Archives - Platform of the [Charlottesville] Democrats for Change
December 1999
Elections 2000: Platform of the [Charlottesville] Democrats for Change
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  Platform of the Democrats for Change


Citizens of Charlottesville, engaged in the betterment of our City, have joined together to create a constructive vision for Charlottesville's future. Affirming our Democratic ideals, we declare our commitment to the realization of the following principles and goals:

Ensure an Open and Responsive City Government

> Improve citizen access to the City Council.
· Elect City Council members who will listen and respond to citizen concerns expressed at Council meetings.
· Require full public discussion among Council members before decisions are made.
· Find ways to allow for public input and discussion at Council work sessions.

> Provide for direct election of the Mayor.

> Improve communication between government and citizens.
· Improve methods of delivering information to the public and receiving input from the public.
· Publish notices of all meetings with topics defined fully and in layman's terms.
· Require the Mayor and City Manager to meet with the public and the press for questions and answers on a monthly basis .
· Utilize Neighborhood Associations to gather and disseminate information, and provide input into decision-making process.

> Ensure early notification and consultation with communities affected by development projects or policy changes.
· Require city staff and developers to:
Refer any proposed project or policy issue to the affected neighborhoods at the earliest stages.
Hold public hearings in neighborhoods on the project or policy.
Incorporate neighborhood recommendations into the project or policy.

> Strengthen Neighborhood Associations and encourage all neighborhoods to form an Association.

Create and Implement a Vision For Sustainable and Balanced Growth

> Create a comprehensive Master Plan which sets out a vision for the future growth and development of Charlottesville.
· Encourage community input into the process of developing this plan.
· Think of development on a human scale that promotes community life and diversity.
· Improve and expand our park and trail system.
· Encourage preservation of historical resources.
· Protect and enhance natural amenities and resources.

> Make the Master Plan a reality
· Link the Master Plan to the Zoning Plan.
· Use government leadership in project initiation; do not just wait for developers.
· Strictly enforce adherence to the Plan.
· Park land must be sacrosanct.

> Devise a transportation system that will reduce the reliance on cars.
· Immediately commission a study for a light-rail or other appropriate fixed route transportation system that is part of a land use plan.
· Declare a moritorium on all highway building in Charlottesville, including the Meadowcreek Parkway, until implementation of a comprehensive regional alternative transportation plan has begun.
· Improve the current bus system.
· Develop a network of bicycle and pedestrian ways.

Optimize Cooperation between Charlottesville, Albemarle County and UVA

> Provide broader representation on the MPO.
· Add a representative from UVa to the MPO and add someone to represent alternative modes of transportation.

> Work to repeal the Dillon Rule.

> Develop methods to enhance city-county cooperation.
· Have a voting City member on the County Planning Commission and visa versa.
· Find ways to share services with the County (in addition to fire, water and solid waste).

> Try to get UVa to be more community conscious.
· Have a representative from the City on the UVa Board of Visitors.
· Encourage the University to build more student housing on grounds.
· Encourage the University to limit the number of students with cars.
· Allow adjacent neighborhoods to have input into planning of University projects which impact their communities.

Build Strong Relationships between the Educational System and the Community

> Ensure Accountability of the School System to the Community
· Establish clear lines of authority wherein the Superintendent is accountable to the School Board and the School Board is accountable to the City Council.
· Ensure that the City Council is actively involved in overseeing the School Board.
City Council should welcome public input on educational issues.
The monthly meetings of the City Council with the School Board should be work sessions on substantive issues.
Appoint a City Council member to be an official liaison with the School Board.
· Provide meaningful opportunities for citizen input on appointments to the School Board.
Allow the public to observe the City Council interviews with prospective appointees.
Provide an open forum where citizens can question prospective appointees.

> Provide means for parents and teachers to be heard
· Require the School Board to provide time for dialogue (questions and answers) with the public monthy.
· Establish an office of Ombudsman to address parent and/or teacher concerns.
· The School Administration should encourage active participation of teachers in PTOs and require all schools to organize PTOs.

> Encourage community involvement in the schools and involve students in the community
· Develop courses and programs to bring parents into the schools.
· Expand use of public schools for multi-purposes; e.g. community centers, health clinics, recreation centers.
· Require community service from ALL students to cultivate a sense of self-pride and good citizenship.

> Ensure equal opportunities for all students to achieve their potential
· Review the process of "ability grouping".
· Encourage and support students from all backgrounds to advance into higher level academic programs.
· Demand high academic performance of ALL children.
· Value students in all educational pursuits whether technical, alternative, or college programs.

> Actively pursue innovative methods and utilize community resources
· Encourage implementation of proven programs system wide.
· Take advantage of community and university educational resources.

> Provide resources for continuing education and technical training for adults.

> Continue to support early childhood development programs such as Head Start and Even Start.

> Use a portion of the city budget surplus as seed money to establish a College Scholarship Foundation to assist Charlottesville public school graduates attend college or other post high school training.

Maintain the Highest Standards for Quality of Life and Social Equity

> Provide a safe environment in all neighborhoods.
· Immediately reinstitute community policing in the city.
· Find ways to reduce the number of guns in the City.
· Promote non-violent Conflict Resolution Programs in schools and neighborhoods and
study the feasibility of a Peace Education Curriculum in the schools.

> Ensure an unbiased and just criminal justice system.

> Establish a mechanism to mediate conflicts between Landlords and Renters.

> Protect the dignity and rights of subsidized housing residents.

> Maintain an adequate stock of Affordable Housing in the City.
· Provide homeownership assistance for low-income residents.
· Create incentives for development and revitalization of afforable housing.
· Make sure that Community Development Block Grant funds are used only for their intended purposes (low-to-moderate income neighborhood projects) and not as substitutes for Capital Improvement Program funds.

> Vigorously promote community-based economic development.
· City contract policies should support local businesses and local employment pool.
· Provide job training opportunities for city residents.

> Support Living Wage and Full Benefits.
· City should contract only with firms paying living wage and full benefits.
· City should encourage all local employers, including UVa, to pay living wage and full benefits.

> Celebrate/Enhance Diversity - Gender, Race, Class, Sexual Orientation
· Fair treatment/non-disrimination in city contracts and hiring and in school staff hiring.
· Strive for diversity of representation on City Council, Boards and Commissions.

> Leverage City financial power to get banks to provide more and better services for people of color and low-income, e.g., credit programs, fees, loans, small business development, etc.

Democrats for Change David E. RePass, Chairman 984 - 0935

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