Archive for the 'Politics' Category

Ask Not For Whom Rob Bell Tolls

In 2009, Del. Rob Bell introduced legislation to take $3M in school funding from Charlottesville and give it to Albemarle County. This was seen as a safe political move by Bell even as it stirred up residual ill feelings between some in the city and the county over the revenue sharing agreement.

Showing that elections have consequences, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports that the current Albemarle Board of Supervisors will not ask the General Assembly this year to reallocate $3M from the city to the county schools. The budget amendment always failed anyway, so let us hope that we have now seen the end of this feckless gesture.

Huja Reselected as Mayor

Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja has been selected for another two-year term, Aaron Richardson reports in the Daily Progress. Nobody nominated vice mayor Kristin Szakos to succeed Huja in the position. She abstained from voting, so Huja won in a 4–0 vote. Councilor Dede Smith was then selected as the new vice mayor, by a 5-0 vote.

Democrats Sweep City, County Elections

It wasn’t even close.

Democrats didn’t just win every city election—there’s nothing unusual there—but have unseated two Republican incumbents in the process of winning every Albemarle Board of Supervisors seat. Diantha McKeel defeated Phillip Seay in Jack Jouett (57% to 43% 70% to 30%), Brad Sheffield unseated Rodney Thomas in Rio (57% to 43%), Liz Palmer unseated Duane Snow in Samuel Miller (57% to 43%), and Jane Dittmar beat Cindi Burket in Scottsville (58% to 42%). That will make 4/6 of the BOS women, and 2/6 veterinarians. Although BOS races tend to be decided by issues specific to each district, Snow and Thomas’ role in the surprise midnight vote on the Western Bypass, combined with unhappiness about their opposition to Women’s Equality Day and the Equal Rights Amendment, may have galvanized opposition to them and support for female candidates across Albemarle. Tonight’s results leave Ken Boyd as the sole Republican on the Board of Supervisors, a really stunning change in fortunes for the once-powerful Albemarle Republican Party.

In the city, Kristin Szakos won reelection easily, and her running mate, independent-turned-Democrat Bob Fenwick, likewise won easily, with 36% and 32%, respectively, to Republicans Mike Farruggio’s 19% and Buddy Weber’s 12%. For the Commissioner of the Revenue, Democrat Todd Divers got 62% in a three-way race.

BOS Again Votes Down Civil Rights Resolutions

The Albemarle Board of Supervisors refused to pass a resolution recognizing Sept. 14 as Pride Festival Day, J. Reynolds Hutchins reports for the Progress, intended to coincide with the annual gay rights festival held in Charlottesville. It failed in a 3–3 vote, with Ken Boyd, Rodney Thomas, and Petie Craddock voting against it. Board members told the Progress that they didn’t vote against it because they’re against the event or even against gay rights, but rather they’re against issuing proclamations in support of every little thing, and they’re simply drawing a line. This comes on the heels of the BOS likewise refusing to recognize Women’s Equality Day last month, and last October refusing to vote in support of the General Assembly ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, which has been reliably passed by the board for years.

Here is a list of some the things that the Board of Supervisors has publicly recognized in the past five months, via proclamations, resolutions, and certificates of appreciation, all of which passed without debate:

  • Alan Collier for service on the Equalization Board
  • David Cooke for service on the Equalization Board
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and April 21, 2013, as
    “Power Talk 21 Day”
  • Monticello District Boy Scouts of America
  • May 2013 as Fair Housing Month
  • FTC Robotics Team #5903–”Defying Gravity”
  • Paul Wright for service on the Architectural Review Board
  • May 5-11, 2013 as Municipal Clerks Week
  • May 6-10, 2013 as Public Service Recognition Week
  • Business Appreciation Week 2013, specifically recognizing Susan Stimart, Barbara Kessler (Piedmont Workforce Network), Elizabeth Bouldin-Clopton (Workforce Center Manager), Clay Wimberlery (Wimberley
    Photography), Kelly Louk (ibid), and Daniel Flippin (Heritage Inn)
  • Albemarle County Police Department, for their support of the National Guard and the National Reserve

These are item number six on the template for the report issued by county staff after each meeting: “Recognitions.” That is, these recognitions occur so frequently that it’s noted when there aren’t any (“there were none”).

Boyd and Thomas apparently regard their newfound opposition to resolutions as an utter coincidence, having nothing at all to do with their positions on civil rights. Municipal Clerks Week and Paul Wright were weighty matters, but gay rights and women’s rights? Just too trivial. (Apologies to municipal clerks and Paul.)

Dittmar Running for Scottsville BOS Seat

Jane Dittmar is Democrats’ candidate for the Scottsville Board of Supervisors seat, Claudia Elzey reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The former Chamber of Commerce president runs a mediation firm, has lived in the district for 15 years, and in Albemarle for 35 years. In her announcement, she named tourism, agribusiness, and employment in Scottsville as issues that she’s interested in addressing. Lisa Provence points out in The Hook that both Dittmar and Republican opponent Cindi Burket live in Glenmore, meaning that the next Scottsville District supervisor will come from the far northern edge of the district. This marks a change for a district that has long been represented by people who live in the town of Scottsville. The election is November 5th.

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