Monday, November 22, 2010

Special Use Permit for Carriage House on Northside Stirs Neighborhood Debate / Towing Rates Retroactively Increased with Little Public Opposition

Part 1/6 - Richmond City Council - Opening & Awards Period - Nov. 22, 2010 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

This portion of the meeting included an opening prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, the Awards Period, and amendments to the evening's Agenda.


(1.) To Sgt. David Naoroz [RPD, 4th Precinct, Sector 11], Sgt. Jean-Guy LeGouffe [RPD, 4th Precinct, Sector 11], Officer Jill Simons, Capt. Melvin V. Liverman, III [Fire & Emergency Services], and Mr. Daryl and Mrs. Glenda Nelson, who reported the fire and attempted to help.

For saving the life of an 80 year old woman whose house was on fire at 1004 Edge Hill Road in Richmond's Northside.

Presented by Mayor Dwight Jones, Councilman Chris Hilbert [3rd District], and President Kathy Graziano [4th District].

(2.) Official Community Service Award presented to Homeward's Richmond Regional Project Homeless Connect, presented by Councilman Hilbert [3rd District] and Councilman Charles Samuels [2nd District].

Part 2/6 - Citizens Speak in Support of Community Gardens on City Land - Richmond, Virginia City Council - Nov. 22, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

Though the papers had been continued, a public hearing was held on the papers because people had come to the meeting to speak on the papers.

Three citizens spoken in support of Ordinance 2010-229 and Resolution 2010-R181. The ordinance establishes a permitting process by which community groups may utilize city owned real estate for community gardens.

The resolution charges the City to determine what parcels of City-owned real estate are already devoted to and not immediately needed for public use and may be used for community gardens for periods not to exceed one year at a time.

Part 3/6 - Special Use Permit for Carriage House on Northside - Richmond, Virginia City Council - Nov. 22, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

Above, Ordinance 2010-130 received the most attention of the night. Many neighbors were present to both support and opposed the special use permit which would allow a Northside carriage house to be used as a four-unit multifamily dwelling.

Part 4/6 - Regular Agenda Cont'd - Towing Fees, Maggie Walker, End of CDA, Legislative Agenda - Richmond, Virginia City Council from Silver Persinger.

Ordinance 2010-230 - To retroactively increase towing fees from public property. The city's towing services are contracted with Seibert's Towing. The city has contracted with Seibert's for over 25 years, and Seibert's has operated as the City's impound lot for the last 17 years.

I was the only person to speak in opposition to this bureaucratic mistake that Council sought to legitimize the criminal behavior of Seibert's Towing. Seibert's Towing was illegally over-charging Richmonders $95 when they were only legally authorized by the Council to charge $65. Remember this was an issue last year when Council raised the towing rate from PRIVATE property, towing companies were charging more than the allowable $65, the new ordinance [Ordinance 2009-227-223 adopted Dec. 9, 2009] made it a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone that charged over the legal maximum rate.

From June 1, 2010 to November 12, 2010, it was stated that Seibert's had charge the higher fee on 1713 vehicles (if that is an accurate number) for a total of $51,390 in illegal profit which the city received its additional cut of $5139.

Ordinance 2010-213 - To purchase assets from the Broad Street CDA.

Resolution 2010-R171 - To support Maggie L. Walker statue.

Resolution 2010-R174 - To support Richmond's Legislative Agenda to the General Assembly

Part 5/6 - Citizen Comment Period/Consent Agenda/Expedited Resolution - Richmond, VA City Council - Nov. 22, 2010 from Silver Persinger.


Richard Worssam on "Sustainable Development."

Lillie Waller on GRTC.

Wayne Baker on James River Bus strike.

My Two Cents - Silver Persinger @ Richmond, Virginia City Council - Nov. 22, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

A compilation of comments I made during the citizen comment periods at Richmond City Council's Nov. 22, 2010 formal meeting on a wide range of subjects including retroactively increasing the towing rate, gross incompetence, instant runoff voting, representative government, marijuana decriminalization, roundabouts, "love lights," and much more.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Malfunctioning Equipment Allows Citizens More Time to Comment

In a rare humorous moment at Richmond City Council, the equipment malfunctioned which plays the automated message, "You have 30 seconds, please begin to summarize your comments." At the beginning of the meeting the message played randomly to humorous effect. Later on, it remained silent and it was up to President Kathy Graziano [4th District] to cut speakers off after their time had expired. She admitted after the meeting that it was difficult to cut speakers off.

Part 1/3 - Richmond City Council - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

This portion of the meeting included an opening prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance, and an expedited resolution recognizing the Richmond Police Department for achieving special certification that only 10% of police departments nationwide have achieved.

