VOTE TUESDAY- Where I Stand…a quick reference

VOTE E. BRANDON COLLINS
This TUESDAY, November 8th
(find your polling place) 
A quick reference for loads of details about where I stand on critical issues, but first…
 

My Platform
Jobs“We Need Jobs and Better Wages!”   …..  “Guaranteed Employment”
Housing“Cville’s Affordable Housing Crisis”  ….   “Housing- Let’s Get Serious” …
… Public Housing Survey
Transit Expansion“Hop on the Bus” ….  “Hop on the Bus Additions”
Water“Lies, Money…Our Water” …. “Oh the Water” …..  “Water Supply Thoughts”
Ecology“Statement on MRE” …. “Sierra Club Questionnaire” …. “Clean Energy”
Social Justice“Voice for Social Justice Still Needed”…. “Letter to Editor”
… “6/20 Council Notes”  …. “7/20 Answers” …. “Daily Progress Survey”
Humanity“Peace is a Local Issue” ….  “NOW Survey”

Find Your Polling Place!

Forums and Interviews
Candidate Interview (audio and text) Charlottesville Tomorrow
Video “Speaking With Andrea” Candidate’s Forum
Audio and Video from “People’s Forum” at Random Row Bookstore
“Daily Progress” Candidates Forum

PLEASE GET OUT AND VOTE- TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8
for
E. BRANDON COLLINS

…if you need a ride call Brandon at (434) 249-3312… 

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PHAR Questionnaire- Public Housing Rights!

Here are my responses to the Public Housing Association of Residents Questionnaire.
I firmly believe that this is one of the most important community groups in Charlottesville and I am happy and proud to say that I have been able to spend a lot of time in public housing neighborhoods throughout the campaign, and will continue to remain involved well beyond November 8th.
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1. The Residents Bill of Rights for Redevelopment ensures meaningful resident participation, preserves the current stock of affordable housing
for low-income people and promotes family stability.  It was adopted by City Council on December 15, 2008.  If you had been a Councilor at that
time, would you have voted for the Residents Bill of Rights for Redevelopment as presented?  Why or why not?

I absolutely would have voted for the Residents Bill of Rights if I had been given the chance. I was in attendance at the meeting that passed the Bill of Rights and proudly stood to show my support. The concept of respecting the desires and needs of residents is extremely important. Having a document that commits the council to addressing and adhering to the concerns and requirements of actual residents gives people a foundation to be able to hold council accountable. I hope that all city councilors will respect and adhere to the Residents Bill of Rights without having to be reminded!

2.  Do you pledge to honor and uphold the Residents Bill of Rights while
in office?  Why or why not?

Absolutely, this is too important of an issue for our residents to not be included, or to leave them in a situation where the worst outcome for redevelopment would be achieved. I hope that the PHAR and the City Council will not be afraid to add to the residents bill of rights as redevelopment proceeds.

3. What specific steps will you take to ensure that residents remain engaged in the decision-making about redevelopment, and that the process
remains responsive to and reflective of resident input?

I would like to see the process under direct control of PHAR, with all decisions regarding redevelopment, or other decisions pertaining to public housing neighborhoods being approved directly by residents. I would suggest weekly meetings, in public housing neighborhoods, including residents, CRHA, and city councilors. The more we can put decision making in the hands of residents, the more likely we will be to have a process that benefits everyone.

4. In appointing members to the CRHA Board of Commissioners, what criteria will you use?  Will you insist on selecting Commissioners who will
prioritize effective maintenance and management of our existing public housing while planning for future redevelopment of our neighborhoods?

I support appointing a CRHA made up entirely, or mostly, of residents of public housing. I will not support the appointment of developers, or those interested in housing that would further an agenda other than that of the residents of public housing. We need commissioners who are connected to the neighborhoods, and who can anticipate some of the needs, problems, and good ideas from the neighborhoods, and who understand that their main job is effective, and respectful, maintenance, management, and future use of public housing.

5. Under Section 3 of the Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Act of 1968, public housing residents are supposed to receive priority access to jobs
and contracting opportunities created by HUD financial assistance (such as redevelopment). If you are elected, how will you seek to implement Section
3 in Charlottesville?

A section 3 coordinator has been created in Charlottesville. This is a great first step. I am concerned that the position has been filled with no resident input into the process or the decision on who to hire. I hope that ignoring the residents is not going to continue. I would like to see the best possible start to the new position. This means including residents at every step, and frequent meetings between PHAR and the coordinator. I see a lot of potential in the coordinator’s office for expansion of opportunities for residents, and expansion into other contracts and employment beyond just those coming from HUD funding. Council and PHAR need to be directly engaged with this new position in order to ensure that it is a success.

