Insights, observations and images from Charlottesville citizen/Councilor Dave Norris
Saw this on a car in my dentist's parking lot yesterday:"If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies."Classic.
So who do we blame for wanting to send lame-duck councilors to Italy at public expense? Did you have anything to do with that? Any comment from the great councilor about this one?http://tinyurl.com/3c3quvhttp://www.cvillenews.com/2007/11/01/tuscany-junket/
Not sure what this has to do with gay babies, but since you asked (and since lots of folks are talking about it), here's my take on the subject.I am not opposed to the Sister City program, or exchanges of official delegations (and other kinds of exchanges for that matter), but it's become clear to many of us over the last year or two that the program as a whole needs more clarity and structure and focus (along with more community buy-in) if it is to succeed. Delegations like these shouldn't be planned behind the scenes -- in fact, just the opposite: if we're sending a high-profile group of Cville officials to Poggio to mark the 30th anniversary of that Sister City relationship (as they did to us this summer), we should be doing so in a very visible and public way as a sign of our enthusiasm and interest in renewing and extending our ties to that community -- ties which go way back to Jefferson's day. And to demonstrate our community's ownership of & support for these kinds of international partnerships, I believe we should aim to raise private dollars to cover most, if not all, of the costs of these trips (and to broaden the representation on these delegations, as Peter Kleeman has suggested). If there's insufficient community support for a particular Sister City relationship, then we need to question whether to continue that relationship. This should not be a top-down endeavor. In general, this is just one example of how there needs to be more transparency in City spending across-the-board. There are a number of proposals relating to transparency & accountability & effectiveness in City fiscal decision-making that Councilor Taliaferro and I will be making public this fall as the City begins the process of putting together its FY09 budget. And even though it comprises but a tiny sliver of the City's overall budget I can assure you that reforming the Sister City program will be part of that package.So, in sum, I'm glad we are sending a delegation to Poggio to mark the 30th anniversary and I wish the group well, but we clearly have some work to do to ensure that these kinds of efforts aren't so divisive and controversial in the future. -- TGC
"there needs to be more transparency in City spending across-the-board"^I knew I liked you!
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