Nov 11 • 15M

November 11, 2022: Albemarle Supervisors mark Veterans' Day; City Council discusses gun violence

Plus: A round-up of election results

 
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Regular updates of what's happening in local and regional government in and around Charlottesville, Virginia from an award-winning journalist with nearly thirty years of experience.
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It’s the eleventh day of the eleventh month, marking the time 104 years ago when Armistice ended the First World War One. Today we mark it as Veterans’ Day and local government is closed. This is the first edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement after a brief break to get ready for all that is yet to come. Today, though, is a good day to look back and all of those who have done so much to get us to this point. 

On today’s show:

  • A round-up of election results from the area 

  • Albemarle County recognized veterans Day

  • Charlottesville City Council gets a report from Interim City Manager and discusses recent violence downtown and possible solutions 

Sign up to get all of the free newsletters and podcasts and considering paying to help support the work!

First shout-out: Free jazz concerts coming up week of November 15

In the first subscriber-supported shout-out, the Charlottesville Jazz Society wants you to know about an upcoming series of free concerts by Professor Bill Cole and the Untempered Ensemble. The Untempered Ensemble are artists in residence at the University of Virginia Department of Art and will give three free concerts the week of November 15th. 

The group includes members of Indigenous American (Wabanaki and Nipissing), Asian-American, and African-American descent. The musicians play a wide variety of wind, string and percussion instruments from six different continents offering audiences the opportunity to form a world view of sound.

The shows:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 15 at 5:00 pm | Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, UVA Grounds | FREE

  • Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 pm | The Jefferson School African American Heritage Center | FREE

  • Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7:30 pm | The Dome Room of the Rotunda, UVA Grounds | FREE

For more information about Professor Bill Cole and the Untempered Ensemble, visit arts.virginia.edu

Election results across the planning district

The results are now more or less in for Election 2022 in Virginia but let’s go through some of the details. 

Republican Bob Good defeated Democrat Joshua Throneburg to win a second term representing Virginia’s Fifth Congressional District. With 354 precincts of 378 reporting, the Virginia Department of Elections lists Good with 57.86 percent of the vote. He carried 21 of  the 24 localities in the Fifth District. 

Throneburg only won in Albemarle County, Charlottesville, and Danville. Nearly 87 percent of voters in Charlottesville cast a ballot for Throneburg, compared with 66.1 percent in Albemarle, and 53.2 percent in Danville. 

A map generated by the Virginia Public Access Project. The darker the shade, the stronger the margin of victory by one part over another. Red is Republican and blue is Democratic. (Credit: Virginia Public Access Project)

Just under a dozen Albemarle residents voted in the 7th District due to the small sliver. Fourteen people voted for Republican Yesli Vega and seven people voted for Democrat Abigail Spanberger. Overall, Spanberg was re-elected to a third term with around 52 percent of the vote

The only other election on the ballot in both Albemarle and Fluvanna was for Scottsville Town Council. Two candidates were on the ballot, and several people made a write-in bid. Final votes won’t be counted on Monday but incumbents Meredith Hynes, Dan Gritsko, and Bill Hyson were all re-elected. 

Turning to Greene County, Vega won the county with 60.8 percent of the vote. Kimberly Breeden Tate won an uncontested race to be Commissioner of Revenue. Rebecca Roach won an uncontested race to be on the School Board representing the Stanardsville District. Michael A. Payne won an uncontested race to be Mayor of Stanardsville. Three people were on the ballot for four seats on the Stanardsville Town Council and all three made it as did a write-in. 

There was a contested School Board race in Louisa County, where Lloyd Runnett defeated David Harold Rogers in the Mineral District with 67.8 percent of the vote. R. Garland Nuckols remains the Mayor of the Town of Louisa in an uncontested race. In the Town of Mineral , Ed Jarvis leads Pamela Harlowe with 98 votes to 70 votes with slightly more votes to be counted. For information on Town Council races in Louisa County, visit the Virginia Department of Elections webpage

View all of the Greene County results here (Credit: Virginia Department of Elections)

Albemarle Supervisors mark Veterans’ Day

Today is Veterans Day and nine days ago, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors passed a resolution honoring the occasion. Donna Price, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, read from a proclamation. 

