Monday, December 21, 2009

Two More Department Directors Named Today - Procurement & IT

Press Release from Mayor Dwight Jones' office:

Monday, December 21, 2009

New Procurement Director Named

RICHMOND, VA - Cheryl Wright has been named Director of the city’s Department of Procurement Service. Wright possesses more than 18 years experience in leading procurement and diversity programs with numerous governmental entities throughout Chicago, Illinois. Most recently, she worked as a Business Development Procurement Consultant for the U.S. Department of Commerce in Charlotte, NC, providing business development for the Minority Business Development Agency. Wright had previously served as Chief Procurement Officer for the Chicago Housing Authority, Chicago, IL; Director of Purchasing for the Chicago Park District, Chicago, IL; Manager of Contract Administration for Chicago Public Schools, Chicago, IL; and Senior Contract Compliance Officer for the city of Chicago, IL. She obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Purdue University’s School of Technology and a Masters in Project Management from Keller Graduate School in Chicago, Illinois.

Information Technology Acting Director Made Permanent

Annette Flowers has been named Director of the city’s Department of Information Technology (DIT). She previously served as DIT Manager for the Applications Solutions Division for the city of Richmond and other various technology roles over the past 27 years. As director, she will oversee all technology resources and agency employees. Her responsibilities include technology planning, maintaining business operations, and managing technology services for all city agencies. Flowers obtained an Information Technology Networking degree from the University of Phoenix. Her professional memberships include: Project Management Institute (PMI) and Virginia Association of Local Government IT Executives (VALGITE). Flowers had been serving as the city’s Acting Director of Information Technology since October of 2008.

"We welcome these two additions to the leadership team of the city of Richmond. Both individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience that will benefit the city and enhance our management efforts," said Chief Administrative Officer Byron C. Marshall.

Tammy D. Hawley
Press Secretary to the Mayor
Office: 804-646-3110

Trash Collection Canceled for Tuesday; Other Days Delayed 1 day

Department of Public Works
Richmond, Virginia

Solid Waste Collection Canceled for Tuesday

Solid waste collection is being delayed by one day due to inclement weather. There will be no trash pick-up for city residents on Tuesday, December 22. The schedule for the remainder of the week is as follows:

* Tuesday collections will take place on Wednesday
* Wednesday collections will take place on Thursday
* There is no collection on Friday due to the Christmas holiday
* Thursday and Friday collections will take place on Saturday and Sunday

Residents who normally receive trash collection on Monday will receive service on Tuesday, December 22 if their trash was not picked up today.

For more information on city services and schedules, please visit us on line at or call the Customer Care Center at 3-1-1.

Contact: Sharon North
Phone: (804) 646-5607

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cannon Creek Greenway gets Greenlight / Carillon Advisory Committee Wants to Drop Deadbeat Members

Dec. 16, 2009 - Health, Human Services, & Education Committee from Silver Persinger.

Only one paper on the agenda for this meeting, Resolution 2009-R190 (Patrons: President Graziano, Vice-President Robertson, Mr. Hilbert, Mr. Jewell - added) -To support the Department of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities’ grant application to the Virginia Department of Transportation for Transportation Enhancement grant funds for the construction of a bicycle and pedestrian commuter trail, family recreation and environmental education features, landscaping, and scenic beautification of the Cannon Creek Greenway; and to express the Council’s commitment to work cooperatively with the City Administration to either identify appropriate matching funds in the current Capital Improvement Plan or to include such matching funds in the 2011-2015 Capital Improvement Plan.

There was a presentation on the Carillon Advisory Committee by Barbara Brock and veteran member Ryland Yancey Bailey. Ms. Brock explained to the committee that several members do not attend the meetings regularly and the Advisory Committee is unable to achieve a quorum to conduct business. They desire new members to be appointed. The committee is made up of 8 members. One position is vacant. Only 3 members attend meetings regularly. By deduction, the non-participating members are Richard G. Steele [appointed Feb. 26, 2007], Thomas Wagstaff [appointed Oct. 25, 2004], Shawn Freude [appointed Oct. 25, 2004], Ezra Hitzeman [appointed Nov. 8, 2004].

Ms. Brock recommended the Council recognize Larry Robinson who has played the Carillon bells for the last 50 years as of 2010.

Joyce Davis, City Council Policy Adviser, gave the standing committee staff report.

