City Council: Nobody here but us chickens

There were only a handful of items on the agenda and by all rights they should have been done in an hour, but this is City Council so it took 2 1/2 hours. Tune in for the latest on the Mayor, Occupy Richmond, and urban chickens.

If there was ever a week to phone it in, this was it. Due to illness, I had to report from the comfort of my own living room. There were only a handful of items on the agenda and by all rights they should have been done in an hour, but this is City Council so it took 2 1/2 hours. To be fair the Mayor, who has taken to attending at least a portion of these meetings, took time deliver his “urbi et council” . Our Mayor is after all, a minister, so it is only natural he would deliver a sermon. Grab a cup of coffee and listen along. I’ll paraphrase:

“I was encouraged by what happened at the Convention Center recently. Hundreds of home owners in danger of default worked with banks, Freddy Mae and Freddy Mac to rework their loans so they can stay in their homes.

“We live in a city where 35% of our young people (under 18 years old) are living in poverty and 53% of our young adults (18-24) are living in poverty. We have serious problems, yet we act like children. We let politics get in our way of helping people. We deserve open an honest government and should not question each other’s veracity. In the past we have made mistakes and have fallen short. Going forward we will strive to be more transparent, to give TOO much information and in a timely manner. You (the Council) don’t have to go to the CAO if you need something, you can come to ME.

“In the coming few months we need to work together. The economic recovery is in danger, the Euro is in trouble, and Congress is gridlocked. We still have to provide services to our citizens. With so many in poverty, we need to put our citizens ahead of our personal troubles. We will need to go to the General Assembly with our transportation needs. We need to put together a working group of regional governments to work for the best for our citizens. Please join us at CenterStage on December 20 to talk to members of my administration and department heads. (Then, looking around) Maybe City Council could meet us there as well.

I took this to be the opening speech in his reelection campaign. If the mayor was feeling generous, the gallery was not.

Citizen Comment

We’ll start off with the chickens. The pro-chicken lobby came with a well prepared presentation on the cleanliness and usefulness of chickens compared to say, dogs. Chickens bark a third less than dogs do and produce a tenth of the shit. These chicken-hearted people will be visiting each council person to extol the value of chicken farming in the city.

Next up? Donald Hatcher, Mr. Hatcher is a veteran gadfly, though might object to the title. Donald has been unhappy a long time and never misses an opportunity to say so:

“The mayor says he has a open door, but I can’t get an appointment with him. This working together is a big joke. Why do I, as a disabled person, have to call California to get some help? The Police department does what it wants to do, not what the people need. We got problems all over the city. We don’t get no better. Nobody calls me back.

“We had a storm last week. My white next door neighbors’ tree fell on my house, but he won’t call me. The citizens of Richmond got mistreated because of this storm. I got $40 worth of food in my fridge. Nobody called. We got serious problems.
“You don’t give me enough time to tell you I’m dissatisfied. (Your time is up)

Next up, a raft of speakers from Occupy Richmond. There are here to tell Mayor Jones what for and to use the indoor toilets at City Hall. Here are the highlights:

1st (unknown) Speaker:

“The police are paramilitary forces working on behalf of the 1% who want to crush the occupy Richmond movement. Anti terrorist and military forces conspired with Mayors across the country. What did they say?

“Mayor Jones is a petty, power hungry Mayor. You have patronized us with small talk. Your actions are reminiscent of segregationists like Bull Connor. Well, we are now your neighbors (camping next door at Ray Boone’s house). We are also occupying unoccupied homes stolen by the 1%.

Eva Hatch

“The oligarchy under which we live gave birth to the Occupy Movement wherein lies our hope for a better future. We are being sold out by a dying empire. We have been bulldozed and lied to by the police.

“Shoot us and it will just piss us off.

“Demonize us, and we will get you like heat seeking missiles.

Peggy Sterling

“Pay attention because we are not just local. We left the safety of our homes to join this movement. Allow occupy to have a park of its own. Stand with us, we won’t go away.

Farid Alan Schintzius (One of Occupy Richmond’s non-leaders)

“Thank you President Graziano for moving the Citizen Comment to the beginning of the meeting. The mayor that gave us forbearance, then threw us out. Investigate how this came down. We are proud there were no flash grenades.

Then, Ms. Trammel joined in:

“We need to thank the police who have been very friendly to you. Don’t blame the police, the Mayor told them to do it. Oh and please leave Brookberry now. Thank you.

The Consent Agenda

Three items of interest:

  • Ord. No. 2011-164: Patrons: Vice-President Robertson and Mr. Samuels. To amend City Code to fix March 6 of each year at 3:00 p.m. as the date and time by which the Mayor shall submit the budget to the City Council.
  • Ord. No. 2011-199: Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request. To authorize the special use of 1709 Decatur Street for the purpose of authorizing one single-family detached dwelling
  • Res. No. 2011-R143: Patron: All Members of Council. To appoint (our own) Scott Burger as a member of the GRTC and Transit Study Task Force.

Except for Donald Hatchers objection to item #2, and item #1 to which the Mayor objected, this passed unanimously without discussion.

There were three expedited items on the regular agenda. These passed 8 – 1 with Councilman Tyler objecting to expedited motions. Mr. Tyler then introduced his own expedited motion to cancel the next meeting. This passed unanimously. Chuckles all around.

Ms. Trammel closed the festivities by hawking holiday smoke detectors and promising a big strong man from the Fire Department would come out and install it.

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Paul Hammond

Paul has been writing about life and politics in Richmond for 11 years. You can often find him walking his dog up and down Franklin Street and yes, he does bite, the dog that is.

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