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ReportCard! – Danville City Council (10/18/14)

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!

8 comments to ReportCard! – Danville City Council (10/18/14)

  • idkaidc

    You are so severely harsh on your grading!

    • It’s well deserved after that retiree bonus fiasco.

      • idkaidc

        You did not understand my sarcasm.

        At best, a C would be the highest grade. On its best day, this council is average.
        It has no vision, it is divisive, and had no leadership.

        Grants and donations are driving the danville economy. Ņo new money is being generated in danville. Less citizens are funding a growing budget. For years the utility, electric, had been subsiding the city budget. The electric department has been neglected and now there are
        Real problems.
        The city owes about $10,000,000 it doesn’t have. Danville is crumbling and no way out except to sell the electric department just like the hospital was sold.
        What a mistake!

  • trevor

    Alonzo jones is the Walmart smiley face that makes u wanna throw up. sickening. more concerned with his fake image. would throw u under the bus if he could . then again he so wishy washy he may not know how to throw u under the bus. he always talking helping young people. it’s Always BLACK young people. never have seen anything of him helping non black young people. whites and latino. the “P” word?? he is there for a show. and for the blacks only. lee vogler concerned with his image and pleasing the upper crust.

    right now all the city council facing heat from the money they gotta pay back. they need NOT admonish the school system for any more mishandling of their funds cause pot calling the kettle black. what goes around comes around. the cross examination they do the school system when they present/defend their budget is torement.

  • safesession

    What seems to be completely left out of this grading system is the botched economic development effort, although one like James Buckner obviously was not a part of this mess. Each of your grades should be dropped by the additional 2 letters for an accurate reflection of the job this council is not doing for the City of Danville.

  • straight_shooter

    Trevor makes some excellent points. I don’t particularly have a problem with Jones mission to help African American youth. It must be said that this is a problem. These young people are just as much a part of the future of Danville as anything or anyone else.It would be great if he actually did it. He puts you in the mind of Alderman Davis from Good Times. He is a good guy but city councilman in Danville with hot button issues like Confederate Flags, Utility departments in the tank,child poverty and a struggling school system, now that is a stretch. The type of position he has requires a more effective steward. Mr.Vogler in theroy was a wonderful idea, a idea that has expired. He hasn’t played a smart hand, when Southside speaks of race pimps lets give Lee his just due. There are plenty of his type for the “upper crust” to attach itself to. He is not unique in that manner. His journey through the African American community for his cross marketing purposes is over. My people(as it relates to skin color, we all bleed the same color blood) must do better about who we accept. The other council members, whether I agree with them or not are focused on the task at hand. I appreciate that. We just can’t continue to let 2 perfectly good seats be held hostage by what is most obviously the wrong individuals.

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