Charlottesville Community Engagement
Charlottesville Community Engagement
September 16, 2023: Spillman outraises Bryce in latest campaign finance period; Council candidates raise $50
September 16, 2023: Spillman outraises Bryce in latest campaign finance period; Council candidates raise $50
Plus: New UVA residence hall to be named after the late Paul Gaston

Welcome to a rare Saturday edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. This installment is necessary to get recent information to people in as timely a manner as a one-person operation can manage. There has been a lot of relevant subject matter related to land use, transportation, and economic development and it is the mission of Charlottesville Community Engagement to turn as much of it as possible into content. Are you content with that?

On this installment:

  • Greene County lifts mandatory water restrictions

  • The latest campaign finance reports are in with the at-large Albemarle School Board race as the most expensive so far 

  • The most lackluster race in terms of fundraising is either the Charlottesville City Council or the City School Board race 

  • There’s a new chair of the UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee and new residence halls will be named for two esteemed faculty members 

While some publications are cutting back frequency, this one hopes to increase! Sign up to get all of what gets produced!

First shout-out: Camp Albemarle

Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for over sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”

Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Are you looking to escape and reconnect with nature? Consider holding an event where the natural beauty of the grounds will provide a venue to suit your needs. Visit their website to view the gallery and learn more! 

Greene County lifts mandatory water restrictions

After eight days, Greene County has removed limitations on customers of public water following rainfall that recharged the public water supply. However, officials are still encouraging water conservation. 

“While recent rainfalls have increased the water level in the Rapidan River, we could return to low levels without further precipitation,” said Alan Harrison, Director of Greene County Water and Sewer in a press release sent out on Friday afternoon.  

Greene County is planning to expand its water supply by impounding a waterway known as White Run for a new reservoir. The locality had to leave the Rapidan Service Authority to proceed and took over that entity’s assets on June 23. For more information, visit Greene County’s website.

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority manages the reservoirs that serve public customers in Albemarle and Charlottesville. The five waterways were at 91.82 percent of usable capacity as of yesterday. That’s down from 92.11 percent on September 14. 

Spillman outraises Bryce in Albemarle School Board race

There is less than a week until early voting begins for the November 7 election which is 52 days away. On the ballot are all 140 seats in the General Assembly as well as local races. 

The first campaign forums and candidate town halls have begun and the latest round of campaign finance reports have been turned in. The Virginia Public Access Project compiles those reports making it easier for the rest of us to get a glimpse 

There are seven members of the Albemarle School Board with one at-large representative elected by the whole County. Incumbent Jonno Alcaro opted not to seek another term. 

Keep in mind there are only six members on the Board of Supervisors with none of them elected by all voters. 

Allison Spillman had $8,987 in the bank at the beginning of July and raised $44,122 in the two month period. That includes a $15,000 contribution from Sonjia Smith. The campaign had $15,884 in itemized expenses and $2,303 in in-kind expenses. Spillman had an ending balance of $34,921. 

Meg Bryce had a starting balance of $30,521 and raised $25,578 during the two months. This includes a $5,000 donation from Robert H. Smith. The campaign spent $22,073 and had an ending balance of $33,756 on August 31, 2023 

Bryce is the daughter of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 

Rivanna District 

Incumbent Supervisor Bea LaPisto Kirtley had $11,734 on hand on July 1 and raised $17,350 over the two month period. That includes a $5,000 contribution from Sonjia Smith and another $5,000 from the Stony Point Development Group. Lifeview Marketing provided $6,200 in in-kind services. The incumbent spent $18,784 including that in-kind donation to have $10,299 on hand as of August 31. 

Independent T.J. Fadeley began the period with $2,254 and raised $9,843 in July and August. That includes a $5,000 contribution from Richard Gilliam. The campaign spent $1,473 including $222 in in-kind expenses. Fadeley had $10,624 on hand as September got underway. 

