Late last year, Forbes ranked Charlottesville the 13th richest metropolitan area in the country. Earlier this month, Richard Florida, a senior editor at The Atlantic, published his list of the “brainiest” cities in the U.S. Using data collected by scientists from Lumos Labs, who measured the cognitive performance of over a million people and mapped them with IP geolocation software. The Martin Prosperity Institute at the University of Toronto crossed the cognitive data with conventional performance indicators like educational attainment and ranked the top metro areas. Guess who was at the top of the list? That’s right. Rich and smart. Good looking. Modest, too. At C-VILLE, we might not get as excited about rankings as say, Forbes, but we’re just as obsessed with the power dynamics at play in a town with an upside everyone else seems so intent on quantifying. We’ve come up with a set of lists that ranks the power players in seven separate spheres of local influence, but if you want to get your head around who’s moving agendas, start thinking about how the lists are connected.
DISCLAIMER: We hereby acknowledge that a “power” ranking is a bullshit construct, but so is presidential polling data, right? We don’t claim to be able to quantify power, or even, really, to know what it is, but it appears to have something to do with serving on nonprofit boards. To account for the fact that we’re likely providing a stilted view of the world we OCCUPY, we’ve also assembled essays written by people in the community who have something to say about how power works and the way it should be used. So consider this our 2012 Speak Truth to Power issue, with an emphasis on the power part.