Tag Archives: Virginia

31st Modern Day Marine Military Exposition Set for Marine Corps Base, Quantico, VA, September 27 – 29

WASHINGTON, Sept. 1, 2011 — The 2011 edition of the world’s largest military exposition focusing on enhanced capabilities for expeditionary forces will be hosted by Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia, September 27 – 29.

Co-sponsored by the base, the 76,000-member Marine Corps League, and Marine Corps Systems Command, the 31st Modern Day Marine Military Exposition will showcase products and services of more than 500 companies, which support military land, air and sea operations. Much of the equipment now used by Marines and other U.S. and allied forces confronting enemies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world was first showcased before military leaders, operations planners and acquisition managers at previous editions of the expo.

Exhibits at this year’s exposition will fill three large display halls and outdoor exhibit areas. Visitors see the latest operational equipment and technology and video presentations, models and prototypes of items soon to enter service. Defense contractors from throughout the U.S. and allied nations around the world will present their products and services, get feedback from the warfighters, and respond to questions.

The Modern Day Marine Military Exposition has issued a special invitation to federal, state and local law enforcement personnel to attend this year’s expo. Much of the equipment on display will be of types that can be used not only in military applications but also in law enforcement, including counter-terrorism operations.

Quantico is home of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, which develops Marine warfighting concepts and determines the Corps’ capability requirements for doctrine, equipment, organization, training, education and support. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory at Quantico is part of the Development Command and responsible for improving current and future naval expeditionary warfare capabilities for the Marines and their amphibious roles and missions. Also at Quantico is the Marine Corps Systems Command, the Corps’ principal agency for acquisition and sustainment of systems and equipment for the Marines’ warfighting mission. Many of the personnel who staff those organizations will visit the exhibit halls and discuss missions, capabilities and requirements with defense industry professionals.

In addition to the large number of equipment displays, several special activities are held in conjunction with the Modern Day Marine Exposition. One of the most important is a special by-invitation-only Report to Industry covering equipment and systems research, development, testing and acquisition programs and policies. Those presenting the report will be LtGen John Wissler USMC, DCMC, Programs & Resources, HQMC; LtGen Richard Mills USMC, CG, MCCDC; BGen Frank Kelley USMC, Commander, MCSC; and Mr. Bill Taylor, PEO, Land Systems. The Report will be moderated by BGen Kelley. The Report to Industry will be held aboard the expo site 8:30 – 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, September 29. That report will be followed by Marine Corps Systems Command Program Director Briefings in which industry representatives will gain additional insight into requirements and acquisition procedures from the men and women who manage programs through which Marines acquire and field weapons and equipment for the Corps.

Another feature of the expo will be the “Warfighters Corner,” a venue in which Marines recently back from service in combat zones will describe what equipment and systems worked best for them, and also provide suggestions and recommendations for how improvements, modifications or replacements might be made to better help Marines survive and win on the battlefield, in seaborne operations and in aerial engagements. Subjects, this year, will be Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles, USMC Energy, Navy Marine Corps Medical Team, and Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Combat Equipment.

A colorful Enlisted Awards Parade will be held, beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 28th. Awards will be presented to Marines and Sailors from units around the world. The awards are sponsored by the Capital Marines Detachment of the Marine Corps League. Later on that same day, September 28th, the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition’s Grand Banquet and Awards Dinner will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in the Crystal City section of Arlington, VA.

That event begins with a reception at 6:30 p.m. During the Awards Dinner, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, will present the Marine Corps League’s top awards – the Iron Mike Award and the Dickey Chapelle Award – to two distinguished Americans for outstanding service to the nation and to the Marine Corps. The Iron Mike Award is named for a statue at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, SC, which is famous among Marines as a symbol of service, sacrifice and valor. The Dickey Chapelle Award is named for a woman war correspondent who covered the Marines in several wars. She was killed on a combat patrol with Marines in Vietnam. Recipient of the Iron Mike Award will be Major Paul F. Hastings, USMC (Retired), who has had a long, distinguished role in leadership and advisory positions with the Marine Corps League. The Dickie Chapelle Award will be presented to Ms. Bonnie Carroll for her leadership role as Founder and President, Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national Veterans Service Organization.

Once again this year, the Modern Day Marine Exposition will have a “Family Day” – a day on which family members of Department of Defense military and civilian personnel can tour the exhibits, learn about today’s military equipment, systems and technology, and see what new items will soon be arriving in the inventories of military forces. Family Day is Thursday, September 29th.

