Council Notebook

Council Notebook

<b>Exemplary Stewardesses</b>

How wonderful are the folks at Hunting Towers, the apartment tower south of Old Town? According to a resolution concerning retention of affordable housing there, they’re just swell. A draft of the resolution proposed by former Hunting Towers resident Councilman <b>Rob Krupicka</b> referred to residents there as "a diverse, hard-working population that has made possible our success and has been the cornerstone of our community character." But wait, there’s more.

"Hunting Towers has been and is home to exemplary Virginians from a variety of backgrounds, including a feminist author and politician, soldiers, sailors, veterans, government employees, an astronaut, a U-2 spy plane pilot, airline pilots, stewardesses and many other important residents of Virginia," the original language of the resolution stated.

"Do we really need that clause?" asked Councilman <b>Paul Smedberg</b>. "It seems a little much for me, but if there’s a desire to keep it we should at least change the word ‘stewardesses’ to ‘flight attendant.’ I don’t think the word ‘stewardess’ has been used for at least a dozen years now."

"Good point," responded Krupicka.

Smedberg’s linguistic objection was duly noted, and an updated version of the resolution ditched the politically incorrect "stewardess" in favor of the gender-neutral "flight attendant" — although it kept the part about "exemplary Virginians." City Council unanimously approved the updated resolution earlier this month.


<b>Dysfunction Junction</b>

The intersection of Union Street and King Street is a nightmare for pedestrians, motorcyclists, motorists and bicyclists — all of whom jockey for position in a bewildering landscape of confusion. During peak hours, the intersection is at the height of disorder. So during last week’s public hearing at City Hall Mayor <b>Bill Euille</b> decided to take action.

"We should have a police officer there to help slow down traffic and direct cars," said Euille. "But I was told by a citizen that police procedures and policies will not allow them to do what I’m suggesting, so we need to look into that."

"Mr. Mayor," responded City Manger <b>Jim Hartmann</b>. "I’ll discuss that with the chief."


<b>A Past Vice Mayor</b>

Former Vice Mayor <b>Andrew Macdonald</b>’s abrupt exit from the public stage last week brought a little romantic nostalgia for Councilwoman <b>Del Pepper</b>. During a recent discussion of how the special election to replace Macdonald will unfold, Pepper recalled how <b>Marlee Inman</b> — the city’s first female vice mayor from 1985 to 1986 — announced her sudden departure.

"It was at a legislative meeting not unlike this when she made an announcement at the beginning of the meeting, and nobody had a clue what she was going to say but she wanted to speak," said Pepper. "It was that she had been made an offer that she couldn’t refuse — and, of course, it was an offer of marriage, and she was going to be moving out of town."

The big difference, which Pepper neglected to mention, was that Inman explained her reasoning in person. Macdonald issued a vague press release that gave no explanation for his departure other than "personal reasons," which could be just about anything. Macdonald later refused to elaborate on his decision and avoided making the announcement himself during a City Council meeting.


<b>A Future Vice Mayor</b>

Speaking of vice mayors, the position is typically a popularity contest. The seat is usually given to the City Council candidate with the most votes, although council members could technically choose any member of the council they wish.

Macdonald earned the position seizing 9,420 votes in last year’s citywide election. Now that he has departed the scene, tradition would dictate that the election’s second-most-popular candidate would assume the role. In this case, that’s former Vice Mayor Pepper, who garnered 9,281 votes last year. A special election for vice mayor has been docketed for May 22, and although Pepper is the odds-on favorite to win she declined to acknowledge whether or not she’s been lobbying her colleagues for their vote.

"It’s not over until it’s over," said Pepper. "We’ll wait and see what happens on Tuesday."