Archives - [Charlottesville] Democrats for Change: The News Conference
December 1999
Elections 2000: [Charlottesville] Democrats for Change: The News Conference
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Railing against what they consider Charlottesville's 'comfortable' Democratic Party, the Democrats 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 Democrat .

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 future'.

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 platforms.

Other individuals at the news conference included John McCutcheon and Kay Peaslee.

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