There were 3 appointments to the Green City Commission. They are Sandra L. Earley, Chris Earley, and Daniel K. Slone.


Mayor Dwight Jones, President Kathy Graziano, and Councilman Charles Samuels [2nd District] made an Official Joint Proclamation declaring November 2010 as "Richmond Adoption Awareness Month." The proclamation was presented to Judge Angela Roberts, Richmond Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, Doris Moseley, Director of Social Services, Martha Patrick, Social Worker - Adoption Unit, and Pamela Piero, Social Worker, Foster Parent Training.

Council President Graziano and Mayor Jones presented an Official Joint Proclamation declaring November 15, 2010, "Richmond Recycling Awareness Day." The proclamation was presented to representatives of Central Virginia Waste Management Authority.

Vice President Ellen Robertson [6th District] recognized members of Boy Scout Troop #476 who were in attendance as part of their requirements for the Citizenship Merit Badge.

Councilman Marty Jewell [5th District] ate up 15 minutes of the meeting showing a video about the 2010 Marty Jewell 3rd Annual Metrolitan Junior Baseball League Invitational Baseball Tournment. This was followed by comments from many others extolling the virtues of Coca Cola and the importance of introducing young people to baseball. I thought this portion of the meeting was total bullshit, a protracted political advertisement for Marty Jewell paid for by City taxpayers because the video was produced by Steve Skinner, Council's Public Information Manager. No, thank you. For the heck of it I'll extract this segment into its own video because it is a good example of gross abuse of the bully pulpit. Citizens that come to the microphone are prohibited from campaigning, shouldn't this rule also apply to sitting Council Members/incumbents? Just my opinion!

Marty Jewell Baseball Award - Richmond City Council - Nov. 8, 2010, Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

Part 2/3 - Richmond City Council - Regular Agenda / Citizen Comment Period - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

There were only one item on the Regular Agenda, Resolution 2010-R141-173 which revised the process for the appointment of tenant representative to the Board of Commissioners of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority [RRHA]. Donald Hatcher spoke in support of it, I spoke against it, and recommended that more tenant representatives should be appointed to the board.

Donald Hatcher on Racism - Nov. 8, 2010 - Citizen Comment Period - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

City Council Regular, Donald Hatcher spoke to Richmond City Council about racism and how it continues rob and deny black people of equal and fair treatment in society and Richmond, Virginia.

This is the best speech I have heard Mr. Hatcher deliver.

Byrd Park Area Residents Object to Go Ape Rope Course - Citizen Comment Period - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

Three citizens from the 5th District, Mr. Jewell's district, spoke during the Citizen Comment Period to raise their objections to plans recently announced by the City to install a "rope course" through Byrd Park. A United Kingdom company, Go Ape, is proposing to partner with the City to bring this for profit venture to Richmond's Byrd Park.

The residents who spoke against this proposed partnership were Sharon J. Hill with Friends of William Byrd Park, Debbie Flippen, a resident of the 5th district, and William H. Daughtrey with the Kanawha Trace Association.

It has been announced there will be a public meeting to discuss the proposed project on Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at The Carillon at Byrd Park, 1300 Blanton Avenue.

From the City's Press Release: "City officials, along with representatives from Go Ape, will provide details on the ropes course, receive public comments and answer questions... Go Ape, an outdoor treetop adventure company with 31 ropes courses in the United States and the United Kingdom, has proposed construction of a ropes course for Richmond that would be located in the wooded area behind the Carillon."

Part 3/3 - Richmond City Council - Consent Agenda / Reports & Announcements / New Papers - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

Part 3 contains the Consent Agenda followed by Reports & Announcements from Council Members. There were only two papers on the Consent Agenda.

Ordinance 2010-216-193 which authorizes the Chief Administrative Officer to accept $937,576 from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation and to appropriate the amount to the Department of Public Works for the purpose of funding capital improvements at Main Street Station.

Donald Hatcher spoke in opposition to this paper.

Resolution 2010-R138-175 which amends the Rules of Procedure for the Council for the purpose of providing that ordinances and resolutions relating to expenditures of Council districts funds and to the appropriation of funds not exceeding $25,000 received from grants shall not be referred to a standing committee for review prior to Council action.

Here is an interesting article written by former Mayor Wilder policy advisor, Isaac Graves, regarding City Council District expenditures.

I spoke in opposition to this paper without fully understanding the paper. See my comment below in the "My 2¢" section.

Reva Trammell's Unabashed Support for Echo Harbor - Nov. 8, 2010, Richmond, Virginia from Silver Persinger.

