Lynchburg City Council Work Session November 28, 2023

Lynchburg City Council Work Session

November 28, 2023


III.1 Lynchburg Fire Department (Cheif Greg Wormser) gave an update. 

New timelines for ordering equipment, long lead times. 

Turnout time average is 53 seconds, within goals for excellence.

Because of investment by Council, LFD has great equipment and does excellent work.  “Applications are up 37% and the pool of qualified applicants is deeper.”

There are needs in CIP to address cancer risks and gender-separated facilities. 

Chief specifically thanks City manager and his staff.

Received favorably.

III. 2 Council was given an overview of the Historic Preservation efforts in the city.

There seems to be a desire to weaken the requirements within Historical Districts

The presentation indicated strong support from residents who are in HD, reliance on standards to protect investment, as well as the historic nature of sections of the city.


  1. General Business Briefings on rezoning tracts on Taylor Street and Park Avenue

Conditional use permit considered for Hope Diamond Childcare.


IV.5 Update on Riverfront Amphitheater

Clear that the $3m initial cost estimate is short.  

Manager presentation stressed avoiding “value engineering” that cheapens the overall project. Hurts revenues, and eliminates top-grade operators and acts.

Helgeson and Misjuns are not inclined to support. Unsure where Taylor stands.

** Deeper consideration on the December 12 meeting.


IV.6 City-wide Youth Curfew 

Inclined to extend another 6 months to collect a full year of data.  Appears to be having a positive effect on crime statistics but not causal.

Added to tonight’s Public Meeting for further discussion.


  1. Roll Call

Misjuns presented several items for the Council’s consideration.

  1. Ask the Mayor to Proclaim January “Religious Liberty Month.”
  2. “Limitations on Sexually Charged Performances” ordinance.
  3. Reconsider his “Merit, Opportunity, and Excellence” (MEO) Resolution.



Enclosure (1) Copy of Misjuns’ Roll Call speech:

November 28, 2023  Roll Call Speech 

Councilmember Martin J. Misjuns 

Lynchburg City Council Work Session 

November 28, 2023 


Two weeks ago, The Lynchburg City School Board entertained a grant from an organization that promotes “porn literacy” and “group masturbation” in their “sex ed” video series for children.   


Fortunately, for our city’s children – the school board rejected the grant funding with a 7-2 vote.  A school building is not the place to promote a brand that children could research to find recommendations on sexual perversion.  I want to thank the following school board members for their courage to deny this predatory organization access to innocent school children: Dr. Gupta Dr. Day Mr. DePaul Mr. Jalil Mrs. Lowery Mr. Trost Mrs. Preston 


This was a win for our city, and a win for our children.  It’s also now clear that Lynchburg has become a battlefield in the war to protect our children from predators and those that seek to confuse, groom and pervert them. 


The school board’s principled decision was also met by anti-Judeo-Christian hate speech from an organization that appears innocent on the surface, but has a political motive behind it’s existence when you examine their positions.


Save our Schools – LCS, immediately fired back at the School Board stating, “Members’ religious values do not have a place on the school board.”  This is a fringe belief and hateful position that has been adopted by the Democrat party and their far-left allies that want to remove God from the public square.   


In our nation today and across the globe we have seen a rise of anti-Semitism and violence perpetrated against the Jewish people unlike any time since the Jewish genocide during the Holocaust – any intimidating statement to prohibit the free exercise of religion of another must be seen for exactly what it is – hate speech.   


Article I, Section 16 of the Constitution of Virginia states: “…all men shall be free to profess and by argument to maintain their opinions in matters of religion, and the same shall in nowise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities…” 


Bill No. 82, introduced by Thomas Jefferson and carried by James Madison though the General Assembly of Virginia in 1786 until passage, and now commonly referred to as the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom states: “…therefore the proscribing any citizen as unworthy the public confidence by laying upon him an incapacity of being called to offices of trust and emolument, unless he profess or renounce this or that religious opinion, is depriving him injuriously of those privileges and advantages to which, in common with his fellow citizens, he has a natural right…” And, “…that the opinions of men are not the object of civil government, nor under its jurisdiction…” And, “We the General Assembly of Virginia do enact [Be it enacted by the General Assembly] that no man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever, nor shall be enforced, restrained, molested, or burthened in his body or goods, nor shall otherwise suffer, on account of his religious opinions or belief; but that all men shall be free to profess, and by argument to maintain, their opinions in matters of religion, and that the same shall in no wise diminish, enlarge, or affect their civil capacities…” 


