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?”

Ouch.

67 thoughts on “Rodney Thomas on Race”

  1. I think that it makes him sound human – and honest. He could have spent time with a consultant and come up with a “more appropriate” response but aren’t we all sick of that?

    The Asian/Oriental thing had to make me laugh a bit. I specifically remember when I learned that it stopped being okay to say “Oriental”. It was about 20 years ago and I found out from the Vietnamese receptionist in my office. She was quite rude about it but at least I found out I was offending a very large group of people without ever knowing it.

  2. Clearly this guy has an ‘us and them’ attitude about groups of people that may have been quite enlightened for the mid-60s. And if the point is to look at his attitudes and comments through the prism of old white guys that have lived their entire lives in central Virginia, then I agree that it’s not so easy to condemn his views.

    Thank God this kind of guy is getting elected to public office less and less as time goes by. I will be quite glad to see him defeated in November.

    All citizens have the right to representation, regardless of the color of their skin and the color of their elected representatives’ skin. If “blacks” or “negroes” or “African-Americans” or “Asians” or “Orientals” or “Vietnamese” or whatever he wants to call “them” are made to feel less than full members of society by a politician’s comments, attitudes, actions or whatever, I think it is quite right for “them” to vote for his/her opponent. And I will join “them”, every time.

  3. Walso: You used the “O” word and I am appalled!

    I think it makes Thomas look like he’s scratching his head like the rest of us at the over-sensitivity and odd makeover of our language when it comes to race and nationality. We did go from (perhaps not in this order): negro, colored person, Afro-American, African American, black, and all this over a period of maybe 50 years. Seems every decade has it’s “appropriate” skin-color languaging for whatever race one is. Just when we get used to one descriptive word, it changes. But that change (from one to the other) does NOT mean that the formerly used term is at all racist or demeaning. It just means that the use and popularity has changed. Are we “old” then, Waldo, which is as prejudicial a term as any racial epithet, especially the way you used it, or just having a hard time keeping up with the accepted vernacular? Your prejudice is showing too.

    And I want an apology, you age-ist.

  4. It’s not the vernacular, it’s the attitude. The notion that integration and civil rights for all citizens regardless of skin color is “a pure government thing to force down people throats” implies that the victims of discrimination are not people, whatever you want to call “them”. And that notion is an automatic disqualifier for ANY public office in my book.

    If I found out that a school teacher was spouting this nonsense, I would make it my duty to get them fired.

    The bottom line is that white people are NOT the only people that matter, but that is the subtext of this debate. What do “we” call “them”?

  5. In Rodney’s day “old” was followed by “fart.” I’ll be devastated if that changes before my kids qualify.

  6. I am getting really tired of this idea that because you are being rude, inconsiderate, and/or culturally insensitive you are somehow telling the truth. Many of these individuals will qualify their statements by saying something like “now I don’t believe in being politically correct (PC)” and then think that what ever follows that statement must be the truth because they are offending someone.

    I live in the Rio District and there is not a chance that I will vote for this guy. In 2009 he still cannot understand why anyone “in those times” would have been for the Brown decision (or integration)? Well the Supreme Court gives us an opinion Mr. Thomas can read up on if he wants to “see how someone could be for that.” He can also go out and speak to thousands of black residents right here in the Charlottesville. Brown was not just about school segregation, but was a launching pad for the Civil Rights Movement. Moreover, as the Supreme Court acknowledged in Brown, segregated schools were not equal. Black schools had far fewer resources and much less support. Finally, regardless of what any revisionist says today or any racist said in the past, the purpose of segregation was not to promote peace but to separate a minority who the majority feared and/or thought was inferior. If this man doesn’t have the ability to comprehend these simple issues, then I surely don’t want him making policy decisions for our county.

