• City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
  • City of Cambridge Maryland
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City Council Minutes

March 27, 2006

The City Council met in regular session on Monday, March 27, 2006 Council Chambers. A quorum being present, Mayor Cleveland L. Rippons called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. Those Commissioners in attendance were Commissioners Knox, Sydnor, Cephas, Brooks, and Travers.

Ed Kinnamon led in the Lord's Prayer. Commissioner Travers led in the Pledge of Allegiance. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the minutes of the March 13, 2006 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Cephas said when they talked about Blackwater Development, each Councilperson made comments and there was discussion. He would like the minutes to show the entire content of those discussions. The motion was passed unanimously.

PUBLIC COMMENTS

Request by Atlantic Maritime School to Use Town Dock for an 80-ft Tug Boat at Long Wharf for 3 Years for the Purpose of Maritime Classes-Mike Thielke and Guy Beckley spoke representing the Atlantic Maritime School. They are requesting docking space in Cambridge for workforce training for entry level jobs in the commercial maritime industry. They have begun a relationship with Chesapeake College to do the hands-on portion. The students will work on an 80-foot tug as well as a barge. When they finish the one-month course, they will be ready for entry level employment in the area of $36,000 a year. The industry is having trouble recruiting people. Commissioner Sydnor asked if they came to any conclusion as to what to do with the barge. Mike Thielke said he believes the ball is in the City's court as far as indicating to them where they would allow it to be placed. The barge is a necessary part of the training. They have to be able to hook the barge to the tug boat safely and make it a component. David Pritchett asked where in the river or bay they anticipate their maneuvers taking place. Mike Thielke said it would probably be out towards the mouth of the river-more towards the bay. David Pritchett said in Cambridge they are trying to maintain a very esthetic waterfront. It might be more appropriate that they look at an area closer to the mouth of the river. Mayor Rippons suggested forming a committee to look into this matter. Rob Collison said he is concerned that they are starting to over-utilize the Long Wharf area. With the expansion to the marina, they can meet the parking requirements if they stripe the parking lot. His concern is the public access to the park. The barge is a major issue. Boat traffic will be increasing significantly with all the waterfront development. His recommendation is to develop a committee to come up with a strategic plan so they can guarantee access to the general public. Another possible location they could try to pursue is at the end of Cemetery Avenue or the former utilities site near Cherry Street. Mayor Rippons asked about a timeframe. Mike Thielke said they would like to get their program running May 1st which would require them to get things moving rather quickly. He said if there was someplace they could temporarily get started with the objective of finding something more appropriate on a permanent basis. Rob Collison said the immediate concern would be the location for the barge. Guy Beckley said the students would walk from the college to the dock so parking would not be an issue. The barge is a significant piece of equipment. It is 120-ft long by 40‑ft wide. The consideration for where it goes is as important as the tug boat. The Coast Guard will have everything to say about how close to the channel it can be, where the mooring can be, etc. Mayor Rippons said he received a call from the President of the Dorchester County Watermen's Association who said they would serve on the committee.

Jane Devlin, West End Citizens Association, said the school currently operates in the Kent Island area with offices in Chestertown. She suggested looking for docking space in the Kent Island waterways and areas still functioning with commercial marina activity. Rock Hall was a site previously in negotiation. The request clearly states the City authorities would decide placement along the City's waterfront but it shows the tug boat docked next to the Nathan. It is a large steel commercial vessel with limited moveability. The tug will be backing out into Cambridge Creek which will be used more and more by small pleasure craft as the condominiums become constructed and occupied. Safety is a paramount concern. The only commercial mooring of this magnitude is the Sailwinds pier. They feel the Coast Guard needs to review it prior to any approvals given. The Nathan of Dorchester has been a beacon of Cambridge's maritime history at Long Wharf for over 10 years. This tug would dwarf our ambassador ship. The skipjack is more representative of our heritage than a tug boat. This is obviously a start-up course since the proposal states that the program is not yet Coast Guard approved. It is clear that staffing will not come from Cambridge. Students may come from Cambridge. Since the jobs that the students are training for are not here, they will leave the area to work. She asked if the presence of the barge moored in the river in an unknown location negatively impacts cruise arrivals and docking.

