Wednesday, December 2, 2009

reThink Roanoke summit draws a curious crowd

Beth Deel and Jeremy Holmes

Beth Deel and Jeremy Holmes

Jeremy Holmes Program Director of RIDE Solutions and Beth Deel ( New Years Eve bouncy-ball fame supported by Hank Bostwick Legal Aide attorney pulled together at least 70 people Tuesday evening at The Water Heater on 5th Street.

Councilman Dave Trinkle and his wife Ann, Carter Turner the Democratic opponent who failed in his bid for Delegate Morgan Griffith’s seat and Drew Densmore Senator Mark Warner’s Outreach Representative were a few notable attendees.

Deel gave a slide show at the open of the summit. It included the various events in which she has been involved. One well-known downtown “must watch TV” art improv where one participant was arrested got a chuckle. The bouncy-ball New Years at Center in the Square was a hit last year and there are high hopes for another this year.

There was white paper stretching the wall where Deel and Holmes wrote what attendees had to say about what they would like Roanoke to be. There lacked cohesiveness at this first meeting and no clear questions for future council candidates were formulated. All agreed non-partisan elections were not going to happen – at least anytime soon.

The Water Heater prepares for the summit.

The Water Heater prepares for the summit.

There was disagreement over whether Roanoke should increase its population or as one participant framed it “stagnate.” There were mostly general ideas that will be compiled by Holmes and Deel prior for the next meeting. The meeting will be announced again through Facebook. You can check out the discussion of Tuesday’s meeting there too.

There was no ranting and raving, diatribes or name-calling as some had seemed to have feared – unless you count Bob Craig who again spoke on the city’s lack of responsibility in managing its debt.

There will be another reThink Roanoke summit in the future but no date was set Tuesday night.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Local Events, Roanoke City Politics

Tags: , , ,

Comments (8)


December 2nd, 2009 at 8:53 AM    

I think this sounds like an awesome initial start! What a great turnout! It sounds as if it might be the right venue for an unconference. I attended one in August at GWU called CongressCamp and it was a great experience. I think what made it so productive was having a great facilitator, someone collecting notes from break-out sessions, and volunteers to put all of that on an accessible platform so people could work with it afterward. It really is about identifying needs (or creating requirements) and then setting up some long term and short term goals, and getting different people who are interested in specific topics to create a team to work on them. It’s the democratic process at it’s best. It also takes big issues and breaks them down to manageable pieces where you have some chance of progress and success. I think this is so awesome!


December 2nd, 2009 at 4:51 PM    

Some knowledge about how local government works would help them.

[…] last night:  The conversation was good and far ranging, broad but not deep.  Valerie Garner of The Roanoke Free Press said “[t]here lacked cohesiveness at this first meeting and no clear questions for future […]

Jeremy Holmes

December 2nd, 2009 at 8:23 PM    

Thanks for coming last night, Valerie, and for commenting on the proceedings. I’m a bit curious, though, why you would suggest we don’t know how local government works? Was there a particular topic or idea that came up that would lead you to believe this?

Certainly, since the discussion was so broad and far ranging, items came up that would not be addressed specifically by local government policy, but that’s not to say that they aren’t worth discussing. Even a issue that would need to be handled by a state or federal action could use a champion in a local elected official. And, of course, many ideas popped up that were not the province of government at all, which is great; I think there’s room to identify places where government, if its in the way, can simply get out of the way to allow more citizen-driven action.

At any rate, I’d appreciate an elaboration, if only so we can identify a specific area where we need to be educated.


December 2nd, 2009 at 9:32 PM    

You summed up the discussion well. Except I’d say know how the city is administered would be a better way to put it.

There were comments on reinventing the wheel where there is existing organizations, committees, task force.

The lady who spoke on disability & needing to educate city departments. There is a Mayors Committee for people with Disabilities.

There is a Vision 2020 put together for each neighborhood in the city. The Planning Commission uses it to make zoning decisions. (of course it still must be passed by Council)

Local officials who are part of the legislative committee put together “wants” to take to the General Assembly. (If you decide to push for non-partisan elections). There are so many things the City is not allowed to do without asking.

Most topics seemed to involve working within existing groups already established.

There is Cool Cities, Creative Connectors, and so on. Ideas need to be boiled down into action items and questions to candidates that are relevant to anything that falls within their purview.

Beth Deel

December 3rd, 2009 at 1:54 PM    

Hey Valerie,

Thanks so much for attending our summit this week at The Water Heater. It was very much a first step and we are excited to begin work on next steps.

One correction though, my company’s name is myScoper not myScooper, and although we garnered attention for our participation in The Bouncy Ball New Year, the event was actually that of SAK InterMedia Group. Although myScoper has been a catalyst for many people-powered events of the mayhem and fun variety, Wendy and I use this kind of energy to promote the region positively and with great enthusiasm through our online interactive calendar and our sister publication A Useful Paper. I say this because I want to be clear that our aim is community building with a large helping of vitality.

Thanks again and I hope you follow our progress.


S. J. Lantz

December 6th, 2009 at 9:33 PM    

As the lady who spoke on disabilities, the Mayor’s Committee tends to avoid it’s client base.


December 6th, 2009 at 10:00 PM    

That doesn’t surprise me – I guess it is one of those INO committees.

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