News media representatives desiring to cover any portion of the exposition will be required to present their press credentials upon arrival at the exposition site in order to register for the event.

All attendees will be required to have picture identification available when entering the base at Quantico. Uniformed Marines may enter exhibit halls without a special registration badge. All other military personnel, civilians and industry representatives must register during registration hours. Additional information on the exposition is available at http://www.marinemilitaryexpos.com

Rare Earthquake Shakes East Coast

Earthquake Epicenter Mineral VirginiaAt just before two o’clock this afternoon, a 5.8 magnitude earthquake struck the East Coast of the United States.

The quake was centered in Mineral, Virginia and occurred at a depth of approximately 3.7 miles. Shocks were felt as far south as Georgia and as far north as Ohio.

The Capital building has been cordoned off with capital police siting “infrastructure concerns”. Reports of a small fire in the Capital has yet to be substantiated, but the information on-hand says that some damage to a portion of the House side of the building may have occurred. All monuments and memorials on the Washington mall are closed and being evacuated and there is word that a single capital policeman reported that there may have been a “tilting” of the Washington monument due to the quake.

The large central hub of Washington’s D.C.’s subway and train system experienced damage as well. Large chunks of the ceiling have been  reported to have fallen.

Philadelphia held planes on a ground stop at its airports for about 20 minutes and other East Coast airports are still suspending flights.

Two nuclear reactors in Virginia had been taken offline near the epicenter. No damage has been reported at the reactors and the shutdown is part of standard operating procedure. The reactors have since been given the “all clear”.

Experts are warning of aftershocks.

There have been no reports of injuries or severe structural damage at this time, but reports from the epicenter have not yet surfaced.

Master Plans: Free Market or Social Engineering?

Hampton, VA – As the council meeting heated up, citizens’ questioned the Mayor’s involvement in the City’s acquisition of Harbor Square apartments. Constituents’ questioned her possibly receiving profits from the sale of this complex to the city. All this accomplished under the strict guidelines of a Comprehensive or Master Plan. With trends of local governments denying businesses, churches and private developers the opportunity to provide services, a good question is whether the city is practicing free market or social engineering?

Master Plans are the center of cities across the nation. City councils use them to steer their city’s vision stretching as far as 2030. They use them to justify keeping citizen’s and businesses in line but when does a plan become counterproductive? How can a constituency turn the direction of their city when unelected bureaucrats are making the decisions? When a plan made by a few is burdened by the whole.

In Hampton, The Richman Group, offered to invest $11 million to rehabilitate Harbor Square Apartments. In March, City Council “voted unanimously not to designate Harbor Square a housing revitalization area.” The reason for the vote was that “the proposal isn’t consistent with a downtown master plan that envisages a time when the apartments at Harbor Square will no longer exist, or the aspirations of some downtown business owners who made their views known.” The city is not trying to change the existing layout, they had changed the zoning to something other than what it is now. The crime ridden, dilapidated apartment complex would remain as is.

After denying the Richman Group the master plan’s revitalization revision, several months later the city voted 4-2 to acquire Harbor Square Apartments for $14.5 million. The plans are that the apartments are to be demolished in 2015. As noted, the Downtown Master Plan was developed with input from more than 300 people. Even though voting against the Richman Group, Councilman Tuck placed reservations in voting against the purchase on the heels of issuing a $38 million bond for the building of a new Courthouse.

While defending the Mayor, the city manager states, “The City decided to pursue the acquisition after hearing from many downtown community members that they did not want to see the property rehabilitated when such an offer was made in March of this year.” As the citizens at the council meeting do not like the city’s acquisition of Harbor Square Apartments, their issues are with the Mayor’s involvement.

While most focus on the Mayor’s personal gain, there are questions that stem much deeper. Who encompasses “the City” and why aren’t elected officials making these decisions? Who exactly does a person vote for, or against, if they feel that elected officials are leading their city in the wrong direction? Who exactly are these “downtown community members”? And most importantly, why are conclusions made outside city council meetings (i.e. discussions held with downtown community members)? The most important question is…how does a citizenry stop “the City” when they appear to be on a suicide mission in pursuit of utopia? Since the Mayor does not pursue…who does? This is about elected officials being accountable to their decisions according to the current circumstances, not holding them accountable to a plan developed by a non-elected bureaucrat.

