This blog includes news about City Hall, city schools and other 22401 news.Pamela Gould reports on City Hall. You can reach her at 540-735-1972 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Robyn Sidersky reports on city schools. You can reach her at 540-374-5413 or email@example.com.
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UPDATED Council meeting wrap up
Tidbits from the Fredericksburg City Council meeting Tuesday night:
All seven council members urged city residents to contact state government officials to oppose bills that would require local elected officials to identify with political parties. Councilman George Solley sent a letter to Del. Mark Cole, Sen. Bryce Reeves and House Speaker Bill Howell. All three represent Fredericksburg. (Look for a separate story on this with more details.)
Here is Solley’s letter:
Dear Mr. Speaker,
I have written Delegate Mark Cole and Senator Bryce Reeves to express my strong opposition to the House Bills that would prevent localities from conducting non-partisan elections. My reasons are given below, but I do want to say most people in Fredericksburg — many of whom are supporter of yours — believe that this move is not only unnecessary but would undermine a system that has worked well for a long, long time.
I firmly believe that such a bill, if passed, would work to the detriment of local government. Fredericksburg, like many other localities, is a place where people know their elected representatives, and the issues we face do not fit neatly within the ideological boundaries of the two parties. The ideological baggage and outside pressures that party affiliation bring may be a necessary part of government at the state and national levels, but they are neither necessary nor healthy for local government.
Further, government works best the closer it is to the governed, and local governments that have shown themselves able to govern effectively should be allowed to do so without unnecessary interference.
Lastly, in his pro forma responses to other members of the Fredericksburg City Council, Mark Cole stated that “I do not think it is a good idea to withhold information, such as any party affiliation, from the voters. If a candidate does not want to be associated with a party, they are free to run for office as an independent. “This response fails to fully address the situation. Information concerning party affiliation is not forcibly withheld; any candidate who wishes to do so can broadcast his or her party affiliation on campaign literature, in the media, or in public meetings. In Fredericksburg, in my experience, not one candidate has chosen to declare party affiliation as part of an election campaign.
I urge you to respect the longstanding tradition of good government in the City of Fredericksburg and not try to fix what isn’t broken. Work to prevent the passing of House Bills 157, 374, 769, 931, 351, and 622.
[Note: I added the links to the bills so you can read them for yourself]
-Boards and Commissions re-appointments:
Appointment to Fredericksburg Clean and Green Commission: Anthony Cantanese
Reappointment of Anne Little and Carolyn Helfrich to Fredericksburg Clean and Green Commission
Reappointment of Christopher Hornung to the Economic Development Authority
Reappointment of Kerri Barile to the Architectural Review Board
-The council amended the FY 2012 budget by appropriating the fund balance of the school operating fund and the school grants fund for school purposes. There will be a public hearing on this at the Feb. 14 meeting.
-Instead of one of the council members, Boy Scout Troop 940 gave the Pledge of Allegiance.