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checking out tonight's charlottesville city council agenda, available here: charlottesville.org/home/showdocum…
MOST of the matters by the public signups are for item #3, establishment of a priorities setting commission for nonprofit funding. i am interested to see how they plan to put together a 13 member body & get this work done in just a few months? looking forward to the meetinTxLp
livestream of tonight’s charlottesville city council meeting is here:

no councilor bellamy tonight.
kathy galvin is reading an announcement about the two cops who recently got promotions (probably totally unrelated to the mass exodus from the police department because of low pay and terrible morale)
did they not have the closed session indicated on the agenda or did they forget to make the legally mandated announcement about having had the closed session?
wait one second, heather hill just said “earlier in an open session, but we didn’t have everyone here...”
so it was noticed as a closed session & not held in chambers, but was technically a (not publicly noticed!) public meeting?
and now the rarely exercised pre-consent agenda public comment on a consent agenda item. it’s the lawyer for the frat house affected by the zoning text amendment on dwelling unit designation.
she wants the zoning text amendment pulled from the consent agenda for further discussion

kathy moves to pull item n from the consent agenda, heather seconds (it’ll go to the end of the agenda for further discussion)
the rest of the consent agenda is adopted unanimously
now for the city manager’s response to last meeting’s matters by the public. he starts by addressing ms carey’s concerns about pedestrian safety on ridge mcintire. he’s discussed her concerns with the traffic engineer.
the matter discussed at the apparently-not-closed-session was the hiring of a replacement for paige rice as clerk of council. the daily progress is reporting that she’ll be making over $100k/year and starts monday.

ah, i suspect we’ll be hearing from a lot of nonprofits tonight who are very anxious that a priority setting commission would not set their organization as a priority for funding.
second speaker is speaking strongly in favor of the home to hope peer navigators program, which will be voted on later tonight.
yes, correction, sorry - first reading tonight. no vote!
another speaker from a local nonprofit who seems anxious that a priority setting committee would affect the funding they receive from the city
i don’t know offhand how many of them receive any amount of city funding, but charlottesville (with its population of under 50,000) is home to over SIX HUNDRED nonprofits.

i’m a little puzzled why all these nonprofits are making the case for their continued funding directly to council right now, when it’s clear council plans to convene a separate body to consider the issue
“this isn’t the first time that this priority setting initiative has been suggested,” nikuyah says, citing a 2011 proposal. “what i’m not hearing is now do you feel you could serve the community better?”
of her own time working in direct services, nikuyah says “i always worked from the position of trying to work myself out of the position.”
“this is not pointing fingers or assigning blame, this is how do we do this work best?”
this is something she is knowledgeable and passionate about. this is nikuyah in her element. this is the councilor i voted for.
next speaker is from the center for nonprofit excellence. “the nonprofit sector as a whole would be very very happy to engage in a dialogue about how to better serve the community.” (should they not be doing that constantly...?)
another speaker in favor of the home to hope program. he encourages city manager mike murphy to have staff start building relationships now so formerly incarcerated people will trust & be open to working with them.
another speaker from a local nonprofit. a lot of this discussion is happening obliquely... there seems to be some extreme beef just under the surface here.
“if you don’t see us as partners, you’re gonna break our hearts,” says a representative from literacy volunteers.
next speaker suggests another name for preston avenue - garwin deberry, the former coach of the local high school football team

another speaker in favor of the home to hope program. he says the ACRJ’s reentry council is “a clique,” a bunch of agencies and no actual ex-offenders are involved in finding solutions for people like himself.
city council candidate @MPayneCville says we’re reaching the point where we’ll see “if the city’s rhetorical commitments match its fiscal commitments” when it comes to affordable housing.
next speaker lists the projects he’s involved in and says he’s also an ex-offender. he’s speaking in favor of the home to hope program. he works with the fountain fund & works with ex offenders every day.
nancy’s up now also in favor of home to hope. many speakers tonight emphasizing the importance of the peer navigation angle, building relationships. it isn’t a solution agencies can impose on people - it’s about community.
that ends public comment. council will be discussing home to hope after this brief recess!
EXTREMELY unfortunate slip of the tongue - the city staffer presenting on the home to hope program said “second class city” instead of “second CHANCE city”
the proposal would fund 5 full time staff, peer support navigator training, and $100,000 in funding that would be spent according to recommendations by a panel made up of community members, including ex offenders.
kathy asks about measures of success - staffer says that would be a reduction in recidivism & probation violations. nikuyah says we should let the people being served judge what the measures of success are.
the woman sitting in front of me is stitching merit badges onto a girl scout sash
another staffer says about 75% of the people served by the GO programs & the downtown jobs center have some kind of criminal history & that this initiative would work with those programs
heather asks if we (meaning the city) are the best ones to be overseeing this project, asks what they’ve found in doing community engagement on the issue.
the staffer says the home to hope program would work with & boost the capacity of the community based organizations doing similar work, citing a community peer support org, On Our Own (which serves people with mental illness)
face blindness strikes again. the dutiful mother stitching the sash is city council candidate sena magill - sorry sena, i didn’t recognize you in profile

mike signer coming in with a big “more of a comment than a question, really...” vibe
says he does plan on supporting the program, but can’t resist poking some holes
councilor bellamy is on his way! luckily these meetings tend to run so long, you can be pretty late and still make the bulk of the meeting

(note that meetings are typically on monday nights, but yesterday was a holiday. understandable folks might have standing tuesday commitments that would interfere)
oddly there is no part 2 of the livestream on @CvilleCityHall’s twitter, but it is still being streamed on facebook here

city staffer says they would aim to hire from the pool of people who competeled the GO program training for peer support navigators & wouldn’t be hiring until july, most likely
when mike signer says “with all due respect,” it mostly doesn’t sound really respectful. weird. 🤔
even when she is speaking in favor of something good & agreeing with someone, kathy sounds like she’s desperately, petulantly arguing against something
no vote on home to hope tonight - just the first of two readings. now on to the first and only reading of the resolution to create a priority setting commission for the ABRT.
discussing the proposed makeup of the priority setting commission
ok kathy literally just said “this is an open ended comment, i don’t really have a question.”

i would like to outlaw “more of a comment than a question” as a way of opening any statement

kathy: “i don’t feel at this juncture that i could vote for this resolution as it’s written” because it isn’t clear to her what the concrete goal of the commission would be
“we can continue funding the way we have been funding,” says nikuyah “but if we are thinking about reform,” “what does true partnership with the community look like?” she says we have to make the individuals being served the priority & focus.
“we all know that change is something that your first reaction is to push back against,” says kathy (who is really resistant to change, especially this one)
kathy says again that she can’t vote for this resolution as it’s written, but that she’d like to be able to vote for it. heather seems similarly uncertain. (councilor bellamy just arrived, taking the possibility of a tied vote off the table)
mike signer takes issue with nikuyah’s previous statement that no one else on council has nonprofit experience (i don’t recall her saying that, specifically?) and cites some of his own experience.
signer: “i still don’t know what the actual problem is. i’ve heard abstractions, but i still don’t know” what the impetus behind this commission is. he says we already have a process.
“i can’t subscribe to general reform without knowing exactly what it is,” says the man who once held a press conference announcing that charlottesville was The Capital of The Resistance
signer just angrily interrupted city manager mike murphy. he’s incredibly hostile to this. is it because it was nikuyah’s idea? or because he has some personal interest in not examining how the non profit industrial complex of this city receives city dollars?
nonprofits that are successfully, consistently meeting a real need in the community have nothing to worry about. we should ALL be interested in ensuring our money is going to groups that are getting results! the goal should be that needs are being met.
mike murphy says at this stage it’s unlikely the commission would get this work done on a may/june timeline for the upcoming fiscal year
“i’m not on any way asking for nonprofits to ‘prove their worth,’” nikuyah says, echoing signer’s words from earlier. she wants to hear from the people being served.
“hopefully when we do this work, we know it’s not about us,” nikuyah says about nonprofit work.
rather than being afraid of things changing, she hopes the nonprofits can frame this as a question of whether they are truly meeting the needs of the people they exist to serve.
kathy’s boston accent gets stronger as meetings go on. is it because she gets tired or because she is emotionally melting down? impossible to know because all three conditions are always concurrent.
“where we’re headed is this gets kicked another year,” signer says. (he was in favor of this resolution when we started talking... what happened?)
“it’s clear we don’t have three votes for this,” nikuyah says. she wants to have a work session on the issue (i assume to hammer out kathy’s concerns about the language of the resolution & turn it into something that can pass)
(keep in mind over the next couple of months that three of our five council seats are up for election this year. mike signer, kathy galvin, and wes bellamy are nearing the end of their 4 year terms. none of them have announced yet whether they’ll be seeking re-election.)
signer says he would like to have a facilitator at this work session “because it’s such a big topic.”
mike murphy says the city funds “over 40” nonprofits (not as many as i expected, actually)

