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Friday, Feb. 6, 2023

We’re sending this newsletter out today instead of our regular Tuesday email because, if you live in Charlottesville, tonight is the one and only opportunity you’ll have to speak directly to the City Council about who you want for a new Councilor.

The elected body will hear from its six finalists for the position — and from you — during tonight’s 6:30 p.m. meeting.

A collage of six images shows six people, three with microphones, two smiling for cameras and one at a table, wearing a mask, with a sign that reads "Ballots."
Credit: Photos taken by Ézé Amos, Jessie Higgins, Andrew Shurtleff, Sabrina Schaeffer and Josh Mandell

A new City Council member will be chosen mostly behind closed doors, but here’s what the candidates told us about their positions

This is not an election — it’s an appointment. The city’s elected councilor, Sena Magill, resigned in January, leaving the remaining councilors legally obligated to replace her with an appointee who will serve through the end of the year, until voters can elect a new councilor. It’s an important decision because this appointed councilor will make some important decisions. Before their appointment ends, they will vote on a new zoning ordinance that broadly increases the city’s allowable housing density; help decide how to spend additional money the city may receive from housing assessments surging; and help choose whom to hire for Charlottesville’s next city manager.

This is your chance to give input on who you want making these decisions. So, who are the finalists?

We sent each of them questions about how they would vote on some of these key issues. We hope their answers help you give feedback to your representatives on City Council tonight.

A woman in a bright yellow vest that reads "crossing guard" stands in an intersection while a white car passes.

Why a crossing guard will suggest Charlottesville’s City Council install speed cameras near schools

If you attend tonight’s meeting, you’ll also hear from a Charlottesville City Schools substitute crossing guard. Adrienne Dent will be there asking the Council to launch a pilot program that would use cameras to enforce speed limits near public schools. (That speed limit is 15 miles per hour.) Why? Drivers aren’t slowing down enough, Dent wrote.

“At both Johnson and Buford, I’ve jumped with arms out — possessed by the instinct of a mother bear — between speeding oncoming cars and a child,” Dent writes in her First Person Charlottesville essay. “It’s happened to me three or four times already since the school year began — and I’m a substitute.”

The city doesn’t have enough bus drivers to transport all its kids and hundreds of Charlottesville children are walking to and from school this year.

Maybe see y’all at tonight’s meeting!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Charlottesville Tomorrow's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a jhiggins@cvilletomorrow.org.