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Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 5, 2022: Storm clean-up continues with power outages slowly being restored; Albemarle BOS ended 2021 by approving a major rezoning

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 20:39


The Charlottesville region continues to dig out after an early winter storm sets the tone for 2022, a year that has a lot to do to compete with its cousins 2020 and 2021. Only five days in, and it’s possible we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride. Charlottesville Community Engagement is prepared, and asks that you keep your arms and hands inside the vehicle at all times, lest you be thrown to the wolves. I’m Sean Tubbs. On today’s program:As the Albemarle Board of Supervisors begins a new year, the last year ended with rezoning on Rio Road East for a maximum of 328 units Governor-elect Youngkin appoints his top agricultural officialsThe community continues to recover from a devastating winter storm Subscriber-supported shout-out Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects such as an expungement project with the Legal Aid Justice Center, a map of Charlottesville streetlights, and the Charlottesville Housing Hub. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects.Storm recoveryThere are still many thousands of people without power across central Virginia, two days after a winter storm hit that surprised many after the New Year began with temperature in the sixties. As the sun rose this morning, Dominion’s outage map shows about a third of its customers in Albemarle remain without power. That number began to drop throughout this morning. The situation in Charlottesville is markedly improved with just over a tenth of the city’s 24,744 customers without power at su“As of 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, crews have already restored power to 310,000 customers impacted by this damaging storm,” reads an email the company sent out late last night. They urge anyone affected who hasn’t reported their outage to update that info at dominionenergy.com or phone 1-866-366-4357. Louisa County customers on Dominion Energy are still out, and about two-thirds remain out in Fluvanna. Several areas of the community are served by Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, who report about a third of their customers without power this morning. View their map here. Charlottesville has sent out a notice to property owners reminding them that public sidewalks must be shoveled 24 hours after a snowfall. “With widespread power outages and the severity of this particular snowstorm, the City recognizes the need for additional time,” reads the release. “As a result, the Deputy City Managers have declared 8:00 am on Thursday, January 6, 2022 to be the official end of snowfall.”That gives property owners until Friday at 8 a.m. to clear pathways, but the notice acknowledges the potential of another storm on Thursday and points out that the time will reset if a second storm hits this week. Charlottesville will delay trash and recycling pick-up one more day until Thursday and residents who get service Monday through Wednesday won’t get service this week. “With the potential for an additional snow system arriving at the end of the week this current revised schedule is subject to change,” reads a release. Interstate 95 was opened in both direction last night shortly after 8 p.m. after being closed for most of yesterday due to traffic jams caused by hazardous and impassable conditions. A release sent out by the Virginia Department of Transportation last night warned drivers that parts of the roadway in Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Caroline counties remained hazardous with below freezing temperatures. Albemarle public safety responds to shooting, structure fireIn addition to contending with the aftermath of the snow storm, Albemarle public safety had two other incidents yesterday. In one, police responded at 11:15 a.m. to a shots fired incident on Dick Woods Road and arrested an Afton man on charges of brandishing and reckless discharge of a firearm. Marc McCann, 62, is currently being held at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bond.Later in the day at around 3 p.m., Albemarle County Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire on Route 53 near Milton Road that injured one and displaced three. While the cause of the fire is under investigation, the news release contains this warning. “Albemarle County Fire Rescue would like to remind everyone to keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment and to always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning heaters,” reads the release. Youngkin makes agricultural picksIncoming Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has named two people who will oversee policy and programs related to agriculture in Virginia. Matt Lohr will be the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and Joseph Guthrie will be the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. According to a release sent out yesterday afternoon, Lohr is a fifth-generation farmer from the Shenandoah Valley who has been chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. He served in the House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010 before becoming the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.That position will now be filled by Guthrie, who grew up on a family farm in Pulaski County. Guthrie is currently a senior instructor at Virginia Tech where he was named as Man of the Year in 1989 as a graduating senior. He and his family continue to own a beef farm in the New River Valley. There are several reports that Youngkin will nominate his Secretary of Natural Resources later today. I’ll have that information tomorrow. Prince Edward County seeks local sales tax for education; other billsThe General Assembly session convenes in seven days and about two new dozen bills were pre-filed yesterday including more proposed rollbacks of legislation that passed the General Assembly under Democratic control in both houses. Delegate James Edmunds (R-60) filed a bill that would add Prince Edward County to the list of localities authorized to levy a one percent sales tax to fund education projects, if approved by a referendum. (HB63)Edmunds also filed a bill allowing hunting on Sundays but only in wildlife management areas operated by the Department of Wildlife Resources. (HB64)In another piece of legislation, Edmunds has a bill that would allow employees of the Department of Wildlife Resources “to sell, possess, sell, offer for sale, or liberate in the Commonwealth any live fur-bearing animal commonly referred to as nutria.” (HB65)Edmunds has a fourth bill that would allow people with valid driver’s licenses to operate certain utility vehicles on secondary roads in counties with fewer than 100,000 people. (HB66)Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-83) has a bill clarifying that active military with homes in Virginia are registered to vote if they are on active duty. (HB68)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) filed a bill altering the section of code dealing with custody to change the word “visitation” to “parenting time” and to encourage maximization of time spent with each parent. (HB69)Davis also filed a bill that would guarantee minimum rights for police officers and removing exceptions for those rights if a locality has a police civilian review board. (HB70)Delegate Lee Ware (R-65) filed a bill prohibiting campaign finance donations from utility companies or their subsidiaries. (HB71)Ware also filed legislation prohibiting the sale of marijuana seeds or plants if the Assembly passed other legislation to allow retail sale of the end-product. (HB72)Ware also has a bill that would remove several sections of language in the state code that pertains to the Air Pollution Control Board. (HB73)There’s other legislation from Ware that would tweak the Virginia Clean Economy Act by adding a definition for “energy-intensive trade-exposed industries.” (HB74)Last year, Albemarle County Supervisors suggested they would like to look into increasing the transient occupancy tax to more than four percent. Ware has another bill that would require a referendum for counties that want to do that or increase the meals tax. (HB75)Ware has another bill that would require the state government to reimburse localities for the cost of counting absentee ballots. (HB76)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) also has a bill specifying that skills games are gambling devices (HB77)Annoyed by free online trials that don’t seem to have a cancellation option? Davis has a bill that would make that illegal. (HB78)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-24) has a bill that would restore police ability to stop motorists and pedestrians for a variety of infractions including detecting the presence of marijuana. (HB79)Delegate Davis has another bill that would create the Virginia Healthcare Regulatory Sandbox Program for innovative and pilot health care products. (HB80)Today’s Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Pandemic update: Another 10K+ dayThis morning the Virginia Department of Health reports another 10,728 new COVID cases and the percent positivity has increased to 32 percent, meaning that one in every three PCR is positive. Positivity in the Blue Ridge Health District is at 24.7, or one in four tests. There are 207 new cases in the district reported today. A town hall scheduled for last night was postponed and will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. (meeting info)Starting January 1, VDH has updated its case definition for COVID-19 related deaths which will mean delays in the reporting of deaths. The agency recommends monitoring that information by date of death rather than date reported. Learn more here. Supervisors approved Rio Point project in late December In one of their last actions of 2021, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted to approve a rezoning in the Rio District that will bring over 300 rental units to the county’s urban ring. The project had originally been developed by a Virginia Beach firm who opted to not continue with the review process after Supervisors appeared ready to deny the project on a tie-vote on June 3, 2020. Local company Stony Point Design Build took over and have since purchased the 27-acre property. The company also built Dairy Central in Charlottesville. Stony Point Design Build renamed the project Rio Point but more or less kept the development, though they made a few changes. Cameron Langille is a planner with Albemarle County. “To the northeast is the Dunlora subdivision, to the southeast is the Dunlora Forest neighborhood,” Langille said. “The property is bounded by the north by the John Warner Parkway and across John Warner Parkway is the CATEC site and to the east is actually land that’s within the city of Charlottesville’s municipal boundaries.” Many of those neighbors have expressed concern about building more homes in that area, making the argument that the roads are already overburdened. The land has been zoned R-4 for many decades. “Under that zoning they could be developed for residential purposes up to 109 units or if they did a bonus level cluster development they could get 163 units,” Langille said.Doing so would likely mean all would be sold at market rate. That’s how Southern Development developed Dunlora Forest. The county’s Comprehensive Plan for many years has encouraged developers to seek rezoning to increase residential density in order to satisfy the county’s growth management policy.“The developer is proposing 328 units maximum,” Langille said. “There is some open space areas that are also proposed. Overall it is about 13 total acres and 1.1 acres of that open space is located closest to the intersection of the John Warner Parkway and Rio Road East. This applicant is proposing to dedicate that to public use to establish a county park that will be connected to the existing greenway system.” The new developer submitted a new traffic impact study that informed changes made to the vehicular entrances to the project and have dedicated other property along Rio Road to allow for tapered turn lanes. But Langille said the biggest change is the approval and funding of a roundabout at the intersection of John Warner Parkway and Rio Road. “It would get rid of the signalized intersection that’s currently at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road East and it would be a roundabout that would allow the traffic flow to move in any of the direction that it currently does,” Langille said. Stony Point Design Build would contribute $750,000 to the roundabout. Survey work is underway and Langille said its design will begin later this year. He added that Agnor-Hurt Elementary and Burley Middle School can both absorb students that would be generated by the development, but acknowledged that the project may contribute to existing overcrowding at Albemarle High School. All but two of the ten speakers at the public hearing asked the Board to deny the application. “In my opinion, doubling the allowable density for a development of this type which is built on a two-lane road which will always be a two-lane road and is surrounded by two lane roads in all directions is a little misguided,” said Lisa Drummond, a nearby resident. “The by-right with bonus still gets you within what’s in range of the master plan.” However, Supervisors appeared to be in favor of the project to help achieve the county’s goal to create more housing units as identified in the Housing Albemarle plan.  “Without a doubt, the market is demanding rental and we need more rental which is what this provides,” said Supervisor Diantha McKeel. Chris Henry, the president of Stony Point Development Group, said that his firm conducts market analysis before proceeding with its projects. “Today the vacancy rate for apartments in Albemarle County is like one percent,” Henry said. “What’s considered a healthy vacancy rate in any market is something like five percent and I don’t think Charlottesville  has had north of a five percent vacancy rate for a decade at least.” Henry also claimed that 30,000 commuters travel into Charlottesville every day and providing more homes within the urban ring would reduce the overall vehicle miles traveled. He said a comparable project is Arden Place for rents. The affordable rents will be over $1,000 for a one bedroom unit versus about $1,400 for a market rate unit. Supervisor Ned Gallaway noted that the proposal was submitted under Albemarle’s previous housing policies, which required 15 percent of housing units created under a rezoning to be affordable. Housing Albemarle moved that to 20 percent, though Supervisors have yet to approve an incentives package designed to help developers make that goal. “Going it under the old policy allows an easy, quick efficiency to happen,” Gallaway said. “To aspire to the new Housing Albemarle plan would require something different. Was that considered?”Henry said the project might have been able to make that 20 percent goal with additional density. The previous developer had originally requested more than 400 units, but that was reduced due to community engagement. “There’s always the trade-off between more density and more affordability because obvious the project is supported by the revenue that’s being generated from those units,” Henry said. “If the revenue is lowered, we have to have more units to get to the same result. And so, from our perspective we considered it. If we had to meet the county’s new requirement that was enacted after this application was completed, we would have wanted to have significantly more units to offset.” Supervisor Donna Price had been opposed to the rezoning went it was before the Board of Supervisors in June 2020 due to transportation concerns.“I feel like we have a better application in front of us today than we did then and I appreciate the changes you have made,” Price said. Gallaway, however, could not support the project because he said it was not quite ready because the second phase of a corridor study for Rio Road is not yet complete and because it does not meet the Housing Albemarle goals. “I’m frustrated that this application has made it before us before that corridor study is done and I’m equally frustrated that some comments have been made that we’ve learned enough from the corridor study to be able to make some of those decisions,” Gallaway said. The vote was 5-1 in favor of the rezoning. To learn more about the Rio Road Corridor Study, visit this website. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 4, 2022: Winter storm knocks power out for thousands, strands motorists on I-95; Pfizer booster approved for those aged 12 to 15

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2022 18:09


Welcome to January 4, which goes by many names. It’s National Trivia Day, according to nationaldaycalendar.com. It’s also National Spaghetti Day and National Missouri Day, two more pieces of information you might not necessarily need to know, but there you are. Another piece of information is that this is Charlottesville Community Engagement. Who is the host? Send me your best guess.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a service of Town Crier Productions that depends on contributions from readers and listeners. Sign up for free today and decide later if you’d like to support the show with a subscription.  On today’s show:A winter storm has caused various delays and power outages through the region with the effects still being felt this morningThe ARB seeks changes to a three-story self-storage building proposed at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Crozet Avenue The Blue Ridge Health District will hold a town hall on the pandemic tonight, and people between the age of 12 and 15 are now eligible for the Pfizer boosterGovernor Youngkin appoints more staff as well as key positions in veteran services Virginia sets up a mortgage relief fund Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting their website to make a donation. Storm aftermathThousands of homes throughout the region continue to be without power a day after a winter storm charged through the area one day after temperatures in the sixties. Downed tree branches due to heavy snow have knocked out power lines. As of 9 a.m. this morning, Dominion Energy reported 21,152 customers without power in Albemarle and 4,619 customers in Charlottesville. Nearly all customers in Louisa remained without power as the sun rose. Around two-thirds of Fluvanna customers were without power. Consult their outage map for updated information. The storm canceled the meetings of both the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the Charlottesville City Council. Louisa will meet tonight beginning at 5 p.m. to select a chair and vice chair before going into closed session. The new City Council will meet tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. to go into closed session before an open session scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Trash service in the city of Charlottesville was delayed yesterday and has been canceled for today. That will mean a two-day delay for city residents beginning tomorrow when Monday’s service will resume. The service week will conclude on Sunday. Learn more in this release.Elsewhere in Virginia, I-95 south of D.C. remains close at publication with reports of thousands of stranded drivers. That includes Senator Tim Kaine. Pandemic update: FDA approved Pfizer booster for 12+The omicron surge continues in Virginia with the Virginia Department of Health reporting another 15,449 new cases and the percent positivity statewide has now increased to 29.9 percent. The percent positivity in the Blue Ridge Health District is at 22.8 percent and there are 326 new cases. District officials will hold a virtual town hall meeting tonight beginning at 7 p.m. and the main topic is local guidance on new CDC rules related to quarantine and isolation following a diagnosis. (meeting info)On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in three ways. Individuals between the age of 12 and 15 will soon be able to get a single booster dose. They’ve also allowed a shortening of the time between completing the first two doses and the booster to a minimum of five months. Thirdly, children between five and 11 with certain immunocompromised conditions will also be able for a third shot of the primary series. According to a press release, the FDA analyzed data from Israel where the booster has been authorized for those between 12 and 15. They argue the data shows the benefits of protection from new variants outweighs the potential risks. Virginia Mortgage Relief If you or someone you know is having trouble paying your mortgage, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a new relief program. Applications are now open for the program, which follows on the heels of the Virginia Rent Relief Program. “The Commonwealth has implemented rent and mortgage relief programs through designated state and federal resources,” reads a press release from outgoing Governor Ralph Northam. “Combined, these programs have provided more than $519.5 million in 106,621 rent relief payments for more than 76,500 households across Virginia.”The funding source for the new program comes from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Homeowner’s Assistance Fund. To be eligible, households need to demonstrate a reduction of income after January of 2020. For more information, visit virginiamortgagerelief.com.Youngkin names top staff, two key Veterans’ positionsGovernor-elect Glenn Youngkin will take office in less than two weeks, and he continues to flesh out his cabinet. Yesterday he names a chief of staff and other top positions. Richard Cullen will serve as Counselor, Jeff Goettman will serve as Chief of Staff, and Rebecca Glover will be Assistant Chief of Staff and Communications Director. Eric Moeller will be the Chief Transformation Officer. Cullen is a senior partner at the law firm McGuireWoods who served as Attorney General in 1997. Previous clients have included former Vice President Mike Pence and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Learn more about the appointments in a release on the transition website.This morning, Youngkin appointed Craig Crenshaw to serve as his Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. Crenshaw is a former marine who is currently the president of Claxton Logistics Services. Dan Gade will be the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services. Gade is a veteran of the second Iraq War who lost his right leg in 2005. He is the co-founder of The Independence Project and was also the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 race won by Senator Mark Warner. More 2022 General Assembly bills  Eight days to go until the 2022 General Assembly begins, and volume of pre–filed bills is still low enough to report. Once the session begins, action moves fast. Senator John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) filed a bill requiring the state Registrar to amend death certificates within 30 days if there is new evidence and information. (SB55)Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) filed legislation to establish a Foster Care Prevention program intended to encourage children to be placed with relatives. (SB56)Senator Favola has another bill that would establish the School Health Services Committee to provide guidance on any proposals that might require local school boards to provide health services. (SB62)Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) filed a bill to amend the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act to exempt gift tickets or admission fees if the responsible person is using them to perform official duties. (SB57)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-24) wants to add zoos to the list of entities from which animals can be seized if they are being treated cruelly. (HB53)Incoming Delegate Karen Greenhalgh (R-85) would require absentee ballots to sorted by precinct. (HB54)Greenhalgh also submitted a bill to require the State Registrar of Vital Records to transmit a list of recent deaths to the Department of Elections on a weekly basis for the purpose of taking the deceased off the voter rolls. Currently they must do so monthly. (HB55)Delegate Bill Wiley (R-29) filed a bill to provide enhanced retirement benefits for juvenile detention specialists. (HB56)Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-83) would limit the power of a governor’s declaration of emergency to 45 days without General Assembly approval. (HB57)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) has a bill that would prevent localities from placing minimum wage and benefit requirements when procuring services from contractors. (HB58)Delegate John McGuire (R-56) would require school principals to notify law enforcement of any acts that could be construed as a misdemeanor. (HB59)McGuire has another bill seeking permission for the Town of Louisa to appoint five to seven members to an economic development authority. Currently the code specifies seven. (HB60)McGuire has another bill that would allow individuals who work as both an employee and a volunteer for a public entity to be able to earn overtime for the employment portion of their service. (HB61)Senator Travis Hackworth (R-38) filed a bill to require the chief of police of a dissolved department to relinquish records to the sheriff of that locality. Seems specific. (SB59)Hackworth has another bill that would move the deadline for political subdivisions to provide information on emergency sheltering capacity to the State Coordinator of Emergency Management from May to August. (SB60)Hackworth also filed legislation to allow judges, law-enforcement officers, attorneys, and judges to carry concealed weapons in areas where they may otherwise be prohibited. (SB61)Distilleries would be allowed to sell products directly to consumers via the Internet if a bill from Senator Frank Ruff (R-15) becomes law. (SB65)Today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. This Thursday, the Charles Owens Trio will play Potter’s Craft Cider and on Saturday the Eric Franzen Trio plays at Early Mountain Vineyards. Sign up today to see the rest!Further delays for Smith Aquatic CenterJanuary 3 had been the expected reopening day for the Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, but further repair is needed for the facility which opened in 2010. However, a release that went out this morning now states that Smith will remain closed until a “spring 2022 reopening.”Smith has been plagued with ventilation issues since soon after it opened. According to a 2015 Daily Progress article, the facility closed for several weeks in 2015 for installation of new exhaust systems. The pool closed again in April 2019 for repairs and was slated to be closed in the spring of 2020 for a $1.8 million repair that has not yet been completed. Crow Indoor Pool is open. ARB seeks smaller scale for Crozet self-storage facilityThe winter storm yesterday ended up canceling all three of the government meetings scheduled including the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. That group last met on December 20 when they weighed in on a self-storage facility proposed for the intersection of U.S. 250 and Crozet Avenue. Margaret Maliszewski is a planning manager who works with the ARB. (watch the meeting)“The proposed building is three stories tall with a 30,000 square foot footprint,” Maliszewski said. “The building as shown on the plan measures 260 feet by 120 feet.”Staff is concerned about the size of the building in relation to what’s around it. Maliszewski said the developer submitted a design with architectural treatments intended to break down the design, but continued to have concerns with the preliminary design. The property is zoned for highway commercial, so the use is allowed but must comply with entrance corridor guidelines. Doug Bates, a member of the Downtown Crozet Initiative and the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. During public comment, he said the project is not consistent with a Crozet Master Plan that seeks to build larger structures closer to downtown and now on U.S. 250.“I can’t think of a more important corridor to deal with Crozet and I would urge this Architectural Review Board to consider your broader responsibilities to keep the community coherent,” Bates said. Another member of the public urged the county to deny the whole proposal. “I think we’re giving too much importance to by-right and not enough to what really needs to go there,” said Brenda Plantz. “It’s a Scenic Highway.” However, Virginia law is clear that property owners are entitled to uses laid out in the zoning code as explained by ARB Chair Dade Van Der Werf. “I think I can speak on behalf of the board to say we certainly appreciate and share the appreciation that this is a significant intersection on these entrance corridors and I think our charge on the ARB aligns with the desire for coherence in the order of the county,” van der Werf said. “We are not empowered to affect zoning or use. That’s kind of the responsibility of the Planning and other commissions.”However, ARB members did express concerns such as this one from Frank Stoner.“I took struggle with the scale of this building,” Stoner said. “It’s very close to the intersection. If there was a way to push it back on the site and make it sort of an ancillary use to something more appropriate that was on the corner, I think I could be supportive.” ARB member Fred Missel also wanted to look very closely to see how the entrance corridor guidelines could be applied at this location.“In my opinion, this project is precisely an example of what the guidelines are designed to help us guard against,” Missel said. “I think we have to not only take our guidelines seriously but also ask the applicant to spend some significant amount of time looking through our guidelines, really understanding them, reflecting on them, and addressing them both visually and also narratively  the next time we speak if its in a work session which I think is probably smart.” Missel said the ARB cannot comment on the use but said the scale is incompatible with the county’s guidelines. The ARB voted 4-0 on a resolution stating their lack of support with one member recusing himself. Recommendations including trying to make the building seem more like a two-story building and looking at other buildings along the corridor to find compatibility. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 3, 2021: Livable Cville want solutions for Fifth Street Extended; Bills filed in the General Assembly to limit voting, require school resource officers

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 8:17


We are now close to perihelion, the point at which the earth is closest to the sun. There are 169 days until the summer solstice, when the northern hemisphere experiences its longest exposure to that same sun. This cosmic background may not be relevant for what you’re about to read, but these are relevant facts to your existence. Every episode of Charlottesville Community Engagement intends to deliver many more. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement enters 2022 with a desire and hope for more subscribers. Sign up for free and decide later if you’d like to chip in!On today’s show:A check-in with Virginia’s COVID surgeIn the wake of a fatal crash on Fifth Street Extended, the advocacy group Livable Cville wants solutions A review of new bills filed for the 2022 General Assembly, including more restrictions on voting Let’s begin today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!COVID updateVirginia set another record for the number of new COVID cases reported on Sunday with 19,506. This morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports another 7,967 new cases and a seven-day percent positivity of 27.9 percent, or more than one in four tests. The number of deaths reported has not increased as steeply. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 139 cases and the percent positivity is 20.7 percent today. On Friday, the company Novavax filed data with the Food and Drug Administration in a bid for emergency authorization for their COVID vaccine. The European Union and the World Health Organization have both granted the emergency authorization for a vaccine that uses “recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine with Matrix-M adjuvant.” Learn more in their press release.Today’s snow has closed the Blue Ridge Health Department as well as the Community Vaccination Center. Charlottesville City Hall remains open, as does the Albemarle county office building. However, people are urged to phone first before traveling there. The Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Department and Police Department are urging people to stay home. (Edit: City Hall announced its closure shortly after publication)As of this recording, Dominion Energy reports about a third of its customers in Charlottesville are without power and about half of customers in Albemarle are also without power. Stay up to date with their outage map.Fatal crash on Fifth Street extendedA crash in the 900 block of Fifth Street Extended late Saturday night has killed a Richmond woman, according to a report from CBS19 News. That’s prompted the group Livable Cville to call on Charlottesville City Hall to move forward with planned solutions. A series of fatalities in 2020 led to a petition drive that led to a conversation on City Council that November of that year at which traffic engineer Brennan Duncan offered several recommendations including lowering the speed limit. Livable Cities wants to know why none of them have been implemented. A useful resource is a map provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation that provides information on all crashes in the Commonwealth. Here are some of the fatalities in the data: (access the map)One person was killed and another was injured on November 22, 2016 at the intersection of Harris Road and Fifth Street Extended in an angle collision involving three vehicles. Alcohol and speed were involved in the daytime crash. Another crash at that intersection on July 18, 2020 killed another person and injured a second in an angle collision between two vehicles that took place in the daytime. Alcohol and speed were involved in the crash. A sideswipe collision at night involving three vehicles on August 30 north of Bailey Road on the southbound lanes killed the driver of a motorcycle. Speed and distracted drivers were a factor.A single-vehicle crash on October 10 at night in the northbound lane just south of the Cherry Avenue intersection killed one and injured another when the vehicle struck a tree. For other coverage:NBC 29Petition seeks changes to 5th Street to prevent further crashes, November 11, 2020Council briefed on ways to slow down Fifth Street Extended, November 17, 2020New billsThe General Assembly meets for its 2022 session in nine days with Republicans taking over control of the House of Delegates and the Democrat retaining a majority in the Senate.Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) filed legislation requiring all localities to have a school resource officer hired by a local law-enforcement agency. (HB37)Delegate Kelly K. Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) filed a bill requiring deputies appointed by constitutional officers to be subject to the same restrictions on holding other offices. (HB38)Incoming Delegate Phillip Scott (R-Spottsylvania) filed a bill to limit absentee voting to two weeks before an election. (HB39)Scott also filed a bill to ensure that no child be required to participate in the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness program. (HB41)Delegate Anderson also filed a bill creating a new category of “improper driving” in state code. (HB42)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) would require localities that seek to allow retail sale of marijuana to hold a referendum first. (HB43)Delegate Ware also filed a bill limiting voting rights by requiring photo-ID and ending the permanent list for absentee ballots. (HB46)Delegate Matt Fariss (R-Rustburg) filed a bill allowing localities to hold non-binding advisory referenda once a year without seeking a charter amendment or permission from the General Assembly. (HB48)Fariss also filed a bill extending Scenic River status to an additional 44 miles of the James River running through Nelson, Appomattox, and Cumberland counties. (HB49)Stealing catalytic converters would be a class six felony if another bill from Delegate Fariss were to pass and be signed into law. (HB51)More to come in the weeks ahead. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 31, 2021: Third straight day of COVID records in Virginia with over 17K new cases today; Council briefed on affordable housing funds, cancels Franklin sidewalk

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 16:26


This is Day 365, the final 24 hour period of 2021, and the eve of another Day 1. Today takes on many themes for many people, with some choosing reflection, some looking forward, and others simply existing. For me it’s another opportunity to write another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a program and newsletter that seeks to bring you as much information as often as possible. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, ready to get to it.Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to sign-up and you can decide later if you want to pay whatever you can to keep it going! On today’s program:The pandemic surge continues with three days in a row of record new cases, and Virginia’s emergency physicians want a new state of emergencyAttorney General Mark Herring has sued a small town outside Suffolk for a pattern of racial discrimination in traffic stopsCharlottesville City Council briefed on how the city’s affordable housing fund is used and agrees to cancel a sidewalk funded paid for through federal housing fundsMore new bills are filed, including a prohibition on COVID vaccine mandatesIn today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement, Stitch Please if the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. Stitch Please centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. Weekly discussions, interviews, tips, and techniques celebrate and contextualize Black creativity. To support the program, creator Lisa Woolfolk has created a 2022 Black Women Stitch wall calendar with four fusable applique patterns based on original art by Black women artists. Visit Black Women Stitch now to purchase it today! Pandemic updateFor the third day in a row, the Virginia Department of Health has reported a record number of new COVID cases with 17,618. The percent positivity has increased to 21.5 percent. These are numbers that have not been seen at any point during the pandemic. In the Blue Ridge Health District there are 365 new cases reported, which is not a record but it’s close. The seven-day average for new positive tests is 15.2 percent. Yesterday the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians called on Governor Ralph Northam to declare a state of emergency in order to assist emergency rooms across the Commonwealth. Northam’s previous emergency expired on June 30. “Emergency departments are considered a safety net for those patients in need of care, regardless of insurance status, and are federally mandated and morally obligated to provide care to all those who seek it,” reads their press release. “However, Virginia’s emergency medicine system is under threat of collapse due to excessive patient volume.”A declaration would allow access to federal funding, allow hospitals and ER’s to enact triage protocols, and more flexibility in allocating resources. The group also wants the Virginia Department of Health to provide more testing sites. The release notes that hospitalization numbers are below the levels of the winter peak earlier this year and that the majority of patients are unvaccinated.  You can confirm that fact on the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The high number of cases are causing some to alter their plans. The IX Art Park has canceled their Studio 51 New Year’s Eve party due to staffing and safety concerns. Outgoing Attorney General sues town of WindsorWith only two weeks remaining in his second term, outgoing Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Windsor for violations of the Virginia Human Rights Act and the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act. The latter passed the General Assembly in 2020 and allows the attorney general to sue when evidence is gathered that a law enforcement agency is “engaging in a pattern or practice that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities.”The suit filed in Isle of Wight Circuit Court argues that the town’s police department disproportionately pulls over Black drivers.“From July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, the Department conducted 810 traffic stops of Black drivers—representing approximately 42 percent of the stops conducted by the Department,” reads the pleading. “Consequently, the Town stopped Black drivers between 200 percent and 500 percent more often than would be expected based on the number of Black residents in the Town or Isle of Wight County.” The suit goes on to argue that Black drivers were searched more often than white drivers. It also cites an incident of December 2020 in which an officer claimed he was making a “felony stop” when he pulled over an off-duty police officer. “The Department does not have a policy on what constitutes a felony stop,” the argument continues. The suit also accuses the Town of inconsistent reporting and demands the Town adopt policies  to address the violations. Resources:Read the filing Read the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act Read the Virginia Human Rights ActRead Herring’s press releaseBills filed to limit voting, prevent COVID vaccine mandates The General Assembly session begins in less than two weeks, and bills continue to be pre-filed. Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) has filed a bill prohibiting COVID vaccines from being mandated and prohibiting people from being dismissed by employers for refusing to be vaccinated. (HB27)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-Raphine) filed a bill to add 23.2 more miles of the Maury River to be added to the state’s list of Scenic Rivers. (HB28)Another bill from Campbell would rename and reroute a position of U.S. 60 in Lexington and create a new U.S. 850 for a section of the current route. (HB31)Campbell also filed legislation to allow Bath County to be added to the list of localities that can charge a fee for disposal of solid waste. (HB32)Campbell filed another bill to require vehicles that claim to be for Farm Use to obtain a placard from the Department of Motor Vehicles, at no charge. (HB33)Campbell would also prohibit Virginia from allowing absentee ballots to be dropped off at additional locations outside of registrars’ offices. (HB34)Campbell would also end no-excuse absentee voting. (HB35)Campbell would also abolish the right to be added to a permanent list for voting absentee. (HB36)Campbell also wants to call for a Constitutional Convention to put limit the power of the federal government. (HJ3)Harambe calendarA local educator has released the latest version of a calendar to help people find out about African American cultural events in the community. Alex Zan has been producing the Harambe Family Events calendar for many years. City Councilor Sena Magill made an announcement at last week’s City Council meeting. (download the calendar)“Harambe, Swahili for ‘all pull together,’ cultural events objectives are to inspire and unify area citizens to communicate more effectively and create and maintain a positive environment for change and civility,” Magill said. The calendar can be downloaded as a .PDF and can help map out 2022. “The calendar also strives to strengthen family relationships and nurture cultural awareness, particularly among African Americans who have experienced a lack of inclusion in many area events,” Magill said.Magill said physical copies of the calendar will be distributed throughout the community. *You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement!In today’s shout-out, a shout-out to the shouters-of out! I want to thank all of the individuals and entities that have supported this newsletter and podcast through a $25 a month Patreon contribution or through some other combination of support. Thanks to:The Charlottesville Jazz SocietyCode for CharlottesvilleLEAPThe Rivanna Conservation AllianceLonnie Murray and his penchant for native plantWTJU, The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, Jefferson Madison Regional LibraryCharlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Cville 350Piedmont Master GardenersThe Valley Research Center (may not actually exist)  *Council briefed on affordable housing fundsA firm hired to conduct an audit of the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund presented preliminary results to City Council at their final meeting of the year in the early morning of December 21. HR&A had already completed an affordable housing plan as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative but Council paid an additional $165,000 to the firm for that audit, as well as creation of a program to ensure that the upcoming rewrite of the zoning code is inclusionary. The adopted plan called for the city to spend $10 million on housing for at least ten years. The Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund was created in 2007 as one tool for the city to increase the number of subsidized housing units. No audit has ever been conducted, and the city has struggled to hold on to housing coordinators, a position which has been vacant since the summer of 2020. “We went back to records going back to 2010 and we’re talking about just shy of $47 million here, the vast majority of $38 million being local and city housing trust fund money,” said Phillip Kash of HR&A. Kash said there are three major areas funded by the CAHF. They are development of new units and rehabilitation of existing ones, programs and operations of housing nonprofits, or city administration. The main beneficiary of city funding has been Piedmont Housing Alliance, followed by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “That’s really tied to the Friendship Courts project in particular, and this really moves their position on this pretty significantly,” Kash said. The analysis also broke down how much return the city got on its investment. Rehabilitation and construction of single family homes are the most expensive per unit. New construction has been subsidized at a range between $20,000 and $45,000, with rehabilitation between $3,000 and $25,000 a unit. Kash said there are some initial lessons that can be learned. “Funding that was authorized by the city was not spent or followed up on,” Kash said. “While it was awarded, what it was awarded for was not necessarily ending up happening or wasn’t actually used. There are a couple of examples of projects being delayed or projects not being built yet. There were projects actually located outside the city. There’s a clear pattern of needing better reporting or monitoring.” A final report will be developed early next year. Recommendations will inform the next capital improvement program. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wants funding to go be producing housing and not to support nonprofits.“Keeping an organization afloat should not be our goal if they’re not delivering,” Walker said. “I think what ultimately once this report is finished, the community will see that we haven’t been mindful at all regarding the funds that we are allocating and we need to be more mindful.” Council cancels CDBG-funded sidewalk on Franklin StreetIn their final item of the year, Council agreed to cancel a project to build a sidewalk on Franklin Street using federal funds that come through the Community Development Block Grant process. The project had been selected by a task force but was defunded earlier this year because it could not be completed by a federal deadline. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders recommended Council consider moving away from the task force model. “Routinely, a task force model doesn’t necessarily help to meet the regulatory conditions because typically what you’re doing is simply allowing community members to pick projects and they don’t necessarily always know the details that go into executing,” Sanders said. In 2017, the city selected the Belmont neighborhood to be the recipient of CDBG funds and a task force recommended $204,263 funding go toward the Franklin Street sidewalk. This spring, staff said they would seek to reallocate funds back to the project, but Sanders had concerns it would once again not be completed in time to meet a May 2022 deadline. “Engineering complications exist today in order for us to be able to move forward,” Sanders said. “The reality is it should not have been selected.” Sanders, who has only been with the city since August, said the process is flawed. In addition, Sanders said this project did little to address low-income residents. Council agreed to cancel the project. Sanders will return with an update to the city’s ordinance to eliminate the task force’s role in favor of a staff advisory body that would seek input from the Planning Commission and Council. Resources:Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, November 7, 2018Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, February 12, 2019CDBG-funded Franklin Street sidewalk to be delayed, February 22, 2021An update on Franklin Street sidewalk, April 19, 2021Year in Review relegated to TwitterThis has been a very busy year for Town Crier Productions with 163 newsletter, 51 Weeks Ahead, and a whole lot of reporting and research. I had intended to create a Year In Review, but 2022 is going to begin with a bang so my concentration is going there.However, I am continuing to do a Year in Review on the cvilletowncrier account on Twitter. If you want to review the year, take a look there. After about 16 hours of work reviewing previous installments of this newsletter, I’ve only gotten as far as March. So, take a look there, and please retweet and like and share. Thanks for all of your support this year, and let’s see what 2022 brings us. Stay safe! Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 29, 2021: Albemarle might use $13.2M surplus for capital improvement, housing fund, and economic development; Virginia sets new COVID record

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 15:26


There are only two more days left in 2021, but there’s still so much to review and look back on. We’re in the strange time between the past and the future when the present seems like it is time to relax. But there’s no relaxing on Charlottesville Community Engagement, a program that seeks to bring you as much information as I can about what’s happening in local government with a pinch of whatever else seems to fit. I’m your host Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement seeks new readers and listeners. Sign up today for free, and decide later if you’d like to support the work financially!On today’s program:Virginia sets a one-day record for new COVID casesA lawsuit filed by former City Manager Tarron Richardson moves forwardThe Virginia Supreme Court approves new legislative and Congressional maps for the CommonwealthRepublicans continue to file bills that seek to undo measures passed under a Democratic General AssemblyAlbemarle Supervisors learn about the biggest increase in property assessments in county historyIn today’s first two Patreon fueled shout-outs:You’re listening to Charlottesville. Community Engagement. A long-time supporter wants you to know: "Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Omicron surge continuesVirginia has set a one-day record for new COVID-19 cases with 12,112 reported today by the Department of Health. The previous number was 9,914 reported in mid-January. The percent positivity has increased to 17.4 percent. The Blue Ridge Health District reported 371 new cases, which is also a one-day record. Richardson suit against the city proceedsCharlottesville City Council and other parties have been served with a lawsuit by former City Manager Tarron Richardson. Richardson filed suit in the Western District of Virginia in mid-November alleging breach of contract and violation of his First Amendment rights. A summons was issued to City Council on Tuesday, as well as city attorney Lisa Robertson and former city attorney John Blair. The parties have 21 days to respond. (Former City Manager Sues Charlottesville, November 24, 2021)New legislative districts now in effectVirginia’s new Congressional and legislative districts are now in place for the next nine years, effective immediately. The state Supreme Court has approved new districts for the House of Delegates, state Senate, and the eleven members of the House of Representatives in Congress. These were drawn by two Special Masters after a bipartisan commission failed to reach consensus in October. Those maps were amended following public comments earlier this month. “Redistricting is a complex task, one that requires the balancing of multiple competing factors,” wrote Sean Trende and Bernard Groffman. “Unfortunately, it simply was not possible to incorporate every single request while remaining within the bounds of Virginia and federal law.”Albemarle and Charlottesville will remain in the 5th Congressional District, though Albemarle’s border with Greene and Orange counties will now be its northern edge. The 5th will continue to cover points south to North Carolina including the cities of Lynchburg and Danville, as well as the town of Farmville in Prince Edward County. Fluvanna, Louisa, and Nelson are also within the 5th. An earlier map drawn by the Special Masters had split Albemarle into two. “The existing congressional map splits 14 counties 16 times,” the masters continued. “The existing Senate of Virginia map splits 46 counties 78 times. The existing House of Delegates map splits 60 counties 138 times. By comparison, the submitted congressional map splits 10 counties a total of 11 times.”A small section of northwest Albemarle is within the 7th District. There’s even a Twitter account. The 5th District formerly extended up into northern Virginia, but the new districts tend not to split counties. Greene and Orange counties entirely within a redrawn 7th District along with Culpeper, Madison, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties, as well as the city of Fredericksburg. Fauquier, Loudoun and Rappahannock counties are now in the 10th District as well as portions of Prince William County. In the Virginia Senate, Albemarle and Charlottesville are now within the new 11th District, as well as Amherst and Nelson counties, as well as a portion of western Louisa County. Fluvanna County and the rest of Louisa are in the 10th. Greene County is in the new 28th district along with Madison, Culpeper, and Orange counties. In the Virginia House of Representatives, the city of Charlottesville is now in the 54th House District as well as some of the urban ring of Albemarle. The rest of Albemarle is now within the 55th House District as well as portions of eastern Nelson County. The rest of Nelson is in the 53rd as well as all of Amherst County and the northern half of Bedford County.  Under the former system, Albemarle was split by four districts. Resources:Final Congressional Map dated December 27, 2021Final Senate Map dated December 27, 2021Final House of Delegates Map dated December 27, 2021Memo from the Special Masters detailing changes from the mapBill filed to revoke localities’ ability to ban firearms on public propertyThe General Assembly begins in less than two weeks and the slow trickle of prefiled legislation is picking up into more of a steady stream. Here are some highlights:Delegate Buddy Fowler (R-Glenn Allen) has submitted a bill to increase the age an infant can be surrendered to a hospital or emergency medical services agency from 14 days to 30 days. (HB16)Fowler has another bill that would exempt members of the military from being prosecuted for paramilitary activities unless there is malicious intent. (HB17)Another bill from Fowler would allow localities flexibility in paying school board members. Currently the law defines the salary for each locality. (HB18)Fowler also submitted a bill allowing public auctions to satisfy liens to be advertised online, whereas currently these must be printed in a newspaper of record. (HB21)Delegate Wendell Walker (R-Lynchburg) filed a bill allowing adults to become free from any medical mandate. (HB22)Walker has also filed a bill repealing a prohibition on firearms in places of worship (HB23)Walker submitted legislation requiring photo identification in order to vote (HB24)Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) filed a bill that would exempt the first offense for possession of child pornography from a new program that allows for reduced sentences through credits. (HB25)Anderson also filed a bill that would revoke the ability for localities to adopt ordinances to ban firearms from public property. (HB26)In today’s second subscriber-supported shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Albemarle Supervisor brief on reassessment, five-year financial plan, and surplusAs the calendar year concludes, localities in Virginia are just about to enter the third quarter of their fiscal year. Earlier this month, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors got an update on how the county’s finances look as the start of budget season approaches. First, they got an update on the county’s assessments for 2022, which were made available a month earlier than usual. Peter Lynch is Albemare’s assessor. “Because of the mail issues that we’ve had, I wanted to mail the ordinances earlier so we have a target date of January 14 to mail the notices this year,” Lynch said.Lynch said an unreliable mail system resulted in the land use revalidation process being difficult this year. There are 4,052 parcels that receive a lower tax rate due to some agricultural or open space use. Sales made after Lynch’s December 15 presentation are still factor into the official assessment which by law is made on January 1.“Any information up to that date that happens in the market can be used to contest the assessment,” Lynch said. Lynch said this year has seen the highest number of sales in Albemarle so far, with 2,311 sales recorded as of the date of his presentation. He said there would be at least another hundred before the end of the year. As of December 15, Albemarle is on track to have the highest average increase in property assessments at 8.32 percent. Within the county, the Scottsville Magisterial District saw the largest increase with 11.14 percent, and the lowest is in the Rivanna district with 7.17 percent. The assessment of properties with apartments increased by 11.8 percent, whereas commercial properties are flat. Hotel properties declined 22.9 percent in 2021, but recovered by just under a percentage point this year. “Shopping centers also went down a lot and they recovered some of what they lost,” Lynch said. Offices declined for a second year in a row with a 4.15 percent average decrease in worth. “People stopped going to their offices but they kept paying their rent,” Lynch said. “At this point those leases are turning over for lower amounts, lower rents, and we’re starting to see more effect on those offices.” Assessments are directly tied to next year’s budget and the amount of revenue that will be generated through the property tax. After Lynch’s presentation, supervisors had a work session on the five-year financial plan. Albemarle had $13.2 million in leftover funds from fiscal year 2021.Here’s how staff is recommending using that money:$4.1 million transfer to the Capital Improvements Plan$5 million to Albemarle’s Economic Development Fund to help attract new businesses through the Project Enable plan$3.1 million for the Albemarle Housing Fund, bringing the balance to $5 million$1 million for workforce stabilization Supervisor Diantha McKeel said she wanted some of the capital funding to go toward building more urban parks. Supervisor Donna Price agreed, and said she would like to see county investment in the Rivanna Trail. “I’d really love to see the trail around Charlottesville and Albemarle, the Rivanna river trail, because that provides relatively easy access to almost everyone in our urban ring and that really would improve the quality of life,” Price said. Based on the surplus and the assessments, staff is not anticipating any increase in the real estate property tax rate for the year. Staff asked Supervisors if they had any interest in increasing transient occupancy or the meals taxes and if they wanted to explore tax relief programs. Part of that is due to a trend towards property taxes making up a larger percentage of the budget. “It’s going from sixty percent back in FY07 coming closer to seventy percent in FY22 and FY23,” Birch said. “We need to try and diversity as best we can away from real estate taxes.” Planning staff will incorporate a plastic bag tax into the FY23 budget. Albemarle can increase the meals tax rate to six percent and can increase the transient occupancy tax if it chooses. One supervisor wants the county’s rates to be the same as the city’s. “I think anything that we do to match Charlottesville is appropriate,” said Supervisor Diantha McKeel. “If the sales tax in Charlottesville is something, it should be the same in Albemarle.” Supervisors took no formal actions and the budget will come back before the Board in the February. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 27, 2021: Groups sue Charlottesville to stop Jefferson School Center from receiving Lee statue; Charlottesville planning for resilience with RGGI funds

