Saturday, December 22, 2007

Roanoke County Supervisor Takes a Poke at The City

They [Roanoke City] would not even return our phone calls” said Richard C. Flora, Roanoke County Board of Supervisors – Hollins District.
At the December 18th Roanoke County Board of Supervisors Meeting, Richard C. Flora, Hollins District, took an overlooked poignant jab at Roanoke City Administration and Government. Mr. Flora inadvertently made it clear that regional cooperation was not shared by Roanoke City. If anyone ever thought that it was the failing of other jurisdictions that Roanoke City could not get any cooperation I am here to tell you this is not the case. Mr. Flora’s comments pulled the cover back on what we don’t get from media coverage.
The agenda item at the Board meeting was a rezoning of property from “transitional” to C-2 in Roanoke County. The property is located on Hershberger Road at Oakland Boulevard near Friendship Manor. The use was to be for an extended stay hotel. This property adjoins Roanoke City property zoned R-1 residential and if you are familiar with Oakland Boulevard you know it is a very attractive residential community.
The citizens of this Roanoke City residential community spoke at the Board of Supervisor’s meeting against the hotel and they were treated with the utmost respect. Not only that – their FACE WAS SHOWN AT THE PODIUM FROM THE FRONT ON RVTV.
The Board of Supervisor’s agreed and voted “NO” unanimously against the extended stay hotel.
This is exactly what Board Member, Richard Flora, stated in his remarks:I have been reminded that they [Roanoke City citizens] don’t vote for me but they are our neighbor”.
Mr. Flora continued, “ the [Roanoke] City matter regarding the bus garage on the airport site … they [Roanoke City Administration] would not even return our phone calls and I don’t want to be put in the same category as that … so for that very reason we want to make sure that we listen to even our neighbors in other jurisdictions.”
I was stunned – not only were Roanoke City citizens treated with respect and listened to intently while speaking at the Roanoke County Board Meeting but they were shown from the front – yes, their actual face was shown when speaking from the podium. This being in sharp contrast to Roanoke City Council meetings where the City’s own citizens are disrespected … much of the time not even being afforded the courtesy of looking at the speaker at the podium. Sometimes they even get up and leave during “Hearings on Public Matters”. Other times the Mayor and Council members look down at their desk shuffling papers totally ignoring the citizen at the podium – they twirl in their chairs, make side “chuckles“ with other Council members and generally give the impression they could care less about what a Roanoke citizen has to say – Unless you are an attorney, a business representative, or someone who is running for City Council that the majority supports – like at the last City Council meeting on Dec. 17th where Bill Bestpitch appeared after being invisible since he was voted off Council. If that was not the most obvious campaign speech at a Council meeting I have ever heard. He was pictured “full frontal” and had unlimited minutes and went on and on and on – Mayor Harris gushed and Fitzpatrick spoke up to even give the ARB more time (6 months) rather than the 60 days asked for by Bestpitch to save a Marshall Ave. home from condemnation and demolition. They have had many, many, years to address this. Campaigning at City Council is not allowed at Council meetings but of course we know the exceptions … like Valley Forward. If they like you, if you have connections, if you have money, if, if, …. If not then let’s spin in our chairs, shuffle our papers, and look amused.
I recall a Roanoke City Council meeting some time ago where a County resident addressed City Council on a Commercial Business expansion where their home had been damaged. Their home bordered Roanoke City where the Commercial Business was situated. The County resident was told that there was nothing they could do and advised them to join a neighborhood group, huh? Where was the regional cooperation for this County resident and the same respect that the County showed the City citizens? What a stark contrast and eye-opener this has been for those of us who don’t know better in how your local government respects the citizens that elected them.
The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors treats Roanoke City residents with more respect then our own Council does…. Gees, how depressing. I ask you Roanoke City citizens who are not represented on City Council, why are you so apathetic?

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Politics, Roanoke City Politics, Roanoke County Politics



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December 23rd, 2007 at 4:54 AM    

Just think…if the city hadn’t annexed Countryside back in 1977, you’d be able to be listened to at a county board meeting as a citizen of the county.

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