Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 6:34 by chairperson Leslie Rinaldi. The committee had a quorum.
Committee Treasurer Catherine Anson was not present to give the treasurer’s report. The minutes for January’s meeting were not presented. No business was discussed in January due to the pot luck celebration, however the minutes from December were approved by vote in January.
Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office Outreach
Joan Turner, who is the outreach coordinator for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office, addressed the committee, and spoke about the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office’s outreach program. The Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office has made over a hundred speaking engagements this year and has been hosting an annual citizens academy to teach the public about the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. Ms. Turner introduced Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson, and passed out fliers for the Citizen’s Academy while Mr. Ferguson spoke.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Phil Ferguson addressed the committee and discussed his proactive approach to fighting crime. He said that although his job description is to hold people accountable to crimes committed, his primary goal is to educate the public and prevent crimes from being committed. Mr. Ferguson said his office has run programs in schools to discuss gang activity, made presentations to organizations, and runs the the Citizen’s Academy. School programs include bringing teenagers into the courtroom to learn how He said the Citizen’s Academy will start on Thursday, February 28th and run every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6:00 to 7:30.
Leslie Rinaldi discussed the proposal to move the Issues Committee from under the Outreach Committee. Benjamin Goldberg asked if there were any objections to such a move. There were no objections.
Community Heroes Luncheon
Michele Faulk announced that the upcoming Community Heroes Luncheon will be the 11th. Ms. Faulk said we need nominees, and hoping for nominees who are volunteers rather than people nominated for doing their job. Tickets are $35.
Verjena Jones announced the following members to be voted in: Robert Barclay, George and Barbara Young, and Dorothy Harris. Ms. Jones presented the members to be voted in together. The motion passed.
Leslie Rinaldi discussed the scandal involving the scandal involving Governor Northam. She said the DPVA is not pushing local committees to take any position or action for now.
Virginia Ratification of ERA
Leslie Rinaldi also discussed Virginia’s potential ratification of the ERA. The resolution passed in the Virginia Senate but did not get enough votes in the House Subcommittee to be brought up for a vote on the House Floor. Delegates can still push for a vote but it is unlikely that a bill which did not pass in subcommittee would be brought forward. Ms. Rinaldi also said that there will be a forum on the ERA Ratification held at Zion Community Church.
Redistricting and Precinct & Boroughs Committee
D.J. McGuire presented the Borough and Precinct report via Telephone. He said that Suffolk his part of four State Senate Districts and four House of Delegate Districts, but the House of Delegates District map is likely to change. Suffolk’s portion of the 64th District is likely to remain as is, but all in Suffolk who are not part of the 64th HOD District will likely be moved to the 76th District. Mr. McGuire said he had volunteers from the committee to represent the Suffolk’s State Senate and House districts. For the Senate, he said Dan Brooks would represent the 3rd, Leslie Rinaldi will represent the 1st, Mr. McGuire will represent the 18th and hopes that Catherine Anson will be able to represent the 14th. For the House of Delegates, pending the change, Ms. Rinaldi will be chair of the 76th, Mr. Brooks will serve on the 76th, and Mr. McGuire hopes for Ms. Anson to represent the 64th.
Mr. McGuire also said that Suffolk will be the leading committee for the 76th District, which means our committee decides on the nomination process for the Democratic candidate to run for that district.
Support for Expansion of Public Library
Benjamin Goldberg spoke about the City of Suffolk’s proposal to replace Morgan Memorial Library. He said the library performs a multitude of functions including teen programs. He said the library helps people access computers and internet so they can fill out such things as taxes and job applications, and complete schoolwork. He said the expansion is necessary because so much goes on that there is some interference. Mr. Goldberg said noise from teen and family programs often spills out into areas designated for study, and that a single meeting room serves as the public meeting room, the staff meeting room, and the center for several programs. He said that the expansion will be discussed at the upcoming city council meeting and hoped for a large representation of supporters for the expansion.
The meeting was adjourned at 7:29.