Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
April 18, 2023: Deeds raises most among candidates in area primary races; Charlottesville on track for $10.4M surplus for FY23
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April 18, 2023: Deeds raises most among candidates in area primary races; Charlottesville on track for $10.4M surplus for FY23

Plus: A look at campaign finance reports from Albemarle County, Charlottesville and local House of Delegates races

Three out of ten days that will happen this year have now already happened as we hit the 108th edition of 2023. One way to slow down time is to measure the increments as intricately as possible in the hopes of assembling them once again in the future. At this moment, there is not a new edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement to mark each rotation of the Earth, but this is the 524th installment. I’m Sean Tubbs on my Day 18,149. 

On today’s program:

  • Charlottesville is on track for a $10.4 million surplus for FY23

  • Campaign finance reports are in for candidates seeking office this fall 

  • Democratic candidates in Albemarle County out raise their independent counterparts

  • Four out of the five Democrats for three slots on the ballot in November turned in campaign finance reports

  • Katrina Callsen raised the most money in the Democratic campaign for House District 54

  • Amy Laufer raises more funds than Kellen Squire for House District 55, but Squire had over a thousand individual donors 

  • Creigh Deeds brought in more money than Sally Hudson in Senate District 10

  • A brief look at the big tax rate cut coming to the City of Lynchburg 

Not signed up yet? Do so to keep receiving the information. I will gently remind you how paid subscriptions keep it flowing.

First shout-out: Charlottesville Community Bikes 

In this first subscriber supported shout-out, Charlottesville Community Bikes believes that bicycles can be a means to social change, addressing issues of equity, access, and inclusion. They provide free bikes to adults who need one, and have a special program that provides free bikes to children. Want to learn more or support their work? Charlottesville Community Bikes currently is seeking matching funds for a grant from the Outride Fund. Visit charlottesvillecommunitybikes.org to learn more. 

Charlottesville on track for $10.4 million surplus in FY23

Near the beginning of yesterday’s City Council meeting, the city’s budget director gave an update on the city’s revenues and expenditures as of the end of the third quarter of the current fiscal year. 

“Revenues are still performing well and with our last real estate assessment that came in in January we are anticipating about $10.4 million of a revenue surplus for the end of FY23,” said Krisy Hammill. 

That number could rise due to a number of positions that continue to be vacant. That includes the City Attorney, an assistant or deputy city attorney, and a deputy director for Parks and Recreation. Take a look at the full list. The city manager position is also posted, but on a different site.

Hammill said the city’s budget explorer website has been updated to reflect the books as of March 31. 

I’ll have more from last night’s City Council meeting in future editions of the newsletter. One story that will have to wait is any follow-up on the Regional Hazard Mitigation plan that had been deferred from the April 3 meeting. That was pulled once again.

A snapshot of the budget to date for FY23 (Credit: City of Charlottesville)

A look at campaign finance reports 

The first campaign finance reports are out for candidates seeking to appear on the November 7 general election ballot for local and state races. The deadline to tell the Virginia Department of Elections about fundraising and expenditures in the first quarter of the year was midnight. 

Several candidates have already sent out press releases to try to control the narrative and gain some advantage in advance of early voting which begins on May 5. Here’s some of the information gleaned from reports made accessible through the Virginia Public Access Project

Democrats have campaign finance advantage in Albemarle Supervisor races

There appear to be two contested races for the Board of Supervisors with independent candidates lined up to face Democratic candidates in the Rivanna and White Hall Districts. Independent candidates have until June 20 to get their paperwork filed to be in the race.

In the Rivanna District, incumbent Bea LaPisto-Kirtley (D) has raised $11,800 from six donors, with $10,000 of that coming from Seminole Trail Management. That’s the company that owns the J.C. Penney building that Albemarle County is renting for a public safety fleet operations center. La-Pisto Kirtley also raised $1,000 from outgoing Scottsville District Supervisor Donna Price. The candidate spent $3,964 and had $7,835 on hand as of March 31.

Independent T.J. Fadeley raised $1,300 from four donors for his Rivanna District challenge against LaPisto-Kirtley. One of those was $250 from John Lowry, the chair of the Albemarle County Republican Committee. 

Neither candidate appears to have a campaign website at this time. 

In the White Hall District, incumbent Ann Mallek began the year with a balance of $1,969 and received $15,905 from eight donors. Mallek also received $10,000 from Seminole Trail Management as well as $5,000 from the Zobrist Law Group. She spent $234 and had an ending balance of $17,640. (campaign website)

Independent Brad Rykal raised $1,900 in March from nine donors including Lowry. Rykal spent $195 to have an ending balance of $1,705 at the end of the period. (campaign website

Democrat Mike Pruitt is the only candidate so far to replace Price in the Scottsville District. He had a starting balance of $3,015 as of January 1 and raised $2,209 from 23 donors in the first three months of the year. He spent $620 and ended March with $4,603 in his campaign account. (campaign website)

Bryce outraises Spillman for at-large seat on Albemarle School Board

There’s a competitive race for the at-large seat on the Albemarle School Board. That body has seven members whereas the Supervisors only have six. 

