The trade: Marshall for Lavardain — is anything different?

Sigh….  I was optimistically hoping that Alexandria was going to see a new day in politics following our recent council elections. I even congratulated Mr. Lavardain for a race well run.  However, after reading council minutes and watching that ridiculous display by Bridgett Brown in the recent council meeting, all I can say is that a race well run is a big difference from being a Councilman.  I applaud Mayor Roy for repeating himself and being very patient while being interrupted several times during his report.  It seems like we are still stuck on making race an issue during council meetings.  It seems that Goins and Lavardain were bent on making a point about African American businesses not getting a larger chunk of business from the city of Alexandria.  I don’t understand why they are so concerned with that one ethnic group.  I live in Mr. Lavardain’s district and I am caucasian.  He should be fairly representing me also.  Why not be concerned with all ethnicities and all issues.  Yet, here we are again, making race an issue.  And, not just any race, but the African American race.  I am sooooooooo sick of it!  Its a new day.  Its a new year.  It is a new CENTURY!  The cotton picking days are over.

If I was a council member, I would ask: 1) How many minorities own businesses in Alexandria; 2) Do they qualify for city business, or have a service that the city needs; 3) Do they even want to qualify for city contracts; 4) Are they doing what they need to do in order to submit a bid and qualify for a city contract.  If you are interested in getting city business, research what you need to do and do it.  I don’t feel that the city is handing out contracts to all of the non-minority business just be racist.  They are probably accepting bids to those who offer great services at low prices, or because their business might be the only one in the market for that particular job.  To make it a race thing is just pathetic.  I would really be upset if the city started picking contracts based on race or gender instead of quality of work or product to be offered.  It is not fair to pass over a bid from a business because it is minority owned, but it is equally unfair to pass over a bid because it is caucasian owned. 

This whole saga about putting Von Jennings on administrative leave is making my head hurt.  I think the real reason she was put on leave was put very nicely in the last paragraph of the Town Talk’s story today:

Jennings said her attempts to compile data on minority-owned businesses were frequently met by a lack of support and funding from the administration. And when she was questioned by council members and expressed her problems, Jennings claims, she was placed on leave for “external conversations.”

Roy denied both of these accusations. Instead, he claimed that Jennings did not report to work and did not advance the AFEAT program.

Well, duh.  If I didn’t report to work or do what I was supposed to, I would get fired to.  Its as simple as that.  It really galls me when I read this sentence:

Jennings said her attempts to compile data on minority-owned businesses were frequently met by a lack of support and funding from the administration. And when she was questioned by council members and expressed her problems, Jennings claims, she was placed on leave for “external conversations.”

It just sounds to me like she was just not doing her job and making excuses for herself.  I have see many people in the city who have been given little funding, but they sure are whipping out progress.  The HPC (Historic Preservation Commission) for example is operating on a very small budget (from what I understand) and that office has done some very good work with the little they have.  In fact, I think I will write a post about that in a minute.

I want to throw my hands up in the air.  Lets talk logic here.  Lets not make it about race, creed, color, religion, etc. etc., but let us use a little common sense and speak logically.  That is a new word for the council, LOGIC.  It appears that we are sadly lacking in that department.  It makes me wonder if Alexandria will ever emerge from the dark ages and get up to speed. Sadly, if our council and administration stay divided, this is not going to happen.  I have to further applaud the mayor for being a gentleman and trying his best to spur the city forward.  I just wish the council could get on the same page and stop beating this dead horse they call “racism within the city administration”.  It is a card that is sadly played out.  Move on!  Move the city forward.

Andrea

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