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Monday, April 14, 2008

How to fix Roanoke City Council

I saw this commercial the other night. I loved it. Then, posted the Youtube video. I am now posting it for you all.

Amidst all of the issues with Roanoke City Council, the problems continue. I have spoken with several candidates and I am not too surprised by the people who are running. Nor am I surprised by some of the reasons some are running. So much for the Republicans though, they aren't running anyone. It seems as though many aren't willing to waste their money running against the Harris Contingency.

Bowers and Wishneff are running though. So far, I am more pleased with these two than any others.

Check out their ideals they are running on below. It seems as though they are willing to spell out what they will spend, instead of the Harris Contingency just doing whatever the hell they want.

A Real Downtown Roanoke Agenda – April 2008

Abandon the Amphitheater project along Reserve Ave and take the $12,600,000 budgeted for that project and instead spend it downtown on the following projects:

1. $3,000,000 - Elmwood Park Amphitheater of 2-3,000-seats

2. $3,000,000 - City Market Building Renovation, City share of estimated $7-$8M for comprehensive renovation

3. $1,000,000 - Center in the Square Renovation this represents initial payment on multi-year City $4M commitment for this $27M renovation and reinvention of Center

4. $1,500,000 - Church Ave. Garage Renovation, this represents a cash payment to eliminate need for City to borrow which makes parking rate increase unnecessary

5. $250,000 - Farmers Stalls Modernization that adds items like heat, electricity, which was requested by farmers

6. $850,000 - Market Square Improvements, initial aesthetic and functional improvements to Square to support ability to more easily change uses at nights & weekends

7. $3,000,000 - New 600+ Williamson Rd Parking Garage in parking lot across from Link Museum could hold new hotel rooms and meeting space on top for expanded Hotel Roanoke;
strategic location allows for parking garage to serve multiple purposes including Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center, the Civic Center, the improved Market Building and the new Art Museum, money represents initial City contribution for planning & design toward a much larger
multi-million project
$ 12,600,000

Presented by Mayoral candidate David Bowers and Roanoke City Councilman and candidate Brian Wishneff


Anonymous said...

How about lets collect the business taxes due by the 511 business that are delinquent? That would be several hundred thousand $'s to millions. We can't even get replacement equipment like hose and we are being hinted at about loosing 6 positions. When the city decided to get its house in order then the Fire Dept can do the same, but until then...I say we do whats right and let the politicians figure it out!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Fallen is right. Things are rough here in the fire department. We can’t even seem to get equipment. We need to replace all of our 5” hose. Yes, all of it. Most of our 2 ½” hose is 30 years old. Replace it. Some of the things we do get are substandard. Even asking receives retaliation. We are told to conserve fuel, but are scheduled to train at the RTC when we could do it at cluster stations or at the drill tower. We are told to not ask for station repairs. Raises and benefits are lacking. All we hear is cut, cut, and cut. The politicians seem to find money for other things but none for our department. I hear the police department is understaffed by 28 positions. Is that true? What’s going on? Why isn’t the city trying to get money owed by 500 odd businesses? It will support a downtown apartment building $880,000, the new art museum, renovation of the market building and center in the square; (can you say millions?)yes, they are all good projects, but the city doesn’t support emergency services. Is it poor management? Where is the accountability? A lot of what is done today is at the cities and the city employee’s expense. We value our employees?
I don’t think so. ghost

Anonymous said...

Did Bowers mention anything about a couple of new quints?
Last time he was in office he went against good advice to buy them.

Valerie said...

Speaking to City Council in regard to their "lack" of concern for public safety. In this case it was the lack of concern for building residences on Countryside Golf Course in the approach to runway 6 of Roanoke Regional Airport.

The responsibility," of government, Winston Churchill told the British Parliament "for the public safety is absolute and requires no mandate. It is in fact, the prime object for which governments come into existence."

Valerie Garner
Candidate for Roanoke City Council

Anonymous said...

Well Rhett,
I know this is your personel blog, but it scares me that a union officer speaks favorably of David Bowers. He has hoodwinked us before. He recieved our support in the past, financially, man/hours spent campaigning and most importantly public endorsement. Once he got into office though, He turned his back on us and we are still suffering the consequences of his actions.