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 10:43


The final week of 2021 begins with a slight pause on government meetings at the local and state level, but there’s always something to document in every edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. What phrase would you use to describe the week between Christmas and New Year’s? Boxing Week? Witching Week? Charlottesville Community Engagement is looking for a few more subscribers, each and every day! Sign up for free and decide later how you might want to contribute! On today’s program:A lawsuit has been filed to stop a Confederate statue from being given to the Jefferson School Center for African American HeritageScottsville and Charlottesville have both received additional funding from a cap and trade program to pay for flood programs The Nelson County Board of Supervisors hires a consultant to help update the Comprehensive PlanAlbemarle County offering seven drop-off locations for Christmas tree recyclingIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Pandemic updateAs the week begins, the Virginia Department of Health reports the seven-day average for positive tests has climbed to 14.5 percent this morning and a seven-day average of 6,307 new cases. On Christmas Day, the VDH reported 8,609 new cases and 5,432 cases on Boxing Day. More on the pandemic tomorrow. Statue lawsuitTwo organizations that bid to receive the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee have filed suit in Charlottesville Circuit Court to prevent it from being awarded to the Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage. The center plans to melt the statue down and made into a new public work of art. The petition for injunction filed December 22 on behalf of the Trevillian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Ratcliffe Foundation argues that City Council overstepped its authority when it voted 4-0 in the early hours of December 7 to choose the center. “The City can legally remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover the Lee monument, but the General Assembly denied the City authority to alter or destroy,” reads the argument, which also names the center as a defendant. “A foundry is not a museum, historical society, government, or military battlefield, which are the only lawful recipients for placement of a relocated monument.”The plaintiffs seek voidance of the award and to prevent the Center from submitting another one. Alternatively they seek damages or restoration of the statue. The suit claims the city broke the Freedom of Information Act and its own procurement rules. (read the petition here)The 2020 General Assembly passed legislation allowing localities to decide for themselves if they wanted to remove war memorials, which had been protected by state law. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in April that that state law did not apply to either the Lee statue or another Confederate statue that formerly stood in a city park. (April 1, 2021 opinion in City of Charlottesville v. Payne)Belmont Bridge updateCrews working on the replacement of the Belmont Bridge will take a break today, Thursday and Friday. The Caton Construction Group has been working on removing the eastern span of the bridge, but will take some time off for the holiday, according to a press release from the city. However, work on a waterline between East South Street and Old Avon Street will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The work began this past summer after several years of planning and after Council agreed to spend $7.5 million in capital improvement funds to make up a cost over-run. Learn more at the project website at belmont-bridge.com. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Nelson County Comprehensive PlanFans of Comprehensive Plan reviews can rejoice now that Nelson County has hired the Berkley Group of Bridgewater to conduct the first update of their plan since 2014. Dylan Bishop is the county’s director of planning and zoning. They’ll be paid $160,000 for the work. “When I first accepted this position two and a half years ago, I was aware that the Comprehensive Plan update was on the horizon,” Bishop said. “Over the last couple of years there have been a few roadblocks with that but it’s also given me a good opportunity to become familiar with the current Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinance, and subdivision ordinances.”The current plan was written by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission with an entity at the University of Virginia known as the Design Resources Center. (read the 2014 update)Bishop said the current plan does not lead the county’s land use and development decisions, and that that occurs now in the zoning ordinance.“When it’s done correctly, it should be an economic development tool,” Bishop said. “It’s often used as reference for grant applications such as Smart Scale, Virginia Outdoors Foundation grants, when you have something to point to that says our county already supports this.” Nelson County sent out a request for proposals this fall and receive three submissions. Two of the firms were interviewed and staff chose the Berkley Group. Public engagement will begin with a meeting in January.  “Once the final plan is adopted, they will follow it up with another diagnostic of the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinances,” Bishop said. “They’ll generate recommendations that will make it consistent with our Comprehensive Plan. That will be the enforcement tool to set the vision of the comp plan as the years go on.” The Berkley Group is currently working on the Comprehensive Plan updates in Richmond County and Greensville County. They’ve recently concluded work in Northampton County and the city of Lexington. (Watch the Nelson BOS meeting)Charlottesville, Scottsville, receive flood-prevention funds Governor Ralph Northam has awarded an additional $24.5 million to help Virginia localities prepare for weather events associated with a changing climate. The money comes from Virginia’s proceeds from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he would end through an executive order after he takes office. In the meantime in this round, Charlottesville will receive $94,276 for “resilience planning and staff training” and the town of Scottsville will receive $123,346 for a planning study. Both communities were among 30 applicants for the second round of the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. In October, Charlottesville was awarded $153,500 in the first round for a project to create a two-dimensional model for the Moores Creek watershed. (Charlottesville awarded $153K for flood study from RGGI funds, October 6, 2021)Virginia became the first southern state to join RGGI in 2020 and has received $227,636,583.52 in the four auctions it has been a part of so far. Utility generators have to purchase credits to exceed a certain threshold of carbon emissions. Forty-five percent of the proceeds go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. According to their application, the city will put the money towards a Charlottesville Resilience Plan that will include taking an inventory of existing plans, identifying hazards and threats, and assessing vulnerabilities. “The City is applying for these grant funds to contract with an expert consultant to facilitate planDevelopment,” reads the application. “The consultant will co-create the plan at facilitated workshops with the City’s Resilience Team staff to increase staff expertise and capabilities.” The schedule anticipates the plan will be ready in mid-April. Scottsville will use the plan to develop to modernize its plans for dealing with floods. According to the application, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a levee project in 1988 after a series of devastating floods in the mid-20th century.“This project connects to the town’s history and its future, assuring the continued safety from flooding, and laying the groundwork for new economic development,” reads the project narrative. The document goes on to state the town would like the Federal Emergency Management Agency to adjust the floodplain map to remove the designation for the former Kyosung tire factory in order to make it more attractive to redevelopment. They also want a new hydraulic model for downtown Scottsville. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will need to approve both documents. Resources:Charlottesville’s applicationScottsville’s applicationFull list of recipients on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s webpageAlbemarle tree recyclingBeginning today, Albemarle’s Parks and Recreation Department will operate seven places where county residents can drop off Christmas trees for recycling. People are asked to remove all decorations, lights, stands, and nails before they are added to the pile. The trees will be chipped and converted into mulch. That mulch will be available beginning January 24 at both Darden Towe Park and Claudius Crozet Park. The locations:McIntire Recycling Center* – 611 McIntire Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22902Claudius Crozet Park – 1075 Claudius Crozet Park, Crozet, VA 22932Greenwood Community Center – 865 Greenwood Rd. Crozet, VA 22932Chris Greene Lake Park – 4460 Chris Greene Lake Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22911Darden Towe Park – 1445 Darden Towe Park, Charlottesville, VA 22911Scottsville Community Center – 250 Page St. Scottsville, Va 24590Walnut Creek Park – 4250 Walnut Creek Park North Garden, VA 22959Community members are asked not to bring any other yard waste, and are warned that the McIntire Recycling Center may be congested. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Random Generátor podcast
Logbook: hálózati alapismeretek galambokkal

Random Generátor podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 13:47


Logbook-unkban igyekeztünk ráilleszteni a galambászatot modern korunk hálózati alapismereteire. Kerestük a választ arra, hogy egy galamb UDP vagy TCP kapcsolat lebonyolítására képes-e és megvizsgáltuk illenek-e a madarakra az ISO-OSI model rétegei, illetve milyen típusú adatkapcsolatra képesek. Hálózatot tanuló kollégáknak gondolatébresztő adásunkat hallhatjátok.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 24, 2021: VDH reports second-highest one-day COVID case count so far; Danville approves sales-tax increase for education

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 11:51


‘Tis the day before Christmas, and all through the town, there may or may not be stirring. I don’t know. I’m not there and away for a family holiday. But there’s too much information to not put out an installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, no matter where I am. The “I” in that last sentence is Sean Tubbs, who conveniently happens to be me. He and I are the co-hosts in this and every installment of the program. Thanks for listening. On today’s program: It’s unfortunately beginning to look a lot like an omicron Christmas, with this season’s COVID surge on track to surpass last year’sDanville City Council adopts a one-cent sales tax increase to pay for school renovationsMore new bills are filed for the next General Assembly including…In today’s shout-out, a shout-out to the shouters-of out! I want to thank all of the individuals and entities that have supported this newsletter and podcast through a $25 a month Patreon contribution or through some other combination of support. Thanks to the Charlottesville Jazz Society, Code for Charlottesville, LEAP, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance, Lonnie Murray and his penchant for native plants, WTJU, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Cville 350, Piedmont Master Gardeners, and of course, the Valley Research Center. More in 2022Pandemic updateOn the day before Christmas, the Virginia Department of Health reports its second highest total of new COVID cases since the pandemic began with 8,756 cases. The percent positivity rate has increased to 11.3 percent. In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are 170 new cases and another four deaths have been reported since Wednesday. Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, is not surprised by the surge.“Importantly what we’re also seeing in certain parts of the state like Alexandria and Arlington, they’re seeing their highest ever one-day totals,”For Alexandria, that meant 316 cases reported on Thursday and 310 cases reported today. Arlington set a one-day total today with 592, surpassing yesterday’s previous one-day record at 359. Richmond also set a one day of 346 today. Rural communities across Virginia are not yet seeing the same spike. “We’re seeing a rapid ascent in terms of total number of cases,” said Dr. Sifri. “This is being seen around the country in a lot of different locations and I think that we should anticipate that we’re going to continue to see this rapid rise, this sort of steep wall of COVID and it appears to be driven by Omicron across most of the state.” Dr. Sifri said researchers are learning more about the variant every day but it appears that cases are not translating into increased hospitalizations, but only time will tell if the size of the wave will still overpower Virginia’s hospitals. He added the UVA Health System had already been recovering from a slight surge from the Delta variant. “I think one of the biggest questions that sort of remains is how well does vaccination and then booster vaccination protect against Omicron,” Dr. Sifri said. “We are learning in the early reports that the two-dose mRNA vaccine does not provide as much protection as we’d like to see. Probably only around 40 percent based on some U.K. early estimates. And then a booster does improve that to around 70 or 75 percent depending on the type of vaccine that you received. Again, those are early data from the United Kingdom. It would be nice and important to see what does that mean here in the United States.”Dr. Sifri strongly recommends everyone get a booster given the unknowns. As of Thursday, 67.2 percent of the total Virginia population is fully vaccinated, but only 1.8 million have received a booster or a third dose. According to the Virginia Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals develop COVID at a rate of 4.1 times of fully vaccinated people, based on data through December 18. “In terms of what we see with people that are hospitalized it is still by and large still to this date people who have not been vaccinated,” Dr. Sifri said. “That is the largest portion of people that are hospitalized with COVID. When we’re taking care of a patient, when they’re in front us we really don’t know if it’s due to Delta or Omicron. We only can collect that information as its reported through our public health agencies.”Dr. Sifri said the situation with Omicron is still fast-moving and more information is needed to tell a complete picture. He said anyone who had COVID before vaccines became available is still potentially vulnerable. “Omicron is different enough that we are concerned that protection is incomplete and we certainly know from other variants and prior studies that the level of protection after so-called natural infection is not as robust as that that is afforded by a vaccination,” Dr. Sifri said.To get a booster or a vaccine, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov. Danville adopts sales-tax increaseIn the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly, the city of Charlottesville will seek permission to hold a referendum on a one-cent sales tax increase. That’s the path Danville took in 2020 when they and several other Southside communities petitioned the 2020 General Assembly to the list of “qualifying localities” that could have such a ballot initiative. In November, Danville citizens voted 7,515 to 4,921 in favor of levying the tax.On Tuesday, the seven-member Danville City Council voted unanimously to levy the tax, which will expire at the end of May of 2041. Vice Mayor Gary Miller had this observation before the vote. G.W. is George Washington High School. “Today I had a patient in and her daughter was a proud member of the 1965 GW Women’s Championship basketball team, the last time they won the state championship,” Miller said. “She said she was dismayed. She’d been to GW, that’s where she graduated, and she said how dismal the schools was and she didn’t think it was conducive to learning. And I was just happy to assure her that with the passage of this referendum and the sales tax, that school’s going to look like a different school in just few years and you wouldn’t be able to recognize it.”So far, there’s no pre-filed legislation for Charlottesville to be added to the list of qualifying localities. New 2022 General Assembly billsSeveral new bills were filed on Wednesday. Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Richlands) has introduced a bill eliminating a requirement that local school boards adopt policies regarding the treatment of transgendered students. (SB20)Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) has filed a bill calling for a Constitutional amendment granting the right for people convicted of felons to be able to vote upon release. (SB21)Locke also filed legislation to increase the membership of the American Revolution 250 Commission add four legislators to total of 26 people. (SB22)Another bill from Locke would allow cities with African American cemeteries to be added to the list of entities that can receive state funds to care for them (SB23)Locke’s fourth bill submitted on 12/22 would extend the expiration date of the Eviction Diversion Program one year to July 1, 2024. (SB24)Senator Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville) introduced a bill relating to the cigarette tax that counties can now levy. Businesses that have existing inventory purchased before imposition of the tax could pay the tax without having it stamped or metered. (SB25)Ruff’s second bill would remove a sunset date for a sales tax exemption for the sale of gold, silver, and platinum bullion, as well as legal tender coins. (SB26)Ruff’s third bill would expand the availability of the Neighborhood Assistance Program and the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credit program (SB27)Chickahominy PipelineThe state agency that regulates the power generation and the transmission of fuel has ruled that an entity that wants to build an 83-mile natural gas pipeline across several Central Virginia is a public utility. That means the Chickahominy Pipeline must be approved by the State Corporation Commission. The company that wants to build it argued they were merely transporting the gas and not selling it. “The Commission agreed that the pipeline company will own and operate a facility through which natural gas will be sold and used for the purpose of heat, light or power,” reads a press release. “Thus, a certificate of public convenience and necessity is required before constructing facilities for use in public utility service.”According to the release, Chickahominy Pipeline intends to connect with an existing natural gas pipeline. Read the full order here.This is Charlottesville Community Engagement and I want to continue the mixed-up holiday by giving thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the Week Ahead newsletter. For 71 weeks now, PEC has sponsored the creation of each Sunday’s look at what’s coming up in local government. I also want to give thanks to Ting for their matching of Substack payments. Creating a community newsletter that seeks to cover as much ground as this one takes a lot of work, and I’m grateful to everyone’s support. Now, let’s get back to the show! Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

IGeometry
An HTTP request journey to the Backend | Backend Engineering Show

IGeometry

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2021 37:29


In this episode of the backend engineering show, I explain the journey of an HTTP request that gets initiated from a click on a link. I discuss DNS, TCP, API Gateways, reverse proxies, load balancers, backend web servers, and much more. Become a Member on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ML5xP23TOWKUcc-oAE_Eg/join

IGeometry
The Journey of an HTTP request to the Backend | Backend Engineering Show

IGeometry

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2021 36:40


In this episode of the backend engineering show, I explain the journey of an HTTP request that gets initiated from a click on a link. I discuss DNS, TCP, API Gateways, reverse proxies, load balancers, backend web servers, and much more. Become a Member on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_ML5xP23TOWKUcc-oAE_Eg/join

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 22, 2021: Council seeks floodplain info before Nassau Street rezoning vote; Today is highest one-day COVID count since late January

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 19:37


There are days in the past and days in the future, but there’s only one day at a time. This edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement is specifically tied to December 22, 2021, a particular 24-hour period filled with equal parts anticipation, dread, potential, and other pensive emotions as the holiday of Christmas approaches. Stay safe! Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to read or listen to and it’s my hope that you’ll sign-up. In today’s edition:Governor-elect Youngkin appoints a veteran banker to serve as his finance secretaryA trade publication names Virginia as having the best business climate in the nationA bridge in western Albemarle is shut down before repairs begin A study is underway on where to locate a train station in the New River ValleyCharlottesville City Council holds first reading on the use of a $5.5 million surplus, defers action on Lewis, Clark and Sacagewea statue and a rezoning on Nassau Street Today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. COVID updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports another 5,972 new cases of COVID-19 today, and the percent positivity for PCR has risen to ten percent. Today’s case number is the highest it’s been since the last week of January. The highest one day total of the pandemic to date is 9,914 recorded on January 17. On this day a year ago, there were 3,591 cases reported. A hundred and nine of today’s cases are in the Blue Ridge Health District. Virginia reports another 50 COVID deaths today, with one of those in the Blue Ridge Health District. The University of Virginia will require students, faculty, and staff to receive booster shots in order to be on Grounds next semester. According to a page on the Human Resources website, faculty and staff must get the shot by February 1 if they are eligible. If not, they must demonstrate proof of a shot 30 days after eligibility. Students must upload their proof by February 1. Visit that website for more information. Bridge closureA small bridge in western Albemarle County that carries about 560 vehicles a day has been closed due to significant deterioration. Engineers with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been inspecting the bridge on Burch’s Creek Road across Stockton Creek due to known concerns and have decided to close the road until repairs are made. “VDOT bridge inspectors determined today that its condition was not safe for continued use,” reads the statement. “During the closure, traffic should detour around the bridge from U.S. 250 to Route 824 (Patterson Mill Lane) to Route 688 (Midway Road) and back to Route 689.” Repairs will take place between now and January 7 when the bridge is expected to reopen. Virginia business awardA trade publication that writes about economic development and site selection has named Virginia one of its states of the year. Business Facilities named Virginia, Tennessee, and Massachusetts in their annual contest. Specifically, Virginia was named the Overall Business Climate. Massachusetts was honored with Best Workforce / Educational System. Tennessee was given the Best Dealmaking award. A press release in advance of their next publication states that Virginia was selected “because of the steps many economic development councils in the commonwealth, both local and statewide, are taking to make the area more attractive.” The release cites the state’s low unemployment rate, successful workforce development programs such as the Virginia Talent Acquisition Program and Fast Forward Virginia. According to an article on Virginia Business, Virginia last won this award in 2018. New Finance SecretaryFor the third day in a row, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has named a member of his cabinet. Stephen Emery Cummings will be the next Secretary of Finance. Cummings is a veteran of several financial institutions, including a tenure as global head of corporate and investment banking at Wachovia. According to a release, he has recently served as the President and CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. “Steve shares my vision of respecting Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring the Commonwealth’s budget is managed effectively and efficiently, and he has the skill set and leadership qualities that our team needs to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Youngkin said in a statement. Yesterday Youngkin announced Caren Merrick will serve as Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Several outlets report that Youngkin founded the nonprofit Virginia Ready Initiative that Merrick  has run since it was formed last summer during the pandemic. On Monday, data consultant Aimee Rogstad Guidera was named Education Secretary. Inauguration Day is January 15.NRV Train StationThe Virginia Passenger Rail Authority has launched a website for a feasibility study for where to locate a train station to serve the New River Valley. Earlier this year, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern to extend passenger service from Roanoke to the valley for the first time since 1979. The state of Virginia will purchase 28.5 miles of track from Norfolk Southern. The feasibility study is examining four locations. A community meeting will be held sometime this winter and an initial survey is available. Go back and listen to the May 6, 2021 installment of this newsletter and podcast to hear a segment from when Northam signed legislation authorizing an authority to raise funds for the future station. (May 6, 2021: Green Business Alliance forms to advance emissions reductions; Northam signs legislation for New River Valley train station)There’s also another study underway to determine if Amtrak service should stop in Bedford. That town is between Roanoke and Lynchburg and on the route of the Northeast Regional service that will eventually be expanded to the New River Valley. You can go back and listen to that, too. (October 30, 2021: DRPT report states Bedford train stop won’t delay freight; a briefing on the hotel industry in Albemarle/Charlottesville)In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Public hearing held for FY21 surplus, transfers Council has held the first of two readings and a public hearing on a mandated review of the city’s budget for fiscal year for 2021, which ended on June 30 of this year. There’s a $5.5 million surplus as well as a $6.7 million reserve fund of cash set aside for COVID. The latter was not tapped. Christopher Cullinan is the city’s Finance Director. “The audit has been completed and to close out the city’s financial records for fiscal year 2021, several year-end adjustments require City Council action,” Cullinan said. “These adjustments are to carry over unspent funds from the last fiscal year to the current fiscal year.” Cullinan said one the two main recommendations are to put the COVID reserve into the city’s Capital Improvement Program contingency fund. The other is to put the $5.5 million toward employee compensation. That includes both a bonus and an across-the-board salary increase of six percent for all employees with benefits. “This is a market adjustment that recognizes the need for the city to retain and recruit qualified employees,” Cullinan said. This would happen before the results of a study on compensation is completed. Ashley Marshall is one of two deputy city managers currently running the city. “But what we do know is that the six percent is inadequate to raise us up to where we should be for equitable and appropriate pay,” Marshall said. “So we know that we’re not going to find out later on nine months from now that six percent was too much. That’s not going to be the answer.” Five people spoke at the public hearing.“I just want to say that I would like to see a lot of this money, a good portion of it, be used toward the affordable housing fund to shore that up and get that going toward the goal you indicated previously that you’d like to have ten million dollars [a year],” said Mark Kavit. Both Kimber Hawkey, Martha Smytha and Tanesha Hudson agreed with that position, and said the city should spend money for housing on more than just Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “I think that there’s things the city could also do with purchasing land space and building things themselves as well,” Hudson said. “That’s something that they need to work towards.” Hudson said the cost of living adjustment should also extend to hourly employees as well. Rosia Parker, a newly appointed member of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said more of the funding should go to affordable housing, especially for programs to address homeless. “There are a lot of homeless people that are out here,” Parker said. “You see them when you sit in front of City Hall. You see them as you walk up and down the mall. You see them as you drive up and down the different corridors of Charlottesville. Homelessness is a very threatening danger to people’s lives. Mentally, physically and emotionally.” Capital discussionAfter the hearing was closed, outgoing Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wanted the $6.7 million to be used for a different purpose than putting it in the CIP contingency fund. The next Council will decide how that funding would be used, but Walker will not get a vote. “If we just simply transfer it to the CIP and then we have those asks that are just presented to Council randomly based on whatever’s on the funded or what makes it from the unfunded to the funded list, I don’t think that serves us,” Walker said. Vice Mayor Sena Magill supported the transfer to the CIP due to a long list of capital needs. “Because if we don’t work on some of the basic infrastructure needs of our city as well,” Magill said “That’s where we pay for a lot of the affordable grants is through the CIP and we’re looking at $75 million for just one school.” Cullinan said the idea of a contingency fund is to be ready for unforeseen events or cost over-runs.“I think the the critical thing is that it gives you choices and its cash which is easily accessible and you can make fairly quick decisions as opposed to a bond issue which takes time and effort,” Cullinan said. Council would have to approve any use funds from the CIP contingency. The second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting on January 3. Nassau Street rezoningA proposal to rezone land on the eastern half of Nassau Street in the Belmont neighborhood did not move forward on Monday. Developer Nicole Scro and engineer Justin Shimp are seeking a rezoning from R-2 to R-3 on about a half acre of land. Several members of the public asked Council to deny the request due to the property being located within a floodplain as governed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Magill said she wanted more information from staff about the issue. “I am concerned about the floodplain issue and I am concerned about the design that is being submitted in a flood plain,” Magill said Several other buildings have been constructed on that side of the street in recent years including structures built by the Piedmont Community Land Trust. That project received $240,000 in funding from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. City Councilor Lloyd Snook also said he wanted more information about the floodplain. “We’re not required to act on this tonight,” Snook said. “I would like to defer it and ask the staff to give us real feedback on what the flood danger is. The one thing I don’t want to do is end up saying we’re going to put in affordable housing but we’re going to put it in the floodplain.”In recent years, Shimp successfully petitioned FEMA to lower the elevations shown in the floodplain map by four feet. Tony Edwards is a development services manager in the city’s public works department. The foundation must be above the where FEMA establishes the 100-year floodplain. “This is the basis that we need to use because we follow the same methodology that FEMA provides and this is what’s been approved through FEMA,” Edwards said. James Freas, the city’s director of neighborhood development services, also weighed in.“We know the flood plain legally has been defined where it is now based on the amended flood maps in the process that Mr. Edwards described,” Freas said. “So that’s legally the location of the floodplain and defines the elevation at which the building has to be built. In terms of what can happen in an actual flood? We can be less clear about that. That’s less predictable.” Freas said the question before Council was the appropriate density at the location. By-right structures could be built. One in the 900 block constructed in 2018 is built on stilts to raise it out of the floodplain. Snook wanted more information.“I’d like to have more expertise than I can bring to bear and take a look at it and tell me whether I’m all wet,” Snook said. “Pardon the expression.” Shimp said any further review would prove his assertion that building in the location would be safe. The item will be deferred until the second council meeting in January. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she would have voted against the request. Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statue decision deferredCouncil spent nearly an hour and a half discussing the terms on how a statue removed from West Main Street will be treated in the future. Several parties agree that the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center should receive the statue for its continued display at their location in Darden Towe Park. However, details about how the story of Sacagawea’s involvement were not resolved during the conversation. Center officials and descendants of Sacagawea will continue negotiations. “We are definitely willing to do that,” said Alexandria Searls, the center’s director. “We are invested and no matter what, even without the statue, we want relationships with them. The relationships are more important than the statue. We’re willing to walk from the statue if we have to.” The hiring of the Robert Bobb Group to run the cityAs mentioned at the top of yesterday’s newsletter, Council has hired the Robert Bobb Group to perform the functions of the city manager. Council spent their closed session negotiating with the two firms that responded. Lisa Robertson is the city attorney. “The fact that using an outside firm on a contract basis to provide these types of services, while it’s not the normal manner in which the services are delivered, it’s not unheard of,” Robertson said. “This type of contract has been used on occasion in other places including other places in Virginia.” The contract still has to be finalized after being written up. There was no little discussion of the merits of either proposal. In the resolution, Councilor Hill said “the firm made the best proposal and offer” with regards to price and quality. Walker abstained based on a sense that Council should not vote to award the contract until it is written. Update!According to City Council Clerk Kyna Thomas, Council will not need to vote on the contract as it can be signed by the Mayor. However, Council will interview specific individuals that will be suggested by the firm. There is no public knowledge yet about how much the Robert Bobb Group will be paid. Here are some other news articles about other work the firm has done:Robert Bobb back in business with new venture, Washington Business Journal, December 9, 2011Robert Bobb Group outlines goals for Petersburg, WRIC, October 26, 2016Cash-strapped Petersburg spent about $1 million on turnaround services from Bobb Group, forensic audit, Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 4, 2017 Durham leader calls criticism of consultant a lynching, a charge with political history, Raleigh News and Observer, North Carolina, March 10, 2021Black community questions motives behind some Durham commissioners rejection of minority-owned firm proposal, ABC 11, March 25, 2021Firm being paid $16K a month to provide city with financial services, Rocky Mount Telegram, North Carolina, August 13, 2021Charlottesville hires firm to perform interim city manager duties, Walker and Hill bid farewell, Daily Progress, December 21, 2021Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 21, 2021: Walker, Hill bid farewell from Council; One speaker at public housing plan hearing

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 16:22


Today is the longest day of the year, but we are now past the astronomical point of the year known in the northern hemisphere as the Winter Solstice. There are now 182 days of increasing amounts of light until the summer when the yo-yo parabolas back to where we are today. Between now and then, Charlottesville Community Engagement will be here to document some of what happens along the way. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. This is the 298th edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. To receive #299 and many more, sign-up for free and decide later whether to help cover the costs! On today’s show:City Councilor Heather Hill and Mayor Nikuyah Walker say goodbye to public officeGovernor-elect Youngkin appoints an entrepreneur as Commerce SecretaryCharlottesville’s public housing body has a public hearing on the annual planBills to reduce some restrictions on firearms are filed in the General Assembly Some portions of Virginia are now on drought watchIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Pandemic updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports the largest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases since early February, when the 2020 holiday surge was beginning to recede. That’s 4,437 cases reported, bringing the seven-day average to 3,575. The seven-day percent positivity is 9.6 percent today, continuing an upwards trend. These numbers are also consistent with where Virginia was in the middle of September. Seventy-eight of those new cases are in the Blue Ridge Health District where the percent positivity is 6.9 percent today. Every Friday, the VDH reports case rates by vaccination status. The latest report with data through December 11 shows that “unvaccinated people developed COVID-19 at a rate 4.2 times that of fully vaccinated people and 2.2 times that of partially vaccinated people.” Put another way: As of December 11, 5.65 million Virginians were fully vaccinated, and 1.3 percent of that number have developed COVID-19 and 0.0163 percent died. As of this past Friday, 1.8 million Virginians have received a booster or third dose.Council hires the Robert Bobb Group to run the cityNear the end of last night’s City Council meeting, Council voted 4-0 to hire the Robert Bobb Group of Washington D.C. to fulfill a contract to provide emergency management services. More details on that in a future newsletter. Mayor Nikuyah Walker abstained from the vote. Two firms applied and the city attorney is still working on the contract for ratification, according to City Council Clerk Kyna Thomas. Youngkin appoints Commerce SecretaryGovernor-elect Glenn Youngkin has appointed an entrepreneur to serve as his Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Caren Merrick is is the chief executive officer of the Virginia Ready Initiative, an workforce development firm formed in the spring of 2020 that seeks to “rapidly reskill Virginians for in-demand jobs.” In a statement, Youngkin said he intends to preside over an administration that adds 400,000 jobs and launch 10,000 start-ups. “Virginia’s jobs machine has stalled out, and Caren is going to play a pivotal role on the team that will jumpstart our economy and reinvigorate job growth here in the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said.According to the statement, Merrick has over 25 years of experience in business. The Virginia Ready Initiative sought to train people using “accelerated credential courses for in-demand skills in technology, healthcare, manufacturing and skilled trades.” Over 3,500 people have been through the process and a third have jobs, according to the release. Read through their annual report to find out more.More pre-filed General Assembly billsThe Virginia General Assembly meets in less than three weeks, and a steady stream of bills are being pre-filed. Here’s the latest:Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) filed a bill that would allow school security officers to perform other duties if so assigned (HB8)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) filed a bill giving school boards the option of extending probationary periods for new teachers (HB9)Anderson filed another bill prohibiting localities from charging registration fees for concealed handgun permits (HB10)Anderson’s third bill pre-filed on December 17 would reduce penalties for breaking concealed gun laws (HB11)Anderson’s fourth bill would limit the number of public entrances to public schools (HB12)Anderson’s first bill filed on December 20 would remove a prohibition under state law limiting citizens from purchasing more than one handgun a month (HB14)Ware also filed a bill on December 20 that would allow electoral boards more leeway in responding to Freedom of Information requests in certain situations (HB15)Public hearing for CRHA annual plan The city’s public housing agency held a public hearing last night on a federally-mandated document. “It’s for our policies, programs, operations, and strategies,” said Kathleen Glenn-Matthews, the deputy director of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “They’re all put together in one place.” (See also: CRHA preparing annual plan review, November 18, 2021 Glenn-Matthews said the annual plan is a prerequisite for receiving capital funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “We talk about what residents’ concerns are,” Glenn-Matthews said. “It’s an opportunity for residents to get involved. We ask what individuals like and don’t like about their communities and it is a chance for us all to try to change and improve the rules. Most of all it’s an opportunity to set goals for the future.” Glenn-Matthews said the report explains how the CRHA is studying the possibility of issuing its own bonds to fund further redevelopment, as well as establishing a division in the agency that can manage various redevelopment and modernization projects. They can do so in part because of an infusion in direct investment from Charlottesville taxpayers. “The city will be providing about $15 million to CRHA for redevelopment and rental assistance in the next five years which will help to leverage funds, federal and non-federal, to maximize outcomes for redevelopment activities,” Glenn-Matthews said. CHRA must submit the plan to HUD by January 15. The Board of Commissioners will hold a work session on January 13, a meeting which will include a new representative from City Council. The CRHA fiscal year runs from April 1 to March 31. The only speaker at the public hearing was Shelby Marie Edwards, the executive director of the Public Housing Association of Residents. This year, a decision was made to end security patrols of public housing sites. “We know that CRHA has adopted a camera policy and that they are being installed at some of the sites,” Edwards said. “However our hope is that we can have future conversations about reestablishing an in-person security service included but not limited to a door person over at Crescent Hall once the building is open.”  Glenn-Matthews said she received no written comments about the plan. Drought Watch in some parts of VirginiaThe Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has issued a drought watch advisory for portions of southern Virginia and the Eastern Shore. This is the first step in the process that could result in water restrictions being imposed by localities.“DEQ is notifying local governments, public water works and individual water users in the affected areas to minimize nonessential water use, review or develop local water conservation and drought contingency plans, and take actions consistent with those plans,” reads a release sent out this morning. This advisory does not apply to the Charlottesville area. The determination was made by the Virginia Drought Monitoring Task Force on December 17. “Significant portions of the Roanoke, Chowan, Middle James, Southeast Virginia and Eastern Shore drought evaluation regions have received less than fifty percent of normal precipitation over the last 60 days,” reads a portion of the 36-page report. The Task Force next meets on January 6. Time for a second Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Last Council meeting for Hill, Walker Another era of Charlottesville City Council has concluded with a long meeting last night with lots of votes and decisions. It may take a few newsletters to get through it all. Council met for nearly three hours in closed session before beginning the public session. They began by getting the public acknowledgment of the end of two terms. Vice Mayor Sena Magill introduced a resolution to honor outgoing Councilor Heather Hill and Mayor Nikuyah Walker. “Mayor Walker, you ran on a platform of unmasking the illusion, [and] being there for those who have not had a voice in many spaces,” Magill said. “I would like to thank you for being that voice for many others.” Magill lauded Walker for creating the Home to Hope program to assist people returning from incarceration. Magill also thanked Hill. “Thank you for the time that you have spent in these past four years connecting people in our community, for answering almost every email that has come through, and for often keeping many of us on track when we start going sideways down sporadic paths and trying to figure out exactly where we’re supposed to be or what we’re supposed to be doing exactly in that time.” Hill said she had mixed emotions about coming to the end of her term. She announced early in the year she would not seek a second. “The last four years have been uniquely challenging for Charlottesville,” Hill said. “This small city has carried a lot on its shoulders and I believe that these challenges have impacted the work that Council and staff have been able to accomplish. I acknowledge that there have been missteps and I’ve been part of some of those and take ownership of that. This will all weigh heavily on me. There was much more I was hoping that we could have made strides on before the end of this Council’s term that I would have had the opportunity to be part of.” Hill lamented a lack of collaboration between leaders and the community, but noted that this Council increased funding for affordable housing projects. For her introductory remarks, Walker quoted from the late bell hooks. “She says in this chapter that ‘progressive visionary leaders have always known that any action which liberates and renews oppressed exploited and Black people strengthens the nation as a whole,’” Walker said. “‘Not only do these actions provide a model for ending racism. They provide strategies for the overall healing of America.”Walker continued quoting from hooks including a passage about how personal attacks on visionary leaders take away from the wisdom those individuals offer. “Visionary leaders abound in our society,’” Walker continued quoting. “‘Many of them are women. Patriarchal thinking blocks recognition of the power of female wisdom and our words.” In other comments, Walker recalled being asked to run for office by former Councilor Holly Edwards, who was elected to one term in November 2007. She died in January 2017 and Walker decided to run after months of contemplation. “It was a commitment to her work and her vision for this community,” Walker said. “Holly used to say, and it wasn’t a joke, she was very serious. She used to say that we would get t-shirts made with our percentage of the population on it because of her concern that we would no longer exist here.” Walker said she almost quit last December, and decided not to run earlier this year after Police Chief Rashall Brackney was fired. (September 8, 2021 CCE)“I make no apologies for fighting for us to understand that there are people who suffer every day,” Walker said. Walker said she will continue to fight to dismantle what she calls systems of oppression. Three newcomers elected to the Charlottesville BARAfter the goodbyes were said, Council still had another five and a half hours of business. First up, they reappointed Cheri Lewis to the Board of Architectural Review and appointed Hunter Smith, Clayton Strange, and David Timmerman. Smith served briefly on the city Planning Commission in 2018 before resigning. More from City Council in a future newsletter. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 18, 2021: CDC recommends using Moderna, Pfizer over J&J for booster doses; ACHS working on Race & Sports initiative

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2021 17:35


This is not the final Saturday of 2021, but this is the final Saturday edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement for this two thousandth and twenty-first year of the common era. There’s been nothing common about this year, or any other, for that matter. This newsletter and podcast seeks to point out items of note, though it’s up to you to decide if there’s a tune. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.This newsletter and podcast is supported by readers and listeners. Sign up for a regular update on what’s happening in the community, and decide later whether to pay! On today’s show:An update on the pandemic including a recommendation related to the Johnson and Johnson vaccineAn Albemarle Supervisor has concerns about the MPO hiring a consultant to craft a strategic plan Albemarle is considering three software platformsThe Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society explains its Race and Sports initiative and how it advances the study of the era of school desegregation In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Pandemic updateOn Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control endorsed a recommendation that individuals should receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine over the Johnson and Johnson shot. Both Moderna and Pfizer use messenger RNA. Still, the CDC recommends any vaccine in the face of another surge of cases nationally and internationally. (CDC release)“In general, the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna should be used in preference over Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System.”Dr. Sifri said the new preference is due to new information that shows the possibility of higher rates of blood clotting than was previously known. “Still, it is a rare event but they are higher and it led to the change in stance,” Dr. Sifri said. The Blue Ridge Health District announced Friday that the Johnson and Johnson shot will only be offered a first dose but boosters will no longer be provided at community-based vaccination events or in mobile vaccination clinics. They will still be available at the community vaccination center at Seminole Square while supplies last. Dr. Sifri said those who have had the booster of the Johnson and Johnson should monitor for any symptoms of blood clots such as shortage of breath. He said UVA Health is recommending those who have not had the J&J booster select either the Moderna or Pfizer when they go in for a booster. Two-thirds of Virginians have now received enough doses to be considered fully vaccinated, or 5.7 million people. So far, only 1.7 million of Virginians have had a booster or third dose. “This is the time now to get your booster,” Dr. Sifri said. “The time for getting boosters to prepare yourself for the holiday season is starting to run out. It takes a little bit of time for that booster to take effect and to boost your immune system to encounter what it may encounter along the way.” As of yesterday, the seven-day average for vaccines administered is at 42,631 shots a day. The seven-day average for new cases was 2,760 a day and the percent positivity is 8.6 percent. The next set of numbers in Virginia will come out on Monday. Dr. Sifri said he expects the surge to continue.“We are anticipating that we’re going to see more cases and I think the likelihood that’s going to translate into more hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Sifri said. “We’re starting to see modeling information from the CDC that is warning of that possibility so we are concerned about that. That’s similar to what we saw last year as well.”The difference this year is a supply of vaccines. To inquire about vaccination opportunities at the UVA Health System, call 434-297-4829. You can also visit the Virginia Department of Health site at vaccinate.virginia.gov. Albemarle County softwareAlbemarle County’s procurement office has identified that the firm Granicus will be awarded a sole-source contract for a community engagement platform unless other vendors come forward. In a notice dated December 17, procurement officials state that Granicus “is the only source practically available” and the platform Bang the Table is mentioned. Their website lists it as “a platform to listen, inform, measure, and build community” and also has a helpful online assistant known as Eddie the Engager. Other vendors have until December 28 or the contract will be awarded. In similar procurement notices, Yardi Systems has a sole source award for the Breeze Premier platform for property management and that closing date is December 27. Lexis Nexis Systems has a sole source award that closes on Monday for the Accurint Virtual Crime Center which is touted as a way for law enforcement to obtain “a comprehensive view of people’s identities.”New transportation personnelTwo new faces joined the virtual table at the December 7 meeting of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Board. The federally-mandated body consists of two Albemarle Supervisors, two Charlottesville City Councilors, and the head of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District. That’s now Sean Nelson, who became District Engineer in mid-October replacing John Lynch. “I’m glad to be a part of this team here,” Nelson said. “I look forward to continuing to keep things going the way John Lynch did and just hold the steering wheel and carry us in to the future. I appreciate being here and plan to be an active participant.” Ted Rieck is the new director of Jaunt after a period running a similar agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Really happy to be here in Charlottesville,” Rieck said. “As you all know, this is great community and a great part of the country. I look forward to hopefully being a contributor and a partner to all of you as we development transportation and transit in the area.”MPO Strategic Plan?Staffing shortages at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District have meant some delays in work that transportation staff had expected to work on. Director of Planning and Transportation Sandy Shackleford said planners are focused on what has to be done. “We are preparing for things like our long-range transportation plan and that we’re going to be able to do a good job with that,” Shackleford said. “It does mean that there are some projects that we just haven’t been able to pursue for right now like focusing on how we can better integrate climate action initiatives into our long-range transportation plan process.”Shackleford said another item that will be delayed will be the creation of a strategic plan for the MPO. She suggested additional funding could be placed in an existing item would outsource that work rto a consultant. That idea drew the concern of Albemarle Supervisor Ann Mallek. “This makes me very nervous that we’re going to turn over something as particular and local as our strategic planning to some consultant who probably has no familiarity with us at all,” Mallek said. TJPDC Director Christine Jacobs said the plan already had been to spend $25,000 on a consultant to do the plan, but no firms responded at that price. The new idea is to increase that amount by using funds that have not gone to pay a TJPDC staff member. Shackleford said no other MPO in Virginia has a strategic plan. Mallek suggested waiting until the local elected bodies are sat and select new MPO members. The MPO Policy Board will next discuss the matter in January. Julia Montieth, a land use planner at the University of Virginia’s Office of the Architect, said the pandemic has delayed creation on a master plan called the Grounds Plan. “We ended up putting the project on hold until post-COVID or post-better understanding of COVID,” Monteith said. “But one of the things that we did during that year was we did some enabling projects in-house that we felt we were capable of doing to inform the plan. That lowered our fees once we got to hiring the consultants.” Take a look at the 2008 Grounds Plan here You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Time for a second Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society’s Race and Sports projectThe Brown vs. Board of Education ruling in 1954 led to the eventual desegregation of public schools. For many schools created for Black students, that ended an era for beloved institutions. That’s the case with Charlottesville and Jackson P. Burley High School. Dr. Shelley Murphy is the chair of the board of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, which has been working on collecting more oral histories as part of a project called Race & Sports: The Desegregation of Central Virginia Public High School Athletics.“Our goal is to collect 50 to 60 interviews from those in our local communities who were young students at that time, many of whom were in the athletics who desegregated the first teams at Lane and Albemarle high schools and some of whom went on to the University of Virginia to play teams there.”Murphy and others presented their work on November 28 to as part of the Sunday Sit-In series put on by AARP Virginia. You can watch the event on their YouTube page. Former City Councilor and historian George Gilliam is one of the participants in the project. He provided some historical context. “So in 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional,” Gilliam said. “That put Virginians into a box because Virginians had adopted a state constitution in 1902 that provided ‘white and colored children shall not be taught in the same school.’” Virginia resisted the directive even after a reaffirmation in 1955 that ordered desegregation happen with “all deliberate speed.” “And after two years, some Charlottesville residents got frustrated and finally brought suit against the Charlottesville School Board seeking admittance of Black children to all-white schools,” Gilliam said. “The Virginia General Assembly then sprung into action enacting a package of laws providing that among other things that any school that desegregates, whether voluntarily or pursuant to court order, is to be seized by the Governor and closed.”Gilliam said this era is known as Massive Resistance because the state government refused to comply with the law. He said in the fall of 1958, the state closed Lane High School when it appeared some Black students would be admitted. The Massive Resistance laws were determined to be unconstitutional.“In 1959 the parties reached a compromise,” Gilliam said. “The schools agreed to ease Black students into the previously all-white student bodies achieving full desegregation but not until the fall of 1967.”For this period, Jackson P. Burley High School remained open for several years while the transition took place. This is where athletics come in. “Charlottesville’s Lane High for white students and Burley High for Black students both had championship football teams,” Gilliam said. “The high school for white students had a 53-game streak during which they were undefeated. And Burley, the high school for Black students had an entire season where they were not only undefeated and untied, they were not even scored upon!”Gilliam said the legacy of the Burley Bears was threatened with the order to desegregate. UVA historian Phyllis Leffler said telling that story is crucial to understanding many of the dynamics of the time in a way that transcends the legal framework. “The Race and Sports inserts the voices of those who lived through a critical time in our local and national history,” Leffler said. “Those voices of Black and white athletes and what they went through are in danger of being lost. So many of the people we would have liked to speak with are no longer with us so it is imperative to document this period now with those who have stories to tell.”Leffler said a common assumption is that sports was seen as a way to bring the community together, but some of the stories paint a different picture. “We are still living the consequences of racial inequities that go back 400 years,” Leffler said. “This project will hopefully help bring our divided communities together by honestly looking at the costs and benefits of desegregation.”Late last year, Jackson P. Burley High School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Telecom Radio One
What does 9600 BAUD look like?

