Friday, April 29, 2016

Review of the Mayor and Council's ViewPoint neighborhood Town Hall

I went to the last night's "Conversations" Town Hall featuring the Mayor and City Council. It was held in the ViewPoint neighborhood at Audubon Elementary. 

I arrived at 6PM for the "social" and had plenty of opportunities to visit with the council and mayor.   (I also found a long lost friend.)  I chatted with CM Hank Myers briefly and had a good talk with CM Angela Birney. She's thinking about holding a regular "Coffee Hour" in the city, just like CM Stilin and Myers do!

Erika Vandenbande, a Deputy City Administrator was there -- one of the few staff present.  During the social, she toured me around poster-boards showing what was going on in the city.  I told her how useful I've found the address for answering questions.

I sat next to Arne Tomac, a past Councilmember from years ago.  He was so excited about the Town Hall that he distributed flyers all over his neighborhood.  He said years ago, when he was in office there was no RCTV coverage so they relied on Town Forums.  Oh, has the news cycle changed!

The Mayor did a fantastic job running the meeting!  It was rewarding to see his personality, sense of humor and interest in our neighborhoods.  Same with the Council.  The Mayor did a great job engaging the residents with the Council.  Being so up close and personal with our elected was a treasure.

It looked like about 40-50 residents attended.  Some of the topics covered:  Lots of discussion on traffic, bus lines and mass transit.  How the city works with the school district and Microsoft. The Downtown Park, Microsoft's funding of city transportation projects. Improving Idlewood parking and the failed parks levy. Water seepage into homes from broken city water pipes. A camera near the schools.  The homeless problem.  The pervasiveness of heroin use....and on.

After the Q&A, council and neighbors spontaneously broke up into small groups.  To me, this signaled a very successful meeting.  I've been wanting these neighborhood meetings for years.  In fact, I campaigned for Steve Fields just on this one issue.  Mayor Marchione listens very well and proved last night he really cares about our neighborhoods. I hope to shake his hand during the May 23rd Town Hall.

Bob Yoder

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