Council votes to kill Samuels’s baseball referendum

This week City Council once again continued the Monument Avenue CAR reversal and pushed the Captain Buzzy’s SUP decision back until September. The public will not get the chance to vote on where to place a new baseball stadium, and six great teenagers were recognized.

Mayor Jones and City Council kicked off the evening by declaring July 15, 2013 to be Mrs. Maggie L. Walker Day in Richmond. Notably, Mayor Jones made mention during the proceedings that Maggie Walker deserves a statue in the city. This is going to happen.

City Council recognized six high school graduates from the Gilpin, Whitcomb, and Green Walk communities for their personal achievements and academic success. Alexander Belton (John Marshall HS), Krisstopher Harris (John Marshall HS), ThyishaCholene Hicks (Thomas Jefferson HS), Gbemisola Ibrahim (Thomas Jefferson HS), Tobrika Jenkins (Thomas Jefferson HS), and Tonya Spell (Armstrong HS) each received an RRHA Scholarship Award of $4,000. Mayor Jones reminded the scholars that, “it’s not where you are from, but where you’re going”; Councilwoman Robertson told them to “bring those wonderful talents that you will acquire back to this great city and be the leaders for the next generation.”

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There were 4 appointments on the evening:

  • Marcellus Plummer as a member of the Richmond Behavioral Health Authority
  • Trip Pollard as a member of the Green City Commission (Green Business/Job Programs)
  • Jeffrey W. Sadler as a member of the City Planning Commission
  • Vivian H. Hiedemann as a member of the Personnel Board of the City of Richmond

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There were 3 speakers during the public comment period, who are paraphrased below:

  • W.B. Braxton-Bantu: There is a need for a warming station for the homeless when out of CARITAS early on cold mornings. There is a need for transportation. “There is a developing crisis”
  • L. Shirley Harvey: City Council has turned their backs on the people who gave them power. Put the water bills on a referendum.
  • Fattah Muhammad: Thanks City Council for the recognition for folks fighting against crime in the neighborhoods.

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The core of the evening was a discussion of Charles Samuels’ Ord.No.2013-143/Res.No. 2013-R157 AKA the baseball stadium referendum. The two items had initially been stricken from the agenda after having been voted down in committee, but were brought back to allow for public discussion of the topic. There was some public opposition to striking the ordinance and referendum, with speakers expressing a desire to be able to have their voice heard at the ballot box.

Council voted 6-3 to keep the items off of the agenda, effectively killing the referendum, with Charles Samuels (2nd), Reva Trammell (8th), and Parker Agelasto (5th) voting in favor. The 4th District’s Kathy Graziano said that “referendums should be used sparingly” and specifically should not be used for a land use issue. The 1st District’s Jon Baliles said that he couldn’t support any location as he’d seen no plan and suggested using a version of the successful Master Plan process. Cynthia Newbille (7th District) said that the referendum does not include information to allow for informed decision making “and lacked clarity.” The 5th District’s Parker Agelasto pointed out the new Redskins camp as example of a decisive plan of action, with the constriction of the Diamond being perhaps the last previous example. Chris Hilbert (3rd District) said that referendum would shut down the conversation, and that no one would submit a proposal with such a thing looming.

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The following ordinances/resolutions were passed by City Council:

(During the public comment period of these items, frequent speaker and critic Chris Dorsey was warned about using abusive language and was told that next time he would be expelled. Watch for it.)

Ord. No. 2013-124 (Patron: Vice President Robertson) – To amend and reordain City Code § 30-77, which assigns polling places in the city, to relocate and establish a new polling place for Precinct 610.

Ord. No. 2013-125 (Patron: Mr. Agelasto) – To amend and reordain City Code § 30-114 and 30-116, concerning precinct boundaries for Precincts 503 and 505, for the purpose of establishing new precinct boundaries between such precincts.

Ord. No. 2013-131 (Patron: Mayor Jones) – To authorize the issuance of general obligation public improvement bonds of the City of Richmond in the maximum principal amount of $11,250,000 to finance the cost of school projects and general capital improvement projects of the City for the following purposes and uses: construction, reconstruction, improvements and equipment for public schools; construction, reconstruction, improvement and equipment for various infrastructure needs, including traffic control facilities, streets, sidewalks and other public ways, bridges, storm sewers, drains and culverts, and refuse disposal facilities; participation in redevelopment, conservation and community development programs, including the construction, reconstruction, improvement and equipment for targeted public facilities included in these programs; construction, reconstruction, improvements and equipment for public institutional, operational, cultural, educational and entertainment buildings and facilities, including but not limited to the theaters, parks, playgrounds, cemeteries, libraries and museums; acquisition of real property therefor as appropriate; and the making of appropriations to the City’s Economic Development Authority (“EDA”) to be used by the EDA to finance capital expenditures or to make loans or grants to finance capital expenditures for the purposes of promoting economic development; and authorizes the Director of Finance, with the approval of the Chief Administrative Officer, for and on behalf of the City, to sell such bonds for such capital improvement projects, to provide for the form, details and payment of such bonds and to authorize the issuance of notes of the City in anticipation of the issuance of such bonds, and to authorize the issuance of taxable bonds, for the same purposes and uses, in the same maximum principal amount and payable over the same period as such general obligation public improvement bonds.

Ord. No. 2013-132 (Patron: Vice President Robertson, By Request) – To amend and reordain Ord. No. 2012-102-104, adopted July 9, 2012, which closed to public use and travel, a portion of Virginia Street located between East Cary Street and an alley known as Exchange Alley, consisting of 5,529± square feet, conditioned upon the dedication to the City of property for alley purposes consisting of 3,161± square feet and of an easement over property for sidewalk purposes consisting of at least 745 square feet, upon certain terms and conditions, for the purpose of extending the deadline for compliance with the requirements of such ordinance.

Ord. No. 2013-135 (Patron: Mayor Jones, By Request) – To close to public use and travel, a portion of right-of-way known as the 8th Street Connector located in the block bounded by South 8th Street, Basin Bank Street, South 9th Street and East Canal Street, consisting of 16,337± square feet, upon certain terms and conditions.

Res. No. 2013-R153 (Patron: All Members of Council) – To dispense with the regular meetings of Council during the month of August 2013.

Res. No. 2013-R154 (Patron: All Members of Council) – To appoint Jean V. Capel to the position of City Clerk.


PHOTO: Parker Field (1955) from the Adolph B. Rice Studio at the Library of Virginia

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