Dave Singelstad said he is very much for this kind of project. These kinds of entry levels jobs are probably the highest paying jobs that young men and women can get. He doesn't know what the merits of the Long Wharf location may be. He asked if they could think about the State pier as an opportunity. If it needs maintenance, he believes they could get money from maritime companies and Homeland Security money, etc. to make it useful. It is a commercial pier. He said he is referring to the Sailwinds pier which appears to be under-utilized. Mayor Rippons said there are structural problems at Sailwinds. Dave Singelstad said there are some structural problems with the tug boat at Long Wharf too. He thinks there are more problems at Long Wharf than at Sailwinds. He believes the Sailwinds pier can be repaired so they could put the barge and tug there. This type of training could give great employment to hundreds of young people. Mayor Rippons said it is his understanding that it would cost in excess of $1 million to repair the pier at Sailwinds. David Pritchett said it is collapsing around the perimeter. Dave Singelstad said $1 million is not a lot of money for a program that is going to provide a lot of employment and training. Commissioner Brooks asked how much it would cost an individual for the full training course. Mike Thielke said tuition will be $2,000. It will cost approximately $700 for housing to stay in one of the area hotels for the month. When you add in meals and other expenses, the entire amount will be under $4,000. That is less than what it costs to go to truck driving school at Chesapeake College. Commissioner Brooks ask if a Federal scholarship would pay for this program. Mike Thielke said there are no scholarship funds that their program would qualify for. Right now the Federal government is only offering that type of assistance to Title 4 schools (like colleges). Chesapeake College does not accept Title 4. The only way an individual would be able to get financial assistance would be through a loan program.

Rich Loeffler, Small Business Development Center, said this is a fantastic use of partners getting together. It would allow us to develop some very high-paying jobs compared to what we have been hearing. He thinks it would be a real boon to the area. It would also add to what we are trying to do to let people see a working harbor. It would be a naturally good thing.

Jo Chapman said the first time she heard about this was when she saw the ad in the paper for the public hearing. She was really excited because it seems like it was bringing training and jobs on a silver platter. Having worked for the Coast Guard and worked in maritime areas, she has known a lot of people who have done this kind of work and it does pay well. They don't need a lot of training and they can work for months and then come home for months. It is a very flexible lifestyle. All she has heard is that people are disappointed about the job opportunities here. She said the concerns about Long Wharf are legitimate. There should be some Homeland Security money for the State pier. We should try to work out the details and do something positive.

Octave Saunders said she would like to see the Commissioners work out the details. She does not want Long Wharf to be a part of it. Long Wharf should be for the whole population.

Herm Kramer, President of the Dorchester Skipjack Committee, said that while they understand the need for educational endeavors, they do not agree with the location of the proposed docking of the tug. The bulkhead will not support a large heavy commercial vessel. It would require a bulkhead of the type fronting Sailwinds. The daily ins and outs could constitute a hazard to navigation. The propeller wash can be extreme and could be detrimental to the hull and the docking structure of the Nathan. The overflow pier is a revenue source for the City Marina. They request that the Council carefully consider the location of a commercial vessel of this type and not to place it in the area of a city park.

Ed Kinnamon said he received written communication from Mid Shore Regional Council endorsing the Atlantic Maritime School's request.

Rob Collison said it is Council's discretion whether they wish to pursue investigating Sailwinds and whether they want to appoint a committee. Commissioner Travers made a motion to form a committee who will report back to them in two weeks. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Rob Collison said he doesn't think two weeks would be sufficient time. He suggested two meetings from now. Commissioner Travers revised his motion to have the findings back in four weeks which would be the second meeting in April. He said Ben Parks will be his representative. Commissioner Cephas seconded the amended motion. Mayor Rippons asked the people who were interested in serving on the committee to contact City Hall. The motion passed unanimously.

APPOINTMENTS

Open Bids for Phone System for Public Safety Building-Mayor Rippons reported that there were some problems with the RFP. Therefore, the documents will be revised.