Telecom Radio One

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 53:20


Jack Suess “Technology Legend” VP of IT and CIO at UMBC if you can’t sell the value of IT after the pandemic you probably shouldn’t be the leader of IT Actually, thinking about your coded before submitting. Who remember the past TCP battles? Working at a rate of 96 Baud The positives and negatives of...

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 13, 2021: UVA committee briefed on progress of Emmet-Ivy Corridor, another learns about Karsh Institute of Democracy

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 15:23


The word penultimate means “the one before the last.” But what about the one before that one? For this is the third to last Monday of 2021, and it feels there should be a better way of saying that. In any case, this is the first edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement for the third to last week of the year. That’s twice we’ve needed that word in this newsletter so far. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, here again to bring you information about the area even if not every word is precise.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:An update on the Emmet-Ivy corridor and sustainability efforts from the University of VirginiaThe new Dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute of Democracy introduce themselves to a Board of Visitors panel More on the search for a corporate-appointed City Manager for CharlottesvilleA COVID update and a few more bills are before the General AssemblyIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!COVID updateThere have now been over a million reported cases of COVID-19 in Virginia since the beginning of the pandemic, and a total of 14,957 deaths. The seven-day average for positive cases is now at 8.7 percent. That number is a little higher in the Blue Ridge Health District at 8.9 percent. For most of the pandemic, the Charlottesville area has lagged behind the statewide number. There are 58 new cases reported in the Blue Ridge Health District today, but no new fatalities. The seven-day average for new cases in the state is 2,520 a day. RFP closingThe window closes tomorrow at 4 p.m. for firms who are interested in assisting the city of Charlottesville with interim management services until a new top official is appointed. The RFP issued on December 3 requires a firm to provide someone with at least ten years of municipal management experience to run the city on an interim basis. Two addendums to the proposal were made Friday. (read the proposal)This process is not without precedent in Virginia. The Town of Amherst hired the Berkley Group in 2017 to hire a former Pulaski County administrator to serve as interim manager. Peter Huber served for five months as part of the Berkley Group’s Executive Transition Assistance program.  Huber is now serving in a similar position in Alleghany County according to his LinkedIn profile. According to Berkley’s website, they’ve provided this service in dozens of Virginia localities, from the town of Abingdon to the town of Windsor. General Assembly 2022There is less than a month until the Virginia General Assembly convenes for the 2022 session. Several bills have already been filed, and the number coming in right now is low enough to report some of what’s currently in the legislative information system.Senator Mamie J. Locke (D-Hampton) has filed a bill calling for a Constitutional amendment granting the right for people convicted of felons to be able to vote upon release. (SJ1)Delegate James Morefield (R-North Tazewell) has filed a bill establishing a Flood Relief Fund using a portion of the state’s proceeds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions. (HB5) Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Richlands) filed a bill that would terminate power of attorney for anyone convicted of acting against their client. (SB10)Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) filed a bill increasing the standard deductions for Virginia income tax for both single and married people. (SB11)Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) has another that would allow localities to issue refunds on excess personal property taxes. (SB12)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) has filed legislation that would compel “accomodations providers” to provide more information to localities upon request in the collection of transient lodging taxes. (HB7)Sustainability and Emmet-Ivy updatesLast week, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors met, and the December 10 edition of this show featured some information. On Friday, Bryan McKenzie reported in the Daily Progress that the Board voted to increase tuition by 4.7 percent in the 2022-23 school year and 3.7 percent for the following year. Read his story for more details. On Thursday, the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.” However, that doesn’t include the carbon footprint of new buildings built at UVA during the period, though they are built to LEED certification according to Green Building Standards. Sheehy said UVA has to do more to meet its goals.“In order to reach our carbon neutrality goal by 2030, we need to reduce our current emissions by another 160,000 tons and probably another 36,000 related to new construction,” Sheehy said. Sheehy also briefed the Buildings and Grounds Committee on efforts to reduce single-use plastics in order to comply with an executive order from Governor Ralph Northam. She said it’s a University-wide effort. “The biggest challenge is actual single-use plastic water bottles which is why you now see aluminum water bottles used to the extent that we can get them,” Sheehy said. “One of the issues is supply-chain and quantity, particularly if you are at a football and tens of thousands of water bottles that are sold.” Sheehy concluded her presentation with an update on construction of the new Emmet-Ivy precinct, which will house the School of Data Science, the Karsh Democracy Institute, and a hotel and convention center. Utility work has been underway on the site of the former Cavalier Inn, which was demolished to make way for the future. “We expect to be complete with all the utility and road work that sits outside the construction fencing by the end of the first quarter of 2022,” Sheehy said. The south side of Ivy Road will also be altered with new retaining walls and a monumental staircase leading up to the International Residential College. “The foundation work for Data Science should start in early January with completion of that building in the fall of 2023,” Sheehy said. “The plan is the hotel should begin construction in the spring with completion in the fall of 2024.” Design work has begun for the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Höweler+Yoon is the architect. Emmett Streetscape newsThere was also news about the Emmet Street Streetscape, one of the first projects funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process. A design public hearing of the $12 million project was held in December 2019 and is being overseen by the City of Charlottesville. Alice Raucher is the UVa Architect. “They submitted their complete documents to VDOT which is one of the required steps in order to begin the negotiations for the right of way,” Raucher said. Appraisals are underway for the easements or property acquisitions needed for the project. Raucher had no timetable for when that might happen. The Emmet Streetscape runs from Ivy Road to Arlington Boulevard and includes a 10-foot wide multiuse path on the western side of the road. (read the brochure)In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!*Architecture and Democracy at UVAAfter the Buildings and Grounds Committee concluded on Thursday, the Academic and Student Life Committee met and heard from the new dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute for Democracy.  First up: Malo Hutson took over as Dean of the School of Architecture at the beginning of the academic year. He previously was at Columbia University where he directed the Urban Communities and Health Equity Lab. Hutson said the study of architecture is focused on the public realm. “We’re focused on addressing some of the biggest issues of the world, ranging from climate change all the way to the importance of cultural landscape and heritage, to thinking about do you build with healthy materials and so forth and transportation,” Hutson said. Hutson said the School of Architecture has several priorities and values shared with the rest of the UVA Community. He said the four departments in the school are all focused on climate resilience and climate justice, as well as equity and inclusion. Hutson said faculty and staff have an eye on Virginia’s needs as they craft the Climate Justice Initiative. “We know that we are susceptible to storms and flooding all kinds of things that are going on and so how do we engage in a way from whether we’re talking about Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads to all the way in Southwest Virginia?”The Karsh Institute of Democracy exists to reflect on the same basic question. Melody Barnes is the first executive director of the new entity which was founded in 2018. She said democracy is in trouble in the United States and around the world, citing a CBS News poll from January.“Seventy-one percent of Americans believe that democracy in the United States is threatened,” Barnes said. “A more recent poll from just about a month ago, the Pew Research Center indicates that there are about 19 percent of Americans who believe that American democracy is still a role model for democracy in the world.”Barnes said the University of Virginia is well-positioned to take up the cause and the Democracy Initiative has built on the work. “We also believe that this is a moment that we have to do more and that we are well-situated to do more,” Barnes said. Barnes said the Institute will be public-facing and will seek to engage with the community around UVA. “We want to use this moment, we want to leverage the assets and resources that we have to develop solutions, best practices, and new ideas to address the very challenges I just mentioned,” Barnes said. This Institute’s mission is to “generate new ideas and share them with policymakers and citizens” but Barnes said the work doesn’t stop there.“But then we translate them and use diverse communications channels to push them into the public bloodstream,” Barnes said. “To engage policymakers, journalists, the private sector, the public and beyond so people can take those ideas up, they can be debated. They can become policy. They can become practice. They can start to shape the way that we think, talk about, and do democracy. Hopefully the best ideas get taken to scale.” Barnes said one idea may be to offer a prize related to a specific solution. For instance, the Aspen Institute offers $1 million for community college excellence. “We are thinking that a X Prize for Democracy in partnership with others and leveraging the assets of the University and all the knowledge that’s here could be a wonderful way to bringing greater attention to some specific challenges that are facing democracy,” Barnes said. Barnes said a democratic society will always face existential challenges. She said the Institute will be set up to take a long-term view towards curating conversations.“This will be the journey and an issue for the country I think for the life of the country,” Barnes said. “We will always be engaged in these battles and these debates.”  Stay tuned. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 10, 2021: Woolley takes job in Pennsylvania; Caution urged as Delta continues surge with Omicron spreading

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 13:41


There are two weeks until the next eve, but aren’t we always on the eve of something? Time never stands still, and neither does information. Data, facts, and anecdotes all swarm around at blistering speed, but it is possible to stand on the shore of the raging river and take stock, build a camp, and plan for the future. That’s kind of the point of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast that is also always on the move. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. On today’s edition:The consumer price index rises with the increasing cost of energy leading the wayThe corporate owner of the Daily Progress outright rejects a takeover bid from a hedge fundThe UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee contemplates a new building name The city-manager-who-wasn’t takes a job in PennsyvlaniaUVA health officials provide information on the variant Omicron and urge continued vigilance and mask-wearingIn today’s shout-out, a shout-out for shout-outs! If you’re interested in getting information out in this spot, consider supporting Town Crier Productions by making a $25 contribution through Patreon! That gets you or your nonprofit organization four shout-outs a month! These can be for a non-profit, an event, or just a message you want to get out to the word! There are a few guidelines, but this is a great way to support this newsletter and podcast, and to get some eyes and ears on something you want to shout out. Contact me for more information, or just sign up at Patreon.com to learn more! Omicron updateIn another sign Virginia is experiencing another surge in COVID cases, the seven-day average for positive test results is 8.1 percent today, up from 7.2 percent a week ago. Today the Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,848 cases today for a total of 994,069 confirmed cases. The total number of COVID cases in Virginia will likely cross one million total cases over the weekend. “It’s nothing sort of tragic to think about those numbers particularly when you think about the number of hospitalizations and deaths, and the families that have been impacted by the life lost due to that when we have a tool box of tools that can be used and employed to prevent that,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System. Today the Blue Ridge Health District reports 61 news cases and an additional fatality. The percent positivity in the district has increased to 8.6 percent. That figure was 6 percent a week ago. Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Health identified the first case of the Omicron variant somewhere in their Northwest region. The strain was first announced globally on Thanksgiving Day.“We know that it’s spread across and around much of the globe,” Dr. Sifri said. “All continents have cases of COVID except for Antartica and that it’s in nearly 60 countries last I saw.” Dr. Sifri said it’s still too early for sure, but for now it appears that Omicron may not be as cause severe cases of the disease despite news it may spread more easily. “I think that’s still very early data and something we need to take with a grain of salt,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said that early reports are that vaccines appear to have a level of protection against the Omicron strain, but it is diminished and not as robust. “The open questions are does that laboratory data really bear out in the real world, so that’s information that we need,” Dr. Sifri said. “The other question that’s too soon to answer is exactly how long that protection lasts.” Scientists are also studying the possibility that Omicron is more transmissible but that’s another open question until more data comes in. Dr. Sifri called the current wave in Virginia a resurgence of the Delta virus and is likely caused by more indoor gatherings. “So get vaccinated and importantly now, get boosted,” Dr. Sifri said. “We just talked about how the booster is for Omicron but really the booster is also very important for Delta. Remember that your antibody response and your ability to stave off infection after being vaccinated against Delta wears off.” Dr. Sifri said mask-wearing remains an essential tool in public settings to slow the spread. He also recommend people who feel ill should get tested as should people who are going to be heading to a family gathering for Christmas. As 2022 approaches, a new governor will take over in Virginia who may have a different position on masks and vaccines. There continue to be some people who called the entire thing a hoax. “I don’t hear from many of those people except when I’m taking care of them in the hospital and it’s usually in the past tense,” Dr. Sifri said. “‘I did not believe COVID was a big deal. I did not think COVID was a risk for me.’ And those are the people I see in the intensive care unit that are are struggling to survive COVID infection.”The next COVID numbers from the Virginia Department of Health will be out on Monday morning. Inflation upThe Consumer Price Index increased 0.8 percent in November, continuing a yearly trend towards higher costs across the country. Overall, inflation is up 6.8 percent over November 2020 before seasonal adjustments. Energy costs were up 3.5 percent with gasoline rising 6.1 percent. Food costs were up but at a much lower rate of 0.7 percent for food. According to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, November’s annual increase of 6.8 percent matches October’s increase, and that had been the largest 12-month rise since June 1982. The energy index increased 33.3 percent over the past 12 months and the gasoline index increased 58.1 percent over the last year. That’s the largest increase since April 1980. The average price for natural gas has increased 25.1 percent over November 2020 and electricity has risen 6.5 percent over the same period.At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that the average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.4 percent from October to November. That figure is down 1.9 percent year to year. According to a report released yesterday on the Work Experience of the Population, 26.4 million Americans experienced unemployment in 2020, up sharply from 12.9 million in 2019. Woolley hired (in PA)Never-to-be interim Charlottesville City Manager Marc Woolley has taken a job as the deputy executive director of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. That’s according to an article on Bloomberg Law. Woolley cited an unwillingness to face the city’s problems under an interim title. He told the publication that he would constantly be looking for another position in the face of pressure. Last Friday, Charlottesville’s procurement department issued a request for proposals to hire a firm to conduct administrative services on an interim basis. “The services… shall be provided by an individual who is either employed by or under contract with the Successful Offeror and who is approved by City Council,” reads the request for proposals. That bid process closes on December 14. The city issued an addendum to the RFP this morning in response to questions. Woolley would have made an annual salary of $209,102.40 and would have had a $500 a month allowance for a vehicle. We know now that there is one deputy city manager position vacant and several other departments are currently led by an existing employee in an “acting” capacity such as the city’s communications director and the head of information technology. The police chief position will not be filled until the firm is hired to provide interim city manager services. We’re also waiting to see what briefs will be filed in response to former City Manager Tarron Richardson’s federal civil rights lawsuit against Charlottesville City Council and others. (read the story)In today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. Sign up for their newsletter today. Lee says no to AldenThe owner of the Charlottesville Daily Progress and many of Virginia’s other newspapers is rejecting a takeover bid by a hedge fund. Alden Global Capital announced in mid-November that it would purchase shares of Lee Enterprises at $24. Lee Enterprises responded initially responded by invoking shareholder protections. Yesterday they issued a press release stating the price was too low. “After careful consideration with its financial and legal advisors, Lee’s Board determined that Alden’s proposal grossly undervalues Lee and is not in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders,” reads a news release.In a second release yesterday, Lee Enterprise reported revenue growth in their fiscal fourth quarter.  Contemplative Sciences Center namedThe governing body of the University of Virginia met this week, as did its various subcommittees. The Buildings and Grounds Committee had a light agenda that included recommendation to approve the name of a new building. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA. “We’re recommending Contemplative Commons as the name for the building that will house the Contemplative Sciences Center,” Sheehy said. The building will be built on Emmet Street between the pond at the Dell and the buildings that house the Curry School of Education. The Contemplative Sciences Center’s mission is to “advance the study of human flourishing at all levels of education” according to its website. “This building is designed as a hub for academic, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, interdisciplinary collaboration and research, and engagement between UVA and the Charlottesville community,” Sheehy said. The Centers’ construction is funded in part by a $40 million gift in 2016 from Paul Tudor Jones and Sonia Klein Jones. The couple was also instrumental in the center’s founding in 2012. The committee also approved site guidelines and the concept for the expansion of the UVA Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital at Fontaine Research Park. The project will add 16,400 square feet and renovate 50,000 square feet of the existing hospital. I’ll have more from the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting in an upcoming installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 9, 2021: Draft Congressional map shows Albemarle split between two House districts; Charlottesville continues to lose tree canopy

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2021 17:50


In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!On today’s show:Governor-elect Youngkin pledges to remove Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Two mapmakers hired by the Virginia Supreme Court have laid out their boundaries in advance of public hearings Albemarle County Supervisors agree to dedicate more resources to monitoring blighted properties and enforcing rulesThe Charlottesville Tree Commission gets a first look at data showing a continue decline in tree cover in the cityThe Carter G. Woodson Institute celebrates forty years of research into the African diasporaCovid updateA quick look at COVID-19 numbers, which continue to an upward trend. Today the percent positivity increased to 7.9 percent and the Virginia Department of Health reports another 3074 new cases. That number includes another 100 cases in the Blue Ridge Health District. There are another three new fatalities reported in the Blue Ridge Health District today. RedistrictingAlbemarle County may be represented by two people in the U.S. House of Representatives if a map drawn under the direction of the Virginia Supreme Court is adopted. This fall, the first Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to reach consensus on new legislative maps for the U.S. House and the two houses of the General Assembly. That left the task to two special masters appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court. “These maps reflect a true joint effort on our part,” reads a memo written by Sean P. Trende and Bernard F. Grofman. “We agreed on almost all issues initially, and the few issues on which we initially disagreed were resolved by amicable discussion.” Interactive House of Representatives mapInteractive House of Delegates mapInteractive Senate mapIn their memo, the pair of Special Masters noted they ignored incumbents when drawing the map. In doing so, 7th District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger would no longer be in the same district. They also noted that the district numbers might change. Under the Congressional map, northern Albemarle County would be in a district that stretches north to Loudoun County and the Maryland border. Charlottesville and southern Charlottesville would be in a district that stretches to the North Carolina and contains much of the Southside. Crozet would be split between the two districts.Under the House of Delegates map, Charlottesville and much of Albemarle’s urban ring would be in the 54th District and most of Albemarle would be in the 55th. This district would include the western portion of Louisa County and an eastern sliver of Nelson County. Greene would be in a district with half of Orange County, half of Culpeper County, and all of Madison County. Fluvanna would be in a district with Buckingham, Cumberland, and Appomattox counties, as well as the western half of Goochland. Under the Senate map, Albemarle and Charlottesville would be within the 11th District along with Amherst and Nelson counties, as well as the western portion of Louisa County. The rest of Louisa would be in the 10th, as well as all of Fluvanna County. Greene County would be in the 28th with all of Madison, Orange, and Culpeper counties. The two public hearings will be held virtually on December 15 and December 17. People who wish to comment should email to redistricting@vacourts.gov to notify the Court a day in advance of that desire. “The Court recognizes that the establishment of voting districts for the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia’s congressional representatives will have significant and lasting impact on every Virginian,” reads the notice for the public hearing. Written comments will be taken through December 20 at 1 p.m. RGGI withdrawal?According to multiple accounts, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin told the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce that he will remove Virginia from an interstate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system. Youngkin called it a carbon tax and said he will issue an executive order to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in order to reduce energy costs for consumers. Since joining in July 2020, Virginia has received $227.6 million in proceeds from auctions with the funds designated for climate change mitigation efforts. Read Sarah Vogelsong’s story in the Virginia Mercury to learn more. (Youngkin pledges to pull Virginia from carbon market by executive order). According to a press release from the Hampton Roads Chamber, Youngkin said he will seek to eliminate the grocery tax, suspend the gas tax for a year, and lower taxes for veterans. Also yesterday, a recount in the 91st House District confirmed that Republican A.C. Cordoza defeated Democratic incumbent Martha Mugler in the November 2 election, though the margin of victory shrank from 94 votes to 64 votes. That gives the Republicans a 52-48 majority in the House of Delegates next year. Preservation awardsA community group that seeks to raise awareness of historic structures and preserve them has issued their annual awards and grants. Preservation Piedmont offered three small grants to the following groups. All copy below comes from them: ● The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, for their project to restore and keep active the Hatton Ferry, a small historic ferry across the James River. ● Burley Varsity Club, for the publication of Unforgettable Jackson P. Burley High School, a book about the history of Jackson P Burley High School, built by Charlottesville and Albemarle to provide a modern high school for its African American communities and known for its superlative athletic teams and academic accomplishments. ● Friends of Gladstone Depot (with assistance from the Nelson County Historical Society), for their efforts to move the Gladstone depot to a new site and repurpose the facility as a community center. There were seven community awards. Here are six of them. ● A Special Recognition Award to the University of Virginia, for thoughtful community engagement in the development of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers.  ● An Adaptive Reuse Award to Armand and Bernice Thieblot, owners of the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler, for their dedication to adaptive reuse of the Quarry Gardens, and for making it available to the public. ● An adaptive Reuse Award to The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation and Allen Hale, for their efforts to preserve and make publicly available one of the great engineering feats of the world, the Blue Ridge Railroad Tunnel. ● A Preservation Award to owners Tim Mullins and Tara Crosson, and builder Craig Jacobs, for thoughtful rehabilitation of an important Albemarle County structure, Findowrie (2015 C-Ville Weekly article). ● A Design Award to Charlottesville Quirk, LLC, for the Quirk Hotel's sensitive infill development on Charlottesville's West Main Street. ●The Martha Gleason Award goes to a member of the community who has exhibited sustained dedication to advocating for our community. This year the award went to Jean Hiatt for her role as a founding member of Preservation Piedmont, service on the Board of Architectural Review,  and for contributions to oral histories and to the book Bridge Builders, and her active involvement with neighborhood associations and preservation advocacy. ”Finally, something called Charlottesville Community Engagement was honored for some reason. I can report the award is a framed certificate and a tote bag. Institute celebratedBefore the break, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and Africa at the University of Virginia celebrates its 40th anniversary today. The Institute is named after a 20th century historian who established the first Black History Week. Learn more about the Institute and the work accomplished over the past four decades in a piece by Anne Bromley in UVA Today. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. I’m told that a native plants database may be in the works? Tree canopy declining A contractor working on the calculation of the Charlottesville’s tree canopy has turned in the first set of data. Chris Gensic is with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and he spoke to the Tree Commission on Tuesday. (watch the meeting)“We have lost some canopy,” Gensic said. “I think their average right now is in the 40 percent plus a little bit of change, not quite to 41 percent. I think the first one we did, we were in the 47 realm maybe in ‘08.” That number dropped further to 45 percent in 2015. (Urban Canopy Reports)Gensic said he is going through the data neighborhood by neighborhood to see how it compares to previous tree canopy reports.“Is it that the aerial photo is of a different quality?” Gensic asked. “We’re trying to keep these five-year increments pretty consistent in terms of how data is gathered and how its analyzed so we can say consistently that the loss or gain in trees is actual trees but not an anomaly in the data.”Gensic said a final report will be ready by sometime in January but could be available by the end of the month. He asked Tree Commissioners to take a look at the preliminary data to see what their interpretations are. The data collection was delayed by the pandemic. Fighting blightA year ago, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors asked the Department of Community Development to look into ways the county might be able to compel property owners to maintain their property to keep it out of blighted status. Jodie Filardo, the county’s director of community development, addresses supervisors on December 1, 2021. “We’re here today to seek Board input on whether to take measures to establish a new program under the Virginia Maintenance Code to continue with focused tools and measures using spot blight abatement,” Filardo said. Priority number six of the county’s strategic plan is to “revitalize aging urban neighborhoods.”Filardo returned to the Board on December 2 with options about how to proceed. But first, a definition. “Blighted property is defined as a structure or improvement that is dilapidated or deteriorated because it violates minimum health and safety standards,” Filardo said. Filardo said in the past year, the county has received six complaints about individual properties, and five of these have approved maintenance plans in place. One of these properties will be demolished. “If any of the properties with approved maintenance plans do not meet satisfactory progress toward compliance before you, they will be brought before you with the spot blight ordinance,” Filardo said. Amelia McCulley is the outgoing deputy director of community development. She briefed the board about options to expand the enforcement in the county under the Virginia Maintenance Code to items beyond health and safety, such as peeling paint, crumbling siding, and broken gutters. Staff is recommending a phased approach. “An option for the Board is to not go entirely responsive but to prioritize our aging urban neighborhoods by being proactive in one to two neighborhoods each year,” McCulley said. “Second point would be that we recommend a focused enforcement that prioritizes public health and safety and that we adopt a portion of the maintenance code and that would be Section 3 which focuses on the exterior of the structures.”McCulley said hiring new staff to fully enforce the VMC would not be cheap. The first year would cost half a million with an ongoing cost of $390,000 a year. Adoption of the full code would cost more.“Adoption of the full maintenance code with proactive enforcement countywide is estimated to have a first year cost of $888,001 and an ongoing cost of $679,382,” McCulley said. Supervisor Donna Price said she was not satisfied that the status quo was not sufficient. She had brought up three properties at the December 2020 work session and has suggested others since then.“And it’s clear that what we currently have been doing has not been able to fully address the blighted unsafe property situation,” Price said. “I think of the three I first brought up, pretty much the only thing that was achieved of significance would be that an abandoned minivan was removed from the property and some openings were boarded up. But other than that, the properties are still out there and just as blighted as they would otherwise appear.”Price said she did not favor adopting the full maintenance code in part due to the potential for unintended consequences and costs. Having heard that the Office of Equity and Inclusion has potential concerns, Price said some distinctions need to be made.“To me, one of the things that has to be taken into account and this ties into the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s participation in this process, is the distinction between those who cannot take care of their property primarily due to financial resources versus those who simply will not or refuse to do so,” Price said. “One of the things I am not interested in is providing a financial benefit to those who refuse to take care of their property.” Price leaned towards some form of adoption of the Virginia Maintenance Code. Supervisor Bea LaPisto-Kirtley suggested revisiting the topic in another year. She said thought the spot blight abatement might suffice for now. Supervisor Diantha McKeel also supported using the existing program and agreed with staff’s recommendation to hire a dedicated staffer for this purpose. That decision will come during the development of the FY23 budget and whether to spend $110,000 for this project. “I think the Virginia Maintenance Code sounds not like its not going to get us to where we really need to be, and it’s prohibitively expensive, it would appear,” McKeel said. McKeel said she wants a focus on rental properties in the urban areas that are owned by people out of the community. Supervisor Ned Gallaway said he would support eventually adopting the Virginia Maintenance Code. “We have to be doing something proactive no matter what phase we do to help people that are burdened to be able to get their houses back into a healthy and safe environment for themselves,” Gallaway said. “Maybe that’s the tack I take here. A proactive approach would identify that more quickly in my opinion.” Aside from the budget discussion on hiring the new staffer, the topic will return to the Board of Supervisors in a year.Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 8, 2021: Albemarle group briefed on climate action; redevelopment continues for Charlottesvile public housing sites

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 14:34


Welcome to day 342 of the year 2021. There are 23 days until the final day of the year. How many more years are left? Results will vary. How many more installments of Charlottesville Community Engagement will there be? The virtual magic eight-ball reports: Better Not Tell You Now. In either case, this is the installment for December 8, 2021, which is the 290th edition of the show so far. Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts, sign-up below for free updates. To support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber! On today’s show:An update on finances and redevelopment at Charlottesville’s public housing authorityThere’s a few new bills pre-filed for the 2022 General Assembly Governor Northam releases a master plan to prepare for increased flooding along Virginia’s coast Albemarle’s Natural Heritage Committee is briefed on climate action efforts Let’s begin today with a subscriber-supported shout-out for another community event. Filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson has traced the 100 year history of the libraries in the Charlottesville area, including a time when Black patrons were restricted from full privileges. The film Free and Open to the Public explores the history of library service from the Jim Crow-era until now. If you missed the premiere in November, there’s an online screening followed by a Q&A with Dickerson this Thursday at 7 p.m. Register at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library site to participate in this free event that’s being run with coordination from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Visit jmrl.org now to sign up! COVID updateBefore the rest of the show, a quick update on COVID numbers, which continue to rise slightly as we move through the holiday season. The Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,850 new cases today, bringing the seven-day average for new cases to 2,374. The seven-day average for new positive test results is at 7.7 percent, up from 7.2 percent on Friday. There are 79 new cases in the Blue Ridge Health District, which has a percent positivity of 7.5 percent. Speaking of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, a pilot project with the Virginia Department of Health has now distributed 1,086 home COVID-19 tests. These are rapid antigen at-home tests where people can use their smartphone to get results within 15 minutes. Visit the VDH’s website to learn more about the Supporting Testing Access through Community Collaboration program. Coastal resilienceThe Commonwealth now has a plan in place to address sea rise and other hydrological issues caused by a changing global climate. Yesterday outgoing Governor Ralph Northam was on hand in Hampton for the release of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan. “Climate change, rising sea levels, sinking land, and storms that are more frequent and more extreme are really causing increased problems in coastal communities,” Northam said. “What we call nuisance flooding is now a regular occurrence.”The master plan looks ahead as far as the year 2080 and concludes that the number of homes and roadways that will be exposed to extreme coastal flooding will drastically increase between now and then. The plan offers suggestions for what infrastructure is needed to withstand flooding as the geology of the coast changes in the presence of more water. The plan will be updated with additional data. “This plan has some seriously alarming data,” Northam said. “According to the science, over the next 60 years there will be places in Virginia that will no longer be habitable or accessible. They’ll be flooded temporarily or permanently. And while there are things we can do to protect our communities the plan also shows us that in some places we’re going to have to focus on moving people and structures out of harm’s way.” Rear Admiral Ann Phillips coordinated the plan in her capacity as the special assistant to Governor Ralph Northam for coastal adaptation. She was one of the speakers at this year’s Resilient Virginia conference and hers is one of several voices in a September 10, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Take a look or a listen!The website devoted to the plan contains a database that allows people to look at threats as well as mitigation projects. (Virginia Coastal Resilience Web Explorer) Albemarle Climate ActionLast week, the Albemarle Natural Heritage Committee got an update on the county’s efforts to address climate change. The Natural Heritage Committee developed the county’s Biodiversity Action Plan, which became part of the Comprehensive Plan in July 2019. The Board of Supervisors adopted a Climate Action Plan in October 2020. (watch the meeting)Gabe Dayley, Albemarle’s climate protection program manager, said there are a lot of areas of overlap between the two plans. “We have actions in the Climate Action Plan around promoting conservation easements, around outreach and education, as well as incentives to the general public as well as incentives to the general public as well as to landowners,” Dayley said. Other overlapping goals are to minimize fragmentation of land to preserve areas for wildlife that also can serve as carbon sinks. “You know a lot of the overlap here is between strategies for mitigation,” Dayley said. “In other words, reducing our impact or our contribution to global climate change but the county is also beginning a process to do climate resilience planning. That’s more preparing our community to hopefully be resilient and stay strong in the face of some of the climate changes that we know are coming no matter how swiftly the world acts at this point.”Dayley specifically pointed out goal 9 of the plan which is “develop strategies for biodiversity conservation during climate change.” He also briefed the NHC on the county’s 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Take a look at a story from September 10 for more information. Dayley told the Natural Heritage Committee that development of the inventory included a new tool that analyzed forest cover in Albemarle. “We found that somewhat to our surprise that there’s actually a lot of carbon sequestration in trees and forests across the county,” Dayley said. “So there’s an important takeaway there which is the critical importance of maintaining forest and tree cover that we have in the county which I think is something that’s expressed as being important in multiple ways in the Biodiversity Action Plan.” To watch the rest of the conversation, take a look at the full meeting of the group. I’ll have information about Charlottesville’s tree canopy in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. More pre-filed billsBefore the break, a few more bills have been filed in advance of the next General Assembly session. Delegate Scott Wyatt (R-Mechanicsvile) has filed a bill requiring school principals to report potential criminal acts by student to law enforcement. (HB4)Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) has filed a bill to make Virginia’s standard deduction for income taxes equal to the federal deduction. (SB7)Senator Petersen also filed a bill to permit hunting on Sundays (SB8)Senator Peterson also filed a bill related to eminent domain (SB9)Delegate James Morefield (R-North Tazewell) filed a bill to alter the portion of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund (HB5)The General Assembly convenes on January 12, 2022. That’s the 12th day of next year. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Let’s continue today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Public housing updateThe Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will have a work session Thursday night. They last met at a regular meeting on November 22 and got a series of updates. One was on the CRHA budget from Mary Lou Hoffman, the agency’s finance director. CRHA’s fiscal year runs from April to March 30. (financial statements through October 31, 2021) (watch the meeting)“We’re $517,000 ahead of budgeted at this point but that includes $644,000 worth of for all intent and purposes non-recurring money,” Hoffman said. That includes shortfall funding the CRHA was awarded in each of the past two fiscal years. Hoffman said one piece of good news is that the CRHA’s Paycheck Protection Program loan received near the beginning of the pandemic has been forgiven and won’t need to be paid back. The number of public housing units has been temporarily reduced from 376 to 324 units due to the renovation of Crescent Halls, which is also affecting the way the financial statements look. “It basically is shifting some of the costs that we had budgeted for Crescent Halls to the other properties and between now and the end of the year we will see an effect from that,” Hoffman said. A piece of bad news is an unexpected $17,567 payment in October to the Internal Revenue Service related to unpaid bills that were not known to CRHA staff until recently.“That was an IRS tax penalty that I was previously and totally unaware of,” Hoffman said. “It was assessed against CRHA for failing to timely file 1099s for the tax year of 2017.” Hoffman said these 1099s were related to the payment of vouchers to landlords and other vendors, and they were eventually paid.“I believe the minimum penalty was assessed which is $50 per 1099, so it’s around 340 or 350 1099’s,” Hoffman said. “It’s not only for our vendors but most of our landlords have to get a rent 1099.” Hoffman said part of the confusion stemmed from the CRHA having multiple mailing addresses including a one-time stay in City Hall. Headquarters have moved around a lot in recent years. After Hoffman’s presentation, executive director John Sales put the current year’s budget in a different light. Soon after the fiscal year began, there was a massive water leak at Crescent Halls that has affected the near-term. “Crescent Halls threw a curveball,” Sales said. “The changing of Crescent Halls, the redevelopment plan, drastically changed revenues for the housing authority. The plan included keeping Crescent Halls at least partially filled with adding voucher units which added an additional revenue for the housing authority.”But the damage at Crescent Halls has meant moving all of the residents out while the renovation continues. Those shortfall funds have helped make up the difference for now. As of November 22, Sales said tenants owed $92,000 in unpaid rent. That’s attracted the notice of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.“They ask us about it every other week,” Sales said. “We are currently working through the rent relief program to get funding and asking other sources as well to assist families that are delinquent.” Brandon Collins is the new redevelopment coordinator for CRHA and gave an update on planning for the second phase of redevelopment at South First Street. According to the CRHA website, the plan is to redevelop 58 existing public housing units into 113 new townhouse units and apartments. Collins said the CHRA has filed an application to change the financing structure.“The demo-disposition application and mixed-finance application have gone in,” Collins said. “It took a lot of doing to figure out the mixed-finance application but what we’ve landed on is phase two will have 20 public housing units, 38 project-based vouchers and 55 non-subsidized units.” Collins said CRHA is looking to see how they can get the rent for those 55 units to be as low as possible. “It appears we can get those units down pretty low,” Collins said.  A site plan has been submitted for the first phase of redevelopment at Sixth Street.“Building A is going to be there along Monticello and wrapping around the corner onto Monticello onto Sixth Street,” Collins said. “It will be four stories with 50 homes. It will have an elevator and parking underneath.” A master plan for the full site is being developed. Collins said some of the units will be set aside for homeownership. The Westhaven site will be the next future location of redevelopment with the intent to apply for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in March of 2024. Resident planning initiatives will begin in earnest soon. As all of these developments continue, Collins said CRHA has to strike a balance to ensure it follows federal rules to limit the number of public housing units on site. “For those who don’t know there was a law passed that you can’t have any more public housing than you already had since October 1, 1999,” Collins said. The future of all CRHA properties will include a balance of multiple types of funding sources to keep rents low. Sales explained further about regulations of the U.S. Department of Urban Housing. “HUD will allow us to add more subsidized units to the site if we’re removing them from our housing-choice voucher portfolio,” Sales said. There’s a lot of complexity. If you’re interested, I recommend watching the meeting for a fuller explanation. The CRHA will take up their annual plan at their meeting on December 20. I wrote about the process in the November 18, 2021 edition of the show. You can read it on the archive site. Thursday’s work session begins at 5 p.m. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 7, 2021: Charlottesville’s $5.5 million FY21 surplus slated for employee bonuses, salary increase; Southwood presents next phase of development

