Original Bacon's Rebellion
1676, a Henrico farmer by the name of Nathaniel
Bacon led a series of expeditions to defend the
frontier against Indian attack. Raising his own
militia, he acted in defiance of the colonial
governor, Sir William Berkeley, who preferred to
deal with the Indians more diplomatically. Elected
to the House of Burgesses, Bacon also pressed the
interests of the small farmers and common people
in the colonial assembly. In a "Declaration
of the People" -- the first expression of
popular sovereignty in the English colonies -- he
accused Berkeley of raising unjust taxes,
elevating his cronies to positions of high office,
exercising a monopoly in the beaver trade and
interfering with his campaigns against the
Indians. The power struggle between Bacon and
Berkeley led to a series of armed skirmishes
culminating with the siege and burning of
Jamestown, the colonial capital. Bacon's death of
"bloodie flux" and "lousey"
disease put an end to the first rebellion against
English authority in the North American colonies.
Jim Bacon has no
known relationship to Nathaniel Bacon, and he
bears no grievance towards Virginia's Indian
tribes. However, he does live in Henrico
County, and he does share his namesake's
predilections for shaking up the established
Association for the Preservation of Virginia
Antiquities web page on Bacon's
Castle in Surry County.)
Place of Birth: New London, Conn.
Hometowns: Washington, D.C., and Norfolk.
of Virginia, B.A. in History (1975)
Johns Hopkins University, M.A. in History
College, M.A. in Creative Writing (1981)
Martinsville Bulletin; reporter;
covered Martinsville City Council, Patrick
County Board of Supervisors, furniture and
Roanoke Times & World News;
reporter; worked in New River Bureau covering
Blacksburg Town Council and Radford City
Council; then worked in the Roanoke office
writing about the coal and railroad
AMVEST Corp.; manager of corporate
communications in the Charlottesville
Virginia Business; Editor; member of
the magazine's start-up team in Richmond; in
charge of the magazine's editorial content.
Virginia Business; Editor &
Associate Publisher; took on the
responsibility of originating and producing
Virginia Business; Publisher &
Editor in Chief; CEO of the magazine
Bacon's Rebellion; Founder, Publisher,
Editor, Proof Reader, Web Editor, chief cook
and bottle washer.
- present: Bacon & Eggheads, owner.
R'Biz; editor, and partner with Richmond.com.
philosophy articulated by Bacon's Rebellion
is based on the following guiding principles:
markets and the individual pursuit of enlightened
self-interest are the most efficient means of
allocating resources and creating wealth – most
of the time.
occasion, the vitality of the economy and well
being of a community require collective action,
either in the civic realm or in the governmental
is a necessary evil which requires constant
oversight. Even at the state and local level, it
falls prey to organized special interests seeking
to acquire funds, influence regulations or curry
some other favor.
institutions are slower to adapt to changing
circumstances than are business institutions.
Governments lack the discipline of the marketplace
– failure does not result in bankruptcy,
liquidation or takeover by a stronger entity.
institutions also have no clear "bottom
line." Governments have nothing comparable to
sales, profits, return on investment and other
vital measures – as defined by Generally
Accepted Accounting Principles – that investors
use to evaluate corporations.
managers of all institutions, whether business,
educational, civic or governmental, tend to shun
accountability. The rules of governance, by which
citizens hold these entities accountable, must be
constantly updated. And leaders of these
institutions must be subject to continual
proper accounting of the general welfare must
include the health of the environment.
proper focus of social justice is to create equal
rights under the law and to open up economic
opportunities for all citizens -- not to mandate
six great years, the time has come to step down from the
Bacon's Rebellion e-zine. It's been fun,
rewarding -- and exhausting.
Will Report the News?
this for irony: The knowledge economy craves information
more than ever, but newspapers and print media are
imploding. Where will Virginians get their news in the Internet
Tysons task force on land use has articulated a
compelling vision for the future of Virginia's largest
-- and most dysfunctional -- business district. Just one
problem: It's not clear who will pay for it.
proposed $600 million investment in a "smart
grid" is the first step toward an electric power
system in which conservation and renewables have equal
standing with with coal and nukes.
Salvaging the Mill Towns.
years and $400 million has failed to transform the
economies of Southside and Southwest Virginia. Until
leaders confront dispersed human settlement patterns,
they will never address root causes.
City of Squares. The
historical core of Savannah, Ga., is one of the great
urban places in the United States. Modern-day Virginia
could learn a few lessons from James Oglethorpe's unique
War on Sprawl.
