The Pro Bowl is four quarters of a light scrimmage in Hawaii where no one cares, no one gives more than 50% and no one gets hurt.  I would rather do laundry and that is what I happened to do today while 5,000 miles away several dozen Pro-Bowlers pretended to play a game.    

Got a response......sort of

Well, my first email to the Mayor asking for Councilman Riddick's resignation has thus far garnered this as a  response.

But my second email to the city manager's office resulted in another acknowledgement AND the following email response from Sharon McDonald:

Mr. Kinnear---I have received a copy of your inquiry from the City Manager’s office and have been asked to reply because my office handles the assessment of business taxes and the renewals of business licenses.  You ask two questions which I have paraphrased below:

  1. Because the COR office reported that Mr. Riddick is delinquent in his taxes, why have his wages not been garnished to pay the outstanding taxes?
  2. Why was Mr. Riddick issued a renewal of his business license even though he was delinquent in his taxes? 

The first question is best answered by the Norfolk City Treasurer but I am going to take a stab at a reply because you have been waiting some time for one.  I believe the CT will tell you that the delinquent taxes that are mentioned in the news article are related to Mr. Riddick’s business and not to him personally.  Therefore, I believe it would not be possible for the CT to garnish his wages because there are no personal tax delinquencies.  I am, however, copying CT Tom Moss on this reply and he may wish to provide further enlightenment on the matter. 

The answer to your second question is that recently the City Council passed an ordinance which prohibits the renewal of a business license unless all applicable taxes are paid.  This calendar year (2012) is the first year that this ordinance will be in effect.  If Mr. Riddick has not paid the delinquent taxes and/or reached some sort of payment arrangement with the CT, my office will not renew his business license for 2012.  However, my office does not have the enforcement capabilities to close a business if it is operating without a license.  There is, of course, a possibility that this may occur.  The deadline for renewing a business license without penalty is March 1. 

I hope these answers appropriately address your concerns.  If, however, you wish to continue this discussion, please feel free to email me directly.  

Thank you. 

Sharon M. McDonald
Norfolk Commissioner of Revenue
(757) 664-7888
(757) 635-0040

That was nice  to get a response.  While infuriating, I guess I can accept the co-mingling of personal and business assets has to remain independent.  But the business license answer is crazy.  Does that mean prior to this year if I owed the city $10K and applied for my license renewal, it would have been granted?  So I sent Ms. McDonald, the following email:

Ms. McDonald,

Thank you for your timely response.

My question now is, prior to the passing of this ordinance, what has been the city’s response to delinquent business taxes?  If license renewal has been independent of tax collection, what has been in place to require payment of taxes?


Adam Kinnear

I will let you know if I hear anything back. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

What is more disappointing?

Depending on your awareness of local Norfolk politics, you may or may not be aware that Councilman Paul Riddick owes the IRS a quarter of a million dollars in unpaid taxes, fines and interest.

As shocking as this story is the more shocking part is the reaction of the city manager, Mayor and other councilmen which has been absolutely NOTHING.

Not one word of condemnation, not one word of "hey Paul you really need to resign."   Since the story broke in the Pilot, there has been nothing from any government official.  Maybe I am wrong and if I am please let me know but if there has been I have not seen anything in the paper or local news. So I was a little disappointed there.  Enough that I sent the following email to the Mayor:

Mr. Mayor,
 It is obvious Councilman Riddick has no plans to spare the city further embarrassment by stepping down.  I am curious when will you publicly call for his resignation?

Adam Kinnear
Norfolk, VA

I got the following response from the Mayor's office:


Then I recalled that the city policy was that city employees that owed taxes would have their wages garnished.  A quick review shows that Mr. Riddick owes the city approximately $10K.  That struck me as odd that the city was not enforcing a tax collection policy on a council member.  So I sent the following email to the city manager Marcus Jones (no relation to my brother-in-law):

Mr. Jones,
  It was my understanding that your policy was that city employees who were delinquent in city taxes would have their wages garnished.  In today's Virginian-Pilot, "according to Charles Hartig, spokesman for Commissioner of Revenue Sharon McDonald, Riddick owes $6,718 in back city taxes: $4,423 in business personal property taxes, $387 in taxes for a car he bought for his business, and $1,908 in real estate taxes."
  Can you please explain why Councilman Riddick was exempt from this policy?

Adam Kinnear
Norfolk, VA

I received the following response:

Dear Mr. Kinnear:

The City Manager’s office is in receipt of your email. 

Courtney B. Thrift
Administrative Secretary-Constituent Relations
City of Norfolk-City Managers Office
1101 City Hall Building, 810 Union Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
757-664-4239 (fax)

Since it has been a week since my original email I decided to follow it up with the following:

Mr. Jones,

I appreciate the acknowledgement but I would really like an answer to my original question.  Since it has been a week without an answer, I have thought of another question.  How was Mr. Riddick issued a business when he was behind in his city taxes?  I have talked to several business owners who have told me that licenses are never issued until taxes are paid.

Adam Kinnear

I will let you know when this letter is acknowledged.   I am just curious why the local media is not digging into this story.  There seems to be a lot more than someone forgetting to pay their taxes. One things is for sure: it has been very disappointing to see the lack of adult leadership in this city.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Really, Norfolk? Really?

So the city of Norfolk is contemplating taking a completely dysfunctional entity like the CSB and making it a city agency?


This takes the insanity of city government to a new level.  Shut the whole thing down and be done with it.

The new city motto: Welcome to Norfolk, if you think we are incompetent now wait until you see what we do tomorrow.

Navy Joins the Big East

So it looks like Navy football is going to join the Big East in 2015.
My reaction can be summed up in one word: STUPID.

Assuming the conference even exists in 2015, I fail to see any upside to this move. 
Is Navy going win the conference championship and go a BCS bowl?  Um, no.  That will never happen.

Navy prepare for a prepetual life of 3-9 football.  I can not wait. It will be awesome.

As I look at a conference with two divisions of six teams (again assuming it is still around)  I see a schedule of 5 division games, 3 games against the other division, Army, Air Force and Notre Dame which brings us to 11.  That gives Navy a grand total of 1 flex game to schedule. 

Hm, I wonder how this will turn out.  Oh wait, I already know.  Army tried this before and joined Conference USA.  It was such a resounding success that they dropped out of the conference and went back to independent so they could have a some flexibility in their schedule and not get their ass (no pun intended) handed it to them every season.

Prediction, Navy enjoys five years of 3-9 or 4-8 mediocrity and bails out in 2020.

The Big East is looking for a new name.  For Navy it should be the Big Stupid. 

Why the Blog

I am sure as you stumbled upon this blog the first thing you thought was:

Why is this guy blogging and why do I want to read anything he has to say?

Excellent questions!

1.  First I have started this blog because my wife is sick and tired of hearing me complain and asked that I share my opinions with the rest of the world. SPOILER ALERT!  I am probably not going to come across as a happy person and at times this will not seem to be a happy place. 

2.  Because it should be entertaining.  You may or may not agree with what I have to say but you will probably be amused. 

Now you are probably asking, OK but what is he going to blog about?

Another great question.

The answer is EVERYTHING.  Or at least everything that I have an opinion on which encompasses a lot.  A quick thumbnail, I will blog about my family, football, the Navy, Navy football, politics, Norfolk, Norfolk politics and whatever else strikes my fancy.  

So sit back and enjoy.