Robin Robinson, formerly a candidate in the Nov. 2009 election for the 7th District City Council seat, spoke to the committee.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Council Hikes Towing Fees, City Jail Accredited, Richmond Now Economic Recovery Zone

Dec. 14, 2009 - City Jail Accredited / Farewell City Attorney Sales/ Carolyn Graham Introduced from Silver Persinger.

Richmond City Council Unanimously Raises the Towing Rate from Private Property - Dec. 14, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Dec. 14, 2009 / Citizen Comment / Consent Agent / Announcements / Introduction of New Papers from Silver Persinger.

Dept. of Public Works to Hold Info Session on Forest Hill Ave. Road Widening

December 14, 2009

Public Meeting Scheduled to Discuss Improvements to Forest Hill Avenue
Citizen Information Meeting for Forest Hill Avenue Improvement Project

Thursday, December 17, 2009, 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m., Presentation at 6 p.m.

St. Luke Lutheran Church - 7757 Chippenham Parkway

BACKGROUND: This project is being conducted by the City of Richmond to consider improvements along a one-mile section of Forest Hill Avenue from west of Powhite Parkway to east of Hathaway Road. The city is examining ways to improve neighborhood access, add landscaping, lighting and pedestrian facilities, drainage improvements and promote pedestrian and bike use. The project is currently in the preliminary design and study phase. The project is expected to take approximately one year to complete.

For more information on the project, visit the project website:

Contact: Sharon North
Phone: (804) 646-5607

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Councilwoman Newbille Holds Her First 7th District Meeting

Ms. Cynthia Newbille was elected to Richmond City Council on November 3, 2009. She replaced Betty Squire who served as a Council appointed interim after long-time Councilwoman Delores McQuinn stepped down to seek Dwight Jones' former House of Delegates seat [70th District].

Ms. Newbille held her first 7th District Meeting on Saturday from 10:30 - 12:30 PM at the East District Initiative Center on 25th Street in Church Hill. It was well attended by neighbors of the district.

Until I write my own report of this meeting, John Murden's from Church Hill People's News will suffice.

7th District Meeting - Dec. 12, 2009 - Part 1 from Silver Persinger.

7th District Meeting - Dec. 12, 2009 - Part 2 from Silver Persinger.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Finance Committee Annual Retreat Discusses Economic Development

Part 1 - Finance Committee Retreat - Dec. 3, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

In Part 1, Ellen Robertson [6th District], Council Vice President and Chair of the Finance Committee called the retreat to order at 1:36 PM. Other Council members in attendance during the course of the meeting included Doug Conner [9th District], Charles Samuels [2nd District], Chris Hilbert [3rd District], Cynthia Newbille [1:46 PM, 7th District], and Bruce Tyler [2:02 PM, 1st District].

Part 2 - Finance Committee Retreat - Dec. 3, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Part 3 - Finance Committee Retreat - Dec. 3, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Richmond Public Schools to Hold Public Hearing on Facilities

Tonight marks the first of four opportunities for public hearings the Richmond School Board will hold in an effort to hear from the community what they want to see built into proposed Phase 1 Schools/Community Facilities.

The School Board recently announced their approved construction plan which the City Council signed off on at their last meeting, November 23. The School Board's "top tier priorities" are Huguenot High School and Broad Rock Elementary School; Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School, Oak Grove Elementary School are "second-tier priorities." Elkhardt Middle School and E.H.S. Greene Elementary School are considered "third-tier priorities." Amelia Street and Capital City Program still remain on the list. However, CCP is proposing a PPEA ["Public Private" agreement?] for joint funding.

Meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. as follows:

Dec. 2: Richmond Technical Center – 2020 Westwood Avenue
Dec. 3: Franklin Military High School – 701 North 37th Street
Dec. 9: Thomas Jefferson High School – 4100 West Grace Street
Dec. 15: Lucille Brown Middle School – 6300 Jahnke Road

For more details, contact Angela Lewis at 780-7716.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday, November 23, 2009

Union Hill Historic District Approved / $600,000 for Stallings' Hippodrome delayed / Towing Fees paper continued

The meeting began at 6:13 PM. The meeting opened with a prayer by Pastor Dr. Randy Clipp of Monument Heights Baptist Church, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, Fire Evacuation Instructions, Acknowledging Visiting Students from St. Paul's College and their professor/Brunswick County Board of Supervisor, Marc Finney, "O' Virginia" sung by students of George Mason Elementary School [written by Pauron and Pauline Wheeler, also present], Awards and Presentations Period, Appointments and re-appointments to Boards and Commissions, Amendments to the Agenda.