Jackson had his "kitchen" cabinet. Tim Kaine
has his "sub" cabinet: five secretaries whose
job is to marshal state resources to promote smart
and Prosperity. Ever
wonder why New York is full of neurotics and L.A. full
of surfer dudes? In his latest book, Richard Florida
suggests that regions, like people, have personalities
-- with big implications for prosperity.
The da Vinci
Center at Virginia Commonwealth University is
elevating product development to an
inter-disciplinary art. It may well be the future
of American innovation.
Battle of Fredericksburg. A
Yankee invader... er, investor... wants $30 million in
incentives to build a giant waterpark
in Fredericksburg. Local foes say
they are fighting to save the city's tax base -- and its
Tribune of the People.
two high-profile lawsuits, Patrick McSweeney has
defended the interests of the common citizen against
power grabs by the political class. Virginians owe him a
bigger debt than they'll ever know.
Shoot All The Cars.
While Virginians seem hell bent upon raising taxes
and building roads, Ameri-kiwi Claude Lewenz
envisions a different path to a superior quality
of life: Auto-free villages.
transportation system needs more money. But how we raise
the money is just as important as how much. Only a user-pays system can break the political gridlock.
overhaul of the Commonwealth of Virginia's antiquated IT system
is a textbook study of how government can improve
performance and save money -- without a dime of taxpayer
are compelling reasons for people to ditch their cars and
use mass transit. Unfortunately, auto
companies are reinventing themselves while the transit
sector stands still.
departure of the R-Braves baseball team is no great loss
to Richmond. Indeed, the region should take the tomahawk
to other groups of marginal value and invest in
institutions of knowledge creation.
capital is the driving force of prosperity in a
globally competitive economy. Soon, regions will vie for
it like they compete for investment capital. Will
Virginia be prepared?
Matter Migration. A chart ranking the 50 states by
Migration Winners and Losers. A spreadsheet
ranking Virginia localities by net in-migration.
for the 21st Century.
Virginians embrace lifelong learning,
children will no longer progress in chronological
lockstep, study a mere nine months a year and confine
their education to school buildings.
to increase energy efficiency, ward off global warming
and save the planet? Then send in the capitalists. They
have the creativity, resources and drive to get the job
Crupi is right about one thing: Richmond's regional
leaders lack strategic vision. They can correct that
deficiency by throwing out Crupi's policy prescriptions
and doing their own thinking.
labor markets are Virginia's unappreciated competitive
edge. They speed the redeployment of workers from low
value-added businesses to high-performance enterprises.
Forget Dems and
Republicans. The people who run Virginia are
the vested interests that hire the lobbyists and pass out
campaign donations. Their never-changing mission: to
buttress the status quo.
Government and Prosperity. Virginia
can't tax its way to prosperity, but starving critical assets like roads and
schools won't create wealth either. The solution: Demand
productivity and innovation from state and municipal
corporate recruitment strategy still delivers
results. That's the problem. By neglecting home-grown
entrepreneurial companies, Virginia is
falling short of its economic potential.
Bug in the Ointment. The
relocation of Volkswagen USA to Fairfax County is a P.R.
bonanza for Virginia. But is the region, already
buckling under growth, prepared to handle the
influx of 400 more jobs?
are two ways to increase the standard of living:
Increase income and reduce the cost of living. Virginia
policy makers focus on the one and not the other.
needs fresh thinking about how to build more
prosperous, livable and sustainable communities in a
globally competitive economy. The "Economy
4.0" series is a start.
Performance in a Flat World
is no easy path to prosperity and sustainability in a
globally competitive economy, only the relentless
pursuit of productivity and innovation. Virginia must
bend every institution to that end.
the Density Demon.
no reason that higher density has to mean worse traffic
congestion. In the face of population growth and
commercial development, Arlington County has kept its
of yore were quiet, musty places run by bookish
schoolmarms. Today these activity centers pack in the
visitors, create economic value and even help transform
human settlement patterns.
James A. Bacon
Next Transportation Crisis.
federal highway trust fund has blown through its cash
balance, and gasoline tax receipts are down. In the
years ahead Virginia will be hard pressed to make up the
impact of a Midlothian commuter rail project on the
Richmond region could be enormous -- if Chesterfield
County puts into place the necessary zoning and special
Trucks and Bike Lanes.
on the James has solved the intractable "design by
fire truck" issue without sacrificing its
commitment to a pedestrian-oriented community. The
result: an impressive network of bike paths.
