Monday, June 29, 2009

Socialist Party of Central Virginia Meeting - June 28, 2009

The Socialist Party of Central Virginia met on Sunday June 28, 2009 at Deep Run Park in Henrico County.

The meeting was attended by Chairman Forrest Cook, Secretary Brandon Collins, Treasurer Reagan Greenfield-- all three live in Charlottesville, Aaron a member from Harrisonburg, Dick, At-Large Executive Committee Member from Montross, Virginia and Silver Persinger from Richmond attended as an observer.

Bulk of the meeting was consumed with amending the by-laws and "Rusty's Rules of Procedure."

This is just the first hour and a half of a near three hour meeting. We were not near electricity and the battery is only good for 90 minutes.

For more information, email

Friday, June 26, 2009

Governmental Operations Committee Meeting June 25, 2009

Richmond City Council's Governmental Operations Committee met June 25, 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

City Council Meeting June 22, 2009 - How we Set Water Rates / Meet the new CAO

Above, I spoke in opposition to ordinances 2009-113 and 2009-114 which exempt 836 residential water customers [ most who live in the "affluent first district," Mr. Tyler's district ] from higher water rates for having water meters larger than 5/8 inch.

DPU conducted a survey of over 200 of the 836 households and found that they all had appropriate sized meters for the type and number of water fixtures used by the customer. 93% of the 836 households [777] would have had to pay less than $20 a month additionally on their monthly water bill.

Above, Byron C. Marshall testifies on his own behalf before the Council and the public. He described why he feels he is qualified for the position and outlined his wide ranging professional experience in larger cities including Washington, DC, Atlanta, Houston, and Austin. He answered questions about his degree, the audit in Austin, other issues raise in local media.


Above, video of the first hour of the evening's Council meeting. Includes the Awards Period and the Citizen Comment period.

Mrs. Ellen Robertson (6th District) presented the Richmond Human Service Award to Carol Negus, President of Bridging Boundaries International.

The speakers for the Citizen Comment Period were Cynthia Hinds, August Moon, Victor Reed, and Darryl Badley.

Above, the second half of the evening's meeting, complete and unedited.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Informal Session June 22, 2009

Complete unedited recordings of Richmond City Council's Informal Session held at 3 PM in Council Chambers.

Part 1

Part 2

Friday, June 19, 2009

Finance Committee Meeting June 18, 2009

I forgot to bring my power cord so I was only able to record the first hour and a half of this meeting.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Health, Human Services & Education Committee June 17, 2009

Richmond City Council's Health, Human Services & Education Committee met on June 17, 2009 in Council Chambers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Public Safety Committee Meeting - Drug Court & Inmate Labor

At Monday's Public Safety Committee meeting, Council members were given presentations from Judge Margaret Spencer on the Richmond Adult Drug Court, Roy Eidem from the Dept. of Community Development on the Inmate Labor program used to clear overgrown private property, and another from a gentleman with a company that covers windows and doors with a metal covers to prevent entry.

Above, Judge Margaret P. Spencer and Gloria Jones discussed the Richmond Adult Drug Court program.

Above, Roy Eidem from Department of Community Development discussed the Inmate Labor Program that is coordinated between his department, the Sheriff's Office, and two private contractors.

Below, watch the entire meeting below.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Robertson's Town Hall Meeting - Davenport & Company Presents

On Saturday, Council Vice President Ellen Robertson held her monthly town hall meeting at 10 AM at the Bank of America building in downtown Richmond.

The topic of today's meeting was a presentation from Davenport and Company discussing their analysis of the proposal from Highwoods Properties to build a baseball park in Shockoe Bottom.

Above, Ellen Robertson introducing David Rose and Roland Kooch from Davenport and Company and encouraging the citizens in attendance to have an open mind.

Above, David Rose, Senior Vice President Davenport and Company, discussed the results of the $100,000 analysis of Highwoods Properties' proposal to build a ballpark and additional development in Shockoe Bottom.

Above. After the presentation Mrs. Robertson invited David Hicks, Senior Policy Advisor for Mayor Jones to make comments regarding the project from the perspective of the the administration. Mr. Hicks comments were noncommittal and he emphasized the Mayor's desire to bring high speed rail to Richmond.

Below, watch the entire meeting.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Unofficial Virginia Democratic Primary Results

From the Virginia Board of Elections

Winners: Deeds for Governor. Wagner for Lt. Gov. Carr for Delegate. Woody for Sheriff.

It's easy to see how the internet and social networking sites like facebook and twitter are gaining influence in the electoral process. I got some information in the last couple of days, shared info myself via twitter, email, and facebook. Even promoted my own "endorsements" as a private individual. None of my candidates won. Underdogs all the way, Moran, Signer, Green, Irving.

Turn out statewide, 6.3% or 320,369 of over 5 million registered voters in Virginia.

In Richmond, turn out was just over 11% or 13,635 of 122,350 registered voters.

The population of Richmond according to wikipedia: 200,123 in 2007. Accordingly, 61% of City of Richmond residents are registered to vote. And in actuality, the turnout in today's primary represented only 6.8% of Richmond's residents.

City Council Meeting June 8, 2009

Above, the last orders of business at the June 8, 2009 meeting of Richmond's City Council was consideration of Ordinance 2009-105 which provided an additional seven months [after having had the option to purchase the property for the last five years and failing to establish a restaurant at the site as previously agreed] to Restauranteur Inc. which is led by the Ripp family who own several Richmond area Arby's restaurants, Havana '59 in Shockoe Bottom, and CanCan in Carytown.