  7. Mr. Thomas is displaying ignorance when he says no one here supported civil rights “in those times.” There was an active Human Relations Council that supported the Supreme Court decision. And has he ever heard of longtime Charlottesville resident Sarah Patton Boyle, author of The Desegregated Heart that tells how as a white Southerner she came to support integration and racial equality?
    Let him tell that to Professor Paul Gaston of Uva(now retired) who was assaulted and arrested on a picket line here protesting segregation.
    Perhaps a majority of the white population did support segregation, but by no means everyone.
    I think he needs to do some reading on the history of the civil rights movement and on African-American history generally. As for “Negro” that term went out in the mid-60s with the advent of the Black Power movement and the slogan “black is beautiful.” I wouldnt say anyone using it is racist, just “behind the times.” Another reason it likely lost favor was its pronunciation(‘nigra”) by some whites who didn’t want to come right out and use the other N word.

  8. We did go from (perhaps not in this order): negro, colored person, Afro-American, African American, black, and all this over a period of maybe 50 years.

    So you’re…agreeing with me?

  9. Following up on HollowBoy’s comment, I think he’s not displaying just ignorance, but displaying that he’s not aware of White privilege or the entrenched cultural racism that the Civil Rights movement he’s talking about only began to address. His comments clearly and honestly display that in his mind Americans are divided into Us and Them (where the Us are his fellow white males). If he’s saying that “people” didn’t support desegregation, he means “White people”, the only people he knew.

    The question here isn’t if it’s “okay” for him to have this attitude and to make “Politically Incorrect” statements. It’s not my job to make him a better person. The question is if it’s acceptable in 2009 to elect a politician who still has a segregated view of America.

  10. I am not a county resident but I hope those voting care as much about the economic policies of these two candidates as they do about this issue. I dare say this will affect the future well being of the poor and middle class, no matter what their race, more than what we call them.

    Please care about Mr. Slutzky signing a pledge to support a water plan no matter what the cost. To make those least fortunate pay the lions share of the cost should matter. I consider what Mr. Slutzky signed to be blatantly false and hopefully honesty is important when picking a candidate.
    This is the statement signed by Mr. Slutzky, Snow, Cummings and Rooker. Mr. Thomas did not sign this and I respect him for that. Please ask these candidates how they know this is the most economical plan if no one –I mean no one knows the cost !

    Consensus Statement on the 50 year Water Supply Plan as endorsed by candidates for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

    Each of us has independently reviewed the specifics of our community’s long-term Water Supply Plan. We have concluded that the plan as approved by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors in 2006 meets our community’s obligations to present and future citizens in the most practical, environmentally sound and economical way possible. We support moving ahead with this plan as soon as possible.

  11. You people are racist in reverse. Can’t stand anything white. Jump on every uttered word and turn it into a racist comment. What a buch of puk’s.

  12. Racism is racism…it does nothing but show your ignorance to add “reverse” in front of it.

  13. I hope the irony isn’t lost on anyone that he made those remarks at a barbeque, ’cause now he’s toast! A macaca moment just like big George.

  14. I’m with Betty and I am a county resident – and I also live in the Rio district.

    I really think too much is being made of this. Once we get our Newspeak dictionaries, things will be so much easier to deal with.

  15. It’s not about what terms he uses (“Oriental” v. Asian, whatever). It’s about his inability to comprehend other points of view. He can’t imagine “anyone” supporting desegregation — that’s a dead giveaway that when he thinks of “others,” he’s thinking “others exactly like myself.”

    That’s a bad quality in an elected representative who needs to represent the interests of a wide variety of people, many of whom are not like himself.

  16. Cecil, I feel the same about Slutzky. Try to reason with him about what a “build at any cost” water plan will mean to the ratepayers.

  17. Betty, I think if you’re looking for an environmental ally in Rodney Thomas then you’ll be very disappointed. In his time on the planning commission he never met a development he didn’t like. Why is there such a push for expanding ragged mountain? Because even with just the currently approved stuff we’re going to be having water supply issues. With Thomas on the BOS, developers stand a chance at getting a majority in their favor again on the BOS, and the means more uncontrolled growth. More uncontrolled growth = Expansion of Ragged Mountain (or worse).

