Around 100 of Charlottesville’s Democratic establishment packed Bashir’s January 15 for defense attorney Lloyd Snook’s launch into the race for City Council.
Snook cited “dysfunction at the top” of city government as the impetus for joining the race. “There are things that are going on in the city that I want to be a part of helping to fix,” he said.
He listed a morale problem in city hall, and said, “The police department got me really concerned. Snook, a criminal defense lawyer for 39 years, said police are not getting support.
Snook served on the Planning Commission in the 1980s, and said, “For many years, we thought we were a 20th-century town, when we’re a 21st-century city with 21st-century problems,” such as affordable housing, gentrification and transportation planning. “I want to prepare the city for the 21st century.”
The third plank of his platform is the “prison pipeline,” which is often called the school-to-prison pipeline, but Snook said he thinks that’s unfair to schools when they only have children six hours a day. He wants to looks at other factors, like housing and food, that affect children and families.
After the August 12 white supremacist invasion, he said the city’s response has not been very constructive. Snook seemed unfazed by unruly City Council meetings and quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Riot is the language of the unheard.”
Snook’s mother, Helen Snook, worked toward integration in the 1960s, and her son said part of the city’s dysfunction is in how it’s dealt with racial issues. “That needs to change, frankly more from the white side than the black side,” he said. “There’s a level of well-placed deserved anger that we as white folks tend not to acknowledge.”
Attending the launch were councilors Heather Hill and Kathy Galvin. Galvin, whose term will end this year, has not announced whether she will seek a third go on council. Nor have fellow councilors Wes Bellamy and Mike Signer announced whether they’re going to run again for the three open seats.
Delegate David Toscano drove over from the General Assembly in Richmond to be at Bashir’s. He said he ran for City Council in 1990 with Kay Slaughter and Snook, who came up short in votes. “[Snook] came up and said, ‘David, I’m writing you your first check,’” and handed Toscano a check. “I’m returning it,” said the delegate.
Snook joins Dem candidates Michael Payne and Sena Magill in the likely June 11 Democratic primary. Independents Paul Long and John Hall have also announced runs.