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Meet the Press: Media and Journalism in Charlottesville and the Commonwealth

Saturday, January 17th from 9:30 to 11:30AM
Cville Coffee (1301 Harris Street)

PROGRAM:  In this month’s City-County Democratic Breakfast Meeting, we will discuss the state and future of media and journalism in Charlottesville and in the Commonwealth. Guest panelists will share their thoughts about the state of the industry, the future of media and journalism, and the conduct and coverage of recent high profile stories. This will be an off the record discussion and will include questions from the audience.

WHO: Guest speakers include: Lisa Provence, Senior Reporter from C-ville Weekly; Chris Callahan, Senior Reporter, WINA News Radio; and Brian Wheeler, Executive Director, Charlottesville Tomorrow

Questions? Comments? Ideas for future meetings? Contact Emily Blout, ACDP City-County Breakfast Coordinator at

Happy 2015 Albemarle Democrats!

It is going to be an exciting year with 17 different races that will impact Albemarle County.  While many consider this an “off off year” election, it is the cycle where we elect the local officials who can have the most direct impact from government on our daily lives.  Unfortunately, without federal or national races on the ballot, turnout is expected to be the lowest of each four year cycle and this makes your contribution to our efforts and your VOTE  even more important in 2015.

The voters in Albemarle County will determine control of the Board of Supervisors, but it is entirely possible that we could also be the votes that determine control of the closely divide State Senate!  In addition we will have School Board, House of Delegates, Constitutional Officers, and even the Soil and Water Conservation seats on the ballot.  We are hopeful that many of our hard working and qualified incumbents will continue to serve and are still looking for a few more volunteers who are interested in public service for those seats that are open.  (Rivanna BOS is now an open seat!)  Please feel free to email me directly at if you have an interest running or helping out one of these campaigns.
Albemarle County is a good place to run as a Democrat and, despite a difficult political environment, both of our candidates carried Albemarle last year.  This was in large part due to the groundwork laid by our local volunteers, but with so many different races this year it will be important that we build up our troops and start early.  Hiring staff early proved critical to our success in 2013 and we hope to do the same this year.
YOU can help determine the direction we take by:
  1. Signing up as a volunteer and getting involved in our campaigns;
  2. Signing up as a dues paying member of our local committee and attending our events ($25/year); and
  3. Making a special contribution to our new 2015 Fund (all funds will be used to hire staff or contributed to local campaigns).  You can make your contribution and pay or renew your dues by clicking here or going to
The future of Albemarle County is at stake and success at the polls will be determined by YOUR efforts.  I look forward to working with you to make sure our community remains a great place to live, work and play!  Thank you for all you do.
Richard Brewer
Albemarle County Democratic Party Chair
unnamed (1)From David Toscano:
Our 9th Annual Send David Back event was quite the success! We had a much higher turnout than expected for such a chilly winter evening! I appreciate so much your support – here are a few photo highlights presented during the evening and you can read my speech from the evening here.


To learn more about the upcoming session please read my first legislative update here. If you are interested in receiving updates throughout the session, please visit to enroll in email updates.


Virginia law prohibits legislators from receiving campaign contributions during the legislative session. If you were not able to make the event but would like to contribute, please make a donation to my campaign here before noon on January 14, 2015 before Session convenes. And, again, thank you so much for your continued support.


It is an honor to serve you and your support is even more important now than ever as we face a tough year for the budget. But I could not do my job without your input. You can watch the legislative session live every day by following the link available on the Virginia General Assembly website here. Please email me at with your thoughts and comments on matters that are before the General Assembly.



David Toscano

Traci Dippert is running for the State Senate for the 17th District which includes parts of Albemarle.

Traci Dippert

unnamedCelebration to Kick Off the 2015 Session


Senator Creigh Deeds 

and Special Guest

Governor Terry McAuliffe

Saturday, January 10, 2015
12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. 

Old Metropolitan Hall
101 E Main Street, Downtown Mall
Charlottesville VA  

Individual tickets … $50
Sponsor … $250
Host … $500
Patron … $1,500 + 

Please RSVP to 

You may contribute online or by sending a check payable to Deeds for State Senate to PO Box 5462; Charlottesville, VA  22905. 

