David McNair

Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Blackbird singing in Charlottesville

In Opinion on January 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm

Following comments that our new Mayor Nikuyah Walker made on The View recently, there’s been a lot of pushback on the idea that Charlottesville has a race problem, and that our community was “ripe” for what happened on August 12, as Walker said. Some local observers have criticized Walker, have pointed out that most of the white supremacists who came to the rally were from out-of-town, and suggested hers was an unfair characterization of Charlottesville.

But I think we have to remind ourselves that it took 92 years before Charlottesville ever seriously considered removing the Confederate statues from our public parks, the issue that triggered the turmoil we’ve experienced. Remember the Occupy movement in 2011, when people camped out in the park as a protest against economic and social injustice? The Lee statue played no part in the chosen location, and I don’t recall anyone raising any issues about the statue at the time. Why might that have been? Why were we unwilling then to see the Lee statue as a symbol of social injustice? I don’t think you have to think too hard to figure out why that was, given what we know now and have experienced. The hard part is accepting our complacency, or rather our lack of awareness and/or unwillingness to confront a painful issue, and the fact that it took an African-American Charlottesville High School ninth-grader and city councilor seriously advocating for the removal of the statues in 2016 before our community seriously considered the idea of removing them. That’s what Walker is talking about. Unmasking the illusion. Yes, Charlottesville is a great town in so many ways, and August 12 was an assault on our community that we need to defend ourselves against, but it’s time to realize that we are part of the problem as well.

And there’s no shame in it. Since I was a teenager I thought the song “Blackbird” by the Beatles was just a beautiful song, and only recently found out that it was inspired by the sympathy Paul McCartney felt for black women struggling during the Civil Rights Movement. All those years. Oblivious. But a single moment of inquiry and recognition changes the meaning of the song forever.


Unmasking the Illusion: is Charlottesville finally “woke” when it comes to discussing race and history?

In Opinion on November 9, 2017 at 1:54 pm

monument.jpegNewly elected Charlottesville City Councilor Nikuyah Walker’s campaign slogan “Unmasking the Illusion,” no matter what you think of it, was a brilliant one, an antidote to “Make America Great Again” if ever there was one. When it has come to discussing race and history in Charlottesville, the tendency has always been to intellectualize it, to try to reason with it. Take, for example, this perfectly reasonable C-Ville Weekly story on our Confederate statues, “Monumental questions: Local statues are a lesson in history and a source of controversy,” published in June 2015. At the time, as the story points out, Charlottesville City Councilor Kristin Szakos’ now very well-known suggestion, during a 2012 Virginia Book Festival luncheon speech by Civil War historian Edward Ayers, that perhaps our Confederate statues should be removed or put in better historical context, was well-known back then. Read the rest of this entry »

Opinion/Commentary: The Brazile Effect In Virginia

In Opinion on November 6, 2017 at 8:55 am

There is a dirty smear campaign of a popular Independent candidate going on in Charlottesville’s City Council Election that smacks of the allegations made by Donna Brazile in her recently published book about the Democratic Party and the Sanders campaign. You would think that Charlottesville had undergone enough ugliness in the White Supremacist attacks of August 12 but it seems like the racism extends to a local election in which an a popular progressive African-American independent candidate is under attack by the white establishment for merely demanding accountability.

On November 3rd the Democratic Candidates for Charlottesville City Council held a press conference with many of the local Democratic Party elite in attendance.


At that press Conference Democratic City Council candidate Laufer stated:

“I think the most important thing that heather and I are expressing today is our willingness to collaborate with city council, with city staff, and with this community. And address issues and create solutions,” said Amy Laufer, (D) candidate for Charlottesville City Council.”

On November 4th The Daily Progress published an article titled “Walker’s style of communication unabashedly aggressive” which stated:

“A source in City Hall, who wished to remain anonymous, called attention to her emails, voicing concerns about her ability to work collaboratively with city officials.”


The language and message is too close to be coincidence. I would ask you which sitting City Councilors have supported the Laufer and Hill Democratic candidacy? How might the City manager be connected to the Democratic Party? Could “a source in City Hall” include the mayor, sitting city councilors, Senior City Staff who would be privy to Ms. Walker’s emails?

It is no secret that Walker has been highly critical of City Democratic Mayor Mike Signer and City Manager Maurice Jones about issues surrounding the City’s failure during the August 12 white supremacists attacks on Charlottesville. The State of Virginia has released a preliminary report on the civil unrest in Charlottesville that indicates culpability of City officials.


So this is a two for one deal. A smear attack on Walker supports the democratic candidates for City Council and it protects City officials from the accountability she would bring if elected. Walker’s campaign is unprecedented in the level of support an independent has received in recent Charlottesville history. A prominent local Democrat made a significantly large donation to the Walker campaign indicating that even some local Democrats are tired of the status quo democratic politics of Charlottesville which independent candidate Paul long has recently called “Republican lite.” So it is clear they are threatened.