Frank Gianiny to Discuss Long Boat Estates and Changing the Code in Reference to Building Homes on Concrete Slabs-Mr. Gianiny said they have a very dangerous situation at Long Boat Estates. He has problems with the Department of Public Works, David Pritchett, and Enessa Whitten. Rob Collision advised Council that on personnel matters, they can hear public comments but they cannot comment on it. They must deliberate in a closed executive session. He suggested that Mr. Gianiny limit his discussion to Long Boat Estates and the concrete slabs. Other items can be brought up at the end of the meeting. Mr. Gianiny said they have 13 illegal occupancy permits. Not one is up to code. There are 33 building permits, some of which have expired. It states very clearly in the code why the occupancy permits are illegal. It is very possible for someone to die out there. They have a report from the Fire Marshal. Someone in the Department of Public Works said Long Boat Estates is a minor problem. Chief Hurley says it is a major problem. The code mandates that gas appliances must be installed to manufacturers' specifications. They are not. Now there is a cover-up going on this week. Someone from Public Works is in cahoots with Lennar trying to cover their tracks. He quoted several warning sections from the manual for the hot water heater. He is having trouble with carbon monoxide because the occupancy permit was given and the heater is installed improperly. Every home is the same. He has pictures of the Department of Public Works and Lennar coming in the back door. Thank goodness they had two Commissioners out there to catch them red-handed on Saturday. He said Commissioner Knox, Commissioner Travers and Mayor Rippons have an opportunity tonight to redeem themselves and do the right thing. He knows what took place. He said if they have any questions about the facts, they can ask him. When a hot water heater is installed in a closet, it must have proper fresh air intake. If it doesn't, you get carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a major violation. In Maryland, a hot water heater cannot be installed in a garage unless they meet very stringent guidelines. He has pictures. The Department of Public Works approved three homes with hot water heaters in the garages. He called every single manufacturer of hot water heaters in the United States and Canada. All of them have the same guidelines. The spark ignitor in the main burners are no less than 18 inches above the garage floor unless specifically exempted by code, rule, regulation or custom. Maryland is not exempt. Raising the gas-fired hot water heater will reduce, but not eliminate, the possibility of lighting the vapors of any flammable liquids which may be improperly stored or accidentally spilled. Public Works should know this. He showed pictures where they are taking out the hot water heaters. He showed a picture of an inspector at a house that already has an occupancy permit. Another picture showed a Chesapeake Utilities employee near a DPW employee. They are trying to cover up. He calls that criminal neglect. When they saw him, they closed the garage door. He has 258 pictures. Two Commissioners are in another picture when they are taking the hot water heaters out. At a private meeting with Lennar, he was asked if he wanted a louver door. He got nothing. They still have an illegal hot water heater that is still leaking carbon monoxide but Lennar is putting louver doors in unoccupied houses. They can fire the Director of Public Works. They can fire the person who signed the occupancy permits and put a stop work order. They did good in the beginning by stopping the occupancy permits but they are still building out there on a piece of land that they can't find the building permit for. He is asking for a stop work order on this-not permanently. His home is not safe. Other residents are having the same problem. He asked if they are waiting for someone to die. He asked how they could issue an occupancy permit on a home with a bedroom that has zero ductwork. The blueprints state that the hot water heater was on the ground (concrete floor) in a closet with no ventilation. The Director of Public Works approved it. He gave a building permit for something that is illegal. His employee gave an occupancy permit. Somebody is going to die. There is no vent on his bathroom floor. It is his understanding that no corrective measures were to be made until they got an engineer in there. He sees the Mayor riding around with Mr. Pritchett quite a bit. Lennar had other plumbers out there. Shepherd Plumbing showed up and told him that the other plumbers are gone because of Mr. Pritchett. According to the foreman for Shepherd Plumbing, Mr. Pritchett got a little kickback from the owner of Shepherd Plumbing. Somebody in that position is not even allowed to make a referral. The only thing he sees working right in this town as far as Public Works is the guys in another picture. The water meters are illegal. A lawyer is getting ready to move in and he has a carbon monoxide problem and a water meter that is not installed legally. He will give the Water Company credit. He said they are not allowing these homes to go to settlement. They saw Mr. Gianiny's house on TV and it's never going to happen again. When Channel 47 came to his home, the first thing they showed was the water meter. They saw their mistake and will never let it happen again. He can't do anything with the Department of Public Works or Lennar. His parents would never have bought this home if the occupancy permit was not issued. They have one last chance to correct it. He has heard talk about a riot in a very short period of time if something is not done with Public Works. He heard someone say they were going to burn this town down. That's not what we want. He heard that Mayor Rippons fired an African-American employee at Public Works for insubordination but he and Commissioner Knox and Commissioner Travers voted not to fire the Director. The young lady has done nothing wrong that he knows about. His experience with her has been nothing but nice. He is sure there were other options. If they think he is done, he is only just beginning. Once they shut it down, Lennar is going to do the right thing and fix things. Some of the building permits have expired yet they broke ground two weeks ago. One house does not have a building permit.

