Recent events have impacted our community in transformational ways. In order to understand the shifts in our community’s priorities, I have recommitted to my "listening journey" within Charlottesville. I hope to find and share solace, hope, and inspiration through the conversations that take place. Ultimately, however, we must move from talk into action in order to address this community's concerns. I am an action-oriented problem solver – that has been my experience and it is my passion.
My 'listening' journey
Below you will find a map illustrating my journey in advance of the June 13th primary through each of the 9 voting precincts in Charlottesville. Each precinct is represented by a different color. If you click on any of the lines you will see the top issues I heard in each precinct.
When I launched this campaign, I committed to doing 100% of my door knocking personally going into the primary as I felt it was very important for me to introduce myself to the community directly as well as hear the concerns and priorities firsthand. By early June I personally knocked on nearly 2300 doors, representing over 3100 voters. (NOTE: this subset is targeted based on local primary voting history). I made direct contact with just over 1600 individuals, either in person or following up with those I miss at the door via outbound phone calls or inbound emails. Through these direct interactions, I collected over 650 data points on priority issues that have been shared following my asking. These data points are reflected in the output in the map above. Click on a precinct in the map to see when I visited these areas and the top concerns I heard in each district during my time going door to door.
Top Concerns, CItywide
The following is a summary of the themes I have heard overall based on my interactions across the city, illustrating the common and differing priorities throughout our community.
1) Affordable Housing – Gaps identified at multiple housing levels, preventing options for people to do better while enabling them to stay in the communities they call home.
2) Development/Zoning/Planning – Development viewed as not addressing our community’s needs, erasing our green spaces, and lacking a long-term vision.
3) Schools & Education – Our youth are our future. School system identified as needing further investment in infrastructure, progressive education, and a comprehensive approach to support the success of our most vulnerable youth.
4) Infrastructure and Supporting Multi-Modal Transportation – Widespread gaps in our pedestrian and bike infrastructure and a transportation system that is underdelivering. The Belmont Bridge just needs to get done.
5) Allocation of City Resources – Spending viewed as not aligned with what community values and resources being wasted on initiatives that result in little to no action.
I've Learned So Much
My time speaking with neighbors throughout the City has highlighted the extent to which we are united on many priorities. It has also made me aware that the issues we hear about in public settings are not always reflective of the things that matter most to the broader community. Some representative soundbites include:
Development, Zoning, and Planning - “There is a lot of development without neighborhood communications and it is not meeting the needs of the community.” “There is an abundance of hotels but limited affordable housing.”
Traffic, Speeding, and Pedestrian Safety - “Development within and outside of the City is leading to traffic and infrastructure impacts in our neighborhoods that are not being addressed.” “Lack of sidewalks further inhibits the safety of our streets.”
Education, Engaging Our Youth – “There is an increasing socioeconomic divide as our children progress through our City’s schools.” “We are lacking in our support for those students with the greatest need and this support should start sooner.”
I have been moved by the passion and informed perspectives that so many have shared, allowing me to start to paint a comprehensive picture of our City, including what it is delivering on, and where it is falling short. I have also been blown away by the number of people with expertise and/or a unique perspective and who have offered themselves as a resource to work with me to solve some of our most complex issues.
let's work together
I am committed to partnering with many in our community to act on our priority issues while on City Council. My plans include:
Fostering a culture of City responsiveness and accountability to neighborhood concerns that affect our quality of life.
Seeking innovative solutions to our housing crisis, focusing on alignment of supply and demand at multiple housing levels and removing barriers that stand in the way of our neighbors and their ability to find safe, decent, affordable housing.
Focusing City resources to address our infrastructure deficits, including safety and usability of our streets.
Ensuring the development of our youth through collaboration with our School Board, Parks & Recreation, and other community stakeholders.
City Council’s success is dependent upon being a conduit for the ideas and informed perspectives throughout our community.
I invite you to join me.