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 25:52


In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, WTJU 91.1 FM invites you to tune in next week for the annual Classical Marathon. It’s a round-the-clock celebration of classical music, specially programmed for your listening pleasure. Throughout the week there will be special guests, including Oratorio Society director Michael Slon; UVA professor I-Jen Fang; Charlottesville Symphony conductor Ben Rous; early music scholar David McCormick; and more. Visit wtju.net to learn more and to make a contribution. On today’s program: Virginia receives over $85 million in the latest carbon credit auction A community group gets a look at the next phase of Habitat for Humanity’s development at Southwood Council gets a budget update and decides to donate the Lee Statue for future artistic purposesCharlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.Lee statue voteCharlottesville City Council had a full meeting last night that will take a few newsletters to get through. We begin at the end with a vote to remove one of three statues removed in July. Here’s City Councilor Heather Hill reading the motion. “Be it resolved by the Council of the City of Charlottesville that the statue of Robert E. Lee is hereby donated and ownership transferred to the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center, a charitable institution organization in accordance with the provisions of Virginia Code 15.2-953,” Hill said. “This disposition is final.” Vice Mayor Sena Magill was not present at the virtual meeting, citing a family emergency. To read more on the statue and the Center’s desire to melt it down to create new public works of art, check out Ginny Bixby’s article in today’s Daily Progress. The further disposition of the Stonewall Jackson and Lewis, Clark, and Sacagewea statues will wait for another day. Possibly on December 20. The vote took place after midnight. Council had begun their day at a work session that began at 4 p.m. at which they discussed reform of the Housing Advisory Committee and the way projects are selected for to be funded through the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. I’ll get to that in a future installment of the show. FY21 year-end balanceAlso in the work session, Council learned how the city fared as the books for fiscal year 2021 closed. Readers and listeners may recall there had been a concern the city would have a shortfall. Chris Cullinan is the city’s director of finance. “I’m pleased to report that we finished fiscal year 2021 in the general fund at surplus revenues of $5.5 million,” Cullinan said. Cullinan reminded Council that the pandemic hit just as the budget for fiscal year 2021 was being finalized. At the time, there was uncertainty about the long-term financial impact but the shutdowns immediately affected the city’s meals and lodging tax collection. Property and sales tax collection performed a bit better than expected. The city also didn’t spend as much as expected.“Several of our larger departments had vacancy savings over the course of the year as well as reduced levels of service or closed facilities during COVID and that resulted in expenditures being less than expected,” Cullinan said. Cullinan said the $5.5 million does not include any federal funding through the CARES Act or the American Rescue Plan. Those funds are accounted for separately. “But what it did allow us to do was instead of utilizing our general fund projects or eligible activities, we were able to use the CARES money instead so that CARES money stepped in the place of the city’s own revenues,” Cullinan said. Staff will return to Council on December 20 with a suggested year-end appropriation. Cullinan said they will make two recommendations that will affect the next year’s budget preparation. One involves a $6.7 million economic downturn fund that was set aside for a reserve fund at the beginning of the pandemic. “We didn’t have to tap into that money through the course of the fiscal year, and so that $6.7 million is outside of the $5.5 million,” Cullinan said. Cullinan said the $6.7 million had been taken by withholding cash funds to the capital improvement program. Now staff is recommending returning that money back to the capital budget. “Obviously as we all know there are several large capital needs both in the upcoming year but also in the five-year plan,” Cullinan said. Outgoing Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wanted would prefer the money be used in some other way, especially if there is the possibility of funding coming from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as well as future federal legislation. “And I don’t know if CIP is where we should be considering allocating that with the fact that there may be funding coming in the future,” Walker said. Outgoing City Council Heather Hill said Council has agreed to proceed with a $75 million investment in upgrading Buford Middle School and would support Cullinan’s recommendation. “I think that any contributions we can put into the CIP right now are going to be needed if we’re going to do any of our other priorities,” Hill said. “And again, this is where those funds were intended to be when this fiscal year began.”For the second recommendation, said staff proposes that the $5.5 million be used for employee compensation adjustments including a one-time bonus related to the pandemic, as well as a six-percent mid-year salary increase to try to retain employees in a tight job market. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders said the bonuses will cost $3 million and the salary increase will cost $2.5 million. “The plan is to make it effective in January so this would be immediate relief to folks seeing an increase in pay beginning January of 22 and we are already looking forward to how we sustain this going forward and feel comfortable that the projections for revenues are such that we can sustain this as a permanent increase,” Sanders said. Before the meeting, Walker had directed staff to see if they could find a way to vote to approve this before January 6, 2022 when a potential second reading would be held. Walker will not be on Council at that time. Sanders said did not know yet but staff would be looking on whether they could do so under Virginia law. “It’s based on the size of the appropriation that dictates how many days we’re required so we’ll be able to take a look at that in the morning as I did get that later today and we need to dig into that to figure out if we can move faster,” Sanders said. Under state code, localities that make a budget amendment in excess of one percent of the total budget must hold a public hearing, which must be advertised seven days in advance. Take a look at § 15.2-2507 yourself and let me know your interpretation.  The FY21 budget was $192.2 million. RGGI auctionThe latest auction of carbon emission credits held by the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) will result in Virginia receiving another $85.6 million to help fund programs to mitigate the impact of climate change. Virginia joined the program in the summer of 2020 and became the first state in the southeast to join the compact. Through 54 auctions, RGGI has brought in $4.7 billion from power companies.“RGGI is the first market-based, cap-and-invest regional initiative in the United States,” reads the website. “Within the RGGI states, fossil-fuel-fired electric power generators with a capacity of 25 megawatts or greater (‘regulated sources’) are required to hold allowances equal to their CO2 emissions over a three-year control period.”Virginia has now brought in $227.6 million from the program across four auctions. Around half of the funding goes to pay for flood control and mitigation. In October, Governor Ralph Northam announced Charlottesville would receive $153,000 in RGGI-funded grants to create a model of the city’s portion of the Moores Creek watershed to assist with flood prevention. (October 6, 2021 story) You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement and it is time now for another subscriber-supported shout-out. Filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson has traced the 100 year history of the libraries in the Charlottesville area, including a time when Black patrons were restricted from full privileges. The film Free and Open to the Public explores the history of library service from the Jim Crow-era until now. If you missed the premiere in November, there’s an online screening followed by a Q&A with Dickerson this Thursday at 7 p.m. Register at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library site to participate in this free event that’s being run with coordination from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Visit jmrl.org now to sign up! Southwood updateHabitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville has filed an application to extend an existing rezoning application to cover all of the Southwood Mobile Home Park. The 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee got a look at the details in a community meeting on November 18. (watch the meeting)Rebecca Ragsdale is now the county planner overseeing the implementation of the initial rezoning and the preparation for the next one, taking over from Megan Nedostup who now works as a planner for the firm Williams Mullen. “It does include 93.32 acres and is the remainder and is the existing mobile home community along with a couple of smaller parcels,” Ragsdale said. “There’s three parcels in total. And the code of development proposes a minimum of 531 units or up to a maximum of 1,000 units.” There’s also a request to allow up to 60,000 square feet of non-residential uses in this second phase. Speaking nearly three weeks ago, Ragsdale said the review was just getting underway. Lori Schweller is an attorney with Williams Mullen and she provided additional details. Technically, this application is to amend the existing zoning approval granted by the Board of Supervisors in August 2019. “The current trailer park is located in the largest parcel right in the center and the first development is happening outside that area to minimize disruption from development and construction in phase 1 as much as possible,” Schweller said. Habitat purchased the 341-trailer Southwood Mobile Home Park in 2007 with the intent toward preserving affordable living spaces. The rezoning approved in phase 1 is to the county’s Neighborhood Model District, intended to create walkable communities. “As a neighborhood model development, the plan for phase 1 incorporated included a block plan logically organizing the areas of the development in accordance with the uses, forms, and density set out in the code of development. Density will range from green space at the lowest level of density upward through neighborhood, urban residential, neighborhood mixed-use, urban density mixed-use, to neighborhood center special area in that area designated for a center by the Comprehensive Plan.” Phase two extends the code of development across the whole property. Dan Rosensweig, Habitat’s CEO, said the plan has crafted with input from residents of Southwood. “Not trying to get buy-in but to elevate them to be the engineers and architects of their future,” Rosensweig said. “As such, they created a form-based code that regulated the basic formal characteristics of particular blocks in synch with the land itself, with the contours of the land and with a general pattern of development for the neighborhood.” Rosenseig said Habitat hopes to exceed the county’s affordable housing requirements as it seeks to not displace existing residents.“They all live in dramatically substandard housing on infrastructure that has failed,” Rosensweig said. “And so, to non-displace we have to at least replace the amount of housing that’s there but that’s not enough. We want to overperform that because there’s such an acute shortage in the region.” Rosenweig said 50 units were proffered to be affordable in phase one, but that phase will now include 207 affordable units. That’s in part because the Piedmont Housing Alliance is using low-income housing tax credits to subsidize rents in an apartment complex for households witj between 30 and 80 percent of the area median income. There are 128 market rate units in the first phase. “So 62 percent of the units in phase one are affordable,” Rosenweig said. Rosensweig said residents have led the charge to make sure the neighborhood is mixed-income. “They really wanted to make sure that every block had a mixture of Habitat homes and market rate homes so you can’t tell the difference between the two,” Rosensweig said. The number of units that will be built in the second phase is not yet know. Melissa Symmes is the residential planning and design manager with Habitat.“Based on the concept plan, we can build a minimum of 531 units as Rebecca mentioned, but we hope to build closer to a thousand units,” Symmes said. “If we were able to build a thousand units in phase two, this would result in a gross density of 10.71 dwelling units per acre and then a net density of 13.5 dwelling units per acre.”Symmes said the total for the entire Southwood redevelopment would be a range of between a minimum of 681 units and a maximum of 1,450 units.  “One thing to note is that we are not building the maximum permitted units allowed in phase one,” Symmes said. “We’re building about 100 units less than what the phase one code of development would actually permit.” The first phase allowed up to 50,000 square feet of non-residential space, but Symmes said only up to 10,000 square feet will be built. “So with that in mind there will likely be about 70,000 square feet of non-residential space in Southwood phases one and two total,” Symmes said. Symmes said Habitat will guarantee that 231 of the housing units in the second phase will be affordable and that will be enough to replace the existing trailers. Rosensweig said it may take up to a decade to fully develop the park. Guaranteeing affordability?After the discussion, CAC Chair James Cathro asked several questions including this one.Cathro: “What happens after a family is sold an affordable rate home and they pay it off, can they immediately sell it at market value? Is it their asset to use as they like or are there conditions or restrictions?”Rosensweig:“Great question. The latter. There are 30 to 40 years of deed restrictions on all Habitat homes. In the affordable housing space, there are programs where all of the equity is invested in, it’s really about the unit. On the other side of the spectrum, it’s all about the family. Habitat kind of splits the difference.”That means Habitat has the right of first refusal on purchasing units for a period of 40 years. “They put it on the market, they get a bona fide offer, we have a week to match that offer,” Rosensweig said. “Additionally there are significant incentives in the deed restrictions that incentivize families for staying for an extended period of time.” Rosensweig said Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville has sold about 300 homes and all but a handful have remained either under original ownership, were passed on to other family members, or were repurchased by Habitat. In the first village under construction, Rosenseigh said Habitat is building 49 units and 40 families are in line to purchase them. The rest are being reserved for Southwood families who want to rent rather than purchase. “Village 2 immediately adjacent to that will have another 25 Habitat homes and then Block 10 will have another 16 so there will be another 41 Habitat homes,” Rosensweig said.Impact on traffic and schools5th and Avon CAC members had questions about what Habitat might contribute to address potential traffic congestion. Steve Schmidt is a traffic engineer with the Timmons Group who is working with Habitat on the project. “You’re absolutely right, there’s a significant amount of traffic out there today, and there’s more coming,” Schmidt said. “There was a reason study done by VDOT to look at the whole corridor to kind of identify improvements that are coming. One of the improvements that we know is coming online is the roundabout at Old Lynchburg and the county complex there. That’s a funded improvement that will be in place in the coming years.” Schmidt was referring to a funded $7.26 million Smart Scale project in which Albemarle put up $2 million from the capital improvement program to help make this submission more attractive under the funding criteria. The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the project in June. Construction is not anticipated to begin until at least October 2025, according to the application. Schmidt said VDOT and the county are both reviewing the traffic study. Another issue is the amount of additional children that will need spaces in the county school system. Schweller addressed those concerns and said the county is working to identify capital solutions in addition to the $6.25 million expansion of Mountain View elementary that was added to the current capital budget earlier this year. “What the schools are doing now is doing a new master plan analysis and we’ll have more recommendations coming up,” Schweller said. “Those capacity solutions could include a new school, redistricting, grade level reconfigurations. So we’ll wait and see what study reveals.”Schweller also said it is difficult to come up with an estimate of how many students would be generated by a mixed-use development with many types of housing.“It’s very difficult to estimate the number of students,” Schweller said. “If you have a thousand units, for example, in phase 2 that could yield from 40 and 470 students given the wide range of multipliers.” Schweller said there had been initial talk about providing land at Southwood for a new school, but that didn’t pan out. “Dan had discussions with the schools early on to offer a location for an elementary school and the schools at that time decided that was not what they wanted,” Schweller said. “At this point design and planning have moved on so there simply isn’t room in phase two for a school site and still accommodate all the homes that need to be built there.” Another attendee asked if Habitat would sell some of the land for the school, especially if the development does generate more need for elementary school seats. Rosensweig explained further why he would not proffer giving land over for a school. “You have to think about the purpose of a mixed-income community,” Rosensweig said. “There are really two purposes of a mixed-income community. One is to deconcentrate both wealth and poverty and create a neighborhood where people of all walks of life can live together. That’s very different from the last 150 years in our country which has become more segregated and intentionally so. So that’s one purpose. So if we take lots off line for market rate sales then we don’t concentrate wealth or poverty quite as much.”Rosensweig said the sale of market rate units subsidized the affordable units, and a balance has been worked out. He also said the architecture used for schools currently might not be compatible with the urban form of Southwood.“It would take a little bit of a frame shift in the way schools are planned to create the form of a school that would fit the context and character of this neighborhood,” Rosensweig said. “Something like a traditional Albemarle County ten-acre that has ballfields next to it that’s sprawling and on one level, I can’t in any shape or way or form seeing that fit this neighborhood but if the county were looking at something creative like a three-level school with minimal parking.”As an example, Rosenweig pointed to Rosa Parks Elementary School in Portland Oregon, which was built in the mid-2000’s as part of a public housing redevelopment project. The building is shared with the Boys and Girls Club and also functions as a community center.“So something like that if people were interested in thinking outside the box and you could pull some partners together, I think it would be a huge addition,” Rosensweig said. One community member who served on the Planning Commission from 2016 to 2019 noted that there appeared to be a lot of loose ends in the process about what would actually be built in the second phase.“I’m trying to figure out what level of certainty that the community, not just the legacy residents but the overall community, what level of certainty can be provided that the descriptions in the code of development by block are going to be built out in a way that those permitted uses and locations and appearance and everything, that there is some certainty about what’s going to be built,” Riley said. Symmes listed in the Code of Development said the blocks will clearly lay out what can be built where, but said she would follow up with Riley to get on the same page. There’s nothing new to report since November 18, but this item will eventually go to the Planning Commission for a public hearing. I’ll be there when it happens. Eventually! Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 3, 2021: Sequencing underway for Omicron variant in Virginia; 112-unit apartment building planned for Stonefield

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 18:04


Friday’s come and go, but this one hasn’t yet. There’s still time to write out a few things about what’s been happening in and around Charlottesville in recent days. But we’d be better quick because the world we live upon will not stop turning.  Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported newsletter and podcast. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:Charlottesville hires two department heads and one from Albemarle gets a promotionAlbemarle’s Supervisors are briefed on the county’s stream health initiativeA campaign finance update for City Council and the Board of SupervisorsAn update on COVID-19 in VirginiaSome development news, a familiar new owner for Wintergreen, and USDA grantIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, WTJU 91.1 FM invites you to tune in next week for the annual Classical Marathon. It’s a round-the-clock celebration of classical music, specially programmed for your listening pleasure. Throughout the week there will be special guests, including Oratorio Society director Michael Slon; UVA professor I-Jen Fang; Charlottesville Symphony conductor Ben Rous; early music scholar David McCormick; and more. Visit wtju.net to learn more and to make a contribution. COVID updateA small surge of COVID-19 is under way in Virginia, with a seven-day positive test rating of 7.2 percent. That’s up from 5.9 percent on November 24. The Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,598 cases today, with the seven-day average increasing to 1,836 new cases a day. Sixty-five point four percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated and there is a seven-day average of 28,534 shots administered. Over 1.3 million Virginians have had a booster or third dose.In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are 67 new cases reported today, and the percent positivity is 6.7 percent. There are now confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the United States. Dr. Amy Mathers is an associate professor of medicine and pathology in the University of Virginia Health system. She’s part of statewide efforts to sequence the various variants. “We’re contributing about 250 to 300 sequences a week,” Dr. Mathers said. “But we can only sequence what tests positive by PCR.” That means the rapid antigen tests do not collect the same biological information required for gene sequencing, which could limit efforts to identify the spread of the new variant. In the meantime, Dr. Costi Sifri urges calm while research is conducted. “There’s more that we don’t know about the Omicron variant than we do know about the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at UVA Health. “What we do know is that its a variant that carries a lot of mutations. More than 30 in the spike protein as well as 20 or more additional mutations spread across the genome.” Dr. Sifri said some of these mutations relate to greater transmissibility and infection rates, but the emergence of Omicron is not unexpected. He said time will tell the impact on public health. “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing it around the world at this point, in more than two dozen countries,” Dr. Sifri said. “What is the efficacy of vaccines against the omicron variant? We really don’t know right now. We have heard of breakthrough infections but of course we’ve heard about breakthrough infections with Delta as well.” Dr. Sifri said it appears vaccinations will continue to provide benefits and more information and time will help test that assumption. He said in the meantime the best thing to do is get vaccinated and to continue to practice mitigation strategies. “We are seeing an increase in cases and it’s important since we were just talking about Omicron to understand that right now, 99.9 percent of cases are due to the Delta variant,” Dr. Sifri said. “What we have been seeing this fall and now heading into the holiday is Dela.”The major difference between this holiday season and last year is the widespread availability of vaccines. Dr. Mathers urged anyone who is ill to take precautions. “If you’re symptomatic, get tested,” Dr. Mathers said. “The only way we’re going to see emergence of new virus is to get tested. So following up exposure or symptoms with testing is an additional way to help limit the spread of this virus.Dr. Sifri said people who do get tested should limit contact with others until the result comes back. “Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t go to holiday parties,” Dr. Sifri said. “If you’ve gotten tested, wait for your test result before you go out into the community.” New Charlottesville personnel Charlottesville has hired two people to serve as department heads. Arthur Dana Kasler will serve as the new director of Parks and Recreation and Stacey Smalls will be the new director of Public Works. Both positions have been open since September and were filled despite the transition at the city manager position when Chip Boyles resigned in October. Kasler comes to Charlottesville after serving as the director of Parks and Recreation in Louisville where he oversaw over 14,000 acres of parks, natural areas, and other services. According to a profile on Linkedin, he’s held that position since April 2019. Prior to starting work in Louisville, he was parks and recreation director in Parkland, Florida. According to the Lane Report, he’s also worked in Pittsburgh, Ponte Verde Beach in Florida, Kingsland, Georgia, and Athens, Ohio. Kasler takes over a position in Charlottesville in which he may oversee creation of a  new master plan for recreational programs in the city. Stacey Smalls recently worked as director of the Wastewater Collection Division in the public works department in Fairfax County. Smalls has been in that position since February 2016. Prior to that, she served in similar capacities for the U.S. Air Force, including serving as deputy public works officer for the Joint Base at Pearl Harbor. She’ll oversee a public works in Charlottesville that took on responsibility for transportation design from the Department of Neighborhood Development Services during the administration of former City Manager Tarron Richardson. Both Kasler and Smalls will start work on December 20. They join Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders, as well as NDS director Jim Freas, as relative newcomers to municipal government in Charlottesville. Albemarle personnel, development infoIn other personnel news, this week Albemarle County announced that planning director Charles Rapp will be promoted to Deputy Director of Community Development, succeeding Amelia McCulley who is retiring from the county after more than 38 years of service. Rapp began work in Albemarle in March 2020 after serving as director of planning and community development for the Town of Culpeper. A search for a new planning director is underway. Rapp’s immediate boss is Jodie Filardo, the director of Community Development Department. She’s been in that position since September 2019. This week, the Community Development Department sent out a notice for two site plans of note. One is to construct a 1,300 square foot addition at the North Garden Fire Department. Earlier this year, Supervisors approved a budget that includes five full-time staff at the station to be there during the daytime to improve response times in the southern portion of Albemarle County. In the second, the owners of Stonefield have put forth a site plan for a seven-story 112-unit apartment building in what’s known as Block C2-1. You may also know this as the intersection of Bond Street and District Avenue, two of the public streets created as part of the initial development of Stonefield. Republican House Majority confirmedThe Associated Press is reporting that a recount in Virginia’s 85th House District has reaffirmed a narrow victory by Republican Karen Greenhalgh over Democrat Alex Askew. The certified election results recorded a 127-vote majority for Greenhalgh. A panel of three judges oversaw the recount and found this morning that the certified results stand. A recount is still underway in the 91st district. That gives Republicans at least 51 seats in the next General Assembly. In the 91st District, Republican A.C. Cordoza has a 94-vote lead over Democrat Martha Mugler, though there is an independent candidate in that race. Incoming speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-15) issued a statement welcoming Greenhalgh to the Republican caucus. Campaign finance The final campaign finance reports are in this year’s elections, covering a period from October 22 to November 25. City Councilor-elect Brian Pinkston raised an additional $3,325 during that time, and spent $8,938.04, leaving a balance of $1,227.76. He’s also repaid himself $7,231.24 in loans. In all, Pinkston raised $115,095.77 in the campaign. (report)Fellow City Councilor-elect Juandiego Wade raised $5,265 during the final period and spent $2,702.86, resulting in a balance of unspent funds of $17,728. In all, Wade raised $101,806.45 during the campaign. (report)In Albemarle County, Samuel Miller District Supervisor-elect Jim Andrews raised an additional $250, spent $2,015.74, and ended the campaign with a balance of $17,515.74. In all, Andrews raised $38,366.77 during the campaign. (report)Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel raised $250, spent $1,783.07, and her end-of-year bank balance is $20,652.76. McKeel began the year with $14,971 on hand and raised $19,127.99 during the 2021 campaign. (report)Rio District Supervisor Ned Gallaway has not yet filed a report for this cycle and missed the deadline. In the first three weeks of October raised an additional $3 and spent nothing. He began 2021 with a balance of $7,293.28, raised $10,150, and had a balance of $14,806.40. All three Supervisors ran in uncontested races. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Rivanna Conservation Alliance is looking for a few good volunteers for a couple of upcoming events. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the RCA will team up with the James River Association to plant trees along the Rivanna River and Town Branch in the Dunlora neighborhood to serve as a riparian buffer. In all, they’re hoping to put in 9 acres of trees. On Sunday, the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon takes place, and the Rivanna Conservation Alliance is the beneficiary! They’re looking for people to help put on the race. Learn more about both events and the organization at rivannariver.org. Wintergreen ownerThe resort company that has been running Wintergreen now owns the Nelson County property. Pacific Group Resorts of Utah had been leasing Wintergreen since 2015 but finalized acquisition from EPR Properties in October. “PGRI now owns the real estate, lifts, and snowmaking systems at the [resort] in addition to the operating equipment which it previously owned through its operating subsidiaries,” reads the release. Pacific Group Resorts also owns several other ski areas, including the Ragged Mountain resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Albemarle stream healthVirginia and many of its localities are responsible for taking steps to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. That includes Albemarle County, which is in the midst of an initiative to create policies to encourage, incentivize, or mandate the installation of vegetated buffers on the many tributaries of the James River. The Board of Supervisors was updated on the Stream Health Initiative on December 1. (materials)Kim Biassioli is the Natural Resources Manager in Albemarle County. She said the initiative is intended to advance the goals of the Climate Action Plan, the Biodiversity Action Plan, and the Comprehensive Plan itself. “Of course the focus of our work here today is on water quality and stream-health, but in protecting stream health and water quality, we’re likely to be providing so many other benefits for climate, for scenic value, for wildlife, for public health, and so on,” Biassioli said. This past summer, Supervisors asked staff to come up with more information about what it would take to fully adopt the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which gives localities more options to enforce and require stream buffers. Albemarle is not within the Tidewater region as defined by the Act. “We found that full adoption is an extremely resource and time intensive option relative to the anticipated benefits that we feel might be received,” Biassioli said. The first proposal under consideration would reintroduce a requirement that property owners retain buffers by creating a stream overlay district. “And I say reintroduce because this language which was originally modeled after the original language in the Bay Act was in our water protection ordinance prior to 2013 but currently retention of stream buffers is required during a land disturbing activity,” Biassioli said. Biassiloi said this would not require property owners to expand existing buffers if they are not to the requirement established. The zoning overlay would establish a list of existing uses allowed in the buffer areas. Other ideas under consideration include a program to fund riparian buffers, more oversight of septic fields, and greater incentives for installing Best Management Practices for mitigating the effect of agriculture on the watershed. USDA climate change grantsFinally today, Virginia will receive $778,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the Rural Energy for America program. According to the USDA website, this initiative “provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.”Recipients are:Waverly RB SPE LLC  - $500,000 (4th House District)Zion Crossroads Recycling Park LLC - $139,671 (5th House District)Twin Oaks North LLC - $52,225 (6th House District)Railside Industries LLC - $21,424 (6th House District)Mill Quarter Plantation Inc - $64,680 (7th House District)Thanks to Resilient Virginia for pointing this out!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Screaming in the Cloud
Ironing out the BGP Ruffles with Ivan Pepelnjak

Screaming in the Cloud

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 42:19


About IvanIvan Pepelnjak, CCIE#1354 Emeritus, is an independent network architect, blogger, and webinar author at ipSpace.net. He's been designing and implementing large-scale service provider and enterprise networks as well as teaching and writing books about advanced internetworking technologies since 1990.https://www.ipspace.net/About_Ivan_PepelnjakLinks:ipSpace.net: https://ipspace.net TranscriptAnnouncer: Hello, and welcome to Screaming in the Cloud with your host, Chief Cloud Economist at The Duckbill Group, Corey Quinn. This weekly show features conversations with people doing interesting work in the world of cloud, thoughtful commentary on the state of the technical world, and ridiculous titles for which Corey refuses to apologize. This is Screaming in the Cloud.Corey: This episode is sponsored in part by my friends at ThinkstCanary. Most companies find out way too late that they've been breached. ThinksCanary changes this and I love how they do it. Deploy canaries and canary tokens in minutes and then forget about them. What's great is the attackers tip their hand by touching them, giving you one alert, when it matters. I use it myself and I only remember this when I get the weekly update with a “we're still here, so you're aware” from them. It's glorious! There is zero admin overhead  to this, there are effectively no false positives unless I do something foolish. Canaries are deployed and loved on all seven continents. You can check out what people are saying at canary.love. And, their Kub config canary token is new and completely free as well. You can do an awful lot without paying them a dime, which is one of the things I love about them. It is useful stuff and not an, “ohh, I wish I had money.” It is speculator! Take a look; that's canary.love because it's genuinely rare to find a security product that people talk about in terms of love. It really is a unique thing to see. Canary.love. Thank you to ThinkstCanary for their support of my ridiculous, ridiculous non-sense.  Corey: Developers are responsible for more than ever these days. Not just the code they write, but also the containers and cloud infrastructure their apps run on. And a big part of that responsibility is app security — from code to cloud.That's where Snyk comes in. Snyk is a frictionless security platform that meets developers where they are, finding and fixing vulnerabilities right from the CLI, IDEs, repos, and pipelines. And Snyk integrates seamlessly with AWS offerings like CodePipeline, EKS, ECR, etc., etc., etc., you get the picture! Deploy on AWS. Secure with Snyk. Learn more at snyk.io/scream. That's S-N-Y-K-dot-I-O/scream. Because they have not yet purchased a vowel.Corey: Welcome to Screaming in the Cloud. I'm Corey Quinn. I have an interesting and storied career path. I dabbled in security engineering slash InfoSec for a while before I realized that being crappy to people in the community wasn't really my thing; I was a grumpy Unix systems administrator because it's not like there's a second kind of those out there; and I dabbled ever so briefly in the wide world of network administration slash network engineering slash plugging the computers in to make them talk to one another, ideally correctly. But I was always a dabbler. When it comes time to have deep conversations about networking, I immediately tag out and look to an expert. My guest today is one such person. Ivan Pepelnjak is oh so many things. He's a CCIE emeritus, and well, let's start there. Ivan, welcome to the show.Ivan: Thanks for having me. And oh, by the way, I have to tell people that I was a VAX/VMS administrator in those days.Corey: Oh, yes the VAX/VMS world was fascinating. I talked—Ivan: Yes.Corey: —to a company that was finally emulating them on physical cards because that was the only way to get them there. Do you refer to them as VAXen, or VAXes, or how did you wind up referring—Ivan: VAXes.Corey: VAXes. Okay, I was on the other side of that with the inappropriately pluralizing anything that ends with an X with an en—‘boxen' and the rest. And that's why I had no friends for many years.Ivan: You do know what the first VAX was, right?Corey: I do not.Ivan: It was a Swedish Hoover company.Corey: Ooh.Ivan: And they had a trademark dispute with Digital over the name, and then they settled that.Corey: You describe yourself in your bio as a CCIE Emeritus, and you give the number—which is low—number 1354. Now, I've talked about certifications on this show in the context of the modern era, and whether it makes sense to get cloud certifications or not. But this is from a different time. Understand that for many listeners, these stories might be older than you are in some cases, and that's okay. But Cisco at one point, believe it or not, was a shining beacon of the industry, the kind of place that people wanted to work at, and their certification path was no joke.I got my CCNA from them—Cisco Certified Network Administrator—and that was basically a byproduct of learning how networks worked. There are several more tiers beyond that, culminating in the CCIE, which stands for Cisco Certified Internetworking Expert, or am I misremembering?Ivan: No, no, that's it.Corey: Perfect. And that was known as the doctorate of networking in many circles for many years. Back in those days, if you had a CCIE, you are guaranteed to be making an awful lot of money at basically any company you wanted to because you knew how networking—Ivan: In the US.Corey: —worked. Well, in the US. True. There's always the interesting stories of working in places that are trying to go with the lowest bidder for networking gear, and you wind up spending weeks on end trying to figure out why things are breaking intermittently, and only to find out at the end that someone saved 20 bucks by buying cheap patch cables. I digress, and I still have the scars from those.But it was fascinating in those days because there was a lab component of getting those tests. There were constant rumors that in the middle of the night, during the two-day certification exam, they would come in and mess with the lab and things you'd set up—Ivan: That's totally true.Corey: —you'd have to fix it the following day. That is true?Ivan: Yeah. So, in the good old days, when the lab was still physical, they would even turn the connectors around so that they would look like they would be plugged in, but obviously there was no signal coming through. And they would mess up the jumpers on the line cards and all that stuff. So, when you got your broken lab, you really had to work hard, you know, from the physical layer, from the jumpers, and they would mess up your config and everything else. It was, you know, the real deal. The thing you would experience in real world with, uh, underqualified technicians putting stuff together. Let's put it this way.Corey: I don't wish to besmirch our brethren working in the data centers, but having worked with folks who did some hilariously awful things with cabling, and how having been one of those people myself from time to time, it's hard to have sympathy when you just spent hours chasing it down. But to be clear, the CCIE is one of those things where in a certain era, if you're trying to have an argument on the internet with someone about how networks work and their responses, “Well, I'm a CCIE.” Yeah, the conversation was over at that point. I'm not one to appeal to authority on stuff like that very often, but it's the equivalent of arguing about medicine with a practicing doctor. It's the same type of story; it is someone where if they're wrong, it's going to be in the very fringes or the nuances, back in this era. Today, I cannot speak to the quality of CCIEs. I'm not attempting to besmirch any of them. But I'm also not endorsing that certification the way I once did.Ivan: Yeah, well, I totally agree with you. When this became, you know, a mass certification, the reason it became a mass certification is because reseller discounts are tied to reseller status, which is tied to the number of CCIEs they have, it became, you know, this, well, still high-end, but commodity that you simply had to get to remain employed because your employer needed the extra two point discount.Corey: It used to be that the prerequisite for getting the certification was beyond other certifications was, you spent five or six years working on things.Ivan: Well, that was what gave you the experience you needed because in those days, there were no boot camps. Today, you have [crosstalk 00:06:06]—Corey: Now, there's boot camp [crosstalk 00:06:07] things where it's we're going to train you for four straight weeks of nothing but this, teach to the test, and okay.Ivan: Yeah. No, it's even worse, there were rumors that some of these boot camps in some parts of the world that shall remain unnamed, were actually teaching you how to type in the commands from the actual lab.Corey: Even better.Ivan: Yeah. You don't have to think. You don't have to remember. You just have to type in the commands you've learned. You're done.Corey: There's an arc to the value of a certification. It comes out; no one knows what the hell it is. And suddenly it's, great, you can use that to really identify what's great and what isn't. And then it goes at some point down into the point where it becomes commoditized and you need it for partner requirements and the rest. And at that point, it is no longer something that is a reliable signal of anything other than that someone spent some time and/or money.Ivan: Well, are you talking about bachelor degree now?Corey: What—no, I don't have one of those either. I have—Ivan: [laugh].Corey: —an eighth grade education because I'm about as good of an academic as it probably sounds like I am. But the thing that really differentiated in my world, the difference between what I was doing in the network engineering sense, and the things that folks like you who were actually, you know, professionals rather than enthusiastic amateurs took into account was that I was always working inside of the LAN—Local Area Network—inside of a data center. Cool, everything here inside the cage, I can make a talk to each other, I can screw up the switching fabric, et cetera, et cetera. I didn't deal with any of the WAN—Wide Area Network—think ‘internet' in some cases. And at that point, we're talking about things like BGP, or OSPF in some parts of the world, or RIP. Or RIPv2 if you make terrible life choices.But BGP is the routing protocol that more or less powers the internet. At the time of this recording, we're a couple weeks past a BGP… kerfuffle that took Facebook down for a number of hours, during which time the internet was terrific. I wish they could do that more often, in fact; it was almost like a holiday. It was fantastic. I took my elderly relatives out and got them vaccinated. It was glorious.Now, we're back to having Facebook and, terrific. The problem I have whenever something like this happens is there's a whole bunch of crappy explainers out there of, “What is BGP and how might it work?” And people have angry opinions about all of these things. So instead, I prefer to talk to you. Given that you are a networking trainer, you have taught people about these things, you have written books, you have operated large—scale environments—Ivan: I even developed a BGP course for Cisco.Corey: You taught it for Cisco, of all places—Ivan: Yeah. [laugh].Corey: —back when that was impressive, and awesome and not a has-been. It's honestly, I feel like I could go there and still wind up going back in time, and still, it's the same Cisco in some respects: ‘evolve or die dinosaur,' and they got frozen in amber. But let's start at the very beginning. What is BGP?Ivan: Well, you know, when the internet was young, they figured out that we aren't all friends on the internet anymore. And I want to control what I tell you, and you want to control what you tell me. And furthermore, I want to control what I believe from what you're telling me. So, we needed a protocol that would implement policy, where I could say, “I will only announce my customers to you, but not what I've heard from Verizon.” And you will do the same.And then I would say, “Well, but I don't want to hear about that customer of yours because he's also my customer.” So, we need some sort of policy. And so they invented a protocol where you will tell me what you have, I will tell you what I have and then we would both choose what we want to believe and follow those paths to forward traffic. And so BGP was born.Corey: On some level, it seems like it's this faraway thing to people like me because I have a residential internet connection and I am not generally allowed to make my own BGP announcements to the greater world. Even when I was working in data centers, very often the BGP was handled by our upstream provider, or very occasionally by a router they would drop in with the easiest maintenance instructions in the world for me of, “Step one, make sure it has power. Step two, never touch it. Step three, we'd prefer if you don't even look at it and remain at least 20 feet away to keep from bringing your aura near anything we care about.” And that's basically how you should do with me in the context of hardware. So, it was always this arcane magic thing.Ivan: Well, it's not. You know, it's like power transmission: when you know enough about it, it stops being magic. It's technology, it's a bit more complicated than some other stuff. It's way less complicated than some other stuff, like quantum physics, but still, it's so rarely used that it gets this aura of being mysterious. And then of course, everyone starts getting their opinion, particularly the graduates of the Facebook Academy.And yes, it is true that usually BGP would be used between service providers, so whenever, you know, we are big enough to need policy, if you just need one uplink, there is no policy there. You either use the uplink or you don't use the uplink. If you want to have two different links to two different points of presence or to two different service providers, then you're already in the policy land. Do I prefer one provider over the other? Do I want to announce some things to one provider but other things to the other? Do I want to take local customers from both providers because I want to, you know, have lower latency because they are local customers? Or do I want to use one solely as the backup link because I paid so little for that link that I know it's shitty.So, you need all that policy stuff, and to do that, you really need BGP. There is no other routing protocol in the world where you could implement that sort of policy because everything else is concerned mostly with, let's figure out as fast as possible, what is reachable and how to get there. And BGP is like, “Hey, slow down. There's policy.”Corey: Yeah. In the context of someone whose primary interaction with networks is their home internet, where there's a single cable coming in from the outside world, you plug it into a device, maybe yours, maybe ISPs, maybe we don't care. That's sort of the end of it. But think in terms of large interchanges, where there are multiple redundant networks to get from here to somewhere else; which one should traffic go down at any given point in time? Which networks are reachable on the other end of various distant links? That's the sort of problem that BGP is very good at addressing and what it was built for. If you're running BGP internally, in a small network, consider not doing exactly that.Ivan: Well, I've seen two use cases—well, three use cases for people running BGP internally.Corey: Okay, this I want to hear because I was always told, “No touch ‘em.” But you know, I'm about to learn something. That's why I'm talking to you.Ivan: The first one was multinationals who needed policy.Corey: Yes. Many multi-site environments, large-scale companies that have redundant links, they're trying to run full mesh in some cases, or partial mesh where—between a bunch of facilities.Ivan: In this case, it was multiple continents and really expensive transcontinental links. And it was, I don't want to go from Europe to Sydney over US; I want to go over Middle East. And to implement that type of policy, you have to split, you know, the whole network into regions, and then each region is what BGP calls an autonomous system, so that it gets its stack, its autonomous system number and then you can do policy on that saying, “Well, I will not announce Asian routes to Europe through US, or I will make them less preferred so that if the Middle East region goes down, I can still reach Asia through US but preferably, I will not go there.”The second one is yet again, large networks where they had too many prefixes for something like OSPF to carry, and so their OSPF was breaking down and the only way to solve that was to go to something that was designed to scale better, which was BGP.And third one is if you want to implement some of the stuff that was designed for service providers, initially, like, VPNs, layer two or layer three, then BGP becomes this kitchen sink protocol. You know, it's like using Route 53 as a database; we're using BGP to carry any information anyone ever wants to carry around. I'm just waiting for someone to design JSON in BGP RFC and then we are, you know… where we need to be.Corey: I feel on some level, like, BGP gets relatively unfair criticism because the only time it really intrudes on the general awareness is when something has happened and it breaks. This is sort of the quintessential network or systems—or, honestly, computer—type of issue. It's either invisible, or you're getting screamed at because something isn't working. It's almost like a utility. On some level. When you turn on a faucet, you don't wonder whether water is going to come out this time, but if it doesn't, there's hell to pay.Ivan: Unless it's brown.Corey: Well, there is that. Let's stay away from that particular direction; there's a beautiful metaphor, probably involving IBM, if we do. So, the challenge, too, when you look at it is that it's this weird, esoteric thing that isn't super well understood. And as soon as it breaks, everyone wants to know more about it. And then in full on charging to the wrong side of the Dunning-Kruger curve, it's, “Well, that doesn't sound hard. Why are they so bad at it? I would be able to run this better than they could.” I assure you, you can't. This stuff is complicated; it is nuanced; it's difficult. But the common question is, why is this so fragile and able to easily break? I'm going to turn that around. How is it that something that is this esoteric and touches so many different things works as well as it does?Ivan: Yeah, it's a miracle, particularly considering how crappy the things are configured around the world.Corey: There have been periodic outages of sites when some ISP sends out a bad BGP announcement and their upstream doesn't suppress it because hey, you misconfigured things, and suddenly half the internet believes oh, YouTube now lives in this tiny place halfway around the world rather than where it is currently being Anycasted from.Ivan: Called Pakistan, to be precise.Corey: Exact—there was an actual incident there; we are not dunking on Pakistan as an example of a faraway place. No, no, an Pakistani ISP wound up doing exactly this and taking YouTube down for an afternoon a while back. It's a common problem.Ivan: Yeah, the problem was that they tried to stop local users accessing YouTube. And they figured out that, you know, YouTube, is announcing this prefix and if they would announce to more specific prefixes, then you know, they would attract the traffic and the local users wouldn't be able to reach YouTube. Perfect. But that leaked.Corey: If you wind up saying that, all right, the entire internet is available on this interface, and a small network of 256 nodes available on the second interface, the most specific route always wins. That's why the default route or route of last resort is the entire internet. And if you don't know where to send it, throw it down this direction. That is usually, in most home environments, the gateway that then hands it up to your ISP, where they inspect it and do all kinds of fun things to sell ads to you, and then eventually get it to where it's going.This gets complicated at these higher levels. And I have sympathy for the technical aspects of what happened at Facebook; no sympathy whatsoever for the company itself because they basically do far more harm than they do good and I've been very upfront about that. But I want to talk to you as well about something that—people are going to be convinced I'm taking this in my database direction, but I assure you I'm not—DNS. What is the relationship between BGP and DNS? Which sounds like a strange question, sometimes.Ivan: There is none.Corey: Excellent.Ivan: It's just that different large-scale properties decided to implement the global load-balancing global optimal access to their servers in different ways. So, Cloudflare is a typical example of someone who is doing Anycast, they are announcing the same networks, the same prefixes, from hundreds locations around the world. So, BGP will take care that you always get to the close Cloudflare [unintelligible 00:18:46]. And that's it. That's how they work. No magic. Facebook didn't believe in the power of Anycast when they started designing their service. So, what they're doing is they have DNS servers around the world, and the DNS servers serve the local region, if you wish. And that DNS server then decides what facebook.com really stands for. So, if you query for facebook.com, you'll get a different answer in Europe than in US.Corey: Just a slight diversion on what Anycast is. If I ping Google's public resolver 8.8.8.8—easy to remember—from my computer right now, the packet gets there and back in about five milliseconds.Wherever you are listening to this, if you were to try that same thing you'd see something roughly similar. Now, one of two things is happening; either Google has found a way to break the laws of physics and get traffic to a central point faster than light for the 8.8.8.8 that I'm talking to and the one that you are talking to are not in fact the same computer.Ivan: Well, by the way, it's 13 milliseconds for me. And between you and me, it's 200 millisecond. So yes, they are cheating.Corey: Just a little bit. Or unless they tunneled through the earth rather than having to bounce it off of satellites and through cables.Ivan: No, even that wouldn't work.Corey: That's what the quantum computers are for. I always wondered. Now, we know.Ivan: Yeah. They're entangling the replies in advance, and that's how it works. Yeah, you're right.Corey: Please continue. I just wanted to clarify that point because I got that one hilariously wrong once upon a time and was extremely confused for about six months.Ivan: Yeah. It's something that no one ever thinks about unless, you know, you're really running large-scale DNS because honestly, root DNS servers were Anycasted for ages. You think they're like 12 different root DNS servers; in reality, there are, like, 300 instances hidden behind those 12 addresses.Corey: And fun trivia fact; the reason there are 12 addresses is because any more than that would no longer fit within the 512 byte limit of a UDP packet without truncating.Ivan: Thanks for that. I didn't know that.Corey: Of course. Now, EDNS extensions that you go out with a larger [unintelligible 00:21:03], but you can't guarantee that's going to hit. And what happens when you receive a UDP packet—when you receive a DNS result with a truncate flag set on the UDP packet? It is left to the client. It can either use the partial result, or it can try and re-establish over a TCP connection.That is one of those weird trivia questions they love to ask in sysadmin interviews, but it's yeah, fundamentally, if you're doing something that requires the root nameservers, you don't really want to start going down those arcane paths; you want it to just be something that fits in a single packet not require a whole bunch of computational overhead.Ivan: Yeah, and even within those 300 instances, there are multiple servers listening to the same IP address and… incoming packets are just sprayed across those servers, and whichever one gets the packet replies to it. And because it's UDP, it's one packet in one packet out. Problem solved. It all works. People thought that this doesn't work for TCP because, you know, you need a whole session, so you need to establish the session, you send the request, you get the reply, there are acknowledgements, all that stuff.Turns out that there is almost never two ways to get to a certain destination across the internet from you. So, people thought that, you know, this wouldn't work because half of your packets will end in San Francisco, and half of the packets will end in San Jose, for example. Doesn't work that way.Corey: Why not?Ivan: Well, because the global Internet is so diverse that you almost never get two equal cost paths to two different destinations because it would be San Francisco and San Jose announcing 8.8.8.8 and it would be a miracle if you would be sitting just in the middle so that the first packet would go to San Francisco, the second one would go to San Jose, and you know, back and forth. That never happens. That's why Cloudflare makes it work by analysing the same prefix throughout the world.Corey: So, I just learned something new about how routing announcements work, an aspect of BGP, and you a few minutes ago learned something about the UDP size limit and the root name servers. BGP and DNS are two of the oldest protocols in existence. You and I are also decades into our careers. If someone is starting out their career today, working in a cloud-y environment, there are very few network-centric roles because cloud providers handle a lot of this for us. Given these protocols are so foundational to what goes on and they're as old as they are, are we as an industry slash sector slash engineers losing the skills to effectively deploy and manage these things?Ivan: Yes. The same problem that you have in any other sufficiently developed technology area. How many people can build power lines? How many people can write a compiler? How many people can design a new CPU? How many people can design a new motherboard?I mean, when I was 18 years old, I was wire wrapping my own motherboard, with 8-bit processor. You can't do that today. You know, as the technology is evolving and maturing, it's no longer fun, it's no longer sexy, it stops being a hobby, and so it bifurcates into users and people who know about stuff. And it's really hard to bridge the gap from one to the other. So, in the end, you have, like, this 20 [graybeard 00:24:36] people who know everything about the technology, and the youngsters have no idea. And when these people die, don't ask me [laugh] how we'll get any further on.Corey: This episode is sponsored by our friends at CloudAcademy. That's right, they have a different lab challenge up for you called, “Code Red: Repair an AWS Environment with a Linux Bastion Host.” What does it do? Well, its going to assess your ability to troubleshoot AWS networking and security issues in a production like environment. Well, kind of, its not quite like production because some exec is not standing over your shoulder, wetting themselves while screaming. But..ya know, you can pretend in fact I'm reasonably certain you can retain someone specifically for that purpose should you so choose. If you are the first prize winner who completes all four challenges with the fastest time, you'll win a thousand bucks. If you haven't started yet you can still complete all four challenges between now and December 3rd to be eligible for the grand prize. There's only a few days left until the whole thing ends, so I would get on it now. Visit cloudacademy.com/corey. That's cloudacademy.com/C-O-R-E-Y, for god's sake don't drop the “E” that drives me nuts, and thank you again to Cloud Academy for not only promoting my ridiculous non sense but for continuing to help teach people how to work in this ridiculous environment.Corey: On some level, it feels like it's a bit of a down the stack analogy for what happened to me early in my career. My first systems administration job was running a large-scale email system. So, it was a hobby that I was interested in. I basically bluffed my way into working at a university for a year—thanks, Chapman; I appreciate that [laugh]—and it was great, but it was also pretty clear to me that with the rise of things like hosted email, Gmail, and whatnot, it was not going to be the future of what the present day at that point looked like, which was most large companies needed an email administrator. Those jobs were dwindling.Now, if you want to be an email systems administrator, there are maybe a dozen companies or so that can really use that skill set and everyone else just outsources that said, at those companies like Google and Microsoft, there are some incredibly gifted email administrators who are phenomenal at understanding every nuance of this. Do you think that is what we're going to see in the world of running BGP at large scale, where a few companies really need to know how this stuff works and everyone else just sort of smiles, nods and rolls with it?Ivan: Absolutely. We're already there. Because, you know, if I'm an end customer, and I need BGP because I have to uplinks to two ISPs, that's really easy. I mean, there are a few tricks you should follow and hopefully, some of the guardrails will be built into network operating systems so that you will really have to configure explicitly that you want to leak [unintelligible 00:26:15] between Verizon and AT&T, which is great fun if you have too low-speed links to both of them and now you're becoming transit between the two, which did happen to Verizon; that's why I'm mentioning them. Sorry, guys.Anyway, if you are a small guy and you just need two uplinks, and maybe do a bit of policy, that's easy and that's achievable, let's say with some Google and paste, and throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. On the other hand, what the large-scale providers—like for example Facebook because we were talking about them—are doing is, like, light years away. It's like comparing me turning on the light bulb and someone running, you know, nuclear reactor.Corey: Yeah, you kind of want the experts running some aspects on that. Honestly, in my case, you probably want someone more competent flipping the light switch, too. But that's why I have IoT devices here that power my lights, it on the one hand, keeps me from hurting myself on the other leads to a nice seasonal feel because my house is freaking haunted.Ivan: So, coming back to Facebook, they have these DNS servers all around the world and they don't want everyone else to freak out when one of these DNS servers goes away. So, that's why they're using the same IP address for all the DNS servers sitting anywhere in the world. So, the name server for facebook.com is the same worldwide. But it's different machines and they will give you different answers when you ask, “Where is facebook.com?”I will get a European answer, you will get a US answer, someone in Asia will get whatever. And so they're using BGP to advertise the DNS servers to the world so that everyone gets to the closest DNS server. And now it doesn't make sense, right, for the DNS server to say, “Hey, come to European Facebook,” if European Facebook tends to be down. So, if their DNS server discovers that it cannot reach the servers in the data center, it stops advertising itself with BGP.Why would BGP? Because that's the only thing it can do. That's the only protocol where I can tell you, “Hey, I know about this prefix. You really should send the traffic to me.” And that's what happened to Facebook.They bricked their backbone—whatever they did; they never told—and so their DNS server said, “Gee, I can't reach the data center. I better stop announcing that I'm a DNS server because obviously I am disconnected from the rest of Facebook.” And that happens to all DNS servers because, you know, the backbone was bricked. And so they just, you know, [unintelligible 00:29:03] from the internet, they've stopped advertising themselves, and so we thought that there was no DNS server for Facebook. Because no DNS server was able to reach their core, and so all DNS servers were like, “Gee, I better get off this because, you know, I have no clue what's going on.”So, everything was working fine. Everything was there. It's just that they didn't want to talk to us because they couldn't reach the backend servers. And of course, people blamed DNS first because the DNS servers weren't working. Of course they weren't. And then they blame the BGP because it must be BGP if it isn't DNS. But it's like, you know, you're blaming headache and muscle cramps and high fever, but in fact you have flu.Corey: For almost any other company that wasn't Facebook, this would have been a less severe outage just because most companies are interdependent on each other companies to run infrastructure. When Facebook itself has evolved the way that it has, everything that they use internally runs on the same systems, so they wound up almost with a bootstrapping problem. An example of this in more prosaic terms are okay, the data center had a power outage. Okay, now I need to power up all the systems again and the physical servers I'm trying to turn on need to talk to a DNS server to finish booting but the DNS server is a VM that lives on those physical servers. Uh-oh. Now, I'm in trouble. That is a overly simplified and real example of what Facebook encountered trying to get back into this, to my understanding.Ivan: Yes, so it was worse than that. It looks like, you know, even out-of-band management access didn't work, which to me would suggest that out-of-band management was using authentication servers that were down. People couldn't even log to Zoom because Zoom was using single-sign-on based on facebook.com, and facebook.com was down so they couldn't even make Zoom calls or open Google Docs or whatever. There were rumors that there was a certain hardware tool with a rotating blade that was used to get into a data center and unbrick a box. But those rumors were vehemently denied, so who knows?Corey: The idea of having someone trying to physically break into a data center in order to power things back up is hilarious, but it does lead to an interesting question, which is in this world of cloud computing, there are a lot of people in the physical data centers themselves, but they don't have access, in most cases to log into any of the boxes. One of the most naive things I see all the time is, “Oh well, the cloud provider can read all of your data.” No, they can't. These things are audited. And yeah, theoretically, if they're lying outright, and somehow have falsified all of the third-party audit stuff that has been reported and are willing to completely destroy their business when it gets out—and I assure you, it would—yeah, theoretically, that's there. There is an element of trust here. But I've had to answer a couple of journalists questions recently of, “Oh, is AWS going to start scanning all customer content?” No, they physically cannot do it because there are many ways you can configure things where they cannot see it. And that's exactly what we want.Ivan: Yeah, like a disk encryption.Corey: Exactly. Disk encryption, KMS on some level, using—rolling your own, et cetera, et cetera. They use a lot of the same systems we do. The point being, though, is that people in the data centers do not even have logging rights to any of these nodes for the physical machines, in some cases, let alone the customer tenants on top of those things. So, on some level, you wind up with people building these systems that run on top of these computers, and they've never set foot in one of the data centers.That seems ridiculous to me as someone who came up visiting data centers because I had to know where things were when they were working so I could put them back that way when they broke later. But that's not necessary anymore.Ivan: Yeah. And that's the problem that Facebook was facing with that outage because you start believing that certain systems will always work. And when those systems break down, you're totally cut off. And then—oh, there was an article in ACM Queue long while ago where they were discussing, you know, the results of simulated failures, not real ones, and there were hilarious things like phone directory was offline because it wasn't on UPS and so they didn't know whom to call. Or alerts couldn't be diverted to a different data center because the management station for alert configuration was offline because it wasn't on UPS.Or, you know the one, right, where in New York, they placed the gas pump in the basement, and the diesel generators were on the top floor, and the hurricane came in and they had to carry gas manually, all the way up to the top floor because the gas pump in the basement just stopped working. It was flooded. So, they did everything right, just the fuel wouldn't come to the diesel generators.Corey: It's always the stuff that is under the hood on these things that you can't make sense of. One of the biggest things I did when I was evaluating data center sites was I'd get a one-line diagram—which is an electrical layout of the entire facility—great. I talked to the folks running it. Now, let's take a walk and tour it. Hmmm, okay. You show four transformers on your one-line diagram. I see two transformers and two empty concrete pads. It's an aspirational one-line diagram. It's a joke that makes it a one-liner diagram and it's not very funny. So it's, okay if I can't trust you for those little things, that's a problem.Ivan: Yeah, well, I have another funny story like that. We had two power feeds coming into the house plus the diesel generator, and it was, you know, the properly tested every month diesel generator. And then they were doing some maintenance and they told us in advance that they will cut both power feeds at 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning.And guess what? The diesel generator didn't start. Half an hour later UPS was empty, we were totally dead in water with quadruple redundancy because you can't get someone it's 2 a.m. on a Sunday morning to press that button on the diesel generator. In half an hour.Corey: That is unfortunate.Ivan: Yeah, but that's how the world works. [laugh].Corey: So, it's been fantastic reminding myself of some of the things I've forgotten because let's be clear, in working with cloud, a lot of this stuff is completely abstracted away. I don't have to care about most of these things anymore. Now, there's a small team of people that AWS who very much has to care; if they don't, I will say mean things to them on Twitter, if I let my HugOps position slip up just a smidgen. But they do such a good job at this that we don't have problems like this, almost ever, to the point where when it does happen, it's noteworthy. It's been fun talking to you about this just because it's a trip down a memory lane that is a lot more aligned with the things that are there and we tend not to think about them. It's almost a How it's Made episode.Ivan: Yeah. And don't be so relaxed regarding the cloud networking because, you know, if you don't go full serverless with nothing on-premises, you know what protocol you're running between on-premises and the cloud on direct connect? It's called BGP.Corey: Ah. You know, I did not know that. I've done some ridiculous IPsec pairings over those things, and was extremely unhappy for a while afterwards, but I never got to the BGP piece of it. Makes sense.Ivan: Yeah, even over IPsec if you want to have any dynamic failover, or multiple sites, or anything, it's [BP 00:36:56].Corey: I really want to thank you for taking the time to go through all this with me. If people want to learn more about how you view these things, learn more things from you, as I'd strongly recommend they should if they're even slightly interested by the conversation we've had, where can they find you?Ivan: Well, just go to ipspace.net and start exploring. There's the blog with thousands of blog entries, some of them snarkier than others. Then there are, like, 200 webinars, short snippets of a few hours of—Corey: It's like a one man version of re:Invent. My God.Ivan: Yeah, sort of. But I've been working on this for ten years, and they do it every year, so I can't produce the content at their speed. And then there are three different full-blown courses. Some of them are just, you know, the materials from the webinars, plus guest speakers plus hands-on exercises, plus I personally review all the stuff people submit, and they cover data centers, and automation, and public clouds.Corey: Fantastic. And we will, of course, put links to that into the [show notes 00:38:01]. Thank you so much for being so generous with your time. I appreciate it.Ivan: Oh, it's been such a huge pleasure. It's always great talking with you. Thank you.Corey: It really is. Thank you once again. Ivan Pepelnjak network architect and oh so much more. CCIE #1354 Emeritus. And read the bio; it's well worth it. I am Cloud Economist Corey Quinn and this is Screaming in the Cloud. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice, whereas if you've hated this podcast, please leave a five-star review on your podcast platform of choice and a comment formatted as a RIPv2 announcement.Corey: If your AWS bill keeps rising and your blood pressure is doing the same, then you need The Duckbill Group. We help companies fix their AWS bill by making it smaller and less horrifying. The Duckbill Group works for you, not AWS. We tailor recommendations to your business and we get to the point. Visit duckbillgroup.com to get started.Announcer: This has been a HumblePod production. Stay humble.