Excesses of Affluence.
are addicted to hyper-consumption. The stuff we buy
doesn't make us any happier -- we throw most of it away.
But it does mortgage our financial future and despoil
Johns has found a way to make growth to pay for itself:
Pay $7,500 per house in proffers, issue $86 million in
CDA bonds, and sell houses to affluent retirees with no
children in school.
Heritage Foundation paper attacking the Journey Through
Hallowed Ground as a tool of Virginia's landed elite is
unsupported by the facts. Worse, it slights the
Journey's important contributions.
Hallowed Ground. Cate
Wyatt is reinventing the economy of Virginia's northern
piedmont. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground weaves
together heritage tourism, sustainable agriculture, landscape
preservation and Main Street renewal.
Virginia children to excel in school? Spending $300 million a year on universal
pre-K may not be the best solution. Try teaching
kids to eat right, get enough sleep and stay away from the
21: Earthship Westerdam.
Westerdam isn't as self-contained as a spaceship, but
it's as close as anything you'll find on the planet.
Virginians have much to learn from the cruise liner about
sustainable human settlement patterns.
Man's Trash... is
another man's energy-rich biomass. Warrenton Mayor
George Fitch views the county landfill as the key to energy
has one of the most electricity-intensive economies on
the planet. One reason: State energy policies don't
foster conservation and energy efficiency.
A mutant offspring of a
tortured political process, the transportation
compromise before the General Assembly will do
more harm than good. Conferees should strangle it
in the crib.
Politics. Dominion touts electric
re-regulation as a way to ensure energy
independence for Virginia. But its vision requires
more power plants, not conservation, energy
efficiency or renewable fuels.
14. The crucible of innovation in corporate real estate
is a non-descript office building in San Jose, Calif.
Inside, Mark Golan is redefining the relationship
between worker and work space.
Virginia could face blackouts by 2011. But is it
necessary to run a high-voltage transmission line
through Virginia's piedmont to avert them? Many
questions remain unanswered.
United States as Margaritaville. This
interview with Jim Young is the second of three
Q&As with commercial real estate visionaries
exploring the changing relationship between
workers and the workplace.
Oregon Solution. Don't
take it on my word that mileage fees and
congestion charges are the best replacement for the
faltering gas tax. See what they're saying in the
land of Birkenstocks and lumberjacks.
All Else Fails, Try Capitalism. Community
leaders in Tysons Corner are at wit's end to find ways
to reduce traffic congestion. One tool they haven't
considered is congestion pricing. Here's how such a
scheme might work.
Chat with Mark Dixon, CEO of Regus
is the first of three Q&As with commercial
real estate visionaries exploring the changing
relationship between workers and the workplace.
by Fire Truck.
can't developers today create walkable communities like
the small towns of the 1920s? Go ask your fire marshal.
Such Thing as Free Parking.
parking is like a free lunch: Someone pays,
whether they know it or not. Trouble is, the hidden
subsidy increases driving and worsens traffic
power plants and transmission lines provide
Virginians with relatively cheap, reliable electricity,
but they have hidden risks and costs. It's time to
transition to a system of distributed generation.
is an energy-rich state, and the mother lode sits off
the coast. Electric power generated by off-shore wind turbines
could slice our dependence on polluting fossil fuels
within a decade or two.
tame scattered development and the ills it creates,
Frederick County concentrates growth in an Urban
Development Area. The idea works so well that House
Republicans want to take it statewide.
meaningful transportation reform would make fast-growth
counties responsible for their secondary roads. The
trick is coaxing them into going along.
system for building and maintaining roads has changed
little in three quarters of a century. Some people think
it needs more money. Others think it needs an overhaul.
congestion pricing works in Sweden, why not in Virginia?
Tolls that vary by congestion levels
could dampen demand for added roadway capacity while
raising new revenue.
Congestion Pricing Primer. Answers?
You want answers? I
asked the U.S. Department of Transportation about its
congestion- pricing policies. The answers were so good I
had to reproduce them whole.
Dog that Didn't Bark.
the hound of Holmesian lore, former VDOT Commissioner
Philip Shucet is keeping unusually quiet. That's a clue
for deciphering the shifting momentum of the
Saunders has mastered a skill vital to Virginia's future:
transforming suburban decay into urban cool. His talents
are on display at Virginia Beach's Town Center.
