When City Commissioner Kay Jones cast her shocking “yes” vote, even I was awestruck. I was saying to myself … did I hear that right? She voted yes? Wow! I would have never imagined that.

The crowded commission chamber was stunned by her vote. Any hope of defeating the ordinance was washed away. I would have to say — regardless of what side you are on — her vote will be the topic of discussion for quite sometime. What caused this change of heart?

Commissioner Jones always has been committed to defeating this ordinance and was instrumental in the stunning February defeat. However, the business community must have made a very convincing argument as to the benefits that the passage of this ordinance would bring.

Then there is the Olive Garden issue. It is rumored that one will becoming to the Richmond Centre. Commissioner Jones has been a long-time advocate for recruiting this restaurant to Richmond; her vote may have just sealed the deal.

Whether it was the business community’s swaying argument or her passion to bring an Olive Garden to Richmond, her decision was the right one for the sake of economic development. Supporting this ordinance was a tough thing for her to do. No matter what her vote was, she was never going to make everyone happy.

It’s takes guts and tough skin to go against something one is firmly committed to. I have great respect for individuals who can do some real soul searching and come up with the right decision for the community even though they know in their heart it is not. She put emotions aside and made the difficult call based on logic. That I can identify with and respect.

I stated in last week’s column anything can happen with this city commission and they certainly didn’t disappoint me. I had heard that the ordinance would likely pass, but of course I heard that last time. I also had an inkling how the vote would go down, but that didn’t pan out either. This city commission keeps it lively. Continue to attend the meetings; you never know what might happen.

Also, last week’s column provoked someone at city hall to send me a fax regarding the Open Meetings Act. I guess they thought I didn’t know the law, but I do. The Open Meetings Act only guarantees open government meetings where a quorum exists. It does not govern the conduct of the meeting nor citizen participation. Each agency must adopt its own rules and procedures regarding this.

My point was simply about fairness to citizens wanting to speak at commission meetings. Last February, citizens were given permission to speak, while in May they were not. That’s unfair and confusing to community involved citizens. The commission needs to set a policy that is fair, communicate it and stick to it before another fiasco occurs as it did in February.

THUMBS UP: I’m not a Barry Bonds fan by any means, but he is now the home run king. Records are made to be broken and that’s what he did. Regardless of how one feels about performance enhancement drugs, if he does use them, what he accomplished is still remarkable. Hitting a baseball traveling 90 mph toward you is difficult enough. Contact resulting in a home run is even more difficult. Hitting more than 758 homers takes skill, good coordination and luck. Bonds may have an asterisk after his record, but what he accomplished is still remarkable. It is likely one day, his record will be broken and fans will be upset at the player.

THUMBS DOWN: Lead in paint on toys manufactured in China is in the news again and involving toy giant Mattel. It was just two weeks ago that Fisher-Price announced a huge recall. Mattel owns Fisher-Price. This recall is much larger and raises further questions regarding the safety of Chinese-made products. It’s not been a fun time for Mattel lately.

Nick Lewis is publisher of the Richmond Register. He can be reached at nlewis@cnhi.com or 624-6682.

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