Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Serving On Council Is “Personal”

In May, 2005, the Countryside neighborhood woke up to the morning paper to find that Roanoke City had taken the option to purchase the golf course property. We were in shock. I decided to email the Councilman whose name was quoted in the paper to find out what was going on. That was Brian Wishneff. Mr. Wishneff and Mr. Lea along with Mr. Townsend (Planning Department at the time) came to my house and there was no room for every neighbor. They lined my driveway, hallway, and back porch. I remember Mr. Lea and Mr. Wishneff at the time were surprised our homes were even here. No one on Council had visited the property or knew what they were buying. We were promised inclusion in the plans for the property. I know both Mr. Wishneff and Mr. Lea made every effort to get us in on the ground floor because my FOIA request of emails demonstrated it to be so. These emails also demonstrated that the other members of Council and the City Administration felt otherwise.
So to this day we continue to be twisted and turned. Lifted up and let down and SURPRISED. Just when things relax as they did a week or two ago and we plan great things for our neighborhood …. wham we get our legs swept out from under us again. We have gone through so many Council members now I can’t count. There is only one original member left who was serving in 2005 and that is Mr. Lea.
I ask you all who criticize our neighborhoods distrust to put yourself in our shoes. We are stunned in May, 2005, a developer pulls out never seeing any plans, more RFPs lead to nothing, one RFP last minute is replied to resulting in one nightmare of a plan so it goes back for revision and a year goes by and nothing. We attend every Parks and Recreation Master Plan workshop hoping for a crumb, nothing. Then it is left for the next Council … then as it seems a longer term lease is going to relieve the tension …. wham – let’s see if we can sell it. We were promised that it would never be cut up into pieces. We were promised we would be included in the process. It never happened and at the 2:00 PM Council meeting just proved it never will. So walk a mile in our shoes before you cast a stone on our mistrust. We don’t need surprises like at the 2:00 PM Council meeting and Mr. Rosen’s pronouncement that now we might sell it either keeping it a golf course for a certain amount of time (then what?) or turning it into 1/2 park and 1/2 business. Were we included in that option? No, it was purely a financial and business idea. Where did I here this before? “It’s not personal, it’s business” – the reply from the affected person was “it was personal to me”.
So pardon me if I don’t think YOUR ideas are good ideas. Nobody has asked us for ANY of OUR ideas ever.
If you read any conflicts about the 2:00 PM meeting CLICK HERE -I posted a link to the webcast before so you yourself can hear the 45 minute co mingling of RFPs and confusion.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Commentary



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