7: Growth that
Pays for Itself.
proposed $1.3 billion development in Loudoun County
would contribute $1 billion toward roads, schools and public
facilities. A great deal for the public? Not everyone
Lightning Rod. VDOT sparked a storm last week when
it released a
traffic-impact analysis of development planned in
Loudoun County. Agree or disagree with the findings, the
debate is healthy.
TIFs and TDMs. Lawmakers
are overlooking a huge source of revenue to underwrite
new transportation projects -- the increase in property
values made possible by the transportation improvements
Got Game. Virginia's
new secretary of commerce and trade is eager to help Tim
Kaine put his own imprint on Virginia's economic
development policy. Likely starting points: energy and
spend multi-millions of dollars paving parking spaces. Most of
the investment in asphalt sits idle. Worse, sprawling
parking lots destroy any sense of community or place.
Virginians grumble a lot, nothing ever quite suits us.
But the best single measurement of well being -- growth
in per capita income -- indicates that we're progressing
far better than the nation as a whole.
METRO rail to Dulles Airport will enrich select landowners to
the tune of billions of dollars. Why, then, are Fairfax
County commuters being forced to pay so much of the
are full of sidewalks that go nowhere and nobody uses.
What are people thinking? Why do we persist in building
the Chopra Block. Cutting
costs in the Medicaid system may sound an odd task for
Virginia's Secretary of Technology. But that's only if
you don't know Aneesh Chopra.
stringing disconnected pods of development along our
main roads, local planning policies force Virginians into their cars and
aggravate traffic congestion.
As an alternative to funding mega-sized road and rail
projects, Virginia should give entrepreneurs more
freedom to devise creative shared-ridership solutions.
can be managed, says Frans Johansson, author of "The
Medici Effect." And what individuals and
enterprises can do, so can entire communities.
the Big Idea?
people at Play don't just talk creativity -- they live
it. When they advise clients to tear down
"walls" and "boundaries," they apply
the nostrum to themselves -- quite literally.
treated the House transportation plan as a routine story
about spending and taxes. It was so much more: House
leaders are shifting the debate to land use and
30: The Waste in
the General Assembly doesn't tackle the $200
million-a-year waste in road
maintenance, lawmakers can't even pretend to be serious about
curtailing state spending.
ABCs of SOQs.
spending in Virginia is driven by an obscure formula
known as the Standards of Quality. The system
deprives policy makers of flexibility and inflates state
is evolving toward a market-driven transportation
system. Let's pick up the pace. Here's what an
economically rational funding system would look like.
Gunst Guide to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of
regs have made a mess of real estate development,
says the creator of Innsbrook. It's time to rewrite
the rules and start over.
isn't delivering the savings that were promised to
taxpayers. Perhaps that's because it has set higher
goals for itself: providing a more robust, secure IT
Man, New Ideas.
Kaine's victory will transform Virginia's dead-end
debate over how to raise more money and build more
roads. The big new theme: How to manage travel
with $60-per-Barrel Oil.
John Watkins wants to devise a long-term energy plan for
Virginia. Let's hope that plan includes free markets,
micro-power, conservation and land use reform.
Virginia's transportation "crisis" is
really an urban design crisis in masquerade. Broad Street
in Henrico County is a case in point: The ugly,
dysfunctional retail strip is truly a road from
Under Siege -- from Within.
incidents at the University of Virginia last August were
all too real. But the administration's over-reaction
needlessly fed black students' fears and alienation.
the Global Economy, Stupid. A
"flat" world is opening Virginia's economy to
ferocious foreign competition. Business people worry
about it every day. Our candidates for statewide office
appear to be clueless.
to $3-per-gallon gasoline and NuRide's online,
ride-sharing service, carpooling could stage a big
forecasting model is the best yet devised, but it's
still grievously flawed. Virginia does not face $108 billion in
unmet transportation needs over the next 20 years.
the rest of state government had kept pace with VDOT
over the past three years, Virginia could have cut
spending by nearly $900 million. Don't tell me there's
no waste left in government!
Hour Will Never Be the Same.
is liberating workers from the tyranny of the central workplace, scrambling commuting patterns in
the process. Our transportation policies are still
Maintenance Mantra. The
Road Gang wants you to believe that the surging
maintenance budget for Virginia's roads justifies another tax
increase. Take a closer look at the numbers before you
buy their story.
Incredible Expanding Budget
Surplus. I hate to say, "I told you
so," but... I told you so. Virginia
is awash in black ink. The new budget numbers should energize
the low-tax movement.
