David McNair

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From Comedy to Tragedy: what I saw at the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville

In Activism, Crime, Events, People, Politics, Safety, Uncategorized on August 17, 2017 at 1:57 pm

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By David McNair

The first thing I saw when I approached the Unite the Right rally on Saturday, August 12 here in Charlottesville was a guy across from Market Street Market selling bottled water for $2 out of his car, saying, “I figured I had to make the most of it.” The next thing I saw were a group of Unite the Right protesters gathered on the corner of Market Street and 3rd Street NE, dressed like middle-schoolers going to a war games-themed birthday party, with make-shift helmets, shields, and batons. All this was at first quite comical. The group paused on the corner for a moment, issued an obscure kind of war cry, and marched fast toward the park with various photographers running backwards quickly trying to capture the action.

At the park, the Unite the Right protesters had already gathered in a double fenced off section of the park, and you could stand and view them like exotic animals in a zoo. They all faced outward, pressing against the steel fencing, and harassed and verbally abused onlookers, many of whom returned the favor. There was a lot of vulgar harassment of women from the group, and I heard one guy say to a woman, “You’re a little chubby around the edges, but I’d f##k you, Bitch.” There were women with them, too, and I noticed how they had no expressions on their faces as the men they were with said this stuff. Still, it all seemed comical. Were these guys serious? Meanwhile, I spotted what appeared to be self-styled, bearded militiamen walking around in fatigues and assault rifles with odd assortments of insignia on their “uniforms.” They all looked very serious, and no one I spoke to could tell me exactly why they were there, but at that point their inscrutable countenance seemed comical, too. Were they expecting some kind of armed ambush from some opposing guerrilla army? Meanwhile, various public officials and notable citizens milled about, seeming a little amused by this particular circus that came to town. They could stand safely at the edge of the fencing around the park and observe various white supremacists and neo-nazis spewing slogans and insulting people. I saw friends and colleagues and we had time to chat. A couple of local guys had thought to put loud speakers on the top of a nearby building, and they had the words of James Baldwin playing in a continuous loop. Nearby a guy had set up an easel and he was painting comic book-style portraits of Robert E. Lee and Donald Trump.

20708191_1686411471433314_8139878792168219992_nOn the steps to the Market Street entrance to the park a group of clergy, including Harvard scholar Dr. Cornell West, blocked the entrance and quietly demanded that the Unite the Right protesters gathered below them “stand down” and not enter the park. this standoff went of for a few moments, until the Unite the Right protesters finally walked up the steps and pushed them violently aside.

That’s when things seemed to shift, that’s when it started not to be so comical. Fights in the street broke out shortly after that between Unite the Right protesters and counter-protesters. And over the next 45 minutes or so that intensified. At one point I was standing beside one of Charlottesville’s city councilors as he tried to film the scene, and had to nudge him aside as a smoke bomb canister came hurling toward us. Rocks, tear gas, bottles filled with bleach, and balloons filled with urine would follow. I saw bloodied heads and faces. I saw scared people running past me, other who looked like they would gladly smash you in the face if you looked them. A saw a TV crew flee the tent they had set up under across the park. I watched as an African-American TV camera man tried to put his camera on a tripod, but was having trouble because his hands were shaking so much. I heard someone say, “The cops have vanished.” And sure enough, I looked around and the state police who had been standing along the fencing earlier were gone.

20728279_1686410811433380_2776422500373341158_nI then looked up and a screaming, angry mob of white supremacists and neo-nazis had totally taken over the park, ringing its edges with their home-made riot gear. Not only was this not comical anymore, it was frightening. Why weren’t police stepping in now? At that point, you knew something bad was about to happen, that people were going to get hurt, that a surge of violent energy had been let loose on our town. Within the hour, three people would be dead, and dozens injured.

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Charlotesville Klan Rally Protest

In Uncategorized on July 9, 2017 at 8:55 pm

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Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan…not a bright bunch

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2017 at 3:33 pm

From the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan home page. One danger involved in attending their planned rally here this Saturday, July 8, that hasn’t been discussed: the risk to your mental health being around this much stupid.

“…July 8th in Virginia we will make a stand for our Southern History. They are trying to erase whites and our great culture right out of the history books. The Civil War was not fought over Slavery but over high taxes put on the South by the North. The whites did not make the blacks slaves; their own people captured them and sold them to Jewish merchants and they sold them. Blacks should be thankful because those who did not get sold were ate. People look into this for yourself read a book. If you want to stand with us for our great Confederate dead email us. It is time whites in America unite blacks have the Black Panthers the terrorist group Black Lives Matters. The Mexicans have La Raza and the Jews have the ADL and the S.P.L.C. Whites you have the Loyal White Knights fighting for equal rights for whites. Stand with us July 8th make your stand in Dixie land. Call 336-432-0386…”

Local Blogger Uses Florida Woman’s Indentity to Create Petition to Remove Wes Bellamy From City Council

In Uncategorized on November 30, 2016 at 10:53 am

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A petition being widely circulated in the local media to remove Vice-Mayor Wes Belamy from Charlottesville City Council, and which features many comments from citizens, appears to be a fake [note: since the date of this posting the petition has been altered. See developing news below. The screen shot above is off the petition on the date and time of this posting]. The petition says it was created by a Michelle Jones, and includes a picture of Ms. Jones. That photo is from the bio page of a Florida-based company called Altair Training Solutions, and is of the company’s Executive Vice President Michelle Jones.