    Slutzky may not always be as progressive as I’d like, but as an environmentalist, he’s light years ahead of Thomas. Keep in mind that Thomas is making “land rights” a key component of his campaign, and that’s really just code for “uncontrolled growth with no regulation”. Want the whole county to look like 29 north? Then Rodney’s your guy.

    Besides, he’s already said he supports the water supply plan. Not signing it is clearly just a political move, not unlike Fenwick’s attempts to convince activists that he really cares about foxes and the environment.

  18. I don’t know much about Rodney Thomas’s previous positions, but I disagree with your opinion that Mr. Fenwick does not care about sustainability and the cost of not maintaining our infrastructure. Do you have any evidence of this besides your own opinion ?

  19. “Slutzky may not always be as progressive as I’d like, but as an environmentalist, he’s light years ahead of Thomas.” Where is your evidence? Slutzky’s blind support for this water proposal indicates that he is blind.
    Waldo, thanks for the link. I would have missed it probably. Burley was never closed. It wasn’t being desegregated. Venable Elem was.
    http://www2.dailyprogress.com/cdp/news/local/article/supervisor_hopeful_defends_remarks_on_school_integration/45914/I found this comment interesting:

    Posted by ( Kenneth ) on September 25, 2009 at 9:12 pm

    Rodney Thomas’ comments are not out of the ordinary. When I attended Lane High School in 1961, most of the students there didn’t care one way or the other. I know a lot of people who do not wish to be called “African-American” as well as a lot of people who do not wish to be called “black.“ “Negro” is still in use: Negro National Anthem, United Negro College Fund. NAAColoredPeople for that matter. You white poeple (politically correct?) should get off your high horses. After all, during desegregation in Charlottesville did any of you apply to transfer to Jefferson Elementary or Burley High because you valued diversity?
    BTW, I had a friend a Lane by the name of Rodney Thomas. I don’t know if this is the same person or not.

    Betty Mooney, I agree with you (as usual). This is exactly reason we have so many dreadful elected officials around here. The voters often don’t look at the big picture, just “social” issues that really doesn’t have much of an effect on anybody. Just like a high school popularity contest.

  20. Not only does it make him sound extremely OLD, but it also indicates that in his many years he’s never managed to befriend (or even become closely acquainted with) a black or asian person. To me, that’s some straight-up racism right there, intentional or otherwise.

    Also, to Jogger et al, I’d like to point out that perhaps the concept you’re (however mistakenly) looking for is “prejudice” — “Racism,” on the other hand, is a continuing cultural institution, not just one person’s dislike for another.

    If there is, for example, a hypothetical black person who has an irrational dislike of all white people, regardless of the actions of any of those white people in particular, it would be fair to describe that black person as “prejudiced.” Using the word “Racism,” however, falsely implies that there is a larger infrastructure implemented by black people to oppress and limit white people, which as we all know is not the case.

  21. “If there is, for example, a hypothetical black person who has an irrational dislike of all white people…” Sounds like pure racism to me.

  22. well then, I think we’ve just clarified that you don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m glad we could straighten that out up front.

  23. Oh, and yes, the federal government forced Charlottesville to re-open its two schools closed by order of the then Governor Almond. That action was taken as a result of a lawsuit brought by the local NAACP against the local school board in federal court. In other words, those two schools were forced open by the federal government superceding the power of the State.
    I’m going over to Venable Elem on 14th ST NW today to listen to a discussion of Massive Resistance today. Maybe some others would like to join me. “well then, I think we’ve just clarified that you don’t know what you’re talking about” It seems Rodney Thomas seems to know what he’s talking about.

  24. Cville Eye and James, y’all are talking past each other. James is speaking in academic terms, Cville Eye is speaking in casual terms. You’re both right, although James is, strictly-speaking, more correct. This comic is a good litmus test. James would find it funny. Cville Eye would not. I speculate.

