• 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

December 27, 2005
 

The City Council met in regular session on Tuesday, December 27, 2005 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 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 December 12, 2005 Council meeting as distributed. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion was passed 4:0. 

APPOINTMENTS

Octavene Saunders to Discuss Two Community Concerns-Octavene Saunders said in November some people approached her about some business developments on Pine Street. They couldn't understand why it is always Race Street. They called a meeting at the Empowerment Center. The outcome was that they decided to ask Council to have a business development survey for the needs and ideas of what people would like to see on Pine Street, identify the businesses that are there and work with them to find out what business opportunities are available through the City of Cambridge as part of Main Street. They would like to uphold the businesses that are there and help them expand. They need some technical assistance. They would like a liaison from Council and someone to help them with the work. They have approached Main Street; however, they always seem to be on the back burner. They are not asking for any money at this point.

Commissioner Cephas attended the meeting and he said it was very fruitful. Three individuals had ideas on how to jumpstart Pine Street. They had their own business plans but need some type of assistance. If it is Council's privilege, he would like to be the liaison. He will continue to work with the three people interested in opening businesses. He thinks Council should be a major player in this. Commissioner Sydnor said he thinks it is a worthwhile project. The group will need some input from someone from the City, State, and Federal agencies. Commissioner Sydnor made a motion that Commissioner Cephas be the liaison for the committee. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Octavene Saunders said there is another reason she is appearing before Council. She has been thinking and praying about it for some time now. She said the report (Tory Spedden) for the Banner wrote an article which she was told was on target. He should continue to write what he feels is the truth. His outside observation and what he put in the paper was not the only one that came back as having the feeling and observation that he made. When Commissioner Watkins was on the Council, at no time did the media ever say that the citizens called the majority of Council "a gang of Commissioners". Now that there are three African-American Commissioners, they are referred to in the media as "the gang". They are referred to negatively in the media and in the community. The African-American people worked very hard and cooperated and accepted that they were the minority behind the table and didn't try to tear the city down when they couldn't get what they wanted all the time. She thinks it is very small of the people who are doing it now. People shouldn't be frightened because they see black faces behind the table in the majority. They should be supportive and appreciative because they have blood, sweat and tears to make this country and this town what it is. They are not going away and will not react in a negative way. She is so sick of hearing racist comments and "haves and have nots". It's not all on the African-American Commissioners; it is some of the spectators too. She has prepared a proposal that she will leave with Commissioner Cephas. She hopes they will take it to heart and do something. We need to build on our multi-cultural relations in this town. Our goal should be to foster a cohesive bond that will positively reflect, develop, and build our community to inclusiveness and prosperity for all who work and live in this town and have made this town and will have to stay here when the newcomers may not be here. We need local citizens from all socio-economic walks of life to be on such a steering committee. The format should be published in our local newspapers that will allow interested citizens to sign up for the committee. The citizens can voice their concerns and offer suggestive plans of action to get rid of all the criticizing and finger-pointing and racial epithet that is going on.  We can develop a written professional format and work with it to move forward. We can have a planning session of local groups such as the NAACP, the Pine Street Committee, the American Legions, the Elks, the Moose, the AARP, different ministers, and anyone who is truly interested in moving forward and stop blasting the Commissioners. We can also work with the Federal, State, and local governments. She has received messages on her answering machine from State officials that are appalled at what their people read in the local newspapers about the African-American Commissioners and how they are being perceived when they don't do what the wider society wants. We can deal with the perception. The news reporter had the same perception as a lot of people sitting on the outside who had no stake in loosing or winning anything. He wasn't alone but he was blasted. If a person knows precisely what epithets they can hurl at you in order to make you loose your temper, then that person can always keep you under subjection. It is your reaction to things and issues that determine your ability to allow someone to exercise power over you. Remember Willie Lynch.

Commissioner Cephas said he agrees. We need to come together as a team. He noticed certain things in the paper that he would not write. Some things have set us back. When you see the leader of the city put in the paper, whether it is true or not, that the three black Commissioners have done nothing, he is troubled by that. The developments in Cambridge that have come since the present Council was elected, did not come by one person. There was a vote. It is not a one-man show. Some people are being used and victimized now and it will stop. The city needs to come together. He has defended the Mayor when he is right. Some people were saying things that were not true. A lot of things being said are true. He is not going to let anybody be criticized without saying something to their defense. He is not going to sit still and be criticized unjustly and see Commissioner Brooks and Commissioner Sydnor criticized unjustly and not say anything. That day has come and gone. There are some injustices being done in the city and rumors are being spread around. Some senior citizens are being used and trapped into some of these lies. It is not fair.

Octavene Saunders said an example of this city working together was when she worked with Mayor Wooten to have a public safety building. She was slam-blasted but she doesn't care about it because she knows all the work she did. If it wasn't for what she did, it wouldn't be started there where it is today. When the former Council took office, they couldn't get the Human Relations Commission to work with them. She volunteered her time. Nobody came to the meetings.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Second Reading and Vote on Ordinance to Amend Zoning Maps for the Robbins Property and Palmer Property Which Were Recently Annexed-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to approve the ordinance. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Award Contract for Marina Expansion-Commissioner Cephas made a motion to award the bid to the low bidder, Dissen & Juhn Corporation in the amount of $7,690,000. Commissioner Travers seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

