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Council Notebook

Councilman Hero

It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s Councilman Frank Fannon.

No, he’s not Superman. But Mayor Bill Euille is praising Fannon for quick thinking and fast action in coming to the assistance of a citizen in need. If council members were eligible for Valor Awards, Euille would have presented one to Fannon Tuesday night.

“We have a hero among us,” said Euille at the end of Tuesday night’s City Council meeting.

It all started around 8 a.m. one recent weekday morning. Fannon was buying a cup of coffee at Misha’s when he noticed something odd. One of the customers walked out of the store and seemed to vanish in thin air. Apparently, he tripped on a manhole and banged his head on the ground.

“I was looking out the window,” said Fannon. “And then all of a sudden he disappeared.”

The councilman darted out to the sidewalk along South Patrick Street, where he found hairdresser Stuart Stancil bleeding profusely from the head. He grabbed a thicket of napkins from the coffee roaster and applied them to his forehead until the medics arrived. When it was all said and done, Fannon had blood all over his suit.

“He had blood all over him,” said Euille. “Someone joked that it looked like he had a bad session of council.”

Stancil missed his morning appointment with former state Sen. Patsy Ticer (D-30), but he was back at work later that afternoon.

Justice for Trayvon

City Council members are considering a resolution supporting the family of Trayvon Martin and denouncing racial profiling, a reaction to the high-profile Florida case involving an armed neighborhood watch volunteer who shot and killed an African-American teenager. The resolution was on the docket this week, but council members deferred action out of concern that some of the language might go too far.

The fourth “whereas” clause, for example, denounces the investigation of the Sanford Police Department as “perfunctory at best.” And the fifth “whereas” clause blasts the Sanford police for “blindly” adopting “the assailant’s version of events.” Members of the Human Rights Commission, which drafted the resolution, wanted to voice their concern with the Sunshine State’s Stand Your Ground law.

“We are not here to make a judgment on that,” said Vice Mayor Kerry Donley. “We would like to see statements of facts rather than conclusions that are expressions of judgment.”

“It’s important to express the outrage the commission felt,” said Office of Human Rights Director Jean Niebauer. “The principles of racial profiling and vigilantism, I think, are paramount.”

Niebauer explained that commissioners were most concerned with the response of the Sanford Police Department, especially considering the role of the Stand Your Ground Law that allows gun owners to shoot to kill in certain circumstances. Because that’s a national debate that could have repercussions in Virginia, members of the Human Rights Commission felt it was important for the Alexandria City Council to formally weigh in.

“There are ways that we can rework the language so that it is more reflective of fact versus opinion,” said former Councilman Ludwig Gaines, who is now vice chairman of the Human Rights Commission. “It can be reworked, and will be reworked.”

The Krupicka Memos

The culmination of the budget season this year represents the last cycle where Councilman Rob Krupicka will be able to ask city officials for budget memoranda. The three-term councilman was notorious for requesting more budget memos than others, although former Councilman Justin Wilson gave him a run for his money.

“Is it too early to start asking for budget memos for next year’s budget?” joked the outgoing councilman.

Yes, a number of his colleagues nodded in response.