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moments away from another municipal roller coaster! buckle up for 6 hours of moment by moment coverage of drama straight from charlottesville city hall. we had a “listening session” last week, but this is the first official council meeting since the anniversary of august 12.
comrade outside city hall: “i think that racist guy is signed up to speak tonight.”
me, sighing infinitely: “which one?”
tonight we’ll continue the discussion from the last meeting about the drama re: the selection of the interim city manager

this isn’t explicitly on the agenda, but it is related to the city manager selection process. two of our five councilors participated in the 11th hour vote to name mike murphy to the position via telephone.
interesting to connect the dots now... this policy must’ve been weighing heavily on the city attorney’s office’s mind when lisa robertson presented to the police civilian review board last week.
not sure what the closed session was about, but whatever it was is going long. 12 minutes after our scheduled start time, we’ve got only interim city manager mike murphy and brand new city attorney john blair (his first council meeting since taking the job) on the dais.
still missing mike signer. well, wouldn’t say anyone’s MISSING him...
ah damn, no such luck. mike just hustled in. not clear if he thinks growing a beard is something that’s gonna work for him or if he’s just had a really rough couple of days.
starting off with interim city manager mike murphy’s remarks on the events of last weekend.
murphy refers to the comments we heard at the listening session last week, says he heard a lot of thank yous for local activists, clergy, and police. bitch, no one thanked the police. the people of charlottesville have gone full ACAB.
“law enforcement preparations and tactics were questioned”
re: helicopters, bag searches, whether ICE was involved. he’s just recapping the listening session, not actually addressing the questions or concerns.
my thread about last week’s listening session is here:

a plan for an after action report will begin next week. hope this one doesn’t cost us $350k!
live video of the meeting, if that’s something you’re into

murphy asked if there were any questions. silence. what about all the questions we asked last week at the listening session?
he says there will be “one after action report for all the partners involved” and he can’t give a timeline yet. so... he isn’t actually prepared to answer any questions.
wes asks if we can plan to have the after action report by october? november? murphy says he can’t promise anything, that it might take 2-3 months (from the time its started, which it hasn’t been yet)
there is still an active phone line where you can leave a voice message with questions or comments about how the city handled the anniversary of August 12th.

kathy asks brian wheeler (the city’s communications director) if they as councilors can forward all questions about last weekend to him. he says yes. what could go wrong?
re: august 2019, murphy says “within six months of the event” they should communicate with the public about “how they want public spaces to be used” around the anniversary.
kathy bringing up the RFP for the redesign of the downtown parks. apparently four proposals have been received, but it’s all on hold pending some court decisions. murphy says “i don’t wanna get too far out in front with my answer on that...”
he says by the time there is any legal clarification on what the city can do in those parks, those proposals won’t be any good anymore. we don’t expect any kind of ruling from judge moore until early 2019, the pricing in those proposals won’t be valid anymore.
“no matter what the outcome is in court, there is probably gonna be an appeal,” murphy tells galvin. she says we have to do something, at least put up a plaque. murphy obviously doesn’t want to talk about it.
the lawsuit about our confederate statues won’t be back in front of a judge until january 31, 2019. notes from a february 2018 hearing here:

mike signer interrupting a woman speaking about the equal rights amendment is just... spectacular.
wes read a resolution re: pride week next month. the woman speaking on behalf of pride says pride is for everyone, as kathy galvin nods enthusiastically.
kathy, pride is for everyone but you (and cops - no cops at pride).
now on to public comment. first speaker is highlighting the pilot participatory budgeting program! this is a great tool for the public engagement council is always talking about doing more of.
nikuyah says asst city manager leslie beauregard will get something to council about the participatory budgeting pilot within a month - the initial budget request was over the amount and contained items “some of us don’t agree with”
wes asks if @MPayneCville and @slaats, two community members whose work has been integral in getting participatory budgeting going here, can be more involved in the process.
murphy says they want to see less money going toward facilitation (but with so little money allocated toward the pilot, the cost of good facilitation ends up looking disproportionate! i learned a lot at a great workshop about PB a few months ago!)