The terms of the ordinance allow purchase of the property for $725,000 but the property is assessed at $2 million.

Below, watch the complete unedited meeting.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Silver Persinger Running for House of Delegates, Turns in Homework

Official campaign website,
Official campaign blog,

This isn't exactly breaking news for those in the know, such as readers of The Church Hill People's News and other neighborhood blogs in Richmond.

But this is the Richmond Telegraph's treatment. And this blog is written by yours truly, Silver Persinger.

Though I've know for months that I would be seeking the office, I did not begin my campaign until May 22, 2009 when I walked into the Wachovia at 1st and East Grace Streets to open a checking account for my campaign. I was told I needed to get a tax ID number from the IRS before I could open a business checking account. So I headed over to the IRS located at 400 N. Eighth Street in downtown Richmond. There the receptionist handed me a booklet and two copies of the form, Form SS-4.

I walked to the garden behind John Marshall's house and filled out my form on a beautiful spring morning. After completing the form I called an 800 number and spoke with an IRS agent and then she assigned me a tax ID number. By the way, political candidates are considered 'other non-profit organizations' by the IRS.

From John Marshall's garden, I rode my bicycle back to Wachovia where I opened a free business checking account and I deposited my first personal contribution of $100 towards my campaign.

The following weekend I collected 110 signatures in Fulton.

On May 28, I turned in paper work including signatures of 100 individuals with the Richmond Registrar's Office. There I learned I needed to turn in some of my paperwork with the Board of Elections [1100 Bank Street] and the Clerk of the House of Delegates [located within the Capitol Building, 3rd Floor, NE corner office].

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Organizational Development June 1, 2009 - Censorship & Closed Door Dealmaking

Above, complete video of Richmond City Council's June 1, 2009 Organizational Development Committee meeting.

The first minute of this video is a compilation of clips from the 10 minutes I was waiting for the meeting to begin. It is one of my constant criticisms that Council does a crummy job starting their meetings on time. However, if they were good about starting their meetings on time, my complaint would change and I'd ask them to start the meetings 5 minutes after the hour to allow additional time for citizens to arrive without missing any of the meeting.

The first topic discussed, Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Director of Human Resources, asked the Committee to waive a requirement that jobs must be advertised in the newspaper. Dr. Jackson was requesting this for seven positions that are currently staffed but are proposed to be done away with. The seven employees will have "first crack" at 200 vacancies the city is planning to fill.


At the end of the meeting the committee went into Closed Session to discuss Ordinance 2009-105 which proposes to extend the option to sell 3101 East Main Street, Intermediate Terminal Building No. 3, and adjacent land fronting East Main Street, at 4303 and 4319 East Main Street to "Restauranteur, Inc." which is registered with the State Corporation Commission. The registered agent since August 15, 2003 is William F. Etherington, and the previous registered agent was D. H. EURE beginning in August 25, 2001. The registered address is 701 E. Franklin Street Suite 1200 which is the offices of Beale, Davidson, Etherington & Morris, PC.

The ordinance seeks to grant the purchaser 7 additional months in which to buy the property for $725,000. View the original ordinance, Ord. 2004-133-156. According to this ordinance [2004], the purchaser was supposed to build a restaurant on the property. The purchaser paid a deposit of $25,000 once the ordinance was adopted and had 5 years to complete the purchase, which was supposed to include $57,000 from meals taxes paid by purchaser on sales above $2 million in the first 12 months of operation of proposed restaurant. Doesn't this financing scheme sound similar to the plan to pay for Shockoe Center?

Shocking Revelations on President Graziano's Leadership Style

Censorship or what?

In the clip above, Angela Montgomery, a policy analyst in Council's Legislative Services Department, read a prepared report regarding the May 18 Public Safety Committee meeting.

In Ms. Montgomery's report there was no reference to the 50-65 motorcycle club members who came out to register their opposition to a recent modification in the Code of Virginia that prevents establishments that serve alcohol from serving patrons who are wearing gang colors or insignia. Ms. Reva Trammell objected to the omission and it turns out President Graziano request that portion of the report be omitted in order to save time. Both Ms. Trammell and Mr. Marty Jewell stated they resented the action.

This is not the first time Mrs. Graziano has taken liberties with "shortening" a meeting. In fact this is the fourth time I am aware of shenanigans like this. Most recently at the second Council meeting in February '09, she insisted that the public comment period be shortened to 15 minutes [from the normal 30 minutes] for each side regarding two ordinances dealing with the Commission of Architectural Review [CAR], Oakwood Heights, and a fence in front of Jennie Dotts' house near Chimborazo Park. There were many citizens to speak in opposition to the Oakwood Heights development who did have an opportunity to speak.

The first time I recall Mrs. Graziano doing something similar was in February 2008, when she was chairperson of the Land Use Committee. Mr. Hilbert and Mr. Jewell had co-patroned a resolution, Resolution 2008-R13, to express the City of Richmond's opposition to Dominion Power's proposal to build a new coal fired power plant in Wise County, in Southwestern Virginia. At this committee meeting there were many environmental activists and Mrs. Graziano said when they considered this resolution that each side would have 15 minutes to comment. She requested the environmentalists speaking in support of the resolution each take only two minutes. Meanwhile, the only opposition to the resolution was a lawyer representing Dominion Power and he was allowed to speak for the entire 15 minutes. It's not fair, and it is a clear sign that Mrs. Graziano does not hold the citizen comment period in high regard.

The citizen comment period is the public's most effective tool for holding elected officials accountable and allows citizens to contribute to the political discussion, though comments are often disregarded by the Council.