  25. Waldo, maybe I wasn’t humorous enough, but I didn’t want my comment about you being an “age-ist” to go unnoticed. Can you see how easy it was for you to just write that it makes him (Thomas) look “old” – old as an epithet – because in comparison, you are young and you blame his seeming out-of-touchness on his age. If you had made that same kind of reference about another person because they were a woman, or black or gay, you’d be skewered herein by your fellow bloggers. But you so casually were commenting on racism (actually the lack thereof) and in the same comment, exhibited a prejudice of your own. Old = not with it. Old = not cool. Old = “he doesn’t understand”. Old people don’t get it. Since I am a senior citizen, and not out of touch, nor a racist, and I actually do get it,I would appreciate the apology! Or I’ll tell your mom on you.

  26. Randolph Byrde
    You were clear – and it was humorous – but this group isn’t interested in any comparison to ageism and racism. Most people need to take a long hard look at themselves and then possibly keep their mouths closed. Or run for office and see how fast they get skewered.

  27. I was in high school in the 60s,though not in Charlottesville,and my school was not integrated.
    But by the time I was a senior I had come to believe that racial equality and integration were right(my admiration for John and Robert Kennedy played a major part in that),
    Massive Resistance was a shameful part of our state’s history; there is no getting around that fact. The state’s leadership,that is the Byrd Machine,tried to evade the Constitution in order to maintain white supremacy.
    I don’t think City Council should make an “apology” as has been proposed, but should acknowledge the 50th anniversary of this event, and extend thanks to all those who opposed racial inequality at that time, often at risk to themselves and their careers.Sarah Patton Boyle had a cross burned on her lawn, and racists disrupted a meeting of the Human Relations Council.
    I am tired of those who assume that white Southerners of my generation only accepted integration when we were forced to. Believe it or not some of us supported civil rights and even worked in the movement.When I was a student at UVa in the late 60s I belonged to the Southern Student Organizing Committee, a group for students on predominately white campuses in the South(like UVa was then) who supported the civil rights movement and other liberal causes.
    We didnt have a lot of members-the white male student body at that time was quite conservative,and some were openly racist-but we did make our presence known.

  28. 9 times out of 10, when someone complains about “reverse racism,” it is a white person complaining that they are being made to think about race, or to consider the privileges they enjoy which are denied to others.

    While it’s true that white people may occasionally be the victims of prejudice (although far, far less than anyone else, I would wager), they do not have to worried about things like being turned down for a job because of their whiteness; or to take the historical example, not having access to a superior educational system.

    Thomas has to slightly alter his vocabulary? Boo-fucking-hoo.

    also, Waldo: I’ve never been able to enjoy XKCD. I’ve tried, and I’ve tried, and I just can’t get it. It’s like a dog-whistle pitch of funny that I can’t hear. I concede that I’m the type of person who would like it; except that, oddly, I don’t. I’m more of a “Maakies” man, myself.

  29. “Old = not with it. Old = not cool. Old = “he doesn’t understand”. Old people don’t get it.” Can’t prove the contrary by me.

  30. Can you see how easy it was for you to just write that it makes him (Thomas) look “old” – old as an epithet

    Whoa, let’s stop right there. “As an epithet”? I wrote:

    IMHO, this doesn’t make him look racist. It just makes him look old.

    No epithet. Just a statement of fact. For him to say that he cannot keep up with changing terms going clear back to “negro” makes clear that he is of at least a certain age, as surely as if he was talking about how an ice-cold Coca-Cola used to cost a nickel, or what it was like to be the first kid on the block with a television.

    Whether or not that is good or bad is in the eye of the beholder. But I didn’t imply it was bad—you inferred it. I don’t know the district well enough to know if it’s bad. If there’s a big bloc of centrist voters who are aged 65 and up, it might actually be a very good thing—they may see him as a truth-teller, somebody to whom they can relate, a peer. But if the swing voters tend to be younger and a bit more progressive in their views on matters of race, then, indeed, it could be a bad thing, making him look like somebody who is out of touch with a world much changed from the 1960s.