June 14 Matters. The
politicians are poised to raise your taxes again. By
voting for anti-tax candidates in the GOP primary, you
can send a message: We insist that state government do
of the Creative Class. Richard Florida is
back. He says there's a global competition for
creative talent, and the U.S. may be squandering
its edge. But don't panic: Much of his analysis
doesn't hold up.
City. Suffolk is emerging as a leading
center of Modeling & Simulation expertise. The
Warner administration wants to leverage the
military and university assets there into a
world-class technology cluster.
Trauma. Are college tuitions escalating
out of control? Yes, they are -- but mostly for
reasons that we don't want to change.
the Tech Lobby?
You'd think that the technology sector would
be pushing for creative ways to address Virginia's
transportation "crisis". Despite having
much to gain, the techies have contributed little
to the debate.
After decades of sprawling growth, the Richmond
region has embraced mixed-use development. New
Urbanism-inspired projects are transforming the
city center and aging suburbs.
Quake. The declining value of the dollar
will directly impact interest rates, property
values and corporate competitiveness in Virginia.
That means bad news for some, potentially good for
Pols. Politicians act as if the only
solution to traffic congestion were building more
roads and rail lines. Perhaps they should stop
salivating over higher taxes long enough to read
the VTrans2025 report.
a Fitch. Warrenton Mayor George Fitch
wants to be your next governor. Outraged by waste
in government, he's the one candidate totally
committed to cutting taxes and reining in state
State, Two State, Red State, Blue State.
As Americans sort themselves out geographically by
lifestyle affinity, the culture wars can only get
Rebellion Will Be Blogged. Bacon's
Rebellion is extending its digital reach to the
blogosphere. May heresies prosper and dangerous
. Richmond's creative class is hot, hot,
hot. Pioneering new ways to collaborate and
inspire one another, commercial artists are
becoming a driving economic force in the region.
Curious Lapse of Memory. Lawmakers never
mention it when talking about traffic congestion,
but VDOT spending has more than doubled the rate
of population growth over the past 10 years.
4: The Road to
Righteousness. Here's a package of
four fundamental reforms based on fiscally
conservative, free-market principles that would
ameliorate Virginia's transportation crisis.
Around in Circles. Virginia's
transportation system is bad and getting worse.
Clueless on how to fix it, Virginia's political
leaderships is like the guy who's totally lost and
refuses to ask for directions.
of the Political Class. Despite gushing
state revenues from economic growth and tax hikes,
the special interests still want more. Don't
believe their spin on the budget. Here's the
Old Dogs New Tricks. Mark Warner isn't
just shoveling money into Virginia's public
schools -- he's raising standards and holding
administrators accountable for results.
the Mill Town. Globalization is
undermining the economies of small factory towns
across the South. Some say they’re doomed. If
Danville hasn’t gotten the message.
Your Father’s Old Home Town
region has seen a sweeping turnover in its
business and civic leadership. Far from being a
haven of bluebloods, the city is wide open to
Small Aircraft Revolution. Fasten your
seatbelts, folks, the commercial aviation system
built around big planes and big airports is in for
a bumpy ride. When it comes to air service, small
. Karl Marx would never recognize the 21st
century world in which human capital trumps
financial capital. This historic shift changes all
the rules – including those of economic
20: Silicon for
surprise that the state highway commissioner
thinks Virginia needs more money to build more
roads. But Philip Shucet also entertains heretical
thoughts on how the state can use technology to
Shucet Shake Up. Highway commissioner
Philip Shucet has transformed VDOT with his
financial and managerial reforms -- but there's
still a lot of road work ahead.
players in Richmond's Shockoe Bottom? A proposed
downtown stadium is the right project in the right
place -- if developers can pull it off without
putting taxpayers at risk.
The Tip of the Dipstick. Higher gasoline
prices hurt, but the big problem isn't OPEC --
it's the total cost of car ownership, made onerous
by the fact that Virginians drive 40 percent more
than they did a generation ago.
for the Arts.
Brad Armstrong wants
to raise $163 million in public and private funds
to support Richmond's performing arts and downtown
revitalization. The causes are worthy. But is he
asking too much?
Competence to Creativity
companies need a lot more than technical
competence these days. They’re looking for
employees who can thrive in high-performance,
high-creativity work environments.
Network of Space
. Technology is transforming the
relationship between people and where they work.