So I say, Run David Run, to Hell or Connacht! Fool us once shame on you, fool us twice shame on us!

FireFleitz said...

In response to the last anonymous comment. I think you are funny. I mean really "it scares me that a union officer speaks favorably of David Bowers". That is so funny you bring that up and that it scares you. Is it really scary, like you need the lights turned on?

Ok, enough fun. The reason why I bring it up and that it is funny is that THE UNION supported Bowers, Macfarland, and McConnell in the last election. But apparently that didn't scare you, just a mere post speaking out against the current regime scares you.

You know what scares me? That you didn't know that.

Either way, I have never offered up a particular political endorsement on the blog.

Anonymous said...

Rhett, as a union official it is incumbent on you to aid and abet those candidates who are union friendly. Forget that there is more to running the government than your job and always try to squeeze just a little more out of the man...and pay your union dues.

IAFF General President Harold Shaitberger

Anonymous said...

Why not support Bowers. I hope that he has learned his lesson from the last time. Also, He has got to be better than what we have now. Look at the city as a whole, we are so far back in the past it is no wonder no one wants to stay here, look around we have more homeless on the strees because we provide so much for them that they don't have to be responsible for themselves. we have more public housing than any other city our size. we spend all this money on consultants and crap but not towards improving our city departments and providing for the city's most vauable resource..the employees..I say we need to overhaul the whole adminisrtation staring with the mayor, city council and city manager. They have brought this city so far down. I encourage all those who are city residents that read this to help bring a change and improvements by electing a new mayor and council. Thank you for letting me rant.

Anonymous said...

As a retired teacher who endured the reign of terror of first Tota, and then Harris, I can honestly say that any of you planning to support that horse's patoot Wishneff are crazy. As a school board member he voted for budgets he hadn't even studied, because he "didn't have time." He supported every single effort to demoralize the teachers. The wholesale exodus of teachers that occurred under Thompson were only the seeds that had been sown under Harris, on Wishneff's watch. The newbies said, "I'm outa here. This place is dysfunctional." And the veterans were just waiting until the numbers added up so they could retire. Wishneff is a snake in the grass who opposed teacher raises, incentives for attendance, and other initiatives aimed at improving instruction for the kids.
You might complain about what teachers are paid, but please recall teachers have to shell out well over a thousand dollars every five years to relicense, and even with the paltry increment for the masters degrees that make them fully qualified under federal law, they don't get that money back in raises. And, they don't major in education any more, so don't get the idea their college degrees easier to get than those of their peers.
No, you think you like Wishneff, but he lies like a rug, so be careful with that kind of endorsement.

Anonymous said...

To beat an old horse, Wishneff also promised to support the unions position on closing Fire Station 1# and then he voted with the rest of council to build the new station and close the old. From what I understand, he voted that way so he could bring up the issue again at a later date. I guess that date got broke.

My point is not to debate the Station 1 issue, but the fact that he did not support the union.

FireFleitz said...

Actually, to be very honest Wishneff was very supportive of the Union at that time. He did not want to see the station closed. I had several meetings with him and Lea on the subject.

Unfortunately, we lost that battle. The majority won. You saw it unfold in council. Maybe I don't agree with how he ended up voting on the issue, however it didn't matter at that point. The majority already had the votes.

Anonymous said...

It is good to hear so many opinions on here about what is wrong with this City. It is also good to hear who the union endorses for the council. Whats funny is that people actully think the union has any pull in the city anymore. The firefighters union brings a chuckle to the people who run the city whenever they hear it. They do not care about city employees, you see if they spend money on downtown, people can see that, and maybe people will move into the over-priced condos that are there. And while those people are loving being protected by a "Nationally Accredited" departments they don't know that police and fire are under staffed. And what is the fire union doing about it? nothing. And I'm sure Rhett and Rodney will say " well I talked to this person and I talked to that person" But it seems lately all you guys do is talk. You don't DO anything but go to conferences and complain that the members arren't more involved. But when members step up, they seem to be micro managed by the union officers. Maybe that isn't the story but it is what is visible from my perspective and many other people I have talked to. Now just to show i'm not just union bashing, I think it was great with what was done with aflac. maybe next you can work on health insurance. in closing I want to say, If the union wants to make an impact, don't just talk, ACT. you might actually see more people coming to meetings.

