Conflict? What conflict?

JGFitzgerald -- July 27th, 2007

Council members Frank and Eagle voted this week on a zoning change that would apply to property they own. This is nothing new. Frank, in her first term on council, twice tried to get land next to hers turned into parkland. Eagle has long been a champion of development in any form.

Both council members seemed to argue that their votes were OK because they did not benefit, a change from the more restrictive “No member who has an immediate, personal or pecuniary interest in the result of the question shall either vote or be counted upon it,” which happens to be Sec. 2-3-20(c) of the City Code.

The questions then, unasked by the uninquisitive in today’s story: If council members vote in contradiction to the City Code, does it matter whether it is from ignorance or crookedness or both? Should the city attorney have pointed out section 2-3-20, or perhaps have read it to those council members (or reporters) who, apparently, could not read it themselves?

To paraphrase Tennyson, all the world wonders.

45 Responses to “Conflict? What conflict?”

  1. Marty says:

    Oooh…nice burn.

  2. republitarian says:

    Carolyn’s vote actually hurts her financially in the future should she decide to sell.

    She voted the way she did because it is in the overall best interest of the city.

  3. finnegan says:

    What about Eagle’s vote?

  4. charles chenault says:

    Joe, Myron and Finn – from a purely legal standpoint, the city ordinance is out of date and conflcts with state law so it is most likely inoperative. This being the case, one would look to the Virginia Conflict of Interest statutes. Section 2.2-3112 most likely indicates that Carolyn and Rodney did not have legal conflicts of interests. Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I will see that the ordinace is reviewed and reference made to the state statutes if required.
    Thanks and have a good weekend – Charlie

  5. JGFitzgerald says:

    My mistake. I should have remembered that Virginia decriminalized conflict of interest years ago.

    Obviously that doesn’t change Rodney being a developer who votes for development. Wrong, probably, but not necessarily dishonest. He’s never hidden his affiliations.

    Also doesn’t change Frank using code words like “protecting our neighborhoods” for racism and anti-JMU fear-mongering. I should have probably started with that point instead of harping on the blatant, though not strictly illegal, conflict of interest.+

  6. republitarian says:

    Oh Joe,

    She’s has used the phrase “protecting our neighborhoods” before with me in private converstaion.

    In NO WAY did she relate it to racial issues, but more along the lines of quality of life and equality for all, including affordable housing for lower income people.

  7. Benny Neal says:

    Maybe Carolyn could speak for herself….

  8. Emo Boy says:

    FYI, In case you didn’t know this is what is referred to as “The Good Old Boys Network.” You were in this club, you should know all about it.

  9. Benny Neal says:

    “Myron” Boy,
    Carolyn is part of the “good ol boys network”… does that make you an honorary member since you speak for her?

  10. finnegan says:


    Myron is not Emo Boy.

  11. Benny Neal says:

    Sorry about that, I stand corrected.
    Thank you.

  12. Del Marvel says:

    Republitarian, aren’t you the one who used the term “Harlemburg” on the radio to refer to Harrisonburg ?

  13. republitarian says:

    I used it to describe what I think Harrisonburg will look like should it continue on the path it has.

    The term was originally used by Jesse.

    The rundown appearance of downtown has nothing to do with race….and everything to do with city management.

  14. Del Marvel says:

    You don’t think the term “Harlemburg” has racial overtones?

  15. Benny Neal says:

    Downtown’s appearance? Golly gee wiz! What more can be
    done? When was the last time you were down there?, There’s a bunch of business’ refurbishing buildings for restaurants, and new business’ such as -la de da, childrens musem, daves rooftop, midtown market, gitchell’s appartments .. on and on. I wonder who put effort in to all that? Plus pocket parks. Downtown is taking shape with a lot of hard work from business owners and city representatives alike.

    As far as your evident dislike for “city management” – your friend Carolyn has been part of the team for years. I wouldn’t throw here under the bus.

    I’m sure that you did not think all this through when you made your statement; people have been working for years, and it shows!

  16. Absolutely Benny. Huge strides have been made in the last 2 years. Downtown Harrisonburg is becoming hugely “upscale”. I’m happy with all that has been done so far.Downtown Renaissance has much to do with it all. I wish I had more time to become more involved.

  17. Emmy says:

    Yeah Myron, time to make a visit to downtown.

  18. Hi Emmy, what are you doing tonight?

  19. Emmy says:

    Not a dang thing…and you? :)

  20. Just got back from Fulks Run lawn party with Triston. He had a blast but pooped out early. I was was happy about it. Are you kidless this weekend? I need to tell you where I live so you can come hang out some evening. We’re just boring old people though!

  21. Emmy says:

    Oh I bet that was fun! I had the boys this evening but not until late. Usually don’t have them on Saturday’s.

    I’d love to hang out some time….I keep telling you that you are not old!!

  22. OK, I’ll hold you to that.

  23. republitarian says:

    I said that 3 or 4 years ago.

  24. Benny Neal says:

    If you read your comment, it sounds as if it was still a current feeling of yours.

  25. Boris says:

    Fitzgerald, of all people, has a lot of nerve commenting on the integrity, rightness, wrongness, etc. of council votes. Furthermore, given his official political history, I don’t think anyone wants to hear anything from him regarding the mora transperancy of council procedure.

