Thursday, August 15, 2013

City Council Member of the Week

Our grass-roots community group, "4 Chesapeake Hens," found the following approach very useful when we worked to get backyard hens legalized in Chesapeake, Virginia, with certain restrictions. Instead of asking members to contact everyone on City Council all at once, we asked them to contact one Council Member at a time, so that our efforts were more focused and hopefully noticed.

We are not done working for the right to keep our hens, however. City Council voted a sunset clause into the ordinance, which means that if Council does not vote to keep the law by December 20, 2013, our right to keep our hens will lapse. Therefore it is time to contact our elected leadership and share our expectations.

Remember to keep all contact with our elected leadership concise, informed, and polite. This is how our group earned the right to keep hens, and this is how we will continue to keep them. Also remember that most Council Members voted *for* the hen ordinance. We will inform  you which ones did or did not, and we will inform you *why* a Council Member voted against us if we know the reasons. If you email, be sure to include contact information such as your name, address, email address, and telephone number.


Our final "City Council Member of the Week" is Vice Mayor John de Triquet, who voted *against* backyard hens along with Debbie Ritter and Rick West. Dr. de Triquet has been very open and honest about his opposition to backyard hens since the beginning of our group's efforts in Chesapeake. He has been willing to communicate and very polite. He also seems to appreciate the respectful, well-informed way our group has approached hims. Nevertheless, his mind has seemed to be made up. Video is available on YouTube that explains Vice Mayor de Triquet's "no" vote back in November. It's interesting to note that he cites the opinions of health officials in Richmond, yet Richmond has legalized backyard microflocks since last November. If anyone discovers any specifics about his concerns for public health or safety, please let us know! We would like to address them if we can.

Here is his contact information:

Vice Mayor John de Triquet

Council Member
3020 Princess Anne Crescent
Chesapeake, VA 23321

Contact Numbers:

Business: 757-312-9220
Home: 757-484-0542
Fax: 757-484-0014
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6951


This week's "City Council Member of the Week" is Debbie Ritter, who voted *against* backyard hens last November. She has been consistently willing to talk to her constituents and to listen to them, but she has consistently opposed the hens. Her main reason seems to be her perception of residents' "expectations." Be sure to share your own expectations politely when you contact her. Explain that voters' expectations might be different from what she suspects. Video of her explanation when she voted against the hens last November is available on YouTube through Saad Ringa. Thanks, Saad!

Here is her contact information:

S.Z. "Debbie" Ritter

Council Member
732 Schoolhouse Road
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Contact Numbers:

Home: 757-482-4242
Fax: 757-482-6356
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6948


This week's "City Council Member of the Week" is Scott W. Matheson.  He also voted for allowing backyard hens. Be sure to thank Mr. Matheson and ask him to renew the ordinance. Here is his contact information:

Scott W. Matheson

Council Member
725 Watch Island Reach
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Contact Numbers:

Phone: 757-548-3296
Fax: 757-410-9409
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6947


Lonnie E. Craig is this week's "City Council Member of the Week." He voted *for* backyard hens last November. Please thank him for doing so and remind him that it is time to extend the law. Here is his contact information:

Lonnie E. Craig

Council Member
3613 S. Battlefield Blvd.
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Contact Numbers:

Home: 757-421-2322
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6946


This week's ""City Council Member of the Week" is Dr. Ella P. Ward. When she voted for the hen ordinance, she said the sunset clause was important to her. She  felt it important for Council to revisit the ordinance this fall in case backyard hens were causing the City or its residents any problems. It is time to remind her that the hens have been a blessing, not a problem, to residents of Chesapeake. We need to make this ordinance permanent so we can continue to enjoy our hens. Here is her contact information:

Dr. Ella P. Ward

Council Member
1517 Pine Grove Lane
Chesapeake, VA 23321

Contact Numbers:

Home: 757-488-6843
Fax: 757-488-4713
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6950


This week's "City Council Member of the Week" is our Mayor, Alan P. Krasnoff. He voted *for* backyard hens back in November. Please thank him and ask him to do the same the next time the issue is up for a vote. The mayor is interested in helping people from all walks of life, especially those who face challenging circumstances. If chickens have helped you or your family overcome adversity in any way, please be sure to share your story. Here is his contact information according to the City's website:

Dr. Alan P. Krasnoff

1006 Cuervo Court
Chesapeake, VA 23322

Contact Numbers:

Business: 757-547-9266
Home: 757-547-8446
Fax: 757-547-9268
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6974


Our third "City Council Member of the Week" is  Susan H. "Suzy" Kelly. She voted *for* backyard hens back in November and has told me she "hopes to be able to" vote for them again this fall. She has been one of the more responsive council members to our questions and requests. She has strong interests in environmental concerns, especially water quality. She also has told me that she hoped that backyard hens would not become a divisive issue in our community. Please send her messages reassuring her on both counts. Thank her for her support. Here is her contact information from the City's website:

Susan H. "Suzy" Kelly

Council Member
1716 Lambert Court
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Contact Numbers:

Phone: 757-523-2900
Fax: 757-523-0903
Ph. Mail: 757-213-5115


Our second "City Council Member of the Week" is Dr. Rick West, who has degrees in education. He voted against backyard hens in November, but we are still not sure what his reasons were. In a recent article in the Clipper, West claims he has not changed his opinion but is trying to keep an open mind, particularly since there have been few complaints. Let's thank him for trying to keep an open mind and see if we can find out exactly what his concerns are. If you learn of his reasons, please keep us posted in comments either here or on 4 Chesapeake Hens' Facebook page. Perhaps we can find ways to assuage whatever concerns he may still have.

Dr. Richard W. "Rick" West

Council Member
1144 Fairway Drive
Chesapeake, Va  23320

Contact Numbers:

Home: 757-436-1915
Fax: 757-390-3598
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6952

Our first "City Council Member of the Week" is Robert Ike, who is the City Council Member who worked very hard to bring this law to pass. He has always been completely in our corner. Let's start by thanking him for what he has done, and offering to help him as he works toward making this change permanent. Here is his contact information as provided by the City.


Robert C. Ike, Jr.

Council Member
908 Executive Court, #104
Chesapeake, VA 23320

Contact Numbers:

Home: 757-842-4819
Fax: 757-482-6654
Ph. Mail: 757-382-6956

Update: On November 26, 2013, Chesapeake City Council voted to make the "hen ordinance" permanent. The meeting may be viewed online:  fast forward to 1:19 to see some great pro-chicken speeches and the City Council's reaction. 

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