Mr. Gianiny said his furnace is in the same room as the hot water heater. The supply air to the appliance must be of sufficient amount to support all the appliances. His is not. It is not to code. It causes their carbon monoxide detector to go off. The man is not qualified to do buildings. He said the house is structurally sound. He doesn't see anywhere on the internet where Mr. Pritchett has an engineer license. He is going to cost the City a lot of money and it is going to be sooner-not later.

The City allows work to go on out there Monday through Saturday from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm. That is not acceptable. He doesn't think the Mayor would like him to run a Skill saw at 6:00 am. He is asking to change the time to Monday through Friday from 6:00 am until 6:00 pm and on Saturdays from 10:00 am until 5:00 pm and not at all on Sunday. They want a stop work order issued. He said Mr. Collison is worried about being sued by Lennar. He is afraid they are going to get sued nine ways to Sunday from a lot of different people but what counts is protecting lives. They have a report from Chief Hurley that they have an unacceptable situation. They should do something about it.

Besides the code violations, they have never discussed the minor problems like cracking paint. The house is on a concrete stab. When the outside temperature drops to 20 degrees, everything freezes in the medicine cabinets and vanities. You can't stay warm in the house. He suggested changing the code so houses can no longer be built on concrete slabs unless they have radiant heat in the floor. Since he brought it to Lennar's attention, you have 18 homes on concrete slabs. Now there are no more homes on concrete slabs. They are elevated 6 feet off the ground.

After they met with Lennar, the heating and air conditioning guy came out and said Mr. Gianiny is missing five ducts and he will be glad to install them but there are plumbing pipes in the way. It falls back again to Mr. Pritchett not doing his job. The blueprints state down to a foot where the pipes should be. The guy told him they are never going to heat the house because it is on a concrete slab. The five ducts would have helped. No way is Cambridge ready for Blackwater Landing. They are not capable of doing it. He is sure there are some great employees out there. The Mayor can take care of this real quick but he doesn't see him coming forward on his own. He is not done. He is going to kick this up a notch. He is going to the next level. He is going to Annapolis. His brother is a politician on the national level. It will all come out in the open. The people are not going to stand for racism. They are going to do something about it.

Commissioner Knox said Mr. Gianiny made reference to Commissioner Travers, Mayor Rippons and him voting. He asked if he was just taking a guess at that. Mr. Gianiny said he was not. Commissioner Knox said that was discussed in closed session. Mr. Gianiny said he is telling him what he knows. Commissioner Sydnor asked if anyone from Council told him how the vote went. Mr. Gianiny said nobody from Council. But everyone knows how they voted.

Dee McDonald, Dorchester County Family YMCA, to Request Two Street Closures on April 8th for a Family Fun & Fitness Event: (1) from 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm from 201 Talbot Ave, Southeast on Tubman to Glenburn, Southwest to Locust, Locust to Race and Poplar (2) from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm - Race Street from Gay to Muir for Main Street Second Saturday Event-Dee McDonald said April 8th is National YMCA Healthy Kids Day. They will have a lot of things going on at the YMCA from 1:00 pm until 4:00 pm and then from 4:00 pm until 5:00 pm they would like to have a one mile fun run from the YMCA and ending downtown where the YMCA will be the host of the Main Street Second Saturday event. She has already spoken to Chief Malik and Lt. Doyle about the road closing. Chief Malik said it is fine. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Formal Adoption of Resolution and Findings of Fact for Blackwater Resorts Growth Allocation-Rob Collison said Council approved with a 4:1 vote at the last meeting that there were some additional criteria that Commissioner Knox had indicated and he included it in the resolution. The findings of fact will reflect their vote. Commissioner Knox made a motion to approve the findings of fact for Blackwater Resorts Growth Allocation. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Cephas opposed.

Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to approve the resolution for the adoption of the growth application for Blackwater Resorts. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. At the request of someone from the audience, Rob Collison summarized the resolution. The resolution would become effective upon approval of the project by the State Critical Area Commission. If it is adopted, it will be forwarded to the State for their review. The motion passed 4:1 with Commissioner Cephas opposed.