School Board Member Judy Le is the only candidate on the ballot but there is a write-in campaign underway. Le began the period with $167 in the bank, raised $650, and spent $211. The ending balance was $606. 

The write-in candidate is Michelle de Stefano and the campaign also filed a report. de Stefano opened up a campaign account on July 25 and raised $850 in the period. There are $431 in expenses and an ending balance of $418. 

White Hall District 

Democratic incumbent Ann Mallek had $18,539 at the beginning of July and raised $6,250. The campaign spent $4,216 and had $20,573 going into September. 

Independent challenger Brad Rykal had $1,774 on July 1 and raised $4,075 in the two-month period. The campaign spent $2,603 and a balance of $3,246 at the end of August. 

Rebecca Berlin is the incumbent in the School Board race after being appointed to the position in late 2022. Her campaign had a balance of $965 on July 1 and raised $3,784. Berlin spent $1,487 and had $3,262 on August 31. 

Joann McDermid is challenging Berlin and her campaign had $2,551 at the beginning of the period. She raised $3,785 and spent $1,534 in the two months. McDermid had $4,803 on August 1. 

Scottsville District 

Democrat Mike Pruitt is the only candidate on the ballot to succeed Donna Price as Scottsville District Supervisor. He began the month with $5,975 and raised $450 in July and August. The campaign spent $17. 

Incumbent Ellen Osborne is the only candidate on the ballot for the School Board. She began July with $706 and loaned herself $500. That’s the only receipt for the period and the campaign spent $421 to have an ending balance of $784. 

Council candidates raise a total of $50

Charlottesville is in the midst of a generational shift in land use politics with the Planning Commission set to deliberate the new Development Code next week after a five-hour public hearing this past Thursday. More on that in a future edition of the newsletter.

In a democracy, different points of view are often reflected by candidates who seek election to a legislature to implement political visions. 

There are three candidates for three seats on Charlottesville City Council with the three Democrats having been selected in the June 20 primary. No independent candidates qualified for the ballot and the Republican Party has not run a candidate since 2015. No write-in campaigns have emerged. 

The three Democrats on the ballot raised a collective $50 in the campaign finance reporting period from July 1 to August 31. 

Incumbent Democrat Michael Payne started July with a balance of $9,775 and received one contribution of $50. He spent $603 with a lot of that on coffee at various establishments. 

Democrat Lloyd Snook began July with $4,424 in the campaign account and spent $12 on two monthly payments to SquareSpace. That leaves an ending balance of $4,412. 

Newcomer Natalie Oschrin started with $4,220 and spent $114 on websites and printing expenses. The ending balance is $4,079. 

There are four candidates running for four seats on the School Board. None of the incumbents sought reelection. Only one of the candidates filed a campaign report according to the Virginia Public Access Project. That was Amanda Burns, who reported she raised no money and spent no money meaning the balance of $200 applied to starting and ending. 

The other candidates are Christopher W. Meyer, Nicole R. Richardson, and Shymora Cooper.

There’s only one candidate for Charlottesville’s elected position on the Thomas Jefferson Soil and Water Conservation District and that’s Joe Thompson. In Albemarle the candidates are incumbent Steven Meeks and newcomer Mark William Wastler. 

Why aren’t there more candidates? Is there something about this community that makes people avoid running for office? 

Second shout-out: Two important health events 

In today’s second subscriber-supported shout-out: There are two health-related events coming up in the community and perhaps you or someone you know should attend. 

First, September is Sickle Cell Disease Awareness Month and there’s a blood drive taking place on September 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mount Zion First African Baptist Church at 105 Lankford Avenue. Everyone is welcome but Black donors are especially asked to donate blood because one in three will match a patient with Sickle Cell disease. Four tickets to a UVA home football game will be raffled off at the drive. 

The next day at the same location there will be a Men’s Day Health Event from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be health screenings, tournaments, giveaways, and food catered by the Mount Zion First African Baptist Church Nutrition Ministry. Free transportation is available. Contact me for that contact information. 

