Friday, June 16, 2006

Portsmouth politics


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Originally uploaded by Tidewater Muse.
I'm not sure I've blogged about one of the current policital issues facing Portsmouth... I'm doing it now...

A while back, a minister and his congregation bought an old church in Olde Towne South (I think it's on the corner of South and Dinwiddie). Anyway, the building is old and in need of repair, but it's clearly a church, even if it hasn't been used for a while. So, the congregation asked for a use permit -- guess that's what one needs to do... and the use permit was denied by the city council. Right, denied. This after the city attorney told the council, in writing, they'd be violating the Constitutional rights of the congregation if the use permit was denied. Anyway, four of the seven city council members voted to deny the use.

From the Pilot earlier this week, I learned why our four smart council members voted no:
The four council members who voted against the use of the permit had cited issues such as neighborhood concerns, a lack of parking and a large number of churches in the city as reasons to deny the worship center.
Oh, that's just so smart. Let's see, it is clearly a church building, and, yet, we have too many churches in the city.

Get real.

Voting against the church were Mayor James Holley, Vice Mayor Bill Moody, and councilmen Charles Whitehurst and Ray Smith.

So, here's the best part of this debacle. The four council members who voted no have been sued in federal court. A couple of weeks ago, they came to agreement -- negotiated in secret and just with them -- that the city would pay the church more than a million dollars and give the church some land up on Airline Boulevard... and the city would get the church building (to do what with, I don't know... whatever they do with it, it's going to generate parking... morons...) The other city council members and the rest of the public learned of the agreement a day after it was agreed to.

Thankfully, the agreement had to be ratified by a "super majority" of the council; the vote earlier this week was postponed.

I think it's time for Holley, Moody, Whitehurst ,and Smith to get voted off the city council. They don't deserve to be making decisions for we the citizens anymore.

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