Monday’s City Council meeting was fairly short, with only a few recognitions,a couple of citizens comments, and a lack of favor or opposition to any items on the Consent and Regular Agendas.
Awards and Recognitions
Richmond Domestic Violence Awareness Month
City Council President Mosby and Mayor Jones declare the month of October “Richmond Domestic Violence Awareness Month.” President Mosby, a vocal proponent of domestic violence prevention, expressed that individual has a right to live free from domestic violence. “If you see something, say something; if you think something, say something; if you know something; say something,” President Mosby said. President Mosby emphasized the importance of public recognition of the issue of domestic violence and the importance of protecting and supporting those who are suffering or may have suffered from domestic violence in the City of Richmond. She recognized Richmond’s YWCA for their free and confidential services for victims of domestic violence. Vice-President Hilbert also spoke about the Domestic Violence Quilt Project, which began in 2002, and is currently the biggest in the U.S. and is on display in a museum. This quilt, like the AIDS Quilt, shares and depicts the stories of domestic violence victims and survivors.
Bobcat Sports League and Youth Development Center
Councilwoman Graziano recognized the Bobcat Sports League and Youth Development Center, a non-profit, volunteer-based center that serves underprivileged kids forgotten by the system. This organization provides recreational activities, such a swimming, soccer, and tennis, for youth who do not have access to these type of programs in the community or through the schools. The program has goals for expansion and big ideas for the future, including introducing yoga for frustration relief and having some kind of recreational activity for the kids to participate in every moth of the year. Presently, the program is not year-round, but the goal is to become a year-round center for youth.
Councilman Agelasto and Councilwoman Robertson took time to recognize Groundwork RVA, a volunteer organization consisting of RPS high school students who are dedicated community service and engagement. This student group learn and develop skills in landscaping, in addition to learning about and working for the national park system. The students improve neighborhoods and preserve the history of Richmond’s outdoor spaces through landscaping projects and the creation of community gardens. Working with this organization has provided several of the students with opportunities that they have never had before. “I’ve travelled to places I haven’t been to before,” one young man said. “I worked in Shenandoah National Park, and I’ve also worked out in Wyoming at a national park.” Another student, a young woman, expressed the impact of being a part of Groundwork RVA on her life, stating that landscaping is, “Not just about cutting grass. It’s about preserving the beauty of the environment and the community.” The organization’s leader, a retired RPS teacher, expressed his pride in the endeavors and accomplishments of the students involved in Groundwork RVA and told the Council that, “If you believe in the youth, they can do amazing things.”
Stanley Causton, a management analyst for Public Utilities, entreated the Council to investigate the pitiful state of broad-banding in Richmond. Mr. Causton explained that due to a lack of programming from the HR Department and no plan being submitted that would allow progress to move forward, 750 employees expecting broad-banding have not been able to work. Mr. Causton alleged that there is inconsistency within HR and that after 9 years, less than 5% of bands have been completed. “I feel like I’ve been set up for failure,” Mr. Causton said. He further expressed that a lack of compensation has also left him and others very discouraged.
Preserve Reedy Creek's History
Caroline Paulette, a citizen of the historic district of Forest Hill for 52 years, spoke in opposition to the possible impacts of the Stream Restoration Project’s impact on the history of the area. She talked about the history of Reedy Creek’s six granite quarries and canal and emphasized the possibility of listing these quarries as historic sites instead of destroying them to further the project. “These quarries still exist and are important,” she alleged. “They may be significant historic landmarks in the future.”
The Amendments to the Council’s agenda were continued to later meeting. A motion to accept these amendments was accepted and passed.
The Council had several ordinances and a few resolutions on the Consent Agenda for the night. As no citizens came forward in opposition to or in favor of any of the items, the items were adopted.
A representative of the administration came forward to discuss a consolidated plan and a redistribution pertaining to ORD: 2016 – 226. A Mr. Douglass Dunlap spoke about the appropriation of $6 million to HUD to increase home funds and about the administration’s plan to amend and consolidate the current action plan. Mr. Dunlap also explained that open CDBG projects will not be moving forward and that money that went into those projects will be redacted. Vice-President Hilbert questioned why the funding had decreased from $11 million to $6 million over his tenure on the Council. Mr. Dunlap did not have an answer to that question.
No citizens came forward in opposition to or in favor of any of the items on the Regular Agenda. The discussion was directed back to Council and the items were continued to the November 14th City Council Meeting.
Two amendments, to ORD: 2016 – 253 and ORD: 2016 – 033, were accepted and will be amended as of the November 14th City Council Meeting.