“I was not aware of it and did not start the petition,” Jones tells the DTM. “I know nothing about it. I’ve obviously been hacked.”

StandUnited, the petition platform, has been informed of the identity theft.

Jason Kessler, the blogger who exposed Bellamy’s tweets has been promoting the petition on social media.

Developing news:

1:02pm. Another stolen photo has replaced the one of Ms. Jones on the petition.

1:31pm: Now the author of the petition has been changed to none other than…Jason Kessler.

December 1, 2016Daily Progress on Jason Kessler’s sock puppetry concerning the petition to have Wes Bellamy removed from City Council…

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Pro-White Blogger Stalks Black City Councilor on Twitter

In Uncategorized on November 29, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Charlottesville’s Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy will have to live with, and be judged by the tweets he posted in his youth, but..

As long as we’re sharing without permission…

In case you wondered why blogger, self-published author, wannabe filmmaker, and oppressed white man, Jason Kessler, would take the time to dig through thousands of old twitter posts to publicly humiliate an African-American city councilor….

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“The Democrats are essentially the “Unite to Get Whitey” party. There will come a time when white people understand that they also need to stick together as a political force. Otherwise we’ll keep being bombarded by anti-white media & anti-white laws.

We’re going to be a minority soon & we’re already treated like one. Don’t think we aren’t going to be oppressed more & more if we can’t stand up for ourselves.

Cultures, tribes & civilizations are meant to clash just as we always have in the past, just like it is with nearly every other beast in the animal kingdom. We are beasts. We share 99% of our DNA with bonobos and almost as much with the other Great Apes.”

http://www.jasonkessler.net/blog/how-i-feel-after-beyonces-racist-superbowl-performance

Or maybe he was just unlucky with women?

“There is an imbalance here as it pertains to the sexes. Men are predominantly the ones actively seeking love while the women decide to either accept the offer, take a pass, or (less often it should be noted) hold them in the lurch until such time as they become a usefully fool to manipulate . This opens the man up to at worst, being taken advantage of by unscrupulous women & at best, if the woman is just, pressured to present his “capacity for love” with showy displays of conspicuous spending, in her favor of course.”
http://www.jasonkessler.net/blog/would-you-rather-have-love-or-respect

Perhaps it was ambition?

“Following my groundbreaking investigative journalism of Charlottesville Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy…” (Since when did stalking someone on their public twitter account become investigative journalism?)

Or, you know, maybe he’s just a prick.

More deep thoughts from Mr. Kessler…

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2016 Best of the DTM Winners!

In Uncategorized on September 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

Savvy DTM readers have spoken! Here are the results of the 2016 Best of the DTM Polls. Congrats to the winners!

DTM’s Best Coffee Shop

1st Place – Mudhouse
2nd Place – Java Java Cafe
3rd Place – Grit Coffee

DTM’s Best Retail Shop

1st Place – BOUTIQUE boutique
2nd Place – The Consignment House
3rd Place – O’suzannah & Bittersweet (tie)

DTM’s Best Music/Night Spot

1st Place – The Jefferson Theater
2nd Place – The Southern
3rd Place – Miller’s

DTM’s Best Restaurant

1st Place – Hamilton’s at First & Main
2nd Place – The Whiskey Jar
3rd Place – The C&O Restaurant

Shop Owner Creates Creepy “Chocolate” UVA Football Player

In Uncategorized on August 30, 2016 at 11:54 pm

This was run as a straight local story on Charlottesville’s NBC29 news. But its hard not to wonder what this shop owner was thinking and if she realizes what some people might think about this.

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Park & Hide: DTM Parking Dispute Gets Personal

In Uncategorized on June 23, 2016 at 10:52 am

about-us-544x348What started out as a discussion to improve the parking situation on the DTM appears now to have turned into an episode of Game of Thrones, complete with threats of government seizure, and talk of bullying and personal vendettas. So, what the heck is going on?

“As a rule,” says Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signor, responding to questions about the on-going legal battle between the City and Water Street Parking Garage owner Mark Brown, “I don’t comment to the press on litigation.”

However, the high-powered Richmond attorney doing the actual litigation for the City doesn’t appear to follow the same rule.

