(Material pertaining to the above is on file in the office of the City Clerk and Clerk of Council, marked Exhibit No. 1 of Item No. 2(b); 6/16/01, and is incorporated herewith as part of this record by reference.)
(c) Judy McVay, 207 North Columbus Street, representing the Coalition for A Sensible Bridge, noted that something has come to its attention recently that concerns the Coalition, and that is, it has heard that the Federal Government is in negotiations with the owners of the Hunting Towers buildings to buy the complex. The Coalition is very much concerned about what's going to happen to the two buildings that are not scheduled to be demolished should the Government succeed in this effort. The Coalition asked the Council to monitor this and to speak on behalf of the 320 apartments in each of the buildings, particularly the ones that are not scheduled to come down, to work on their behalf to keep these buildings and to maintain these apartments as affordable housing.
Mayor Donley reported that the City Manager, the Vice Mayor and the Mayor meet with the bridge consultants, and they have discussed Hunting Towers. It is the understanding that the intent is at this point that just one building is coming down, but he does believe that they are working to acquire the whole property. Their intent, at this point, is to maintain the two remaining buildings as housing. Mayor Donley is not aware of any plan that they have to raze the other two buildings.
(d) Margo Tolliver, 300 Wythe Street, #811, resident of Ladrey High-rise, spoke to a total breakdown of communications with the Alexandria Redevelopment and Housing Authority management, and its lack of concern for the residents. She noted that this is affecting the lifestyle of the residents living there. They have attempted on more than one occasion to bring their concerns to the attention of the Executive Director of ARHA. Mr. Dearman has been asked to attend their meetings to address their concerns, and he has never attended but sends Dr. Morris who they feel is not relaying their concerns to Mr. Dearman. She noted that many people are afraid to speak up because they fear retaliation.
Mayor Donley reported that the Vice Mayor and he meet with the ARHA Board once a month to address issues. He stated that he will raise at the next meeting the lack of communication between ARHA staff and the residents of Ladrey in listening and addressing your needs. Mayor Donley requested Ms. Tolliver to contact his office to let him know when the Ladrey residents would like the ARHA staff to come to meet with them. He indicated that he is going to ask specifically that Mr. Dearman and his staff attend, and, the Mayor will also attend. He said that if Ms. Tolliver and any other resident who is here today that speaks or doesn't speak feel that they have in one way or another, direct or indirect, experienced any retribution because you've come to exercise your right of freedom of speech and your ability to address your grievances to this legislative body, he asked them to call his office to let him know the specifics. This is something that this Council will not tolerate. He noted that Council does not have direct oversight over ARHA, but it does over the ARHA Board. If it does occur, he wants to know about it.
Councilman Euille echoed what the Mayor has said and appreciated all of the residents who came to the meeting. He asked them if they have gone before the ARHA Board to express themselves as they have before Council this morning.
Ms. Tolliver reported that they had and that they were laughed at.
Councilwoman Woodson reported that she personally had attended a meeting where she had addressed one of the staff members because they were being rude. This was during the time she was a member of the ARHA Board. She directed questions to Ms. Tolliver and others present as to what type of retaliation are they afraid of and what has actually happened.
Mayor Donley again requested to know when their next meeting is to be held. He will be there unless something required prohibits him from being there, but he also wants the other Members of Council to at least have the opportunity to attend as well.
(e) Virginia Murphy, 835 North Henry Street, expressed concern about the condition of the public housing unit in which she is living. She reported her concern about rats, termites, sink drain, floors and steps to ARHA and received no response. She then reported them to Code Enforcement which took care of the problems. She indicated that she receives no cooperation from ARHA.
Mayor Donley will bring her specific complaint to ARHA's attention.
Councilman Speck thanked all of the persons for their courage and coming before the City Council to express their issues and concerns with the Housing Authority.
(f) Charles Williams, 300 Wythe Street, #1103, spoke to his concerns about problems with the Housing Authority and the resident manager at the Ladrey Apartments;
(g) Otis Weeks, 300 Wythe Street, #413, president, Ladrey Advisory Board, expressed the concerns of the residents of Ladrey Apartments whom he represents relative to setting up a meeting with ARHA Executive Director Dearman to try to open the lines of communication between the residents and the management of the Housing Authority; and
(A copy of Mr. Weeks’ statement is on file in the office of the City Clerk and Clerk of Council, marked Exhibit No. 1 of Item No. 2(g); 6/16/01, and is incorporated herewith as part of this record by reference.)
Councilwoman Woodson questioned the item Mr. Weeks spoke about with respect to the two residents at Ladrey not having chairs to sit in while waiting to be transported for dialysis, and asked if this was an ADA violation.
City Attorney Pessoa stated that there may well be a requirement for reasonable accommodation for these tenants. He noted that without looking further into the width of the corridor and a host of other issues, he could not be certain but would be glad to look into it with Code Enforcement if Council requests.
Mayor Donley stated to Mr. Weeks that Council has his letter, and he will take it up with ARHA.
(h) Arnette Jones, 58 Kennedy Street, a Section 8 participant, expressed her concerns about the management of the Housing Authority, and noted that in March of this year, she had received a letter from her landlord stating that the landlord had not received the Housing Authority’s portion of the rent since September 1999.
(A copy of Ms. Jones’ statement is on file in the office of the City Clerk and Clerk of Council, marked Exhibit No. 1 of Item No. 2(h); 6/16/01, and is incorporated herewith as part of this record by reference.)
REPORTS OF BOARDS, COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES
ACTION CONSENT CALENDAR (3-17) (33-40)
Without objection, City Council removed docket item nos. 7 and 10 from the Action Consent Calendar and considered them under separate motions.
3. VACATION #2001-0003 -- 2400 BLK MILL RD; ROBERTS LA -- Public Hearing and Consideration of a request for vacation of public rights-of-way of a portion of the 2400 block of Mill Road, a portion of Roberts Lane from Mill Road north to the railroad and Roberts Lane south of Mill Road for the purpose of street realignment. Applicant: City of Alexandria, Department of Transportation and Environmental Services; and appointment of viewers for same.