next speaker talking about highway sector zoning districts and drive thru windows.
she’s from an organization called preservation piedmont.
she says drive thru restaurants will encourage “car oriented development” which may be true... but we’re literally talking about A HIGHWAY. you want to encourage pedestrian traffic by the abandoned kmart, try adding crosswalks and bus stops first.
two things i have a really hard time listening to: discussion about rezoning & kathy galvin. so i totally zoned out just now, sorry.
next speaker talking about pedestrian safety concerns in belmont. there really aren’t enough safe places to cross the street on monticello!
a surprising number of ordinary folks have opinions about highway corridor zoning, damn
huh why IS the monticello ave entrance corridor included in the proposal for what happens in that abandoned kmart parking lot? that seems sneaky.
paul long, a tireless advocate of better public transit, now speaking about bus routes.
“it’s counter productive when there’s a reported decline in ridership” to make people walk five blocks to a bus stop.
(making it harder to ride the bus isn’t how we get more people to use the buses!!!)
“charlottesville is not a small southern college town anymore” and “our public transit system needs to be vastly improved,” we need regional planning & cooperation to make this happen.
kathy galvin says there will be a report back on wednesday from a regional transit workshop in june.
she also says she’s concerned that CAT is “making changes that are more drastic than minor”
so many acronyms, it’s hard to keep up. i have to assume kathy galvin and i have different understandings of what RCP stands for.
this speaker is citing the city zoning ordinance about the minimum length of a townhouse driveway (10ft) — which is shorter than the average family car, resulting in blocked sidewalks.
he has a good point but reading the text of various local ordinances and state laws about sidewalk obstruction is... not compelling.
mr sidewalk really abused everyone’s patience by going well over time to thank police for overpolicing last weekend.
sit down, bootlicker.
i really don’t think keeping drive thru windows out of the hydraulic intersection is gonna make it into a “vibrant pedestrian area.”
it’s a fucking highway, y’all. there aren’t even crosswalks.
dr. rick turner now speaking on the lack of racial diversity in the commonwealth attorney’s office - there are no african american attorney’s employed there.
autocorrect always adds an apostrophe to “attorneys” because nine times out of ten i’m talking about the commonwealth’s attorney’s office and not an actual group of lawyers. technology tries to outsmart us and comes up short.
nikuyah says she’s had conversations with the CA’s office about what change looks like, not just about racial diversity on staff, but about racial equity in the way they do business. @ZyahnaB has also been working to transform our local criminal justice system.
nikuyah lightly scolding us for booing the bootlicker for going over time but applauding dr turner when he finished his comments after his time had ended. this crowd never claimed to be impartial 🤷‍♀️
rosia parker directly addressing mike signer, “i helped defend this city, you did not do that.” she’s scolding him for accepting awards on behalf of this city when he’s done nothing for it. 🔥🔥🔥
ms rosia: “i’m still being victimized from last year, and this year. how many years is it gonna take” for this city to take our safety seriously?
wes bellamy says he was on the call with the people’s coalition when they were promised parking would be restricted in high risk neighborhoods (like friendship court) last weekend...
police chief brackney now addressing this. she says no parking signs were posted & this was enforced. she sounds incredibly defensive, as always. ms rosia is standing a few feet from her, shaking her head as brackney talks (directly to wes).
ms rosia: “that’s still not the answer to what i’m talking about.”
she says she didn’t see any increased police presence at friendship court, that parking was not restricted at crescent halls.
mike murphy: public housing authority controls parking INSIDE friendship court; the city promised to keep people from parking on “all four sides of it.” [my understanding was that they were gonna restrict parking garrett and 2nd (which didn’t happen)]
brackney says they CAN’T block off streets & restrict them to residents only because they’d have to man barricades and check IDs (uh wasn’t that actually the plan in the originally released street closure announcements for north downtown? - pictured here, still on the city siIkkM
“it’s not just an economic problem, it’s a racial justice problem,” this speaker says of the city’s affordable rental shortfall of 3300 units.
“hello nikuyah & what’s up bootlickers?” comrade dave bringing the heat.
“democracy dies with these 4-1 votes at midnight.”
“we must save ourselves for a socialist future because democrats only know how to put lipstick on a capitalist pig” 🔥🔥
“it was good to see the fascists in blue get outwitted by @uvastudentpower” on august 11.
big applause for this one ❤️❤️
wes, it is very bad look for a councilor to lob direct personal insults at community members from the dais. he called dave “a clown” and mocked an organizer from @uvastudentpower for wearing a beret.
i hate to even have to say that. i respect dr bellamy. he does a lot of good and his work last weekend deescalating police was valuable. but i would be remiss not to note that particularly inappropriate moment.
reverend don gathers, a member of the police civilian review board, asks council to let them do the work they’ve been tasked with and “stay out of the way”
don says they’ve already run into some roadblocks as a board re: a form the city won’t let them put on their website and council blocking the addition of jeff fogel as a 9th member
it isn’t uncommon for a speaker to ask members of the audience who agree with them to stand in a show of solidarity... this particular speaker made the mistake of asking people who agree to stand before actually stating his position 🤦‍♀️
end of public comment, recess until 9:05 (allegedly 😒 - these recesses always seem to be 20+ minutes)
recess was close to half an hour. now onto the consent agenda, which quickly passed unanimously.
seems like an issue to have interim city manager to lead discussion... about the selection process for the city manager?
public comment on the city manager search starting now... first speaker is a former school board member talking about a past search for a new superintendent & the process they used
the online livestream of the meeting continues here
productive recess earlier, though. like i told wes, our city council meetings are... unique. the environment is often intense and personal and, honestly, revolutionary. this isn’t your average small town bureaucratic proceeding.
we’re all navigating this together and i appreciate that we have members of council willing to dialog with activists and radicals.