Beginning of Nov. 23, 2009 Richmond, Virginia City Council Meeting from Silver Persinger.

The Awards Period recipients for Nov. 23, 2009 included:

Richard Minter, for his dedication to beautifying the Ginter Park Neighborhood. Presented by Councilman Chris Hilbert [3rd District].

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
Lorae Ponder, Vice President, Programs and Operations, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia;

Paula Sherman, Coordinator, Lending Protection, Housing Opportunities Made Equal of Virginia;

Keith Combs, Area Director, ClearPoint;

Michele Watson
, Director of Home Ownership Programs, Virginia Housing Development Authority;

Kelly Gill-Gordon, Manager, Home ownership Virginia Housing Development Authority;

Dianna Herdon, Executive Director, Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation;

Tanya Davis, Housing Counselor, Southside Community Development and Housing Corporation.

These individuals were "officially recognized" for their assistance with the 2009 Richmond Homeowner Foreclosure Prevention Program held Saturday in October.

Union Hill Discussed and Approved by Richmond City Council - Nov. 23, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Bonus Footage

Students from George Mason Elementary School sang "O' Virginia" just prior to the Council meeting starting at 6:13 PM. I think this was a better performance than the one that occurred during the meeting. It's also nice because the lights are on.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

$600,000 Grant to Ron Stallings?

At Thursday's Finance Committee meeting the committee discussed Ordinance 2008-217 which proposes a grant of $600,000 to help finance the redevelopment of the Hippodrome Theatre. This money would not be paid back to the City but it is expected the City would see a return on its investment through increased assessments, meals and admission taxes, and theoretically the theatre would act as a stimulus to other development on Second Street. The project is being headed by Ron Stallings and another developer Kelvin Hansen. Mr. Hansen owns the property next door, formerly the Elks' Lodge, at 526 N. 2nd Street. The total project is valued at $12.1 million. This discussion follows on the heels of Mayor Jones' announcement this week that the City is expecting to see a projected revenue shortfall of $10 million for FY 2010.

Watch the discussion.

$600,000 Grant for Ron Stallings? from Silver Persinger.

View the original ordinance from 2004 which was patroned by former City Manager Calvin Jamison and proposed to give $800,000 to the developers, Ordinance 2004-246-247.

Mr. Stallings has contributed money to the campaigns of City Council members Bill Pantele [former 2nd District], Chris Hilbert [3rd District], and Ellen Robertson [6th District]. More details here.

This is also interesting to consider: How did Mr. Stallings get The Hippodrome Theatre in 2006 for $0 when it is currently assessed at $520,000?

Also interesting to note, $600,000 is the same amount RRHA is projecting as a shortfall for their Housing Voucher Program. Wouldn't this money be better spent assisting low income folks with housing than helping a developer with his for profit development?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

School Construction Plan Being Rushed with Little Opportunity for Council Oversight

On Monday, Richmond City School Board approved a schedule of schools to be built. At City Council's Land Use, Housing & Transportation Committee Meeting on Tuesday, the committee receive a presentation from John Winter, the City's Special Capital Project Manager and Jim Damm, Public School's Interim Chief Operations Officer. Mr. Winter and Mr. Damm also appeared at Wednesday's Health, Human Services & Education Committee meeting and made another presentation. Wednesday's presentation is below.

Accelerating School Construction Plan - Nov. 18, 2009 @ Health, Human Services, & Education from Silver Persinger.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Public Safety Committee - Raising Towing Rates, Fire Dept. Overtime, & Tethering Ordinance

Towing Rates Debate Continues - Nov. 16, 2009 @ Public Safety from Silver Persinger.

Fire Dept. Overtime & Staffing - Nov. 16, 2009 @ Public Safety from Silver Persinger.

Enforcing the Tethering Ordinance - Nov. 16, 2009 @ Public Safety from Silver Persinger.

Mayor Jones Announces new Deputy CAO of Social Services and Two Directors

Mayor Dwight Jones' executive team is now complete with the appointment of Carolyn N. Graham, lately of Washington, DC, to the position of Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Human Services.

Mayor Jones also apointed Doris D. Moseley to the position of Director of Richmond City Department of Social Services, and Charles J. Kehoe, Superintendent of the Richmond Juvenile Detention Center, has been appointed Director of the Department of Justice Services, replacing Doris Moseley.

