Party line: Build Meadowcreek Parkway

PHOTOS BY JEN FARIELLO JEN@READTHEHOOK.COM

This year's City Council race could end up with the 4-1 majority that will finally green-light Charlottesville's most controversial roadway, the long-discussed Meadowcreek Parkway.

One of the two Meadowcreek opponents Mayor Maurice Cox is stepping down from council. Incumbent Kevin Lynch continues to oppose the project, but the other three Democratic candidates have either supported the Parkway in the past or are offering it their conditional support now.

In the last race for City Council two years ago, six Democrats vied for two seats. The heated race briefly included then-23-year-old Waldo Jaquith, who fired up younger voters and who missed getting on the ballot by a mere four votes. Election day brought an upset with the election of Rob Schilling– the first Republican to sit on council in 16 years– amid accusations that the Daily Progress shaped the outcome by writing about single-shot voting.

The 2004 election seems ho-hum by comparison.

Candidates were in no hurry to announce, and until three weeks before the February 7 Democratic convention, not one had. So far, no Republicans have stepped into the ring.

It was a given that incumbents Meredith Richards and Kevin Lynch would run for reelection, and widely anticipated that Mayor Cox would not.

Party stalwart David Brown and Rose Hill neighborhood president Kendra Hamilton, Cox's anointed successor, are making their first runs for public office in the low-key race.

Independents have until March 2 to register to run for the May 4 City Council elections.

For now, odds are pretty good that three of these people will be sitting on council come July.

 


David Brown

Age: 49

Day job: Chiropractor

Hometown: Grew up near Eastville, on Virginia's Eastern Shore; has lived in Charlottesville 22 years.

Immediate family: Married 24 years to Jean Hiatt– she teaches reading and ESL at Cale Elementary; two sons: Greg, 18, and Evans, 15, both are at CHS.

Party: Not anymore­ I'm getting too old.

Why run? To ensure that Charlottesville stays livable as we grow, that the city involves citizens by being open, accessible and user-friendly, that our schools continue to excel, and that the concerns of all parts of our city, including the low-income neighborhoods, are addressed.

What do you do better than your opponent(s)? At the moment I have competitors only for the Democratic nomination, not opponents­ but regardless, I'm certain I'm better at juggling and unicycling, and maybe basketball.

Past political experience: Chairman of the Charlottesville Dems and campaign manager for David Toscano, Kay Slaughter, and Mitch Van Yahres. Plus appointment by Governors Baliles and Wilder to the Virginia Board of Medicine.

Meadowcreek Parkway yay or nay?: Yes, subject to the earlier council compromise: replacement parkland, good interchange, two lanes, no trucks, etc.

Who should elect the mayor? The current system­ mayor elected by council­ has brought strong leadership to our city; I would want to hear a specific proposal, and explore the pros and cons, before going any further with this idea.

City Council elections– May or November? November. I'd be glad for my term to be six months shorter to allow this.

Is the city ready for another Lee Danielson project? Sure. The Regal Theater and Ice Park are great for downtown. I wish he'd pick the north side of the mall for his hotel, though, so as not to block the sun.

Should Coran Capshaw run the amphitheater? If it means an occasional DMB appearance, why not?

George Bush called himself the education candidate. What candidate are you? One-word descriptions are inherently incomplete, often misleading, and in the case of President Bush, completely false– so I'm not going to characterize myself this way.

Political hero: Teddy Roosevelt, for setting aside huge tracts of land for national parks and forests, and for battling special interests; in Virginia, Henry Howell, whose unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns pledged to "keep the big boys honest"; in Charlottesville, Drewary Brown.

Past newsworthiness: None, yet; my newsworthiness awaits me.

Pet peeve: Lateness, when it affects others.

Most influential book: Maybe Dee Brown's Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, teaching me, in high school, that there was much about history and our country not taught in school.

If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be? An otter.

Motto: I don't have a motto (really, does anyone?).

 


Kendra Hamilton

Age: Old enough to have to constantly fight the temptation to lie about it.

Day job: assistant editor, Black Issues in Higher Education, Fairfax, Virginia

Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina

Immediate family: Single, no kids, dog deceased– looking for a puppy.

Party: Duke Blue Devil

Why run? Because it's the single most effective way to bring attention to issues that are vital to our community.

