Issues/Platform

I believe that the fundamental transformation of the world and our city is possible and quite necessary to ensure the survival of humanity and to eliminate all forms of suffering and oppression. Here is a sampling of some of the things that I think the City of Charlottesville can do through local government to work towards those ends. I readily admit that the Commonwealth of Virginia restricts our locality’s ability to approach the issues, but I look forward to finding creative ways to get around those restrictions. I support legal challenges to any state or national laws that limit action by the city in crucial areas. Furthermore, I also believe that mass action is needed outside of government to achieve many of these goals, and to create a more just and egalitarian society. I intend to promote organizing the unorganized as part of my campaign and while on City Council if elected.I look forward to amending and adding to this platform as the campaign progresses.
(click on links for more information on certain topics)

Jobs and Housing
-Increase funding of non-profit shelters and services for the homeless, end the freeze on non-profit funding
-Creation of a jobs center in Charlottesville that focuses on job training and provides access to employment that pays a living wage
-Guarantee employment for any city resident who needs job
-Require all contracts for city projects to use a local workforce that get paid a living wage
-As often as possible use a public workforce for city projects rather than for-profit companies

-Expansion of CAT to full service on Sundays, and late night service in selected areas until 3:00 am
-Expansion of sustainably built public housing using a workforce of unemployed and public housing residents
-End evictions, refer landlords to Section 8
-Immediate construction of Homeless Shelter using surplus funds
-increase housing fund to $3 million
-require at least 50% of units to be affordable before offering incentives to developers 

-Creation of more park land in Charlottesville, with land aside for public use vegetable gardens, built and maintained by a cooperative worker run enterprise made of unemployed workers
-City sponsored campaign to lift tipped wage employees wage to $4.40/hour, no new business license for restaurants that don’t guarantee $4.40/hr for waitstaff
-Massive approach to “greening” our city using a public local workforce
-Increase business personal property tax by .5%
-An end to all public service cut-offs by referring residents to social services for assistance rather than shutting off water and gas service
-Require Dominion Power to refer any shut-offs to the City of Charlottesville to avoid shut-off of service, social services to provide assistance
-Creation of a social services “action” committee tasked with informing all residents of their options and benefits that can be obtained or City funded expansion of MACAA
-Creation of English as a Second Language Office for the City and Social Services
-Creation of a tenants council to ensure that rent is affordable city wide and to address other issues
-Place Public Housing Association of Residents in direct control of all public housing
-Expand and promote rent relief program
-No new building permits issued for housing that is not affordable
-Double the funding for affordable housing initiatives
-Actively pursue worker run and cooperatively operated businesses
-No incentives or permits issued to new businesses that do not pay a living wage

Public Transportation- details and additions
-Expand bus service to full service on Sundays, and late night on weekends in selected areas until 3:00 am
-Expand all routes to more frequent trips
-Expand bus service to Crozet, Scottsville, and CHO
-Bus service to the Regional Jail/Monticello High School
-Park and Ride centers on the edges of Charlottesville
-Formation of a Transit Riders Council
-Use existing federal grants and take advantage of future changes in the law that might allow funding of service operations as well as expansion
-Use state transportation funds solely for transit, pedestrian, and bike upgrades
-Active promotion of CAT as an alternative to driving

Environment and City Planning
-Cease all plans for extension of the Meadowcreek Parkway, McIntire Extended, or the Interchange at 250
-Dredge the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Now, Don’t Dam
-No relocation of the softball fields at McIntire Park
-City wide project to install solar panels on every city owned and operated building
-Adjust building code to require every new home or business to be built using sustainable energy

-Appropriate more parkland, create worker operated and maintained gardens
-Support pedestrian friendly planning on our roads
-Greatly expand bike lanes, complete city wide bike trail
-Expand Farmer’s Market to include Tonsler Park and Washington Park
-Provide Farmer’s Market with permanent downtown space for Saturday market
-Improve accessibility for elderly and persons with disabilities
-No city projects that encourage over-development or benefit only those who own business

Human Rights
-policy and process to allow those banned from public housing to be allowed back
-Protect a woman’s right to choose, fully fund planned parenthood and similar organizations
-Continue funding and support of Charlottesville’s dialogue on race, take action on proposals made by the dialogue on race
-Officially apology for the destruction of the Vinegar Hill Neighborhood
-No deportations or immigration status checks for any person in police custody
-Recognize same sex marriage for any city resident/initiate court challenge to state law
-Continued support for affirmative action
-Full support and respect for Charlottesville’s Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, Transgender community

-Full funding for and expansion of substance abuse facilities
-End Charlottesville’s participation in the drug war, disallow referring drug crimes to outside agencies
-Support for “drug court” program as an alternative to incarceration