Learn more about the individuals by reading the Mayor's Press Release.

Read a corrective press release issued three days later which corrects misinformation in the initial press release about Ms. Graham's educational background.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Towing, Democracy & Citizenship

Richmond City Council - Nov. 9, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, view the entire meeting.

* * * Hi-Lights * * *

The most important business of the evening was discussion of Ordinance 2009-186 to raise maximum allowable fees on towing and storage fees. From $65 to $125 for towing and from $20 to $35 per day to store your car after the first 24 hours.

Ord. 2009- 186 To Raise Towing & Storage Fees for Cars towed from Private Property from Silver Persinger.

Listen to the discussion. The paper was continued until the next meeting. Council persons did not object to the fees but said they wanted clarification on issues related to signage and penalties for towing companies that violate the law.

Citizen Comment Period

Citizen Comment Period - Nov. 9, 2009 - Football / Veterans / Citizenship / Roundabout from Silver Persinger.

Speakers included Bernice Travers and Darryl L. Badley, Jr. speaking about the upcoming Armstrong & Walker Classic Football Game to be held at Virginia Union on November 14. Cliff Troutman spoke on Wreaths Across America. Silver Persinger spoke against Council's recent decision to move the Citizen Comment Period later on the Agenda. Sue Barlett, owner of BEX Logistics, spoke in opposition to the proposed roundabout for Holly Springs Avenue and Maury Street.

Awards & Presentations

Awards & Presentation Period - Nov. 9, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Groups receiving Community Serice Awards included HandsOn Greater Richmond, Friends of Chimborazo Playground, Radio One, and Virginia Voice. Valerie M. Salaam, a Council Policy Analysis who is leaving her position was also given a Public Service Award in private and did not receive the award publicly.

Informal Session - November 9, 2009 - Storm Water Fee / Weaver Report

Informal Session - Nov. 9, 2009 - Storm Water Fee / Boards & Commissions / Weaver Report from Silver Persinger.

Includes Deputy CAO of Operations Christopher Beschler discussing the storm water fee and how it is derived. Docket Review for the evening's meeting. Council discussion of Boards, Commissions and Authorities, which to abolish and how to manage. Chris Hilbert [3rd District] recommended that applicants be asked if they do business with the city; to avoid potential conflicts of interests and to promote transparency.

Discussion by City Clerk Lou B. Ali on developing orientation for new Board and Commission appointees and holding a recognition ceremony for volunteers in April 2010.

Council Chief of Staff Daisy Weaver gave a report. Discussed the CIP [Capital Improvement Program] Budget. Bruce Tyler [1st District] asked about the cost of the City Jail. Ms. Weaver reported the administration was late in delivering three reports to the Council. Reva Trammell [8th District] mentioned briefly a deal she was working on for the Model Tobacco building, possibly a bond financed through RRHA.

Ms. Weaver announced her desire to hire Ralph Harris, who currently serves as one of Council's Fiscal Analysts, as her Deputy Chief of Staff. Ms. Trammell offered some protest to the proposed "promotion."

There have been other recent changes to Council's staff recently. Felicia Craighead, until recently served as a Deputy City Clerk. Three employees under the supervision of Ms. Weaver have recently left their positions. Angela Montgomery, formerly a Policy Analyst left her position in August, and recently Valerie Salaam [Policy Analyst] and Anthony Dale [Budget Analyst] have left what had formerly been described as the "Department of Legislative Services." The handling of this department by Council's Chief of Staff Ms. Weaver, has been an object of constant criticism by this blogger.

The Department is supposed to have a Director and it did briefly in the person of Ellen Bowyer, the only individual fired by former Mayor Douglas Wilder and Acting CAO Harry Black for not re-applying for her job with the Council. Since that time, Ms. Weaver has assumed the duties of the Director and also continues in her role as Council's Chief of Staff.

In my opinion, Ms. Weaver is an ineffective manager who lacks leadership in her direction of legislative policy. She merely exhibits a semblance of formality and process. Ms. Weaver worked for twenty years in the City's Budget Office, but I don't think that is an adequate qualification for directing legislative policies.

I think the lack of an effective Director of Legislative Services is the greatest contributor to the lack of success and effectiveness of the Richmond City Council.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Vote for the Other Guy

The Richmond City Council Reporter & Telegraph is proud to announce our 2009 Candidate Selections for the November 3, 2009 Election.

