In brief: Council campaign spending, lazy slobs and a tv boycott

City Council candidates disclose campaign spending. City Council candidates disclose campaign spending.

Show us the money

Getting on City Council can cost a lot more than what the part-time job pays, even after a raise in 2018 boosted the salary to $18,000 annually. So far, no one’s touched Mayor Mike Signer’s all-time high of $51K to get elected, but major cash has been raised this year in some cases. In others, not so much. Above are the City Council candidates’ numbers as of September 30, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Democracy dropouts

Click to enlarge.

Americans like to extol our exceptionalism for living in a free country, while conveniently skipping over the foundation of democracy: showing up at the polls and voting.


In that category, American citizens are lazy slobs.

Oh sure, we turn out in presidential election years, which nationally is a lackluster 50 percent. Locally, we do somewhat better, yet only mustering around 70 percent—barely a passing grade. And in a year where it’s merely local and House of Delegate races, which some argue are the most important, and fewer than one-third of the city and county’s 100,000-plus registered voters can be bothered to go to the polls.

Supposedly the 2016 election galvanized the country. Will that call for action be evident in the polls? We’ll find out November 7.

Officer-involved shooting

City police killed J.C. Hawkins Jr. October 13, after Hawkins allegedly sexually assaulted and robbed a 72-year-old woman in the 300 block of Riverside Avenue. Three officers found him on the Rivanna Trail, and say he pointed a handgun at them. Officers shot at Hawkins, he fell into the Rivanna River and “succumbed to his injuries,” police say. The officers are on administrative leave as Virginia State Police investigate.

Coach indicted

An Orange County grand jury indicted former volunteer softball coach Cathy S. Rothgeb, 57, of Stanley, on 34 counts related to sexual assault of children October 16. Rothgeb coached from the 1980s to early 2000s.

NBC29 boycott

Henry Graff’s interview with white nationalist Richard Spencer on the heels of “Charlottesville 3.0”—the October 7 tiki torch flash mob here—has irate viewers forming a Boycott NBC29 Facebook group with 122 members vowing to tell the TV station’s advertisers they don’t approve. Others simply changed the channel.

Gateway or gridlock?

Belmont Bridge photo by Jack Looney

City Council voted 4-1 October 16 to pass the conceptual design for the Belmont Bridge two-lane replacement project, with Bob Fenwick being the lone dissenter.

Borrowed & Blue shutdown

The Charlottesville-based tech startup that connected hundreds of couples to wedding vendors since 2011 abruptly announced October 16 that it would shut down all business operations, effective immediately.

Quote of the Week

Don Gathers. Photo by Eze Amos

“Someone set up a report card for city government. I believe this puts you on academic probation.” —Don Gathers at the October 16 City Council meeting

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