Obama quip: Dredging stalls as racial debate rises

Wagner (left): "A dredging study for water supply only is an absolute waste of the rate-payers' money."

Nobody disputes that the chair of the Albemarle County Service Authority wants to stop a proposed dredging study. What is in dispute are his exact words, which some think was a racial slight, at the board's last meeting.

The Newsplex has the story of the case of Don Wagner saying "Obama-like money" or–- more nefariously–- "Obama white money." And then he said, "You spend it, and you get it back from your grandchildren."

Some citizens allege that he was making some sort of racial remark that the Urban Dictionary defines as tax money or a paycheck signed by a white man. Others, say Wagner was merely invoking the concept of deficit spending to create an economic stimulus and that he has been unfairly maligned.

Calls left earlier today with Wagner and with Liz Palmer, the person who can be heard heartily laughing at whatever it was he said, went unreturned.

Earlier in the meeting, Palmer revealed a strategy to stop dredging, which supporters consider the centerpiece of any water plan as well as a way to possibly avoid constructing a new reservoir that requires a cross-county pipeline of undetermined cost.

"The object of the game," Palmer tells fellow Authority board members, "is to keep on track and to start on the dam this winter."

If it sounds like tensions in the long-running water debate have heated up, a group of high school students has decided to get to the bottom of the water matter by hosting a forum on the issue May 14.

Speaking for the official water plan will be Palmer, Jeff Werner of the Piedmont Environmental Council, and Supervisor Sally Thomas. Urging a dredging-centric approach will be former City Planning Commissioner Betty Mooney, environmental professor Rich Collins, and former City Councilor Kevin Lynch.

"It'll be more of a group meeting than an actual debate," says student organizer Brooke Kindler, "because we feel that they will be more willing to give a little bit and understand each opinion to maybe form a resolution." The meeting occurs at 6pm in Monticello High School's forum.

Wagner's comment can be heard on this MP3 edited from the original, which was recorded by Charlottesville Tomorrow, which has posted an hour-long recording of the full April 22 meeting.

–last updated Friday, May 8 at 11:16am

Read more on: acsadon wagnerdredging


How do we get county folk to wake up and go to the BOS and demand that they get this information before proceeding. Apparently the BOS act this way because they think no on cares.

This crap is ridiculous. It does seem like time for a rally. I'm pretty sure if Betty Mooney, Rich Collins, and Kevin Lynch were to ask their supporters turn out they could make enough noise to be heard on this issue. I'd be there for sure!

The real reason behind their promoting this proposal is not because they care about the people who may be living here fifty years from now. Those petty pusses couldn't care less about anyone but themselves. There is some larger, unspoken plan up their sleeves that is yet to be revealed. If they were really concerned about water and money is no object then why not rebuild/repair the pipeline from Sugar Hollow, build the big storage basin and Ragged Mountain AND dredge the South Fork and get all of the water they can from the watershed? i don't think their motivations are centered around so-called natural flows to the Moorman's either. I'm sure whoever it is that really behind this proposal fronted by pawns is doing a great job at staying hidden, but they can certainly pull strings with SELC (whose opposed to the W. Bypass), PEC, and The Nature Conservancy, none of whom that has the track record of The Sierra Club which is not backing it.

Cville Eye, the people can ALWAYS demonstrate! You know... the proverbial torches and pitchforks (not literal ones). Wagner, and people like Martin and Palmer, are aided, abetted, and encouraged by whom? The folks in elected government who are helping the developers pull the puppets' strings have to go.

Chedda: Alternative spelling of cheddar.; cash; money
Since Don Wagner is not an elected official, but rather an indulgence of politics, the public has no control over him and his actions.

TJ, Rog, and Cville Eye-- it's traditionally a slang term for taxed money, i.e. money that comes from the "white man." But, since the election, it's also been co-opted by some white people on the right to denote government handouts, i.e. it's white folks that are footing the bill. Either way, it was pretty stupid to bring the president's name into this debate-- whether white, lite, or like.

Don Wagner is a developer, so it's no surprise that he'll want whatever brings him LOTS of water so he can make his chedda. Look that one up, Cville Eye! ;-)

TJ and Rog, "Obama like money," "Obama white money," neither makes any sense. They sound like utterances of a fool and for somebody to chortle at either indicates another fool. Obviously, these nuts do not know how to conduct public business, in public no less. It's better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it. Bring on the student forum. I'm sure Sally Thomas is telling Jeff Werner and Liz Palmer to let her do the talking.

Um, but am I the only one that thinks the phrase "obama white money" doesn't make any sense?

Are we really going to let the spinmeisters get away with calling this Obama like money ?

