David McNair

Independent candidate Nikuyah Walker wins seat on Charlottesville City Council

In Politics on November 8, 2017 at 10:09 am

For the first time since 1948, an independent candidate, Nikuyah Walker, won a spot on Charlottesville’s City Council last night. More importantly, perhaps, an independent candidate who happens to be an African-American woman won a spot on Charlottesville’s City Council for the first time since Charlottesville became a town.


DTM Beer Garden: event could set a welcome precedent

In Events on November 6, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Here’s some pretty cool things about the upcoming Heal C-Ville Beer Garden event on November 18, on a few fronts. One, as unique event, bringing DTM restaurants and retailers together, along with a bunch of great breweries represented, to open up an actual section of the DTM into an event space for a cause. Two, as a precedent-setting step. Will this set the stage for other DTM street fair events?

As it stands now, ABC regulations prohibit restaurant patrons from walking the ten or fifteen feet between a restaurant door and an outdoor eating space with a drink in hand, but the Beer Garden event organizers, restaurateurs Hunter Smith and Will Rickey, came up with a way to circumvent that for this special event.

“We had a unique opportunity through Brasserie Saison to pull a manufacturer’s multi-day event license from the Virginia ABC, which is a privilege extended to breweries in Virginia,” says Smith. “With support and input of the DBAC, ABC, and Virginia Tourism Corp.”

Basically, that means you’ll be able to walk around and drink beer between the corner of First Street, where Old Metropolitan Hall is, and the the west edge of the Paramount Theater. According to Smith, it will be very clear to people on the DTM that the area is not being blocked off for the event, but rather opened up for everyone to enjoy, or not.

Now imagine regular “street” fairs like this, where food and drink is available all around you as you stroll, and shops are pouring onto the street with their wares, and no one has to be corralled into cafe spaces, or herded into an event space at the Pavilion. Indeed, Smith says he hopes to organize more events like this in the future.

Heal C-Ville Beer Garden, November 18, 2pm to 6pm. All proceeds will benefit Unity C’ville [https://www.unitycville.com], a local non-profit committed to racial and economic justice that was started by Smith and John Kluge, with input from many other community stakeholders.

beer garden 2

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.

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