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UPDATED: Danville City Council – LIVE! (6/3/2014)

SouthsideCentral was at Danville City Hall for tonight’s City Council meeting and we covered it LIVE!

Editor’s Note: We’ve updated this article to tell about the feathers flying during the around the horn session. Buddy Rawley called Mayor Sherman Saunders out for blowing past him on the floor discussion on the city retiree’s issue.

6:15 PM – Tonight, City Council hopefully comes to an agreement on bonuses for city retirees, and we’ll talk about the inevitable electric rate increase.

7:00 PM – We’re underway. Gary Miller is absent tonight. We start with a proclamation for “National Ride to Work Day”. Virginia Organizing is here to start the “Ban the Box” initiative about not asking about criminal convictions of City job applications.

7:15 PM – More speakers about the “Ban the Box” campaign. It’s not a bad idea and it has support from Lee Vogler (and probably other councilmembers).

7:20 PM – I spoke to Council about a disclosure issue. Next, the owner of C&D Family Pawn speaks asking that rent-to-own companies be made to mark their rental property, as it comes to pawn shops. The owner is losing $200 to $1000 per month on losses because the police pick up the merchandise and return it, leaving the pawn shop out of money.

7:25 PM – City resident talking about problems with a group home in their neighborhood. Multiple police calls and arrests. This is on Randolph St. With Joshua Family Home Services.

7:30 PM – On to regular business, and retiree raises and/or bonuses. Fred Shanks moves to have this bonus plan only affect current employees and retirees, not to any new employees hired after July 1st. Buddy Rawley renews his objections to any action on this.

7:40 PM – Buddy Rawley : “We’re voting with our hearts and not with our minds.” We heart Lee Vogler.

7:45 PM – The motion passes after Sherman Saunders blows past Buddy Rawley. He’s the only one to vote no and is not happy. We move to the first reading and public hearing on the electric rate increase. Alonzo Jones appears to be quite bored with Joe King’s analysis recap.

7:50 PM – I speak about the net rate decrease to commercial customers. President of US Green Energy wants peak/off-peak pricing. His company’s electric bill is $400?!?! US Green Energy is one of our Job Bust honorees. My mind is boggling. This company is supposed to be making solar panels. Maybe they should use solar energy. Oh wait, they haven’t made a damn thing.

8:00 PM – Adam Tomer explains it all by saying something like “We’re 9 million in the hole and we gotta pay it back”. Pretty right on target.

8:05 PM – It looks like all opposition to the electric rate increase has evaporated due to no other alternatives.

8:10 PM – All the big stuff is done, with apologies to Fred Shanks and his stormwater concerns. Around the horn time. We’ll wrap this article up when I get home.

8:15 PM – Hoo Boy. Remember when I said that Mayor Sherman Saunders blew past Buddy Rawley during the floor discussion on the retiree motion? Well, Buddy Rawley just called Sherman Saunders out directly for doing this. Hell yes! Rawley said “When my hand is up, I expect to be heard”. Saunders got a little perturbed for being called out like that and he told Rawley that his decision was correct because he was the chairman of the meeting. Rawley finished up his comment time by re-making his point and he’s straight on target for that. It got better when Fred Shanks backed Buddy Rawley’s position.

Sherman Saunders has a very bad habit of trying to limit floor debate and comments and it’s about time that he got called out on that. This is going be developing, I’m sure

6 comments to UPDATED: Danville City Council – LIVE! (6/3/2014)

  • Lee Smallwood

    What’s this about a disclosure issue?

    The problem with what C&D wants is that I have seen in times past rental companies clearly marking things like notebook computers (does anybody rent to own these any more in the era of the tablet?) with “PROPERTY OF XXXXXXX RENTALS DO NOT PAWN” and yet the pawn shop has accepted the property. I think frankly the better solution to this issue would be to require the rental companies to promptly register and de-register serial numbers on a state provided registry when goods are rented and paid off and to make the pawn shops check the registry before accepting goods.

    The law should also require that the pawn shop take into custody anything that appears on that registry, to contact the police promptly, and finally should protect from prosecution any renter of property who presents property he or she has properly rented and is current on payments for from prosecution. While I know very well it is wrong to rent something and then pawn it, some people think of pawning as a secured loan and haven’t thought through the consequences. I agree if somebody has stolen an item rented to own or has tried to pawn an item they long ago stopped paying for there is reason to potentially prosecute them. It seems to me that while this would take a little effort, it would be worth it for everybody.

    • The economic development director was hired after a “meeting with two dozen people involved in economic development”. I want to know who and what input they had.

    • The problem is that state registry would have to be created. The Dillon rule probably says that City Council can’t order the rental companies to mark their merchandise.

      • Lee Smallwood

        That’s something that can easily enough happen, though. Pay for it with a tiny tax on starting a rent to own contract and on a pawn transaction. I imagine the tax would be TINY.

  • Dustin Pierce

    Mr. Smallwood, I am very glad to see that you have an opinion on fixing my problem. While I believe that your registry would work I think it is simply overkill. I will agree in years past you may have seen items in pawnshops where they were accurately marked and still pawned. This like the popularity of notebook pc’s is a thing of the past. During the last 5 years, we have worked very closely with the Danville PD and the Detective they have assigned to work pawn shops. If they were to mark their property now things would be a lot different. Pawnbrokers who continued to pawn marked rented property would promptly lose their licenses I am 100% sure. I have fought many years against what people perceive is the reputation of a pawn shop. I only want to run my business and be treated fairly. I personally however am tired of losing my money each and every month when I have no defense. If this property was marked not only my life would be better but the lives of the police who instead of working on real crimes are stuck repossessing items for rental stores.

    • Lee Smallwood

      Mr. Pierce, I certainly think you’re doing the right thing to get your issue out there. I’m just trying to think through a solution that puts everybody in a good place. A problem with marking the items is that you’re unlikely to accept them even if they’re paid off. Marking also diminishes the value of the items if it is done in a permanent manner. It seems like you are looking for something like an ordinance, not just for perhaps your colleagues in the pawn business to team up with the police and try to get the RTOs to do this voluntarily. I’m just the type who likes to think of ways to solve problems, and I acknowledge that this is a problem.

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