Security Voices
All the Latest Cybersecurity Research, Summarized: Rebooting ThinkstScapes with Jacob Torrey

Security Voices

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 56:31


What if there was someone who could take all of the best security research over recent months and distill it down into the greatest hits? Sort of like a Spotify “Release Radar”, but for the best talks at conferences. There is. It's not in Blinkist. It's (back) at ThinkstScapes after a multiyear hiatus.And it's now gloriously free.This episode of Security Voices covers the return of Thinkstscapes with Jacob Torrey who led the reboot of the now quarterly report. In the interview with Jack and Dave, Jacob explains how he and the team at Thinkst devour and summarize the very best security research from thousands of presentations and hundreds of conferences across the globe.Jacob starts with some of his favorites, which focuses on an innovative research project not from a startup or researcher, but from a multi-decade antivirus company that went all in on an industrial controls system honeypot project. From there we cover ground that ranges from speculative execution vulnerabilities to a spate of embedded vulnerabilities, including a Hollywood style attack using laser pointers to compromise voice activated devices such as Amazon's Alexa. In continuity from our last episode with Frank Pound, we also discuss a TCP timing attack that threatens to allow eavesdropping over satellite base station connections.Look for our next episodes to resume their normal, monthly cadence as we've found a means of streamlining our audio production and we now have a recording waiting in the wings. Enjoy the show!

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 1, 2021: Virginia's recycling rate increased in 2020; few details on next steps in city manager search

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 15:49


What’s another month in a year that’s already had eleven of them? Another turn of the earth, and each of us is another day closer to the solstice, the holidays, 2022, President’s Day, and so many more milestones that are worth noting somewhere. Perhaps not on this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, which is intended to capture a few things that happened around the time of December 1, 2021. Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To ensure new posts come out as frequently as possible, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber!On today’s show:More details on what happens next in the top executive position in CharlottesvilleThe Albemarle Board of Supervisors seeks patrons for bills on photo-speed camera expansion and more Virginia’s recycling rate increased in calendar year 2020 In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Rivanna Conservation Alliance is looking for a few good volunteers for a couple of upcoming events. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the RCA will team up with the James River Association to plant trees along the Rivanna River and Town Branch in the Dunlora neighborhood to serve as a riparian buffer. In all, they’re hoping to put in 9 acres of trees. On Sunday, the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon takes place, and the Rivanna Conservation Alliance is the beneficiary! They’re looking for people to help put on the race. Learn more about both events and the organization at rivannariver.org. COVID updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports that the seven day average for new COVID cases has increased to 1,548 cases a day, and the seven-day percent positivity has increased to 6.7 percent. A month ago on November 1, the percent positivity was 5.5 percent. There were 746 more reported deaths in Virginia in the past month. The Blue Ridge Health District reports an additional 58 new cases today and the seven-day percent positivity is 6.1 percent. There were 26 reported COVID deaths in the health district in November. The Jefferson Madison Regional Library has distributed 631 rapid COVID tests in the past week as part of a pilot program with the Virginia Department of Health. Learn more at jmrl.org. Executive vacancyMarc Woolley will not start today as Charlottesville’s City Manager. Or any other day, for that matter. The former business administrator of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has opted to not take the position of running the city’s executive functions. The City Council met in closed session for over three hours yesterday to discuss the withdrawal. Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker addressed the public afterward to say she had known since before Thanksgiving. “On November 21, Mr. Marc Woolley reached out to me,” Walker said. “We had a planned meeting scheduled for early in the week that had been postponed to that day and he informed me that he for personal reasons would not be taking the job in the city of Charlottesville.”Walker said Council tried to get the notice of Woolley’s withdrawal out before the Thanksgiving holiday.“And we were unable to do that and we apologize to the community for that confusion but we did want to give more time than the notification that happened today,” Walker said. “So we have known for a little over a week and this was the first opportunity for us to get together to explore other options and kind of just brainstorm where we are and where we’re headed.” Councilor Heather Hill had a few more glimpses into what happens next.“Council is considering going into a contract with a firm for interim services,” Hill said. “We’re going to be working through with staff on what the best and most efficient process would be for that. We have made no decisions in that matter.”In the meanwhile, Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders will continue to serve with extended duties. Hill said more information about a search firm will be released in two weeks. City Councilor-Elect Juandiego Wade will be sworn into office at on December 15 at 9:30 a.m. on the City Courthouse steps. He’ll be sworn along at the same time as three members of the School Board. City Councilor-Elect Brian Pinkston will be sworn in on December 23 at 10 a.m. on the Courthouse. However, their terms do not officially begin until January 1. Solid waste planningThe recycling rate in Virginia increased in the year 2020, as reported by 71 planning units across the Commonwealth. Of the 11 million tons of municipal solid waste processed, 5.3 million were reported as recycled. “However, some planning units faced recycling challenges due to the COVID 19 pandemic, lack of recycling markets in their regions and difficulty in obtaining recycling information from private businesses,” reads the executive summary of a report generated by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Of that 5.3 million tons, 3.9 million were classified as principal recyclable materials and 1.4 million were in the form of credits. Recyclable materials include: Paper, metal, plastic, glass, commingled materials, yard waste, waste wood, textiles, waste tires, used oil, used oil filters, used antifreeze, inoperative automobiles, batteries, electronics and other.Credits refers to: Recycling residues, solid waste reused, non-MSW recycled (includes construction and demolition material, ash and debris) and source reduction initiatives. Under Virginia code, localities or the regions they are within must develop a solid waste management plan. In this area, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District does that work on behalf of Albemarle, Charlottesville, Greene, and Fluvanna. The towns of Scottsville and Standardsville are also covered by the TJPDC which reports a recycling rate of 41.9 percent. Louisa County runs its own sanitary landfill and is its own solid waste planning unit. They report a recycling rate of 29.5 percent. The Lunenberg County solid waste planning unit reported a 78.8 percent recycling rate, the highest in the state. Lee County in Southwest Virginia reported the lowest at 10.4 percent. Virginia code requires localities to be above 15 percent. The report singles out Arlington County for improving the recycling rate by prohibiting glass from the single-stream recycling system. Instead, Arlington set-up five drop-off locations to ensure glass would not be contaminated by other materials. Over 1,429 tons of clean glass was collected. “The removal of glass from the residential curbside recycling program had the added benefit of boosting the overall value of a ton of the single-stream recycling significantly,” reads the report. To learn more about Arlington’s program, visit their website.On Thursday, the operations subcommittee of Albemarle’s Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee meets.  On the agenda is an update on efforts to increase the market for glass recycling to attract interest from a processing company. I wrote about this topic back in January and will be interested in getting an update. (meeting info)See also:  Group seeks information from beverage producers on glass recycling, January 26, 2021You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement, supported in part by subscriber supported shout-outs like this one: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Legislative prioritiesThe General Assembly convenes six weeks from today. Across Virginia, local officials are seeking ways to get Delegates and Senators to carry specific bills. The Albemarle Board of Supervisors held a meeting on Monday to explain their three legislative priorities. County Attorney Greg Kamptner said the first is a request to allow localities to treat some violations of local ordinance with civil penalties as opposed to being criminally punished. Albemarle wants to be able to establish a schedule of fines that exceed what can be charged now. “The initiative would authorize a schedule of civil penalties of up to $500 for the initial summons, with increasing amounts of up to a total of $5,000 in aggregate under the same operative facts,” Kamptner said. Kamptner said the current penalty of $200 for the first violation and $500 for additional ones is too low.“Those amounts are unchanged since 2007 and the county has found that some zoning violators see those payments as the cost of doing business which prolongs the enforcement process for those localities that have opted to pursue civil penalties,” Kamptner said. Both Delegate Sally Hudson (D-57) and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) and expressed interested in being a sponsor for that legislation.Albemarle’s second legislative request is to expand the use of photo-speed cameras to enforce violations of the speed limit. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2020 that allow the cameras to be used in highway in highway work zones and school crossing zones. (HB1442) (current state code)“A photo-speed monitoring device is equipment that uses RADAR or LIDAR in speed detection and produces one or more photographs, microphotographs, video tapes, or other recorded images of vehicles,” Kamptner said. “The enabling authority is self-executing. No ordinance is required and local law-enforcement offices can have the devices installed in those zones.”Kamptner said Albemarle would like to be able to use the cameras on rural roads where speeding has been identified as an issue. “The roads would be selected by the governing body based on speeding, crash, and fatality data,” Kamptner said. Delegate Bell said he would want to talk to someone at the Albemarle Police Department before deciding whether to carry the bill. “I’m reading what is drafted and it’s not exactly what is being described by some of the speakers for what they are looking for,” Bell said. Both Delegate Hudson and Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) both said they would also like to hear from law enforcement. Hudson had concerns. “Historically sometimes automated enforcement devices have been disparately positioned throughout communities and might appreciate some language or guardrails in the bill that would require some kind of public analysis about where they’re going to go,” Hudson said. Albemarle’s third legislative request would be to require agricultural buildings at which the public will be invited to conform to the state’s building code. Currently there is no inspection process or minimum standards for barns and other structures where large events might be held. “The use that would be subject to requirements as such having an automatic fire alarm system, emergency lights and exits, panic hardware at all required exit doors, portable fire extinguishers, and a maximum occupancy of 200 persons,” Kamptner said. Albemarle County cannot currently regulate construction of such buildings due to state law, but a 2018 review of building codes for agritourism and businesses suggested such minimum standards would be beneficial to public safety in an era when many of these buildings are used for breweries, wineries, and other destinations. (read the review)“Many people who go to these properties have no idea that these buildings are not expected and that they don’t meet the building code,” said Supervisor Ann Mallek. Delegate Hudson said she would be willing to request the Division of Legislative Services prepare a draft based on this request. Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) had some concerns about unintended consequences of the requirements and suggested there may be another way to address the issue. “The other area I think is probably a new area of conversation is the limit for 200 people,” Runion said. “I thought there was a limit at 300 previously Also at Monday’s meeting: The Thomas Jefferson Planning District puts together a regional legislative program. TJPDC Deputy Director David Blount serves as legislative liaison and says this year’s regional wishlist is very similar to last year’s.  ‘We’ve added some language to support the expansion of allowing the uses of electronic meetings outside of emergency declarations,” Blount said. “I think we’ll see some legislation on that in 2022.”Charlottesville City Council will be presented with the TJPDC legislative program and their own program at their next meeting on December 6. End notes:Thanks to Grace Liz Cerami, Lisa Edge, Lloyd Goad, and Grace Reynolds for their narration assistance in the podcast. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 30, 2021: Woolley withdraws as City Manager; Scottsville utilizing DORA for holiday event this Saturday

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 16:33


The final day of November is upon us, but will soon give way to December. Eleven named for nine becomes twelve named for ten. Path dependence shows up in mysterious ways. In any case, this is the edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement with a time stamp of November 30. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:Scottsville prepares to use its Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area license for A Holiday HappeningMore on the preparation of Albemarle County’s capital improvement program Charlottesville City Council will again look for an interim city managerThe first bills of the 2022 Virginia General Assembly have been filedIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. Emergency meetingCharlottesville City Council no longer has an interim city manager on the way. Marc E. Woolley had been expected to begin work tomorrow. Council went into closed session at 12:30 p.m. today for an emergency meeting to discuss a personnel matter. Councilor Heather Hill read the motion.“Pursuant to § 2.2-3712 of the Virginia Code, I hereby move that City Council close this open meeting and convene within a closed meeting as authorized by Virginia Code… for the purpose of discussing of the withdrawal of the appointed city manager and the discussion, consideration, or interviews of perspective candidates for appointment or employment by City Council,” Hill said. Woolley had been expected to fill the vacancy left when former City Manager Chip Boyles resigned in late October. Boyles had been hired in January to replace former City Manager Tarron Richardson, who resigned at the end of September 2020 after about a year and a half. Earlier this month, Richardson sued the city for breach of contract related to a non-disparagement clause in his severance agreement. Richardson had replaced Maurice Jones, whose contract was not renewed in 2018 after nearly eight years in the job. Along the way, two other people have served as interim city manager.After publication of this newsletter, Daily Progress reporter Ginny Bixby reported that Woolley sent a letter to Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker last week.“I am writing to inform you and your fellow Council members that after careful consideration and in consultation with my family, I am withdrawing my application to become the Interim City Manager of the City of Charlottesville,” Woolley wrote. “This was not an easy decision for me and I want to thank the Charlottesville City Council for the opportunity and wish the residents of Charlottesville all the best.”Last week, the Planning Commission held a work session on the capital improvement program for fiscal year 2023. Charlottesville has a AAA bond rating that reflects a well-run and stable city. Commissioner Hosea Mitchell asked if that would continue based on the string of leadership vacancies and he’s answered by Krissy Hammill, a senior budget and management analyst. “Will the high turnover of city level management impact our bond rating?” Mitchell asked.“They do look at management as part of that analysis,” Hammill said. “To date that has not really been at the forefront of a lot of those conversations keeping in mind that the single-most goal of a bond rating is to assess out ability to pay our debt.”The city is currently being managed by Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders. Council next meets on December 6. See also: January 14, 2021: Charlottesville hires Chip Boyles as City ManagerOctober 14, 2021: Boyles resigns as Charlottesville City Manager; Friendship Court agreement reauthorized by EDACouncil selects Marc Woolley as the latest interim City ManagerUnite the Right organizers owe millions in damages; Former City Manager Richardson sues the city over disparagement clauseFirst 2022 bills filedThe General Assembly doesn’t begin for another six weeks, but the first bills have been pre-filed. Two of three bills filed in the House of Delegates are charter requests for two towns to amend their charter to move municipal elections from May to November, and a third would remove the sunset date for a sales exemption on the sale of gold, silver, and platinum bullion. In the Senate, there are five bills so far. One would require the Virginia Employment Commission to establish a family and medical leave program, one would require school principals to report incidents to law enforcement, and another would require absentee ballots to be sorted by precinct. Another would limit the time a Governor’s executive orders could last under an Emergency Declaration, and another would require votes of the Parole Board to be individually recorded under the Freedom of Information act. The General Assembly convenes on January 12. (view pre-filed bills)Scottsville Holiday HappeningEarlier this year, the General Assembly adopted legislation allowing localities to create Designated Outdoor Refreshment Areas (DORA) where ABC licenses can be granted in the public realm. That means people can move from establishment to establishment while carrying alcoholic beverages in a designated cup. Several localities across Virginia have passed local ordinances allowing such events. This Saturday, the Town of Scottsville will offer this ability during A Holiday Happening. According to Town Administrator Matt Lawless, this is the third time the DORA has been used. “I was interested to kind of follow the progress of this setting up in state law,” Lawless said. “It originated with a neat mix of communities around the state from far Southwest to Richmond looking at how they could promote tourism and support their Main Street businesses.”Lawless said Scottsville has so far held an event to promote an art opening in September. “We had a Virginia of the Arts grant for installations in vacant storefronts,” Lawless said. “Folks can take out the food and drink and stroll around outside.” A second event held at Halloween for a puppy parade on Valley Street and Main Street. Lawless said these are not tailgate parties, and people can’t bring their own beer. The permit just allows people to consume beverages off premises. “So maybe what you’ve seen in the past on these events is like an outdoor event with a strict perimeter defined like with a snow fence,” Lawless said. “We don’t have to do that anymore. The drinks are labeled where they came from in a disposable container. So if we were checking on what is that and where did you get it, you could point to the licensed restaurant where you got it.”Lawless said sandwich boards suffice to mark the boundaries of the DORA. This Saturday’s event runs from 10 a.m to 8 p.m. with the ABC permit in effect from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m“If you’re ever visited a European Christmas Market, it might be kind of like that where we’ve got have the special farmer’s market with special arts and craft sales, musicians playing on sidelots, and then hot cider and mulled wine for sale at our restaurants that you can take up and down the street,” Lawless said. Lawless said a safety plan is created for each event and reviewed by ABC to make sure there are enough people on staff to help with public safety. In the summer, Charlottesville City Council was briefed on the idea but it was met with a lukewarm response with some Councilors concerned with unequal treatment. This story came about due to a story in the Cardinal by Megan Schnabel that takes a look at how Danville, Roanoke, and the town of Tazewell have used this ability for events. (read the story here)Let’s have a second Patreon-fueled shout-out. Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Albemarle capital planningAlbemarle County’s budget process for Fiscal Year 2023 continues on Friday with another meeting of the Capital Improvement Program Advisory Committee. The group consists of two Supervisors, two School Board members, a Planning Commissioner, and a member of the public who happens to be a former Planning Commissioner.  (view the presentation)“I suspect that each of us have items on the not-included plan that we’d like to see moved up but it is a balance,” said Supervisor Donna Price of the Scottsville District. “We cannot do everything.” Perhaps when you think of capital projects, big items like schools and sidewalks come to mind. The next CIP in Albemarle will likely have an item called Core Systems Modernization which will seek to speed up how the county does business. Andy Bowman is the chief of budget in the Finance and Budget Office. “The technology systems that we use across the county government are disjointed, they’re antiquated, and they don’t allow the community to interact with our government in a way that we expect,’ Bowman said. “Over the next few years, we’re going to be embarking on new financial systems, new human resources systems, and new community development systems related to systems that are connected and enhance our customer and our employee experience.”The job of the CIP Advisory Committee is to help staff develop the five-year program. There’s a target of about $131 million in funding that may be available through FY2027. “For funding in Fiscal Year 2023 to 2027, there is a total of $457 million in projects that was requested,” Bowman said.The budget chief also gave a status report on projects under way. “There is $151 million in projects that are currently appropriated and underway from prior years that extend into Fiscal Year 2023 and beyond.”Those projects include sidewalk installation, the Southern Convenience Center in Keene, and upgrades of the county’s General District and Circuit court in downtown Charlottesville. Future projects that are waiting to be funded include further phases of Biscuit Run Park, future school capacity expansion, and a convenience center in the northern section of Albemarle. Supervisor Bea Lapisto-Kirtley suggested one item she wanted more information on.  “As far a project, I would like to make sure that at Darden-Towe our soccer fields are taken care of, upgraded, and when I say upgraded, regarding natural grass and putting in what needs to be done there to make sure that that’s a good playing field,” Lapisto-Kirtley said. Assistant County Executive Trevor Henry said a previous project had anticipated replacing the natural grass fields with artificial turf and adding lighting. Darden-Towe is jointly owned by Charlottesville and Albemarle.“Eventually that request was discussed in the calendar of 2018 and that was approved and bundled as part of the Parks’ quality of life projects,” Henry said. Henry said $2.5 million was approved for the project, with $2 million of that going for the installation of turf and the rest for the lighting. “That CIP request assumed use of cooperative contracts, meaning existing contracts in the state for both the turf project and the lighting project,” Henry said. “On a December 4 meeting of 2019,  a concern was raised by a Board member about the procurement methodology and several series of questions around the efficacy of turf, environmental concerns.”Henry said staff returned with more information later that winter, but the pandemic put a hold on further consideration of the effort. “The majority of capital projects were paused or deferred,” Henry said. When some of the projects were unpaused, the Darden-Towe project was not one of them. “And it’s back in the queue of all the other unfunded projects that have been requested or formally requested through this process,” Henry said. Since then, the Parks Department request has placed further funding of Biscuit Run as a higher priority. The Parks Department has asked for $8.5 million for the next four years to move into further phases of that future park’s development. After being told by Henry that the natural fields are well-maintained, LaPisto-Kirtley said she would support continuing that practice. School Board Chair Kate Acuff made the pitch for funding to modernize the existing high schools, something that she did not see within the draft CIP presented to the committee. The county in recent years has invested in two high school “centers” rather than a fourth stand-alone facility.“Because a new high school would be $150 million and we were able to craft this plan that including upgrading all of our schools  — Albemarle High School is 70 years old  — as well as the Centers for a fraction of that cost,” Acuff said. “It’s disappointed to me to see that has dropped out.” Acuff also said that over a hundred classrooms are in trailers. She said the county needs at least three more elementary schools.“We’re over capacity at Baker-Butler [Elementary] which is a northern feeder pattern [school] and construction of Brookhill [Elementary] would address that,” Acuff said. There are also overcrowding issues at Mountain View Elementary. A 27,000 square feet addition is underway at Crozet Elementary but Acuff said a third school in the western part of the county will be necessary soon. Of that $131 million, the schools will have access to $77.2 million according to Chief Financial Officer Nelsie Birch. The next meeting of the group will take place on Friday beginning at 1 p.m. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

No Sharding - The Solana Podcast
Brendan Eich - CEO & Co-Founder, Brave Software Ep #54

No Sharding - The Solana Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 24:49