According to a Case Study conducted by Diana Schor, “Hampton turns every crisis into an opportunity by tapping into its civic base. In 2010, the City had a 5% budget shortfall ($19 million), the worst budget crisis in the last couple of decades. To respond to it, the City has “reinvented itself”…” So, is this how “the City” is responding to this crisis? They move toward the same agenda only changing the players, or reinventing themselves. If there were a crisis last year, why would the city invest $52.5 million into infrastructure this year?

So, the Daily Press quoted a former Downtown Hampton Development Partnership director saying that this was a once in a lifetime chance to change the course of downtown. Is this the downtown community member that determine Harbor Square’s fate?

“The City” took this opportunity to deny a developer from providing a better life for our poor citizens…how is that wrong? So, the Richman Group was not looking for a change in reality which was an apartment complex, they were looking for a change in the plan. For the taxpayers of Hampton, there was a $25.5 million swing, along with the revenue lost in collecting property taxes as the city pursues its dream. But in the end, is this free market or social engineering?

City Council Attacks Taxicab Entrepreneurs

City councils across the nation are taking a page from the Federal Government in their ability to take over entire industries. Taxicab companies are fighting against their local bureaucrats for their very existence. In Hampton Roads, Virginia, it is no different. Just like when the Federal Government accused doctors of cutting off limbs for more money, apparently local governments feel taxicab drivers exhibit the same characteristics. They claim drivers take longer routes, overcharge customers, drive unsafe vehicles and provided selected services. These bureaucrats use crony capitalism to dismantle the taxicab industry. Now, the term public-private partnership is worn proudly.

In 2007, the City of Hampton, Virginia used tax money to hire the Tennessee Transportation and Logistics Foundation (TTLF) to conduct a Taxi study. The study states that restructuring “depends upon the actions of the existing or potential full service taxi companies.” It also states that things could deteriorate with the loss of Hampton’s only full service taxi company if it decides to relocate its equipment and capacity elsewhere. In addition, GPS technology to track cabs; vehicle age limits and 24/7 dispatching were requirements within the study and it acknowledged some businesses will not be able to comply and go out of business. So, the City of Hampton implements an ordinance that prohibits nearly all from doing business in Hampton Roads.

Someone gave this college professor (disguised as a company) the authority to implement an ordinance that puts people out of business. Our local governments are instilling draconian ordinances that cannot be refuted and greatly impacts the industry catering to limited number of companies.

The neighboring city of Newport News took a slightly different route by appointing a Transportation Panel to engage the issue. Two organizations represented were the airport and the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber who voiced concern about the customer service and impact that the taxicab industry has on tourism in Newport News. So, when researching the Chamber’s membership, the two active members under the taxicab category are the Yellow Cab of Hampton and Yellow Cab of Newport News, the largest companies in their respected locales.

If the Transportation Panel wishes to protest the taxicab customer service or tourism issues, the airport should not be involved. With body scanners, taxicabs are the least of their customer service problems. While the airport implemented a 10-year vehicle age limit on taxicabs, the average age of a Delta aircraft is 13.8 years and US Airways is 12.2 years. What age restriction is the airport going to require of these airlines? Oh, that’s right…. Crony Capitalism.

There are situations like this happening across the nation. Salt Lake City reduced the number of taxis 25 percent and the number of cab companies to two. They even restricted the number of taxis waiting at the airport. Just this week, San Francisco taxi drivers went on strike due to mandatory credit card machines. Now, where’s the outrage at our city government for pushing credit card machines.

In Miami-Dade they conduct audits and they have an auction for taxi medallions at a minimum bid of $100,000. They also require wheelchair accessible vehicles, security cameras, rear compartment swipe (credit cards) and dispatch systems. Of course, TTLF conducted a study in 2007. In Austin, they had a four-person team from the city conduct an audit to where they required more than one full-time Enforcement Officer to ensure compliance. Again, the implementation of these requirements was preceded by a TTLF taxi study.

City council members need to consider where you stand on this issue because if you vote to implement this, this will create another bureaucratic department and put businesses out of business. For a small business owner, buying a new taxi every so many years or demanding expensive oversight equipment is the equivalent to a major airline purchasing an aircraft. But this is a good test to see who is willing to make the vote…crony capitalism for the airlines, credit card companies & government control or entrepreneurism for their constituents?

To my fellow citizens, it is a time to see where your city council actually stands. If they vote for it, they are either ignorant on the subject or exercising crony capitalism. Either way, they may need to go. Either way, let their actions speak.

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