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January 07, 2008

City Council welcomes Huja & Edwards, elects Norris Mayor

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City Councilor Holly Edwards

The Charlottesville City Council held its first meeting of 2008 tonight welcoming newly-elected members Satyendra Huja and Holly Edwards.  City Manager Gary O'Connell called the meeting to order as the Council's first order of business was its biennial organizational meeting in which it elects a Mayor and Vice Mayor to two-year terms.

In his first motions as a new City Councilor, Huja nominated Dave Norris for Mayor and Julian Taliaferro for Vice Mayor.  Both were elected unanimously to their new leadership positions.

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City Councilors Satyendra Huja and Julian Taliaferro

Norris and Taliaferro were first elected to Council in May 2006. Norris succeeds David Brown who served as Mayor for the entirety of his first term on Council which started in July 2004.  Brown was re-elected to a second four-year term in November 2007.  Charlottesville changed its election calendar to hold Council elections in November starting in 2007.

The first action by Norris was to read a proclamation honoring David Brown for his contributions. Then Norris shared a few thoughts on his vision for the Council's work over the next two years.

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(L to R) David Brown, Holly Edwards, Gary O'Connell, & Dave Norris

Norris made the following remarks:

"One of the things I really appreciate about Charlottesville is that it's a community that really values the commons.   The idea of the commons.  We have wonderful public spaces here in Charlottesville.  The Downtown Mall, the Lawn at UVA, and parks and trails.  We have world class arts and entertainment venues.  We have high end boutiques and shopping areas and restaurants.  We have world class athletic facilities, recreational amenities, festivals and events.  And I think that the question that we have to ask ourselves, and the question that I am going to be asking myself in the next two years is, 'How expansive is our vision and our understanding of the commons? How can we broaden our definition of the commons?  Whose interests aren't being served today? Whose voices aren't being heard today?  Whose cries for help aren't being heeded today?'" 

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Mayor Dave Norris

"I think our challenge it to really render visible 'that' and 'they' who are currently invisible in our public discourse.  And I include in that many people who don't get discussed enough, whose struggles don't get discussed nearly enough in the work of this body and in the work of this Community.  I think of all the young people that drop out of high school before crossing the stage on graduation day.  Middle class families that can't afford to live here [or] live anywhere near here anymore.  Children who grew up without enough positive role models to help them make good decisions in their lives.  Moms who are working two or three jobs to keep up with the rent and stay one step ahead of the collection agent.  Our elderly and our disabled who are struggling to get by on fixed incomes.  And I think we also have to continue to expand our vision of the commons to include the air and the water around us, and the trees and the wildlife, the other natural amenities that we are surrounded by."

Norris then quoted from the Council's 2025 Vision Statement:

Charlottesville will be a great place to live for all of our citizens.

  • A leader in innovation, environmental sustainability, and social and economic justice
  • Flexible and progressive in anticipating and responding to the needs of our citizens
  • Cultural and creative capital of Central Virginia

He indicated he looked forward to working with his fellow Councilors to help the City move forward and realize this vision.

In other business as part of their organizational meeting, Council made the following appointments to bodies referenced frequently in the work of Charlottesville Tomorrow:

  • Affordable Housing Task Force – Norris
  • City-County Housing Task Force – Huja
  • Environmental Sustainability Committee – Brown
  • Metropolitan Planning Organization – Taliaferro & Huja
  • Planning and Coordinating Council (UVA-City-County) – Norris & Taliaferro
  • Rivanna River Basin Commission – Edwards & Huja
  • Meadowcreek Parkway Interchange Committee – Huja
  • Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) – Brown

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20080107-Mayor-Norris.mp3

Brian Wheeler

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