The passage of Bill No. 82 is observed annually on January 16th – as National Religious Freedom Day – and has been commemorated every year since 1993 via proclamation by the President of the United States, as it led to freedom of religion for all Americans in the United States and is the basis for that right enshrined in both our federal and Virginia constitutions. 


So why the history lesson?  It’s simple – each and every one of us behind this dais took an oath to uphold both of these documents that define and guarantee the rights of the people in our City.  I also took an oath to defend these rights, even if it cost me my life.   


I cannot remain silent when an organization in our city disguised as advocates for our public schools seek to deprive our school board members injuriously of the privileges and rights, in common with our fellow citizens, to which they have a natural right – through the intimidating tactic of hate speech.   


It is unconstitutional, anti-American, and contrary to the values of our City.   


In addition to their obvious anti-religious liberty approach to our school division, they are also advocating for an approach to education through the lens of a leading feminist critical race theorist who coined the term intersectionality, a concept which was proposed to advance identity politics – which is also not appropriate in our schools. 


So, what can City Council do?  We can do a variety of things.  First and foremost, we must make a clear stance that Religious Liberty is alive and well in Lynchburg, Virginia and we will stand in opposition to all forms of religious bigotry– which is why I am formally requesting the Mayor proclaim January as Religious Liberty MONTH in Lynchburg, VA.  Our city has a long tradition of being home to churches, synagogues and other sanctuaries for worship – and we need to make it clear that this City Council respects the natural right, endowed by our Creator, for religious Liberty for our citizens, our city staff, our board and commission appointees, and our peers behind the dais.  Our oath to the constitution matters, and the rights of free people must be upheld and protected by government, not trampled upon. 


This proclamation should not be watered down as a simple statement – it should be a bold and inclusive proclamation that makes it clear our city will not cower in the face of relentless attacks against religious freedom by the hardcore progressive left-wing of Democrat operatives that want to erase our Constitution and establish their state religion of a Secular Humanism, a worldview to eliminate the moral values that made America the greatest nation in world history. 


Second, we must continue to engage in the war to protect our children from these harmful ideologies.  We may have won the first battle in the school board 7-2 vote.  However, we are still at risk of losing the war if we do not earnestly, with proactive and not just reactive actions, to protect them.   


Chapter 6, Section 38 of the Lynchburg City Charter gives the City Council authority to “Prevent Vice and Immorality” in the City Limits.  I am formally introducing an ordinance related to “Limitations on Sexually Charged Performances” to prohibit these performances with minors present.  I am requesting a one-on-one with the City Attorney in the coming weeks to work out the language and details of this draft ordinance so it may be introduced on the agenda in our first work session in January for discussion, prior to consideration for adoption in the following business meeting. 


Finally, I again express how urgent it is that someone from the prevailing side of a discussion regarding the Merit, Excellence and Opportunity Resolution bring the item back to the table in a future work session for consideration.  We must prevent our city tax dollars from funding an organization that promotes harmful ideology in our public schools by recommending curriculum and articles for educators that includes a K-2 lesson plan that encourages elementary educators to read a book titled: “Who are you? The Kids guide to Gender Identity,” and suggest that teachers introduce children to an app that has them try out new pronouns – as only two small examples of a much larger and devious agenda to indoctrinate government employees, educators and school children with politically motivated far-left ideology to promote identity politics, destabilize the nuclear family, and deny religious liberty. 


Vice Mayor Faraldi emailed me to negotiate a path forward for this resolution, but after I proposed two opportunities to meet, he did not reply.  It is my hope that his desire to return this to the table was sincere – time will tell.    


