A voice for social justice still needed- my response to the Democratic Party nominations

contact Brandon Collins: brandoncollins@comcast.net  (434) 249-3312

The mixed results of the Democratic Party “unassembled caucus” give plenty of insight as to why Charlottesville still needs a strong voice for social justice on City Council. I would like to be that strong voice.

Participation was unusually high, mainly due to the factions within the Democratic Party pertaining to the water supply plan and the completion of the Meadowcreek Parkway. Because the Democrats have traditionally held all seats on City Council, and the contentiousness of the nominating process, the firehouse primary has been touted by many in the city, the media, and specifically within the Democratic Party as being “the election”.
The differences between the two factions were hyper-exposed by the media, and by the candidates from both factions, to completely obscure the real issues of poverty, equality, and sustainability in the city and in the nation and how we should confront these issues.

Only mild lip service has been given to the issue of poverty by the Democratic Party candidates. One seeming better than others, but we have heard all of this before, and where has it gotten us? The ongoing crisis of despair and suffering is likely to continue without a fundamental and bold approach to how we treat our residents. No other candidate has proclaimed that they are interested in eliminating poverty (rather than alleviating it), guaranteeing a job for all residents, or making our city 100% sustainable. They pay lip service to certain reforms, and business friendly tactics in the hope that things might improve. To those relying on the free market, small reforms, or Congress: poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and ecological devastation are inevitable and there is only so much we can do to approach those issues. I say differently, I say we can eliminate poverty and reverse the environmental crisis and I aim to work toward that end because I have a program based on those ultimate goals. The Democrats do not. Despite their sometimes lofty rhetoric, they know that anything they come up with cannot solve these problems because they are fundamentally in favor of preserving our current economic system and thus in favor of permanently maintaining unemployment, low wages, and a “poverty class” as well as trusting the future of our planet to the same people who have all but ensured its destruction.

That said, many of the specifics of my platform having been gaining attention from candidates as well as seated members of council. Expansion of public transit is very popular with residents, and increasingly popular with candidates for city council. I can push hard to make sure we get the best expansion imaginable, and fast, with even bigger plans for future expansion. I believe I will get support on this if we push hard enough.

While I think “guaranteed employment” may still be hard for the candidates to get behind, we could very well get a jobs center opened in a year, especially if I am there to push it as a major part of my agenda. With the ultimate goal of guaranteeing a job at a living wage for all residents I will push hard to get all of my plans towards that end in place. I believe I can garner enough support from council to make it happen.

Ensuring that the offender re-entry works program, and the new section 3 office get ample funding, resources and attention from council is extremely critical. If I am on council I will make sure those programs get the attention they need, and look to further expand. The same can be said for affordable housing and building a 100% sustainable and renewable powered city.
If I can get on council, I will push on every plank of my platform, and make sure that other councilors are thinking big and not just paying lip service to making a better world.

Of course, for those still interested in dredging, and keeping the Meadowcreek Parkway from moving forward, 3 votes are needed on council. That means that at least one independent needs to be elected to make it happen.

Further, there are many things that the other candidates have not mentioned at all. These are some of the issues I will bring to light during the next phase of the election and on to city council:
– an end to all public service shut-offs, an end to electricity shut-offs, an end to evictions
-expanding MACAA and/or creation of a social services action committee
-disallow referring drug crimes to outside agencies
-process for allowing those banned from public housing to be allowed back
-dis-engagement from and resistance to the current US wars and occupations
-making up the difference in federal and state funding cuts when needed

I believe that the great suffering many of our residents experience is going to get worse, that ecological devastation is nearly assured, that our grandchildren, the planet, and the city of Charlottesville is being left a legacy of great upheaval and suffering if we do not fundamentally alter how we run our economy, treat our fellow human beings, and clean up our mess. Simple reforms are not getting us there. Much agreement is made about how easy it could be to reverse this train wreck and have a better world. Why not now? Why not here?

While I understand that those selected in the “unassembled caucus” do have some interest in moving our city forward, they will not do anything meaningful without great pressure from residents, and may very well ignore large portions of engaged residents. A vote for me- Brandon Collins- means adding to a number of people who support aggressive and comprehensive changes to how we approach jobs, housing, transit, open government- and everything else on my platform. A strong showing on November 8 gives us all the tools to approach council and demand big things. Better election results translates to better action from council as we move forward on some of my platform. Even better action from council will arise if I can get seated on city council.

This November 8th brings the real election.Take a stand for the cause of social justice, elect councilors who aren’t afraid to represent the interests of the poor, the working class, people with disabilities, and our planet. Vote for E. Brandon Collins for Charlottesville City Council.

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