It’s been almost five months since the newest version of Danville City Council started working. I think it’s time for their first SouthsideCentral ReportCard! on how they’ve done since June 1st.
This grading period is only from June 1st to October 20th. Anything before June 1st isn’t reflected in this article’s ReportCard!
Ground Rule: Any Danville City Council member who voted for the city retirees bonus will automatically lose at least one letter grade because of the financial irresponsibility of that decision. Yep. I’m continuing to speak out against that because those people knew that this first $500,000 Job Bust repayment was going to have to be made.
All righty. I’ve put all nine council members in the Random List Generator, so let’s get started…
- John Gilstrap: Gilstrap is one of the more vocal councilmembers and hasn’t shied away from aggressively questioning speakers. He’s always on top of every issue that comes up in front of the council. Gilstrap had to remain silent on the city retirees bonus due to a conflict of interest. For this grading period, John Gilstrap gets an A.
- Gary Miller: Miller has been the strongest Duke Energy basher and has put a lot of his political capital into “making sure that they pay for what they have done”. I don’t think that’s going to happen. That being said, Miller does his homework too and stands up for his positions. Normally he’d get a solid B grade, but he voted for that stupid retiree bonus AND used that “served the city” line in his justification for it. That’s going to drop our vice-mayor down to a C grade.
- Fred Shanks: Fred will fool you. Sometimes, you’ll get the feeling that he just doesn’t give a damn about something, but then you’ll find out that he’s more on top on the topic than anybody else. He’s definitely tight with the public money and doesn’t mind calling out anything or anybody that screwed something up. He’s been right on track during this grading period and he deserves his A grade.
- James Buckner: Buckner started off strong, coming up with the idea on how to prevent skateboarders in the downtown plaza without having to enact a new ordinance. After that, he’s been quiet during council’s debates. Buckner and Lee Vogler seem to have formed a voting and policy partnership, and that’s got to stop whether it’s perception or reality. Buckner also voted for the city retirees bonus, and that was disappointing because of his small business roots. His lack of commenting during that issue also was a disappointment. I’m expecting much more out of him in the future, so he’s escaping with a C grade this time.
- Lee Vogler: It’s taken two years, but Vogler is starting to feel the heat from the spotlight that he likes to be in. I’ve given him hell about the retiree bonus issue (that he supported), and he got caught flatfooted with the still developing Confederate Flag issue. He’s good enough that he’s been able to avoid any real trouble so far, but I’m wondering how he’ll play the flag issue out. He was moving along at a B+ pace, but his irresponsible support for the bonus issue sinks him to a C+ for this ReportCard.
- Alonzo Jones: I’m having to grade the Alonzo Jones that sits in his chair during public city council business sessions. That’s a very different Alonzo Jones that walks up the gallery aisle like a rockstar who knows everybody… and is loved by everybody. If Showtime Alonzo ever took part in a city council meeting, we could sell tickets. But back to Regular Alonzo…. He’s in touch with the people but rarely strays out on his on soapbox. He’s tried to propose compromises in partnership with other members, but then he goes right ahead and votes for that retiree bonus. Sadly, that makes his A- grade drop down to a B- here.
- Buddy Rawley: Rawley doesn’t give a damn whether you like his opinion or not. If you say something stupid, Rawley is going to hammer you for it. If you want to spend any extra money, you’d better have a damned good reason to get his approval. In other words, he’s been excellent during this grading period. He gets an A.
- Larry Campbell: When Larry Campbell is quiet, he’s thinking. Larry Campbell is always quiet. Campbell isn’t afraid to step up with own opinions even before an issue starts getting newsworthy. He’s always came out in favor of the flag removal even while Sherman Saunders said “We haven’t taken a position on the issue”. I’d love to hand out another A grade, but Campbell loses one grade level to a B because of his bad decision in supporting the retiree bonus.
- Sherman Saunders: Saunders has a terrific personality as he always has, but when he gets perturbed… look out. I’ve mentioned this problem already. I never have liked his style of “Let’s all come to a consensus in the work sessions so the public sees a united council”. Hell no, I want city council to fight in the public business session so that TV viewers can see what’s happening. But anyway, Saunders is a council member too so let’s grade him on that. I’m not sure how to do that because he doesn’t participate in open business meeting discussions. I have no idea why he’s voting for or against most of the issues. Sadly, that included the retiree bonus issue where all we got was a “yes” vote. Saunders had an C+ , but that bad “leadership” on that issue plops him to a D+.
Well, at least nobody failed. Hey, Danville School Board… you’re next!