  31. “I am tired of those who assume that white Southerners of my generation only accepted integration when we were forced to.” I took Rodney Thomas’ statement to say that desegregation was forced by the government, resulting in three black students entering Lane and 6 black students entering Venable after the school board was forced to reopen Sept. 8, 1959, which is very different from saying that people were forced to accept it. In fact they weren’t; that’s why Rock Hill Academy was formed as a private, only-for-whites-school and lasted for several years. It also means that over 1,000 white students were able to return to both Venable and Lane at the same time.
    I enjoyed the discussion today at Venable about Charlottesville’s experience with Massive Resistance . One of the panelists, a local police officer admonished the black youth of today to resist the temptation of treating whites in the same way some whites treated him when he first entered Venable. He says he is seeing a lot of that recently. I also enjoyed hearing a lady tell the story of her first day at Venable. A little girl from Mississippi in her class introduced herself and became her pal, even inviting her to sit with her during lunch.
    I’m saying this because those times were rich in history and there are thousands of stories of interactions between blacks and whites, and just because everybody didn’t walk to black childrenn and hug and kiss them when they entered the school doesn’t mean they were racists. It means they just went on with their lives.
    Also, I really get tired of people today always trying to equate a Republican with racism when it was the Democrats who engineered Massive Resistance in the first place and it has been the Democrats who have been mainly in charge of our schools since then and it is clear that blacks have not and still are getting a good education in our school system. As one speaker said today, it’s just another form of Massive Resistance. Anybody noticed the number of minorities living in public housing? See any minorities in your church? What kind of jobs do you see minorities holding around the downtown Mall? When was the last time you saw 10 black teachers in ANY of Charlottesville’s schools? What party is running the city? Notice how easy it has been in the past ten years to count the number of blacks who have participated in local Democratic caucuses? Do you want to blame Rodney Thomas for any of this?

  32. One here wants to make it an academic exercise, yet quite doesn’t appreciate the fundamental premise: Racism cannot even begin to be understood from that viewpoint.

    The other sees comedic value, showing he doesn’t grasp the concept either (or he’s sociopathic).

    Another doesn’t ever want to even hear or read about it, otherwise he feel like a victim himself.

    You are all so perfectly pathetic.

  33. You are all so perfectly pathetic.

    Quite a debating tactic there, Majunga: tell everybody how awful that they are, while providing absolutely no insight yourself. How’s that working out for you in life?

  34. “Quite a debating tactic there, Majunga: tell everybody how awful that they are, while providing absolutely no insight yourself. How’s that working out for you in life?”

    The insight is how awful they are. Simple, eh? Even for you to understand…
    As for “how’s my life working”, not sure what you’re looking for there, bud!?

  35. Majunga has no insight on Massive Resistance. Majunga didn’t live through it nor study its history. Majunga is simply talking about people on this thread.

  36. C-ville Eye, just go back and consider Thomas’ decisions on the planning commission. When did he ever support environmental concerns over development. The guy’s running on a “land rights” platform, so it should be clear enough who he’s supporting. If that’s still in doubt, then check his donor list.

    Betty, your right, Fenwick really has no record whatsoever, so it’s really pretty hard to nail down what he would, or wouldn’t do in terms of policy. Of course the burden of proof is on him, not on the voters. He is an “avowed Republican” so we can probably infer some things from that. What’s more telling though, is what he hasn’t done. After all, this is a guy who’s very vocal about his opinion, so the fact that he has not commented about the most major environmental issues in the area, or in McIntire Park for that matter, are very telling.

    For example, as the head of “Save McIntire” what has he suggested to the Army Corp of engineers in terms of wetland mitigation for the Parkway? What is his plan for getting the city to manage invasive species threatening rare plants along the meadowcreek? If the MCP is built, what is his actual plan for the park? How would he resolve the access issues between the pool and the golf course? What is his plan for the RWSA pipeline? IF MCP is not built, how will he help solve the traffic problems on Park Street and 29 North?

