Hamilton Calling it Quits

City Councilor Kendra Hamilton won’t be running for reelection, Seth Rosen reports in the Progress. Hamilton was elected to Council in 2004 along with Mayor David Brown, and, along with Kevin Lynch, both find their terms up somewhat early this time around because the elections have been moved from May to November. Hamilton, a writer, says that she needs to spend more time on her vocation and finish up her PhD from the UVa English department. Neither Brown nor Lynch have decided if they want to run for reelection. It would be Lynch’s third term and, as he points out, “eight years is a while.”

As the only member of Council who isn’t a white man, Hamilton’s departure is sure to send some city Democrats into a tizzy trying to track down a black woman to replace her. Charlottesville attorney and blogger Jennifer McKeever hinted strongly at plans to run in a recent blog entry. Is anybody else planning to run?

8 thoughts on “Hamilton Calling it Quits”

  1. Interesting – I wasn’t aware that the City Charter included a clause that defined the race and gender of the Councilors. Why not a Black man or an Hispanic woman? If the best candidate happens to be a White man or woman, would they be deemed ineligible by the party elite? If they really want a representative sample, shouldn’t they also be looking to replace either Lynch or Brown on the ticket? 4 White guys and 1 Black woman doesn’t seem very representative of the community. Shouldn’t it be 1 White guy, 1 White woman, 1 Black man, 1 Black woman, and 1 Republican? Or instead of that, maybe 1 University professor, 1 Downtown Mall business owner, 1 Belmont home renovator, 1 retired cop, and Coran Capshaw? But then what about the dog park vote?

    It’s fun watching political parties twist themselves into knots!

  2. Big Al,

    It could just as easily be a black male. This is more important to many people than looking for members of every other conceivable group because of the fact that black people have historically been discriminated against in this part of the country and went without representation for several hundred years despite being a very large part of the population.

    I am not aware of any history of systematic discrimination against university professors or retired cops, nor am I aware of any set of concerns that are largely unique to those groups of people. Wheras if you look at the areas with the highest concentrations of black voters in Charlottesville, you tend to find neighborhoods with much more crime, lousy roads, crappy housing and lower test scores for school children. Is some of this the fault of the black people who live there? Of course it is. Most of the crime is black on black and those children often grow up in a neighbohood culture that looks down on the value of education. Nevertheless, if these problems are to be solved they must be solved by local black leadership that acts as a bridge between community and government.

    Because the Democratic party believes in accepting responsibility for helping to solve social problems, we always like to actively seek out emerging leadership among the local black community and encourage them to run for our nomination for city council. Do we want to hand someone the nomination just because of their color? No. We will vote for a well-qualified white candidate before we will vote for a lousy candidate who is black. But we always make every effort to find qualified, electable black candidates who are willing to run.

  3. Sorry – I can’t help but see how ridiculous it is when a party that has no problem with four White men on City Council in a city with a population as diverse as Charlottesville’s gets in a tizzy trying to find a Black woman. Seems like tokenism to me. Maybe it’s not that at all, but it definitely seems like it.

  4. You brought up an interesting point, Big_Al. So I looked up the estimated 2005 Census numbers for Cville to see how they would compare to Council’s makeup. Turns out, it was estimated the population in 2005 was 70% non-Hispanic White, 21% Black, nearly 5% Asian, 3% Hispanic, and

  5. Sorry, the rest of my post was cut off due to my inadvertant “less than” sign, which probably did something to the post’s code. Here’s the amended version:

    “…less than 1% other races/ethnicities. That said, Council is not too far off if you do some rounding. What it does need, however, is more women. The 2005 estimate for females in Charlottesville was 54%.”

    Here’s my source: http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/51/51540.html

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