against what they consider Charlottesville's 'comfortable' Democratic Party,
for Change presented their political
platform Thursday at a news conference .
David RePass, the group's chairman, highlighted the group's
agenda, which includes more active City Council involvement in the public
school system, opposition to the Meadowcreek
Parkway and direct election of the mayor .
RePass often took aim at the City Council, which has been occupied
by Democrats since 1990. 'The government system has become closed and secretive,'
RePass said, 'the voices of ordinary citizens are often being ignored, ...
the development of Charlottesville is proceeding in a piecemeal fashion,
with no vision or plan for the future' .
The group would soon choose three candidates to support for
the Democratic Party nomination caucus in February, RePass said. This is
the first time City Council candidates would run as a slate [at a caucus]
in recent city Democratic Party history .
Members said they would likely support City Councilor Maurice
Cox as one of their three candidates. Cox, who declined to say whether he
would welcome the endorsement, agrees with much of the group's agenda
Giovanna Galfione-Cox, Maurice Cox's wife, said she attended
the press conference as a show of support for the group. The Democrats for
Change platform, she said includes 'every issue that I stand for'
Another name being mentioned is local tranportation activist
and Democrat for Change member Kevin Lynch, who said he is considering running
Community activist Kevin Cox has said he is considering a run
as an independent, while attorney Peter McIntosh said he might run as a
With three seats on the block, a fractious Democratic Party
may be vulnerable to Republican and independent challengers. Charlottesville
Republican Party Chairman Dale McGlothlin has said that three GOP candidates
would vie for the spots, though no one has come forward yet .
Echoing many at the meeting, city resident Floyd Hurt said
he was disappointed about the council's 3-2 vote for the Meadowcreek Parkway.
In this time of prosperity and opportunity, Hurt said, 'I don't think we
have a cohesive plan [for development]' .
According to Kevin Lynch, 'membership of our group and the
emphasis of our platform, both are very diverse. Those citizens who worked
on this platform include activists of all stripes, and are members of many
civic organizations, including the Federation of Neighborhoods and various
neighborhood associations, various PTO groups, the NAACP, the Labor Action
Group, Preservation Piedmont, the League
of Women Voters, the Rivanna
Trails Foundation, The Public Housing Association of Residents, CHABA,
Rivanna Conservation Society, Shenandoah Ecosystems Defense Fund, Students
for Environmental Action, University Democrats, and many, many others'.
'All planks in our platform originated from a charette which
we held at our first meeting and each required a 2/3 vote of the group to
be included in the platform. As our platform shows, we are certainly not
a one issue group. We are an *issues* group and we hope to get the Charlottesville
Democratic Party and the public at large to discuss many issues in the near
The fact that members of many civic organizations were involved in
the creation of the platform of Democrats for Change indicates what a vibrant,
engaged citizenery we have. It does not represent an endorsement by those
organizations of Democrats for Change. The League of Women Voters, for example,
is strictly nonpartisan and does not endorse political candidates or political
Other individuals at the news conference included John McCutcheon
and Kay Peaslee.