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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Last Chance For You.....and the Press. [Re: MattKelly]
      #1666108 - 11/22/11 05:28 PM (72.73.45.104)

Tonight at 7:30pm in Council Chambers will be the last opportunity you have to comment on the courts project before Council votes to move forward. Still no answers to the questions I asked at the first public hearing. Nor, as I understand it, is the press corps pushing for answers even after acknowledging that these are valid questions that have not been answered by the Council majority.

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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
"Not a word was uttered--Zero Public Comment" [Re: MattKelly]
      #1666218 - 11/24/11 12:07 PM (72.73.45.104)

The above statement was made in response to questions as to whether Council voted to approve the bond issue for the court project, and whether any of the council members who supported it make any comments or address any of the outstanding questions regarding the impact it will have on the city. So, the largest capital project in the city's history; which will require the largest tax increase in memory during a significant economic downturn, passed without comment from those who voted for it; or coverage from those who are tasked with informing the public.

I would really like to hear from those who support this project as to whether they believe the public was engage and informed by the council and the press on the issues surrounding the court project?


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Some Food for Thought [Re: MattKelly]
      #1666355 - 11/26/11 01:28 PM (72.73.45.104)

Even the Moseley/Glave reports note that there will be no operational savings in combining the courts. In fact such costs will go up. Here is what Portsmouth is facing in that regard.

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/11/courthouse-may-cost-portsmouth-extra-14m-year

Here is the link to a recent Patch story on the direct capital cost of the city courthouse project on residents

http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/courthouse-bonds-approved

And finally, here is a link to a Post story discussing possible job losses in VA with Federal cuts on the horizon. This will translate to revenue losses to the state which will be passed on to localities--

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/e...4ywN_story.html

Just some food for thought as the city rushes the court project to completion. And what are city residents getting out of this?


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Haysus
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Reged: 11/06/11
Posts: 111
Re: Some Food for Thought [Re: MattKelly]
      #1666391 - 11/27/11 07:24 AM (71.126.138.58)

Matt, does it seem to you that you are a voice crying in the wilderness? None of your fellow Fredericksburg citizens seems to give a hoot about your burning issues.

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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Its the Effort That Counts [Re: Haysus]
      #1666396 - 11/27/11 11:22 AM (72.73.45.104)

It is important to inform the public on issues that directly affect them. It is equally important to engage in the debate to ensure a full understanding of those issues. It is hoped that through this process the public will become engaged. What is important is making the effort to engage the public with no guarantee it will happen.

In the case of the courts a majority of council has chosen a different path choosing to avoid a public discussion and assuming silence from the public means assent. At this level of government this is a disservice to the public and bad politics.

I enjoy debating issues and see it as a test of my ideas, provides different perspectives, and brings about better solutions. So I shall continue my efforts in this, and other media, to engage the public knowing it may not always happen.


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Little Fanfare --The Arcadis Report is Released [Re: MattKelly]
      #1669238 - 12/21/11 05:15 PM (72.73.45.104)

From Patch-- the discussion begins on whether the report should have been withheld from the public:

http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/consultant-had-big-role-in-court-decision


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Let The Discussion Begin [Re: MattKelly]
      #1678644 - 04/02/12 08:27 AM (72.73.42.188)

Posted the following on both Facebook and Patch. Like to broaden this discussion as much as possible........

To date the courts and city spending seem to be the issues resonating with city residents. My thoughts on the courts are as follows—The bonds have been sold so we are committed to a courts project.

The reality is the only court that has critical needs is the Circuit Court. Planning for court construction by the contract is not to start till next year so we have time and we are not committed to ...the current design or location for that matter. I would propose we downsize the project to fit the downtown by reducing the number of court rooms and review space needs looking at tech advancements, procedural changes, etc.