Forget the racial slur. Listen to the discussion and see this is just a continuation of amateurs in over their heads. They ignore facts, make up pseudoscience and do what they want. A dredging study terrifies them because it might expose the plain truth that the public could easily understand. This recorded meeting exposes the schism between the urban population that is going to pay for this 'plan' (which is a concept, not a plan) and the wealthy suburb that has demonstrated total political control over the development process. That is the real takeaway. Their laughter over 'Obama White' references is the least of our worries.

Agree with both Rate Payer and Turk, but respectfully ask that everyone remain focused on the BIG picture as well. Apologies and explanations can be issued over the "slur." People can agree or disagree on what they've heard on the audio or in person. But that's treating a symptom, and not the cause, which runs much deeper.

The fact that the ACSA Board and BOS 1) have those bizarre resentful attitudes towards anyone that disagrees with them, and 2) are so entirely comfortable being publicly condescending and shooting down what they see as dissent, is very alarming to me.

Seriously, who wouldn't agree that you should have all the necessary facts and figures before you embark on a plan of this magnitude? After all, isn't that supposed to be a MINIMUM requirement before proceeding? The fact that there are officials vociferously opposing this very reasonable request should make every alarm bell start ringing, and every red flag start waving. If not, then you must live in some oblivious fantasy world where unicorns prance and wishes grow on trees.

BOS continues to stall dredging RFP. Not on this weeks Wed. agenda. Is it time to show up at 6pm at Lane High to let them know how you feel and put your dissent in the public record even if they do ignore you?

Keeping this information from the community is one of the most irresponsible acts I've ever seen the BOS engage in.

1) "obama like" money makes perfect sense.. as in money spent without any commmon sense thought about how the hell you are going to repay it.

2) "obama white money" makes no sense,, especially since with the population estimates it looks like blacks and hispanics will be the majority of those footing the bill anyway.

"Obama White Money" makes perfect sense to a certain segment of the population and that's what I hear on the tape --just open your ears
There is no context for using the term "Obama Like Money"

Google "White Money" and it brings up a definition describing how the
phrase is used in urban culture.

There is some sort of "debate" at Monticello High School at 6:00pm Thursday May 14th. I don't know the details, but EVERYONE SHOULD COME DOWN, LISTEN, AND ASK QUESTIONS.

If you can, listen to a podcast of today's Coy Barefoot show on WINA ( http://www.wina.com/play_window.php?audioType=Episode&audioId=3706632 ). It covers a lot of ground and gives some interesting facts that you will find useful.

It's great that people in Charlottesville care and hit the blogs. This "debate" may be a chance to learn more and voice your opinion. Or, it could be canine excrement similar to the infamous "Task Force". Come down, see, and do your best to force a useful discussion!

Supervisors meeting tonight at 6pm at the Lane High, County Office Building, if you want to speak to the them in person about the need to get the dredging surveys done NOW so that the community will have the ability to get the facts and cost estimates to make the best fiscally and environmentally responsible decision for our future water supply.

The interview mentioned above is very informative as are the excellent articles linked in this article by the Hook.

Our web-site is Cvillewater.info if you would like more information or want to contact Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan

If you'd like a succinct overview of the water supply non-plan, I recommend that you listen to the Lynch/Barefoot link above.
@Citizen, what a sad legacy that woman is creating for herself.
"...stellar service representing the rate payers." Did anyone smell her breath? If you listen to Lynch/Barefoot you'd come away with an entirely different opinion or a new definition of "stellar service" and "representing rate payers."

Water debate tonight at Monticello High School at 6pm.
Kevin Lynch, Rich Collins and I will debate the merits of dredging for the water supply vs building a new dam and new pipeline with Sally Thomas, Liz Palmer and Jeff Werner representing that concept.
The meeting will be a 6pm at Monticello High School.

Why is the Nature Conservancy involved in this? Can you point me to something to read

To the people who are confused as to why "white money" is a racial slur, lemme break it down. "White money" is tax money, money white people pay, in contrast to "black money"--welfare. Get it? The "Obama" modifier just makes it all extra special ironic... almost clever. Liz Palmer certainly thought so.

Just ran a test. Ten people from another city who had no idea about this issue listened to the tape and all heard "White Money" and after being told what the Supervisors heard --laughed heartily--and said " these people must have been trained by Nixon"

No, they were trained by hooded people.

Of course I mean the hooded people who are walking around with their pants hanging down around their ankles and bullying people. Chortle, chortle.

Sounds like white to me. Anybody got a sound studio where we could analyze this tape, or how about sending it to the Pentagon bet they could settle this.

We can easily hear what was said. Hope the high school kids keep them in check.
Hey kids, WATCH them.

It's a wonder anyone could even hear the Obama comment through the dripping disdain coming from the board members, coupled with Ms Palmer's hyena-like yucking. Simply lovely. Keep up the good work, ACSA folks-- you're certainly making a name for yourselves around these parts!