NEW BUSINESS

RFP for Comprehensive Plan-Commissioner Travers made a motion to move forward with the RFP. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Purchase Property at 619 Schoolhouse Lane-Ed Kinnamon said he received a request from Brian Rich, the owner of Club Allure. This property abuts his property on Chesapeake Court. This lot was given to the City by the previous owners. If the Commissioners wish to do sell it, they will be required to hold a public hearing. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to move forward with a public hearing. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Go to Bid for Surveying Consultant Services-Mayor Rippons said the surveyor would re-set the city-wide benchmarks. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor asked what was involved with this procedure. George Hyde said there are basically about 50 benchmarks around town. Most of them were set 30 to 40 years ago. A lot of them have been disturbed. They are not too accurate anymore. The surveyor will re-survey them. They will actually do the survey from a satellite which is more accurate. They will provide the elevations and their coordinates for a location. This will be used for public survey work and mapping that is used to tie everything together. This is a budgeted item. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Solicit Engineering Proposals for Preliminary Study - Enhanced Nutrient Removal (WWTP)-Commissioner Sydnor made a motion to move forward. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Consider Abatement of Interest on a Demolition Bill-Ed Kinnamon received a verbal request to abate interest on a demolition bill. Rob Collison said the City had an amnesty period at one time when they notified everyone with outstanding bills. His only concern is that if you do it on a case-by-case basis, you have to be careful because there has to be a basis for it. They could have a brief amnesty period. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to offer an amnesty period. Rob Collison asked if he could report back to Council at the next meeting with a recommendation on certain dates so they can advertise so people can take advantage of it. Ed Kinnamon said it is time sensitive for the individual in question. Rob Collison said they could have it for three months and begin today. Commissioner Cephas amended his motion to have the amnesty period for three months for interest only on demolition starting today. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Request to Go to Bid for Annual Street Resurfacing-Commissioner Travers made a motion to go to bid. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. Commissioner Knox said last year he voted against resurfacing the streets because he felt like they were putting a band-aid on them. He is very pleased this year to see the band-aid got a little bigger. Commissioner Cephas said last time they discussed this, he made mention to a street in the City that had never been resurfaced since the street was put in. He specifically named Earle Street. It is a small street that has never been resurfaced. He would like to see Earle Street put on the list. Commissioner Brooks said in addition to the ones on the list, did they ever do anything about Southside. David Pritchett said Southside has been fully paved. Commissioner Sydnor asked how much was budgeted this year. Mayor Rippons said they budgeted $300,000. Commissioner Travers amended his motion to include Earle Street. Commissioner Knox seconded the amended motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 3886- Shaefer Pyrotechnics - Deposit for Fireworks - $7,500-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Knox seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 666 - John W. Tieder, Inc. - Main Street Lighting Project Curb Repair - $18,369-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Approve PO 668 - Dissen & Juhn Corporation/Coastal Design & Construction, Inc. for Marina Expansion - $2,462,028.50 (FY 06 Expense)- Commissioner Brooks made a motion to table this item until after our Co-Finance Chairpersons can meet with Mr. Kinnamon to get an update on our budget. The last time they spoke, he thought there was going to be some deficit and $2 million is a lot out of our FY06 budget if we are going to have some major deficit. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Ed Kinnamon said this is a budgeted item. It is a matter of borrowing the funds for this. In his opinion, this would be o.k. to go with it this time but he hasn't had a chance to make sure all questions are answered. The balance will be in FY07. It is a total job of $7 million. Commissioner Brooks withdrew her motion. Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Commissioner Brooks made a motion to go into executive session after the meeting to discuss personnel. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.

Commissioner Sydnor said Council received a letter from George Hyde concerning the municipal marina expansion saying the dredging would begin soon and will take approximately 8 weeks. The dredged material will be put on the lot across from Public Works. It will be there for about 4 weeks so it can dry out and then it will be trucked away.

Commissioner Sydnor asked David Pritchett if there is a permit available for the lot under construction at the intersection of F&S Drive and North Regulator Drive. David Pritchett said there are permits for everything under construction. Commissioner Sydnor said he couldn't find a permit for that particular one and it didn't have a number. David Pritchett said he will check into it and get back to him. It may be listed under some other address. They have never started a project before it is approved. Commissioner Sydnor said in the request Council made of him for the check-off sheets for the permits, it was not in the packet. David Pritchett said he did not personally review them, but it should have been in there for each individual project. He will make sure they get them.