During Reports and Announcements, Councilwoman Reva Trammell announced that she was planning to hold her monthly town hall meeting at the Satellite Restaurant on Thursday November 18, 6 PM where Mark Yates, Vice President of Development from Echo Harbor will make a presentation seeking support for their project from residents of the 8th District, which is located in South Richmond, far away from the location of Echo Harbor, the site is located below and to the east of Church Hill at the bend of the James River for which Richmond is named.

There is at least one supporter from the 8th District, Councilwoman Trammell.

If you notice Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille's eyebrows go up that's because she is the Councilperson for the 7th District, where the Echo Harbor project is proposed to be located. I was watching the reaction of President Graziano and Vice President Robertson and they too were also visibly disturbed by Ms. Trammell's statement.

My 2 Cents - Tenant Representation on RRHA Board & Councilperson Expenditures Should Go to Committee - Nov. 8, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

I had not planned on speaking against Resolution 2010-R138-175 but when Donald Hatcher spoke in opposition to the previous paper, it gave me a little bit of time to review the paper and I did not like what I saw. I have learned by my years of attendance at City Council meetings that I should get up to speak if I have a gut feeling about the paper. This was one such instance. Though I muddled the facts and figures, I still stand by my opposition. Through the ensuing discussion I learned that Council Members annually have $10,000 which is allotted for discretionary spending by Council Members for their respective districts. I also learned that Council's policy is that only expenditures over $1000 have to come before the Council for Council approval, sums under $1000 do not. This paper waives the committee hearing on papers related to Council expenditures, therefore the only time members will consider such requests will be their formal meetings. I believe Council Members' expenditures should be reviewed by the appropriate Committee.

Here is an interesting article written by former Mayor Wilder policy advisor, Isaac Graves, regarding City Council District expenditures.

Animal Control Reorganization & City Jail Site Selection Discussed @ Informal Session

Part 1/3 - Informal Session - DCAO Beschler on Animal Control Recommendations - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, VA from Silver Persinger.

Deputity CAO of Operations Chris Beschler spoke to City Council about implementing recommendations of the study group regarding the organization of Animal Care and Control Division.

Over the last few years the Department has been passed between Police and the Department of Public Works. The suggestion was to make it a stand alone department with a director level head that would report directly to the CAO. Other recommendations included increasing staffing, increasing administrative support, and using the funding raised to be put into animal education efforts rather than being put into the general fund.

One the department's primary incomes is derived from pet licenses which are "required by law" and cost $10 per license. Only 3600 pets are currently licensed in the City.

These recommendations will not be fully implemented until the 2012-2013 budget.

Part 2/3 - Informal Session - Richmond City Council - City Jail Update - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, VA from Silver Persinger.

Above, DCAO of Operation Chris Beschler, CAO Byron Marshall, and DCAO of Human Services Carolyn Graham answered questions from City Council (and particularly Councilman Marty Jewell [5th District] who submitted 14 written questions) regarding site selection for the new City Jail.

Part 3/3 - City Council Informal Session - Docket Review & Government Ops Staff Report - Nov. 8, 2010 - Richmond, from Silver Persinger,

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Charles Samuels' Community Meeting to Discuss Homelessness & Closure of Monroe Park for Renovations

Text adapted from the Wingnut Blog.

This meeting took place at the Carillon War Memorial, where Councilman Charles Samuels [2nd District] held a "community discussion" for groups who ‘serve the homeless’ to figure out what they should do when Monroe Park is closed for renovations. It was not a forum, nor really a big group discussion. However, there were about 25 or so folks associated with Food Not Bombs who came to promote the idea that the park need not and ought not be closed entirely during renovations. Many people spoke out questioning why the park was going to be closed in its entirety and suggested that moving services would not make up for destroying the community of people- homeless and not- who use Monroe Park on a regular basis.

Part 1/2 - Charles Samuels' Community Discussion on Homelessness & Monroe Park - Nov. 4, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

The first half of the meeting includes comments from Mr. Samuels, Homeward, and Embrace Richmond. They did not allow any questions or feedback from anyone attending the meeting, even when it was very clear that people had questions and concerns. Mo Karn, a Wingnut, interrupted the meeting [24:40] to say that the discussion was based on the false assumption that the park must be closed during the renovation.

Part 2/2 - Recommendations from Citizen Work Groups @ Charles Samuels' Community Discussion - Nov. 4, 2010 from Silver Persinger.

This 2nd section of the video shows how many of the groups in the room decided that the solution to the problems with closing all of Monroe Park was simply not to close the entire park!

Below is a highlight reel featuring comments supportive of keeping the park open.

Public Forum Participants: Keep Monroe Park Open from Kontra.