To fulfill the promise of telework, the
Commonwealth needs to invest less in asphalt, more
More Time, Now... Free trade, even
out-sourcing, is good for Virginia's economy. The
losers from open markets may be highly visible but
the winners are far more numerous.
Death of "Live and Let Live".
The Affirmation of Marriage Act shattered a
workable philosophy in Virginia that left gays in
peace but deferred to mainstream values. The
legislation will hurt our economy and do nothing
to strengthen marriage.
Are What We Build. The United States is
the richest country in the world. Why aren't we
enjoying our wealth more? Because, says new
urbanist guru Andres Duany, we've made such a hash
of our made-made environment.
up to Flex. One "flex" car takes
a half dozen other autos off the roads. That's why
Arlington County supports car sharing as part of
its strategy for dealing with traffic congestion.
Vision Thing. Gov. Warner and his pro-tax
allies are winning the tax debate because
they’ve stayed on message with a coherent set of
principles. Their foes in the House have never
proffered an alternative vision.
in the Wind
Does Virginia face untold billions of dollars
in "unmet transportation needs"? Only if
you ignore innovative experiments in traffic
demand management bubbling out of Northern
Numbers Are In! Here are the official
statistics -- straight from the Warner
administration -- documenting how the state budget
has increased in the face of a "$6 billion
a “Budget Shortfall?
Warner has cited the existence of a “$6 Billion
Budget Shortfall” as justification for higher
taxes. Just what is a “budget shortfall"?
Your intrepid correspondent digs for answers.
Secret $11 Billion Surplus? Stories are
circulating of a massive stash of surplus state
funds in Virginia. Trust me on this one: If it
sounds too good to be true, it's too good to be
Year Later... One year ago, I wrote a
column defending the U.S. invasion of Iraq. We
still haven't found any weapons of mass
destruction. How do I squirm out of this one?
the Virginia Three.
General Assembly is crushing Virginia's university
system. The answer isn't higher taxes and state
support -- it's more freedom.
Chided but Unrepentant
politicians in Richmond still cite the "$6
billion shortfall" in the last budget to
justify raising taxes for the next. But their
spending "cuts" barely went skin deep.
for the Governor. Gov. Warner knows how to
please a crowd when talking tax reform, but he
still hasn't made the case for a $1.2 billion tax
hike. Here are five questions he still needs to
Horror! The Horror!
The Commonwealth is slipping into a budgetary
heart of darkness. To save Virginians from
themselves, Sen. John Chichester is willing to
enchain them with massive tax increases.
economy will face widespread labor shortages as
Baby Boomers retire -- forcing communities to
re-write the rules of economic development.
Point. The mega trends are turning in
favor of central cities like Richmond and against
the aging inner suburbs. Virginia may be entering
an age of urban renaissance and suburban decay.
Gurus. Jeremy Siegel recommends investing
in stocks for the long run. Robert Shiller warns
of major risks in the economy. Who to believe? It
largely depends on your investment time horizon.
. Mark Warner has set a worthy goal of
generating $1 billion in university R&D by
2010. But his proposed budget makes only a down
payment on what Virginia's research institutions
need to achieve it.
65 Percent Solution.
claims that 65 percent of Virginia taxpayers will
benefit from his tax plan. It all depends on how
you count the numbers.
States, Volatile Budgets. Yes, Virginia,
the Commonwealth can grow its way out of its
budget straightjacket. What the state needs, says
GMU prof Mark Crain, is not more revenue but more predictable
Housing Bubble. If you thought the dot.com
bust was bad, wait until the housing market
crashes. According to John Rubino, the next
downturn could bring the nasty recession we should
have gotten in 2000.
Not the Best? Lawmakers are ignoring the
accelerating health care crisis. With a little
imagination, Virginians could create the premier,
market-driven health care system in the world.
Economics. The government remedy for
traffic congestion is to increase supply by
building more roads. Craig Franklin's solution is
to use real-time traffic data to manage demand.
on the Appalachian School of Law.
Schools and Baseball Stadiums. Virginians
still don't get it: To compete in a globally
integrated economy, they must channel scarce
resources into institutions that promote regional
productivity and innovation.
. Virginians acquitted themselves well
after surviving the worst storm in a generation.
But the question lingers: Was some of the damage
and disruption preventable?
Silent Migration. Taxpayers have been
leaving the inner cities for decades. Now they're
leaving the inner suburbs. The trend bodes ill for
the localities where a majority of Virginians
Rest of the Story. Contrary to the
possible impression created by my last column, the
Warner administration is re-evaluating the way it
manages the state's real estate assets.