Live from Breakpoint 2021, Brendan Eich sits down with Anatoly Yakovenko to discuss integrating Solana into the Brave Browser, the huge potential for a decentralized search engine and NFTs as entry point to the metaverse. 00:09 - Intro00:54 - Integrating Solana in Brave08:00 - Challenges with creating the browser09:23 - How to scale crypto to the general public11:57 - A Decentralized search engine14:46 - NFTs as entry point to the metaverse16:35 - Mobile vs. Desktop18:00 - Languages and smart contract development20:40 - How to grow crypto to mass adoption22:44 - Global Peer-to-Peer environment in Crypto Brendan (00:10):Great conference.Anatoly (00:11):I know. Thank you. I'm really excited to be on stage here with you. You're-Brendan (00:15):Same, [crosstalk 00:00:17].Anatoly (00:16):... One of my heroes. As a programmer, JavaScript is a language that really revolutionized how we do application development, how we build. It's the foundation of the web. And I often think of web 3.0 really just being the web, just part of the bigger web.Brendan (00:34):Yeah, me too. That's how the web grows, by evolution. So we think the web 3.0 browser should be the gateway to a billion crypto users. And we are therefore integrating Solana into Brave soon as we can. And here's the cool thing, this is an evolutionary path. We're going to make it so any dapp that is Solana enabled, wherever other chains, EVM compatible or Ethereum, whatever it supports, if it supports Solana as well, we'll make it use Solana by default. So dapp builders who build for Solana as well as other chains. In Brave it's going to use Solana. And that's going to just help, I think, pull all the dapps on the Solana.Anatoly (01:24):Super exciting.Brendan (01:25):You like?Anatoly (01:25):Yeah, it's wonderful. Yeah.Brendan (01:28):Let's see what else. What do we like about Solana? We like NFT games, we like DeFi a lot. We want to make it easy for users to earn and get yield without having to be super expert or do a lot of complex operations. So we're going to work on building that probably in the first half of next year into the wallet so that you can just robo-earn, robo-yield. And we want NFT galleries and NFT transactions to be super slick. I was inspired by the Jules Urbach talk earlier today, and the demo earlier here with NFTs, there were several of them actually, it's all good.Brendan (02:07):We want as many NFT marketplaces integrated as we can, so that's on the agenda. And yeah, [Radium 00:02:13] is there, of course. Radium's still earning, yielding good. The thing that we do now with basic attention token tends to have to settle on Ethereum and it's going to cost you gas. And our valued settlement partners like Gemini, Uphold bitFlyer in Japan, but once we're on Solana, I suspect that BAT, which is already reflected through Wormhole, proxied through Wormhole, might just find it's better to settle on Solana. What do you think?Anatoly (02:41):Yeah, for sure. Absolutely.Brendan (02:44):I'm giving you the softballs here. And we really do want to get this out to all users. We think, whether you're having a hard time in some part of the world where it's hard to get banks to let you save or borrow, or you're beyond banks like a lot of us are or want to be, Solana is the way to do it. And I mentioned auto earn already, got ahead of myself, but I think this is going to be huge. It takes some skill, you got to make sure if you get on the wrong side of yield farming, you go somewhere where the grass is greener, but we'll make it as automatic and easy as possible. And it's just so much better on Solana. I'm making you blush. And yeah, the dapp ecosystem is growing, but if we do this Solana default on multi chain dapps, I think we'll just pull every dapps that's really popular over that Brave users want, and I hope that's going to be every dapp.Brendan (03:37):So here's more NFT marketplaces. There are lots of cool projects in crypto, so we're not doing only Solana, we have obviously Ethereum, we're going to do Bitcoin in the new wallet. It's coming up fast, it's in the Brave nightly builds. And we might do other chains, but I think it's important to pick a chain as default. This is a lesson we learned the hard way with search engines, because when you make a search engine the default, first of all, you can get paid if you get a deal, not always true. And really the user expects to just type keywords into the address bar and search. We want the wallet to have a fast, good default and that's Solana. So enough said. And we're bringing it to mobile too. This is important. I think a lot of fragmentation has occurred due to how wallets are split across mobile and desktop. We're seeing some good mobile first or mobile also wallets. We want to do it mobile and desktop feature parody, evolve at the same time. And we're happy to do that with Solana's partner.Brendan (04:42):So the last bit of news is the BAT system is a triangular system that involves privacy preserving ads. And users opt into it to get 70% of the gross revenue. What we've built so far has a part of our BAT ad system requiring us to verify things, to be the trust third party, which is a security hole. And so we started a project called Themus and worked with several crypto projects to see if we could bring it to high speed chains that can do things, like you need smart contract systems for zero knowledge proofs, you need some part of it in the browser because you're measuring attention. You don't want to put your detailed attention log on any blockchain, however fast, because it'll fingerprint you. So we're using black box accumulators in the browser with Themus and we're then minting ZK proofs. And the cool thing about Solana is we can just put those on-chain, no aggregator, no trusted third party. So we're getting rid of ourselves, we're firing ourselves as a trusted third party. And that's something we're excited about.Anatoly (05:40):And that's awesome. That was, feels like two years of research. It took quite a while to get to that design.Brendan (05:47):And now it's going fast. I think now we've got good working relations with Solana and we can crank out the Rust Co, because we love Rust. Because I was executive sponsor of Rust at Mozilla, so I have a tear in my eye to see my little babies all grown up. And Amazon's hired a bunch of the Rust core team. It's okay, they need jobs. But yeah, we want BAT to be fast, low fee, DeFi base pair and for ads on Solana. So Brave and Solana are doing the new crypto and ad system and it's going to be awesome. Thanks.Anatoly (06:24):That's awesome. I'm a huge fan of the web, huge fan of all the work that you guys have done and Brave. And I remember pre-mobile days, I was working on Brew and I was trying to optimized the web and flip phones. And there was a brief moment where the iPhone came out, we had a browser, and it felt like the web has opened up. And then it just got away from us.Brendan (06:49):That's right. Jobs said when he did the iPhone one, he said, "The web finally works on a phone." And then the story I heard from somebody who would is that they had to port a bunch of games which were C++ or whatever, and they had to do native apps. And they never looked back after that. But I think the web can always catch up and should catch up. And web 3.0, if you have this evolutionary path with dapps and dapp triggers from webpages, then you just evolve into it.Anatoly (07:19):Yeah, that to me is the really exciting part, is there's now an opportunity to have cryptography power the next generation, how web is monetized. Whether it's through advertisement, like with zero knowledge proofs or through direct payments and micro payments. Do you feel like Apple's going to crush us?Brendan (07:41):People a few years ago were worried about this Facebook thing, Libra and now DM. And they got crushed because some politicians hate them. But Apple is very cautious, and if they're doing anything with blockchains, it's a ways out. And then when they arrive in, it's going to be the diva at the party at midnight, like, "Start the party now," and the booze has already run out. So we're going to drink all the booze first.Anatoly (08:06):All right. I'm down for that. What are some of the challenges with building a browser for general consumers, but also with cryptography?Brendan (08:17):This is the problem with browsers is they are universal apps. You spend a lot of your digital life or online life in them. And so if you make the crypto stuff be this expert only area, or it's scary. I use wallet apps, I use ledger hardware wallets, but it's a little bit scary because you feel like, "Did I forget my pin in or did I have to reset it and do the word list?" And there's some anxiety and fear of loss. We want to make crypto be a positive sum, that's why the robo-earn is important to us. Just like with BAT private ads, you could get 70% of the revenue.Brendan (08:53):So you're always building up your assets as well as spending or sending them. And it should be slick, it should be for e-commerce. You can even do things like dis intermediate Amazon. I won't give away all my secrets, but we think we can do that without having a bunch of JavaScript user scripts attack every merchant checkout flow. We think there's a way to get into the interchange charge and do it. And crypto everywhere. It should be slick, should be easy, should be comfortable, make you feel like you're going to win, not lose.Anatoly (09:23):What about custody and keys? How do I get my parents to understand this stuff?Brendan (09:28):Yeah, it's really a little different, but we're looking at Taurus, we're looking at various ideas for backing up your keys that don't just put it on paper and word list in the safe, which we've all been through. And in some ways, the old web went with username and password and had to add a second factor, which often had to be a temporary access number generator on your phone. So at that point you're almost as complex as self custody. I would say you just have this more conventional recovery path. You lose your phone, you know your email, you can try to prove that you're the same person to Coinbase or whatever. But I think self custody has a complimentary role and we want both. We want people to use self custody and be comfortable with it, so we're looking at all these usability challenges. And we think we can get it just almost as good. And then unfortunately the regulators insist, if you want to do Fiat on/off, you're going to go through a custodian.Anatoly (10:20):Of course. The challenges, that's the exciting part. No one has figured this out yet and we're going to dive right in and see, how can we actually scale crypto to the general public?Brendan (10:31):Make it easy for your parents.Anatoly (10:32):Yeah. Yeah, would love to see it. What do you guys see as the tension between the app store on the mobile device and the mobile web?Brendan (10:42):Discoverability is always a problem. And we don't want these brutal curators like Apple. So having lots of stores is good, but then you have the need for a search engine, which Brave now has, which is a private engine and also involve users opting into building the index incrementally, that's the web discovery project. So we're going to aim, because we're very crypto first and our ad sales teams, one of who's here, always looks at crypto options and NFT options, we're going to aim at making our search engine best for crypto. It already uses [inaudible 00:11:14] charting, and it's still in beta, but we're working out all the kinks, so I think search, the good old search we remember from 2004 when Google was great needs to come back and it needs to be the way you find stuff in marketplaces and crypto exchanges.Anatoly (11:29):That's awesome. What kind of information do you think users would want out of a crypto first search engine or curated environment that's different from the traditional web?Brendan (11:39):Search almost gets into, is somebody trying to SEO you and compete for keywords? We're aware of this problem and there's no silver bullet. But we think with crypto, you might actually have a better chance at mechanizing this and having a fair playing field, an automated system for finding the lowest fees and the best yields.Anatoly (11:57):Is there hope for a decentralized search engine?Brendan (12:01):Yeah. So I had a friend who was involved with pre-research, Rich Scrantom, and pre-research looks like it's running a bunch of nodes [inaudible 00:12:07] Google, which Google does not like. And if they're running on [inaudible 00:12:10] IPs, Google's going to shut them down or use their anti-bot team to take them out. We're building a legitimate search engine, but we can't decentralize the algorithm easily because search is sharing queries, looking for some kind of objective best results like page rank, the eigenvalues of the random walk. And decentralizing that is a research problem as far as I know. But we have an active team, we're evolving search and we need your help because we're trying to crowdsource the incremental indexing of the web, we're not trying to index everything from 1998 on. Only Google can do that. Hats off to them, but their time is passing.Anatoly (12:49):When I was growing up as an engineer, the web was just starting, I was really passionate about Linux. And I had this dream of a Microsoft-free personal computer. It feels like the web 3.0 is potentially a dream of ad exchange free, that parasitic Google free web. Is that possible?Brendan (13:13):If you don't collect the data you won't go wrong that way. There's still other ways that central powers can turn on their users and take advantage of them. But I think there is, and that means ultimately you might need hardware that's indie or that's user first. And Brave's not capitalized to do this yet, but I know people, including friends from Firefox OS, which actually after it folded at Mozilla, continued in [inaudible 00:13:37] OS. And there's an open source lineage that you can trace back. And people at Qualcomm, we both know-Anatoly (13:42):Of course, yeah.Brendan (13:42):... We are working on it at the time. So I think there's a chance for a new open source OS that has web 3.0 and none of this Java or swift native stuff. And JavaScript, web 3.0 All the way down.Anatoly (13:55):Are we going to end up building a phone?Brendan (13:57):Brave OS. I don't know, I'd have to raise some more capital.Anatoly (14:03):Yeah. Yeah, that's a way to nerd snipe me for a couple years.Brendan (14:07):But people need independent hardware that serves their interest first. Absolutely.Anatoly (14:10):For sure. It always feels like that's a really tough challenge. But every two it gets easier and easier, hardware gets cheaper and cheaper and the tools get better and better.Brendan (14:19):And then Apple has something new and shiny that the commodity hardware can't match for another year or two, but that's just the nature of the game. So I'm sure we'll have iPhones, but we can probably have BAT phones too. Solana phones.Anatoly (14:33):The BAT phone. I love that. The BAT phone sounds really cool. As you guys see the web 3.0 evolving, I think from your presentation, NFTs were such a huge focus as well. Do you think this is the entry point for the Metaverse as people call it or that really interactive rich environment with ownership of the stuff around you?Brendan (14:56):Yeah. I think you have to keep running at these problems. And usually if you're a startup and the timing isn't right, or something goes wrong, you run out of capital and then the investors reset, or maybe they try again. With crypto, we have this great ability to just keep leveling up. So we're seeing Bitcoin, now we're seeing smart contracts on Ethereum, now we're seeing Solana. And as you level up, you can start to do some of these things that seemed hard before. Like you want some kind of cryptographic proof of ownership.Brendan (15:26):I think one of the demos talked about this. You want to make sure that somebody doesn't copy the pixels. And if you get into VR, there's been interesting research on this. And my friends at [inaudible 00:15:36] have done some work on this. You can actually watermark in a way that's indelible. And if somebody copies your art and tries to remove the watermark, they degrade the quality, because it's been convolved with the luminance and the chrominance. So I have hopes for this being useful in games and connected verses. And to me, that's the Metaverse, it's not going to be something centrally planned at Menlo park by Lieutenant commander data.Anatoly (16:02):I hope not. What I see out of the gaming companies that we talk to is that, especially the ones that are crypto focused, is the one to build browser first games. Everyone that I talked to had this idea that as soon as you open the page, you jump right into the game. There's no sign up, there's no friction, your wallet is your identity. And you're just exactly where you left off.Brendan (16:24):That took a lot of work at Mozilla, by the way. We did [inaudible 00:16:27] JS and that led to web assembly. And you could show games, in the story, you can start playing them and then you just convert. I think it's a great model.Anatoly (16:34):Do you feel like mobile is expressive enough for that? Or is the difference between iOS and Android and desktop is too hard to actually make that work?Brendan (16:45):There's certainly a difference. Even with the latest chip sets, you're just not as fast, you have less bandwidth all around. But games can scale down because the view port's smaller, there's hope that you can use the kind of tricks that we see with the remote rendering, cloud rendering. So I think mobile is the future, but I heard this 12 years ago, people would say around Silicon valley, mobile's the future. And then they would say, "That means there's no desktop." And that is very false. Everybody with a laptop or any big enough screen and a keyboard is still very high value. And that means the economics there don't go away, it just doesn't grow as fast.Anatoly (17:19):That's true. If you look at the growth of the Solana ecosystem, a lot of the users are basically dust up only.Brendan (17:27):Yep.Anatoly (17:27):That to me says that a lot of folks, maybe there was a switch during COVID where we went from being so much immobile to where we're staring at screens again.Brendan (17:36):A bit of that. You go to India and a lot of people are mobile only, but you need both. And I think as mobile gets stronger, you're just going to see more parody, you won't see this need for apps, which is often artificial. It's like holding the browser back, sandbagging Safari a little bit. This is what my friends at Google, or one of them who went to Microsoft, always accuse Apple of, and it's not wrong. You got to give the browser it's due and then it can compete with native better.Anatoly (18:00):Got to ask you about languages.Brendan (18:03):Okay, [inaudible 00:18:04].Anatoly (18:03):How do you see smart contract development in the future as somebody that had incredible depth and understanding how application development happens on the web?Brendan (18:12):Yeah, I think the thing you're seeing with type script, especially with large teams, is more information that you need some kind of proof system or it could be just a warning system, but it's based on model checking. Often it could be based on higher level models than you can express in sound type system, which is something where there's just this timeless world of types that's potentially syntactically checked and prevents bad things from happening at runtime. You need dynamic systems, dynamic code, JavaScript, and the static checkers.Brendan (18:44):And you get the best of both worlds if you have really good ones. So I remember at Mozilla, we were investing in model checkers for C++ because it's memory unsafe. And you could build these higher level checks that knew about security properties you wanted to enforce. And I think this is what you're seeing with smart contracts. I was talking to somebody I met at the hotel bar about this, because it's still a very fruitful area that's had good research in computer science, programming language theory. And it hasn't always been brought to the programming masses like it should. There were companies like [inaudible 00:19:17] Covarity and others like that. The compilers themselves grew the ability to do plugins for static analysis. And now [LOVM 00:19:26] is there.Anatoly (19:27):Do you think that smart contract development needs to have a high level, easy to use language environment? Or can it be driver code?Brendan (19:37):Yeah, exactly. Driver code in the era of C was the worst code in the kernel.Anatoly (19:42):Driver code with Rust is a little bit less frightening.Brendan (19:45):In fact, a friend of mine who was at Microsoft at the time went to Mozilla and has his own startup now, did it at Microsoft, a checker for driver's C code. Which he could skirt the halting problem and kind of statically reason about it and say, "This is garbage driver code, send it back to the vendor." But yeah, I think you don't want to have happy, fun, JavaScript looseness if there's big money at stake. So I think it's important to have the right tools with the right static and dynamic checking.Anatoly (20:13):Do you think smart contract development is strictly financial or are we going to see things that are not financial that you can actually [crosstalk 00:20:21]?Brendan (20:20):You'll see things that are not obviously financial, but they'll turn into reputation in a game or gifting and those tend to matter too. So you still don't want too many dynamic errors.Anatoly (20:32):That's true.Brendan (20:33):So I talked about this in my chapter in coders org, I'm still a fan of static, even if it's unsound semi-static checking.Anatoly (20:40):What do you guys see as like the opportunity for us to grow crypto to a hundred million users, actual signers?Brendan (20:49):Yeah, I'd to get Brave to that scale in a year or two. It depends on everybody here and others. It also, I hate to say it, depends on the nation states of the world not doing something adversarial. But I think given the state of the world, not a great state, but there will always be options to do things with crypto. The internet routes around censorship, and that's true in the web 2.0 And the web 3.0 world. And it's true with blockchains. You still have concerns you have to fork to undo the censorship, but at least you have options. DoAnatoly (21:26):What kind of applications do you envision will actually drive that growth?Brendan (21:30):I think at first it's going to be people using crypto for payments and for DeFi. And some leading edge of that user base will be getting more sophisticated in doing other things. But just having things like gift cards, where we often find that they're useless points, even if we can use them or Congress passed the law to don't expire, we still just don't use them. We should have much more liquidity. We should have liquidity across all kinds of assets. And this is where you start talking about tokenized securities, and can you have primary and secondary liquidity for companies? I think if you're as old me, you all had a tiny piece of some startup that went sideways for 10 years and then sold. And you couldn't trade it easily. And you might have wanted to do that because you might have been squeezed out when it sold. So there's lots of room for blockchains to solve these problems. I think in general, connecting people more directly getting rid of these officious or censorious intermediaries. A lot of room for application.Anatoly (22:29):In this new evolution of the web, I often describe crypto as a fully connected network, as opposed to a social graph, like on Facebook.Brendan (22:40):Yes.Anatoly (22:40):Do you think that's true? Do you think we're going to enter a stage where I am effectively with my cryptographic signatures, I'm in this true global peer to peer environment?Brendan (22:50):I hope so. I showed at web summit last week, I showed the slide with the correct diagram, which is more like a mesh for decentralized, and the incorrect one, which sometimes is called decentralized, which is really distributed, but it's mostly tree structured. Or if it's a graph, it has a dominating spanning tree. That's Google, that's Amazon. So with projects like Helium, with web RTC making it so you can make connections into the endpoints instead of only out. In the old days in the nineties, we could only make TCP connections out from the browser. I think we're heading toward this world. We have to build it iteratively and collaboratively, we have to get around the concrete firewall problems that web RTC mostly got around, it's still a little dodgy. And I think that is the future. I think we should all have Helium nodes if we can. I'm a fan of the project.Anatoly (23:38):That's awesome. The idea of decentralized browsing on an open source phone connected via an open network.Brendan (23:49):Low raw radio.Anatoly (23:50):Yeah, run by the people. Accessing Solana, that would blow my mind.Brendan (23:55):It sounds too good to be true, but I think it could be true, especially if we build it carefully and quickly enough and get it out there and make it usable, which is why I've always wanted to make Brave be about crypto. Even when we started using Bitcoin for our prototype, it was clear once you shield the user by blocking all those trackers, you break all the economics that pays advertising money into the publishers after taking a big slice out for the middlemen like Google. And if you cut that out, how are you going to reconnect it? It's crypto, peer to peer.Anatoly (24:26):All right, let's do it.Brendan (24:28):Awesome.Anatoly (24:28):I'm excited. So thank you, Brendan. Thank you so much for doing here, for working with us.Brendan (24:34):Thanks.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 29, 2021: Charlottesville PC briefed on next capital budget

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 14:00


As of the typing of these words, there are 22 days until the solstice when our portion of the world will slowly begin illuminating a little more each day. This is the 333rd day of this year. What significance might there be in the number 4,444? Stick around for enough editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and that figure may one day show up. I’m your host Sean Tubbs, tracking the trivial and monitoring the memorable. On today’s show:Charlottesville’s Planning Commission gets a look at the preliminary capital budget for fiscal year 23University Transit Service buses return to full capacity More news about the transition team of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin Let’s begin today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!As the week begins, the Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day average of 1,377 new cases and the seven-day percent positivity is at 6.1 percent. On Friday, the VDH reported the first fatality of a child from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are another 55 new cases today and a seven-day percent positivity of 5.8 percent. There have been two more fatalities reported since Wednesday. Last week, the Jefferson Madison Regional Library entered into a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health to distribute at-home COVID-19 testing kits. The pilot program offers rapid antigen tests that are guided by a virtual assistant. “The test kits must be used away from the library, via an internet-connected device with a camera (including smart phones) with digital test results available within 15 minutes,” reads a press release. “Library staff cannot assist with administering tests, and tests cannot be taken inside any JMRL location.”Today marks the first day in a year and a half that passengers on University Transit Service buses will board from the front door. UTS has ended rules that required riders to board from the middle door. Capacity restrictions have also been dropped, meaning buses will be able to fill to standing. However, masks and facial coverings are still mandatory. The University Transit Service will also restore service to stops at Garrett Hall and Monroe Hall whenever UTS is serving McCormick Road. Those stops had been dropped to help UTS manage the capacity restrictions. Visit the UTS website to learn more about specific details.To learn more about transit, consider attending the Regional Transit Partnership’s meeting on Thursday at 4 p.m. On the agenda is a look at the Regional Transit Vision plan that is in development by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. (agenda)Jaunt buses returned to 100 percent capacity earlier this year. There are a few local names on what Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is calling his transition landing teams. The “landing teams that will coordinate with the cabinet secretaries from the current administration and conduct due diligence across all agencies so that the Youngkin administration will hit the ground running and begin delivering on its promises on Day One,” reads a press release from Wednesday.Senator Emmet Hanger (R-24) will serve on the Agriculture and Forestry team and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) is on the Education team. Bell will also serve on the Public Safety and Homeland Security team. Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17) will be on the Veterans and Defense Affairs team. For the full list, take a look at the full press release. In today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. Sign up for their newsletter today. The Charlottesville Planning Commission got a look last week at a preliminary budget for the capital improvement program for the fiscal years 2023 through 2027. Council will vote next spring to approve the first year of spending, but decisions for future years would be for future versions of Council. (November 23 presentation) (watch the meeting)But first, what is a capital improvement program? Krissy Hammill is a Senior Budget and Management Analyst for the City of Charlottesville. “It’s basically a five-year financing plan that contains infrastructure type projects that usually cost more than $50,000,” Hammill said. “They’re generally non-recurring and non-operational and they generally have a useful life of five years or more.” Major items are usually funded by debt the city takes on in the form of bond sales. Investors front the money in exchange for a steady and guaranteed return. Like Albemarle County, Charlottesville has a AAA bond rating that is both attractive to investors and has a low interest rate. The latter results in a lower debt-service payment for the city. “We are actually part of a very small group of localities that have that rating,” Hammill said. “It is the premiere marker of a locality’s financial stability in strength.” In recent years, Council has increased the amount of spending on affordable housing initiatives, directly funding redevelopment of public housing and Friendship Court. In the past budget cycle, Council expressed a willingness to fund the configuration of City Schools. “We had a placeholder for that project at $50 million and based on Council’s direction from a meeting in October, that has now been increased from $50 million to $75 million,” Hammill said. “The funding has been moved up from FY25 to FY24. We also know that in doing this there will need to be additional revenue enhancements to pay for the additional debt service that will be required.”Revenue enhancements can be translated as “tax increase” and Hammill has previously told Council and the public that the equivalent of a 15 cent increase on the property tax rate may be required to cover the cost. There’s the possibility of the next General Assembly allowing Charlottesville voters to decide on a sales-tax increase with proceeds going toward schools. Even with that possibility, the city may not be able to make any new investments for some time. “We know that our debt capacity will be exhausted for some period of time,” Hammill said. In the current fiscal year, debt service is just under five percent of the $192.2 million General Fund Budget. That amount does not include the amount of general fund cash used for capital projects. That number will increase. “The plan put before you has debt service basically doubling from just over ten million to just over $20 million within a very short period of time, about four years,” Hammill said. A draft of the next Capital Improvement Program won’t be officially presented to Council until late February or early March. Hammill documented several other revisions to the preliminary budget. At Council’s direction, $18.25 million in city funds for the West Main Streetscape were transferred to the school reconfiguration project as well as $5 million from a parking garage on 7th and Market Street. In December 2018, a previous City Council  signed an agreement with Albemarle County to provide parking as part of a multimillion project to locate a joint General District Court downtown. Subsequent Councils have opted to not build a new parking garage to honor the terms of that agreement. (read the agreement)“We don’t have any specifics right now,” said Chris Engel, the city’s economic development director. “We’re in the midst of conversation with the county about the fact that we’re not going to build a structure and what the agreement leaves them with regard to their options and trying to figure out what’s best for both parties.” Pre-construction of the courts facility is underway. Another adjustment in the city’s preliminary capital improvement program is additional funding for a comprehensive plan for the Parks and Recreation Department. “This would be to look at Parks and Rec programs,” Hammill said. “This is not the normal master plan for the parks per se master planning process, but more of a programmatic master plan.” There are also programs for drainage issues at Oakwood Cemetery and McIntire Park as well as funding to assist the removal of dead Ash trees in the city. Council has also approved a housing plan that asks for $10 million a year on affordable housing initiatives. Hammill said not all of the funding for that initiative would come from the capital improvement program budget. City Council will review the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund at its meeting on December 6. Another item not in the capital budget is private funding for a sidewalk on Stribling Avenue. Southern Development has offered to loan the city $2.9 million to cover the cost of the project as part of a rezoning in Fry’s Spring area. The Charlottesville Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the preliminary CIP on December 14. Finally today, the second shout-out for today specifically asked you to check out a local news story. Here’s one to begin with. Last week, Carly Haynes of CBS19 reported on the intersection of Preston Avenue and Grady Avenue in Charlottesville. Charlottesville was awarded $7.743 million in a Smart Scale project to alter the intersection. Learn more in this report from November 23rd.Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here!. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 27, 2021: Albemarle PC briefed on comp plan, zoning review; A look at rural housing challenges

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 17:44


After today, there are four more Saturdays left in the year 2021. After December 31, there will be only 78 more years in the 21st Century. This perspective brought to you by Charlottesville Community Engagement, a regularly-produced look at happening in and around Charlottesville. I’m Sean Tubbs, the host and producer. Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:The Albemarle County Planning Commission gets a look at Comprehensive Plan underwayThe Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership takes a look at affordable housing challenges in rural areasArea airports will get money from the recent federal infrastructure funding bill Daily Progress-owner Lee Enterprises invokes protections against Alden Global Capital’s takeover attempt Let’s begin with a Patreon-fueled shout-out. Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Lee responseThe parent company of the Daily Progress appears to want to reject a takeover by the Alden Capital Group. Lee Enterprises issued a press release on Wednesday with the headline Board Takes Action in Response to Alden’s Unsolicited Proposal to Acquire Lee. Specifically, the Iowa-based company’s Board of Directors have initiated a limited-duration shareholder rights plan that issues existing shareholders additional rights in the case of a hostile takeover. “In adopting the Rights Plan, the Board noted Alden’s track record of rapidly acquiring substantial control or ‘negative control’ positions in other public companies and its seemingly inconsistent disclosures,” reads the press release.Alden Capital Group asserts they own six percent of the Lee’s shares. Shareholder rights plans are also known as “poison pills” and have been used since the 1980’s to ward off corporate takeovers. Read more about this topic in an article on Editor and Publisher. (learn more on Wikipedia)Airport investmentThe recently adopted Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act provides $15 billion for airports across the nation. Virginia airports will receive nearly $400 million of that amount, according to a press release from Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. The Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport will receive $15.44 million and Freeman Field in Louisa County will get $790,000. The airport in Orange County will also receive $790,000. Elsewhere in Virginia, Dulles International will get $120.4 million, Richmond International will get $35.6 million, and Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional will get $14.97 million. Lynchburg will get nearly $6.5 million and Culpeper Regional $1.48 million. I’ll have more information about how Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport will use their funding in an upcoming edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Albemarle PC comp plan updateThe review of the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan is underway, with a lot of behind-the-scenes work by staff before a public kickoff begins in January. The Albemarle Planning Commission got a update on the process at their meeting on November 16. Here’s Tori Kannellopolous, a senior planner with the county, with a reminder of the plan’s purpose. “The Comprehensive Plan, or comp plan, establishes Albemarle County’s long-range vision that guides growth, development, and change for the next 20 years,” Kannellopolous said. “It assists county staff, appointed committees and boards, and the Board of Supervisor when developing public policies related to private land use activities and use of resources in Albemarle.”For the past forty years, the major theme of the county’s comp plan has been growth management. Roughly five percent of land in Albemarle is designated for urban development including more dense residential areas and commercial activities. The rest is considered rural. This time around, Supervisors have directed staff to update the zoning ordinance while reviewing the overall Comprehensive Plan. The process formally got underway when Supervisors adopted a resolution on November 3. (Albemarle Supervisors Kickoff Comprehensive Review) One of the intents of this review is to streamline much of the content of the plan, which is currently 406 pages. That number doesn’t include the various appendices. (read the current plan)“For example, the existing implementation chapter includes 70 priorities,” Kannellopolous said. “There is not a clear prioritization of these items and the order in which they should be completed. The chapter includes 80 indicators of progress that are intended to be tracked annually but tracking this data is unsustainable and the sheer number of indicators make it unclear for community members to understand what success looks like.”This review also provides an opportunity to integrate the various strategies of more recent plans, such as Housing Albemarle, Project Enable, and the Climate Action Plan. In all, there will be four phases, with the first being a review of the growth management policy. “This includes reviewing, evaluating, and updating the growth management policy as needed using the lenses of equity, climate action, and capacity projections,” Kannellopolous said. “A capacity analysis for housing and economic development in the county is currently underway and this is to understand if we have the capacity in our development areas for the projected growth of our community.” Phase two will identify topics that will be updated in the comprehensive plan, likely related to transportation and economic development. The county will create its first multimodal systems plan as well. Phase three will review the actions the county will take in the form of written strategies. Phase four will be the finalization of the new plan. “We will focus our efforts on identifying and eliminating plan inconsistencies across content and we will engage the community and decision-makers on overall plan priorities once all of the content is considered as a whole,” Kannellopolous said. State code assigns the job of preparing and recommending the Comprehensive Plan to each locality’s Planning Commission. Supervisors have approved a process that includes a working group of stakeholders to guide the process. Rachel Falkenstein is a planning manager in Albemarle. “The working group is approximately an eight to twelve person group of community members whose role would be to advise county staff on plan recommendations, community engagement approaches, and to support staff’s community outreach efforts by sharing information with their networks, their neighborhoods, or their communities,” Falkenstein said. The group members have not yet been selected. “We are going back to the Board of Supervisors with information sharing about the selection process at an upcoming Board meeting in December,” Falkenstein said. Broad community engagement will come in the form of workshops on the plan. The Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors will play a role in decisions about changes to Albemarle policies. Planning Commission Chair Julian Bivins noted that the Commission’s input will come later in a process that has already begun. He said he wants the Commission to meet with Supervisors. “So that we can hear each other and discuss these discussions before we get to an endpoint,” Bivins said. The review of the zoning code will happen concurrently and is currently underway. Charles Rapp is the county’s Planning Director. “We have a first phase right now and it’s called modernization,” Rapp said. “Two of those have been brought to you through a resolution of intent that deal with bonus densities and wavers and special exceptions.” The Supervisors will hold a public hearing on special exceptions at their meeting on December 1. (staff report)Rapp said another change will be to streamline the list of land use categories. “I believe our current chart is something like 16 pages long right now with very specific uses and we want to try to tailor that back to something more reasonable,” Rapp said. “We also want to take a look at our setbacks. Our setbacks are quite complicated to figure out with multiple different ways within each zoning classification and we want to try and improve that and make it a little more clear for people applying our zoning ordinance.” If you’re interested in learning more about how Albemarle’s Community Development Department works, take at the department’s work program in the consent agenda for the December 1 meeting. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Let’s have another Patreon-fueled shout-out: Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350Rural housing challengesMuch of the conversation about the cost of housing has centered on building units in urbanized areas. But what role can non-urbanized areas play? The Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership led a panel discussion on November 16 to discuss the challenges. One of the biggest is money. (watch the event)“When you talk about funding for affordable housing, you think of urban,” said Colleen Fisher, the executive director of the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing. In fact, the main federal agency most people associate with the topic is called the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fisher reminded the audience that the U.S. Department of Agriculture also offers federal support through their Rural Housing Service, but the program isn’t funded at high levels. One step localities can take is an assessment of what’s currently in the rural area.“We need ample resources to preserve our dedicated affordable housing stock in rural Virginia,” said Jonathan Knopf, the senior research associate for Housing Forward Virginia. “We have a lot of low-income housing tax credit properties that were the first and generation LIHTC properties. And a lot of that stuff is reaching the end of their affordability terms and so we need resources for housing providers to come in and lock in the affordability of that assisted multifamily stock.” Those credits are issued by the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Knopf said one challenge for rural areas is competition for those credits from urban areas. “It’s tough to break from this either-or resource conversation and I think we need to move to a both-and framework for housing resources across the Commonwealth so our rural rent relief programs don’t get left behind,” Knopf said. Taking inventoryGreene County has 146 LIHTC units at four properties. Louisa has 115 units in three developments. Nelson has 159 units in three properties. Albemarle has 1,089 units, most of which are in the urban area around Charlottesville except 34 units reserved for seniors in Scottsville. There are currently no LIHTC properties in Fluvanna. . Jesse Rutherford is a member of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. He says the cost of housing used to be affordable in rural communities, but what he calls overregulation in land use and building codes in the past few decades is a problem.“You can’t add regulation and expect it to get cheaper,” Rutherford said. “In the last 15, 20, 25 years we’ve seen the collapse of affordable housing in the rural area. I think there’s definitely some low-hanging fruit as it relates to zoning form or some certain by-right density. As we know in the urban context, same as the rural, you can’t use the word affordable without density following it.” Rutherford wants zoning ordinances to be altered to reduce setbacks, which he said renders land unusable for more housing units. Knopf said the cost of labor and building materials is drastically increasing the cost of housing and some form of subsidization is required. He said a balance of tools can be used to produce more units and preserve existing ones. “We don’t need rocket science or fancy things to solve so many of these issues,” Knopf said. “In many cases it’s just dedicating the right funding and fixing our existing policies and regulations especially zoning and a lot of things Jesse talked about to make things work. And try to get the economic side and the supply-chain side and the labor market side at least moving in the right direction to correct some of the paths we’ve been on in the past couple of decades.” Fisher said members of her organization report construction costs keep rising.“Just because we’re in a rural area doesn’t mean that things are cheaper and some people have that opinion because you’re building in a rural community that it’s going to cost you less,” Fisher said. “That’s not necessarily true.” One factor is labor. Keith Smith is the chair of the Central Virginia Regional Housing Partnership. He cited one statistic from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reviewed by the National Association of Home Builders. (via HousingWire) “According to national data, we are anywhere between 300,000 to 400,000 thousand construction workers short per month,” Smith said. “We’re going to recover from the material costs. I’ve been building developments for three and a half decades. This goes up and down. It’s going to take many, many decades to work through the labor force.”To review the rest of the event, you can watch the whole thing on the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission’s YouTube page. Leave a comment either there or here to weigh in. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 24, 2021: Unite the Right organizers owe millions in damages; Former City Manager Richardson sues the city over disparagement clause

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 15:27


Is there a name for the day before Thanksgiving? Feast’s Eve? Blackout Wednesday? Drinksgiving? Food Prepageddon? What about "I hope I didn't forget anything at the store because I'm not going back Day?” In any case, even though it is a holiday week, there’s still time for Charlottesville Community Engagement. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. On today’s program:A jury has found that the organizers of the Unite the Right rally guilty of a civil conspiracy and awarded damages, but did not reach a verdict on other claims Governor Northam and the Virginia Service Commission honor two area churches for their COVID testing work since the pandemic began Former City Manager Tarron Richardson is suing the city Albemarle County will revisit its 21 year old policy on cell tower placementAlbemarle says goodbye to long-time budget chief, and a Dean at the UVA School of Architecture takes a new jobSines v. Kessler verdict After a month-long trial, a jury has awarded more than $25 million in damages to the plaintiffs of a civil lawsuit against organizers and participants of the Unite the Right Rally in August 2017. The jury in Sines v. Kessler held that plaintiffs proved their civil conspiracy case under Virginia law as well as their claim that the defendants engaged in racial, religious, or ethnic harassment. Under the conspiracy count, twelve defendants must pay $500,000 each in damages and five organizations must pay a million each. On the harassment count, five individuals must $250,000 each to two plaintiffs $250,000 in compensatory damages. However, the jury did not reach a verdict on a count claiming the defendants “engaged in a conspiracy to commit racially motivated violence in violation” of federal code. (42 U.S. Code § 1985 - Conspiracy to interfere with civil rights) They also deadlocked on a second count on the defendants failure to prevent the conspiracy. The jury also found that James F. Fields owes damages for an assault and battery claim to specific victims of his deliberate decision to drive into a crowd of people on 4th Street SE on August 12, 2017, as well as another count for intentional infliction of emotional distress. Fields is currently serving time for a criminal conviction on those charges. Read the full verdict on Court Listener. Former City Manager sues CharlottesvilleAnother former Charlottesville official is seeking legal action against the City of Charlottesville. The Daily Progress reports that Dr. Tarron Richardson has filed a federal lawsuit against City Council and four individuals for entering into an agreement that prevented his ability to publicly critique the city after he left his position as City Manager in September 2020. “The First Amendment expressly forbids government bodies — including city councils — from engaging in viewpoint discrimination and retaliating against people based on the content of their speech,” reads the Nature of the Case section of the suit. Richardson wants a jury trial. The civil rights suit seeks damages as well as a declaration that a non-disparagement clause in his severance agreement is not enforceable. The suit also individually names City Councilors Heather Hill and Nikuyah Walker as well as City Attorney Lisa Robertson and former interim City Manager John Blair. The suit revisits Richardson’s tenure as city manager including his enactment of a policy to regulate use of city-issued credit cards and claims some Councilors sought to usurp his authority. “Because of ridiculous demands and the ongoing chicanery and obstructionism from Walker and Hill that would eventually prevent him from adequately performing his job, Dr. Richardson was constructively terminated,” the suit continues. The narrative claims that Councilors did not hold up their end of the severance agreement and disparaged him in social media posts and one interview that was later removed from a local media outlet. This past January, Dr. Richardson asked to publish an op-ed in the Daily Progress on race-relations in Charlottesville, but Robertson said the city would keep open the option of suing to compel Richardson to return the severance payment of $205,000. In all, the suit has four counts including violation of the First Amendment and breach of contract. He’s represented by the Haley Law Firm of Greenville, South Carolina, Keith B. French Law of Pearland, Texas, and Brand Law of Dallas. Earlier this month, former Police Chief RaShall Brackney announced she was filing a wrongful termination claim with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. That’s the first step toward a potential lawsuit. After Richardson left, Council appointed John Blair to serve as interim city manager before naming Chip Boyles this past January. Boyles resigned in October, six weeks after firing Brackney. Marc E. Woolley will become the next interim city manager on December 1. (view the suit on Court Listener)Richmond HUD awardThe agency that owns and operates public housing in Richmond has been awarded a planning grant for the revitalization of a property in Historic Jackson Word. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded $450,000 to the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority for revitalization of Gilpin Court as part of HUD’s Choice Neighborhoods Initiative. “Known as “the Harlem of the South," the neighborhood’s once vibrant main street was filled with thriving theaters, stores, and medical practices,” reads a description in a HUD press release. “The historical heart of the neighborhood was all but destroyed by its bifurcation for the construction of Interstate 95/64.” The intent is for the process to be led by residents, a process already underway at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. The CRHA had applied for a planning grant in 2010 but was not selected. The agency has not applied since. (list of 2010 applicants)Outgoing budget chief The government of Albemarle County is in transition with many long-time staffers having already retired or about to do so. One of them is Lori Allshouse, who served for many years leading up the county’s budget preparation each year. Nelsie Birch joined Albemarle’s executive leadership in the summer of 2020 as Chief Financial Officer and had this to say about Allshouse at the Board of Supervisors meeting on November 17, 2020.“She’s been the face of all things budget, all things capital projects, capital planning, five-year financial planning, financial policies,” Birch said.  Birch thanked Allshouse for preparing her and the rest of the staff for all of the various budget challenges that have come during the past two years. Allshouse has worked for the county since 2000. Her last job title was Assistant Chief Financial Officer for Policy and Partnerships in the finance and budget department. Her last presentation dealt with cost allocations for partner organizations in next fiscal year. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement and it’s time now for another subscriber-supported Public Service Announcement. Since the pandemic began, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society has been offering virtual presentations on all manner of topics. This Sunday at 4 p.m. they’ll present an important topic to the Association for the Study of African American Life and History and the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society. The ACHS is working on a Race and Sports initiative to tell the story of the “Desegregation of Central Virginia Public High School Athletics.” Dr. Shelly Murphy and other participants will update the Richmond groups on local efforts to collect stories from those who lived through the transition away from segregated schools, when institutions such as Jackson Burley High School vanished. This is part of the Sunday Sit-In series put on by the Richmond groups. Register online for the event, which begins at 4 p.m. this Sunday. (register)A-School moveAn associate dean at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture is moving on to take a position at Georgia Tech. Ellen Bassett will become the Chair of the College of Design at the Atlanta-based university. Bassett is currently the associate dean for research at the School of Architecture. She’s also served as the chair of the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and the director of the School of Architecture’s Real Estate Design and Development.*Service awardsTwo Charlottesville-area churches are among the recipients of Governor Ralph Northam’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards for 2021. Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church and Church of the Incarnation have been honored as Outstanding Faith-Based Organizations for their offering of free COVID-19 testing in their respective neighborhoods.“Located within highly populated neighborhoods, the majority of those tested have been members of the community’s most vulnerable populations who would otherwise be unable to receive free, consistent, and timely testing,” reads the press release for the awards. Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church is located in the city’s Ridge Street neighborhood and the Church of Incarnation is located off of Hillsdale Drive in Albemarle County. Albemarle wirelessAlbemarle County will review the rules by which cell towers are regulated. A previous Board of Supervisors adopted a policy in December 2000 which among other things requires tall towers to be as invisible to the eye as possible. Several supervisors since then have asked for the policy to be revisited to increase the availability of voice and data service throughout the county. The Board has authorized $100,000 for a study, and Development Process Manager Bill Fritz checked in elected officials on November 17. (2000 Wireless Policy)“Staff wants to ensure that we put out a [request for proposals] that meets the Board’s expectations for the scope of work in the review of these regulations,” Fritz said. “The policy has never been revisited and changes in the regulations have been largely limited to keep up with changing federal regulations, court decisions, and changes in technology.” Fritz said the consultant would be charged with taking potential changes through a community engagement process eventually resulting in a public hearing before the Board of Supervisors. Changes might include elimination of some permits having to go to the Board for approval.“It could include revisions to the ordinance to eliminate the need for special exceptions that have been routinely approved,” Fritz said. “It could include allowance of facilities at greater height or lesser design standard in areas of poor coverage. These are just some ideas.”Supervisor Diantha McKeel has been asking for the policy to be revisited for many years. She suggested going right to making changes in the county code. “The policy is so old that to be honest with you I would just start over with an ordinance,” McKeel said. “And let’s get to the meat of it and let’s not worry about this old outdated policy.” McKeel said the new policy needed to put more emphasis on what she said were the positive benefits of more cell towers, including public safety. Supervisor Ann Mallek said there are other ways to provide more voice and data service that would not require a wholesale change to the policy. “This is taking the mantra of the sales people that this is the way to achieve broadband,” Mallek said. “The county has made a dedicated investment and will continue to make a dedicated investment that broadband is delivered through fiber.” Supervisor Donna Price said the county should explore any methods to expand data service. “We need to update our policy and acknowledge the changes in technology as well as the needs, not the desires, but the needs for connectivity through all of the mechanisms that are available,” Price said. The request for proposals has not yet been issued. END NOTES:Thanks to Becky Calvert and Jennie More for their assistance in coming up with names for the day. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 22, 2021: Albemarle PC briefed on capital budget process; Another new owner for the Daily Progress?