Culture and Education
-Allow all places and businesses in Charlottesville to have live music “by right”
-Public funding for low income residents to be able to participate in community theater
-Continue support for arts and music education in Charlottesville Schools
-Raise the dB level in Charlottesville’s noise ordinance
-Raise the dB level for street musicians on Charlottesville’s downtown mall
-Maintain full funding of CCS including annual pay raises, guarantee employment for all staff affected by Walker School closing
-Full benefits and pay for teacher’s aides
-English as a Second Language office in City Schools
-City sponsored scholarships for summer enrichment/camp for low income students
-CATECH to accept adult students without a social security number
-Remove military recruiters from public schools, offer “alternatives to military service” program, actively promote “opt out” of military recruitment information sharing
-Sponsor International Day of Peace Parade every September 21

Democracy and Open Government
-Support direct election of Charlottesville’s Mayor using instant run-off voting method
-Direct election of planning commissioners
-Remove requirement that at least half of planning commission be property owners
-Add 3 more seats to City Council
-Give city workers direct control over their schedules and duties
-Support the formation of public employee unions
-Continue neighborhood city council forums
-Allow communities to directly make decisions that affect them
-Support referendum on critical issues facing Charlottesville
-Full disclosure and timely publicity of all decisions, reports, and studies made by city governing bodies

Activist City Council and Foreign Policy
-Encourage an active bully pulpit from City Council on statewide, national, and international issues
-Actively engage with Charlottesville’s sister cities on matters of local policy
-Oppose the “Dillon Rule” in Virginia so that Charlottesville will have a legal means to make radical transformation of society a reality, support legal challenges to that end
-Resolution demanding Virginia’s congressional delegation to end all support for funding of the wars and occupations of Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, and Palestine.
-Withdraw any public funds or incentives for businesses engaged in support of the military
-Remove military recruiters from Charlottesville’s schools
-Implement “alternatives to military service” program in public schools
-Install a cost of war counter at city hall and on the city website

-End any trade with or support of states that repress populations or who receive massive US military support such as Colombia, Israel, and Saudi Arabia.
-Instruct Sheriff’s office to arrest any participant in war crimes who is inside city limits

to see where I stand on state and national issues please see:
Minimum Legislative Agenda Socialist Party of Central Virginia
and
Platform Socialist Party USA

to get involved with activist and community groups working on these issues and many more please visit the “get organized” page on this website.

2 Responses to Issues/Platform

  1. greenmed says:

    Dear Mr. Collins,
    What is your position on medical cannabis for the treatment of the plethora of diseases and adverse side-effects of serious illness? How can this issue be best addressed at the local level with possible collaboration with the two major hospitals in the city? President Obama has stated that “change (on this issue) comes from the bottom-up.”
    I refer you to a comprehensive list of indications:
    https://www.greenpassion.org/index.php?/topic/29564-granny-storm-crows-list-july-2011/
    and the website of a local, educational non-profit:
    http://www.medicalcannabis.com/
    Thank you.

  2. Good question Green Med!
    (sorry this took so long to post, I didn’t realize the page was on moderation, though I would probably rather have comments on other posts)

    Cannabis has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of illnesses, we should not hinder the use of any medicine unless it is harmful to human beings. Unfortunately, logic seems to be reversed when it comes to cannabis as it is more beneficial for some to continue a drug war than it is to alleviate human suffering.

    What we can do here in Charlottesville is a little tricky. It seems to me (and I promise this isn’t a cop-out!) that a solid approach is through the state where meaningful policy and legislation could happen to allow for the medical use of cannabis. That is unlikely anytime soon with the current political makeup of the General Assembly and the influence of a variety of prison industrial complex interests. But, we can work with the Chief of Police, the Hospitals, and the Commonwealth Attorney to de-prioritize marijuana offenses, and refuse to refer drug crimes to outside agencies. This would take some serious doing, but the case for medicinal use is compelling. I don’t think there is much that the hospitals would do without some assurance that what they were doing was legal. They could however advocate for a sensible policy on medicinal use of cannabis. The same applies to City Council- we could advocate at the state level and use our bully pulpit to add to a growing movement along with refusing to cooperate in the war on drugs as a whole.

    The drug war is a multi-faceted problem. In our state at least 1 in 5 African-Americans are ex-offenders, many of them are victimes in the so called war on drugs. This is a system of control of the black population and a way to simultaneously keep wages low but also dealing with an excess of workers by turning human beings into a marketable resource. The private prison industry is growing, prison labor is growing. It destroys entire families and communities, and is a very real military style war in Latin America targeting not just drug producers but popular movements as well thus maintaining a cheap supply of labor for multi-national corporations. This is a giant problem but I have no doubt that there are many ways to address this, like all wars, at the local level.

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