This is nothing but dirty politics not unlike recent admissions by Democratic Party operative Donna Brazile about how the Democratic Party undermined Sanders campaign. In the 2016 Democratic Primary in Charlottesville almost all of the precincts went for Sanders even though most local Democratic Party elites were supporting Clinton. This indicates that the local Democratic Party cannot brook any challenge by progressives in or out of their party. Here they can be seen acting just like their conservative opponents.

Not only is this just unethical and dirty, it may well cost the Democrats in State-wide elections. The upshot is that the anonymous source in the Daily Progress article smearing Walker’s communication style may be responsible for Democrats in State races to lose when voters witness the level of dirty politics being played out in Charlottesville, basically a reprise of the Sanders attacks.

If I were state and local Democratic party officials I would immediately and publicly denounce this kind of smear tactic and the anonymous source in the Daily Progress article by Monday or they may see a negative impact on voters in the Northam, Herring, Fairfax election results. They should state that the story was politically motivated and inaccurate. If they lose they part of the blame will be attributed to the “anonymous source in City Hall” and their unwillingness to correct the situation.

In addition, The Daily Progress owes the voters an apology for supporting Comey-like bombshells prior to an election and thus influencing an election. The Daily progress has come out in support of the two local Charlottesville Democratic Candidates who stand to gain by the smear article it ran on Saturday. Thus the Progress has engaged in Yellow Journalism. The Progress almost never allows the use of anonymous sources. Why now? Shame on them for violating ethical principles in journalism and for tainting the democratic process.

This attempted smear of Independent Candidate Nikuyah Walker is nothing but the corruption of the big parties manifesting itself in local elections. If the Democrats lose other state-wide elections on Tuesday, they have dirty politics in Charlottesville to blame. I won’t vote for a Democrat until I see this corrected publicly.

Walt Heinecke
Charlottesville, VA

Disclaimer: the views expressed here are not necessarily those of The DTM.

2017 Best of the DTM Awards

In business, Fashion, Food & Wine, Music, Opinion, Polls, Shopping on September 27, 2017 at 9:55 am

Thanks to all who voted this year. And here are the results. A few changes from last year’s selections. Congratulations to all the winners!

DTM’s Best Coffee Shop

1st Place – Mudhouse
2nd Place –Java Java Cafe
3rd Place – Grit Coffee

DTM’s Best Retail Shop

1st Place – O’suzannah
2nd Place – Low Vintage
3rd Place – Bittersweet

DTM’s Best Music/Night Spot

1st Place – The Jefferson Theater
2nd Place – The Southern
3rd Place – Rapture

DTM’s Best Restaurant

1st Place – Brasserie Saison
2nd Place – The Alley Light
3rd Place – The C&O Restaurant

Did the Dalai Lama say “Fuck it”?

In Events, Opinion, People on October 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Now, of course, there are a lot more meaningful things to say about the Dalai Lama’s visit, but the more we think about this episode in “meaning” the more it interests us. We’ve listened to the video of the Paramount Theater talk, and it sure sounds like “fuck it” to us. What’s more, the reaction from the audience and the panels clearly suggested they thought he said it too. Everyone cracked up! Over at the Hook, Dave McNair went into this in a little more detail, and also included the audio clip. A mispronunciation? Or the DL being a stand-up comic? Either way, he’s a hipster to us.

The DTM: what can’t you walk to?

In Opinion on July 25, 2012 at 8:53 pm

One of the things that make the DTM so unique is that it is like a little city-scape, or rather all the things that make city streets special packed into these 9 blocks. Seriously, think of all the things you can walk to when you’re standing on the DTM….kinda blows your mind.

You can walk to see a movie, get a coffee, go skating, eat at a nice restaurant, see live music, buy clothes & gifts, pick up prescriptions, go to the bank, go to the library, the post office, catch a bus, get a suit tailored, get a massage, see a doctor, make a public statement (free speech wall), see the police, go to a City Council meeting, play basketball, shop for groceries, buy a book, rest in a park, see art, see a play, get your taxes done, invest money, go to hairdresser or barber, get a hotel room, go to a farmer’s market, go out on the town for late night fun, buy furniture, get a replacement key, get a job, have ice cream, get a cupcake, find antiques, get a rain barrel, talk to a reporter, find a lawyer, go to school, find a daycare, do martial arts, dance, do yoga, workout, go swimming, get burial services, go to church, get fast food, get musical instruments, visit a homeless shelter, learn a language, get your photo taken, take a tour, buy some running shoes, pawn your stuff, buy or sell jewelry, buy a rug, get a nice cigar, get your glasses fixed, find toys for kids, blow your own glass, enjoy a spa day, play music on the street for money, get your nails done, get office supplies, find fun stuff for kids to do, throw money into a fountain for good luck, and….

….got anything to add?

DTM only for the privilaged?

In Opinion on April 24, 2012 at 3:51 am

A blogger named Patience_Crabstick pens a post critical of the Downtown Mall, saying it feels “more and more like it’s for customers only.” She’s tired to of having one sidewalk over the Belmont Bridge closed off, too. What do you think?

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