Commissioner Travers said he has a problem with Frank Gianiny insinuating that he is a liar and he asked everyone present if he has ever done anything to any person present that they know of. He would never, never vote against what he believes in against the people of the City of Cambridge. He resents people coming into Dorchester County and threatening him and the people of Dorchester County. He has lived here for 83 years. He loves the African-American people and they love him. He doesn't believe they should let him down.

Al Thomas a resident of Algonquin, said he and his family lived in Kent Island for 20 years. They chose to move to Cambridge because they thought the people of Cambridge were great people and they still think that way. He said Mr. Pritchett is an honorable person. There is no "cover-up". He sees Mr. Pritchett leaving for work at 2:30 a.m. He is here at 5:30 p.m. As far as the racial stuff, he asked why they permit somebody with such hot air to come in and do that. From what he is reading into it, Mr.Gianiny is not getting his way. He loves Cambridge and the hard work that the honorable Mayor has done and the honorable Commission. He quoted from a guest commentary in the Star Democrat (March 26, 2006) written by former City Commissioner Lee Weldon.

Craig Mathias, Pastor of Zion Baptist Church, said he noticed that the meeting started with the Lord's Prayer. He asked if they can live with themselves and sleep at night, when they know that things are not being done in a professional manner. People are misusing their authority and degrading individuals based on their ethnic color or make-up or sex. It really bothers him. He was once the president of the NAACP in Somerset County. He believes that justice shouldn't be based on just the color of your skin. He thinks if anyone is discriminated against in any form, he thinks it should be dealt with appropriately and immediately. He knows that there is a system called the Good Old Boy System. He has heard it alluded to "you people". There are meetings going on at 5 o'clock in the morning discussing things that are going to happen in the community and what is best for you. Unfortunately, to those who are in authority, you have done a good job in this community. One of the ploys that has been used is to try to divide the African-American Community. Some of those who are in leadership positions have been made little promises of things that are going to occur in their communities. Some people in authority realize that if they can get you at a situation when you are opposed one to another, always bickering and complaining, that you will not accomplish anything. This is not something that just started yesterday. It has been practiced for years. You have the right to go to the ballot. Your vote determines who sits in these seats. If you want to make a difference, get out and vote. He asked people to put their personal agendas aside and do what is best for the City of Cambridge.

Octavene Saunders said the first thing that is bothering her is calling different ones in the City that are "in the know". Nobody on Council told her, but she knew the vote too. When you have six people to vote, you are going to have a tie. There is nothing in the City Charter that will address any type of a tie. She thinks it is very unfair to the citizens. In the article the gentleman just quoted from, she is accused of asking for an investigation on Mr. Pritchett. Nowhere on any City tape or on Channel 47 can anybody prove that she said it. The gentleman did not read the whole article. She said she will summarize the allegations in Mr. Weldon's column by saying that if the African-American Commissioners get the vote and the Mayor looses his power, they are going to get rid of all the white department heads and put black folks in there and it is unqualified. He only read the parts he wanted to.

Octavene Saunders asked if Council could have something put in the Charter that when they have a tie vote and if there is not satisfaction, especially on the citizens who pay the bills, that something can be done through arbitration of an outside person to assess the issue and break the tie vote. Rob Collison said the Charter was changed in 2000-2001. It would require a Charter Amendment to provide a mechanism for a tie vote. Mr. Gianiny didn't have to come to Cambridge and accuse anybody of racism. She lives it every day so she knows it's here. There is a lot of unrest here. Her unrest is the tie vote. She has made no comment publicly about Mr. Pritchett one way or another. She does not think it is correct that Council has evidence of a certain thing that should not have been released from Public Works and then they get a tie vote. She is not talking about an allegation of racism. That is one man's word against another man. She requested that there be something in a Charter Amendment that will address an action when there is a tie vote based on an employee at the level that the Mayor has the opportunity to cast a vote.

In the Charter states that when you have executive meetings on personnel issues or whatever, and a citizen makes a formal request, you must release certain information from that executive meeting. She requested information from Mr. Kinnamon, however, he said he had to have Council vote to give it to her. If you read the Charter, no you don't. She would like to have date, persons present, department the personnel meeting was about, and the vote (who voted what way) from the personnel meeting that was held last Monday night.