all this talk about reforming the nonprofit funding process and the importance of community input. here’s one possible solution to both...

no vote on the resolution, as it’s clear where everyone stands. by consent of council it’s been deferred.
back from a recess and on to the last agenda item - a report on the lease terms for the albemarle charlottesville historical society
(not on the agenda: we still have to revisit the pulled consent agenda item after this!)
sounds like nikuyah is in favor of punting this for a year & addressing it under the new city manager
someone from the historical society says there is a $23k grant on the table from the perry foundation but they can only get it if the city grants them a five year lease (???!?)
“this is not money for programming - this is money for lighting, this is money for shelving...” but then he says it’s also money for “new, free exhibits” that they offer the community (???)
city attorney john blair suggests a one year lease extension with the option of 4 one year renewals - would that satisfy the foundation’s requirement? (the rep from the historical society says no)
“we deserve this lease. we’ve worked very hard,” he says.
“we had a dark period,” he says, “but we very quickly got out of that and we’re very proud of that.”
coy barefoot of the historical society says “a lot of folks tell me ‘i could give you some money, but i’m gonna wait’” to see how the city treats them. this seems weirdly manipulative.
i’ve never been to the historical society and had no idea they offered public programming. maybe i should take a field trip.
kathy galvin tries to make a motion to allow them to extend the lease 3 years with two one year renewals (which is what they came asking for), but this is just a discussion - no motions on the matter tonight.
kathy also says she’d like to see the requirement deleted that council appoints 3 members of the historical society’s board.
this article from 2017 says there was a single black board member. a woman speaking just now says that half of its board members are african american

anybody know how that klan robe debacle ended? @Jalane_Schmidt?
now back to the consent agenda item pulled at the top of the meeting
kathy wants the zoning text amendment passed, but with a specific exemption for the project at the fraternity house, citing the effort and expense they’d already invested in the project before this change was known to them.
and it carries 5-0. the frat house’s lawyer offers a tired “thank you” from the gallery.

and now on to closing matters by the public.
nancy back up at the mic talking about the need for ABRT reform. how are we delivering services to the client? that’s what’s important.
“i’m not saying nonprofits don’t do a good job,” but as taxpayers we need to make sure our money is doing the most good.
“this was white supremacy talking,” nancy says about the way councilors pushed back against the idea of reviewing the nonprofit funding structure.
“the same old things aren’t working,” in nonprofit funding says elliott harding (herself the exec director of a local nonprofit)
nonprofits are often upper middle class white people telling poor people what they need.
she says it made her sad to hear signer say he prefers to hire outside contractors over employees to avoid having to pay benefit packages. he says he didn’t say (or didn’t mean) that. we’ll check the tape.
and with that, the meeting is adjourned! they’re ending consistently before 11 lately, which i’m just thrilled about!
i’m so sorry, that’s elliott brown. elliott harding is a different person entirely - someone who spoke earlier in the meeting in favor of home to hope. elliott BROWN is the executive director of common ground.
thank you to everyone who reminded me i didn’t park in the same spot i always do. huge success. would definitely have been standing in a cold, dark, empty parking lot having a moment of panic if not for you!

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