reverend don gathers on the city manager search process: “if the community yearns for anything, it’s transparency and inclusivity” and calls for this process to remain open & accountable to the public
next speaker requests better attention to proper public notice of matters before council & of board meetings generally. seriously, i do this as a full-time hobby & there have been more than a few meetings/issues i’ve missed or very nearly missed.
he also requested that “neighborhood leaders” be included in the interview process with candidates (unclear who exactly he means by this — leadership of neighborhood associations, i guess?)
walt: “put those politics aside and think about what’s best for this community” to move ahead
“sometimes you have to do the morally right thing, not the procedurally right thing” - the city chose the bureacratically, technically correct path last august & it failed.
the world is watching us. we have to make change to uproot structural white supremacy.
the universe has an incredible fucking sense of humor. the city of charlottesville, under city manager maurice jones, failed to act on taking down our confederate monuments.
tonight, WHILE WE WERE DISCUSSING the enormous severance package jones was given, activists in chapel hill, his new city of employment, tore down silent sam.
alright back to the mundane: we’re talking about putting an electrical pole on an easement. no takers on public comment.
overeager on the vote — they voted unanimously for the easement but it’s actually just the first of two readings. now on to a similar item - first of two readings on another easement.
no takers on public comment for the sewer easement, either.
lotta easement chat tonight.
new city attorney john blair correcting them on meeting procedure - apparently they don’t need to motion and second on first readings (which they’re in the habit of doing)
this is a thrill a minute, i know.
john blair, at his first council meeting as city attorney, is making things very complicated and confusing. he’s the new guy who interrupts the staff meeting with “suggestions” about how you could do everything differently.
10pm, in between agenda items about sewer easements, isn’t the IDEAL time to make everyone watch you leaf through the city code to back up your comment that the mayor should run the meeting differently.
remember this from four hours ago?
(and a correction: this IS on the agenda, not sure how i missed it!)