    I think he needs to head over Heritage Oaks, play a round or two and revaluate his credibility on issues like that.

  26. Emmy says:

    I swear, you’d think that the golf course was the only poor decision this city has ever made!

  27. JGFitzgerald says:


    Yes, actually, I do have a lot of nerve. By the way, is that your real name?

  28. Benny Neal says:

    Just curious…What does Myron Rhodes mean by”Harlemburg”? What does that name imply?

  29. whackette says:

    Benny, it could mean different things to different people, depending on what they want it to mean. Myron gave his explanation yesterday at 6:57, and clarified a bit at 11:44.

    As has been pointed out, this name no longer accurately describes downtown.

    To me the term implies cramped quarters and a disorderly rundown appearance. Managing growth and keeping the city attractive are issues any city must deal with. I’m glad to see that the efforts downtown have been successful and I hope this remains a priority to the city.

  30. Benny Neal says:

    Myron answered – was proven wrong – tried to back peddle – now you have to answer for him.

    Del asked “don’t you feel Harlemburg has racial overtones?”
    No answer from Myron.

    Whackette – “Cramped quarters and disorderly rundown appearance” has never discribed downtown Harrisonburg.

    Harlemburg is offensive – Myron’s answer was in the present tense .. (6:57)

    Both Mr. and Mrs. Rhodes answers reflect a disconnection with downtown Harrisonburg. How do you think the long- time business owners feel? They have worked so hard for years to make a living in business that in some cases their parents started. They have always had pride for downtown.

    Myron you answer for Carloyn – please anwser for yourself.

  31. Emmy says:

    Are we really going to have to deal with this until November?

    IM is a beautiful thing.

  32. finnegan says:

    Yeah, seriously.

    It’s annoying and embarrassing all at once.

  33. Benny Neal says:

    Out of 32 comments 7 are from me.
    Why do you have a blog if you want ALL the people commenting to IM? Isn’t a blog for interaction?
    It would appear to me you have a topic that people are enjoying talking about – I wasn’t even the one to bring up Harlemburg – guess I shouldn’t have tried to support downtown Harrisonburg.

  34. I think what Finnegan wants is that the “stress” between Benny and Myron to stay on Myrons blog..or anywhere else but here. True, Benny, it is a blog, but I think Finney tries or would like to keep that whole BS confrontation confined to one blog and not this one. But you know how I feel about things Benny…you just have to not react.
    Brent, it’s all going to get worse before it gets better. Just grit your teeth. :)

  35. JGFitzgerald says:


    If I may be so bold, your question — what does he mean by Harlemburg? — is its own answer. It divides the world neatly into those who find the description offensive, and those who will try, for whatever reason, to say that something complex was meant by a simplistic description. Your asking what was meant invites us all to ask the same question, as well we should. Your follow-ups could be taken as an attempt, by Mr. ‘Tarian’s political opponent, to answer it for us.

    More succinctly, you made your point. I, for one, share it.

  36. republitarian says:

    I don’t know how this ever became about me….

    Benny, I think you have a winning issue here….maybe you’ll beat me in the election….

    I’d issue a press release and call me a racist……

  37. Marci says:

    Finnegan please, let them continue. Just makes it easier on the voters to eliminate who they aren’t going to be voting for.

  38. Barnabas says:

    To be fair, Christa and Emmy were also using this thread as an IM. If we want to keep IM type of converstions off of the page it should apply to us all.
    This being said, I also would be interested to hear a reasonable defense of the Harlemburg statement. What direction is/was Harrisonburg going that would have made it a Harlemburg? Not to say I agree or disagree with you. If Harlem invokes thoughts of crime then I can see why you made the statement, I myself have been robbed twice.

  39. Emmy says:

    Yeah you’re right Barnabas, sorry about that.

    But, I think that many of us are sick of the bickering between Benny, Dave and Myron. Finnegan has asked them several times to keep it off of this blog and they haven’t.

  40. JGFitzgerald says:


    Call it Last-Word Syndrome? It’s the difference between the writer (or blogger) who can state an opinion, back it up, and let it go, and the writer who writes two quick sentences, gets challenged on a dependent clause in one of them, charges back with a characterization of the attacker, takes umbrage when the attacker responds in kind, then locks horns with the hair-splitting foe as they sink into an unforgiving whirlpool of post and riposte more mixed than my metaphors and, unfortunately, longer than this sentence.

    Or maybe it’s the difference between two people — you and Christa for instance — who are just chatting and three people — they who shall not be named — doing that thing where they annoy everybody else with bickering.

  41. republitarian says:

    This is becoming very bothersome to me.

    I tried to explain why Carolyn voted the way she did. I was then asked about a statement I made years ago. Initially, I didn’t respond because I knew someone was trying desperately to call me a racist.

    I only made the comment because I thought the vote Carolyn had made needed some explanation. I’m sorry I commented in the first place. I now realize what I’m dealing with……

  42. Barnabas,
    Sorry, I didn’t mean to use the blog as an IM. I apologize for that.

  43. zen says:

    Gee, being out of town for about a week, and missing all this…lucky me.

  44. David Miller says:

    Wow, Myron. Please elaborate on the following quote

    “The rundown appearance of downtown has nothing to do with race….and everything to do with city management.”

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