For Virginia Governor: Creigh Deeds

For Virginia Lt. Governor: Jody Wagner

For Virginia Attorney General: Steve Shannon

House of Delegates

55th District, Part of Hanover: Robert Barnette

56th District, Goochland, Louisa, and Henrico: James Towey

65th District, Part of Chesterfield: Gary Reinhardt

70th District, Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield: Delores McQuinn

71st District, Richmond and Henrico: Silver Persinger

73rd District, Henrico and Richmond: Tom Shields

74th District, Charles City, Henrico, Prince George, Hopewell and Richmond: Joe Morrissey

We are supporting the above candidates though we are not truly happy with any of them. We desire better candidates, different canidates, and more candidate choices. We are simply picking among some of the available candidates running.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Scandal Rocks Richmond City Council - Marty Jewell Arrested for DUI

Less than an hour ago, from Richmond Police Department:

> Date: October 24, 2009 11:57:10 AM EDT
> Subject: 102409 Jewell Arrest DW.doc
> Attached is information about the arrest of Councilman Marty Jewell.
> Thank you for your attention.
> Dionne Waugh
> Public Affairs Unit
> Richmond Police Department.

E-mail Advisory 10/24/09

Richmond Police Department

Jewell Arrest

This morning at approximately 1:30 a.m., Richmond Police arrested Councilman Marty Jewell for Driving Under the Influence. The arrest was made near Byrd Park. Because this case will be heard in court, no details related to this incident will be disseminated to the media.

The Richmond Police Department has increased the total number of DUI arrests over the past couple of years. In 2006, there were 410 arrests for for DUI.

Last year there were 653 DUI arrests and this year to date there have been 609 DUI arrests. Along with enforcement, the Department has developed numerous awareness campaigns as well to deter drunk driving.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

WCVE 88.9 Candidate Forum - Richmond Area House of Delegates Candidates

WCVE 88.9 Candidate Forum - Oct. 22, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, you can watch the entire forum.

On Thursday, October 22, 2009, WCVE hosted a live radio candidate forum. The forum was organized by League of Women Voters, Partnership for Housing Affordability, Leadership Metro Richmond, Richmond First Club, and WCVE. The forum began at 7:06 PM and lasted a little over an hour. The first five minutes of this video is an hourly news updated from NPR News, I left it in there because I thought it would be interesting to hear again in future years to give a flavor of the day's news.

Below, view select clips by individual districts.

55th District - John Cox [Republican] and Robert Barnette [Democrat]

56th District - James Towey [Democrat] and Bill Janis [Republican] - Not Present

65th District - Gary Reinhardt [Independent] and Lee Ware [Republican] - Not Present

68th District - Bill Grogan [Independent] and Manoli Loupassi [Republican] - Not Present

69th District - L. Shirley Harvey [Independent]; Betsy Carr [Democrat] - Not Present; Ernesto Sampson [Republican] - Not Present

70th District - Delores McQuinn [Democrat] and Henry Otis Brown [Independent] - Not Present

71st District - Jennifer McClellan [Democrat] and Silver Persinger [Independent]

73rd District - John O'Bannon [Republican] and Tom Shields [Democrat]

74th District - Joe Morrissey [Democrat] and Michael Gage [Republican]

Governmental Operations Committee Meeting - Oct. 22, 2009

Governmental Operations Committee - Oct. 22, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Health, Human Services & Education Committee - Oct. 21, 2009

Health, Human Services & Education Committee - Oct. 21, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

I was unable to stay for the entire meeting but a major portion of this video is a presentation from Communities in Schools, a national nonprofit organization that works in Richmond's public school to prevent students from dropping out. Presenting to the Committee were two former City Employees, Dr. Harold Fitrer [former Director of Human Resources and former Assistant/Interim Superintendent for Richmond Public Schools] and former School Board member [2nd District] Lisa Dawson, both who now work for Communities in Schools.

For more information about Communities in Schools,

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Richmond Crusade for Voters Candidate Forum for the 71st District

Crusade for Voters Candidate Forum - 71st District - Oct. 20, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters held their final candidate forum of the election season. They will be endorsing candidates at there next meeting on October 28. The forum was moderated by Crusade President Antione Green. The candidates for the House of Delegates are incumbent Jennifer McClellan, a lawyer who works for Verizon Telephone and myself, Silver Persinger. I work at the Library of Virginia with the Virginia Newspaper Program.

