Tuesday, May 30, 2006

WiFi Downtown

The City, in conjunction with the Downtown Library and ADI engineering, has created a "hot spot" that includes Lee Park and up to Central Place and McGuffey. Councilor Kevin Lynch spearheaded the effort to make the City a wireless community, for which this is seen as a first step.

Monday, May 29, 2006

CHS Girls Soccer

This afternoon I watched the undefeated CHS Girls for the first time this season and was tremendously impressed. They cruised to a 6-0 regional victory over Handley (Winchester), and they did it not just with talent - which they certainly have - but with flair and precision. They have a strong team, with a couple of very gifted players in Amy Hemenway and Emily Perrin. And the entire team plays possession soccer, with one-touch passes, timely runs, passes into space and great crosses. Beautiful.

They play again on Wednesday, at CHS.

Boards and Commissions

Interested in getting more involved in the City? There are openings on many of our boards and commissions, including the Board of Architectural Review, the Commision on Children and Families, MACAA and Region Ten. If you have questions or to request an application, contact Jeanne Cox (coxj@charlottesville.org or 970-3113). Applications can also be made online.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Shopping in Albemarle

The Southern Environmental Center has issued a report on retail development in Albemarle County, that supports what a lot of us are thinking - that way too many shopping opportunities are being planned and approved in the County. Retail overload, according to the report, 3.3 million square feet of additional 'big box' shopping centers and other retail space in the next decade. That's a 70% increase in the county's existing retail area, and, according to SELC, triple the amount that the area can reasonably absorb. Albemarle Place, Hollymead Town Center, North Pointe - where does it end?

Raingarden Dedication

A big issue is stormwater runoff, as we lose green spaces - often in steep areas - to houses, lawns, streets and parking lots. Our streams can never be healthy if they are overwhelmed when it rains. At Greenleaf Park there is now a demonstration raingarden, a way of channeling runoff into a place designed to filter, disperse and slow the runoff. The city received a grant from the Virginia Dept of Conservation and Recreation, and on Friday all the folks who helped make this happen were recognized at a dedication. The demonstration raingarden will serve to educate the community (it is next to Walker school) and hopefully serve as a model for future public or private development; I know of a couple of projects in the city that are using something like this.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Invisible Children

A recent event that somehow generated no press (or whatever press there was, I missed) was the April 28 Invisible Children Vigil in front of City Hall - fittingly, in front of the Free Expression Monument. The issue that this vigil was trying to publicize is the plight of children and families in Northern Uganda. The brutal civil war has resulted in thousands of children being abducted and forced to become soldiers, and to avoid abduction they leave their villages and sleep in front of the city hall. So on April 28, vigils were held worldwide, including 131 US cities. Over 80 people participated here, mostly UVa students, it appeared to me.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Julian and Dave

I am thrilled to soon be serving on City Council with Julian Taliaferro and Dave Norris. I think they both bring some real strengths to council - Julian the experience of creating one of the top fire departments in the country, Dave the energy and ideas of a community activist.

One of the reasons I was elected Mayor (the Mayor in Cville is picked every 2 years by Council) was in hopes I could bring some civility and cohesion to what had been a fractious Council. I was at most only partly successful, and on a few evenings not successful at all. But with the addition of Julian and Dave I think the next City Council can function well. Doesn't mean we will agree on everything - I already know that Dave differs with me on the Parkway and the Mall crossing - but that we will be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

While I was confident that the Democratic ticket would win, I was predicting a 400 vote margin - not the 1200 votes that separated Julian and Rob Schilling. A significant part of the margin was the young (18 - 30 or so) voters that were excited by Dave Norris.

Last year, my first on Council, was just plain hard, with the Scottie Griffin controversy. This year has been smoother. Next year could be great.