“WHEREAS, the United States of America, founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all, has called on her men and women in uniform to protect our national security,” Price said.

  • The preservation of our national interests, our rights and our freedom, has been ensured by the service of these individuals

  • On Veterans Day we remember and pay tribute to the millions of patriots whose courage and sacrifice have secured our freedom and defended our values both at home and abroad

  • Over one hundred veterans continue to serve their country in public schools and government as teachers and other professionals providing services to the students and citizens of Albemarle County

  • These veterans employed by Albemarle County Public Schools and Local Government deserve recognition for their continued service.

“NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors hereby recognizes all veterans and the men and women that are currently serving in our armed forces around the world; an BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors hereby appreciates and honors the continued contributions and sacrifices of the Armed Forces veterans employed by local government and public schools,” Price read. 

Price herself is a retired U.S. Navy Captain in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps. 

Albemarle Police Lieutenant Elizabeth Gomez accepted the proclamation. She enlisted in the Army National Guard in September 1991 and served as a combat medic and ambulance driver, becoming a police officer in 2000. 

“We do what we do now based on our choices earlier on in life to serve and protect our community,” Gomez said.

While local and state government may be closed today, information about resources is available on the internet. A good place to start is the Virginia Department of Veterans Services and the Central Region

Second shout-out: UVA Helps Ensure Climate Resilient Buildings, Landscapes, & Communities

In today’s second subscriber supported shout-out, UVA Lifetime Learning, Office of Engagement, has an event this Saturday morning for readers following climate action and resilience planning. 

At the UVA School of Architecture, faculty, staff, and students are leading innovative research on climate resilient buildings, landscapes, and communities — from the coastal landscapes of Virginia’s Eastern Shore and the Chesapeake Bay region to community development in the Arctic; from renewable biomaterials for building construction to new planning methods for restorative urbanism. 

Join Dean Malo André Hutson this Saturday morning at 10 a.m. for an opportunity to learn more about this exciting work, the diverse methods of community-centered design research it employs, and the actionable ways it addresses the future health of our built environment. This takes place at Alumni Hall as part of the More than the Score program or watch online! 

Register on Eventbrite for Designing for Climate Resilience

Charlottesville Council discusses gun violence; many governance details in written report

The Charlottesville City Council had a full meeting on Monday, and one I’m finally able to get to after taking a couple of days off from a deadline. We start the coverage with the consent agenda, which included an extension of the contract for the Robert Bobb Group for the services of Interim City Manager Michael C. Rogers. According to a staff report, that will give enough time for a new police chief to be hired as well as for Council to adopt a strategic plan. Then there’s also the matter of the budget. 

No one spoke during the opportunity to comment about the contract extension. 

Next, there was a review of the written city manager report followed by comments about recent shootings in the area. Let’s go through the report first: (read the report

  • Rogers said a new executive director for the Police Civilian Oversight Board will be hired as soon as possible. The Board’s operating procedures will be reviewed by Council at their meeting on December 5. 

  • New procurement rules adopted by Council in October will make it possible to use private dollars to help pay for energy savings projects in large capital projects. (story on InfoCville)

  • New employee Ben Chambers is now the transportation planner for the Department of Neighborhood Development Services. The position is intended to help address a backlog of stalled projects. Council was briefed on a “reboot” for transportation planning this past May. (story on InfoCville)

  • More people are seeking out the services of the Office of Human Rights with 2022 volumes higher than all of 2021. We’ll hear more about a proposal to hire two more staff for the office in a future installment of the program. 

  • The average review time for a building permit is now below is now down below 40 days according to a chart provided in the report. That’s because the city sought help from the University of Virginia with a backlog and hiring two people to serve as both a new building code official and a support services manager. The new goal is to bring reviews down to 14 days, which the report states will take hiring more personnel. 

