No Meredith conspiracy

I was alarmed to read of the apparent conspiracy to oust Meredith Richards from the City Council [February 12: "Upset: 'Stop Meredith' move ousts Richards"]. As a delegate who did not vote for Richards at the Democratic nominating convention, I find myself an unwitting participant in a dark conspiracy.

Or perhaps not, since the only sources in your story to back up this assertion were Richards' own campaign manager and an anonymous "Democratic insider." As one who is not so well connected, please accept my perspective of that day's events.

I was among the majority of vocal dissenters who opposed the motion to accept only the ballots of those delegates who voted for three candidates.

Lloyd Snook expressed my objection best when he pointed out that it is against the Democratic Party's national charter to force people to choose candidates for whom they do not wish to vote. After being impressed by Kendra Hamilton, and unmoved by David Brown, I voted for Hamilton and Kevin Lynch and prepared to stay for a second round of balloting.

Yes, I am one of those dreaded "double-shot" voters, but I am not a single issue voter. I support fiscal and environmental responsibility, economic justice, affordable housing, and sustainable transportation. That is why I vote Democratic. So why could I not vote for Meredith Richards?

It was a painful decision. I admire Meredith; she is a neighbor and a friend. She has been a strong and capable leader, especially on, ironically, transportation matters.

I believe the issue that prevented so many delegates from supporting Meredith was not the Meadowcreek Parkway– about which reasonable people can disagree– but the recent efforts by a cadre of Councilors to cede the Parkway land to the state through an illegal easement. Those efforts, though they'll ultimately be found unconstitutional, reflected poor judgment by the Councilors involved and contempt for the electorate.

Shortly before the convention, perhaps sensing the growing indignation, Richards suggested a public referendum to discuss the Parkway. I think she got her referendum.

These issues, urban development and thoughtful transportation alternatives, are coming to a head quickly and will determine the future of our community for generations. I am hopeful that, once the Parkway issue has been put to rest, a reinvigorated Richards will once again seek public office.

Sean McCord
Johnson Village, Charlottesville
Sean@McCord.net

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