What's missing?

The new budget - for a cash-strapped city, is painful at best. Downright dangerous at worst.

We know about the FD getting cut by 6 positions, and the shuffle of equipment. That's bad.

What has not been spoken of are the cuts to the PD.

Suddenly I am thinking that we are about 2 years too late on the vote.

The Roanoke City Police Department, the only department where on any given day - around 9:30 in the morning, there might very well be 2 officers on patrol for the entire city while the rest sit around court, is facing a $1.2+ Million Dollar cut.

Let's say you wake up one morning and find your garden hose missing in action. Now you have no idea who took it, and it's not all that urgent, but you do feel the need to report it - as some of your neighbors have had other garden implements vanish recently. You call down to the HQ, and are put on the line with a Citizen Service operator. They take the report - file it, and ship it down to the correct officer for follow up as time warrants.

At least something gets done, and the report stays active until the officer, as part of his or her regular duties, closes it out.

That's before July 1. As of July 1 - those operators have been given notice that they will most likely be let go, pending budget.

So - no more Citizen Service operators, no more people to take your report and get it checked out in a fairly timely way. No more reports getting to officers, who as part of their normal duties, would investigate and close out the report.

Nope. Now they will be taking patrol officers off the street to staff the phone lines.

Let's take my home turf - Southeast, as an example.

Many years back, when Madame Burcham was just cutting her teeth in this city, the state and federal prosecutors came to the city to complain that the police were not bringing them enough cases in comparison to the reported crimes. In a quick scramble, the minimum staffing levels for the city were.. uh.. re-calibrated for the "population" of the city. This cut back most sections by at least 2 officers a 24-hour period.

For PD purposes - Southeast runs from the tracks south, 581/220 east, and south to the gravel pits. Yes - those gravel pits. On 220 south of WalMart.

That's Southeast, Garden City, SoRo, the Carilion area, Mill Mountain, Franklin Rd., - well, down to the Blue Ridge - you get the idea.

How many officers per shift do you think are on duty?

5? 7?

For an area that big?

How about 3.

3 per shift.

And now they are going to pull one to work the phones? Not to mention all the times they are stuck in court from 8:30am til' 12p or so...

Who will be watching the streets?

So now, if you think of it this way - you'll be looking at reduced fire service AND reduced police service.

The Harris legacy - a city in flames. A city that could be rolling in the cash, but does not have the common sense enough to turn a nickel into a dime.

It's going to be a wild and wooly two years folks.


Interesting so far

Results are rolling in folks - come discuss them in the Meebo chatbox to the right there.

Mayors link

Council link

Right now, a very VERY strong showing for Bowers, with the exception of South Roanoke - which came out for Harris.

As far as the Council races - so far the only one who looks like a lock is Lea.

Come on, discuss.


Times has called it for Bowers, and prematurely for the Dem slate.

Tinker... whats the delay?


So the election is over, and we welcome Mayor-Elect Bowers. We question the count for the Rosen-Wishneff result, but thats only because it's late - and math is not my friend. Although with a 102 vote difference pre-tinker, and a 104-202 Tinker result - it's hard to figure for some reason. Must be the tiredness.

Oh, and Nash will step down from Blue Ridge - that's my prediction. If he steps down from the council, that throws everything into chaos.

Harris, sorry to hear you are finished with politics. That's a statement that came too late, Emperor Nelson.

See you all tomorrow.


Today's the day. The day that will set the course of Roanoke for the next 10 years (see my previous posts as to why I say that).

I only ask this of you: Think before you pull that lever.

I wonder if Harris has learned anything from his reading on the history of politics in Chicago, if he is adopting a "Vote early, vote often" message today.

For my money - Bowers and Garner. I'm going to have to do some soul searching to figure out the 3rd and 4th - but Bowers and Garner for sure.

I'm no great fan of Bowers, but I think he is at least more responsive Harris could be.

As for Valerie - I've had chance over the past year to really pick her brain, and I am very impressed with what I have seen. She would be a great asset to the City Council.

And please, remember the Fire Fighters in all this - our saviors when we call.

Oh, and remember Mrs. Burcham too... as I am sure she is looking forward to another easy couple of years.

Get out and vote, there's nothing more important right now.