What do you do better than your opponent(s)? My gumbo is legendary. I hereby challenge each of my opponents to a cook-off.

Past political experience: Attended the Democratic National Convention when I was 12 (my father was an alternate). In Charlottesville, I've made it most of the way through a PhD program, with skin more or less intact, served as president of my neighborhood association, on the citywide and Rose Hill CDBG task forces, and on the Mayor's Housing Policy Task Force.

Meadowcreek Parkway yay or nay?: Conditional yes.

Who should elect the mayor? I'd have to hear the arguments pro and con before I can answer that.

City Council elections– May or November? November

Is the city ready for another Lee Danielson project? I'm sure I'm not the only one who remembers the tumbleweeds rolling through the Downtown Mall before the Ice Park and the movie theater.

Should Coran Capshaw run the amphitheater? Only if he can get the Neville Brothers to make regular appearances.

George Bush called himself the education candidate. Just by contrast, that makes me the "keeping it real" candidate.

Political hero: My father

Past newsworthiness: I was a performance artist in Houston made the papers and performed at all the hip joints but never could bring myself to quit my day job.

Pet peeve: People who follow the crowd.

Most influential book: The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk

If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be? Here's a radical notion: a human we are animals, after all.

Motto: "However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act upon them?"

 


Kevin Lynch

Age: 41

Day job: Contract software engineer, specializing in industrial control applications

Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia (resident of Charlottesville for 23-plus years)

Immediate family: Nine nephews and a niece is enough for me right now.

Party: Charlottesville Democrat

Why run? Charlottesville, while a great town, has room for improvement. I believe I've made a positive difference in the past four years and can continue to do so for the next four years.

What do you do better than your opponent(s)? Propose workable solutions to problems.

Past political experience: Four years on council, former president of federation of neighborhoods

Meadowcreek Parkway yay or nay?: Not until the city gets functionally equivalent replacement parkland and an interchange at 250, and the county agrees to take responsibility for building adequate infrastructure to handle their traffic problems.

Who should elect the mayor? I believe our current system is better than the alternatives, but I'm willing to look at other options.

City Council elections– May or November? I'm leaning toward November, but keeping an open mind.

Is the city ready for another Lee Danielson project? I don't think we should personalize projects. In all developments, we should insist on quality and equity.

Should Coran Capshaw run the amphitheater? See above. I'm open to any proposal that gives the city better entertainment options and keeps Fridays as a free event.

George Bush called himself the education candidate. What candidate are you? The sustainability candidate

Political heroes: My parents

Past newsworthiness: I do my best to stay on the down low.

Pet peeve: Media that tries to reduce complex issues into sound bites.

Most influential book: Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity by Richard Rorty

If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be? A somewhat smarter human

Motto: What goes around comes around.

 


Meredith Richards

Age: Who wants to know?

Day job: Psychologist

Hometown: Born and raised in Houston, Texas, but Charlottesville has been home for 34 years.

Immediate family: Husband–Larry (the professor); son - Russell (the artist), 33.

Party: Democrat

Why run? To serve the underserved. To protect our citizens and their neighborhoods and uphold a high quality of life.

What do you do better than your opponent(s)? Every candidate has strengths. I listen well, respect other views. What I lack in eloquence, I make up for in action.

Past political experience: Two terms representing the people of Charlottesville.

Meadowcreek Parkway yay or nay?: Let the people decide! After 37 years of debate, we should hold a referendum and abide by the results.

Who should elect the mayor? Charlottesville's "strong manager" form of government means an elected mayor has little power, but I would prefer to elect.

City Council elections– May or November? November. More people participating=better government.

Is the city ready for another Lee Danielson project? Could be. I'd have to see the details. He's done some good stuff (Ice Park; Exchange Building; cinema, etc.)

Should Coran Capshaw run the amphitheater? Can't think of a better person to bring great musical events to the Mall.

George Bush called himself the education candidate. What candidate are you? Compared to Bush? The truthful candidate.

Political hero: FDR

Past newsworthiness: The Vespa photo shoot was a high point. Then there was the Congressional run. Probably in that order.

Pet peeve: People who interrupt.

Most influential book: Had Enough? A Handbook for Fighting Back by James Carville

If you were to come back as an animal, what would it be? Hmmm. Probably a cat. Maybe an ocelot.

Motto: Honestly, I just live by my core principles and don't have much use for mottos.

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