Post #490: Other happenings at last night’s Town Council meeting

Posted on December 10, 2019

In no particular order, these are the other items I noted from last night, other than the ones about which I have posted separately.

It was not a good night for Councilman Majdi.

In addition to being the only person not to get on board with the creation of a Zoning Czar (Post #487),  I note the following:

Councilman Majdi filed his financial disclosure form waaay after the deadline and took a raft of crap over it.

The audit of the Town’s books revealed that one public official had not filed the legally required financial disclosure (conflict-of-interest) form, and that individual then filed the form very much past the deadline.  That was Councilmember Majdi.  And Councilmembers Noble and Colbert worked him over for it.  Over a six-minute span, under two different interrogations, I counted Councilman saying “my mistake”, “my error” or “I apologize” at least ten separate times.  As it went on … and on … it got a little awkward to listen to.  In fact, it went on even after the Town Lawyer said there was no substantive violation of the law.  It went on even after Majdi said he’d now hired a CPA and given him power of attorney, to ensure that it was filed correctly going forward.  It went on to the point of awkwardness.

In hindsight, in light of Post #487, the many mentions of “transparency” rang a little hollow with me.  But that’s my slant, I guess.

Councilman Majdi’s attempt to keep rental electric scooters off the Maple Avenue sidewalk was defeated.  

The rental electric scooter discussion starts about 1:44:30 into my recording of the meeting, available at this Google Drive link as an MP3 file.  Otherwise, the scooter proposal passed with just two modifications — setting the speed limit on Maple and Nutley to 8 MPH, and setting an 8 MPH speed limit around schools, parks, and rec centers (per Councilman Noble).  So the upshot is that if a rental company wants to offer them, we’ll have rental electric scooters in Vienna next year.  They can ride on the sidewalks or roads, preferable roads.  Speed limit is 20 MPH except as noted above.

Councilman Majdi’s attempt to get some systematic policy in place toward Town right-of-way was widely derided, then tabled.

For a Town Council that always seemed to make nice-nice a point of honor, they sure didn’t seem to have any trouble being less than delicate here.  I think Councilman Noble literally used the phrase “a waste of time”.  But in the end, the decision was made to table this until they could see what the Town Manager could come up with first.  You can hear that section starting around 2:49:00 into into my recording of the meeting, available at this Google Drive link as an MP3 file.

Other items that I happened to note.

The (up to) $35M 2020 bond issue was approved, but see my after-the-fact calculation in Post #488.  I’m pretty sure that, based on the Town’s assumptions, they can’t borrow the full $35M and maintain adequate reserves in the capital fund.

The vote on the Town’s proposed contract to Rinker Design, to figure out the logistics and cost of burying the power lines on Maple, was deferred.   Councilman Noble wanted Town Staff to get information on whether or not the chosen consultant had enough talent available in non-engineering areas (such as legal issues and economic issues).

The “consent agenda” worked flawlessly, and Town Council disposed of half-a-dozen minor items in less than a minute.

The purchase of the Robinson’s former home was approved, with the intention to turn that into a park, at 124 Courthouse.

I left early, and I didn’t get to hear the outcome of the last two items.