6. Raising high school graduation rates benefits the entire community. What will you do as a City Councilor to improve educational success for
Charlottesville’s students?

I believe that the council’s role in education is primarily to strengthen the financial situation of all of our families and neighborhoods. Good jobs at decent wages, that don’t put undue burdens on parents is a good start. I would like to see a city where all residents have access to work, better options for moving up the housing ladder, and better public transportation. Council will need to bolster funding for the schools in the face of cuts from the state government. I believe that the school board should set the educational agenda, but that the council should play a part in offering vision in how to address graduation rates and closing the achievement gap. I would like to see more funding from council for programs that offer more affordable access for young people to participate in artistic, cultural, and athletic activities that bolster and improve student’s development outside of the schools. I hope to expand the college scholarship program.

7.  Please describe the nature of your experiences with low-income people in Charlottesville, and explain why public housing residents and their
allies should support you for City Council.

I am low income, and have lived in Charlottesville my entire life. I have faced many of the same personal and economic challenges as other low wealth people in town have. I work part-time in a restaurant, and struggle to pay rent and bills. I have dedicated my life to activism centered around transforming society into one that respects the needs of human beings over other interests. I work hard for social and economic justice and that is why I am running for council, I have made these issues priorities for my campaign and will continue to do so as a councilor. I believe that our residents can be more involved in decision making that directly affects them and support more forms of inclusive participation from all residents of Charlottesville.

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Video! Please Share!

Here we go folks, a short video explaining my overall approach to local politics- please feel free to share this everyone you know! and…

VOTE E. BRANDON COLLINS
Tuesday – November 8th

 

 

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Something Must Be Done- Cville’s Affordable Housing Crisis

The following is a statement, or a speech rather at a press conference on Oct. 27th in the Westhaven neighborhood.

Friends- something must be done about our housing crisis, and make no mistake it is a crisis.
 
As I have struggled with this issue since beginning this campaign, I have realized that much of the suffering that I experience personally, and the immense suffering that our friends and neighbors deal with is greatly influenced by the shameful cost of housing in Charlottesville, and much more can be done. 

Our city, despite paying a good deal of lip service to the issue, has failed in it’s stated mission to make the city a great place to LIVE for ALL of it’s citizens. Beyond maintaining, and criminalizing, a poverty class in Charlottesville the city has not made Charlottesville an AFFORDABLE place to live for all of it’s residents either. 
Too much has been said, and too little has been done, and too little funding is offered for affordable housing in Charlottesville. It is time to do something much more meaningful if we are serious about addressing the needs of our residents.

Here is why- 
In Charlottesville we have at least 274 homeless people. 

394 children either homeless, in shelters, living in motels, doubling up with other families, or living in sub-standard housing 

We have 700 families on the waiting list for public housing (Source: http://cvillehabitat.ivygroup.com/why-here

There is a waiting list of 207 people for housing vouchers (Source: http://www.c-ville.com/Article/Government/The_long_wait_for_Section_8/

91% of our neighbors and friends under the poverty level rent their homes (Source: http://www.city-data.com

and 
At least 4000 families in Charlottesville pay more than 50% of their income on rent (Source: http://cvillehabitat.ivygroup.com/why-here
in a town where the median market rate rent is $861 (Source: http://www.city-data.com

Home ownership, despite costs going down, remains elusive to most of our residents. 

No attention is paid to transition points in the housing ladder, or to people in imminent danger of becoming homeless, despite federal guidelines that require us to do so. 

These numbers should make all of us alarmed, and even more so, these numbers reflect that the City of Charlottesville should be ashamed that so many of our people, our families, are struggling so hard to just have a place to live. Friends this is a crisis, a crisis that has been perpetuated for decades. 

So what is to be done? 
-I suggest we need to find a way to address those difficult transition points from homelessness to public housing, from subsidized housing to market rate housing. 
-We need to cast off the requirements of a housing “market” that has led to this catastrophe and take matters into our own hands until market rate housing can adjust in favor of our residents. 
-As the city develops and grows we should seek out only development that meets the needs of our community. 
-And we need to consider how we are growing as a city so that an influx of wealthier people and UVA students do not further make life difficult for existing residents. 

…and we need to provide immediate relief… 

Specifically- 
we have an immediate need for a homeless shelter. The city has $3 million dollars in surplus funds, we should tap those funds and immediately construct a shelter with at least 200 beds. We need to do this before winter proceeds further. 