proposed policy for councilors to participate in meetings electronically -
if it is a personal matter: exemption can be used twice per year
for physical disability/illness: unlimited exemptions
councilor would need to notify paige rice, council clerk. she would bring the issue to the rest of council to consider, they would have to vote to allow or disallow based on circumstances but NOT based on who the councilor is or what the vote is about.
apparently absences for things like conferences (which nikuyah said are official city business) count toward the 2 per year “personal” exemption.
nikuyah wants to know if they can require all four physically present councilors to approve the fifth participating electronically (instead of 3), blair says he doesn’t see why not but what happens if 2/5 of councilors need to call in (as happened last month)?
kathy is stuttering and balking at the idea that councilors should have to schedule their lives to be available for meetings and votes. it’s um... your job though?
unanimous vote in favor of the new meeting policy with the slight amendment to make it consistent with state law allowing for unlimited exemptions for disability.
chip boyles with the thomas jefferson planning district commission (don’t know what that is actually, but it’s what he said) said he isn’t here to support or oppose the drive thrus on hydraulic but to talk about the VISION of the small area plan.
apparently the 29/hydraulic intersection is the “worst performing” intersection in our VDOT district with a rating of “failing.”
i don’t know how intersection performance is rated but it is a pretty shitty intersection.
OH they wanna replicate the stonefield shopping center + apartment complex situation on this side of the street huh?
the proposal involves roundabouts at whole foods and stonefield, taking hydraulic UNDER 29, building bridges over 29 at angus & zan roads, and 1000 units of housing in a mixed use development.
if i could change something about myself, i might choose to give myself the ability to understand and care about zoning.
“heck, if there was a bodo’s out on 29, i’d be the first one to go there,” says vice mayor hill.
heather: “i’m a visionary, too, but i think we’re a long way from there...”
kathy: “you gotta begin somewhere.”

i wish they were talking about dismantling white supremacy instead of drive thru windows.
kathy has trotted out someone from the health department to talk about how this zoning issue is actually a public health issue because OBESITY!
this is incredibly disingenuous & ignores the underlying public health issue of RACIAL AND ECONOMIC INEQUALITY. drive thru windows aren’t what is making black children more likely to have diabetes than white children and making it easier to bike to whole foods ain’t gonna fix it.
limiting access to fast food doesn’t “improve the food environment.”
the classist, racially tinged fat shaming going on here is truly incredible.
“all the land that we have left in this city is about redevelopment,” kathy says. there are no more empty lots. “we need to get aggressive about redevelopment.”
(charlottesville is ten square miles of land that is fully surrounded by albemarle county. there is no outward expansion.)
sorry, i got sidetracked reviewing my notes from richard preston’s arraignment — he’s being sentenced tomorrow! preston is the KKK leader who fired his weapon at cville community defender corey kong last august 12th. he pleaded guilty in may.

council is still arguing about zoning & the small area plan re: the abandoned kmart parking lot & drive thru windows.
still arguing about whether the zoning ordinance can be rewritten to JUST be about hydraulic (and cut out monticello and... i forget the other spot, sorry it’s almost midnight). city attorney is arguing no, they can’t really do that.
motion, unamended, carries 3-2. kathy thanks mike for changing his mind, apologizes to the people she trotted out to speak on the issue.
lol @ wes thinking we’d be out of here before 11
heather is talking now about moving the consent agenda to immediately after roll call, rather than after public comment, so staff can know earlier if items are going to be pulled for discussion. mike murphy says “staff would love that.” no disagreement from any councilors.
so... if you are one of the 16 people ALREADY signed up for public comment and you had planned to speak on one of the consent agenda items, you can speak before they vote on the consent agenda, but the rest of public comment will be afterward? this isn’t gonna go smoothly.
according to the city attorney, in order to make the change, they have to put it on the agenda to vote on, then institute the change at the meeting AFTER that.
heather: how is council going to provide feedback to the police civilian review board? suggests that council members attend the next meeting
confusion on the dais about whether the CRB has elected leadership yet. luckily i haven’t missed a meeting & am never shy about shouting my input from the gallery. (they have not voted on a chair yet)
there was a lot of confusion among board members themselves, but paige rice just confirmed that even if the board adds a 9th seat, council actually makes any appointments
city attorney john blair mispronounced don gathers’ name as he says he’d like to meet with him to find out why he thinks there’s a conflict of interest with his office representing both the police & the board seeking to hold them accountable.
i don’t think mr blair appreciated me explaining it to him from the gallery.
all business concluded, joy johnson taking the mic for closing matters by the public.
heather being taken to task again for ❤️ing cops, not understanding the needs of this community
oh god shut the fuck up heather
“i’m sorry that’s how you felt” is a BAD START to an apology
vice mayor heather hill was rude to ms joy in public because ms joy hurt councilor kathy galvin’s feelings at the listening session last week. this is taking place at a government meeting.
half our city council is behaving like kids on a fuckin’ playground lately.
more public comment: the other side of the drive thru debate — it’s encouraging a corporation to build something that doesn’t benefit the community, doesn’t encourage housing development
meeting adjourned.
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