Octavene Saunders read from Section 3-35 of the Charter discussing removal from office for cause, procedure. It says the commissioners may remove from office, or discharge from employment, the town clerk and treasurer, the chief bailiff and any other officer or employee that may be elected or appointed under the authority of the charter. In other words, they can remove an elected official for incompetence, negligence of duty, misconduct, if this is the judgment of a Commissioner. She has heard from a lot of people that they have to do something with the Mayor. She was told he jumped in Ms. Brooks' face and a young man had to jump into the middle of it. She has heard he does it in the back room. She heard that he did it to a library employee and also to a DPW employee. She is not accusing him of anything. This item is very broad. She is asking that Council tighten this procedure up because she is coming back. She has already been in touch with two large State offices. She is sending all newspaper clippings to them and she is going to pay for these minutes. She is calling in an investigation of publicly disrespecting that woman. She asked that this Charter update be made a priority.

Keith Cornish, Pastor, said a hundred years ago the Cambridge City Council was talking about growth and development in the City. At the same time in India, there was a book written entitled "Little Black Sambo." Sambo became synonymous with those who worked on plantations and those that worked in Dorchester County...the 30s, the 40s...the mimes, the black face, the whole nine works...a part of our culture that we consider to be intolerable. He wasn't born then. He was born in 1957. That year a restaurant was started by a man named Sam and another man whose last name was Bonnet. The two together made Sambo's Restaurant. Their desire was to sell coffee and pancakes. Sambo ate 169 pancakes. Their venture developed into 100 even up to 1200 restaurants across this nation. When he lived in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas, every Sambo's he saw was boarded up because it represented something that our Nation knew was wrong. He is here, not only because he is a Pastor, but because at the same time that restaurant failed, this City will fail. We need progress. We need development. But we also need to recognize that it's not just in the numbers. We need to get out of the elementary school books. We need to grow up. Tonight, Chad Stevens, the grandson of Mr. Sam, is trying to resurrect that institution. Tonight he is here to represent Erika Stevens. He asked the Council not to take them back 100 years. Show us real progress. Show us real development. He implores them to search their hearts. We have made mistakes and have done things wrong. Do something that is really thought provoking. If Mayor James G. James (1896 to 1900) were confronted with the issues they are confronted with tonight, and he had made a decisive move at that moment, we would not be here tonight arguing about Sambo. It requires courage. It is his prayer that God will give them that courage. He is asking them to withstand the rhetoric, withstand the shame, and search their gut hearts and feelings and give us true progress.

William Wallace, Pastor of Waugh Chapel United Methodist Church, said he listened very attentively when Commissioner Travers proclaimed and publicly vowed his love for black folk but he refers to them as "you people". Rev. Wallace reminded him that "you people" is a euphemism that comes out of a white racist mind set. Commissioner Travers apologized. Rev. Wallace challenged Commissioner Travers to think about what he did fighting in the wars in other countries to liberate persons who were oppressed by an unjust society and an unjust government. He challenged him to think about what he did over there and what is happening here. Does it not within itself constitute a sense of hypocrisy? If it does, he suggested that Commissioner Travers searches himself and do the right thing. The right thing is to do justice. He listened to people who spoke about Mr. Pritchett being a good God-fearing man, going to church every day, but he needs to also remind us that that there is a book that has been written entitled "They Don't All Wear Sheets". There are those who within their heart are so caught up on the legacy of racism that they refuse to allow other people to be a part of the American dream. We have evidence here this evening on numerous occasions in which it has happened repeatedly in the City of Cambridge. We can no longer live at a time in which there is for some and not for others. We will not stand around and allow allegations to come forward such as the one that is being forward by Mr. Pritchett. They will not allow it because they have laws that persons have the foresight and the wisdom to put in place because they knew that if this country was to stand, it would not stand divided; it must stand united. He implored them to investigate themselves. He is an elder in the United Methodist Church. They have in their system an Advocacy Resource Team. Before that it was a general commission on religion and race. Its primary responsibility was to investigate, to route out, to expose racism within the life of the church. The laws are becoming more sophisticated because racism is becoming more and more sophisticated. He thinks Council needs to go back and take a look at what they are actually doing. If Mr. Pritchett did not do what he has been alleged that he has done, then he will be the first one to apologize to him. But if he has done it, then he is going to lead the cause to make sure that he never does it again in the City of Cambridge or anywhere else. One of the persons in the community wrote his district superintendent and asked that he be removed because he is creating problems in the City that are disruptive to the flow of the continuity and healthy wholesome race relationships. He did not invent the race card game. If you deal him a race card, you can rest assured he is going to play it and he doesn't lose.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 9:20 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Monday, March 27, 2006, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer