Thursday, March 30, 2006

My Week

A busy week. Especially since I try to be in my chiropractic office 30 hours a week. One child in college and another starts next year - don't quit your day job!

Monday - nothing council related, but phone calls and reviewing the budget, in preparation for this weeks work session. Started a slow-cooked pork dish in the crockpot from Rick Bayless's Everyday Mexican for dinner. Wrote a letter of recommendation for a community member nominating him for a national award. Dinner was great.

Tuesday - Lifted weights at ACAC, early. Patients in the morning (and had a family medicine resident shadowing me). In the afternoon met with the city manager for a couple of hours, mostly working on agendas for upcoming meetings. Had a meeting to get updated on some proposed county developments and implications for the city, especially roads. Met with Kirby Hutto of the Pavillion, with the Vice-Mayor Kevin Lynch and the city manager, to get updated on the Pavillion's efforts to tame the noise (serious efforts and money being spent by them to solve this). Met with councilor Blake Caravati for an hour, and then attended a Boys and Girls Club event on an anti-gang initiative. I really like what Tim Sinatra and the Club are doing. Attorney General Bob McDonnell spoke, and had a great quip about getting "20 votes in Charlottesville - and I think they are all here".

Wednesday - An early morning run. Then, along with Kevin Lynch, Gary O'Connell, School Board Chair Julie Gronlund and incoming superintendent Rosa Atkins, I met with the Board of the Chamber of Commerce - an annual early morning event to talk about a wide range of issues. It is the third time I have met Rosa Atkins and I am very impressed and excited about her bringing leadership and stability to our schools. Patients the rest of morning and early afternoon. Returned phone calls at lunch. Later, a work session 4 - 7 on the budget. Shakai (former foster child) was home and I gave him a ride back to his sister's in Friendship Court, then grabbed a slice at Christians. Finally, Harris Teeter at 9:30 pm.

Today - a morning off. Took Jean's car to Edgecombs, then went to a Pilates class. Relaxed at Cafe Cubano with the Post. Mailed a package to Greg at Earlham College. Talked to Councilor Kendra Hamilton on the phone, and briefly the City Manager. Responded to emails. Picked up some meds for my mother in law and bought a new cheap sports watch at KMart. At 2 I'll go to my office until 5 or so. Then I will meet a group of Swedish officials who are here for a couple of days, attend an hour of the North Downtown Neighborhood Board meeting, and drop by the Living Wage banquet.

Tomorrow is patients all day, and lunch with the Swedes. The Architecture School has an event at the Community Design Center in the evening that I said I would drop by. And Darrell Scott is at Gravity Lounge; Jean and I are joining another couple to hear him.

Fortunately the weekend is pretty free.

Monday, March 27, 2006

A Hawk!

Yesterday afternoon there was a hawk at our birdbath. Watered for several minutes before flying up into a row of trees next door. Kind of amazing; I feel a little worried about the birds at our feeders.

Probably 12 years ago or so there was a bear cub in our backyard. Jean was the only one home, and got some photos. The cub was looking through our compost heap before hopping the fence and ambling away. The cub was in the papers for several days before finally being caught.

Pretty good for Rugby Avenue.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Evan Almighty

One of the perks of being Mayor - just about the only perk, actually - is getting invited to cool, interesting events.

Last night was one of these. There was a kick-off party at Starr Hill Brewery for Evan Almighty (the sequel to Bruce Almighty, being filmed here). Lots of people, music, dancing. Interesting people, too. I met the set crew, that are responsible for building everything, and the location people. I met the director, Tom Shadyac - a great thing about being Mayor is it is fairly easy to walk up to someone and just introduce yourself. I tried to meet the lead actor, Steve Carell, but I was hindered by not really knowing what he looked like (he is in a TV series called The Office, which I have not seen) so I didn't actually meet him.

Lots of interesting local folks. Richard Herskowitz, who directs the Virginia Film Festival. Paul Wagner, academy-award winning documentary filmaker. Barry Sisson, who produced The Station Agent. Entertainment lawyer Kirk Schroder, former president of the Virginia Board of Education. And from Richmond, Virginia Film Office Director Rita McClenny.

Now I am hoping to get a chance to see the set and filming...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The New Dominions

Saturday Night will be the final concert with the New Dominions for my nephew Paul Hiatt, who graduates from UVa this spring. They are fabulous and I cant wait to hear them - I missed the fall concert. I dont think a cappella groups were such a big think when I was in college, and I have been surprised by the music they play; songs ranging from Simon and Garfunkel to Radiohead to the Doors to They Might Be Giants.

8pm, McLeod Hall.

Festival of the Book

I hope the Charlottesville blogging community takes advantage of the Virginia Festival of the Book the next few days. It is a tremendous community event with a wide range of topics. I plan to go to the luncheon today (sorry, sold out), then hear Democracy Now host Amy Goodman speak on the importance of independent media on Friday (7pm, Mcleod Hall), and hear John McCutcheon and Barbara Kingsolver (one of my favorite authors) on Sunday afternoon at the Paramount. Jean (my wife) went last night to hear John Hope Franklin and Rita Dove, but I couldnt make it. Oh well. I wonder if I can find time on Saturday to see something...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Reids Supermarket

Anyone beside me notice the changes at Reids? (Anyone besides me shop at Reids?)

Reids is a working class grocery on Preston Ave, halfway between UVa and Downtown. Mostly African-American patrons. Has always had the basics, a little overpriced, and a butcher. A strong sense of neighborhood and community, a friendly place.

Now - in the last year - decent wines, organic produce (limited), mission home baked goods. Cilantro. Local apples.

A good place to go if your menu is straightforward and you dont feel like going to Barracks Road.

What they need is better lettuce and fresh fish.

School uniforms

City council was filled last night, for the first hour of the meeting, with CHS seniors getting credit for government class (and filled because it is the end of the marking period, I think). The students were mostly African-American, and included a several kids I coached in soccer.

And Rick Turner, Dean of African-American Affairs at UVa, and the current head of the local NAACP, spoke during the public comment period and gave them plenty to think about. He was responding to Councilor Kendra Hamilton's recent comments that the middle school consider uniforms.

He talked about research that indicated that uniforms resulted in less violence and less disciplinary incidents in inner-city schools - but also resulted in lower self-esteem. I would imagine government classes had some interesting discussions today.

Thanks, Rick.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Run, walk and bike the city

Probably the most fun part of campaigning two years ago was walking door to door. Partly it was meeting people, but also seeing homes up close (and being validated that my porch wasnt the only one in Cville that still had a snowshovel sitting there in April) and just getting a sense of all the neighborhoods.

So when this year began I set a tenative goal - to have walked, biked or run on all the streets in town while a member of city council. I have a map on my office wall where I highlighted the streets I walked during the campaign (which I am including) and now has streets run and biked highlighted.

So I guess this is the announcement of this goal.

The good news is that my running partner of over 20 years, Rich Kovatch, is agreeable to this idea, and this morning we weaved through some JPA and Fry's Spring streets in the course of an hour run. Discovered a business - Cville Imports, on Lewis Street - that I didnt know of, and saw a house on Shamrock with a bamboo teepee in front.

This should be fun.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Why blog?

After being elected to council almost 2 years ago, I started to occasionally read Waldo Jacquith's cvillenews. After a while I realized he had another blog, which is a great place to learn some things about Virginia politics. Then I found his blog compiler, which I enjoy as a way to see what people in our city are thinking and writing.

Being on City Council, and especially being Mayor, gives me a chance to see and learn about Charlottesville in ways that I would like to share. There is a lot happening that I would like others to know about. I thought a blog might be a good way to communicate.

For example, in the last few weeks I have had lunch with a dozen UVa students who were spending their spring break volunteering with Abundent Life Ministries, in low-income Charlottesville; gone to an incredible exhibition of photos and painting at Jefferson School documenting the vibrant Vinegar Hill neighborhood that used to exist where Staples and the Omni are now; and last night went to a fabulous production of 12th Night at CHS.

So thanks, Waldo. If my blog seems a bit ragged, well after all I am 51.