The stories that you’ll hear about Black history in the next 27 days took place throughout the entire year, and every February is an opportunity to think about the topic year-round and how our community might become more equitable.
For many years, the City of Charlottesville rented out properties throughout the city with no central way of knowing who was where, how much they were paying, and whether the public was receiving any benefit by subsidizing tenant rents. Last year, Council was briefed on efforts to get the issue under control. (read the story)
Now, the city is considering renewal of the lease with the McGuffey Arts Center which is housed in a former elementary school in downtown Charlottesville that has been used by artists, artisans, and artsy people for several decades.
“The McGuffey Arts Association has leased this building from the city since 1975,” said Brenda Kelley, redevelopment manager for the city City of Charlottesville.
“We are an arts association that is run like a cooperative and run on committee and on sweat equity,’ said Amanda Liscouski is the Executive Council President for McGuffey’s current fiscal year. “We have 100 associate artists in our community who exhibit in our space and teach in our space as well as 50 renting members who have studio space.”
The current administration of the City of Charlottesville has inherited a city government that has struggled to turn ideas for road and multimodal improvement into completed projects. For instance, the Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded three Smart Scale grants to the city in 2016, but none of them has yet gone to construction. The city saved up millions for a West Main Streetscape project that was canceled last year with the money reprioritized for the renovation of Buford Middle School.
The task of reforming the city’s transportation process has fallen to Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders. Last year, he worked with the Virginia Department of Transportation on a plan to fix the city’s broken process, including the cancellation of a couple other projects. Last year, the city did not submit any applications through the Smart Scale process. That was one concession to VDOT officials who have become impatient with the city’s inability to deliver.
Charlottesville human services officials have asked City Council for more money for nonprofit agencies that provide services for individuals and households in need. That was one takeaway from a December 5, 2022 work session on the city’s Vibrant Community Fund. (agenda memo)
The city issued a request for proposals for funding in early October. The number of applications increased from 28 for the current fiscal year to 50 for the next one. There were 12 applications from entities that had never requested money before.
“There’s a range of asks from organizations this year ranging from about $5,000 all the way up to $335,000,” said Misty Graves, the Director of Human Services for the City of Charlottesville. “Without any changes to the current flat allocation of funds to the Vibrant Community Fund, organizations are going to expect to get significantly less than their asks.”
All across the United States, registrars will begin counting up the ballots cast on Tuesday and in early voting. In Virginia, 930,017 people have already cast ballots according to the Virginia Public Access Project. That including 88,035 in the Fifth Congressional District.
That leaves a lot of people who may not yet have decided how to vote. I conclude this installment with the final in a series of segments from candidate interviews conducted by the Chambers of Commerce in Charlottesville, Danville, and Lynchburg with the two people vying for the Fifth District seat in Congress.
Here are the previous segments with Republican incumbent Bob Good of Evington and Democratic challenger Joshua Throneburg of Charlottesville:
The main item on the ballot across all of Virginia are elections for the Commonwealth’s eleven seats in the U.S. House of Representatives. In the week leading up November 8, I’ve been inserting segments from campaign conversations held with the two candidates in the Fifth Congressional District.
Both Republican incumbent Bob Good and Democratic challenger Josh Throneburg participated in video interviews conducted by the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Danville-Pittsylvania Chamber of Commerce, and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance.
Tensions are running high across the country as Election Day approaches and many members of one of the two American political parties continue to insist that the 2020 Presidential election was stolen.
The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics held a forum last week to discuss the upcoming elections moderated by Christopher Krebs, who served as the United States Director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. He said much of the threat dates back to Russian efforts to hack the 2016 elections. (wikipedia article)
“It had three different components,” Krebs said. “The first was attempts to get into voter registration databases and other systems administering elections. The second was targeting and hacking into political campaigns, the [Democratic National Committee], the Hilary Clinton and the third is this more pernicious, drawn out disinformation campaign that’s really rooted in the entirety of Russian information doctrine going back really a century or more.”
The falling of the leaves is the sign of many things, but the onslaught of autumn also marks the coming of the next Virginia Film Festival.
“I think of the Virginia Film Festival as a film festival for audiences,” said Steven J. Kung, writer/director and VAFF Advisory Board Member, in a promotional video that ran before the program for the 35th Virginia Film Festival was launched. “There are plenty of acquisition film festivals where you just hobnob and it’s sort of like [Los Angeles] goes to camp.”
JMRL name change requires support from all five localities
The Board of Trustees of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library met yesterday at the Northside Library on Rio Road for the usual things such as a five year plan and a budget. But the main item throughout the meeting was whether the system’s name should be changed.
“I don’t expect that we will have a vote on the issue of the library’s name change today,” said Thomas Unsworth, the chair of the JMRL Board. “In fact the Board would be able to call a public hearing if need be to collect further feedback from commentary on that issue.”
A series of speakers at Monday’s City Council meeting asked the elected officials to weigh in on a decision by Charlottesville Area Transit to relocate the bus stop at Crescent Halls, a public housing site that is currently undergoing renovations. The homes are currently served in both directions by Route 6 and the agency is making the change to help speed up the route.
That had not been the plan, according to one resident.
“We were told that they would pick up one side and when they come back they would let people off in front of the door,” said Alice Washington. “We need that. Crescent Halls is a senior and disability building.”