Monthly Archive for March, 2005

Caravati: School Board Chair to Blame

In yesterday’s monthly joint meeting of the school board and City Council, City Councilor Blake Caravati seemed to be chalking up the recent school troubles to poor leadership on the part of board chair Dede Smith. In today’s Progress, James Fernald writes:

City councilors and the School Board focused on low morale in Charlottesville’s schools at a joint meeting Wednesday, with one councilor laying the blame on poor leadership of the board.

Blake Caravati said part of the problem is comparatively low proposed teacher raises in next year’s school budget.

Several times during the meeting, Caravati questioned whether “Madam Chair” – Dede Smith – could “lead the board to make this budget work.”

Smith responded: “If you want to make me the scapegoat, fine.”

The board is meeting tonight. Presumably, the drama will continue.

UVa Buys Apartments for Students

The good news is that UVa has bought several private apartment buildings to use as student housing. The bad news is that UVa has bought several private apartment buildings to use as student housing. They’ve had a housing shortage that has been problematic, which led to a promise to provide more housing year ago. In an effort to alleviate this, they’ve bought a five-building apartment complex from Wade Apartments, just off JPA, as well as the University Forum complex, for a total of $11.05M. Between the two of them, the apartments can house 265 students.

In providing housing for students, it may help to limit the increase in rent prices created by students crowding into privately-owned houses. On the other hand, UVa just took eleven million dollars worth of property off of Charlottesville’s tax rolls which is, what, $120,000 in property taxes each year?

Damned if they’re do, and damned if they don’t. David Hendrick has the skinny in today’s Progress.

Profile of Rick Turner

In today’s Cavalier Daily, Chris Wilson has a profile of UVa Dean of African Affairs (or, as some call him, “Dean of All Things Black”) M. Rick Turner.

“When I came here … one of the things I didn’t want to do was have an adversarial relationship with my colleagues or those I report to,” he said. “But then I found out that, by the nature of what I do, the nature of the things I have to say, the nature of the issues that are brought forth to the University that I have to deal with, people are going to look at that as adversarial.”

And Turner certainly isn’t shy about the consequences of saying what he feels is necessary for him to say.


Myra Franklin-Jones, a College graduate student and two-time president of the Black Student Alliance, said she worries not about what Turner chooses to say but how he is understood in the community.

“I know that Dean Turner has the historical memory and the intellectual capacity to approach issues with all seriousness,” Franklin-Jones said. “I worry about how he is perceived, not how he is.”

Deeds Announces AG Candidacy

Democratic Senator Creigh Deeds, who represents Virginia’s 25th District (which includes Charlottesville), formally announced his campaign for Attorney General today. Creigh DeedsThe usual crowd of Charlottesville’s Democratic muckety-mucks (including me) turned out for the event, held on the east end of the Downtown Mall, at Bashir’s. Deeds’ speech made it clear that he’s as centrist as ever, but that didn’t seem to dampen the enthusiasm of the audience of liberal Democrats.

Deeds’ opposition will come in the form of either Steve Baril or his opponent for the Republican nomination, Del. Bob McDonnell. That will be decided in the June Republican primary.

03/30 Update: Bob Gibson’s got the skinny in the Progress.

Four Charged with Embezzling from Albemarle

Amazingly, four separate people have been arrested, each separately charged with embezzling from Albemarle County. Two former employees of the school system, one school custodian, and one former finance employee have been charged with a total of $25,000 in theft between them, Reed Williams writes in today’s Progress.

One, a former Murray Elementary cafeteria manager, stole over $5,000 in parentally-established lunch money accounts. Another, who worked in the media center offices, falsified mileage reports and stole a fax machine for a total of $12,000. Another — the custodian — took three 27″ TVs, two Macs, two drills and two power saws, which he pawned, adding up to $5,319. The fourth, the finance employee, embezzled $2,500 between September ’04 and January by taking cash payments filed for building permits.

The four cases are described as county officials as both unrelated to each other and very unusual. The fact that they were all caught seems to indicate that somebody in the county accounting department is doing their job.



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