    What regulations will he put in place to better protect streams, slopes and habitats from development? How we he improve stormwater mitigation? Will he make sure that whatever the water supply plan, that he’ll take no action that impacts rare or endangered species? Will he vote for the city to accept density from the rural area of Albemarle to save habitats, species and farmland? Will he renegotiate revenue sharing to stop penalizing conservation in Albemarle?

    I bet I could ask Dave all the same questions and he’d have an informed answer. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have to look too far to find his answer already in print…

    Keep in mind, with both these candidates, a huge part of the job is zoning, ordinances and planning. You can say you’re against this or that, but that’s relatively meaningless unless you can say how you’ll address the same issues differently. If that means building the western bypass instead, or wiping out an endangered species to avoid flooding ragged mountain then that doesn’t really make you an environmentalist.

  37. Dirt Worshiper… bingo. Fenwick is a Republican, therefore probably not on the same page as me on most social issues. Yes, we share the same views on dredging and MCP, but I can’t vote for an unknown quantity *solely* on those two issues. When asked to comment on Norris’ and Szakos’ plans for bikes and pedestrians, all he could do is refer back to MCP. It’s like those are the only tools in his arsenal and there’s nothing under the surface.

    Norris has been deeply concerned about MCP and the dam project since before Fenwick was a blip on anyone’s radar. But Fenwick is continually leaving the impression that this isn’t the case. Frankly, that makes me wonder about his character. We need councilors who will unite together to do the right thing, not someone who will only complain about what hasn’t been done.

  38. Dirt worshiper, Thomas voted against the Home Depot that many (Wendell Wood for one)wanted to go in across the street from Kegler’s on 29. I remember that because I think it might have been the reason it didn’t get built. That’s just one that I personally remember. I think it’s wrong to just say republican must be bad on the environment. It the kind of thinking that we are trying to avoid, right?

  39. To the two above posts about Fenwick please tell me what Ms Szakos has said about the subjects you reference. And why is one of the major environmental organizations, the Sierra Club, endorsing Fenwick and not Szakos.

    At least Mr. Fenwick has knowledge and interest in the major infrastructure issues facing the city and a willingness to stand up to staff. I haven’t seen this from the present Council when it comes to infrastructure, and I’ve attended many meetings in the last two years. Mr. Fenwick has consistently sought out my opinion and Ms. Szakos never has. I had to call her. I support the issues that Szakos and Norris are running on, but think the entire Council should not be on the same page. We need an independent voice and I have great confidence in Mr. Fenwick’s knowledge, dedication, and character after many meetings with him. I plan to vote for him and encourage others to do the same. I also value the service of Dave Norris, but feel Bob Fenwick’s point of view is needed as a complement. I will be joining the Sierra Club in endorsing Norris and Fenwick for Council.

  40. “The guy’s running on a “land rights” platform, so it should be clear enough who he’s supporting.” What’s the use in buying land if you have no rights?

    so the fact that he has not commented about the most major environmental issues in the area, or in McIntire Park for that matter, are very telling.

    For example, as the head of “Save McIntire” what has he suggested to the Army Corp of engineers in terms of wetland mitigation for the Parkway? What is his plan for getting the city to manage invasive species threatening rare plants along the meadowcreek? If the MCP is built, what is his actual plan for the park? How would he resolve the access issues between the pool and the golf course? What is his plan for the RWSA pipeline? IF MCP is not built, how will he help solve the traffic problems on Park Street and 29 North?