Anonymous said...

Could you explain the subtle difference between "supportive" and "paying lip service" for those of us who are having difficulty telling them apart?

Pay up sucker said...

Why does the man in charge of Roanoke tax dept. still have a job!!! On the news he basically said he didn't care about collecting the taxes from over 500 businesses. I bet he will still get his raise! To the people living in the city don't pay your taxes because the man in charge does not care. He probably lives outside the city anyway. Roanoke city is out of extra medic trucks there are no reserve units in service thats crazy!!! THE MAN IN THE TAX DEPT. NEEDS TO GO, HE SHOULD NOT BE IN THAT POSITION, WHEN HE JUST DOES NOT WANT TO DO HIS JOB. As far as Bowers or any other person running for positions on city council or for Mayor, they always talk a good game, but they never get to play, they always sit their asses on the bench. It's time to PAY UP. One more thing how much money did the city spend on those stupid ass looking signs you see when you enter the city, that person needs to go also, and just one more thing, do people really think that eye sore art museum " THE MOTHER SHIP" is going to help the city, get real. Waste of Money.

Anonymous said...

They all are like DEPENDS, they are full of SH-T>

Anonymous said...

And while those people are loving being protected by a "Nationally Accredited" departments ...
INTERNATIONALLY ACCREDITED!!! If you don't believe it, just read our new hidious shirts!

Anonymous said...

"Actually, to be very honest Wishneff was very supportive of the Union at that time...."

Again I ask, could you explain that subtle difference between "supportive" and "paying lip service" for those of us who are having difficulty telling them apart?

FireFleitz said...

Sure, call me at Fire Station 13 on Sat. or Monday or at the Credit Union today and I will be happy to speak with you about this issue.

I look forward to talking to you about this and thank you for reiterating your point. I did not realize it was that important, but I want to make sure your question is answered and we can bring closure to this issue.

Thanks again.

Anonymous said...

You have the site. You say he was supportive. You acknowledge the way he voted when the time came.

I'm just an anonymous reader asking for some clarification on something that doesn't sound quite right!

FireFleitz said...

You are right. I have the site. But what does that have to do with you calling me to talk about it?

Anyways, it is politics. We were beat. The station was closed. We had the support of Sherman Lea and Brian Wishneff. Two council votes don't amount to anything unless they are followed by two more favorable votes. You say it was lip service, I say he was supportive. I was there in the meetings with him and numerous downtown business owners. I was there and I fought hard for something that I felt was worth fighting for. Many others came to the council meeting to show there support.

The truth is that the Harris train is still running full steam ahead. He has the three original indies still on Council and looking to stay and add more. This would make 7 of the same votes all looking up to Harris for what to do next. The FD and PD aren't on the itinerary.

So who are/would you support/vote for since you have nagged me about my comment about Wishneff?

Please do tell.

Anonymous said...

To add to what Rhett said, The Firefighters Union also supported Mayor Harris at one time. He ALSO turned his back on us..

So remember, a politician is only as good as his or her word at the time they are looking you in the eye.

Anonymous said...

I dont know who to vote for. I'm just trying to understand why someone would say that they were "supported" by a politician that voted against their issue? It did not( and still doesn't) make sense to me.

I'm not questioning your dedication to the cause, or how much work you did.

I just dont understand why he voted the way he did, to be on the winning side? or why you are ok with it?

FireFleitz said...

Either you aren't going to understand it or I haven't explained it well enough. Whichever it is, I don't feel like explaining it anymore. Sorry you don't understand it.

I know this for sure, if you were there, you would have a better understanding of it. But I am used to this. Everyone wants to know what, why, when, and how something happened. Not to many people want to be there and find out for themselves.

Anonymous said...

Rhett, don't fret over this. You have the right to support whom ever you want, no matter what your reasons. Everyone picks a candidate and stands by them.

All politicians will tell you what you want to hear and how much they support your cause. Have you ever heard of a candidate go to a group and tell them he don't support them and then ask for there vote.

Most council votes are unanimous not because they see eye to eye, but because they trade off votes. You support me this time, I support you next time.