In City Manager Rogers addressed the recent shootings on the Downtown Mall. 

“A week or so ago there was a violent incident on the mall at one of our establishments that resulted in the death of someone and two bystanders being hit by stray bullets,” Rogers said. 

Rogers convened a meeting with Friends of Downtown Cville to discuss the incident and steps to improve security.  

“When there is violence in the community in a concentrated period, naturally people are going to be upset and people are going to fear being in the location where those things are occurring,” Rogers said. “By and large when you consider the statistics in our community, it’s still safe.”  

Interim Police Chief Latroy Durrette offered some statistics about responses to calls for services related to gunfire. (view the data)

There were 185 such calls in 2017 and 181 calls in 2018. 

“A slight decrease in 2019 with 172,” Durrette said. “In 2020, we started to see an increase of 298 and a greater increase in 2021 with 322.

As of October 23, there have been 211 calls for service for shots fired. 

Durrette said shots fired incidents are not common on the mall and he showed maps showing where they are focused. For this year, that’s the Tenth and Page neighborhood as well as the Orangedale-Prospect area according to one of the images. 

He said he has increased patrols on the Downtown Mall. 

A heat map showing concentrations of where the shots fired calls have come from this year (Credit: Charlottesville Police Department) 

City Councilor Brian Pinkston said he was more concerned about reducing gun use in the parts where it is concentrated. 

“Whenever I talk to folks, people remind me that this is complicated, the causes and how we try to effect change is complicated too because there are unintended consequences,” Pinkston said. 

Vice Mayor Juandiego Wade was at that Friends of the Downtown Cville event which was attended by a wide variety of stakeholders.

“People came together from all sides of the community to talk about a very serious issue and I think we had some really good discussions,” Wade said. “Some of those discussions included de-escalation. I think that there was some understanding that when police arrive at these scenes, a lot is going and they want to preserve the scene. Part of it is that we wanted to talk about de-escalation,”

Rogers said the city has been speaking with law enforcement at the University of Virginia about sharing information and resources. 

“We’ll be following up on that and I think that there’s opportunity for the city, the county, and the University law enforcement to join forces and approach this as a truly regional issue,” Rogers said. 

During matters from the public, several people addressed the issue including Emily Morrison of the Front Porch, a music training entity with space on 3rd Street SE.

“My staff would  benefit from de-escalation trainings in the event of a conflict near our building so that we can know what to do in the event of an emergency,” Morrison said. 

More from this City Council meeting in future installments of the show. 

Articles you may have missed from other outlets:

An inventory of end notes for #458

We begin the end with a humbling confession. I got the beginning of the November 8 newsletter wrong by writing without actively engaging my brain. Election Day is the first Tuesday of the month unless it’s the first day of the month, or something like that. I won’t correct this error but will lead people to this blurb. These blurbs come at the end of a lot of writing. Is it possible I made this error just to bring new readers to this point? 

Possibly. The point of this section is to thank subscribers and point out that Charlottesville Community Engagement is a service of Town Crier Productions, a company formed to write as much as possible. Sometimes that does mean taking a quick break which I did Wednesday and Thursday. 

If you want to know when the next edition may come out, do consider joining the Chat function in Substack. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m exploring non-Twitter alternatives. 

All of this work is paid for by many of you readers and listeners via Substack, in addition to the various individuals and entities who pay me through Patreon. More details on that later, as you don’t need to read that every time. 

But, I do want you to know I appreciate the one in four who pays to keep my attention focused on a wide variety of things. You support my beat reporting which allows me to see patterns and incongruities. 

Ting match Substack subscriptions, though. I have to mention that! 

And even if you don’t sign up for a paid subscription to this newsletter, Ting wants your business, and if you sign up through a link in the newsletter you will get free installation, a $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall, and a second month for free. Just enter the promo code COMMUNITY.