Slavery Museum presented to Land Use, Housing and Transportation Committee

Presentation form Slave Trail Commission on Shockoe Bottom Heritage District - Oct. 10, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, Delores McQuinn presented to the Committee what the Richmond Slave Trail Commission has been working on. She and architect Burt Pinnock described a proposed Heritage District in Shockoe Bottom highlighting Richmond's history in the Slave Trade.

Below, watch the entire meeting.

Land Use, Housing, & Transportation - Oct. 20, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Prostitution and Raising Towing Rates Discussed at Public Safety Committee

Richmond City Council's Public Safety Committee held it's regular monthly meeting at the Richmond Police Academy located near Virginia Union. Councilwoman Reva Trammell called the meeting to order at 5:03 PM, Interim Councilwoman Betty Squire was present, attending her last committee meeting as a member of the Council. A new member will be elected in two weeks on November 3.

Major Keohane on Prostitution Enforcement - Oct. 19, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, Major John Keohane gave a report on prostitution and arrests in "Targeted Enforcement Zones" formerly called "Prostitution Free Zones." There have been 138 arrests this year as of 9/11/09 compared with 44 in 2008.

Are Police Chief Bryan T. Norwood and Mayor (Rev.) Dwight C. Jones responsible for this renewed interest in persecuting prostitutes and johns? And did you know, if you are caught, they will post your photo on their facebook page?

Raising Towing Rates - This is How Decisions are Made - Oct. 19, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, the other major topic of discussion was Ordinance 2009-186 to raise the rates on towing cars from private property from $65 to $125, instituting a $30 processing fee more cars held more than 72 hours, instituting a $30 drop fee if your car hasn't been taken away, and increasing the storage fee from $20 to $35. Council member were comfortable with the recommendations from the Towing Advisory Board. The towing companies and members of the Board spoke in favor of it and I spoke in opposition.

Watch the entire meeting.

Prostitution & Towing Rates - @ Public Safety - Oct.19, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Richmond City Council October 12, 2009

Richmond City Council - Oct. 12, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Informal Session - October 12, 2009

Informal Session - Oct. 12, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Below, the Council returned to the discussion of their legislative agenda after the end of their Regular Meeting.

Conclusion of the Informal Session - Oct. 12, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

* * * Hi-Lites * * *

Below, Deputy CAO for Economic and Community Development, Peter Chapman described the "work in progress" to consolidate the Dept. of Economic Development, the Dept. of Community Development, and the Dept. of Real Estate Services to form the Dept. of Planning. The reorganization must be approved by the Council.

Peter Chapman Discusses Consolidation of Departments - Oct. 12, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Henrico County NAACP Candidate Forum

Henrico County, Virginia NAACP Candidate Forum - Oct. 6, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

On October 6, 2009 the Henrico County Chapter of the NAACP held a candidate forum for Richmond, Virginia area House of Delegates candidates. More information to follow.

Watch my comments at the Forum.

Henrico County NAACP Candidate Forum - Silver Persinger excerpts from Silver Persinger.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Revealing Session with Richmond City Council - Fall Retreat '09

Richmond City Council Fall Retreat - October 5, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above,if there is only one two hour and twenty minute Richmond City Council meeting you watch this year, this is it.

Watch as the meeting opens briefly for 12 minutes before going into closed session as Councilman Bruce Tyler [1st District] lets it be know to his fellow Council members and the public via my video camera that he was not happy with the process for selecting the three members to the GRTC Board. Particularly since none of his three recommendations were even granted an interview. Councilman Doug Conner [9th District] explains why he withdrew Mr. Tyler's recommendations.

After the Closed Session, the meeting convened with the acceptance of the Land Use, Housing, & Transportation Committee's recommendations for appointees to the GRTC Transit Board.

The recommended appointees are Linda Broady-Myers and James Johnson, current members being reappointed to the Board, and Sheila Hill Christian -- formerly the City's Chief Administrative Officer under Mayor Doug Wilder before she quit, former transition aid to Mayor Dwight C. Jones, former director of the Virginia Lottery, former Executive Director of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority [RRHA], former chief operating officer for the GRTC Transit System, and former Assistant City Manager under Calvin Jamison, former City Department Director, and former Chief of Staff for the City of Richmond.

