Monday, November 30, 2009

Deflating Pomposity - war story

Many years ago we had a state senator from Roanoke who was, shall we say, very enamored with himself.  He was also pompous.  The good news is he only served one term. The better news is that he provided several stories.

The Senator went through a "British" thing.  He wore a cape and a bowler hat and even had one of those silly tiny stick canes. This was complemented by his attempt at affecting a British Accent. Trust me, Henry Higgens would have seen through him in a second.  This story is about the beginning of the end of that phase.

Back in the day we also had air commuter service with Richmond - our state capital. One day my friend Harold was there with a client (I'll call him 'Irving') from the coalfields appearing before some agency.  After the hearing they were at the Richmond Airport waiting for their return flight when The Senator came by.  Harold, thinking he could get some brownie points with Irving, hails The Senator.

The Senator, seeing Harold (and Harold being a member of Roanoke City Council at the time) came over to chat.  "Harold, my good man, How awre you today?  You're looking jolly good you know."

Harold:  Just fine, Senator, I'd like you to meet Irving Puffuffnick; he's a client of mine and we've just finished a hearing at XYZ agency"

SEN: "Delighted to make your acquaintance, Irving. Tip Top Barrister you've got there"

IRVING:  "Good to meet you, Senator.  Are you from England?"

SEN:  "No, actually I hail from Roanoke.  Howeva, I did study at Ahxford (Oxford) for two years."

IRVING:  "Well, hell, I was in 'Nam for two years, but I didn't pick up THEIR accent"

The Senator terminated the conversation and moved away.  Shortly thereafter the cape, hat, and stick thing disappeared.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Door Repair underway

I had to appear in a case at the Roanoke City Courthouse today.  I'm pleased to report that the doors I complained of last week are now being repaired. Even more remarkable is that I counted two workers busy at their task WITHOUT three "supervisors" directing them.

I'm told by a lot of folks who work in the courthouse that they've complained for months about the doors. Heck, I grumbled for some time about them also before I sent my note to the City Attorney.

Isn't it a shame that the City of Roanoke can't seem to get anything done until there's a serious complaint about the problem? And that I had to send my complaint 'outside' the normal chain of command to get it the attention it deserved?


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Disgraceful Maintenance of Roanoke Courthouse

I know the City of Roanoke doesn't maintain anything worth a darn, unless maybe it's the City Manager's office. The City has a long history of building something bright and shiny and then not taking care of it.

Certainly the Courthouse maintenance is an embarrassing disgrace, and that's what I'm writing about. The courthouse has parquet flooring, and it's showing its age.  Parquet will pop up and the city will cover over it with a piece of carpet duct-taped around the missing area, or they'll block off a section for three or 4 months (happened on the stairwell) until they do an ugly patch job. About a year ago a huge pile of carpet squares was delivered to the courthouse to go over the parquet flooring. It's still piled. But this is just City of Roanoke Maintenance as usual.

Here's what's really ticking me off:

For several MONTHS, the 'automatic doors' used for Handicap Access on the west end (nearest the Mayor's private law office) have been broken. Periodically there are paper signs loosely taped to the door saying 'push', but they are usually torn or blown off in a few days. The doors require too much effort for a disabled person on a walker or in a wheelchair to open. Given that my daughter has been in a wheelchair all her life I'm particularly sensitive to access issues.

As I understand it, the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that handicap accessible devices be maintained in working order.

While the thought of embarrassing the City of Roanoke and its manager (who is fortunately on short time now) with a public Americans with Disabilities Act suit is very tempting, I'm more interested in getting the problem fixed, now.

So I emailed my comments to an Assistant City Attorney I work with from time to time, and asked him to forward my concern to the appropriate powers-that-be.  I also suggested that they confirm to me by 4:30 PM this Friday (Nov. 13) that the repairs have been ordered and will be COMPLETED by November 30.  If so, I'll be quiet.  If not, I'll review how Rossiferous I can really be.

I'll let y'all know what happens.  This is why I moved to Salem - it woulda been fixed in a week.