Want a Used Prison? Before raising taxes,
could we please implement the recommendations of
the Wilder Commission -- like rationalizing the
state's far-flung real estate portfolio?
with their Feet. Judging by recently
published "domestic migration" numbers,
Virginia's ability to attract human capital
deserves a polite but restrained round of
in the Dark.
How competitive is
Virginia at attracting the innovators and wealth
creators who drive the economy forward? We don't
know. And we don't even know how to find out.
Uglification of Virginia.
Sprawl is eroding
the Commonwealth's exceptional rural landscapes.
Anyone concerned about Virginia's quality of life
and economic competitiveness should be worried.
Manufacturing. As Virginia manufacturers
confront the challenge of overseas outsourcing,
they aren't pleading for subsidies or protection
-- they're striving for world-class productivity.
Give Up. The $66 million Broad Street
project is crucial to downtown Richmond's
redevelopment. Raising the funds from private
investors took guts, perseverance and blind
Ride. Driving along I-81 can give you an
adrenaline rush. So can the cool, creative
proposals for addressing traffic congestion on
Virginia's longest Interstate highway.
Bytes: Virginia Is Slipping in Broadband
It all About, Alfie?
There's more to life -- even political life --
than low taxes. People want prosperity, which
includes higher incomes and a lower cost of
bridge-tunnel in Hampton Roads is the most
important transportation project in Virginia.
Tolls may make it financially feasible.
Rasa. Virginia's gasoline and real estate
taxes don't just pinch our pocketbooks -- they
drive up the cost of government. It's time to wipe
the slate clean and start over.
the Pie. The way to solve Virginia's
structural budget deficit is not to raise taxes --
it's to expand the economic base. That means
taxing consumption instead of wealth creation.
19th Century Tax Code for a 21st Century Economy
. Virginia's tax structure combines the
inertia of century-old institutions with the
favoritism of special-interest politics. We need
to tear it down and start over.
Five Instabilities. Companies outsourcing
manufacturing to China may be in for a nasty
surprise. Disorder in the People's Republic soon
could disrupt supply chains originating there.
Small to Govern? Highland County,
population 2,500, tests the limits of Virginia's
system of local government, which presupposes a
tax base large enough to support mandated
The James River
Writers Festival is more than a celebration of
Richmond's literary heritage. It's cutting-edge
economic development in the era of the Creative
Networks. Marianne Vermeer is trying to
figure out how to create entrepreneurial networks
-- the crucial, though hidden, girders of the
More with Less. Despite budget cuts, the
Warner team has an ambitious plan to promote
Virginia R&D. The key: snagging more federal
funds for Virginia's research universities.
War, Why Now? How can Virginians justify
the U.S. invasion of Iraq? Try terrorism, weapons
of mass destruction, human rights and preservation
of an open global trading system.
Would Mr. Jefferson Do? Virginia's
favorite president did not shy from the use of
force. His campaign against the Barbary pirates
freed a young nation from paying tribute to the
pasha of Tripoli.
Tax Lotto. Car tax relief returned $819
million to Virginia taxpayers last year. But the
payoff was arbitrary, depending on where you live
and how expensive a car you drive.
Loves Ya, Baby?
Hey, Bloomberg, tax this! Kudos to the Warner
administration for bringing Philip Morris
. Defenders of
’s death tax say repeal would cost the state
tens of millions of dollars. But their revenue
analysis ignores the real-world behavior of rich
. "Safe cigarettes" sounds like
an oxymoron but it reflects a worthy goal. And it
could provide the rallying cry for building a
world-class tobacco cluster in
up the Nukes. Nuclear energy and
electric vehicles are a one-two combination for
energy independence, a cleaner environment and a
Colonialism. "Smart Growth"
restrictions on development make housing
unaffordable to thousands of minority families and
perpetuates residential segregation.
a Better Place. 2900 Clarendon in
Arlington County is a model for tax-efficient,
environmentally friendly development that
contributes to neighborhood vitality.
Hurricane. Richard Florida, the boldest
thinker in economic development today, blew
through Richmond last week. The Holy City may
never be the same.
the Death Tax. Virginia needs to repeal
its inheritance tax. Otherwise, the Commonwealth
risks driving off the entrepreneurs who build
businesses, create jobs and generate lots of
Richmond. Greg Wingfield wants to shift
’s economic development focus from corporate
investment to human capital. The strategy will
require a drastic shift in regional priorities.
the Wahoos! Erratic state funding is
hindering the University of Virginia from building
a world-class institution. It may be time to
privatize Mr. Jefferson's creation.
