Mayor shuts down dialog on race
“I think your time is up, sir.” – Mayor Satyendra Huja after Robert Brandon Smith said most of the downtown violence is gang-related and blacks targeting whites.
Charlottesville, Va. – The real dialog on race finally came to City Council Monday night. In public comment some stereotypes were shattered while others were reinforced.
The first speaker, caucasian John Hayden said he was “insulted” by the proposed Human Rights Commission. There’s no Ku Klux Klan here. There are no white gangs cruising around looking for random blacks to attack. We need a “2-way conversation.” “I’m afraid Occupy Charlottesville has taken over the City Council.”
Hayden looked like a combination of ZZ Top and a banjo-playing, blue-grass loving redneck – the stereotypical racist and last group it’s okay to be racist against. But his remarks were organized and well spoken. City Council wants to use the Human Rights Commission to shift blame for racism away from City Council and city government, and target private employers and private landlords for imagined racism.
The fourth speaker, black Kenneth Jackson called out Hayden and got loud saying “There is still discrimination.” “The Human Rights Commission fell on its sword,” fell short. “We have not heard from you,” City Council. Are you hoping this will go away and the city will get another award?
Jackson said he had come to speak about missing person Dashad Smith. Police have not done enough because Dashad is black and gay. “Don’t let this die.” We’ll be here every week until something is done.
Jackson lives up to many stereotypes of black men. Jackson has a violent past, which includes stabbing someone. But he redeemed himself by straightening out his behavior and running as a Republican in the 2004 City Council campaign. The Democrats and Waldo Jaquith had a field day stereotyping Jackson as violent black man. Waldo tried to claim the harsh, discriminatory rhetoric was based on Jackson’s actions, not on his race. Although Jackson said in 2004 and again tonight that his neighborhoods have been torn apart, he didn’t connect human rights to City Council.
The tenth speaker, caucasian Robert Brandon Smith said every week he talks to people who have been attacked by gangs in and around downtown. Bike patrols have been discontinued, officers transferred. Many of the panhandlers are not homeless, but have a home and government subsidy check. This gang activity is happening “on your watch,” City Council, and most of the violence is black on white.
This is when Mayor Satyendra Huja shut him down. “I think your time is up, sir.” The mayor was sending a message to the community that talking about blacks being racist against whites will not be tolerated. But you can say whatever you want about whites being racist against blacks as long as you don’t pinpoint racist actions and policies of City Council members.
The eleventh speaker, caucasian Bailee Hampton was angered by the tenth speaker’s remarks. “I’m sick of hearing blatant racist things,” said Hampton. She said she was robbed at gunpoint last month at 4th and Water Streets but didn’t report the crime to police. Hampton didn’t reveal the race of the robber, indicating it was a black person she’s protecting by not reporting. The streets are less safe today because Hampton shirked her civic responsibility.
Several other speakers talked about the rising crime in north downtown as homeless people have flocked here for the social benefits. The ninth speaker said, “I don’t see how you [Council] can turn a blind eye” to the public safety problems playing out right here. The sixth speaker said he and his wife moved here thinking it was a safe place based on the city’s glossy image promoted outside of the city.
A couple people who claimed to be homeless spoke in public comment also. But apparently, so many people are faking homelessness that the legitimate homeless are now suspect.
Council comment was interesting. Satyendra Huja didn’t have anything to say other than keeping Council focused and not talking about worksessions. Dede Smith said the different perspectives were “fascinating,” pretending to be unaware of the race war.
Kathy Galvin said we need to take seriously public safety issues. In response to Jackson’s complaint, she wanted an official list of missing persons but not the names, just demographics and numbers to see the patterns. How do you find a missing person without knowing the person’s name?
Kristin Szakos, who exposed herself as anti-black and anti-white in a June 1, 2012 letter to the Daily Progress, stayed away from race tonight. She addressed the law and order question as she has addressed race in the past – nothing special about north downtown, burglaries and home invasions happen in all neighborhoods. Szakos referred people to the city website for fake crime statistics even after Hampton said she doesn’t report crimes.
Dave Norris thanked the eleventh speaker for criticizing the tenth speaker’s testimony of the public safety issue. We shouldn’t cast aspersions on race. “You called that out,” Bailee. Norris also said he wants to “expand the stock” of urban renewal properties without using the term “urban renewal.”
In other matters
At the beginning of the meeting, urban renewal chairman and city councilor Dave Norris created a new seat on the steering committee for Strategic Investment tax money laundering. He nominated Charles Lewis but gave no explanation of who this person is. Council approved the change unanimously and without any discussion.
Council agreed 4 to 1 to give Habitat for Humanity another $300,000 this time for Belmont cottages. Dede Smith voted no because there’s no guarantee that the money will go to city projects exclusively. According to Neighborhood Services Director Jim Tolbert, Council once gave Habitat $600,000 as well as numerous parcels of “surplus land” using Piedmont Housing Alliance as a middleman.
Council agreed unanimously to raid the urban renewal fund to redevelop some of the public housing and promised to pay it back next year. Just as Congress promised to pay back the Social Security trust fund but never did. The money was set aside a couple years ago but never used because the community does not want to expand urban renewal but Council and the Housing Authority won’t accept that reality.
Video of Jan. 7, 2013 City Council meeting.
Council Agenda Jan. 7, 2013 with background materials.
Resolution 1313: Housing Authority is city agency, Dec. 30, 2012.
Race commission postponed, Dialog on Race forever, Dec. 18, 2012.
Councilor Szakos dismisses race violence as conspiracy theory, Jun. 3, 2012. Szakos exposed for anti-black and anti-white racism in same letter. Also explains how Martin Luther King Jr.’s non-violent message was perverted after his assassination, how Trayvon Martin released all the outrage of (A) black-on-white, (B) black-on-black, and (C) white-on black-violence at once while only C can be expressed as a concern as we saw tonight.
[ CORRECTION: Misspelled names corrected from "Tempers flare amid proposal" online as "Race-related comments disrupt council meeting" by Aaron Richardson, Jan. 8, 2013, The Daily Progress. When I report from live internet, I can't look at the sign-up sheet or ask a speaker to spell his name. So I look at news reports and the council minutes available a couple weeks later so everyone can be visible to a web search.]