“For months Mark Brown has been trying to bully the City into giving him control of the Water Street Parking Garage,” Tom Wolf with LeClairRyan told Cville Weekly. “He has even threatened to close down the garage, which he has no power or authority to do. Mr. Brown’s first lawsuit was meritless and this new one is a transparent attempt at further bullying. The City is not intimidated by Mr. Brown’s threats.”

Wolf went on to claim he’s representing the City at a discounted rate because he “loves litigating against bullies” like Mr. Brown.

In addition to Mayor Signer, The DTM asked other City Councilors, City Manager Maurice Jones, and City Attorney Craig Brown if they agreed with Mr. Wolf’s characterization of Mr. Brown and the situation. And why the city has seen fit to threaten the use of eminent domain to take over the Water Street Garage.

“The City of Charlottesville does not provide comment related to litigation,” responded Miriam Dickler, the City’s director of communications.

City Councilor Bob Fenwick does, though. “Tom Wolf has a right to say what he wants,” he says.

“Mark Brown may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the claim by the City’s attorney that Mark has been bullying the City of Charlottesville, or is even in a position to bully the City of Charlottesville, is silly and melodramatic,” says Dave Norris, the former Charlottesville City Mayor who now manages the Charlottesville Parking Center.

Indeed, considering that Brown’s company has 19 employees and an annual budget of $3 million, while the City has 940 employees and annual budget of $160 million, some might wonder who the real bully is here.

“The City’s heavy-handed threat to use eminent domain against Charlottesville Parking Center and spend many millions of dollars to seize CPC’s assets is an egregious abuse of governmental authority – and a monumental waste of taxpayer dollars, as it will not add a single space to the inventory of downtown parking,” says Norris. “Threatening eminent domain to resolve a pricing dispute with someone you don’t care for is not a rational or helpful strategy – but then, personal vendettas rarely are.”

Well, this ought to end well.

Meanwhile, as the lawyers on both sides cash in, and the City commissions studies and transfers $500,000 from the capital improvement program contingency account to create a new “Parking Division” branch of local government, parking downtown is still perceived as a pain in the ass to visitors and DTM businesses and employees alike.

The two sides will go at it in Charlottesville Circuit Court on June 27 at 3pm. See you there!

Related stories:

City lawyer: Condemnation of Water Street Garage has begun
http://www.c-ville.com/city-lawyer-condemnation-water-street-garage-begun/#.V2vxSFboaX0

Escalation clause: City threatens eminent domain of Water Street Garage
http://www.c-ville.com/escalation-clause-city-threatens-eminent-domain-water-street-garage/#.V2vy0lboaX0

City, CPC circle around Water St. garage offers
http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/city-cpc-circle-around-water-st-garage-offers/article_a2324bd4-3368-11e6-9766-7792d964c8c5.html

Charlottesville, VA threatens eminent domain if parking garage doesn’t sell
http://watchdog.org/268422/charlottesville-va-threatens-eminent-domain-parking-garage/

City to seek full ownership of Water St. garage
http://www.dailyprogress.com/news/local/city-to-seek-full-ownership-of-water-st-garage/article_82eb56a4-2c50-11e6-a65f-0f7509f8966a.html

Brookville Owners to Take Over Gibson’s Grocery

In Food & Wine, Restaurant opening, Uncategorized on May 16, 2016 at 1:36 pm

MenuJennifer and Harrison Keevil, owners of Brookville Restaurant on the DTM, will be taking over Gibson’s Grocery on Hinton Avenue and open in late July, under the name Keevil & Keevil Grocery and Kitchen.

What can you expect? Made-to-order subs, take-away sandwiches and salads, and a couple rotating monthly sandwich ideas dreamed up by the Keevil’s and their chef friends. They will also be serving up breakfast sandwiches and other breakfast fare, along with smoothies….and plan eventually to offer take-away dinner options.

Of course, there will be regular grocery items, wine, beer, etc….with an emphasis on products from Virginia.

“The customers of Gibson’s Grocery have come to love the quality of service form the Gibson Family for the last 30 years and Jennifer and I look to continue to uphold those standards for years to come,” says Harrison.

Props to Farmer Todd….someone REALLY making a difference on the south side of the DTM

In Uncategorized on January 8, 2016 at 9:42 am

 

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Todd Niemeier, operations director for the Urban Agricultural Collective of Charlottesville. Photo by Ryan M. Kelly.

DP -Niemeier is operations director for the Urban Agriculture Collective of Charlottesville. His job includes overseeing the community gardens at Friendship Court, Sixth Street and West Street.

During the past growing season, these well-tended plots yielded 17,000 pounds of fresh vegetables. And every tomato, potato, cucumber and leafy green was given away free to community members.

“We believe that working together to grow and share healthy food helps to cultivate healthy communities,” said Niemeier, who is affectionately called Farmer Todd. “The food is a vehicle for bringing people together across racial and social barriers. READ MORE

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