Meg Bryce raised $18,490 from 56 donors in the first quarter of the year with 29 of them coming from people who made cash contributions of more than $100. Bryce, a daughter of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, spent $1,285 to have a balance of $17,204 at the end of March. (campaign website)

Allison Spillman raised $1,260 from three donors and recorded $238 in an in-kind contribution from herself. Spillman spent $666 for an ending balance of $1,250. (campaign website)

The district races are so far all uncontested. 

Judy Le reported no activity in her campaign for a second term representing the Rivanna District. 

Ellen Osborne raised $1,200 from seven donors in the first quarter in her campaign for a second term representing the Scottsville District. 

Joann McDermid raised $5,550 from eleven donors from February 21 to March 31. Albemarle Republican Chair John Lowry contributed $250. McDermid spent $1,180.

Jim Hingely is so far unopposed in his reelection bid for Commonwealth’s Attorney. Chan Bryant is unopposed for Albemarle Sheriff. 

Snook leads Democrats seeking spot on November ballot 

There are five Democrats in the primary race to be held on June 20 but only four of them filed reports electronically. The one who didn’t is Bob Fenwick, who filed his statement of organization on paper in the Charlottesville Registrar’s office. More reporting is needed. (no campaign website) 

Incumbent Lloyd Snook began the year with $4,107 and raised $6,935 from 33 donors and took out a $2,000 loan from himself. He received $2,500 from Seminole Trail Management and 10 other contributions above $100.  Snook spent $4,862 including a $360 fee for running for office. He ended the month with a balance of $8,180.  (campaign website)

Incumbent Michael Payne had $863 in his campaign account on January 1 and raised $2,735 from 35 donors with seven of those over $100. Payne didn’t spend any of the funds in the quarter and had an ending balance of $3,598. (no campaign website) 

Newcomer Natalie Oschrin only collected money for one week in late March and raised $735 from four donors with one above $100.  (campaign website)

Challenger Dashad Cooper left the race for House District 54, which we’ll get to next. He raised $5,719 for that campaign as well as the Council race. He spent $998 on the House campaign and transferred $4,720 to the Council campaign which officially began on March 14. He raised no funds for that race but spent $403 to have a balance of $4,356.  (campaign website)

Second shout-out: WTJU’s Rock Marathon

It’s the most wonderful time of the year here in Charlottesville. The days are getting longer, the dogwoods are in bloom, and most importantly: it’s the WTJU Rock Marathon – now running through Sunday, April 23!

WTJU’s musical rite of spring connects us with the elemental and brings ineffable joy. Now’s the time to plot out what you will listen to by checking out the schedule that continues Wednesday at 8 a.m. with two hours of early Fleetwood Mac, Women on the Verge at 2 p.m., and a Young Person’s Guide to XTC at 10 p.m. Check out the schedule to know when you need to tune in for your favorites! 

But make no mistake – the only way WTJU can keep this music-loving community afloat is with support from listeners like you. Consider a donation today

Callsen outraises $86.6K for House District 54 race against Brown and Norris

There are three Democrats seeking the party’s place on the ballot in the open race for the House District 54 which includes all of Charlottesville and parts of urbanized Albemarle County. 

Rio District School Board Member Katrina Callsen began the year with $10,509 in her campaign account. She raised $86,601 in cash from 178 donors and received $11,889 in in-kind contributions of more than $100. Add in one in-kind contribution of exactly $100 and that’s a total of $98,590. 

Callsen received a total of $40,000 from Sonjia Smith, $8,500 from Leadership of Educational Equity, and $5,000 from Clean Virginia. Her campaign spent $32,489 including $11,989 in in-kind contributions. Callsen’s campaign had $76,610 on hand as of March 31.  (campaign website)

Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris raised $28,861 from 66 donors with 20 over the $100 threshold for reporting an identity. These include $5,000 from Clean Virginia and $5,000 from the Charlottesville Parking Center. Norris was hired as that company’s general manager in March 2016

Norris spent $7,311 in the period to have a balance of $21,549 at the end of the period. (campaign website)

Bellamy Brown raised $7,375 in cash from 16 donors. He also loaned his campaign a total of $5,000. His campaign spent $6,256 and had $6,118 on hand as of March 31. (campaign website)

Another former Charlottesville Mayor was briefly in the race but withdrew. Nevertheless, David Brown raised $20,700 from 25 donors and received one in-kind contribution of $174. He spent $2,694 and declared the remaining $18,005 as surplus funds allowing him to close the campaign with a balance of zero. 

See above for Dashad Cooper’s House campaign.

Laufer raises more money than Squire; Squire has more donors than Laufer

There are two Democrats vying for the nomination for House District 55 which includes most of Albemarle County, a portion of western Louisa County, and a portion of northeastern Nelson County. Also a very small sliver of Fluvanna County. 

