Message from the Chair – Patty Haling

Dear Albemarle Democrats:

As we head into the final month of the 2016 campaign, we’re excited to bring you this Democratic newsletter. In it you’ll find updates from our local elected officials, information about voting this year and what will be on your 2016 ballot, along with information about a couple of the ballot issues.

A tremendous amount is at stake on Tuesday, November 8th.

If you believe that America is already great and that everyone deserves a world class education, quality healthcare and an economy that serves more than a privileged few, then vote for Democrats.

If you believe immigrants make our country stronger, that all citizens should be treated equally regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexual orientation and women should make their own healthcare choices, then make sure you vote for Democrats.

If you want to ensure that the next President to appoint a Supreme Court Justice is a Democrat, do not sit by the sidelines. It is time for us all to come together, get out the vote and take our country Forward!

All of our work this year will also help us build for 2017, when we’ll be working to elect another Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor and re-elect our Attorney General. We’ll also have local races in half of the county as well as elections for the 4 seats in the House of Delegates from Albemarle County.

As we make our final push this year, I hope that you’ll join us by voting, volunteering and contributing to our efforts. Don’t hesitate to contact me at chair@albemarledemocrats.org with questions, concerns or feedback.  

Patty Haling

Chair

 

School Capital Projects Referendum

The Albemarle Democrats support the schools referendum. A School Capital Projects Referendum will be on the November 8th ballot.  Three important issues are discussed below. For more information, go to the Albemarle County’s website at: http://www.albemarle.org/bondreferendum. How did we get here?  In 2007, in what in retrospect seems like particularly poor timing, the Board of Supervisors cut the property tax rate by 6¢ per $100.  In 2008, the Great Recession hit and the combination of plunging property assessments and reduced tax rates had significant impact on the County revenues. For schools it meant deep cuts to both operating and capital budgets.  Although the County has funded basic maintenance and a few other capital projects for schools each year, we are falling behind. With a growing student population (we've added more than 1000 students since the last school was built in 2002) and aging facilities (the average age of the core school facility in the County is 46 years), ACPS has not been able to keep up with its capital needs even with incremental tax increases. What are the projects included in the referendum? The $35.5 million requested in the School Capitals Projects Referendum is for high priority projects that have gone through multiple rounds of scrutiny.  The projects have been recommended by the Long Range Planning Advisory Committee, the School Board, the Capital Projects Oversight Committee, the County Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The four projects are:
  • Expansion and modernization of Woodbrook Elementary School. ($15.3 million)
  • Completion of Phase II of the Western Albemarle High School Environmental Sciences Academy and renovation of seven science labs. ($6 million)
  • Modernization that will touch schools in all feeder patterns. ($10.9 million)
  • Completing the security upgrades at ACPS. ($2.9 million)
Why a referendum?  A referendum will permit the County to access cheaper money to finance these school capital projects.   The referendum question asks voters to approve the County issuing General Obligation bonds instead of the usual bonds it uses to finance capital projects.  Think of this like shopping for a lower interest rate when you purchase a house.  Albemarle County is the only one of nine AAA Bond-rated counties in Virginia that does not routinely use its high bond rating to get lower interest rates.  The last time it did so for  a school project was in the mid-1970s to finance the building of Western Albemarle High School.  Note that these projects must be done.  The issue is timing and the cost of borrowing.   The Albemarle Democrats support the schools referendum. Learn more about the referendum at: www.albemarle.org/bondreferendum

Updates from our elected officials

Update from Delegate David Toscano

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent this great community in Virginia’s General Assembly since 2006, and to serve as House Democratic Leader since 2011. Needless to say, there is an important election this fall, and we hope you will knock on doors, make calls, and get your friends and neighbors to support Hillary, Tim, and Jane Dittmar. Looking forward, we have important […]

Update From Senator Creigh Deeds

  Although the General Assembly adjourned in March, the summer has been busy. The continued attempts by Republicans to thwart the Governor’s restoration of voting rights for convicted felons have been the most contentious. Our laws should not disenfranchise people who have completed their sentences and are living in our communities. Virginia remains an outlier on this issue. The Governor announced in August that we […]

Update from Rivanna Supervisor Norman Dill

Interesting and important meeting for the Pantops area especially: The Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) is the forum for cooperative transportation decision-making for Albemarle and Charlottesville. The MPO is close to getting a grant to expand Free Bridge from four lanes to six and also build a separate bike/pedestrian bridge.  More immediately, there are improvements coming to the intersection of Proffit and Stony Point Roads […]

Update from Delegate David Toscano

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent this great community in Virginia’s General Assembly since 2006, and to serve as House Democratic Leader since 2011. Needless to say, there is an important election this fall, and we hope you will knock on doors, make calls, and get your friends and neighbors to support Hillary, Tim, and Jane Dittmar. Looking forward, we have important […]

Vote NO on "Right to Work" Amendment

On this year’s ballot, Virginia voters will be asked whether to elevate part of the right to work statute to the Constitution. Virginia’s Constitution is a sacred document and does not need to be changed. Virginia currently has a "Right to Work" law that was enacted nearly 70 years ago and remains in effect. It is not needed in the Constitution. The Albemarle County Democratic Committee is opposed to this amendment and encourages Albemarle Democrats to vote No. While working families are focused on issues that really matter—like funding our schools, fixing our roads and bridges, and creating good jobs right here in our communities, certain state lawmakers have misplaced their priorities on Amendment 1. Our constitution was designed to protect the rights of the citizens of the commonwealth. Amendment 1, however, is designed by a handful of powerful corporate interests to silence the voices of hardworking Virginians. It is unnecessary, wastes taxpayer money and would be nearly impossible to reverse. Amendment 1 has no place in the Virginia constitution. Priorities matter, and for the lawmakers behind this scheme, it’s clear they don’t have Virginia’s best interests at the top of their list. We need policies that put our families first, protect workers and help strengthen our communities. It’s time to protect Virginia’s constitution and our working families.

What's next in 2017?

No rest for the weary. We're entirely focused on winning in November, but we live in Virginia and that means an election is always just around the corner. Next year, we'll be working to elect a Democratic Governor, Lt. Governor and Attorney General at the statewide level. And with a little luck, we'll have a special election to replace our great Senator Tim Kaine when he's elected Vice President! The House of Delegates will also be on the on the ballot, so we're hoping to return David Toscano to office along with winning the seats currently held by Republicans Rob Bell, Matt Faris and Steve Landes. Perhaps most significantly, we will have Board of Supervisor and School Board seats on the ballot in the Rio, Jack Jouett and Samuel Miller districts. Stay tuned for more information after this year's elections. For now, let's win on November 8th!