I have been excited about the SRO under construction on Preston Avenue. This a great project, and it is also built in a sustainable manner. However, we have recently learned that there is no room for zero rent occupants at the new structure. A worthy project still, but we still need more. Lets build another next year that helps transition the homeless into homes with no requirement for income. 

Making the transition from these SROs into full housing will remain very difficult. To ensure that people are moving up the housing ladder we need to make sure that there is ample room in public housing, as well as make sure that people in public housing neighborhoods have opportunities to move further up the housing ladder into market rate rentals and home ownership. 


Charlottesville will be undergoing public housing “redevelopment”. We need to make sure that along with the upgrades, that we build new units. If this means finding other HUD funds beyond what is granted for redevelopment, so be it, and if we need to use funding specifically from the city, then we need to do it. We need as much public housing as we can build, but we need to do this with the complete control and sanction of the current residents of public housing. 

Lets make sure we don’t destroy our existing public housing neighborhoods as we proceed with upgrades and expansion. Public housing neighborhoods are just that, neighborhoods, homes, community. We should seek new sites for new housing rather than destroying the character of our neighborhoods by building inward and making things more dense. As we continue the conversation about “redevelopment” we need to include residents in meaningful ways, just as residents of the Hilltop neighborhood would demand to be heard if the city was talking about redeveloping a neighborhood of million dollar homes, so too should residents of all of our public housing neighborhoods be included at every step, and given a greater say in how things are to proceed. Further, we need to have a clear and fair process and policy to allow people banned from public housing to return. 

700 families on the waiting list! 

Now, I recognize that creating 700 new units in public housing may be setting the bar high, but we need to consider that HUD funding, as much as it may fluctuate, is here to stay because it is a federal program. Section 8 on other hand fluctuates way more often, and could be subject to tinkering and outright elimination. We need to be mindful that all of our eggs cannot be in the housing vouchers basket. 

But we do need to expand the housing voucher program. The city, through an expansion of social services or MACAA can make much more meaningful strides to sign up landlords to participate in Section 8, and we can provide more funding for the voucher program. 

One way to make this happen is to end all evictions in our city (except for those required by federal law). No human being should be forced into the street due to inability to pay. If we are to allow evictions, without offering alternatives to avoid putting people in imminent danger of becoming homeless, then we are not a city worthy of being deemed a great place to live for all. Nor are we able to say that we have been committed to affordable housing in the City of Charlottesville. 

So lets work with the Sheriff’s department to end all evictions, and instead of throwing people into the street we go directly to the land owner and place the responsibility on them to do something about the situation that they are largely responsible for. That means getting a landlord signed up with Section 8 rather than allowing them to throw people out into the street. And we need more landlords signing up in general. 

The jump from subsidized housing into market rate housing is next to impossible, this is why we have waiting lists, and this is why people stall out in moving up the housing ladder. 

If the market rate for a rental is beyond 30% of one’s income then making that jump needs to be assisted further, and we need to do something about the market rate. By adding only new homes and units that are deemed affordable we can keep the market on homes from rising. Rent is too damned high, and we can do something about it. I wish we could cap rents, we can’t, but there are steps we can take. 

Currently the city has a policy of offering incentives to certain developments that offer 5% of units as being affordable. 
Is that supposed to be meaningful? Is that a joke? It is an insult. 
And it defeats the purpose, the city loses revenue for one thing, and for another IT DOESN’T CHANGE A THING! 

Consider- a developer builds an apartment building of 100 units, that means only 5 of those units would be for low-income people, and those other 95 units are market rate, further driving up rent and the cost of living. Why would we offer that kind of incentive? 

I call for a change in the policy to require at least 50% of new units to be affordable in order for a developer to receive any incentive. Further, we need to set the agenda for housing, not allow developers to do whatever they want. The city can, and should, determine exactly how many low-income units are needed, how much mixed income housing is needed, make sure it is built sustainably, and determine where we want it. In short, we can, and should, determine what our community needs rather than allow the free market to continue to make life difficult for the long struggling residents of Charlottesville. 

When considering new housing development in the limited space we have left in town we, the city and our communities, need to set the goals for development, not allow the developers to tell us how it is going to be. 

So- Consider those transition points again, by building multiple affordable housing options we can tweak the market to allow for easier mobility in those transition points. We may, however, need to use public funds to ensure that people continue to move forward and not backwards. If someone has a housing voucher and loses it, and there is no room in public housing for them then they are on the streets. Similarly, if someone is in market rate housing and cannot keep up and there is still a waiting list for section 8, public housing, and no affordable housing options available then they too will be on the streets. So- we have a duty to use public funds, smartly, to avoid people slipping down the housing ladder or skipping straight from affordable housing into homelessness. 

