Obama quip: Dredging stalls as racial debate rises
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.
–last updated Friday, May 8 at 11:16am