Oct. 27 is first public meeting on downtown’s future.
Roanoke, VA – The City of Roanoke’s Department of Planning, Building, and Development is currently in the process of updating the Downtown Plan. Public meetings to gather input will be held on Oct. 27 and Nov. 28 at the City Market Building beginning at 6 p.m.
The department is looking for input and ideas from citizens to help update the vision for the downtown area for the next 20 years. The plan will seek to address the rise of downtown living and the importance of public spaces and amenities. It will also focus on successful small businesses, major employers, and other initiatives that help establish downtown Roanoke as a reg
It wasn’t the first time that city council member Ray Ferris held court at Roanoke City Council but it was the first time he’s been called on the carpet. I’ve never seen any council member of any past council cross-examine a citizen like Ray Ferris did me Monday evening. Bill Bestpitch was close behind attempting to mimic Ferris’ attorney prowess.
One would think it was personal. However covering council meetings for the Roanoke Star-Sentinel I’ve witnessed Ferris’’ courtroom antics with other citizens. The worst of which was a cross-examination of the President of the Architectural Review Board.
Perry Mason he’s not nor is he a councilman. He does seem to relish the power of his position as does Bestpitch.
I was surprised to receive several phone calls of disbelief in the way he not only grilled me but also grilled my neighbor Mike Higgins. He attempted to demean Mr. Higgins by asking him, “You do know that it is not the city that will build the houses.” Ferris’ smirk was unrelenting. Bestpitch asked an unrelated question on how another street felt when their house blocked the view of the golf course.
I was grilled by Bestpitch on a ridiculous question about the stadium public address system asking me what times I heard it. The point he was making so rudely was it was not three o’clock in the morning. Hmmmm …. OK that had nothing to do with the issue at hand.
I won’t say the name of the member of council who said to me it was about time someone called him on his courtroom demeanor. I could see council members becoming uncomfortable as the grilling by Ferris and Bestpitch reached the ridiculous.
The Mayor tried to end it by saying “let’s just stick to the facts.” That helped somewhat.
Not only does Ferris exhibit this behavior at council meetings but he also grills staff at briefings.
Most recently he grilled Sheriff Octavia Johnson at a briefing on the budget that included a review of constitutional officer’s expenses. Ferris pressed the sheriff on the duties of the public information officer who happens to be her sister. One wonders if he would have been so aggressive if she was a democrat.
My neighbor Susan was so angry she could barely speak. She followed me and Mr. Higgins on the witness stand (I mean at the podium). She admonished both Ferris and Bestpitch.
I wonder if they know how ridiculous they looked to other citizens. I sure received several calls from some very reserved citizens outraged at their exhibitionism.