So, you can see we can do more. The city has done some good things on limited funding lately. We can continue to move forward on things like SROs and partnering with Habitat for Humanity to provide more housing options, but imagine what we can do with even more funding. 

Currently the city has $1.4 million in it’s housing fund. In the grand scheme of things $1.4 million is not very much money, especially for a city that claims to make affordable housing a priority. Let’s double that fund to $3 million in the short term, that is still a very low number compared to the amounts of money the city spends on other projects. 

We can increase revenue specifically for that fund by soliciting money from UVA, as they are impacting our housing situation and will continue to make it hard for our residents. We can end those incentives for developers who do nothing for our community, and we can divert funds from unnecessary city projects into the housing fund. If we move forward with providing ample work opportunities then sales tax revenue will increase as well. But the long and short is that coming up with an extra $1.6 million is not that difficult, especially given that the city currently sits on a surplus. 

But in the long term we can think bigger. 
Many cities in the US and in other countries, have created publicly run housing banks, or housing corporations. We can do something similar with our housing fund. It may take some up front funds at first, and we would want to contribute city funds in a number of ways, but much of a housing bank or corporation would eventually be self sustained. 
Using such a program to provide low interest, and no-interest loans for low income people to purchase their own homes. Using public contributions we could provide down payment assistance. We could provide loans and grants to upgrade existing homes to be sustainable. We could use such a program to allow existing and established neighborhoods to resist gentrification by providing funds for people to remain in their homes and neighborhoods. 

Other things we can do- 

We need to work with UVA to make sure that their plans for expansion do not negatively impact the current residents of Charlottesville. They want to expand, but they refuse to construct new student housing on grounds. They have an obligation to reduce their negative impacts on our communities. 

And we need to seek more tax relief for low income, and fixed income people who are struggling to remain in their homes, and to allow for them to use those homes to build generational equity in the long run. We can, and should, stop enforcing foreclosures in Charlottesville. Having a housing bank for restructuring, and mortgage assistance can make this a reality. 

We must stop appointing developers, landlords, and profiteers to city commissions and boards. Many of our commissioners and housing board members do not see people when they look at housing in Charlottesville, they see dollar signs. 

And back to immediate needs. We need to expand the subsidies for water and gas bills. No resident should ever have their water or gas turned off. The city has a program for assistance for utilities, there is no reason why someone from the city can’t come to your house, and rather than shutting off your water and demanding full payment they couldn’t work out a plan for repayment, or sign someone up immediately for assistance with utilities. 

As this goes to press, inevitably some councilors, and some candidates, will state that this is not feasible. 

They will do this because they will not admit what the rest of us out here know already- the current ways of approaching affordable housing have done nothing to make life less painful. People are being pushed out of our city, existing neighborhoods are being taken over by an influx of newer, wealthier residents. The cost of living is rising, rent is out of control, and evictions and foreclosures continue. Charlottesville can do much better. If you look back to the data I presented earlier, that is the result of relying on the same old ideas now purported to be “doing all we can”. 

We cannot with a straight face state that this city is a great place to live for all of our citizens- yet. 

If I can get elected to City Council I will work my tail off to make everything I have just laid out a priority, I am just one person, but I believe if I can make it on to city council then the others will have no choice but start taking this seriously and take meaningful steps and provide ample funding. 

Please vote for me Brandon Collins, on November 8th. I have made the issue of housing, and jobs, and wages priorities for my campaign, and will continue to do so when on city council.
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Press Conference Thursday 10/27- Affordable Housing Crisis

if you support affordable housing and my campaign for City Council feel free to attend!
Press Conference Advisory:

from: Brandon Collins for City Council (434) 249-3312 brandoncollins@comcast.net
when: Thursday, October 27, 1 p.m.
where: Westhaven Community Center, 803 Hardy Drive
subject: Affordable Housing Crisis in Charlottesville, Something Must Be Done

Please join Charlottesville City Council Candidate Brandon Collins and supporters on Thursday, October 27th at 1 p.m., in Westhaven, to discuss a comprehensive approach to affordable housing in Charlottesville.

Collins will issue a statement and take questions.

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Brandon Collins for City Council
votebrandoncollins.wordpress.com

brandoncollins@comcast.net
(434) 249-3312
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Responses to National Organization of Women Questionnaire

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

 

Here are my responses to the Charlottesville Chapter of the National Organization of Women survey of candidates. Most of the focus is on statewide issues, which makes it harder to articulate a position, but have done my best.

ECONOMIC CONCERNS
Although Virginia ranks high on income, almost one-third of female-headed families with children in Virginia live in poverty – and that was before the current recession. 
What would you do, as an elected official, to help women who are in poverty?