Investing in K-12 may be the state's No.
1 priority, but that shouldn't exempt public
schools from budget cuts and structural reform.
Next Big Thing
. It may be too late for Virginia to
become a world leader in biotech -- but leadership
in the delivery of medical services is still
within our grasp.
Ma, No Taxes
. Rebounding quickly from its November
election disaster, the Warner administration has
crafted a credible transportation strategy that
doesn’t stiff the taxpayers.
December 9: Sinking
Expectations. Mark Warner may still have
the vision thing. But shorn of resources, his new
strategic plan for economic development sets
One Way Out. Patrick County is in a
world of hurt. Jerry Baliles is betting that
boosting educational achievement across the board,
from students to adults, can attract investment.
More Nerdistans! To
prosper in the global economy, Virginia must adopt
patterns of development that create wealth, not
destroy it, and facilitate the virtual economy,
not inhibit it.
Great Equalizer. The biggest story of
Election '02 wasn't the defeat of the tax
referenda. It was how a band of upstarts used the
Internet to thwart the designs of Virginia's power
But Not Out. Mark Warner may have taken a
pounding at the polls last week for championing
the sales-tax referenda, but Virginians still want
solutions for congested roads.
State transportation policy has run off the road.
Proposed remedies for congestion are not only
expensive but rendered obsolete by changes in the
way we live and work.
the Referendum. Assuming
residents vote their narrow self interests,
approval of the sales tax referendum in Northern
Virginia looks like a better bet than the one in
Anti-dot.com. As a start-up company in the
old-economy aluminum industry, Service
Center Metals hopes to build its competitive
advantage through quality, service and lean
localities gotta have it. But telcom companies
give up crucial mapping data only when someone
pries it out of their cold, dead fibers.
Factories. Should Virginia back its
traditional R&D powerhouses or fund
universities in its major metro areas? Bob Sharak
asks the tough questions.
House Rules.The Potter's School has
demonstrated that a "virtual" high
school can work in a home-school environment. The
question: Can the model be applied elsewhere?
State of Mind. A
"yes" vote for the statewide,
bond referenda this fall would speed Virginia's
transition to the Knowledge Economy.
Intangible Economy. Virginia ranks well in
the Milken Institute’s comparison of states’
potential for technology-led growth. But the Old
Dominion still has weaknesses to overcome.
remedies for addressing traffic congestion in
Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads are
one-dimensional and self defeating. Their authors
need to start over.
from Ireland. The
Irish economic development miracle makes a
tempting model for rural Virginia. But Ireland in
1990s is not comparable to Virginia in 2002.
are the World.
pontificating about overseas outsourcing,
Bacon’s Rebellion is giving it a try. Already,
I’m getting sentimental. Global trade is
beautiful, man, it’s really beautiful!
Readers to Bacon: Your Drought Column was All
of Water -- Or Ideas?
Water may be the most common molecule on
earth, but it's still subject to supply and
demand. When there's not enough, local governments
should raise the price.
People First". It made a great
campaign slogan. Now Governor Warner should make
it the centerpiece of an economic development
policy based on human capital.
Bytes. A new CIT mission emerges;
If you snooze, you lose.
Commissions in One.
guide the state through its fiscal crisis,
CEO Mark Warner needs to find quick, short-term savings
and carry out long-term reforms.
Bytes. Reason #1 to lose sleep at
night; Reason #2 to lose sleep at night.
Tech's proposed Institute for Food, Nutrition and
Health could be rural Virginia's best bet for
. Scrambling to save the Center for
Innovative Technology from budget cutters, George
Newstrom muscled CIT President Anne Armstrong out
the Beef? Virginia
doesn’t have much to show for its massive
investment in agricultural productivity. It’s time
to change priorities.
to Run... Nowhere to Hide.
Virginia's "New South" economic
development strategy is floundering in the
globally integrated economy. We need to rethink
says Stanley Furniture's Albert Prillaman. It's
the only way to save Southside from a Third World
Look Behind You.
Triathlete Keith Simmons is always running scared.
The CEO of Ironman Wetsuits strives for continual
Northern Virginia leads the way with a little help
from the exurbs.
of the Creative Class
by Richard Florida.