Special Council Meeting, January 3, 2018

Unless you subscribe to the City Clerk’s eMail alert list or have friends “on the inside” of city hall, you would not know that a special, called meeting of Portsmouth City Council is coming up tomorrow at noon. The calendar of meetings for 2018 that council adopted during its final public session of 2017 does not include, nor even hint at, it. Still, a call letter went abroad about 1:30 PM on Friday, December 29, 2017, bearing news of this previously unscheduled gathering. If you were in the midst of your holiday activities, you might well have missed it. Continue reading

Open Letter to City Council: Post-2017 Election Deck Reshuffle

With the election of Council Member Paige Cherry as Portsmouth City Treasurer, a vacancy on city council will occur in relatively short order. No doubt, council is already engaged in backroom conversations about who will fill CM Cherry’s slot once he resigns to assume his new position. Under Virginia Code and the city charter, the mayor and remaining council members have the authority to appoint an interim replacement. Since CM Cherry took his seat in January of 2015, someone running in the 2018 local election will replace the appointee next fall. Continue reading

Open Letter to City Council re: Confederate Monument Resolution 17-449

Mr. Mayor and Honorable Members of City Council:

I write to express my opposition to the resolution of intent to relocate the Portsmouth Confederate Monument. Although I agree in principle with the objective, I believe that the diversity of community opinion on the matter and the intensity of feeling the discussion engenders on all sides of the issue argues for more dialogue among our citizenry as well as an advisory referendum on whether or not to relocate it. Continue reading

Publisher’s Notebook: Real Leadership

The following is an eMail message I received from Lt. Governor and Gubernatorial Candidate Ralph Northam in response to this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, VA. I reproduce it here as an example of how real leaders address important issues. It is a welcome contrast to statements from the fake leader occupying the White House.

[Fellow Virginian],

Today, our hearts break: They break for the efforts to bring hate and division to our Commonwealth. They break for the victims of this act of white supremacist terror. They break for the lives lost, and the families grieving now.

I offer my deepest condolences to the families and victims—I know I join many Virginians today praying for the young woman who lost her life in a reckless act of terrorism, and the tragic loss of two Virginia State Police troopers who perished in a helicopter crash outside Charlottesville on Saturday. These brave Virginians are some of the best we have to offer, and my thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones today and in the difficult weeks ahead. Continue reading