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January 2019
Charlottesville Council Election 2019: Lloyd Snook Declares Candidacy
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Charlottesville attorney and long-time Democratic Party activist Lloyd Snook announces his candidacy for the Charlottesville City Council. Three seats are up this year--incumbents and challengers are listed on the home page. Candidates will be chosen in a Primary election June 11. The following is excerpted from an email sent today.

I want to help "right the ship" in Charlottesville, and I will be seeking the Democratic nomination for one of the three spots on City Council. I have been deeply distressed by the chaos at the top of City government in recent years -- even before August 12, though the events leading up to that day, and ever since, have made the problem crystal clear.

I am running with three goals:

1. Get Council functioning well again. We need to hire a competent City Manager and let him or her do the job that the Virginia Code describes. It is apparent that the members of the current City Council do not trust one another, and they don't work well together. I can't fix this dysfunctionality single-handedly, but I can be one-fifth of a solution.

2. The discussions about the proposed new Comprehensive Plan are bringing into sharp focus something that we have tried to ignore -- that Charlottesville is not a town; it is a city, with city-like problems. The zoning law changes being suggested are challenging, both intellectually and emotionally. It is time that we confront hard questions that we have tended to duck -- about gentrification, affordable housing, public housing redevelopment, and transportation planning. It is vital that we get that balance right. I spent 8 years on the Planning Commission, 12 years on the Piedmont Housing Alliance Board of Directors, 18 years as a Charlottesville School System parent, 39 years as a trial lawyer in Charlottesville, and 57 years calling Charlottesville home. I want to make sure that we balance the competing interests appropriately.

3. In my career as a criminal defense lawyer, I have had a lot of opportunity, and material, for thinking about the pipeline to prison. I have always thought that it is unfair to refer to the "school-to-prison pipeline," because that suggests that the schools are the source of the problem. They aren't. By law, City Council cannot do anything about what happens in the school system -- Council just writes a check. But Council can influence so many other parts of the pipeline. From policing to affordable housing to job training to recreational opportunities to adequate school funding, there are many ways in which Council can help break, rather than feed, the pipeline to prison.

Those three goals are more than enough for a four-year term. But there is one last point that I hope to emphasize.

Political pollsters like to ask, "Do you think things are generally going in the right direction, or are they pretty seriously on the wrong track?" My guess is that most Charlottesvillians would respond that Charlottesville is on the wrong track, when what they really mean is that City Council is on the wrong track. The City is economically healthy, and the recent agreement to keep the Albemarle courts downtown will reinforce that. We have good people working for us. Our citizens care about our city, and they want it to do well and to work well. We have challenges, but we also have resources to deal with them. With stable leadership on City Council, we can right the ship.

Lloyd Snook (electronic mail, January 11, 2019)

Comments? Questions? Write me at