We should also look at the possibility of moving the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office there which has been left out of the courts discussion entirely. Move the Circuit and General District Court there. Both leave the JDR court in the Big Ugly and open discussions with our neighboring jurisdictions about a regional JDR court; or renovate the Renwick courthouse and move it there. This would free up both the Big Ugly and General District site for redevelopment to help generate the revenue to pay for this project.

Future court expansion should be a regional discussion. A locality with a future population of 30,000+ thousand should not be expected to support a facility serving 600,000+ thousand. And the city has other community priorities it needs to address and the courts project, as currently planned, is negatively impacting those plans.

Look forward to getting some feedback on this. Let the COMMUNITY discussion begin!


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Do You Have Enough Info to Discuss? [Re: MattKelly]
      #1679177 - 04/09/12 03:42 PM (72.73.42.188)

Contrary to what was said in a recent FLS story I've run into very few people who take a definitive position on the courts. Most have questions or concerns about the needs, cost, and size/location of the planned facility. Do you feel that enough information has been provided to allow you to make an informed decision on the courts issue?
The Courts--Do you have enough info to form an opinion?
You may choose only one
Yes
No


Votes accepted from (04/09/12 03:41 PM) to (No end specified)
You must vote before you can view the results of this poll



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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Latest on Courthouse [Re: MattKelly]
      #1681652 - 05/13/12 11:49 AM (71.171.71.93)

http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/councilman-elect-kelly-begins-courthouse-review

Edited by MattKelly (05/13/12 11:51 AM)


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Today's ARB Story and More....... [Re: MattKelly]
      #1681980 - 05/16/12 10:31 AM (71.171.71.93)

Today's FLS story on the ARB's discussions about the court project was not put on line for comment. So I posting here to give you all the opportunity to comment. In addition to the FLS story here is the link to the PATCH story on the same meeting--

http://fredericksburg.patch.com/articles/fredericksburg-arb-calls-for-authentic-courthouse

This project is going to be reviewed by the new council but how much it may change is still up in the air.


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
Another Perspective on the Courts.... [Re: MattKelly]
      #1683003 - 05/28/12 04:37 PM (72.73.41.158)

A interesting perspective on the courts issue. Would be interested in what you think of it:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uego21aBqH0


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
The Courts --The Bigger Picture [Re: MattKelly]
      #1684563 - 06/18/12 03:17 PM (72.73.45.19)

A bit legnthy but gets the points across. More detail on the courts issues and the rationale for potential changes:

http://www.questeverything.blogspot.com/2012/06/courts-revisited.html


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MattKelly
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Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
The Fat Lady Sings..... [Re: MattKelly]
      #1684648 - 06/19/12 07:38 PM (72.73.45.19)

At tonight's council work session all council members present (Fred Howe was not in attendance and I didn't have a vote) approved the scale and massing of the court complex with minor exterior changes. The new exterior design is going to be sent to the ARB for comment; but First Choice has been given the green light to proceed.

Options were presented to not complete the move of the JDR court to the General District Court Building, not finish one of the court rooms in the new building, and reducing space for storage. My guess is the savings will be put toward renovating the Renwick Court Building. I understand these decisions will be made by the end of this month.

Thus endeth this thread.


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MattKelly
FUG Frequent Flyer


Reged: 11/23/06
Posts: 799
Loc: Fredericksburg
A Parting Thought...... [Re: MattKelly]
      #1684753 - 06/20/12 09:24 PM (72.73.45.19)


What should have happened last night was to schedule another work session two weeks out to be held in council chambers and televised. That would give council members an opportunity to secure additional information such as: Documentation on how First Choice arrived at the savings/cost numbers presented and ask follow-up questions. Look at other option from council such as space reconfiguration, fewer courts, etc. Look at the long term-parking issues and impacts on downtown. And look at options for the Renwick Courthouse. Can't say it would have changed the decision but at least the public would have a better explaination of where their money is going and why. I cannot understand how council could have “voted” without a real understanding on how the options were arrived at and with no input in putting them together.


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