"I'm aggrieved," says Vance High. "I'm very aggrieved and that's why I'm trying to run for [Charlottesville City] Council. [And] I need to get 125 valid signatures by noon Monday."
(The actual deadline is 7:00 pm Tuesday, March 2, but the registrar's office asks for some time in which to validate the signatures as being those of registered Charlottesville voters.)
"I have about 75, and I need 50 more - probably more than 50, to make sure - tell your readers I'll buy dinner for two at the C&O - well, within reason, no $200 bottles of wine - for anybody who gets me 25 valid signatures in time."
The reason High is aggrieved is what he sees as the spineless acceptance by Council of the proposed rezoning of 15 acres across the street from his Cleveland Avenue residence. The plot is presently zoned R-2, for single and two-family dwellings at 7-12 units per acre. The developers have petitioned to rezone to Planning Unit Development standards, which would permit single-family detached, townhouses and condominiums up to 188 units at an average density of 12.6 units per acre.
In High's phrase, "it would be like putting another Scott Stadium between here and Johnson Village. I live in the area, and I know that a lot of things didn't get properly addressed [in the first hearing]. Environmental , parking. They came in and just told people what they wanted to hear. I was appalled. I thought, if these people (City Council) are that easy to sell . And I decided, what the heck, I'll give it a try."
The 45 year old High is an advocate for MS Research, a published poet, a photographer, a trained epidemiologist and a retired schoolteacher (among other things). He says he's trying to be as useful as he can and to enjoy the time before his condition further limits his activities.
Of the proposed development in his neighborhood, he says "I'm mad but I'm not mad-mad. I think things around here are getting too big, too fast. And I'd like to see if I can do something about it."
Here's a poem by Vance High, written to commemorate the victims of terrorism aboard United Airlines flight 93, that crashed in Pennsylvania.
Whether place or time
(Dave Sagarin, February 27, 2004)
Editorial Note: As of March 2, 2004, Vance High collected a sufficient number of signatures as an independent and officially entered the 2004 race for Charlottesville City Council. As no one else had entered by 7 p.m., there are officially 6 candidates.
Independents who have run in past City Council elections include James
F. King, Jr. in
1998, Kevin Cox and Stratton Salidis in
2000, and Stratton Salidis in
2002. Margaret Cain ran as a member of the Citizens Party in