The time to lead in Lynchburg is right now, before it’s too late.  Inaction on these serious matters demonstrates complicity in the effort to undermine religious liberty by ushering in an established state religion of Secular Humanism and endorsing the sacrifice of our city’s children to predators that seek to groom them into perverse and immoral lifestyles before they are even of age to understand themselves.  Little boys should not be led to castration, and young women should be protected in school bathrooms, locker rooms, and on their athletic teams – from men.


Enclosure (2) 

Proclamation Religious Liberty Month Proclamation – January 2024 

Whereas, Article I, Section 16 of the Constitution of Virginia guarantees the right for Virginians to exercise their faith freely and protects Virginians from the establishment of a state religion; and 


Whereas, the residents of Lynchburg, Virginia observe a diverse variety of faiths, including but not limited to Judaism and Christianity; and 


Whereas, we have seen a rise of hate speech toward people of Judeo-Christian faith in the City of Lynchburg, and a rise of violent antisemitism across the nation and globe; and 


Whereas, Lynchburg City Council, members appointed to Boards and Commissions of the City of Lynchburg, the City’s Leadership Team, and certain officers and employees have sworn underoath their duty to uphold the Constitution of theUnited States and Virginia in their capacity as public officials; and


Whereas, founding fatherof Virginia and the UnitedStates Thomas Jefferson’s landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom was passed on January 16, 1786, making Virginia the birthplace of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY as defined inthe first amendment of our United States Constitution; and 


Whereas, the most vital role of government is to protect the natural rights of its citizens. 


Now, Therefore be it resolved that I, Mayor Stephanie T. Reed do hereby proclaim the month of January 2024 as Religious Liberty Month in the City of Lynchburg, and encourage all city officials, employees, educators and residents to recognize and share with others the vital importance of RELIGIOUS LIBERTY and the right that all people are “equally entitled to the free exercise of religion, according to the dictates of conscience; and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian forbearance, love, and charity towards each other.”


Enclosure (3)  Letter to Mr. Matthew Freedman, City Attorney regarding an ordinance to protect minors by prohibiting their presence at sexually charged performances.


Mr. Matthew Freedman, 

City Attorney 

City of Lynchburg 

900 Church Street 

Lynchburg, VA 24504 


Mr. Freedman,

On July 28th, you offered your assistance with an ordinance to protect minors by prohibiting their presence at sexually charged performances via ordinance.  The state legislature has granted broad authority to the City of Lynchburg in the City Charter to address these matters.   


The ordinance that I’m requesting should: 

  • Define “sexually-charged” or “adult-themed” performances;  
  • Define “house of ill fame;”  
  • Prohibit the presence of minors at “sexually-charged” or “adult-themed” performances;  
  • Prohibit “sexually-charged” or “adult-themed” performances in public spaces where they could be viewed by a minor;  
  • Prohibit “sexually-charged” or “adult-themed” performances on public property under city jurisdiction; and  
  • Provide an enforcement mechanism for violations of the ordinance. 


I have several ideas for a draft ordinance proposal that I would like to discuss with you in person, as well as some pitfalls that I’ve researched in relation to this ordinance that we should avoid.  I am relying on the expertise of you and another pro-family attorney to achieve this and make it a lasting safeguard for the children in our city.  It is our duty to protect the most vulnerable in our community. 


Chapter 6, Section 38 of the Charter for the City of Lynchburg is where the authority to accomplish this lies.  Specifically, the 24th power enumerated in the Charter states that we have the power to:  

  • Prevent vice and immorality;  
  • Prevent “houses of ill fame;”  
  • Prevent lewd, indecent, and disorderly conduct in the city; and  
  • Prevent lewd, indecent, and disorderly exhibitions in the city. 


These powers should give our municipality sufficient authority to ensure that children are protected from sexually-charged and/or adult-themed performances.   


We would be derelict in our duties as elected representatives of Lynchburg’s citizens to not ensure children are afforded the most robust protections necessary in a world where rampant exploitation of minors persists.   Failing to act on this matter would demonstrate endorsement of predatory behavior to sexually groom and/or pervert children.  We need to send a loud and clear message that Lynchburg is a great place to start and raise a family in Virginia. 


Thank you for your consideration of this request, and I look forward to hearing from you to set up our first meeting by the end of the week. 


Marty Misjuns