Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Councilman Lea Announces – Mentions Countryside

Today at 1:00 PM Councilman Sherman Lea, Sr., announced he will be seeking the Democratic nomination for City Council again this election cycle.
The announcement was well attended and included several of our neighbors. Councilman Lea spoke to the heart of the issues facing our City – the least of which for us is Countryside Golf Course. Yes, he actual mentioned Countryside as one of the upcoming major issues that will come before Council this year. Also mentioned was another hot button for me, “closed sessions”. Whenever I see a “closed session” on the Council’s agenda announcing a discussion in regard to the disposition of public property I think – are they talking about Countryside? Our neighborhood has been in limbo for 2 1/2 years. By the May elections it will be 3 years. No neighborhood should have to live in such anxiety wondering what is going on behind the “closed door”. City Administration is in a holding pattern but we know they want to develop this property desperately. Mrs. Burcham has worked to get this property many years before we ever knew about it. Many years while we were moving in to be adjacent to this open green space we call our “Park”.
Several other points Councilman Lea mentioned were – televising the morning briefings (9:00 AM before the regular 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM Council sessions). Councilman Lea stated “we have too many closed sessions”. There are presentations we the citizens never get to see because we are working. Councilman Lea spoke of moving the local elections to November so turnout would be more representative of the population. We have such poor turnout for local elections in May.
Still another issue Councilman Lea mentioned was that the citizens of Roanoke City want to see is the ability to have referendums which requires legislative action in Richmond. This was scuttled by our current legislator at the urging of several on Council though publicly they voted in the affirmative to put in the legislative package to take to Richmond last year.
Another interesting point was that the citizens of Charlottesville get to see the annual budget online before it is adopted. Charlottesville citizens are given the opportunity to submit how they want their taxes to be spent. All I can say to that is – IN OUR DREAMS would the citizens of Roanoke City have such input here. I think we have become so accustomed to not having access to our local government that we can’t even phantom what something like Charlottesville offers it’s citizens.
Another topic was crime and Councilman Lea made it clear that the current pockets of crime will spread if not checked. He said the pockets of crime now prevalent will slowly reach out into other areas. Have we not read about the rash of break ins and home invasions recently. Just here in our neighborhood we have experienced two thefts – one of which was quite serious. We rarely had anything happening in our neighborhood prior to these two incidents.
Councilman Lea also referenced a report presented to City Council yesterday on youth at risk which pulled no punches. Roanoke City youth at risk is higher than the National Average in regards to drug involvement and early sexual activity. The report went on to say that over the last 7 years no progress has been made and has actually slid back a few notches. Councilman Lea also supports elected school boards. He had been Chair of the School Board for 5 years and said “don’t think the school board is not political -it is”. If you get a chance listen to the web cast of yesterday’s City Council Meeting and the presentation concerning our youth by CLICKING HERE. Then click on the Roanoke City Logo to the right. Councilman Lea’s website is HERE. Under “News” and “Updates” is posted the July 17th Roanoke Times article regarding keeping Countryside an 18-hole golf course and naming it after Roy Stanley.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary, Politics



No Comments

Comments are not moderated. Notify any abuse at info@roanokefreepress.com put ABUSE in the subject and the offensive post.

Leave a Reply