Monthly Archive for February, 2007

MACAA Announces Dental Program

I wrote a really long blog entry about indigent dental care in Virginia back in August after many hours of research into the topic, and came away convinced that we have a terrible, terrible system for dealing with what is a far bigger problem than I ever would have guessed. (For example, one in five Virginians don’t have a single tooth in their head. Wow.) For most low-income Virginians there is no relief for dental problems, and resulting health problems can easily leave them crippled or even dead.

Now comes news that the Monticello Area Community Action Agency is coordinating a dental program to serve these individuals, Brian McNeill reports in today’s Daily Progress. Private dentists and the Charlottesville Free Clinic will provide the actual care. It seems unlikely that they’ll be able to meet the significant demand (especially demand for adult dental care), but this is an enormous step forward for a very big problem.

Potential Council Candidates Named

City Councilor Kendra Hamilton’s announcement that she won’t be seeking reelection means that at least one of the three seats up for reelection will be open, and that’s brought potential candidates out of the woodwork. Over at Democratic Democrat, Lloyd Snook runs down the list of candidates, and figures that Mayor David Brown will run for reelection, Kevin Lynch won’t run if somebody he likes runs, and names five possible candidates: Satyendra Huja, Linda Seaman, Jennifer McKeever, Carolyn Shears, and Karen Waters. I’ve also heard that Holly Edwards is thinking about running.

Of course, they won’t all run if only one seat opens up. It’s just a hunch, but I’ll bet that Kevin Lynch won’t run if Holly Edwards runs — they’re both thoughtful and gregarious community activists.

Planning Commission Reconsiders their Meeting Policy

There’s been some informative discussion on local blogs about the Charlottesville Planning Commission and how they interact with the public. Over at Charlottesville Tomorrow, Brian Wheeler chronicles the planning commission’s February 15 meeting (complete with podcast audio) where:

the Charlottesville Planning Commission directed staff to prepare written guidelines strongly discouraging any communications between the Commissioners and developers or citizens with a position on a matter before the Commission. A motion to eliminate those communications entirely was considered then withdrawn. If approved, the City Planning Commission would adopt a style in sharp contrast to their neighbors in Albemarle County where these informal meetings with concerned citizens and developers are common practice.

Over at the new blog “Democratic Central,” responding to Charlottesville Tomorrow’s blog entry, Lloyd Snook weighs in strongly in favor of an open process:

When I was on the Planning Commission 20 years ago, I would meet with developers and citizens and neighbors and anyone else who wanted to talk about things. I wanted the most information possible. I didn’t want to have to get only the information that the staff gave me — not because I thought they were out to mislead me, but because they might not ask the same questions that I would ask.


This is not a jury system, where the decision makers can only base their decisions on what they learn in the courtroom. Planning Commissioners are generally thought of as legislators, and there are no restrictions on how legislators can gather their information.

I was asked to serve on the Charlottesville Planning Commission some years ago (I decided against it), but gave a lot of thought to it. I’ve got to agree with Lloyd Snook’s take on this, assuming that common sense is adhered to as Peter Kleeman suggests in a comment. Balancing open government and convenient government often isn’t easy; I’m glad there’s a public discussion about it.

Film Fest Theme: Kin Flicks

The Virginia Film Festival announced this year’s theme a few days ago, when I wasn’t looking: “kin flicks.” Film Fest director Richard Herskowitz made it known on his blog, and Jeremy Borden provides details in the Progress. It seems anything pertaining to family is up for grabs, which Herskowitz says was motivated both by a desire to get more families to attend and continue the discussion that began with last year’s gay marriage amendment. If you’ve got suggestions for films, Herskowitz is soliciting them as comments to his blog entry.

Deputy Craig Seeks Sheriff’s Office

Albemarle County Sheriff’s Deputy Roger Craig is running for the Democratic nomination for sheriff, the Daily Progress reports. He’ll be challenging Albemarle County police investigator Larry Claytor for the nomination; Claytor announced his campaign a couple of weeks ago. Charlottesville police captain Chip Harding is seeking the Republican nomination.

I’m told that Sheriff Edgar Robb, who is retiring, was backing Harding as his replacement, but that he also encouraged Craig to get into the race. That would explain Robb’s refusal to endorse anybody just yet, but it seems like an odd thing to do.

Craig’s candidacy is a bit of a puzzle — I just mapped his address in Google Earth, and he lives half a mile from the Albemarle border, in Orange County, just down the road from me, which would make him ineligible to serve in an Albemarle office. He started working with the Charlottesville Police Department in 1987, and he’s been with the Sheriff’s Office for 16 years, so I’m certainly not questioning the man’s commitment to law enforcement in Albemarle. Maybe he moved recently?

02/28 Update: Rob Seal writes in today’s Progress that Craig does live in Orange, but he and his wife own a house in Albemarle that they’ll move into in May in order to satisfy the residency requirement. That would certainly seem to settle things.



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