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You are Invited to Join
Ben Brewster – Pam Cipriano & Ron Turner – Thomas Jones & Diana Foster
Wistar Morris & Karen Moran – Nancy Spangler & Ned Martin
Wendy & Jack Brown – John & Betsy Casteen – Eduard & Francesca De Lange – Llezelle Dugger – Debbie Easter
Sheri Edgecomb & Nick Laiacona – Francis Fife & Nancy O’Brien – Barry & Dorrie Fontaine – Nancy & Jim Galloway
Donna Goings – Chris & Cathy Kramer – Irving Kron – Ed & Carolyn Lowry – Dick & Mimi Riley
Peter Sevcik & Mary Martin – J. Lloyd Snook III – Blair Williamson – William Wulf & Anita Jones
Alison Booth & David Izakowitz – David Brown & Jean Hiatt – Jennifer Brown – Sam Caughron – Mary Buford-Hitz & Fred Hitz
Martin & Deborah Burks – Anne Carley & John Erdwurm – Carrie Douglass & Fernando Opere – Kay Ferguson – Pamela Gale
Barbara Gehrung & Cass Kawecki – Dick & Pam Gibson – James Hingeley – Mary Huey – Joan Jay – Gail & Ed Kitch
Sherry Kraft & Bill Lucy – Amy & Aaron Laufer – Byrd & Mary Leavell – Gail McIntosh & Michael Osteen – Alice Meador
Hosea Mitchell – Harriet & Dan Mohler – Dan O’Neill & Debra Nystrom – Susan & L.F. Payne – Elayne Phillips – Rebecca Quinn
Lee Richards – Michael Signer & Emily Blout – Bobbie Spellman & Fred Schauer – Bryan & Jennifer Slaughter – Dede Smith & Tim Wilson
Bitsy & David Waters – Michael Weber – Elizabeth Woodard
for the
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Senator Creigh Deeds sends  his latest newsletter ahead of Tuesday’s Election for Senate and House of Representatives. Don’t forget to vote for Mark Warner and Lawrence Gaughan!

Dear Friend,

The 10th of November saw a reconvening of the Virginia General Assembly during what seems to be a never ending session.  Not since 2001 has the General Assembly been in session this long. While these extended sessions do not often occur, I fear the Jeffersonian ideal of a part-time citizen legislature is in jeopardy.

A part-time citizen legislature requires that people gather for short periods of time every year to consider changes to the law.  Those people have to earn their principal living outside of government service and have to live among the people they represent.  The idea is that citizen legislators remain closer to the people, and thus their work is more likely to reflect the needs of the community they represent.

Legislators are drawn to Richmond for a few months every winter, away from their families and jobs, to engage in lawmaking.  It is always a challenge to find the right balance between all of one’s responsibilities.  The system works because the Constitution of Virginia defines the legislative session as being no longer than 60 days in even-numbered years and 30 days in odd-numbered years unless there is an extension agreed to by a super majority or unless the Governor or a super majority of the legislature calls a special session.

Special sessions are called periodically to deal with very specific issues. In 1994, parole was abolished. In 1998, we adopted the plan to repeal the car tax. In 2004, we took up taxes. This year the special session was called because we failed to adopt a budget during our regular session, in large part because of disagreement over Medicaid expansion. In addition, certain judicial vacancies needed to be filled.  Historically, special sessions are not protracted.

After gaining the majority in 1999 for the first time since Reconstruction, the Republican majority cut the Democratic minority to smithereens in the redistricting process in 2001.  Litigation ensued and the Republicans kept the General Assembly in special session all year in order to avoid subpoena or deposition in the litigation.  

This year, former Senator Phil Puckett’s abrupt resignation from the Senate in June gave the Republicans absolute control of both houses of the General Assembly and hastened the death of Medicaid expansion.  It also helped resolve the judicial vacancy issue because appointments to the bench are a prerogative of the majority party.  Since the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate, appointments would not be bogged down by partisan disputes and should have made for a quick judicial selection process. But it has not been that easy.

A number of judicial vacancies were filled this past summer and a few more this past week.  However, the majority party has not found consensus on the appellate court vacancies.  There will be a vacancy on the Virginia Supreme Court at the end of the year, and there will be at least two vacancies on the Court of Appeals.

The General Assembly could just call it quits, end the Special Session and reach agreement when we convene in 2015.  Legislators would have some normalcy for the remainder of the year and not have to worry about being called to Richmond again before January 14th.  However that would also give the Governor certain prerogatives with respect to filling judicial vacancies.  Continuing the Special Session not only serves to allow the majority party to resolve its disagreements about filling the vacancies, it serves as a check on gubernatorial power.  In that respect, keeping the legislature in a Special Session this year – all year – is unprecedented and undermines the natural checks and balances built into our system of government by the Constitution.

