Monthly Archive for September, 2009

Divining Paul Goodloe McIntire’s Intent

Rachana Dixit had a commendable story in the Daily Progress a couple of weeks ago that I was remiss in not mentioning at the time, “What did McIntire really want?” There have been a lot of efforts to divine the intent of Paul Goodloe McIntire in donating land and money to establish McIntire Park, but Dixit pulled the deed for a chunk of the land and checked it out. It says:

Said property shall be held and used in perpetuity by the said City for a public park and play ground for the white people of the City of Charlottesville but the authorities of the said City shall at all times have the right and power to control, regulate and restrict the use of said property.

“White people”? Awk-ward. That makes it a bit tough to adhere to McIntire’s (apparent) intent. That particular parcel of land is at the Rugby interchange. (The land that makes up the park is a patchwork of land acquired at different times.) One of the parcels where the parkway is going was condemned by Council “for use by white people as a park and playground.” Park opponents tell Dixit that McIntire surely didn’t have different intents for different chunks of the park—that in specifying that the land was to be “held and used in perpetuity…for a public park” he meant the whole shebang, and not a particular few acres. The city, obviously, disagrees.

VDOT Proposes Two New Connecting Roads

VDOT is recommending a couple of new connecting roads, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow.

The first is a chunk of the western bypass, extending “Leonard Sandridge Drive” (the exit to the bypass that UVA built recently, near the law school) on the other side of the bypass, running across Barracks Road and connecting to the far side of Hydraulic, towards Albemarle High School. That could hug the developed area pretty closely, connecting to and expanding Georgetown Road, or it could loop farther out, still connecting to Hydraulic where Georgetown does. There’s a third option of running clear up to Earlysville Road. (See the Daily Progress’ map.) The idea is to formalize what many people already do—drive clear up 29 from Barracks Road without ever driving on 29—but starting back at UVA. The folks in Canterbury Hills are about to bust a vein over these proposals—this road would run right through the back of many people’s property there, or through the middle of the neighborhood if the Georgetown option is chosen. VDOT emphasizes that this isn’t a bypass—it’s just a new road, meant to be used for local traffic. Presumably that means that there will be connecting roads, traffic lights, etc., so this new road would be opening up a whole new corridor for development. Part of VDOT’s interest has to be that the clock is ticking on the land that they acquired for the western bypass—if they don’t put it to use within the next few years, they’re going to have to sell it back.

The second proposal is an exit for 29N from the bypass at Best Buy. “We already have one,” you say? That’s true. (Though I figure we have two—one via Hydraulic and one that’s direct.) But VDOT wants us to have another one, so they’re proposing an elevated roadway that would run north from that stretch between Hydraulic and 29—going towards Barracks Road, it’s on your right where you can see a stream and a pedestrian footbridge—between Kroger and Dominion Power, over Hydraulic and the used car dealer owned by that guy who shot his neighbor’s cat, and then merge into 29 in front of Seminole Square. (See VDOT’s rendering.) If Albemarle Place ever happens, that merge point would seem to prevent access to it.

Given the state of Virginia’s transportation budget, this all seems academic. Though VDOT wants to see Charlottesville help fund it with local property tax increases along the corridor, it’s tough to see how that could possibly add up to being enough money. (Though it would send local business groups into fits, simultaneously favoring new roads and opposing having to actually spend any money to build them.) VDOT’s study group is going to take these recommendations to the Commonwealth Transportation Board in a couple of months, who will presumably decide whether it’s a high enough priority for the state that they’re prepared to spend however much it’ll cost.

No Yard Sale Regulation

The city planning commission isn’t going to regulate yard sales after all, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow. They were considering requiring permits in response to homeowners holding never-ending “yard sales” that really amount to unlicensed businesses selling quasi-junk in an area not zoned for businesses, and also because of the illegal posting of signs to promote legitimate yard sales. (Two examples provided are the produce stand somebody set up on the corner of Long and High recently and the sketchy sales of rugs and shoes in an empty parking lot on Preston). The commission figures that there are enough existing laws that make these sorts of things illegal that there’s no need to require that everybody else go through an onerous process to hold a simple yard sale.

Rodney Thomas on Race

One month ago BoS candidate Rodney Thomas was interviewed by Lisa Provence for The Hook. In the context of highlighting his local roots (versus those of his opponent, incumbent Democrat David Slutzky), Provence wrote:

Rodney Thomas has lived in Charlottesville all his life. He went to Lane High School and as a freshman, was president of the Young Republican Club in 1958, the year Governor Lindsay Almond closed the school rather than integrate it.

“We got along fine,” he says of African-American students. “I think it was a pure government thing to force down people throats. Blacks had the best school. We loved to go over there [to Burley].”

Thomas is referring, of course, to massive resistance, which closed both Lane High, the white school, and Burley High, the black school. Lane’s facilities were considerably better than those of Burley, as was standard for black schools; hence the debate over “separate but (un)equal” and Brown v. Board of Education. Since Thomas wasn’t a student at Burley, though, he may not have known that.

Well, those remarks didn’t escape Slutzky’s attention, and he brought them up at Albemarle Democrats’ annual barbeque last weekend, as Brandon Shulleeta writes in today’s Progress. When asked to explain the remarks by Shulleeta, Thomas said that he didn’t really want to talk about integration, for fear of being “misconstrued,” but said that he “always thought that integration was necessary.” But then, unfortunately for Thomas, he kept talking:

However, Thomas said he doesn’t always use words that society considers “politically correct.”

“There’s certain things that I say, that I’ve said all of my life. And I really don’t want to have to change my vocabulary just to adapt to someone else’s politically correct answer to something. I mean, I’m still having a hard time calling Asians, ‘Asians.’ I still call them ‘Orientals,’” Thomas said. “And I have a hard time calling the black people African-Americans. I’m forcing myself to do it.”

Thomas added: “The word ‘N-word’ was never used in my house. And I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think I’ve ever used the word either, unless it was ‘Negro.’ I don’t know; do they mind me calling them a Negro anymore? Is that improper also?”


Superintendent Recommends Against School Consolidation

Albemarle County school superintendent Pam Moran has recommended against consolidating three southern elementary schools, Henry Graff reports. The school board is debating whether to consolidate or renovate three schools—Red Hill, Scottsville, and Yancey. The school board has been waiting on a recommendation from staff, which they may or may not adhere to. They’ll make a decision next month.



You are currently browsing the weblog archives for the month September, 2009.