    The same questions could be asked of Norris, who you seem to support.
    “What regulations will he put in place to better protect streams, slopes and habitats from development?” The City doesn’t enforce the ones it already has.
    “I bet I could ask Dave all the same questions and he’d have an informed answer. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have to look too far to find his answer already in print… ” Not true. However, Norris does have Brookwood and Ridge-Cherry to his credit.
    “Keep in mind, with both these candidates, a huge part of the job is zoning, ordinances and planning.” Zoning that the City consistently grant waivers. For example, our steep slopes ordinance has been waived so often it suffers from battered-wife syndrome.
    “…then that doesn’t really make you an environmentalist.” Which candidate is lying by saying he’s an environmentalist?
    “…or wiping out an endangered species to avoid flooding ragged mountain” There is no official State document indicating that anyone has seen the James spinymussel here. It a story told my John Martin that has been told so often that many take it as truth. Even he says he only saw one back in the nineties. It’s probvably dead by now. Intelligent people make decisions based upon fact and not rumor. If the mussel is there then it should be easy to document since other habitats have been well documented in other places around the state.
    Dirt Worshiper, is your support for Norris is because you believe you have his ear for a botanical garden in McIntire?

  41. “To the two above posts about Fenwick please tell me what Ms Szakos has said about the subjects you reference.” Szakos is clueless about any thing going on in the city except more welfare programs. She pulls a bike plan put together by Mr. Huja several years ago and wants to implement it. The problem is the city has already determined that there were sections that are impossible to implement but she wan’t paying attention. As for Dave Norris on transportation why doesn’t Brookwood have bike lanes? Why isn’t the street wide enough for a bus. Since it was built as a PUD, it would have been simple to Norris’ Council to require both. People need to evaluate actions as well as words.
    It seems that much of what they’re talking about concerning walking and biking is really in the county and I suspect they’re hiding support for the new regional transit authority. After all, the money will have to come from some where and the city and county have already identified about $50M annually in new taxes that can be turned over to this authority.

  42. Cville Eye, Brookwood was approved before Norris got onto City Council. And every single member of the City Council and the County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia General Assembly supported the creation of the Regional Transit Authority, Democrats and Republicans and Independents alike.

  43. According to DCR That occurence of the James Spinymussel in Albemarle was last confirmed as recently as 2005.

    Of course, arguing any of this with you, C-ville Eye, is rather pointless. After all, you believe global warming is a hoax, so of course you don’t believe in James Spinymussels either. I expect that from you, but I’d expect a bit more from the Sierra Club.

    I support Dave, probably for some of same reasons that the Sierra club does. He’s played a huge role in every major environmental policy that the city has enacted in recent years. In fact, he was there when CCOES was first proposed, and helped make that committee a reality.

    As for Szakos, I have indeed discussed some of these issues with her informally and she had some very good responses. I’d be glad to ask her again officially and see if she’s willing to comment on record.

    As for Fenwick, being willing to “stand up to staff” is kind of pointless unless you’ve got actual knowledge of policy and concrete ideas of how to do things differently. I actually respect the life experience of many people in staff. After all, they’ve got to work on these same issues regardless of whomever the next elected offical is. I’ve found that when you approach staff with solid ideas, then you can indeed get things done.

    We don’t need another Rob Schilling on Council. If you elect Fenwick, I believe that’s what you’ll get. Maybe those two people fall on different sides of the fence on some issues, but to all appearances their methodology is the same and will likely have a similar result.

  44. @Correction, Brookwood was designed in 5 phases, one still not finished. Dave Norris may not have been on Council when the land was zoned to Planned Unit Development, however, he was there when each phase was designed.
    “…City Council and the County Board of Supervisors and the Virginia General Assembly …” and not one resident.

  45. ” I’d be glad to ask her again officially and see if she’s willing to comment on record. ” If Szakos thinks it’s important she’ll put it on her blog. It would be wonderful if Schilling and Fenwick could serve together on Council. DCR has issued no document verifying its existence. Say what you please.

  46. Case in point. If you listen to the last RWSA board meeting, Holly Edwards, the elected oficial on that board wanted to delay the vote for the dam design money, but was run over by all the other board members including Judy Mueller. And believe me this is not the first time this has happened. We need at least one Council member who will hold staff accountable if they do not follow the will of Council, and if it takes someone with some spine, so be it.

