Loud and Clear
Nikuyah Walker begins a second two-year term as mayor of Charlottesville, after being re-elected at the January 6 City Council meeting. Councilors Michael Payne and Sena Magill voted for Walker, while Lloyd Snook and Heather Hill (who made her own bid for mayor) abstained.
Hill opened the meeting with an impassioned speech offering her services as mayor. “I really have gained a deep affection for the city, this region, and the people we share it with,” Hill said. During her time on council, she says she’s “developed a new lens from which I now view our community, its diversity, and its disparities in its harmony.”
Lloyd Snook did not mention any candidates specifically, but returned to the theme of civility that he’d emphasized during his campaign, saying “the selection of a mayor should be about how things will be done, not what will be done.”
“Council can start by not displaying open contempt for people coming to speak to us,” Snook said. “We can start by not displaying open contempt for the people on the dais.”
Michael Payne endorsed Walker by name, citing feminist academic theory and Walker’s record of “historic and unprecedented investment in housing.”
“I’ve walked in rooms the past three years where no one really took me seriously,” Walker said. “They didn’t think they had to. They discounted the abilities of black women. It wasn’t until the election that people understood the value I bring to rooms.”
“The individuals who have the least are heard the most when I am in the room,” Walker said.
Sena Magill, who received a $225 donation from Hill during her campaign, did not tip her hand during the initial comment period. “Whatever decision I make on this dais today will disappoint people who voted for me,” Magill said. “That’s inevitable. I have to vote with my heart. Where deep deep down I know I’m fighting for what’s right.”
Magill was elected vice mayor by a 4-1 vote, with Snook casting his vote for Hill.
Quote of the Week
“We got a new council here. We put y’all in those seats. Y’all got something to say? Respond to us.”
—Local resident and activist Mary Carey, speaking at the first meeting of the new City Council.
Supervisors at Charlottesville’s Trump Winery fired at least seven employees for their lack of legal immigration status–but only after the workers completed the annual grape harvest. The firings come nearly a year after The Trump Organization vowed to remove undocumented workers from its properties, which have long relied on low-wage, illegal labor, and after a harvest that included 60-hour weeks and overnight shifts, according to The Washington Post.
Soon, you’ll be able to fil’ up without getting out of your car. This week City Council granted a special use permit for Chick-fil-A to open a two-lane drive-through location where the Burger King in Barracks Road currently sits. “It’ll be a great meeting place and community center,” one speaker said during the public comment period. Councilor Michael Payne voted against the permit, citing a hesitancy to approve “car-centric development” given the city’s emissions reduction targets.
Beginning on January 27, Cville Tax Aid—a partnership led by the United Way of Greater Charlottesville—will be offering free tax preparation services for most taxpayers with household incomes of $55,000 or less. The program will be offered at sites in the City of Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties until April 15. To schedule an appointment, call the United Way or visit CvilleTaxAid.org.
Scooters be gone
After spending only a year in Charlottesville, Lime will remove all its e-scooters due to new city regulations, including a requirement to provide at least 50 e-bikes. The company says the bikes, which are often vandalized, are not cost-effective. Bird also called it quits in Charlottesville last summer, but newcomer VeoRide is here to stay (for now, at least).