Vallejo City Council votes to explore JFK site for police headquarters – Times-Herald

Those attending Tuesday night’s Vallejo City Council meeting may have had “great expectations.” What they got was “the night circus.”

In a stunning turn of events, books seemed to temporarily take over law enforcement for residency in the city’s desired penthouse at 400 Mare Island Way. The council voted 7-0 early Wednesday morning to explore the JFK Library site as a potential venue for the new Vallejo Police Department headquarters. Meanwhile, the existing library at that site would possibly move to the waterfront building.

A month ago the council decided to look at other alternative options for a new police headquarters – aside from the favored 400 Mare Island building the department desired.

The building at 400 Mare Island Way is shown. (Contributed)

The vote to look at the JFK site came at the end of a wild night – even for the low bar for council standards – that featured former Vallejo resident Ryan Messano being carried out of the chambers by VPD after making what many people in the crowd believed to be hate speech remarks and refusing to leave the podium after his three-minute time period was up. Messano, a longtime council-meeting attendee, claimed to have visited 48 states in the past year and been kicked off numerous social media sites such as YouTube and Facebook.

The meeting also featured Councilmember Hakeem Brown getting into a heated shouting match with Vallejo Mayor Robert McConnell after the mayor asked Brown to stick to the subject at hand. Brown protested, saying he had a right to speak, and dared McConnell repeatedly to have police escort him out of the building, as had already happened with Messano.

“Either control the meeting or I will speak for my fellow council members,” Brown shouted at McConnell. Let me speak (repeats four times). You will not be arresting me tonight (repeats once). You do not have the power to arrest me. Please. ”

Earlier in the night, Brown had a confrontation with public speaker Mishel Adolph, who accused Brown and others on the council of taking bribes. Brown then left his seat for approximately 30 to 40 minutes, missing the majority of the public speakers discussing where the police headquarters should be.

Later in the night Brown also told a member of the audience, David Haldane, to “get elected” if he wanted to speak more on a subject. Haldane is running for District 4 council member in November.

Public speaker Andrea Sorce asked how to make a public complaint, wondering why Brown was able to vote if he had been absent for the majority of the public speakers.

Eventually, the lack of professionalism subsided and a 7-0 vote was made on the site of a possible new police headquarters, with the promise of reports from the JFK Library and 400 Mare Island Way to be presented at a future meeting. McConnell had hoped the vote would include a look into the City Hall building as well, but that was denied.

Interim Assistant City Manager Terrance Davis gives a speech on possible sites for a new Vallejo Police Department headquarters on Tuesday night at the Vallejo City Council meeting. (Thomas Gase – Times-Herald)

Davis said looking into the new site of JFK Library by July would be a “very tight” time crunch. Interim City Manager Mike Malone agreed, saying July was “not doable.”

Although many were not thrilled with the possibility of 400 Mare Island Way not being completely removed as an option for a new police headquarters, those same people were optimistic that the council was considering other options. A few council members said the JFK location was the “lesser of two evils.”

“We need to do this right and to do this right, we need to look at alternative sites not making this a multiple-choice question,” McConnell said.

McConnell wondered if the JFK Library was big enough for a police headquarters, but Councilman Pippin Dew replied that the building was looked at and is 90,000 square feet. McConnell also brought up the possibility of the southeast corner of Mare Island Way and Sonoma Boulevard, saying it is land Vallejo owns.

Meanwhile, Councilman Katy Miessner called the current situation at 111 Amador a “crisis.” She said she did not want to drag things out further and was in favor of having the police housed at 400 Mare Island Way.

Per direction received from the council at that March 8 meeting, staff created an online tool and conducted a series of in-person community engagement workshops to gather feedback for the location at 411 Amador St., currently in dire need of repairs and upgrades, as well as possible location future police building.

At the March 8 council meeting, McConnell did not mince words on the possibility of financing up to $ 30 million for the remodeling, design and construction, saying: “This particular vote tonight is going to be a legacy vote. You will be remembered by it for eternity. It’s bad financial planning. No matter how you look at it. It’s bad. ”

According to a staff report by Interim Assistant City Manager Terrance Davis on Tuesday night, about 200 pins were dropped on a map of Vallejo for desired sites of a police headquarters. However, the report revealed that three of the pins came from the same person and some were from members of the VPD.

The public spoke on both sides of the issue Tuesday night, with more being opposed to the headquarters at 400 Mare Island Way.

Public speaker Rick Perez, whose son was killed in an officer-involved shooting, was more concerned with the behavior of police than the toxicity of the air in the location at 111 Amador.

“(They) need to worry about the people and the bullets that come out of their guns and how toxic they are,” he said. “They kill people. Why should the public care about the police when the police do not care about the people? You go out there and ask these kids why they do not call the police. You know why they do not call the police? It’s because they do not want to be killed. “

Public speaker Anne Carr said although JFK is not her first choice for police headquarters, she prefers it to 400 Mare Island Way.

Longtime Vallejo advocate Askari Sowonde said, “If you do not listen to those talking, the city will not be able to flourish.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button