  47. I would find it helpful if individuals critiquing certain candidates would blog under their own names so we would know the affiliation they have to those candidates.

  48. Back to Rodney Thomas. It’s ironic that the Democrats invented Massive Resistance and 50 years later he’s the one that is being asked to answer for it.

  49. Surely you’re aware that, in the south, the parties have swapped. Democrats forced through integration with the Civil Rights Act of 1964, with Johnson famously saying that Democrats had lost the South for a generation when he signed the bill into law. Up until then, Democrats were the ones who were in favor of states’ rights, opposed to federal mandates, etc. Along came integration, the white folks left the Democratic Party in the South and became Republicans, and Democrats have been the minority party here ever since.

    Fifty years ago Rodney likely would have been a Democrat; based on his comments about Massive Resistance, it certainly sounds like it. There’s nothing ironic about it.

  50. I guess George Wallace did too? I know that you are making too sweeping of generalizations. Yes, many Democrats went Republican which left a number of key positions vacant all through out the South. Many of those positions however were filled by the former lieutenants in the party. They wouldn’t have had comparable power in the Republican Party being newbies and not knowing where the skeletons were hidden. Other Dems formed other parties like States’ Rights.
    As for Rodney Thomas, I believe I read that he’s a life-long Republican, just like Scott Leake and others in high school in the 60’s are. As Rodney Thomas said, everything was not about race in those days. Both parties dealt with large issues other than race. You’re giving me the impression that you think that all of the white racists left the Democratic Party and fled to the Republican, leaving the Democrats with no “racists.” If that is true, why does the Charlottesville Democrats only allow one black at a time to be on Council, the “obligatory” black. Why did the masses of blacks who participated in the local Dem caucuses have just about vanished? And why do the classrooms at CHS appear to be Apartheid Revisited” while under the Democratic Party’s control for the past 40 or more years? For only a few did it become an obsession. I know. I was here during that time and witnessed quite a bit. No, Republicans have no monopoly in racism. Democrats are still having a good time keeping local blacks on the plantation called public housing.

  51. Yes, many Democrats went Republican which left a number of key positions vacant all through out the South.

    I’m not talking about elected officials. I’m talking about regular people like you and me.

    As Rodney Thomas said, everything was not about race in those days.

    I didn’t say anything about race. I was talking about states’ rights.

    You’re giving me the impression that you think that all of the white racists left the Democratic Party and fled to the Republican, leaving the Democrats with no “racists.”

    Why did you write the word “racists” in quotes? I never used that word. Again, I’m not talking about race. I’m talking about federalism and states’ rights.

    If that is true, why does the Charlottesville Democrats only allow one black at a time to be on Council, the “obligatory” black. Why did the masses of blacks who participated in the local Dem caucuses have just about vanished? And why do the classrooms at CHS appear to be Apartheid Revisited” while under the Democratic Party’s control for the past 40 or more years?

    It’s like we’re having two totally unrelated conversations here.

    Waldo, re-read the comments by “James” and “formercvilleresident” http://www.cvillenews.com/2009/09/10/chs-gun/ and guess what is their impressions of all of those Democratic teachers in the school.

  52. “Democrats are still having a good time keeping local blacks on the plantation called public housing.”

    One could read almost all of these comments and assume that A) none of the authors are not white and B) none of the authors assumed that their comments would be read by anyone that wasn’t white.

    It’s really quite astonishing.

    Full disclosure: I’m white but couldn’t imagine making such a dehumanizing comment as the one I’ve quoted here.

  53. You guys spend so much time debating your knowledge of minute history, you have no clue what the real issues are today.

  54. There’s only one all important issue today that is devouring everything: CORPORATISM. It doesn’t matter: repug, demopeewee or even so-called independents. The enemy is within ALREADY and since long. We must kill the beast before there’s only Chaos to rebuild from.

  55. I knew it wasn’t worth talking to you: ur part of the masses of “entertain me while my brain turns to mush” and ur proud of it.

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