NEW BUSINESS

Request from Cambridge Yacht Club to Use Long Wharf, the Duck Walk Area, and the Beach on the East Side of Great Marsh on July 14, 15, and 16, 2006 for the Admiral Byrd Regatta-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Sydnor seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Request from the Dorchester County Public Library for Twenty Parking Permits for Volunteer Counselors of the Tax Preparation Assistance Program for Spring Street and the Courthouse Block of High Street from January Through April-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the request. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Rob Collison said the Clerk's Office and the Judges' Office has asked him why a segment of curb has been painted yellow that previously allowed for two additional parking spaces. He asked CPD and DPW to look into the need for this and possibly taking it back to being a parking area. It is located at the rear of Spring Valley. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 621 - The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. - $7,000,000 - Construction of the Public Safety Building-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Brooks seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve PO 623 - Andrews Miller & Associates Inc. - Cambridge Marina Design - $20,000-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the purchase order. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve Financial Statement for November 2005-Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the financial statement. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. Commissioner Sydnor asked if impact fees were included in the financial statement. Ed Kinnamon said they are included in the revenues area under licenses and permits. Commissioner Sydnor asked for a further breakdown on the accounts in the future. The motion passed 4:0.

Approve City Council Schedule for 2006-Commissioner Brooks said Council voted that every third Monday would be a public work session for the public and their agenda and it would be held from 6:00 pm until 8:00 pm. They asked that it be advertised in the paper and that it be put on the agenda. It would be for the public to bring the issues to Council as to what they would like to have discussed so they would have a vote as to what is going on in the city vs. following the Council's agenda. Ed Kinnamon said Ordinance 878 already allows for that. It can be scheduled whether there is an issue or not. Commissioner Brooks said she thinks they need to advertise to the public every third Monday that they will have a meeting for the public. If we find that the public is not interested, then at that time they can discontinue them. The public will have the floor and they can question anyone about things that we can talk about. Naturally, there will be things that are confidential and cannot be discussed. There are a lot of things going on within the city that the public has not been fully made aware of. Hopefully during these sessions they will have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may want.

Commissioner Cephas said he will not be available on January 9th and February 13th. He asked that the meeting be rescheduled for another date. Commissioner Brooks said she doesn't have a problem with scheduling it for another day. Commissioner Sydnor said he doesn't have a problem with rescheduling them either. Portia Johnson-Ennels said the third Monday in January is a holiday. Commissioner Brooks said when there is a holiday on a Monday, the Council meets on Tuesday. Portia Johnson-Ennels said the County meets every two weeks on a Tuesday. Ed Kinnamon said the third Monday in February is also a Federal holiday. Commissioner Brooks said she feels they need to advertise and then if they find that they are not going to have anyone attending the meeting, then they will discontinue them. She thinks they need to give the public the opportunity to come for the two hours that they have promised.

Mayor Rippons asked if Council wanted to move the first meeting in January to Tuesday, January 10th and the first meeting in February to Tuesday, February 14th. Ed Kinnamon said the Planning Commission meets on February 10th.  Rob Collison said he has scheduled a public hearing on a text amendment for January 9th and the advertisement has already run in the newspaper. Mayor Rippons said the first meeting in January will remain on January 9, 2006. Commissioner Cephas said he will work it out. He asked George Hyde to ask Anne Roane to schedule the Planning Commission for the first Tuesday in February. Commissioner Travers made a motion to approve the meeting schedule for 2006 with the first meeting in February to be changed to February 14th and the calendar will reflect the public work sessions on the third Mondays of the month beginning at 6:00 pm with the meeting not to exceed two hours in duration. The work sessions in January and February will be moved to Tuesday. Ed Kinnamon said Council will hold a regular meeting on Monday, June 19th because Council will be at the Maryland Municipal League Convention on the fourth Monday. Commissioner Brooks said they will hold the work session on Tuesday, June 20th. Commissioner Cephas seconded the motion. The motion passed 4:0.

ADDITIONAL ITEMS

Rob Collison announced the Special Elections Committee held their first meeting. It was an excellent meeting and they hope to have something to Council by the end of January. Commissioner Cephas said his appointment to the committee will be Shelia Woods.

Commissioner Brooks wished everyone a happy new year. Commissioner Travers also wished everyone a happy new year and a prosperous new year. He said if anyone needs help, they should call him.

Portia Johnson-Ennels said her phone has been ringing off the hook concerning this petition. She has not signed it. The people are not being told the true facts about what the petition really means. She asked Rob Collison how a person could remove their name from the petition. Rob Collision said the petitions will be filed in Mr. Kinnamon's office. They would need to send a written statement to Mr. Kinnamon to remove their name from the petition. They should provide their name and address on the statement so it can be deleted from the petition.

Portia Johnson-Ennels asked if registered Dorchester County voters would count on the petition. Rob Collison said if someone is a registered voter in the county but they do not reside in the city, they will not be counted. If enough names come in on the petitions, Mr. Gootee and his staff will review the names to see the names are all on the qualified list of city voters. If they are not, they will not be counted. Portia Johnson-Ennels asked the newspapers to help with this.

Commissioner Brooks said if there are enough names on the petitions, she would like the Special Elections Committee to work with Mr. Gootee and his staff to verify the names. Rob Collison said he will have to look that. He thinks it will only be the election judges and maybe the professional staff at the elections office. They will have to certify that they are qualified and active registered voters on the city's list. Commissioner Brooks said she will make a formal motion at the next meet that the Special Elections Committee work with Mr. Gootee and his staff when the names come in. Commissioner Sydnor asked if the signatures are matched to the voter registration cards. Rob Collison said he will check with Mr. Gootee on that.

With no further business, Mayor Rippons adjourned this portion of the meeting at 7:50 p.m. I hereby certify that the foregoing is a true and accurate account of the Council meeting Tuesday, December 27, 2005, insofar as I personally am aware.

Edwin C. Kinnamon, Clerk & Treasurer