Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Councilwoman Anita Price says flip-flop label worth it

Rosen and Trinkle

Rosen and Trinkle

Councilwoman Anita Price who had opposed moving forward with the amphitheater on two previous votes boldly flipped her vote Monday. Price said she had lost sleep over her vote of July 20 in the absence of longtime amphitheater advocate Councilman Dave Trinkle who was on vacation at the time. Price said that she had even called Trinkle to apologize.

Councilman Rupert Cutler who had voted in favor of the amphitheater at the July 20 Council meeting made the motion to reconsider. Cutler said that his purpose for reconsideration was “to give Council another opportunity to authorize the use of city cash and bond funds to study the economics to complete the architectural and engineering for the Elmwood Park amphitheater site. Such a study will give us a more informed basis then we currently have on which to decide.” Cutler went on to explain that the subsidy was based on data from other localities and “not the Elmwood Park site … and are entirely different situations.” The subsidy bandied about was $500,000 and was related to the Reserve Avenue site. Trinkle when asked later what the current subsidy was for Elmwood Park he said with a grin, “I wanted to ask that question.”

Trinkle made a point that decisions are not to be made outside of Council chambers. He admitted to agreeing with The Roanoke Times Editorial (Dan Radmacher) that he got it right on there being “ambivalence about this project … it has been in the works for many years … it will be an anchor for the entrance to downtown.”

Price seconded Cutler’s motion. Each Council member spoke several times during the course of the debate. Councilman Court Rosen clung to his “no” vote and reiterated his opinion that the infrastructure needs of the city are more important. He wanted the media to understand that he and Trinkle were friends and were “just differing on a matter of policy … and that this is not a personal matter.”

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea said, “that projections always seem to look better than reality.” Lea was forceful in defending the taxpayers pointing to the poll that had “62% of the citizens that pay their taxes saying we don’t need an amphitheater.” Lea said, “we can’t keep spending the money – it changes the whole dynamic … it is irresponsible of us to spend these millions of dollars … this is a blue-collar town.” Lea wanted to be on record to see if 12-18 months down the road if this decision was the correct one.

Councilwoman Gwen Mason was reminded of former Council member Alvin Nash’s words that stuck with her, “the best thing we can do for one another is not question each other’s motives.” She then alluded to the rumored motive that she voted against the amphitheater because she is running for the House of Delegate in the conservative 17th district and her vote was a political maneuver. Trinkle was quoted in The Roanoke Times insinuating that it was a political move on Mason’s part. Mason said her neighbor who has promoted concerts for 30 years said, “you [the city] is exactly on the wrong track … you don’t need a structure that big.” According to Trinkle he also talked to Gary Jackson and did not get the same answer as Mason. Trinkle pointed to the Parks and Recreation Master Plan and that the priority of the citizens had it at number two. Trinkle mentioned the $13 million Victory Stadium renovation money that disappeared and “went here, there and everywhere that didn’t have anything to do with the Capital Master Plan.”

Councilman Court Rosen said, “I’ve only been on Council a year and I wanted to point out that while it’s [amphitheater] not new to the city it’s new to me.” Rosen did not think it was fair to new Council members. “Just because somethings [have] happened before [means] we keep doing it that way … I don’t think that’s fair to Council members who run for office and put their names out there … just because something’s happened before … we’ll keep doing it that way,” said Rosen.

Following several references to “what other Councils may do down the road” and responses that “we can’t worry about what another Council may do – it was finally put to a vote.

The resolution was read, the $127 million CIP plan passed with the amphitheater included 4-3. Voting “no” were Mason, Rosen, and Lea.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (1)

The Pamphleteer

August 4th, 2009 at 3:57 PM    

The biggest legislative “joke”
in America has got to be
Roanoke City Council.

As usual, the vote will have to be taken as many times as it takes to get the desired result.

In the meantime, more money will have to be squandered on “consultants” and “studies” which are an all the more
an insult to Roanokers struggling
due to the current economic collapse.

One thing for sure — Anita Price
is too overwhelmed to be a member
of The Council. Voters should strongly consider this while Democrats groom

Vice-Mayor Sherman Lea
& Councilman Court Rosen
should be congratulated.

The rest need to be removed from office.

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

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