The appointees were accepted by a vote of 5 to 3. Councilman Chris Hilbert [3rd District] was not present. Councilmen Tyler [1st District] and Charles Samuels [2nd District] and Ms. Reva Trammell [8th District] voted against the recommended Board appointees.

Watch as Council Chief of Staff Daisy Weaver loses Council members' attention. Watch as City Council members discuss abolishing the Open Citizen Comment Period at the beginning of meetings. Watch as they decide not to video tape their committee meetings (with the exception of President Kathy Graziano [4th District], and Councilmen Hilbert and Tyler). Watch as they discuss ways of increasing citizen participation and making City Hall more assessable.

All around a great meeting to watch to get a deeper understanding for the members of our beloved Richmond City Council.

* * Hi-Lights * *

Discussion of Doing Away with or Limiting Citizen Comment Period at the Opening of Committee Meetings

Discussion of Starting Committee Meetings Later to Encourage Citizen Attendence and Participation

Discussion of Video Recording Committee Meetings and Closed Captioning

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Post to the re: City Auditor's Policies

Here is a comment I left on an article in today's Times-Dispatch regarding their article " City Auditor’s work won’t be as publicized " about City Council devising a policy to prohibit the City Auditor from announcing the completion of audits and investigations.

My comment:

Ineptitude at City Council should hardly be surprising. Open government and transparency are best practices in the field of government. It leads to accountability. When the public can see how decisions are made, they can understand why decisions were made and WHO is accountable for the decisions made.

I asked Council members earlier in the year if they supported open government and many of them did not seem familiar with the concept, though they said they said they supported it.

Since when should our government seek to emulate the government of Chesterfield and Henrico.

Especially, when what you seek to emulate is keeping information secret. The City Auditor works for the citizens of Richmond; not the City Council or the Mayor.

The news coverage of city government is already apathetic. Press releases from the Auditor's Office help inform the public. It cost relatively nothing for the auditor's office to email press releases and even to hold a press conference to allow the City Auditor to explain the findings to the media, who need all the help they can get. City Council members should also try to attend City Auditor Press Conferences, so they will know the questions from the media and know more directly the results of Audit Reports.

This article comes on the heels of tomorrow's interviews with appointees for the GRTC Transit System Board. See the Times-Dispatch article, "GRTC board appointments a point of contention" Oct. 2, 2009,


Published: October 2, 2009

Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones wants one of the city's new administrators to help run the GRTC Transit System.

But City Councilman Bruce W. Tyler is pushing back and expressing concern over a role the city could play in a sale of GRTC's coveted headquarters property near the Fan District.

Jones wants the 6.8-acre site to go to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority for private development guided by the city through a review of proposals.

The council is scheduled to appoint three members to the GRTC board this month. This week, the list of 13 applicants was pared to eight finalists, including Peter H. Chapman, the city's new deputy chief administrative officer for economic and community development.

Another is former Chief Administrative Officer Sheila Hill-Christian, who has worked as a consultant to the Jones administration. She previously held executive positions with GRTC and RRHA.

Tyler said he's concerned about the possible appointments.

"I don't believe it should be anybody from the administration or with close ties to the administration," he said. "That body needs to be independent and it needs to report to council."

The Jones administration sees no conflict and nothing unusual in having one of its members on the GRTC board, said Tammy D. Hawley, the mayor's press secretary.

"Our motive is to have the highest amount of experience to move the transit system forward," she said.

John M. Lewis Jr., CEO of GRTC, said residency from the appointing locality is the only requirement for the GRTC board. While directors have historically been local civic and business leaders, many public-transit agencies are governed by elected and appointed officials, he said.

Chesterfield County, which owns GRTC with the city, also is set to make its three appointments to the six-member board.

The city's other finalists for appointment are the current representatives -- Linda G. Broady-Meyers, James M. Johnson and Michael Rohde, as well as Robert P. Englander Jr., a real estate developer and principal of The CathFord Group; Mark Romer, president of James River Equipment Co.; and Grindly Johnson, chief of business and employee opportunities for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Tyler said he's bothered that candidates recommended by him -- developer Paul W. Kreckman [Editor's note: the same fellow from Highwoods Properties that was pitching the stadium in Shockoe Bottom], architect Robert C. Burns and attorney R. Webb Moore -- won't be interviewed. The council's Land Use, Housing and Transportation Standing Committee will meet Monday to conduct closed-door interviews.

Chesterfield County Administrator James J.L. Stegmaier had no comment on the city appointments or on how the GRTC property might be developed.