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 19:05


It doesn’t seem at this moment like a holiday week, with so many items happening at public meetings before Thanksgiving. But, I’m grateful you are listening to this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and I’m hopeful that you’ll share it with others. Most people read the newsletter, but the secret is that each one is produced for audio, as my professional career in journalism began in radio. More than a quarter-century later, I’m glad to be bringing you information as often as I can and this is what I have for November 22, 2021. Let’s begin today with a Patreon-fueled shout-out! WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music and tomorrow night at 7 p.m.: the Romantic period. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! On today’s show:Albemarle’s Planning Commission gets an update on the county’s capital improvement budget for the next fiscal yearA hedge fund sets its sights on the Daily Progress and its parent company The EPA seeks to reestablish jurisdiction in the Waters of the United StatesAnd the University of Virginia seeks a tuition increase for undergraduatesPandemic updateAs the week begins, the seven-day average for new COVID cases is at 1,644 new cases a day and the percent positivity is at 5.9 percent. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 29 new cases today and a percent positivity of 5.5 percent. Three more fatalities have been reported since Friday for a total of 311 since the pandemic began. Fatal fireA fire in an apartment in the 1200 block of Carlton Avenue in the Belmont neighborhood on Sunday has killed one person, according to a release from the Charlottesville Fire Department. Crews began fighting the fire soon after arriving and then looked for anyone trapped. One adult was rescued but died soon after being taken to an unidentified hospital. Fire marshals are investigating the cause. This is the third fatality from a fire this year. Newspaper consolidation continuesThe Charlottesville Daily Progress and most other daily newspapers in Virginia might soon have a new owner. Alden Global Capital has announced in a letter that it will pay $24 a share for Lee Enterprises, thirty percent over the Friday’s closing stock price. “We believe that as a private company and part of our successful nationwide platforms, Lee would be in a stronger position to maximize its resources and realize strategic value that enhances its operations and supports its employees in their important work serving local communities,” reads the letter. Alden Global Capital is a New York based hedge fund that owns the Tribune Publishing Company and Media NewsGroup. Among their newspapers are the Chicago Tribune, the Denver Post, the Mercury News, and the New York Daily News. The company already owns six percent of Lee Enterprises. “Scale is critical for newspapers to ensure necessary staffing and in order to thrive in this challenging environment where print advertising continues to decline and back office operations and legacy public company functions remain bloated, thus depriving newsrooms of resources that are best used serving readers with relevant, trustworthy, and engaging content,” the letter continues. Lee Enterprises completed the purchase of the Daily Progress from BHMedia in March 2020. BHMedia is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, which purchased the Progress from Media General in May 2012. Media General purchased the paper from Thomas Worrell Jr. in 1995 as part of a $230 million deal. The Progress was first published on September 14, 1892. Other Virginia papers owned by Lee Enterprises include the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Lynchburg News Advance, and the Roanoke Times. Learn more about the potential takeover from Rick Edmonds on Poytner.org or at Virginia Business. The real question is - who gets the Daily Progress March? In April 2005, the Charlottesville Municipal Band unveiled a tune written by Nellysford composer Paul T. Richards. Check out my news story from that time!Crozet school redistrictingAn Albemarle committee appointed to study scenarios to alleviate overpopulation of elementary schools in the western part of the county has unveiled their recommendation. After meeting four times and holding two public comment sessions, the Crozet-Brownsville Redistricting Committee has suggested a total of 219 students be moved from Brownsville to Crozet Elementary at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year. By then, Albemarle should have completed a $21.25 million addition to that school which includes 16 new classrooms. (committee website)Water quality rulesTwo federal agencies that regulate land use as it relates to water quality have announced plans to reinstate a more robust definition of what constitutes the “waters of the United States.” Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers use that phrase as a basis for enforcement of the Clean Water Act of 1972 which among other things regulates industrial discharges into “navigable waters.” A rule change made in the previous presidential administration reduced the geographic scope of the definition, potentially limiting the jurisdiction  of the EPA and the Army Corp’s reach. The Southern Environmental Law Center and other conservation groups sued to overturn the rule. “The prior administration stripped protections under the Clean Water Act from countless streams, lakes and wetlands, leaving thousands of stream miles, many public recreational lakes, and millions of acres of wetlands without protections that have been in place for decades through every other administration and putting our communities and water supplies at risk,” reads a statement issued last week.The SELC argues that preserving wetlands can help preserve the ability of communities to reduce flooding and deal with extreme weather events. To learn more, visit the EPA’s Waters of the United States website. UVA tuitionThe Cavalier Daily reports that tuition at the University of Virginia could increase between 3.5 percent and 4.9 percent in the each of the next two academic years. That’s according to two representatives from the UVA Finance office who spoke to Student Council last week. Public comment will be taken at a forum on December 2 followed by a vote by the Board of Visitors at their meeting a week later. Tuition was frozen for the current academic year. For a sense of scale, the current tuition for most undergraduate student in the College of Arts and Sciences is $14,188 for a Virginia resident and $48,036 for an out-of-state resident. Third-year students pay slightly higher. First-year engineering students from Virginia pay $22,566 for a year’s tuition, with non-Virginians paying $56,730. These figures don’t include fees. Take a look at the UVA website to learn more about how much students are charged for their education. To learn more about the proposed increase, read Eileen Powell’s article in the Cavalier Daily. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Let’s have two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Albemarle Planning Commission’s capital budget briefingTomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m., an advisory committee appointed to help Albemarle County shape its capital improvement program budget for the next fiscal year will hold its first meeting. Last week, the seven-member Planning Commission got an overview including a reminder that last year was very different. (watch the meeting)“Last year when we were putting together the FY22 budget, there was no [capital improvement program],” said Andy Bowman, the chief of budget in the Finance and Budget office. “The county was in the middle of the pandemic and there was a tremendous amount of uncertainty and really at that time it was decided instead of focusing on a long-range picture, to focus on the impacts of the pandemic and what might be able to be unpaused from a number of projects that were paused at the start of the pandemic.”Bowman said the economy has rebounded much better than initially anticipated with outlooks becoming more favorable with each passing month. As the FY23 budget approaches, Bowman said the county is not immune to inflationary pressure, with bids for some capital projects coming in higher than budgeted. The process starts with a review of what’s currently in the works.“We have a capital program currently underway, before we even start anything from 2023 to 2027, of around $147 million for about 65 projects,” Bowman said. “Of that $147 million, $91 million has been appropriated in the last eleven months now, from what was unpaused in January which included the expansion at Crozet Elementary.” Bowman noted that over the course of the next five years, the county will adopt a new Comprehensive Plan and the Board of Supervisors will update their strategic plan. Both documents as well as the School Board’s strategic plan will guide future decisions on capital spending. Bowman said the focus this cycle will be on the immediate year to give flexibility on future needs. The CIP advisory committee consists of Supervisors Bea LaPisto-Kirtley and Donna Price, School Board members Kate Acuff and Jonno Alcaro, and former Planning Commissioners Bruce Dotson.and Cal Morris. “They’re charged to do a few things,” Bowman said. “First they will review and evaluate a proposal that is recommended by staff as a starting point and then the CIP committee will sort of make a recommendation and modify that starting point.” Bowman said there will be additional revenue from the cigarette tax and potential revenue from a tax on plastic bags. The county also refinanced its debt earlier this year.“Given the current market we were able to issue a large amount of [borrowed proceeds] at low interest rates and that will create some capacity that didn’t exist in the prior plan prior to the pandemic,” Bowman said Bowman said staff is also reviewing through the details of the American Rescue Plan Act to see how that funds can be used to leverage local dollars capital spending. In August, Supervisors used $4.5 million in federal COVID-relief funds for broadband expansion. One of the biggest items in the capital improvement program is the need for school maintenance and expansion. Rosalyn Schmitt is the chief operating officer of Albemarle County Public Schools. She briefed the Planning Commission on the school’s strategic plan.“Getting the right resources to educators and students for their teaching and learning is key to our success,” Schmitt said The school system has a Long-Range Planning Advisory Committee and their most recent recommendations were published on September 9, 2021. The eleven projects have a cumulative cost estimate of $196 million, with most of the projects containing either word “renovations” or “capacity.”“Adequate capacity continues to be a need for the school division,” Schmitt said. “This is supported by the ten-year enrollment projections and reinforced by both the recently completed development and student yield analysis, and a thirty-year population forecast.”  One item is $40 million for another elementary school in the northern feeder pattern and another would be to purchase land for the western feeder pattern. “As these schools all reach a saturation point where expansion is no longer practical, we recommend a strategy for land acquisition and the construction of new facilities,” Schmitt said. “I think for the first time in a long time you’ll see several new schools on this list.” There’s also a recommendation to improve air quality within schools. There is a possibility that federal ARPA funding could be used for that purpose. “That is a comprehensive program around mechanical improvements that there is some opportunity to have some matching funds from ARPA funding that we are pursuing,” Schmitt said. Luis Carrazana is the associate architect of the University of Virginia and a non-voting member of the Albemarle Planning Commission. He noted that the recent adoption of the Crozet Master Plan update called for capital infrastructure, as did the relatively recent update of the Pantops Master Plan and adoption of the Rio Small Area Plan. “And so I’m wondering how we’re looking at those approved master plans with the CIP and putting the same rigor as we seem to be doing with the School Board,” Carrazana said. Planning Director Charles Rapp said implementation of many projects in the master plans are dependent on lining up ideas with funding opportunities.“A lot of those infrastructure related improvements, we identify them in these master plans or small area plans or corridor studies and that’s often the first phase of identifying a project,” Rapp said. The next day, Bowman gave a similar presentation to the Board of Supervisors. This one has more specifics about the developing budget. (watch the presentation)Supervisors were reminded that there is a significant “positive variance” from the FY21 budget of more than $13 million that can be used for one-time money.“We are proposing, not really for discussion today but this will come back on December 15, to invest some of the one-time fiscal year 21 funding into the economic development fund,” Bowman said. At their December 15 meeting, the Board will also be asked for direction on whether to explore tax relief programs. They’ll also be given a review of what additional revenue sources could be pursued in Richmond.The Board of Supervisors will have a work session on December 1 related to the way the FY23 budget will be developed. Another change this year is the December release of Albemarle’s property assessments for 2022. That will be presented to the Board of Supervisors on December 15, a month earlier than usual. See also: Albemarle may close FY21 with $13.2M in one-time money, November 9, 2021Unsolicited fact of the dayFinally today, sometimes there are pieces of information I come across during my reporting, or facts that people tell me that don’t quite make their way into a news story. These facts are not entirely random, but they may seem that way.First up, the commercial portions of the Stonefield development have paid a total of $841,955 in connection fees to the Albemarle County Service Authority for water and sewer between 2012 and 2020. That’s according to information provided to me by Gary O’Connell, the director of the ACSA. That figure does not include residential connections. Before anyone can connect to water and sewer in Albemarle, they have to pay a hefty connection fee. For instance, for one commercial unit on Bond Street to connect in 2021, they had to pay $14,280 for water and $13,505 for sewer. Both of these fees include a portion paid to the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority to cover the cost of capital projects to expand capacity. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Teen Christian Podcast (TCP)
You are not alone.

Teen Christian Podcast (TCP)

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 22:50


You are not alone! Join us in another episode of TCP as we talk about some more relatable subjects!! Bible- Ruth 1 Instagram- teenchristianpodcast Christmas gift idea for the coffee lover- Milk Frother!!! --- Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/tcpp/message

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 16, 2021: Greystar presents 490-unit Old Ivy Residences to Places29-Hydraulic group; Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer to merge

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 17:04


Let’s start today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!On today’s show:Charlottesville City Council adopts a Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map after a long public process and long public hearing President Biden signs an infrastructure bill Two area breweries have announced a merger The Places29-Hydraulic group gets the latest on 490 units planned for Old Ivy Road After nearly five years of review, Charlottesville City Council has adopted a Comprehensive Plan and a Future Land Use Map intended to increase the number of housing units within city limits. Council’s vote came after a long public hearing that came after a work session held in the early afternoon where Council also discussed economic development and population trends. The public hearing ended at 10:44 p.m. and Council then discussed the matter for another hour before voting to adopt. Up next will be the rewrite of the zoning code to eliminate legislative barriers to new residential density. I’ll have more on the adoption of the plan and what is in it in an upcoming edition of the newsletter. Take a look at the adopted Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map here. Two breweries in the area have announced a merger via Facebook post. Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer will join operations in a partnership that will see Hunter Smith remain as the company’s CEO. One of Reason’s founders, Jeff Railenau, will become the Chief Financial Officer. Josh Skinner of Champion will become the Head Brewer and Reason’s Mark Fulton will become Director of Brewing Operations. Champion will relocate its production operations from a facility in the Woolen Mills on Broadway Street to Reason’s headquarters at Seminole Place on U.S. 29. “We’re excited to announce this partnership with our good friends and esteemed beer minds across town that will bring together two skilled and like-minded teams to streamline operations under one roof,” reads a statement on Champion’s Facebook page.President Joe Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will likely change the landscape for the way all kinds of projects in Virginia and the Charlottesville area are funded. “This law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges in the past 70 years,” Biden said. “It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years. And in public transit ever.” The bill provides direct funding to specific areas across the entire country. (details from the White House)$55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water, eliminating lead pipes and cleaning up PFAS chemicals $21 billion in funding to remediate Superfund sites in rural and urban communities$66 billion for public transit, including vehicle replacement from fossil-fuel burning to zero emissions vehicles$5 billion specifically to purchase clean school buses$17 billion to modernize ports and update machinery to reduce congestion and emissions$25 billion for airports including efforts to drive electrification and a transition to other low-carbon technologiesOver $50 billion in investments to protect against drought, heat waves, wildfires and floodsThe legislation passed the U.S. Senate on a 69-30 vote and the U.S. House on a 221 to 201 vote. Take a look at the full bill here. “The bill I’m about to sign into law is proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver results,” Biden said. There’s also funding to increase internet access.“This law is going to make high-speed Internet affordable and everywhere, everywhere in America,” Biden said “Urban, suburban, rural, and great jobs laying down those broadband lines.” Environmental groups in Virginia are celebrating the signing of the infrastructure bill, which will provide an additional $238 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Program according to a statement from the Choose Clean Water Coalition.“These additional funds will help reduce pollution in the Bay and its waterways, especially as we approach the 2025 deadline to have all pollution reduction practices in place as part of the Bay's restoration effort,” said Coalition Director Kristin Reilly. Reilly refers to something called the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, a framework to reduce pollution across all of the watersheds that feed into the Bay, including the Rapidan, Rivanna, and James Rivers. Investments have been made over the years, including millions to upgrade the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that makes it to the Bay, creating dead zones with no oxygen. The bill has also been celebrated by the Virginia Transit Association, who sent out a release pointing out that the bill contains $102 billion nationwide in funding for passenger and freight rail, or a 592 percent increase over usual funding levels. That could include $1.4 billion for Virginia. “Transit will receive about $1.3 billion in formula funding over the next five years, a 34 percent increase over normal funding levels,” said Danny Plaugher, the Deputy Director of the Virginia Transit Association and the Executive Director of Virginians for HighSpeed Rail. “The Charlottesville area will receive about an extra million a year over that period. Virginia will also be competitive on several expanded transit and rail grant programs which could invest billions into our transportation network."All of Virginia’s Democratic Representatives in Congress voted for the bill, whereas all of Virginia’s Republican Representatives voted against it. But Biden said there was support from industry. “This law was supported by business groups — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the National Association of Manufacturers; the Business Roundtable, representing 200 of the largest corporations in America and other top businesses,” Biden said.Local governments are watching closely to see what the bill may mean for their bottom line. “Albemarle County will closely monitor avenues for local governments to apply for funding to advance our strategic infrastructure needs as guidance becomes available from the federal and state governments,” said Emily Kilroy, director of Communications and Public Engagement for Albemarle. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement.  Time for another Patreon-fueled shout-out! Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350A proposed rezoning requested by Greystar Development for about 36 acres of land off of Old Ivy Road will be slightly smaller than the 525 units requested in the first application, but it will still be fairly substantial. “Our current plan is to have about 490 units,” said Valerie Long, an attorney with Williams Mullen. “We’re still under 20 dwelling units per acre so well within the range that’s permitted. The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee got a first look at the Old Ivy Residences project, which is currently not scheduled for a public hearing before the Planning Commission. (watch the meeting)The land is split between five parcels, with three of them already zoned for 15 units per acre. “R-15 residential zoning allows for basically any type of residential development whether its single family detached, single-family attached, or multifamily apartments,” said county planner Cameron Langille. One parcel allows for ten units per acre, and the other is currently zoned for one unit per acre. The application is to make them all R-15. A previous rezoning approved by the Board of Supervisors in 1985 has a condition that states that the Old Ivy Road corridor needs to have been upgraded to a certain performance level before development can begin. “The applicant is asking for us to evaluate that and make a recommendation as to whether corridor has been improved to that extent,” Langille said. The board also approved a rezoning in 1996 for one of the parcels that restricts certain uses. Langille said the applicant wants the Board to drop that condition. There’s also a request to disturb slopes which involves changing their classification from preserved to managed. The county’s Comprehensive Plan designated three of the parcels as urban density residential, which allows anywhere between 6 units and 36 units per acre. Land along the U.S. 250 Bypass is designated as parks space and currently is the home of a section of the Rivanna Trail. Greystar officials said that would continue. Staff has conducted one review and the developer is working through the various questions from staff. John Clarkson is a managing director with Greystar Development, a national developer with projects all across the United States of America. “There are opportunities in University towns that lack housing opportunities, very important housing opportunities to provide that level of affordability to make those communities sustainable over the long term,” Clarkson said. Dan Nickerson, a development senior associate with Greystar, is a graduate of the nearby Darden School.“The number one thing we love about this site is the natural landscape and we’ve done the best job we could and we think we’ve done a really good job preserving the landscape while enabling the density that the Comp Plan allows,” Nickerson said. Old Ivy Road is a two-lane road that has a one-way underpass near its eastern intersection with Ivy Road without a sidewalk or bike lane. The western intersection as well as a two-lane bridge over the bypass are also constraints. Long acknowledged that traffic congestion is an issue.“Obviously those issues are existing, have been growing and increasing over the past few decades, but Greystar is committed to continue looking at those challenges and collaborating with [the Virginia Department of Transportation] and the county planning staff as appropriate to work toward identifying solutions,” Long said. Long said Greystar would be willing to pay a “proportional amount” for some of those solutions. VDOT’s Six-Year Improvement program includes funds for a $3 million replacement of the bridge over U.S. 250, but the description currently states it will be built with no additional capacity. Preliminary engineering is underway now with construction scheduled for Fiscal Year 2024. Long said county officials have been able to at least carve out some improvements for the project.“They were able to include in that project design that there will be a pedestrian lane on the new bridge,” Long said. Members of the CAC and the public had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Sally Thomas served four terms on the Board of Supervisors and lives next door in the University Village apartment building. “We don’t oppose having neighbors and we are delighted that they are neighbors that care about the environment,” Thomas said. “We also do have a lovely old stand of trees, some over 100 years old, and we want to try to preserve and protect those.” Thomas said University Village wants to make sure there are pathways that safe and attractive and avoid the trees. Kathleen Jump of Huntington Village complex said she likes to walk, but said this section of Albemarle is landlocked with many obstacles for pedestrians. “The eastern bridge is a concern and the pedestrians at that end of Old Ivy Road put their lives in their hands when they cross under that bridge,” Jump said.Kevin McDermott is a chief of planning in Albemarle who specializes in transportation. “We have been evaluating both ends of Old Ivy Road as Valerie mentioned also, very recently, to try to see if there are options for improving them,” McDermott said. “Nothing has jumped out as an easy solution right now. Trying to expand that underpass is going to be extremely expensive.” McDermott said VDOT is working with a consultant to look at both ends of the road to come up with solutions, possibly to inform a Smart Scale application for next year. Taylor Ahlgren just moved into Huntington Village. He wants the development to do as much as it can to discourage vehicular travel. Here’s what he would like to see.“Supporting future residents to stay away from using a car and using alternative means of transportation,” Ahlgren said. The project currently does not have a public meeting scheduled with the Planning Commission. Stay tuned. Also nearby is the Ivy Garden complex, which the University of Virginia will be redeveloped as a mixed-use community. The UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee got a briefing on that project in June. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Talkin'Conversation
TCP 066 - Guap

Talkin'Conversation

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 39:57


TalkinConversation by Rich back with another podcast with guap. He has a clothing brand rackchasers.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 15, 2021: A look at 'missing middle housing' and remediation work at Acme Visible Records in Crozet

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 12:53


WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music and tomorrow night at 7 p.m.: Classical. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! On today’s show:The Village of Rivanna CAC gets an update on what middle missing housing is A recap of what’s been dropped off at solid waste centers operated by one of the Rivanna authorities Work takes places this work to help remediate an industrial waste site in CrozetLet’s begin the week with a status report on the pandemic. The Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day average of 1,305 cases a day with 871 reported this morning. The percent positivity is at 5.4 percent, slightly up from 5.3 on Friday. There are 32 new cases in the Blue Ridge Health District and the percent positivity is at 4.7 percent. There have been five new deaths reported in the District since Friday.Belmont Bridge updateThe first major traffic shift of the Belmont Bridge is underway. All vehicular traffic will be routed to the southbound portion of the bridge, according to a project update sent out by the city of Charlottesville. New temporary traffic signals have been installed to control the new alignment. Construction got underway this year after many years of planning. To learn more, visit the city’s website.General Assembly 2022The two major parties have nominated their leaders for the next session of the House of Delegates. Republicans have nominated Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) as Speaker of the House and Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-1) as House Majority Leader. Republicans picked up five seats in the November 2 election to have a 52 to 48 edge when the General Assembly convenes on January 12. (press release)Current Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) has been nominated as House Minority Leader. Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46) will serve as Chair of the Democratic Caucus. (press release)Remediating AcmeCrews are working in Crozet this month at the site of the former Acme Visible Records. The company built storage and retrieval equipment for documents from 1954 until approximately 2001. During that time, they directed wastewater into a lagoon that contained multiple pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit in September 2020 to the Wilson Jones Company to mitigate the harm based on a 2019 status report from the Virginia Department of Environmental quality. All of the buildings have been removed. (permit) (basis)Representatives of the company performing the mitigation sent an update the Crozet Community Association announcing that groundwater samples will be taken between November 10 and November 19. There are also plans this week to dig two wells to inject new chemicals into hazardous areas. “The wells will be installed to facilitate the completion of a pilot study for the injection of chemical oxidants which will treat the chlorinated solvent impacts in groundwater at the facility,” reads the report from a public relations company working with the Wilson Jones Company. As part of the permit, the land can never be used for residential purposes, schools, playgrounds, or daycare. Solid waste drop-off reportThe Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s Board of Directors meets for the final time of 2021 tomorrow. The packet contains data about activity at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center and McIntire Recycling Center, both of which process all manner of recycling and solid waste. As of late September, 42 containers of paint cans have been shipped out of the facility. “Each container holds about 4,200 one-gallon paint cans,” reads an operations report. “Therefore, we have shipped about 176,400 paint cans since the program began in August 2016.”Leftover latex paint is re-processed back into commercial paint and oil-based paints are converted into fuel. Both September and October were busy months for the compostable food waste collection at the McIntire center, with over 8 tons being dropped off in each month. Commercial customers pay $178 a ton for disposal and residents are not charged. Over six hundred people participated in a Household Hazardous Waste Day held over two days in late September. Albemarle residents dropped off 22,640 pounds of furniture and mattresses on October 2, and Charlottesville residents disposed of 3,380 pounds. On October 9 the Ivy MUC accepted appliances and Albemarle residents parted with 6,800 pounds and 160 freon units. Charlottesville residents dropped off 1,400 pounds and 30 freon units. On October 16, unwanted tires had their turn and nearly 49 tons were processed for recycling. The RSWA continues to work through a permit modification with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to up the tonnage allowed at the Ivy MUC from 300 tons a day to 450 tons a day. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Interested in learning more about the Ancestral Monacan Homelands in Albemarle and Charlottesville along the Seminole Trail on which our 21st century communities have been built Interested in learning how to document the history, present, and future? Tomorrow the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society will hold a two-part event  in-person at Northside Library beginning at 5 p.m. First, UVA Professor of Anthropology Jeffrey Hantman will discuss his work, which includes which includes archaeology and history of the Monacan people, now with a new emphasis on how the Monacans were targeted by the eugenics movement. That will be followed at 6 p.m. with a workshop on cvillepedia, a collaborative encyclopedia. There will be a tutorial and I’ll be on hand to demonstrate how I use the site to keep the community informed. Professor Hantman’s talk will also be available through Zoom. Visit jmrl.org to learn more and to register for both programs. Missing MiddleFinally today, on Thursday, the 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will discuss an 85-unit rezoning that developers say will provide “missing middle housing” in the form of triplexes, duplexes, and multifamily units. But what is missing middle? Tori Kanellopoulos is a senior planner with the county. “Missing middle housing is housing that is between single-family detached housing and larger apartments and is intended to be compatible and scale and form with existing single-family attached,” Kanellopoulos said. Kannellopoulos said these units tend be smaller and are more affordable because the cost of land is spread across multiple units. “This is a concept that has gained a lot of attention recently though many of these housing types have existed for decades or longer and actually used to be permitted through many localities,” Kannellopoulos said. “Now localities are relegalizing these units by updating their zoning ordinances.” In July, Albemarle Supervisors adopted the Housing Albemarle plan, which seeks to encourage the development of more units with the hope that greater inventory will help with affordability. Renters and morgage-holders who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs are considered distressed. That’s in part because Albemarle is an affluent community with a high median income. “Median home values in the county are about $138,000 higher than the U.S. median and about $83,000 higher than the Virginia median,” Kannellopoulos said. “Forty-two percent of renter households and 18 percent of homeowner households in the county are cost-burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30 percent of their gross income toward housing.”The situation is perhaps worse when other factors are taken into consideration such as the cost of transportation, child care, health, and food. To encourage creation of more of these housing types, planners created the Middle Density Residential land use category and debuted this in the Crozet master plan, over the opposition of some on the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. “The category recommends a density of 6-12 units per acre with up to 18 units per acre by meeting middle density housing types or affordability criteria beyond baseline housing requirements,” Kannellopoulos said. Most members of the Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee were opposed to the rezoning of Breezy Hill for 80 units on about 76 acres due to it being technically above one unit per acre. VORCAC Chair Dennis Odinov expressed skepticism that allowing more density would translate to more affordable prices. “These things have good intentions but in reality a lot of times they just over a period of time they just don’t work,” Odinov said. “That’s my concern. I’m no oracle and I may be wrong but that’s my experience and what I’ve seen. I’ve lived a lot of different places.” Odinov wanted to hear more about why many in Crozet were opposed to the concept. Details about how this might be implemented can be seen in the appendix of the Crozet Master Plan. Take a look beginning on page 72 of the .PDFSpecial announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 13, 2021: Village of Rivanna group debriefs after approval of Breezy Hill rezoning; Habitat files second phase for Southwood Rezoning

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2021 17:24


In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, are you a patron of the James Madison Regional Library system who suffers from a plague of library fines? If so, for the next week you can pay off your balance with a food donation that will go to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. To participate in the Food for Fines program, bring a non-perishable item to the front desk and get a dollar off. Do note this does not apply to missing or damaged items. Patrons who are in better standing than me are also welcome to donate an item or many items. For more information, visit jmrl.org. Visit here for a list of the most wanted itemsOn today’s show: A look at several upcoming developments in Albemarle County including the second phase for Southwood and a three-story self storage building in Crozet  More than 83 percent of adult Virginians are fully vaccinatedThe Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee debriefs after a rezoning vote did not go the way members wantedGreyhound has a new owner, and Virginia launches bus service from far Southwest Virginia to the nation’s capital On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that 83 percent of the adult population in Virginia is now fully vaccinated. Also on Friday, the Virginia Department of Health reported the percent positivity dropped to 5.3 percent, on a day when the seven-day average for new cases is 1,328. But there are hotspots emerging across the country. Vermont is experiencing its worst surge yet, with a record 595 cases on Thursday and 505 cases on Friday according to the website VTDigger.Dr. Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, said colder parts of the country are beginning to see the increase. “Just as we’re entering the cold and flu season, we’re also entering the season where we may see increased transmission of COVID just because we’re going into the winter months,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said COVID still represents a significant risk and he recommended people continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks and Dr. Sifri emphasized caution.“One thing I’d want to emphasize is the importance of boosters for people who are vulnerable,” Dr. Sifri said. In the Blue Ridge Health District, ten percent of children between 5 and 11 have been vaccinated during the first week a reduced Pfizer dose has been available.The Virginia Supreme Court has rejected three Republican nominees to serve as Special Masters in the next phase of the redistricting process. In October, a 16-member redistricting commission failed to reach consensus on maps for legislative districts for both the General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Senate Democratic Leader Richard Saslaw petitioned the Court to disqualify the three Republican nominees, claiming conflicts of interest due to their previous work on creating maps.The Virginia Supreme Court agreed.“The Court intends to appoint Special Masters who are qualified and do not have a conflict of interest,” reads a November 12 letter from Chief Justice Donald Lemons. “Although the Special Master candidates are to be nominated by legislative leaders of a particular party, the nominees… will serve as Officers of the Court in a quasi-judicial capacity.”Justice Lemons said that nominees must not consult with political parties once they have been appointed. One of the Republican nominees, Thomas M. Bryan, had been hired by the Republican Party of Virginia as a consultant on using 2020 U.S. Census data for redistricting. That information had not been disclosed in the nominating materials. Republicans have until Monday at 5 p.m. to submit three new names, and Democrats are being asked to submit one more name due to a potential issue with one of their three nominees. For more information, visit the Supreme Court’s website. The national bus company Greyhound has been purchased by a German firm called FlixMobility. They operate a service called Flixbus which operates in 36 countries in addition to the United States. Greyhound serves 2,400 stops across the country, and has a ridership of 16 million passengers. “Buses as a sustainable and accessible alternative are now more important than ever,” reads an October 21, 2021 press release.  “Fluctuations in the cost of gas, the recent escalation of car prices, and climate change concerns have increased the interest of many consumers in finding alternatives to individual car usage.” For $46 million cash and $32 million in future payments, Flixmobility will now own the Greyhound name and the bus fleet, but not any real estate or stops. Flixbus has been running buses in U.S. since 2018. Meanwhile, on Monday the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will launch the Highland Rhythms service between Bristol and Washington D.C. This is the fourth Virginia Breeze intrastate route to be funded by the state agency, which will be operated by Megabus. A ceremony was held this morning at the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol (read more in the Bristol Herald-Courier)Time now to take a look at recent land use applications in Albemarle County.First, a site development plan has been submitted for a new Chipotle restaurant to be located in Hollymead Town Center. Before the pandemic, there would be site plan review meetings for the public to comment, but those have not been held. However, the Albemarle officials are looking to begin to resume the public process. “These projects are ‘by-right’, which means that if the proposed plans meet the minimum requirements of the County’s zoning, site plan, or subdivision ordinances, they must be approved,” reads the notice for this application. (take a look)A TGI Friday’s Restaurant used to operate on the site and the existing building will be replaced and a drive-through window will be installed in the new building. Another site plan has been filed for a three-story self-storage facility at the intersection of Brownsville Road, Route 240, and Rockfish Gap Turnpike (U.S. 250).  The zoning on the site is Highway Commercial and a gas station used to operate on the site. That building and a couple of others will be removed to make way for the structure. (take a look)Southwood Phase 2In October, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville filed the second phase of their rezoning for the redevelopment of the Southwood Mobile Home Park. The rezoning would amend the first phase to add 93.32 acres from R-2 to the Neighborhood Model District. “Phase 2 is planned within the project's existing mobile home park where development will occur in phases so as to limit the impact to the existing residents,” reads the narrative. “The resident planners who designed and wrote the Code of Development for Phase I has provided input in this next phase that the form, density, and uses established with Phase I should continue into Phase 2.”This phase of redevelopment would include up to 1,000 housing units in a mix of single-family houses, duplexes, townhomes, and apartment buildings. There would also be another 60,000 square feet of non-residential space. (read the Code of Development)Several blocks in phase one are under construction. *You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement, and time now for another subscriber-supported public service announcement. Are you using too many chemicals in your yard and garden? Would you like to learn more about alternatives? The Piedmont Master Gardeners will a free online information session on the topic Monday November 15 at 3 p.m.  Participants will learn how to keep their landscapes safe and healthy using Integrated Pest Management. The Center at Belvedere will host the session, which carries the name “Why and How to Reduce Chemical Use in your Yard and Garden.” Learn more and register at thecentercville.org.  Albemarle County staff have begun work on the update of the Comprehensive Plan with a public kick-off expected sometime in January. A major aspect of the current plan is a growth management policy which designates specific areas for density. This plan was last updated in 2015 and since then Supervisors have adopted several other policies, such as the Housing Albemarle plan.“To accommodate this growth, the County will need to add approximately 11,750 new units to our housing stock over the next 20 years,” reads Objective 1 of the plan, which was adopted by Supervisors in July. “The county must support the development of an additional 2,719 units to fully accommodate projected household growth through 2040.” One of the growth areas is the Village of Rivanna and their Community Advisory Committee met on November 8. Most of its members are not happy with the Board of Supervisors 4-2 vote in October for a rezoning from rural area to R-1 for an 80-unit single-family neighborhood called Breezy Hill. (staff report) (Village of Rivanna Master Plan) (watch the meeting)Dennis Odinov is the group’s chair. “We all know how it turned out and we may be disappointed but what are lessons learned?” Odinov said. “Are there any lessons learned from this?” Members of the group thanked Supervisor Donna Price for her against the rezoning. Price was joined by Supervisor Ann Mallek. Southern Development had initially requested 200 units, but scaled back due to community opposition. The Village of Rivanna Master Plan designated the land as Neighborhood Density Residential, and a map describes that as up to three dwelling units per acre. Members of the CAC maintained the plan only allows one dwelling unit per acre. Neal Means said pressure from the group helped get the number to 80 but he does not have a positive view of Southern Development. “It just goes to show you that the developers really don’t care about the master plan at all and the arguments they made much later about it should be one unit per gross acre and not net, is just an argument,” Means said. “They’re going to try to get as much as they can any time they want, no matter what the master plan says.”Gross density is a simple calculation of the number of units divided by the size of the land. Net density subtracts from the size of the land the square footage that would be used for infrastructure or open space. In the case of Breezy Hill, the gross density was 1 unit per acre, but the net density was 1.4 per acres. To Means, that means the system is broken. “I don’t think the county’s master planning process is functioning well,” Means said. “I think it’s dysfunctional and it needs to be revisited.” Ultimately, elected officials make their decisions based on interpretation of master plans. Odinov said the current version of the plan was not clear enough to state the wishes of the community. “We have no language in the master plan that says one unit per acre, net,” Odinov said “We don’t say it in the verbiage.” The master plan also states that no new developments should be approved until specific transportation projects are built on U.S. 250. However such a directive is not permissible under Virginia law. In Virginia, localities cannot specifically ask for infrastructure to be built in exchange for a rezoning, but developers can volunteer to pay for projects in something called a proffer. “I thought it was a slap in the face,” said Paula Pagonakis. “I took it as a slap in the face when the developer said he could not provide any proffers because he would not get enough profit out of the project. I don’t know how much impact that had on the vote by the Supervisors but I felt a bit insulted.”In Charlottesville, Southern Development has agreed to contribute nearly $3 million upfront for the creation of a sidewalk on Stribling Avenue, a 170 units project on about 12 acres. If Council approves the rezoning, Southern Development will be paid back through the incremental revenue generated.Supervisor Donna Price voted against the rezoning but said the community pressure to reduce Breezy Hill’s scope resulted in a more palatable project. “Did we achieve everything?” Price asked. “No. But we came out I think a whole better strategically than if it had been at 160 or 130.”Price said she supported increased density in Crozet and voted for the 332-unit RST Residences near Forest Lakes. “Highly dense, but it is also right on a six-lane highway up there,” Price said. “I’ve tried to maintain a consistency of if you get to the periphery of development areas it should be less developed and as you move more toward the center of development it should be  more highly developed and more dense.” An update of the Village of Master Plan is not currently scheduled, according to county planner Tori Kanellopoulos. “It would need to be on the Community Development work program and we do have the Comprehensive Plan update that just started,” Kanellopoulos said. “That will take up a significant amount of resources.”I’ll have a report from the Crozet Community Advisory Committee in an upcoming edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 10, 2021: Southern Development agrees to contribute $900K more to Stribling sidewalk, PC recommends rezoning approval

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 13:44


Happy Not-Really-Pie Day! November 10 is the 314th day of the year, which is an association that many have not yet made. There have been 241 days since the most recent March 14, which many so associate with a mathematical constant, and there are 124 days until the next 3/14. What does it all mean? Are these correlations, causations, or just random bits of trivia? And who gets to decide? None of this is relevant to the calculus of Charlottesville Community Engagement, but all of it is at least worth puzzling out.On today’s show:Charlottesville Planning Commission recommends rezoning for 170 units in Fry’s Spring neighborhood, conditioned on a deal between the city and Southern Development to build a sidewalkBrian Wheeler is leaving as Charlottesville’s Communications Director Fire marshals determine a deadly house fire in July was accidental Highlights from November’s meeting of the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. The city now has another high-level vacancy. Several media outlets are reporting that Brian Wheeler will leave his position as Communications Director later this month on November 19. Wheeler said the city has no further comment on his departure. There is currently no city manager, but Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders are still in office and will remain so after Interim City Manager Marc Woolley begins work on December 1. In recent months, both the city’s parks director and public works director have left. The assistant economic development director is also leaving the city to take a job in the private sector. In a follow-up, Wheeler said offers are being made this week for parks, public works, and human resources. Charlottesville is not alone in job turnover. The Deputy Clerk of Virginia Beach has resigned, citing “toxic energy” within city government. That’s according to a report on WVEC. Consumer prices in the United States rose 0.9 percent in October. That brings the increase over the past year to 6.2 percent. That’s the largest yearly increase since November 1990. “The monthly all items seasonally adjusted increase was broad-based, with increases in the indexes for energy, shelter, food, used cars and trucks, and new vehicles among the larger contributors,” reads the press release that accompanied today’s numbers. The cost of energy rose 4.8 percent, with gasoline increasing 6.1 percent. Energy costs are up 30 percent over the past 12 months, and food costs are up 5.3 percent. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has launched a website with information related to his transition to become the 74th chief executive of Virginia. If you’re interested in a position in the next government, this is where you would go to apply. The website is also where to go for information about the inauguration. The Charlottesville Fire Department has found that a fire this summer in July at a home in the 1000 block of Cherry Avenue was accidental. The fire on July 21 killed two people and critically injured a third. Fire marshals found that flames started in an unoccupied bedroom and the presence of home oxygen cylinders contributed to the fire’s intensity. “Every family should have a home escape plan with a specific meeting place outside,” reads the press release. “Practicing your family's plan will ensure that everyone evacuates your home and reunites at the designated meeting place during a fire emergency.”The two fatalities are the first in Charlottesville since a fire in the summer of 2010. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District will mark its 50th anniversary next year. The public entity’s creation stemmed out of reform in Virginia. David Blount is the deputy director of the TJPDC and he explained the passage of the Regional Cooperation Act in 1968.  (state code)“[Planning District Commissions] and the framework for them is laid out in state code,” Blount said. “It’s encouraging and facilitating not only that local government cooperation, but also providing that link between the state and localities for addressing issues on a regional basis.” TJPDC formed later than other similar bodies. The body last met on November 4. Executive Director Christine Jacobs said the agency has been awarded $2 million in funding from the Virginia Housing Development Authority to distribute to groups who can build affordable housing units. “We have cast a very wide net to make sure we are reaching out to potential public, nonprofit, private developers to submit proofs of concept so that we can see what types of projects are eligible under this funding,” Jacobs said. Applications are due on November 29 and the application can be found on the TJPDC website.The TJPDC continues to oversee the creation of a “regional transit vision” with a meeting scheduled for November 18. “We want to make sure we get as much as the public’s voice in that regional transit vision plan as possible,” Jacobs saidTo add your voice, there are two surveys you can fill out before participating in that November 18 meeting. (surveys are here)November RoundtableTJPDC meetings offer the opportunity for members to share what it happening in their localities. Yesterday I reported on Albemarle’s $13.2 million unaudited surplus from fiscal year 2021. Except, Albemarle doesn’t call it that. Here’s Supervisor Donna Price. “We don’t really see it as a surplus, but we do see it as a positive variance and that’s really a difference there because when that pandemic first hit we cut back on our spending substantially,” Price said (cut bite).The chair of the TJPDC Board of Commissioners is Jesse Rutherford, recently re-elected to another term on the Nelson County Board of Supervisors. He appreciated Price’s distinction. “You taught me something that I’m going to bring with me to my tax accountant,” Rutherford said. “Positive variance. I’m already texting my account and we’re getting rid of the word net income.” City Planning Commissioner Rory Stolzenberg noted that the seven member advisory body recommended approval of the city’s Comprehensive Plan update on October 12. He also provided an update on the redevelopment of public housing. “The very first buildings, the phase one of South First Street building in the empty ballfields, the first two buildings are just about complete structurally,” Stolzenberg said. “They have roofs and walls and are topped out. So they just need to be finished and that means building 3 can start.”The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority will hold a work session on November 11 on the draft annual plan that must be submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. (presentation) (draft plan) (register for 5 p.m. meeting)2021 began with Chip Boyles as the executive director of the TJPDC, a position he left to become City Manager. He resigned on October 12, citing professional and personal abuse in the wake of the firing of Police Chief RaShall Brackney. City Councilor Michael Payne reported the news. “I won’t sugarcoat it,” Payne said. “It’s probably the biggest challenge we face. Just the turnover there. We’re in a maybe unique situation where this internal stuff has a major impact on our ability to execute a lot of the things we want to begin, Comprehensive Plan, housing, climate action planning. It makes it difficult for our ability to do long-range planning as well.” Rutherford offered the services of the planning district.“Of course if there’s anything that we can do as an organization to assist in whatever way, we’re here for you,” Rutherford said. “What happens to Charlottesville does have a regional effect.” Time for a second Patreon-powered shout-out! The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Sidewalk progressA rezoning of 12 wooded acres in Charlottesville’s Fry’s Spring neighborhood moved one step closer to approval last night. The seven-member Planning Commission recommended approval of a project that goes by the name 240 Stribling that would see 170 units. On September 14, the developer asked for a deferral of a decision following a public hearing. City Planner Matt Alfele has this recap.“During the public hearing, the Planning Commission heard from 16 members of the public,” Alfele said. “Most speakers raised concern about the safety of Stribling Avenue and how additional dwelling units on the subject property would be detrimental to public safety.” At that meeting, Southern Development’s vice president and the city’s Economic Development director discussed the details of an agreement in which Southern Development had agreed to pay up to $2 million for sidewalk improvements. City Engineer Jack Dawson said that figure was too low to cover the cost, and in October, he told Council his estimate would top out at $2.85 million. (Council Balks At $850k Cost For Stribling Sidewalks) “As I stated to Council, it’s not a complete estimate, it’s just an improved upon estimate but it is likely to be higher than that would be my guess,” Dawson said last night. The city’s Capital Improvement Plan budget is at capacity with expectations of spending millions a year on affordable housing projects as well as tens of millions over the next five years for reconfiguration of the city’s elementary and middle schools. Southern Development has agreed to increase their upfront funding to $2.9 million. “Though we feel that this work can be completed for significantly less, we do think it is important enough that we want to make sure our amount jibes with the city engineer’s estimate,” said Charlie Armstrong, vice president at Southern Development. “We want to get those sidewalks built,” he added. “We want to provide the funding so that it could be put into the [capital improvement program].”Armstrong said Southern Development is ready to move on the sidewalk project and his team has worked on a survey of the corridor. So has the city engineer. “There are some differences but I think we have a pretty good idea of a basic what would be needed,” Armstrong said. “There’s a lot of details in the detailed engineering that will come later.”Southern Development will be paid back by getting the incremental difference between the current value of the land and what it will be like after the units are built.“Our development obviously significantly increases the value of the real estate at 240 Stribling so the taxes go up,” Armstrong said. “And we’re not talking about just a little bit. They go up a lot. In twenty years, this produces, conservatively, eight and a half million dollars of new tax revenue. And that’s after paying for the sidewalks.” Armstrong said 25 units would be designated as affordable with rents or sale prices held below market for households with incomes below 60 percent of the area median income. Next up will be a vote by the City Council. The Planning Commission will have a work session on the next Capital Improvement Program budget on November 23. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 8, 2021: Charlottesville's Woolley era to begin on Dec. 1; Fifeville group seeks facilitator for Cherry Avenue plan listening sessions