Both candidates raised a lot of money for a nomination contest that may lead to an easy victory in the fall. Delegate Rob Bell opted to retire rather than seek reelection.

Former Charlottesville School Board member Amy Laufer began the year with a balance of $88,761. She raised a total of $89,655 from 312 donors. Of those, 162 donors contributed more than $100 for a total of $80,988. Another 150 contributed $8,667. Laufer received three in-kind contributions totalling $5,310 from her husband Aaron Laufer. That adds up to a total of $94,965 in the period. 

Laufer spent $41,152 of cash and and in-kind contribution of $5,310 is recorded for an expanse. That brings Laufer’s ending balance to $137,264. 

Emergency room nurse Kellen Squire began the year with a balance of $45,187 and raised a total of $35,975 in cash from 1,041 donors. Of those, 911 were contributions below $100 totalling $20,805 and 130 above $100 totaling $15,170. Squire’s campaign also received five in-kind contributions totalling $9,837. That’s a total of $45,813 in receipts.

Squire’s campaign spent $16,783 in the period and ended with a cash balance of $64,378 as of March 13, 2023. 

Both campaigns sent out press releases.

“Support has poured in from our community because Virginians want an experienced leader in the House of Delegates,” said Dawson McNamara-Bloom, Communications Director for Amy Laufer’s Campaign. “support has poured in from our community because Virginians want an experienced leader in the House of Delegates. Everywhere we go in the district, people know Amy from a different organization or role she’s held in the community. ”

“I am thrilled and humbled by the outpouring of support from Virginians here at home and across the Commonwealth,” said Squire. “This historic number of individual contributions is a testament to the power of grassroots organizing for anyone willing to put in the work and commit to it.

Meanwhile, outgoing Delegate Rob Bell began the year with $132,434 and raised an additional $2,500. The campaign spent $26,636 and had an ending balance of $108,297 as of March 31. 

Deeds outraises Hudson for Senate District 11

In another race between two Democrats fighting for a safe seat, Delegate Sally Hudson opted to not seek another term but instead sought a challenge with Senator Creigh Deeds for the new Senate District 11. The new boundaries cover all of Charlottesville and Albemarle County as well as Amherst County and Nelson County. 

Creigh Deeds had a starting balance of $293,131 as of January 1, 2023. His campaign raised $238,877 in cash from 392 donors with 215 of those over the $100 threshold to be identified.  There are six contributions of $10,000 including one from the Clean Virginia Fund. Deeds spent $109,106 in the period including a $15,000 contribution to the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus. Deeds had a balance of $422,902 as of March 31, 2023.

Sally Hudson began the year with $149,701 and raised $78,324 from a total of 344 donors. Eighty-one of them exceeded the $100 threshold including a $20,000 contribution from Ted Weschler. Her campaign spent $88,839 and reported $7,302 in in-kind expenses. Hudson closed the period out with $139,383 in the bank.

Republican candidate Phillip Hamilton raised $1,550 from six donors in the first quarter and had another $30 in in-kind donations. He spent $1,040 and had a balance of $509. 

Independent J'riah Guerrero raised no money and spent no money in the period. 

The next reporting deadline is June 12 for activity between April 1 and June 8. 

Lynchburg City Council to consider budget reconciliation for requested 16-cent real estate rate reduction 

As many of you may know, I also produce something called Fifth District Community Engagement. For now, it’s mostly just a preview of upcoming meetings. Readers and listeners may be interested in knowing what’s happening elsewhere in the district 

The seven member Lynchburg City Council will meet at 4 p.m. Tuesday in the 2nd Floor Training Room in City Hall at 900 Church Street. Because the city’s website platform is CivicPlus, I can’t send you to a direct link for their meetings. Best I can do is a link to the meeting portal for now. 

This is a budget work session with a reconciliation. I stepped away at a crucial time in this process as a Republican majority has asked for budget cuts to allow for their reduction in the property tax rate from $1.11 per $100 of assessed value to $0.89 cents. City Manager Wynter Benda had proposed a cut to $1.05. This will cut millions of revenue. 

All of the budget materials are here

Let’s also catch up by reading several articles from the last little while. 

Reading material:

Sending out #524 out with a request for new subscribers

In any given day, there’s a lot to get into these newsletters. In days to come, I’m hoping to provide even more stories about the community as I continue to grow this newsletter and podcast. This is where I thank the over 500 paid Substack subscribers because I think that’s just the beginning. 

I think there are more of you who will one day sign up for a paid subscription. Maybe that will be today! If you do, Ting will match your initial payment. And you’ll get a personal thank you for from me. Eventually!

If you sign up for Ting at this link and enter the promo code COMMUNITY, you’ll get:

  • Free installation

  • A second month for free

  • A $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall

Thanks to Wraki for incidental music in the podcast, which you can’t hear unless you listen to it. Check out the work on BandCamp!

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