"We think it's important that the property be sold at fair market price and those resources be used to enhance the quality of public transportation in the region," he said.

The property, at 101 S. Davis Ave., has been appraised at more than $5 million but could require substantial environmental cleanup.

Tyler said he sees no reason for the city and RRHA to play a prominent role in the site's future. He said the city has a poor record of guiding development and cited several projects, including the city-requested and now-withdrawn proposal offered by Kreckman's firm for a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom.

Tyler said the city would be able to control whatever happens on the GRTC site because the council's approval would likely be needed for any development.

GRTC is expected to vacate the property by early December when it moves to a new operations and maintenance center on Belt Boulevard in South Richmond. Lewis said no sale offers are pending, and there's no timetable for a decision.

"That's up to my board of directors," he said.

Council has said it would be a closed door session on Monday Oct. 5, 2009 from 8 AM to 10:30 AM -- though I can't understand the grounds for closing the meeting to the public. All candidates have received the questions in advance. This is not a discussion of discipline, legal issues, or discussion about employment.

This is about appointing members to a public board that deals with the City's bus system and future development of a light rail system. The term is for one year.

What are you afraid of City Council? People deserve to know what you are doing on our behalf and in our names. You represent us and we deserve to know how and why you make decisions. This is known as Open Government.

-Silver Persinger

Below, watch the last Governmental Operations meeting of September 24, 2009 where the proposed policy was discussed.

Governmental Operations Discusses Auditor's Reporting Policies - Sept. 24, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Below, watch the July 23, 2009 Governmental Operations meeting where the policy was first discussed.

City Auditor's Office Policies Discussed at Governmental Operations - July 23, 2009 from Silver Persinger on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Richmond Regional Candidates’ Forum

Richmond Regional Candidates’ Forum - Sept. 30, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Above, watch the entire meeting. The forum opened with comments from Jay Squires, President, Gay Community Center of Richmond and Jon Blair, Equality Virginia. The forum was moderated by Kathy Benham of Benham Consulting.

September 30, 2009
7pm to 9pm
Gay Community Center of Richmond
Richmond, VA 23220

One of the first candidate forums of the 2009 campaign season.

Candidates present: Robert N. Barnette, Jr. [55th District], James O. Towey [56th District], Lashrecse D. Jones, Representing Delegate Rosalyn R. Dance [63rd District], William K. "Bill" Grogan [68th District], Henry Otis Brown [70th District], Delores McQuinn [70th District], Jennifer McClellan [71st District], Silver Persinger [71st District], Jimmie P. Massie, III [72nd District], Tom J. Shields [73rd District], Joe D. Morrissey [74th District]

Sponsoring Organizations

Equality Virginia
Fan Free Clinic
Gay Community Center of Richmond
Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) of Richmond
Gay Pride Virginia
LGBT Stonewall Caucus of the Democratic Party
Log Cabin Republicans of Virginia
Metropolitan Community Church of Richmond
Mothers and Others
PFLAG Richmond
People of Faith for Equality in Virginia
Richmond Lesbian Feminists
Virginia Organizing Project
Virginia Partisans Gay and Lesbian Democratic Club

Below, watch opening remarks from the candidates.

Candidates' Opening Remarks at Forum - Sept. 30, 2009 from Silver Persinger.

Questions were offered to candidates prior to the forum. The question are presented below.

1. Do you believe that employees of state and local government should be protected from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in state and local employment? Will you co-patron and support legislation (like HB 2385, 2008) to ban such discrimination?

2. Do you believe that GLBT people should be protected from violence directed at them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression? Will you co-patron and support legislation to extend Virginia’s hate violence law to include such violence?

3. Do you believe that students should be able to form Gay Straight Alliances in Virginia public and private schools that strive to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression? Will you oppose legislation that seeks to ban such organizations in schools?

4. Do you support comprehensive training for all Virginia youth and family service providers and Family Life Education and guidance programs in public schools that offer age-appropriate, medically accurate, evidence based information on sexuality, tolerance, homosexuality, gender identity, and prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS?

5. Do you believe that GLBT couples should have equal rights to government recognized marriage and all of its benefits, some other form of relationship recognition, or no legal recognition? Please explain your position and the reasons for it. Will you support repeal of all or part of the constitutional amendment banning any and all relationship recognition, including recognizing lawful marriages entered into in other states? Please explain your position and the reasons for it.

Written questions from the audience.