Nau is new chair of UVA’s land use committee

Decisions in Albemarle County and Charlottesville are made by elected officials, but one of the region’s most influential bodies is an appointed one. 

The Buildings and Grounds Committee of the Board of Visitors met Thursday as part of the larger group’s September meeting. There is a new chair. 

“Our decisions have a long-standing impact on the University,” said John L. Nau III of Houston, Texas. 

Nau has previously served on the Board of Visitors and was reappointed by Governor Glenn Youngkin in late June along with Paul C. Harris, Paul Manning, and Rachel Sheridan 

The Buildings and Grounds Committee shape the work of the Office of the Architect which implements various master plans for the state institution. For instance, the design for the Karsh Institute of Democracy was modified after input in December 2022 to add an element of white brick and wood panels stained red. That design was endorsed this past June

UVA is exempt from local zoning and does not pay real property taxes to Charlottesville, though properties owned by the UVA Foundation do. 

Nau said he has been meeting with top staff at UVA to discuss the goals for the next year as well as implementation of a capital plan.

“This includes over a billion dollars of projects under construction and over $800 million in projects that are in planning and design,” Nau said. 

One of those projects is a new residence hall on Brandon Avenue, a section of Charlottesville that was slowly purchased by the UVA Foundation. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government Relations at UVA. 

“We’re getting ready coming up next summer to the opening of the new residence halls on Brandon Avenue,” Sheehy said. “About 350 beds, a dining facility, and a hundred parking spaces and common space as well.” 

Construction of the new residence halls is currently underway. (Credit: University of Virginia)

Sheehy said the current proposal is to name one the two buildings after the Paul Gaston, a historian who joined the faculty in 1957 and was instrumental in Civil Rights protests in Charlottesville in the 1960’s. 

The other building would be named for Rouhoullah “Ruhi” Ramazani, a political scientist who escaped Iran in 1952  and earned a law degree from UVA in 1954. He taught the first course at UVA on the Middle East and continued to teach for more than 40 years. 

There was no discussion at the meeting of several other renamings. 

  • A building at the Mountain Lake Biological Station in southwest Virginia has been renamed for Ruth Myrtle Patrick, one of the first women to earn a doctorate at UVA with a Ph.D. in biology in 1934. She became curator at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia in 1937 but did not receive any payment for her work until 1945. A two-story building at Mountain Lake had been named for Ivey Lewis, the biological station’s founding director. He was also a vocal opponent of desegregation and a promoter of eugenics. 

  • A garden behind two medical research buildings will be renamed for Dr. Thomas Braciale, the founding director of the UVA Beirne C. Carter Immunology Center for Research. Braciale died on May 23, 2023. 

  • A stream that runs through the Darden Arboretum and Botanical Gardens will now be known as the Lauren Morel Stream. That person and her husband are “generous supporters of the Darden School.” 

  • There are new names for the three restaurants that will be part of the Virginia Guesthouse. That’s the hotel under construction in the Emmet-Ivy Corridor. They are the Counter Cafe, the Poplar, and The Perch. The latter is a roof-top restaurant. 

The Buildings and Grounds Committee also did not discuss the demolition of three buildings to make way for the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Two apartment buildings and a commercial structure will come down to make way for infrastructure improvements for the new building.

More from the Buildings and Grounds Committee in future editions of the newsletter. 

Reading material:

Check all of your belongings before leaving #578:

How many Saturday editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement have there been? Not many. I usually spend Saturdays writing up other stories, but this has been a busy week and there’s a lot happening. I wanted to get this information out today so I can get more out tomorrow, more out Monday, and so on.

To what end? Toward an informed community! And it’s also how I make my living. Hundreds of people are paying through Substack or through Patreon, helping pay so that thousands can take a look. This is what I want to do with my life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to do so.

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