Perhaps it is time for us to reconsider the notion of filling judicial vacancies on the basis of merit, a suggestion that has been made over the years by both Democrats and Republicans.  I remember such ideas coming from Andy Guest, a Republican delegate from Warren County, and Whitt Clement, a Democratic delegate from Danville.  I have sponsored legislation in the past as well because the administration of justice is one of the most important functions of government, and too important to be left to the partisan politics of the day.

It continues to be my honor to serve you in the Senate of Virginia.  If you have questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact my legislative office:  P.O. Box 5462, Charlottesville, Virginia 22905, (434) 296-5491, or via email  The General Assembly will convene for the 2015 Session on January 14. Legislation is already being introduced and can be tracked here. If you have ideas or concerns that you think need to be addressed during this session, please let me know as soon as possible.


Creigh Deeds

You can signup for Senator Deeds email updates at his web site.

Read other updates from Albemarle’s Democratic elected officials.


Senator Creigh Deeds sends  his latest newsletter ahead of Tuesday’s Election for Senate and House of Representatives. Don’t forget to vote for Mark Warner and Lawrence Gaughan!

Dear Friend,

In less than a week, Virginians will head to the polls. My friend, Mark Warner is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate because he believes that all Virginians should get a fair shot at success. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. His first two business attempts failed, but he pushed forward and met with success on his third attempt.  He wants to ensure that all Virginians have that same fair shot.

Senator Warner has a long track record of working together to find commonsense solutions for Virginians. As Governor, he helped turn a $6 billion deficit into a $1 billion surplus. He made the largest single investment in K – 12 education in Virginia’s history and created 130,000 new jobs. As a result, Virginia was named the best-managed state and the best state for business. He has always put Virginia first.

Senator Warner has brought the same bipartisan approach to his work in the U.S. Senate. He founded the Gang of Six to help tackle our debt and deficit and put our nation on a path to long-term stability.  He supports raising the minimum wage and has stood up for a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. He has introduced student debt legislation to provide new tools to help students pay down their debt.  And he has always stood up for our military families and veterans, most recently when he worked to pass a provision to bring private sector help to fix the scheduling problems at the VA hospitals.

Senator Warner’s opponent, however, has taken the opposite approach. He has spent his entire career as a political operative and top DC lobbyist.  He even went on TV and called himself a “partisan warrior.”  The last thing Virginians need is another partisan warrior to add to the gridlock in Washington.

This is an important election. The choice is between finding commonsense solutions and going back to the same tired economic policies that drove our country into the ditch. We need to keep the car in drive, not reverse, and re-elect Mark Warner on Tuesday, November 4. The polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.  


Creigh Deeds

You can signup for Senator Deeds email updates at his web site.

Read other updates from Albemarle’s Democratic elected officials.

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Samuel Miller District Supervisor Liz Palmer sends  this update:

Dear Fellow Samuel Miller District Resident,

This is the second in a series of occasional newsletters that I plan to send to keep everyone up to date on recent and upcoming actions of the Board of Supervisors.  I hope you’ll find them useful. If you know someone whom you think may wish to receive these emails please forward this on to them. On the other hand, if you’d rather not receive them, you may unsubscribe by clicking the link below.

First, here are some ways to keep in touch with me and the rest of the Board of Supervisors:

Upcoming community events:

  • Vintage Virginia Apples and the Cove Garden Ruritan Club will host the 14th annual Apple Harvest Festival on November 1, 2014 – 10am to 5pm, at Albemarle CiderWorks in North Garden.  Enjoy apple butter and Brunswick stew, hayrides, music, crafts, and local artisanal food.

Upcoming Town Hall meetings: 

As the media have reported, the Board has been very busy with a myriad of issues including the 29 North improvements, the courts renovations, solid waste management and recycling, rural internet service, and efforts to enhance our working relationship with the School Board in preparation for the 2015 budget discussions. We are also holding additional meetings each month to complete the Comprehensive Plan revision.

I will be holding 4 Town Hall Meetings for Samuel Miller Residents this fall.  At each meeting I will be joined by representatives from the Albemarle County Police and Fire & Rescue departments.  

  • Thursday, October 23rd at Yancey Elementary School. I will speak at 6:30 pm following a program celebrating the 21st Century Grant received by Club Yancey.
  • Tuesday, November 17th 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Red Hill Elementary School.
  • Monday, November 18th 7:00 – 8:30 pm at Henley Middle School with Ann Mallek, White Hall Supervisor.
  • Monday, December 1st 6:30 – 8:00 pm at Monticello High School with Jane Dittmar, Scottsville Supervisor.

