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.

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