Definitely sounds like "Obama white money" to me.

What kind of stupidity is this? Why would a person of such low intelligence have any power over any tax dollars? Why would the person that found these comments funny have any power?

These people are supposed to be responsible public officials? Which public are they serving? Why would they feel perfectly comfortable making such comments in such a forum and then laughing about it?

President Obama happens to be a black man, or more accurately a man of mixed racial heritage. If this local bureaucrat has a problem with that, perhaps he should explain exactly why.

Let's suppose for just a moment that Wagner didn't say that-- perhaps he said "lite" (tho' I admit it does sound like white on the audio-- Freudian slip perhaps?). There's SO much else to get angry about in the audio of that meeting. I worry that people will only listen to the slur portion and not the rest, which contains the bigger message. I encourage every single one of you reading this to listen to it. Please educate yourselves on this issue. The audio is a real eye-opener.

I, for one, can't wait for the debate on the 14th. Hope there's popcorn!

Why isn't the City Manager furious about the behavior of this board toward the City Council ? I agree Reality the tape is outrageous! Do these people really make decisions about money --I wouldn't trust them with my piggy bank.

The fact of the matter is that I wouldn't take this guy's job for a million white, black, brown, or yellow dollars. As such, I'm not going to get my panties in a wad over one alleged "incident." Relax.

Guess you don't pay water and sewer rates. This isn't one incident. This is about obstructing the ability of the citizens to get the information they need to potentially save millions of dollars and thousands of trees. Have you listened to the discussion starting at minute 29 ?

Who's the local government, Jeff Werner, Don Wagner, Liz Palmer and Johm Martin, The Nature Conservancy (Ridge Schuyler's old domain of foolery)? None of them sit in the decision-making positions with public consent. They're all private citizens speaking for themselves. Why is this issue convoluted? Obviously because there are people making decisions about our public water supply who are not answerable to the public. Sally Thomas recently said that it's not the county's fault that the city does not have a "professional" board (the ACSA, I believe) making decisions for its consumers. Those dolts may have a profession, but none of their professions have anything to do with supplying water or sewer treatment on a large scale.
Their incompetence in this matter is the foundation for their "dripping disdain."
I applaud the idea of the student forum. I just wish that John Martin and Don Wagner were also participating so that people can really see what we've going in the nut house. I hope that the forum is recorded.

Well, go figure Rate Payer..... The ASCA board member who made the now famous Obama remark, as well as the two most vocal anti-dredging ASCA board members on that tape --- DON'T PAY WATER AND SEWER BILLS EITHER. They won't pay a dime for this 200 million dollar water plan they are so fiercely defending.

Half the Albemarle County Service Authority board members - the folks who set water and sewer rates for the Albemarle bill payers... aren't rate payers themselves. How did THAT happen?

I live in the City and I agree the meeting was reprehensible, but if I were a county resident I would go to the BOS meeting this Wed. at 6pm and demand that Mr,. Wagner, who has identified himself as the one who said " Obama like" which others including myself hear as "Obama White", be asked to resign. He chaired this meeting. Both his comment and the content of the meeting make him unsuited to hold this position.

The BOS does know some of us care. My complaint resulted in a group generated denial response that basicly said "what is on the tape is 'not' on the tape and they hoped that their spun explanation cleared up the matter. As to the content of the meeting, there was no response. How stupid do they think we are????It is beyond my comprehesion their relunctance to gather the necessary information to make an informed decision about our water supply. I wish someone could pull back the curtain and expose the Wizard who is really pulling the stings of these officials.

@pablo cruise, considering the source, it is definitely #2.

I think people living on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir would be concerned what will happen if dredging doesn't occur. I've heard Ms.Palmer in meetings say, a muddy river/swamp would be just fine. Then again, she's protecting her back yard the Moorman's River not yours, and she's willing to raise your rates as high as needed to get the job done --her way

Kevin Lynch and Coy Barefoot had an informative interview on WINA yesterday. If you want to get some background on this story --listen in


newsflash: Sally Thomas defends the Albemarle County Service Authority at the BOS meeting tonight for their stellar service representing the rate payers.

Does anyone understand why the county officials are fighting so hard to keep the cost of dredging from the public ?

@Jeff, whenever a group of elected officials go against the grain with the public you'd better believe there's big money behind it. Why else?

So what big money are you referring to ?

The Nature Conservancy.

@Jeff, Ridge SChuyler, trained in political science and currently employed by Rom Perriello, devised this 50-year water supply concept while he was employed by The Nature Conservancy, a global, billion-dollar entity whose interest in the Rivanna watershed is still somewhat of a mystery. I'll leave it up to you to search the web for info on the TNC (who they are, what they're all about, where they operate).