County priorities and financial planning for the next five years will be a topic of discussion for the November and December meetings. Read more info on the Comp Plan. Please plan to attend!

On the road: I have been visiting various interest groups and organizations.  Each meeting has been valuable to me.  Please let me know if you’d like me to attend your group’s meeting.

Below is a snapshot of a few of the many subjects that the Board of Supervisors has been discussing and will continue to work on over the coming months.

Route 29 Solutions Package: 

VDOT is moving ahead quickly with the Route 29 Solutions Package, which includes a compact grade-separated interchange at Rio and 29, widening of the 29/250 (Best Buy) ramp, Hillsdale Drive extension, Berkmar Drive extension over the South Fork Rivanna River, widening of 29 North from Polo Grounds Road north to Towncenter Drive, and the adaptive traffic signals. The Board of Supervisors has been involved in the planning and preparation process each step of the way.  Construction on much of the package should begin in 2015 and be completed in 2017. Much planning has taken place to reduce the impact on area businesses.·       


Trash collection, AKA Solid Waste Disposal and Resource Recovery:

This has been an area that has garnered a significant amount of my time. For this newsletter, I will skip the discussion of illegal dumping and trash burning but suffice it to say we are considering these as we develop our solutions package.  The topic can be divided into disposal services provided to residents, and recycling as an environmental imperative.

Services: The county government must make sure that citizens have do-it-yourself options for trash disposal (AKA convenience centers). We also must ensure that residents have options for doorstep pickup if their driveways are inaccessible to large garbage trucks and, due to mobility restrictions, they cannot get their garbage containers to the end of their driveway.

All this is best accomplished by maintaining a transfer station in the county.  A transfer station is a facility that holds a state permit to take trash from commercial haulers.  Commercial hauling success is highly dependent on time and volume of trash. Smaller trucks cannot efficiently contain enough trash and transport it miles from the hauling route to make the business viable. A local transfer station helps maintain a competitive environment for haulers who run smaller trucks and offer more personalized service.

Currently the only option in the county for commercial haulers is the Ivy MUC (Material Utilization Center, AKA the Ivy Landfill). Unfortunately the equipment at the Ivy MUC is antiquated, inefficient, and not user-friendly for commercial haulers.  If Ivy is downgraded to a convenience center, by definition and state requirement commercial haulers cannot use it. Bringing the facility up to date is expensive but I believe necessary to maintain services for county residents.  Because trash collection is a core government service necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of county residents, I strongly believe we must maintain control over our options.  I like to think of maintaining a county transfer station as public-private cooperation to keep Albemarle clean. 

Recycling: Albemarle county residents lack good recycling options. Currently, if you get your trash picked up by a hauler in the county, most of you are told that your trash will be sorted at a transfer station. Some call it single-stream but it can more accurately be called commingled. If you put the spaghetti sauce in with the paper and the rest of the trash and it is then compacted in the back of a garbage truck, the rates of salvage and quality of salvaged materials go down. We have been looking at UVA, whose employees and students separate out all campus recyclables, as well our peer communities. We hope to have a comprehensive solid waste management plan available for the board to consider next summer. The plan should include both expanded opportunities for do-it-yourself recycling and curbside pick-up as well as more comprehensive services such as electronic waste recycling.  

If you would like to get involved in our solid waste planning please email me.

The courts and your tax rate:  

Our courts are undersized for our population and do not meet modern security needs. There is currently a court renovation project underway to correct these deficits. It will involve the investment of approximately $43 million over a 7- year period and is based on a Downtown Renovation/Expansion option. This is the largest capital investment the County is anticipating during this period.  This estimate does not include any additional costs for parking, which could be as high as $3 million if building structured parking is included. This is particularly important given that projections indicate that a tax increase of at least 2 cents on the real estate rate dedicated to this required project will be necessary over the next three years. 

This is but a small sample of what the Board is working on. I hope to see some of you at the town hall meetings. Please join us with questions and concerns.

Thank you for giving me this opportunity to serve our county!


Liz Palmer
Samuel Miller District Representative
Albemarle County Board of Supervisors
(434) 964-7876

You can signup for Supervisor Palmer’s email updates at her web site.

Read other updates from Albemarle’s Democratic elected officials.

Invite You to Join Them


Lawrence Gaughan
OUR Candidate for the 5th Congressional District

at the home of
Francis Fife and Nancy O’Brien
Oak Lawn
501 9th Street SW
Charlottesville, VA
Wednesday, October 22nd
6-8 PM
We need to send Hurt home
$25 for guests
$100 to sponsor