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 16:42


Let’s begin the show with the first of two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350On today’s show:Charlottesville selects a Pennsylvania administrator as the third interim City Manager in three and a half years The Fifeville Neighborhood Association seeks a facilitator to help with implementation of the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan A Charlottesville television pioneer has diedCOVID vaccinations for those aged 5 to 11 have begun  And a Louisa County Supervisors wins a seventh term on a four-vote marginThis weekend, vaccinations of children between the ages of 5 to 11 began in the Blue Ridge Health District. According to spokeswoman Kathryn Goodman, there were 127 vaccinations in that range at the Community Vaccination Center in Seminole Square and Pediatric Associates vaccinated 565 children. The Blue Ridge Health District and the University of Virginia Health System begin administering shots today.  “I think this is a really big step forward and the COVID vaccine is one of the most well-studied vaccines at this point in history,” said Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley, an expert on pediatric infectious diseases at the UVA Health System. “There have been hundreds of millions of doses already given. There have been clinical trials done in adults, young adults, adolescents, and now children in the 5 to 11 age group.”Federal officials approved the Pfizer vaccine for children last week, which uses a smaller dose than the one given to people 12 and above. Dr. Shirley said that lower dose was suggested through the testing process. Last week, she penned an article on UVA Today outlining the work that has gone into producing the shots. “Using that low dose vaccine, they still make really high levels of antibody that were comparable to the same antibody levels that we’ve seen in adolescents and older adults who received higher doses,” Dr. Shirley said. Dr. Shirley said Moderna has submitted their data to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, and Pfizer will soon submit data for a vaccine for even younger children. This morning the Virginia Department of Health reports another 913 new cases and the seven-day average of new cases at 1,276 a day. The percent positivity has increased slightly to 5.6 percent, up from 5.4 percent on Thursday. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 42 cases today and there have been five more reported fatalities since Thursday.The man who started Charlottesville’s first commercial television station in 1973 has died. Harold Wright passed away on Saturday at his home at Lake Monticello. WVIR launched on March 11, 1973 using $500,000 of capital as well as second-hand equipment. That’s according to a story published this morning on NBC29.com. Wright retired from the station in January 2020, not long after it was purchased by Gray Communications in March 2019. Louisa County Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes has won re-election to a seventh term representing the Patrick Henry District. A canvas and recount on Friday that included remaining provisional and absentee ballots extended Barnes’ election-night lead of one vote to four votes over challenger William D. Woody Jr. According to coverage on Twitter by Tammy Purcel of Engage Louisa, Woody would have had ten days to ask for a recount but he conceded the race. Charlottesville’s Fifeville Neighborhood Association and the city government are seeking a consultant to help with a series of listening sessions to help implement the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan. That document was produced by consulting staff at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District and approved as an addendum to the city’s current Comprehensive Plan on March 1. On that same night Council adopted an affordable housing plan as the first milestone in the Cville Plans Together initiative. The neighborhood association seeks a “third-party facilitator to help co-design and lead up to three Anti-Displacement, Land Acquisition, and Development Working Sessions.” The goal is to move forward with  implementation of the plan.  (read the request for proposals)The firm Rhodeside & Harwell will not pursue this request for proposals, according to Cville Plans Together project manager Jennifer Koch. Her team is familiar with the Cherry Avenue Plan.“We reviewed this plan, as we reviewed other completed Small Area Plans, and looked to support recommendations related to fostering a mix of uses and more housing options/density at levels that respect the current scale of the neighborhood,” Koch wrote in an email this morning. “The affordability framework and anti-displacement mechanisms built into the plan (including, but not limited to, the Sensitive Community Areas) also align with goals in the Cherry Avenue SAP.”Since adoption of the plan in March, several properties have exchanged hands. In April, Woodard Properties purchased the Cherry Avenue Shopping Center as well as vacant land immediately behind. In July, the company bought a vacant lot in the 800 block of the busy roadway. Also in July an LLC called Project New Life bought undeveloped land on Cherry Avenue at the intersection of 7 1/2th Street. The Future Land Use Map in the draft Comprehensive Plan calls for Cherry Avenue west of Roosevelt Brown Avenue to be in the new Medium Intensity Residential, which calls for increased housing opportunities “along neighborhood corridors, near community amenities.” The areas around Nalle Street and King Street north of Cherry Avenue east of Roosevelt Brown are designated as “low-intensity residential (sensitive community areas)” to “allow for additional housing choice, and tools to mitigate displacement, within existing residential neighborhoods that have high proportions of populations that may be sensitive to displacement.”But will that stop those with wealth from purchasing single-family homes that would then be protected from additional density? In April, a house in the 700 block of Nalle Street sold for $700,000, or 85.83 percent over the 2021 assessment. October’s property transactions will be posted soon for paid subscribers of Charlottesville Community Engagement. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement and it’s time for the second Patreon-fueled shout-out. WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music beginning Tuesday, Nov 9th, 7 p.m.: Early & Baroque. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! At the same time ballots were being counted in Louisa County on Friday afternoon, City Council introduced Marc Woolley as the next interim city manager. Woolley recently resigned as Business Administrator in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The city has U.S. Census 2020 population of 50,099. Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders will remain in place. “Together with the assistance of staff, Sam, Ashley, and Council, I will be focusing on some key issues currently before Charlottesville,” Woolley said. “Mainly the budget and the completion of the Comprehensive Plan.” Woolley will begin work on December 1. The process to find a permanent city manager will resume once again in April. Woolley is a native of Wilmington, Delaware who went to law school at Boston College. He’s worked as general counsel for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, two positions at the Delaware River Port Authority, three positions at the Hershey Trust Company, and the position in Harrisburg. (read his resume)“I’ve been with the City of Harrisburg for the past four years as the Business Administrator,” Woolley said.Harrisburg has a form of municipal government where the executive and legislative branches are separate, so a “strong mayor” oversees department heads. The business administrator position is equivalent to a city manager. “All administration functions flowed through me except for the city solicitor,” Woolley said. According to an article on Pennsylvania Live, Woolley’s resignation had been expected to begin on November 12, but Mayor Eric Papenfuse made that effective November 1 after learning of the Woolley’s decision to leave Harrisburg. Papenfuse was defeated the next day in his bid for a third term, though he ran as a write-in. Anticipating questions from the press about Woolley’s careee, Councilor Lloyd Snook led a friendly cross-examination of his career history after resigning from the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Snook:“Looking at the next ten years or so of your career it seems like you were often put in a position of having to kind of clean up a mess. Is that an accurate assessment?”Woolley:“I think to first assess what the issues were and then accordingly if there were things that needed to be done to implement those policies in order to rectify anything.” Harrisburg has been considered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a distressed municipality since 2010. That requires creation of a Financial Recovery Plan which is called the Harrisburg Strong Plan. The latest financial report for the capital city is from 2019.  Snook:“When you got to Harrisburg there were shall we say some financial difficulties that you were having to unravel.”Woolley:“Some financial difficulties. We are in Act 47 which is for distressed municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Years before I arrived in Harrisburg there were a number of bond deals that were done and saddled the residents with a lot of debt and turns out they just couldn’t pay it. The city couldn’t pay it back. The state sent in a receiver to develop what they call the Strong Plan. They sold off a lot of assets, almost $400 million worth of assets, applied those to the debt and set up payments for other general obligation debts. When I arrived in Harrisburg, we were rounding the corner. This year and actually starting last year, was able to entertain actually getting back our credit rating. We didn’t have a credit rating. Looking to refinance debt and put out for capital projects. It’s a 180 degree turn from where they were and I think Harrisburg is going to better for it and I think they’re going to get a credit rating. Not as good as Charlottesville, but they’re going to try.”The city has held a AAA bond rating from Standards and Poor’s since 1964 and a AAA bond rating from Moody’s since 1973. For the past several years, the city has been steadily increasing debt-financing for capital projects, including several million a year for affordable housing projects and $75 million for the renovation of Buford Middle School. The next budget may include a property tax increase to help pay the debt service. Woolley will oversee creation of that next document but acknowledged Council will be reopening the pubic process for a permanent manager next spring. (Routine advice wanted for city bonds, October 26, 2021)“This is not necessarily the transition,” Woolley said. “The transition will occur when the new city manager is appointed through the process that you’ve described in April but right now there are certain acute issues that need to be taken care of, mainly the budget and the Comprehensive Plan.” Woolley said his role is to lay the foundation for that person. While Charlottesville’s government is not considered distressed, the separate Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is considered a troubled agency by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Watch the whole press briefing which included comments and questions from members of the community. The entire event was just over an hour long and is on the city’s streaming archive. (watch)Former City Manager Chip Boyles recently took a job as the executive director of the George Washington Regional Commission, the planning district around Fredericksburg. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 4, 2021: Study underway for alternative to Rassawek site for Zion Crossroads water intake; Council to make leadership announcement on Friday

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 14:49


Let’s begin today with a Patreon-fueled shout-out! The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!On today’s show:More details about the next phase of public housing redevelopment in CharlottesvilleCouncil to make a leadership announcement Friday at 3 p.m. UVA Health System reports vaccination numbersLouisa Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes holds a one-vote lead over his challengerAn overview of the Central Virginia Small Business Development CenterAnd Louisa Supervisors an update on a plan to bring water from the James River to Zion CrossroadsWe begin the day with an announcement of something that’s happening tomorrow. City Council will meet at 3 p.m. for an open meeting with the one word description of “Personnel.” City Communications Director Brian Wheeler explained in an email to me this morning that it will be a leadership announcement. There is no interim city manager in place. What will happen? Leave your guess in the comments. (meeting info)There’s a very close race in one of Louisa County’s magisterial districts. In the Patrick Henry District, incumbent Fitzgerald Barnes has a one-vote lead over challenger William Woody Jr. Qualified absentee ballots can be counted up until tomorrow at noon. Thanks to Tammy Purcell of Engage Louisa for the heads-up. Employees at the University of Virginia Health System had a deadline of November 1 to get a COVID vaccine. Wendy Horton is the CEO of the UVA Health System. “At this point today, we are at 98.4 percent fully vaccinated or exempt as a health system and this includes UVA Community Health as well,” Horton said.However, that leaves 173 employees who will either resign or be terminated for non-compliance. Horton said that includes 83 people who directly work with patients and that number includes 43 registered nurses. People who refuse the vaccine will be suspended without pay for a certain period of time for reflection. Those with approved medical exemptions must have a COVID test each week. Today the Virginia Department of Health reported 1,494 new cases and the seven-day percent positive rate dropped to 5.4 percent. Another 69 deaths have been reported since Tuesday. The Blue Ridge Health District reported 58 new cases today. The percent positivity in the district is 5.1 percent. Yesterday, the City of Charlottesville held a public meeting for the next phase of redevelopment at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Carrie Rainey is an urban planner in the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services.“What we’re looking at right now is a final site for what is currently a by-right project to build a new apartment building with structured parking at 715 Sixth Street SE,” Rainey said.Riverbend Development is working with the CRHA on this project, continuing a partnership that has also been involved with Crescent Halls and the two phases at South First Street. CRHA has a new redevelopment coordinator in Brandon Collins, formerly with the Public Housing Association of Residents. “Our resident planners at 6th Street have been working diligently on this plan and I think it really reflects CRHA’s approach to resident-led planning and we’re confident this is the best use of this site,” Collins said. The project is at the corner of Monticello Avenue and 6th Street SE. Six of the existing townhouse units will be removed in this first phase at this property. “The reason we’re taking this approach is because we want to ensure that we have a promise and a priority to the residents of public housing that no one will be displaced throughout the redevelopment process,” said Ashley Davies, vice president at Riverbend Development. In all of these redevelopment projects, the land will continue to be owned by CRHA, but the actual structure will be owned by a nonprofit holding company connected to CRHA. The height of the building has not been finalized.“It’s going to be a three or four story building,”  Davies said, “We’re still working with the resident planners to determine the exact height of the building and number of units, but for now the site plan shows this as a three-story building and 39 units.”The current zoning is Downtown Extended which would allow for that height. There would be at least 40 parking spaces in a structure beneath the building. The goal is to get the site plan approved in order to help qualify an application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Davies said a master plan is in development for the entire four-acre site, but there is no timeline for how that will proceed. “Those conversations are really just beginning to understand what the overall needs are for that area,” Davies said Comments brought up during the site plan conference included landscaping, parking requirements, and pedestrian safety.  The community garden maintained and operated by the Urban Agriculture Collective will be removed to make way for the new units. NDS staff will make comments on the site plan and submit those back to the development team later this month. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Time for the second of two Patreon-fueled shout-outs: Do you suffer from Classical Music Insecurity Complex? That is, you like classical music you hear, but you feel intimidated by all the stuffy etiquette and specialized knowledge? Suffer no more!WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music beginning Tuesday, Nov 9th, 7 p.m.: Early & Baroque. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! The seven-member Louisa County Board of Supervisors got an update on Monday on the water supply plan for Zion Crossroads, but they also got a pitch from the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC). The entity is partially funded by the Small Business Administration.“We’re funded by the [Small Business Administration] and the localities that we serve to provide business advising services to individual localities,’ said Greg Dorazio, the assistant director of the CVSBDC. The CVSBDC covers ten counties stretching from Nelson County to Culpeper County from its headquarters in Charlottesville. The idea is to level the playing field for small businesses through counseling. “We have access to research and resources including capital, access to technical experts,” Dorazio said. Last year, the Charlottesville Investment Collaborative became the small business center’s fiscal partner.“Their microloan program is one of the best ways for small businesses to get capital and a lot of folks don’t really know about it,” Dorazio said. Last year during the pandemic, the small business center provided more than double the number of hours of working with clients from around 2,200 hours to over 5,000. That’s in part because of the transition to virtual meetings. “When we’re talking about the client service time, that’s one-on-one with a business owner,” Dorazio said. “We’re really helping them figure out what is the problem they’re facing right now? What are the decisions they need to make? And what do we need to do to help them get the resources they need to make good decisions about their business and continue to grow and move forward?”Dorazio was before the Louisa Board of Supervisors to ask for referrals for businesses as well as $21,249 in funding for the next fiscal year. That decision will come during the budget cycle.The Louisa Board of Supervisors also got an update on progress to build a waterline from the James River to Zion Crossroads. Louisa and Fluvanna are both members of the James River Water Authority, an entity that exists for the purpose.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have to grant a permit for the project and the James River Water Authority was about to submit one that included an intake at the site of Rassawek, an important site in the history of the Monacan Indian Nation. Justin Curtis is with Aqualaw, a firm hired to prepare and submit the permit.“At our request, that application has been put on hold while we evaluate an alternative a site a couple of miles up the river,” Curtis said. “We’re doing that in coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) as well as the Monacan Indian Nation.”Curtis said the decision point for the James River Water Authority will be whether to pursue the alternative, or proceed with the Rassawek site. That could come in December or January. The Rassawek site was selected in 2013 and two of three required permits had been granted. All of the planning work had been conducted.“That site had been selected because it was the shortest, it was the least expensive, and it followed a bunch of existing corridors and lines which is utility siting 101,” Curtis said. “Fewest number of landowners affected and it had the right water quality and quantity to meet our needs.”Curtis said the Monacans had been consulted, but their stance changed as the granting of the permit drew closer. The federal government recognized the tribe in January 2018. (Learn more about Rasswak from Cultural Heritage Partners)“To get the final permit we needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we have to go through this process where have to mitigate any impacts to historical or cultural resources and that involves consultations with the tribes and certain other agencies and that added a lot of time and expense to the regulatory process,” Curtis said. Curtis said Alternative 1C, also known as the Forsyth site, is the preferred site for the Monacans. “And we ended up reaching an agreement which was memorialized in writing in January of this year and what we came to an agreement on was that if JRWA went and did a new archaeological study of that alternative site and that study did not find any evidence of buried human remains or historic burial sites, then the Monacans would not oppose the project and they would support the project and help us work through the remainder of the permitting process,” Curtis said. The first phase was completed in August and while historic materials were found, none of them were human remains. The second phase started on Monday and will be concluded the week of December 6. The results will be discussed at the next  meeting of the James River Water Authority on December 8. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 3, 2021: Republicans sweep Virginia as Youngkin aims to change Commonwealth's trajectory

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 12:27


Elections bring changes, and fundamental changes will likely come to the way Virginia is governed as Republicans appear to narrowly win all three statewide seats and regain the House of Delegates. Closer to home, Democrats continue to hold all of the seats on the City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. What will the landscape be like as 2022 begins? That’s for another day, for this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement is solely about election returns:In this newsletter:Republicans narrowly win all three statewide seatsAn incumbent is ousted in the Charlottesville City School Board raceGraham Paige fends off a write-in candidateBob Babyok is defeated in Louisa County, while two Nelson incumbents hold onBut first, a Patreon-fueled shout-out. Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!*As of this writing, the Virginia Department of Elections website has recorded 2,723 of Virginia’s 2,855 precincts have reported and Republican Glenn Youngkin has 50.68 percent of the vote to 48.55 percent for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The difference is around 57,000 votes. These results are considered incomplete because qualified absentee ballots can be accepted through noon on November 5 and the results will be certified on November 15. These numbers will change but probably not very much. While none of the results here are technically complete, the Associated Press called the race for Youngkin after midnight last night and he took the stage in victory. “Alrighty Virginia, we won this thing,” Youngkin said. McAuliffe also appeared before supporters but did not offer a concession speech but appeared to continue his campaign for a return to the Governor’s mansion. “When Ralph and I were elected eight years ago, we had made our state open and welcoming but the fight continues,” McAuliffe said. McAuliffe then listed several pieces of his platform.“We are going to continue that fight tonight and every day going forward,” McAuliffee said Youngkin takes over a Commonwealth that appears to be in good financial shape. Unemployment has dropped for sixteen months straight to a September figure of 3.8 percent. Virginia had a $2.6 billion surplus at the end of fiscal year 2021. In his comments, Youngkin called his victory a defining moment that will change the trajectory of the state. “Friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one,” Youngkin said More on that transformation later on in the newsletter If the results hold up, Youngkin will be sworn in on January 15. The 2022 General Assembly will convene three days before. The Republicans appear to have retaken the majority of the House of Delegates with 51 to 49 seats, according to information tallied by the Virginia Public Access Project. (VPAP)The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate which did not have an election yesterday and will remain under Democratic control with a majority of 21 seats of 40 seats.Republican Winsome Sears will be the next Lieutenant Governor with 50.82 percent of the vote with Democrat Hala Ayala at 49.08 percent. Sears is the first Black woman to be elected to statewide office in Virginia and she said her victory is the embodiment of the American dream.“When my father came to this country, August 11 of 1963, he came at the height of the civil rights movement from Jamaica,” Sears said “He came and I said to him, it was such a bad time for us. Why did you come? And he said because America was where the jobs and the opportunities were.” For Attorney General, Republican Jason Miyares has 50.49 percent of the vote to incumbent Democrat Mark Herring at 49.43 percent. The Republican ticket carried most localities across rural Virginia. Youngkin carried Nelson County with 55.58 percent of the electorate with all but absentee ballots counted. The Governor-elect also carried Fluvanna with 56.86 percent of the vote. Louisa County also went for Youngkin with 66.28 percent of the vote. The Republican’s margin in Greene County was even higher at 71.86 percent The story is different in Albemarle and Charlottesville. McAuliffe carried Albemarle with 61.86 percent of the vote and Charlottesville with 82.87 percent of the vote.Local racesNow let’s look at local races. In Nelson County, Central District incumbent Democrat Ernie Reed fended off a challenge from Republican Pamela Brice with 50.78 percent of the vote. North District Incumbent Tommy Harvey defeated Democratic challenger Mary Cunningham. Harvey was first elected in 1984. (Nelson results) In Louisa County, incumbent Robert Babyok Jr. appears to have been defeated by challenger Rachel Jones. Jones has 53.2 percent as of production time. (Louisa results)In Albemarle, all three Democrats on the ballot for Supervisor won because they had no opposition. Graham Paige retained his seat representing Samuel Miller on the Albemarle School Board with 73.84 percent over a write-in candidate. (Albemarle results)In the Charlottesville City Council race, Democrat Juandiego Wade got the most votes with 11,582 before the absentee ballots are counted. Democrat Brian Pinkston got 10,041 votes. Independent Yas Washington secured 3,407 votes and withdrawn incumbent Nikuyah Walker got 1,916.  (Charlottesville results)In the School Board race, four-term incumbent Leah Puryear came in fourth, meaning she will not serve a fifth. Incumbent Lisa Larson-Torres got the most votes with 7,329, followed by newcomer Emily Dooley with 6,633, and newcomer Dom Morse with 6,500. Christa Bennett placed fifth with 4,488 votes. In Greene County, Abbey E. Heflin has a close lead over Tina A. Deane in the Stanardsville District race at 960 to 917 votes. Bill Martin opted not to run for re-election. (Greene results)There were no contested races for Supervisor in Fluvanna County. (Fluvanna results)Preparing for the Youngkin administration Back to the Governor-elect. Between now and January 15, Youngkin will appoint candidates to the Secretariats ranging alphabetically from Agriculture and Forestry to Transportation. A new governor will shape the entire tone of state and local government. Youngkin’s victory speech called for new spending.“We will invest the largest education budget in the history of the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said. “We’re going to invest in teachers, new facilities, special education. We’re going to introduce choice within our public school system.” For Youngkin, that means more charter schools and giving parents more control over what is taught in public schools. But the call for spending also came with a call to reduce revenue that comes into the state. “Friends, we will reduce our cost of living on day one,” Youngkin said. “On day one, we will declare the largest tax refund in the history of Virginia.” Among taxes Youngkin wants to reduce is an increase in the Virginia gas tax that passed the General Assembly in 2020, as well as increasing deductions. He also called for more spending on salaries for law enforcement. “We’re going to comprehensively fund law enforcement because they stand up for us and we’re going to stand up for them,” Youngkin said. Younkin also said he would replace all members of the Virginia Parole Board. The governor-elect also promised investments in economic development. This past July, CNBC named Virginia as the number one state in the nation to do business. “We’re going to get this economy moving again, growing 400,000 new jobs, fostering 10,000 start-up,” Youngkin said. “Friends, Virginia will be open for business.”Here’s a quick look at the legislative races that touch Albemarle County: Republican incumbent Chris Runion defeated Democratic challenger Jennifer Kitchen in the 25th District with 62.36 percent to 37.51 percent. Democratic incumbent Sally Hudson fended off Republican challenger Philip Hamilton in the 57th District with 78.37 percent to 21.41 percent.Republican incumbent Rob Bell defeated Democrat Sara Ratcliffe in the 58th District with 63.4 percent of the vote.Republican incumbent Matt Farris won against Democratic Ben Moses with 64.64 percent of the vote. Moses raised over $600,000 in the campaign. Pre-filing for the 2022 General Assembly begins on November 15. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 2, 2021: Council indicates support for Food Equity Initiative but funding decisions to come later; Office vacancy rate at 4.9 percent in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 18:29


Let’s begin today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. One person wants you to know "We keep each other safe. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance."And in another one, one Patreon supporter wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!On today’s show:COVID update from Dr. Denise Bonds of the Blue Ridge Health District Charlottesville Council indicates support for Charlottesville Food Equity Initiative, but funding decisions will come in the months to come A quick look at commercial office space in the Charlottesville areaCharlottesville’s public housing agency is owed $52,000 in unpaid rent Two million for affordable housing projectsThe Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is seeking applications from private, public, and nonprofit developers for projects to increase affordable housing stock throughout the region. The TJPDC received $2 million from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority for the purpose of building actual units. The first step is for applicants to submit a proof of concept. “This proof of concept will be issued to collect key details about the proposed project, including number of proposed units to be constructed, partner development experience, and location of development,” reads the release. “The requested proof of concept will serve as a precursor to a more detailed formal project application.”The funding is part of a $40 million statewide initiative. Proposals are due on November 29 at 5 p.m. Visit the TJPDC’s website to learn more about the application.Sixth Street site planTomorrow, the city of Charlottesville will hold a site plan conference for the next public housing project to be redeveloped by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Plans for 39-units at Sixth Street will be reviewed. The CRHA Board of Commissioners’ got an update on this topic at their meeting on October 25. Brandon Collins is now the redevelopment coordinator for CRHA. (read his report )“Resident-led planning continues and to update you all in case you don’t know, the plan is in the space along Monticello Avenue where the garden currently is we’re going to knock down six apartments on the end of the garden to get a little extra room and build an apartment building,” Collins said.Collins' redevelopment report for October states that a three-story building had been originally, but architects suggested a fourth story would make the project more competitive for Low Income Housing Tax Credits.“Residents seem to be generally in favor of that,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of process questions that we’re all going to work through to get a decision on that.”The site plan conference begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. (meeting info)Former Planning Commissioner Lisa Green resigned from the CRHA Board of Commissioners on October 5. No reason was given but Green had been on the Redevelopment Committee. Council is seeking applications to fill the vacancy as well as other open positions on boards and commissions. Take a look at the list on the Charlottesville City Hall website. At the CRHA meeting, Executive Director John Sales reported that some tenants owe tens of thousands in back rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development currently considers CRHA a “troubled” agency which requires additional scrutiny from the federal agency including increase inspections. “A big item that we should always discuss is the delinquency account for tenants,” Sales said. “We’re currently at $52,000. That is probably our biggest concern in terms of exiting out of troubled status. The $52,000 represents about a hundred tenants.”Sales said that represents about a third of public housing residents. He said there is a CRHA staff member working on rental assistance to help cover the back log and to find out what barriers are in place to paying the rent. Office space check-inThe Charlottesville office market had a vacancy rate of 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year according to an analysis from Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. That’s less than the same period in 2020, but below the forecasted amount. The report states that office space remains high in demand. “Absorbency in the market was down for the quarter but that is more a reflection of large new deliveries than lack of demand and remains net positive for the past 12 months,” reads the report. “In fact, 87 percent of the nearly 380,000 square feet of office space under construction is already pre-leased and since Q1 2020 there has been more space delivered than in prior decades.” The report states that rents continue to rise. The current average is $27.52 per square foot, a 55 percent increase over the 2015 average. Pinkston’s bountyElection results will come tomorrow. One final piece of information before the votes are tallied. Brian Pinkston’s campaign for one of two seats on City Council received a last-minute contribution of $3,000 on Monday from the Democratic Party of Charlottesville.COVID updateThe number of new COVID cases reported each day continues to decline. “If you look at the trend over the past couple of weeks here, a month or so, it’s really been on a downward trajectory indicating that we may be past the worst with regards to the Delta virus,” Bonds said.Today the Virginia Department of Health reports another 1,245 new cases today, and the Blue Ridge Health District reports 41 new cases. There have been 12 deaths reported in the district since October 25. Since Dr. Bonds last addressed Council, booster shots are now available for all of the three major vaccines. The Moderna booster is available for those over the age of 65 or those with some underlying condition or situation. “If you got [Johnson and Johnson] as your first one, it’s a little different,” Bonds said. “Anyone who got J&J as their first vaccine for COVID is eligible as long as you’re over the age of 18.”Bonds said anyone who got the J&J vaccine can also opt to switch to the Moderna or Pfizer as a booster. “Really the best person to talk to about this would be your physician,” Bonds said. “There are some reasons to think that mixing and matching may be beneficial. You get higher antibody levels with the rMNA boosters but there’s some evidence that if you get J&J it activates more of a different part of your system called T-cells.”Vaccines are available at the Community Vaccination Center at the former Big Lots in Seminole Square Shopping Center. Visit the Blue Ridge Health District website to learn more. Dr. Bonds said the district will have a limited quantity of Pfizer doses for children between 5 and 11 when they are available next week.“It’s going to one third of the amount that anyone 12 and over gets,” Dr. Bond said. Because there is a limited amount, the District is prioritizing shots for the most vulnerable children, working with school districts and pediatricians to identify those people and schedule shots. “There will be a small amount of vaccine that is available at our Community Vaccination Center,” Dr. Bonds said. “It is by appointment only and those vaccines.gov should be out and available by Friday of this week we believe.” In all, the District will get an initial distribution of 6,300 doses. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. Dr. Denise Bonds spoke at the City Council meeting last night. The meeting was overseen by the two deputy city managers in the wake of the resignation of former City Manager Chip Boyles on October 12. That meant it was up to Sam Sanders to provide responses from previous comments for the public. Who maintains the mall side streets?“The first item was in regards to side street maintenance near the Downtown Mall and I did check in with staff in regards to who is responsible for maintaining those side streets and that is a function of Parks and Recreation,” Sanders said. “They have been short-staffed and struggling to keep up with everything that needs to be done is what I am hearing at this moment.”The second item dealt with a request to install a four-way stop on Rose Hill Drive at Burley Middle School, which is owned and operated by Albemarle County Public Schools.“There is a speed study underway and its in relation to the configuration that’s being proposed for Walker Upper Elementary, “ Sanders said. “Even though it is not the same impact area, they will be able to take a look at what is happening on Rose Hill Drive.”Sanders said the last study of the area around Burley dates back to 2004 and some traffic calming efforts were installed in the second half of the decade. He referred people interested in the topic to the city’s Traffic Calming Handbook as well as the petition to begin the process. Food Equity discussionThe main item last night was a report on Charlottesville’s Food Equity Initiative. The nonprofit group Cultivate Charlottesville has been the recipient of city funding for the past three years and seek additional money for years to come. They also want two percent of the meals tax to go a new Food Equity Fund.“We believe that food is a human right and we operate from that perspective that everyone, all Charlottesville residents, deserve access to fresh produce and high quality food,” said co-executive director Richard Morris.Morris said food equity is an outcome where all residents have access to food that meets nutritional and cultural needs. Earlier this year, Council was presented with a Food Equity Initiative Policy Platform which seeks to serve as a strategic plan to fund a variety of initiatives, and they’ve sought support for funding through an online petition. Much of this work is also finding its way into the draft Comprehensive Plan which Council will consider on November 15. One challenge is that the Urban Agricultural Collective has lost or soon will lose control of land it has used for community gardens. Land at the public housing site at Sixth Street SW is slated to be used for redevelopment. “The overall budget for the Food Justice Network has been about $400,000, $155,000 of what was the Food Equity Initiative contributed,” said co-director Jeanette Abi-Nader. “And you’ll note that the majority of the budget goes toward staffing.” The group is seeking a multiple year commitment, despite the fact that elected bodies in Virginia cannot appropriate money beyond the next fiscal year. The request comes outside of the budget cycle, as well as the Vibrant Communities process through which nonprofits apply for funding. That process used to be conducted jointly with Albemarle County. Mayor Nikuyah Walker praised the report submitted with the funding request, but had concerns. “If we are adding this as a three-year item, that the way other nonprofits have to compete for funding, I have some reservations there,” Walker said. Abi-Nader said Cultivate Charlottesville did not apply for Vibrant Community funds in the past two years because they had been funded by Council outside of that process. She explained how she thinks the current request is different. “We see the Vibrant Communities funds as really about programs that impact the community, like direct support programs and engagement, and this program is seen as a support for a function of city government,” Abi-Nader said. Walker noticed there have been several groups funded outside of the budget cycle and the Vibrant Community fund, such as the B.U.C.K. Squad and Peace and Streets.“I think our whole process needs to be reviewed and if there is a list of community partnerships that are doing the work the city thinks is essential that can’t be done without that partnership, then that needs to be a separate list from the Vibrant Communities but the way things are set up now, I don’t think it’s a fair process,” Walker said. Councilor Lloyd Snook appeared to agree that the resolution as presented was not appropriate. “Franky it appears to me to be an attempt to circumvent the budget process,” Snook said. Misty Graves, the interim director of the city’s Human Services Department, said the resolution came up because the initiative was a creature of City Council. “So I think that’s why it’s coming to back to City Council for whether or not it is a renewed commitment and if this is still a priority of City Council,” Graves said. Next year will be the fourth year of the initiative. The $155,000 will be built into the general fund budget that will be introduced by whoever will be City Manager early next March. The vote was 3 to 2 with Walker and Snook voting against and the resolution does not guarantee funding for FY23. The other request was for two percent of the meals tax proceeds to go to a Food Equity Fund. In Fiscal Year 2020, the city collected $12.6 million from the meals tax, which would have generated just over $250,000 for this purpose. (Charlottesville’s 2020 annual report) Abi-Nader said this fund would cover infrastructure to support food equity goals.“And by infrastructure, I mean that informally, not like literally always physical things, but infrastructure support for our city to move from a foodie city to a food equity city as an overall goal,” Abi-Nader said. “There are things that go beyond what an individual nonprofit can do.” One idea is a cooperative grocery store to be located near subsidized housing. Another is to build a new community garden in a section of Washington Park.“There’s space there to sight a quarter-acre park,” Morris said. “We’re talking about 10,000 square feet which from a growing perspective that’s a space that can grow a lot of food.”Councilors did not commit to the idea at this point in the budget cycle, but there was general support for the initiative. “For the record, I really support this group,” said Vice Mayor Sena Magill. “What they are doing is amazing work and it’s greatly needed work. I know I’ve been learning from them for the last three years now.” Another issue worth continuing to track into the future. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Scaling Postgres
Episode 189 Index Downsides | TCP Keep Alive | Development with Postgres | Learning PL/pgSQL

Scaling Postgres

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 15:27


In this episode of Scaling Postgres, we discuss the downsides of indexes, TCP keep alive options, developing with Postgres as your DB and learning PL/pgSQL. Subscribe at https://www.scalingpostgres.com to get notified of new episodes. Links for this episode: https://postgres.ai/blog/20211029-how-partial-and-covering-indexes-affect-update-performance-in-postgresql https://www.cybertec-postgresql.com/en/tcp-keepalive-for-a-better-postgresql-experience/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mliO5_XhAKE https://notes.eatonphil.com/exploring-plpgsql.html https://blog.crunchydata.com/blog/secure-postgresql-14-with-the-cis-benchmark https://blog.crunchydata.com/blog/database-security-best-practices-on-kubernetes https://blog.crunchydata.com/blog/encrypting-postgres-data-at-rest-in-kubernetes https://postgresql.life/post/alexander_kukushkin/ https://www.rubberduckdevshow.com/episodes/18-how-many-3rd-party-libraries-should-you-use/

Take Your Pills, Psychopath!
Ep. 7 "The Crazy Pill" Comes Clean About Vaccine Passports

Take Your Pills, Psychopath!

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021 32:19


In this episode of TCP, JFOD comes clean about how he feels about vaccine passports. It's the audio of a YouTube livestream. Send any thoughts or feedback to takeyourpillspod@gmail.com. Join the newsletter: jfodnews.com. Support the Patreon: Patreon.com/typp. Subscribe on Youtube: Youtube.com/jfodcomedy. Follow on Twitter: twitter.com/therealjfod.

The Cycling Podcast
193: The €18million question

The Cycling Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 28, 2021 81:59


In this episode, Lionel Birnie and Daniel Friebe discuss some of the latest stories from the world of professional cycling. After saving the team at the last minute a year ago, is this the end of the road for the Qhubeka-NextHash World Tour team? What's behind the latest shake-up at Movistar, and does Tiesj Benoot really want out of Team DSM? And if he leaves, where might he end up? 
In part two, we discuss Ineos Grenadiers. Geraint Thomas appears to be staying for another year, there are changes in the coaching and management department with Tim Kerrison leaving after 12 years and Roger Hammond considering an offer to join. And could one of the team's brightest young stars be lured away by another team? Finally, we discuss two doping stories. We'll try to make sense of the WADA report into British Cycling running a private testing programme for nandrolone a decade ago in the run-up to the 2012 Olympics, and get to the bottom of the substance found in some Bahrain-Victorious riders' hair samples. Plus, which men's World Tour rider had the most race days in 2021 – and how far towards the moon would that have taken him? The Cycling Podcast is supported by Supersapiens and Science in Sport Supersapiens is a continuous glucose monitoring system that helps you make the right fuelling choices. See supersapiens.com For 25% off all your SiS products, go to scienceinsport.com and enter the code SISCP25 at the checkout. This episode is sponsored by NordVPN. Get up to 73% off a two-year plan: go to NordVPN.com/TCP

The Cloud Pod
140: The Cloud Pod Buys all its Synapse in Advance

The Cloud Pod

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 79:04


On The Cloud Pod this week, the team's collective brain power got a boost from guest hosts Rob Martin of the FinOps Foundation and Ben Garrison of JumpCloud. Also, AWS releases Data Exchange, Google automates Cloud DLP, and Azure Synapse Analytics is available for pre-purchase.  A big thanks to this week's sponsors: Foghorn Consulting, which provides full-stack cloud solutions with a focus on strategy, planning and execution for enterprises seeking to take advantage of the transformative capabilities of AWS, Google Cloud and Azure. JumpCloud, which offers a complete platform for identity, access, and device management — no matter where your users and devices are located.  This week's highlights

Talkin'Conversation
TCP 065 - Dank

Talkin'Conversation

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 22, 2021 74:03


TalkinConversation by rich, Brought my guy Dank on. He has a youtube channel called danklife. Share and Thanks for watching or listening. His IG is __danklife.

The Cloud Pod
139: Back to the Future With Google Distributed Cloud

The Cloud Pod

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 21, 2021 61:55


On The Cloud Pod this week, Jonathan reveals his love for “Twilight.” Plus GCP kicks off Google Cloud Next and announces Google Distributed Cloud, and Azure admits to a major DDoS attack.  A big thanks to this week's sponsors: Foghorn Consulting, which provides full-stack cloud solutions with a focus on strategy, planning and execution for enterprises seeking to take advantage of the transformative capabilities of AWS, Google Cloud and Azure. JumpCloud, which offers a complete platform for identity, access, and device management — no matter where your users and devices are located.  This week's highlights

Total Christmas Podcast
Episode 40 - Bonfires on the Levee

Total Christmas Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2021 46:28


OI YOU.  YEAH YOU, I'M TALKING TO YOU.COME AND LISTEN TO MY PODCAST.  DO IT NOW!It's another episode of the TCP and we have loads of crap for your lovely ears.First off it's our Top Ten Christmas Movies Lists.  We've had a team of scientists develop a formula to calculate the best list in Jack's opinion.  This episode we have lists from Anthony Caruso and Mike Westfall.  Where will their lists chart?Then it's time for the Yule Log.  If you love Nick Offerman from Parks and Recreation then you might not mind this version.  It's Nick sitting by a fire drinking whisky for 45 minutes straight.We have the return of Santa Claus is NOT Coming to Town and this one was sent in by Paul Hudebine.  He can pinpoint to the exact day he found out the truth about Santa.  Not only that, it's also the day his mum told him wrestling is fake.Frank the Tank has sent us another Curious Christmas Custom, this time it's Bonfires on the Levee.  Hundreds of bonfires are lit along the Mississippi on Christmas Eve to guide the way for Papa Noel.We have another great song from Rich Chambers;  It's Christmastime (All Over The World).  He also shares a great story of the time he actually saw Rudolph and the other reindeer flying over his house.  Have a listen:https://richchambers.com/santa-s-rockin-bandThen it's another Muppet Christmas Special.  This time we look at The Bells of Fraggle Rock and it's absolutely delightful.  Have a watch here:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhSP6t0tRos&t=803sThis episode's recommendation is The Cabinet of Dr Calighoulie from friend of the show Tony Dixon.  If you're a fan of Halloween, you'll love it.Have a listen here:https://anchor.fm/drcalighoulieYou know we love ya.Merry Christmas

The Cycling Podcast
186: Women's Tour 2021: Stage 6 – Haverhill to Felixstowe

The Cycling Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 9, 2021 57:14


That's a wrap from the 2021 Women's Tour. Join Rose Manley, Lionel Birnie and Lizzy Banks as they witness the conclusion of the final stage – the longest of the race – to Felixstowe. The sun was shining, the crowds were cheering and although there wasn't a drop of rain in the air in the finishing straight the rainbow shone too. Elisa Balsamo, the recently-crowned world champion, finally grabbed a stage win for her Valcar team after going so close yesterday. We hear the reaction from Balsamo and her teammates. Lizzy's recon included a trip on a ferry, we wrap up the stories from the day's breakaway and the crash which marred the run-in before focussing on overall winner Demi Vollering. We hear from her SD Worx sports director Danny Stam. We also reveal who has won the Pédaleuse de Charme and Stacy Snyder's beautiful hand-made cup and hear from Trixi  Worrack, who brought down the curtain on a long career today. We hope you have enjoyed this week's coverage. Thanks to our producers Will Jones, Adam Bowie and Huw Owen. Also to Simon Gill, to Lionel's mystery researcher and to Alasdair Lloyd-Jones and the social media team. The Cycling Podcast is supported by Supersapiens and Science in Sport. Supersapiens is a continuous glucose monitoring system that helps you make the right fuelling choices. See supersapiens.com  For 25% off all your SiS products, go to scienceinsport.com and enter the code SISCP25 at the checkout. This episode is sponsored by NordVPN. Get up to 73% off a two-year plan: go to NordVPN.com/TCP

Tech ONTAP Podcast
Episode 301: NVMe over TCP in ONTAP 9.10.1

Tech ONTAP Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 1, 2021 25:56


This week, the SAN guy at NetApp - Mike Peppers - drops by to discuss the latest advancement in NVMe as a protocol and what it means for the other TCP based SAN protocol - iSCSI.

The Cycling Podcast
177: End of the worlds

The Cycling Podcast

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 28, 2021 84:46


In this week's episode we dissect a thrilling men's road race at the world championships in Flanders: a race hailed by some as the greatest world championship road race in history, played out in front of a crowd estimated at a million. We hear from some of the riders who contributed to the drama and excitement: Belgium's Yves Lampaert, Neilson Powless of the USA, Tom Pidcock of Great Britain and Remi Cavagna, a French teammate of the winner, Julian Alaphilippe. The Cycling Podcast is supported by Supersapiens and Science in Sport. Supersapiens is a continuous glucose monitoring system that helps you make the right fuelling choices. See supersapiens.com For 25% off all your SiS products, go to scienceinsport.com and enter the code SISCP25 at the checkout. This episode is sponsored by NordVPN. Get up to 73% off a two-year plan: go to NordVPN.com/TCP

Packet Pushers - Heavy Networking
Heavy Networking 596: Weaponizing Firewalls And Middleboxes For DDoS Attacks

Packet Pushers - Heavy Networking

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 3, 2021 50:57


Today's Heavy Networking podcast dives into academic research on DDoS attack techniques. Our guests have published a paper about how the TCP protocol and middleboxes such as firewalls can be weaponized by bad actors and used in reflective amplification attacks. We discuss technical details, how they performed this research, potential countermeasures, and more. The post Heavy Networking 596: Weaponizing Firewalls And Middleboxes For DDoS Attacks appeared first on Packet Pushers.