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tonight’s charlottesville city council agenda - looks pretty bland.
got here nice and early to ensure no one took my preferred seat. i feel like i was JUST here (i was - a few hours ago. no wonder my phone is always directing me to city hall)
half the people signed up to speak at public comment have expressed intention to speak about the accessibility of the vietnam war memorial at mcintire park. it’s a more contentious issue than i expected 🤷‍♀️
interim city manager mike murphy addressed the issue at the last meeting. i’m not sure what can feasibly be done to appease the large contingent of old dudes here tonight.

the closed season before tonight’s meeting must be running a little long. the stated topic of the closed session is just “legal advice” 🤷‍♀️
here come the councilors. should be starting momentarily. the livestream is here:

no sign of mike signer tonight. he was present for the press conference earlier today, though.
nikuyah says he has a “family matter” and will try to make it tonight but likely won’t.
kathy galvin asks us to take a moment to think of paris & notre dame.
nikuyah announces the press conference held earlier today to announce dr tarron richardson’s hiring as city manager. he’s here in chambers.
wes announced an upcoming 4 miler for @WeCodeToo - the route will go through historically black neighborhoods
no takers on public comment for any consent agenda items. consent agenda passes unanimously.
interim city manager mike murphy says there were 5 properties sold by the city last year, all in tax delinquency for 6+ years. the city has pursued no foreclosures in 2019.

murphy says he had extensive correspondence with the city treasurer who says there were no instances last year where someone was removed from an occupied residence in a tax delinquency foreclosure.
murphy acknowledges the presence of many people here tonight to talk about accessibility of the vietnam memorial. i am trying so, so hard to give a shit about this.
he’s talking about solutions being pursued, like a reservation system where folks can get shuttle service to the memorial.
murphy asks for council’s permission to convene a working group to explore solutions for this problem, which council seems to support.
(the next meeting will be murphy’s last as city manager before dr richardson starts may 13.)
we’ve got a traffic engineer up talking about ongoing concerns at the intersection of 8th & main. he echoes what murphy said last time - he doesn’t feel the intersection warrants the rapid flashing beacon.
wes asks what the cost associated with the flashing beacons would be. he says they’re about $10k apiece and the crossing would require 2 (so a $20k investment)
he says there have been no significant incidents at the intersection in the last 5 years.
wes says he doesn’t see $20k as too much to spend with the amount of community interest around this spot. vice mayor heather hill says she thinks the money would be better spent on other intersections, citing elliott ave specifically.
both heather & the engineer have mentioned that overuse of the flashing beacons makes them less effective - i assume because drivers will ignore them if they see them often?

he says it’s ~300 feet to the nearest intersection with a light, implying people should just cross there
wes is still pushing back, saying this isn’t a significant expenditure. if people are coming to council and saying it matters to them, we should listen. he specifically says this intersection is walked by residents of west haven.
the traffic engineer says that in his two years on the job, the only person he’s heard this complaint from is ms rosia. wes pushes back on that, too - saying that community doesn’t have strong relationship with or trust of the city. ms rosia is speaking for her neighborhood.
“i don’t want to fall into... if we’re putting them in where they’re not warranted, why even have criteria?” says the flustered traffic engineer.
why can’t people’s lived experience be part of that criteria?
kathy is worked up about having such a detailed conversation about something not on the agenda. she’s moved to put this on a future agenda, which heather agrees with. murphy says additional data from the PD & engineer would be needed, meaning this won’t come back for a while.
kathy asks for an update on an additional $800,000 in HUD money secured by senators warner and kaine for charlottesville. that’s news to me! good news. staff will update council at a future meeting.
on to public comment.
myra anderson is up first talking about the complaints she’s filed against region 10.

they were found to have violated her rights and in retaliation, canceled her case management. she acknowledges that the city doesn’t control region 10, but does say they have a responsibility as region 10 receives city funding.
anderson asks for the city’s human rights commission to open an investigation into her case and outlines recommendations for all nonprofits receiving city funding.
nikuyah agrees, saying revamping the ABRT was a major campaign issue when she ran on 2017. nonprofits that receive city funding should be providing healthy and supportive services to their clients.
galvin is concerned about the city’s legal liability, given that the city has members on region 10’s board and provides funding.
city attorney blair says there are avenues for civil action.
mike murphy says they do have some leverage as a funder to talk to region 10 about their expectations for how they treat clients, but says region 10 will probably not be willing to talk about individual cases, due to patient privacy concerns.
“we give organizations money so they can serve people well,” and if they aren’t serving people well there should be clear consequences, says nikuyah.
second speaker is from LEAP (local energy alliance program) talking about the importance of energy efficiency in housing - both for affordability & climate reasons.
the next three speakers are all here to talk about the vietnam war memorial.
i really am trying to muster up some sympathy for these people who just want to commemorate the vietnam war in a public park but i’m coming up empty. no more monuments or memorials.
this guy brought a goddamn diagram
oh thank god, the veterans consolidated their comments and they aren’t all going to complain.
the executive director of literacy volunteers is offering an update on their successes so far this year! they help adults improve their english language reading & writing skills. so many of their clients have gotten new & better jobs.
the 70+ crew has made their comments and is rolling out.

ms katrina is up at the mic reiterating complaints about statements made by police chief brackney about her complaint to the police department about her son’s arrest.
it seems like this whole issue could be put to bed if chief brackney would write her a letter formally apologizing for mistakenly claiming to have reviewed a *video* (which doesn’t exist) when she meant she’d looked at photos of the incident.
at the time of the incident, police were not wearing body cameras. there is no video of the incident & when brackney was new on the job, she reviewed the complaint. she mistakenly claimed to have reviewed video. ms katrina wants the record corrected.
an organizer from legal aid justice center and the public housing association of residents is speaking on the displacement of residents at belmont apartments
she urges the community to call legal aid right away when something like this happens. she says they may have been able to help more had they been involved right when the eviction notices were given to residents.
apparently the developer has agreed to stop the displacement of longtime elderly residents who have been unable to find other housing. wes says the owner is open to conversation about maintaining the number of affordable units.
joyce from the people’s coalition thanks the police civilian review board for their hard work - “they are trying to do something to make our city good. not again. make it good.”
she calls out the startling racial disparity in local arrest data

we should be back from recess momentarily. the second half of the meeting will be streaming here:

i’m optimistic this could be a short meeting? don’t make me eat those words.
we’re moving item 7 up to now so dr richardson can get on the road (i was wondering if he’d moved here yet - i guess that means he hasn’t)
the new city manager’s employment contract has been approved 4-0 (signer still isn’t here). the contract starts on p. 154 of the agenda background. starting salary is $205,000 per year.

no takers for public comment on the 2019 bond issue.
it carries 4-0 (signer still not present)
nikuyah is asking clarifying questions about the proposed parking sticker for volunteer firefighters. it would be a sticker that goes on their license plate - she wants to make sure they wouldn’t be using this for personal reasons. it will go on a future consent agenda.
now two linked agenda items - rezoning 2 parcels from R1 to R2 & a special use permit. the planning commission recommended council approve both.
the rezone carries 4-0 without discussion.
the SUP would allow the developer to create 3 lots where there are currently 2 & allow internal accessory units.
it carries 4-0 with only brief discussion. galvin calls it “a beautiful project.”
hell yeah, last agenda item. a report on the city’s policy on closing alleys.
this seems clever and good! an objective way to evaluate alleys.
oh wow, with no takers on closing matters by the public, the meeting is adjourned before 9pm. this has been a quiet, quick, very normal meeting which isn’t normal for us at all.
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