I have made poverty the cornerstone of my campaign, and will do so as a city councilor. I suggest opening a jobs center in downtown Charlottesville where people can access work that pays a living wage, and a wide variety of other services. I would seek to “guarantee employment” for any resident who needs a job, directly through the city if needed. I suggest a doubling of funding and attention to affordable housing, and the creation of a public housing bank to provide low, or no interest loans, and grants to low income people to purchase their own homes, halt gentrification, provide more rental assistance and more. I call for an expansion of utility bills subsidies, and an end to evictions.

Given severe budget cutbacks, what is realistic to do?

Charlottesville will be receiving large grants for public works programs and public housing upgrades, we need to make sure a local workforce is used. We also have a surplus of funds that should be used for immediate relief for the homeless. We have great amounts of wealth in Charlottesville that can be put to work for residents who are most in need. By increasing employment and wages we will increase revenue in the form of sales taxes and real estate taxes.

Do you think employers should be required to pay wages based on comparable worth for jobs that require equivalent skills, effort, and responsibility? 

I believe that employers should pay a living wage of $11.41/hr, or $4.40/hr for tipped wage employees. Further I seek to guarantee a job to anyone who needs one.

VOTING RIGHTS
NOW supports restoring voting rights to non-violent felons who have completed their sentence. Virginia and Kentucky are the only two states that do not automatically restore convicted felons’ civil rights to some extent. We believe this is harsh, racist, and detrimental to family well-being.
Will you vote to restoring voting rights to ex-felons easier?

I would happily add this to the city’s legislative agenda, and consider a legal option to allow ex-offenders to vote in local elections. I have done much work with ex-offenders in Charlottesville and will continue to do so. I fully support the ex-offender “home to work” public works program, now in the pilot stage, and will seek ways to expand it.

Will you vote against voting laws which would restrict voting rights for anyone such as minorities, students, and old people who have no picture IDs.

If the City has any power to influence this, I would fully oppose any law requiring ID to vote. I support same day voter registration, but the City has little say on this issue.

HEALTH CARE
According to the Women’s Health Virginia survey , women in Virginia are more concerned about the cost of health care and health insurance than any other health issue (including cancer, children’s health, and mental health). More than 424,000 Virginia women are uninsured – or 13% of Virginia women ages 19-64,  3.6% of Virginia women received late or no prenatal care , putting the state 22nd in the nation on this measure.  What do you propose to do about this situation?

In Charlottesville we have a huge problem with infant mortality in the African-American community. The highest concentration of this is a few blocks from UVA Hospital. We have two hospitals in Charlottesville, I believe we can do more to partner with these hospitals to include more services for all residents Charlottesville, and with particular attention to women. I would like to see a regional free comprehensive health screening clinic, similar to Wise County, set-up here in town. If UVA can send doctors and med students to Wise County for this, we could certainly do it here. Further, Charlottesville is severely lacking in free live-in substance abuse treatment for women. Ultimately we need to ensure that our residents have access to jobs that pay a living wage, offer flexible hours and real benefits. If we could convince our town to set up a resident health care payment plan, including free healthcare for low income residents I would be very much in favor of that.

PRE-KINDERGARTEN AND KINDERGARTEN EDUCATION
40 states have some level of state-funded pre-kindergarten. Virginia – which is among the top states in income – does not. Given that children learn most of what they will know before they enter school and given that there is a fiscal crisis, what do you propose doing to bring Virginia up to the standard of other states?

I can only speak for Charlottesville here. We have a growing public pre-school program here. However, there is a long waiting list. I would like to see more funds to ensure that expansion of Pre-K continues. I also support a massive expansion of MACAA (Monticello Area Community Action Agency) for a number of reasons including expanding Head Start using local funds.

VIOLENCE
Most victims of sexual violence are women. Of child victims, 69% were girls.. It is difficult to know the full extent of sexual and domestic violence against women – it is one of the most under reported crimes. We do know the need for services continues to increase. What will you do about the escalating violence against women on campus and in the home?

Ultimately a change in our consumer culture and economic system is where real results concerning violence towards women could begin. A city councilor could very effectively play an active role using our bully pulpit to confront our cultural attitudes towards women. We can re-prioritize our police response and attention towards domestic and sexual violence, provide more funding for support services and women’s cultural and resource programs. I would also support educating men about the cause of feminism and women’s issues in the hopes that cultural attitudes might change from their perspective as well. Infrastructure upgrades, late night bus service and better lighting can play a role in improving safety for all in Charlottesville.

Would you support increasing the effectiveness of any domestic violence or stalking laws?

I would seek data on how effective certain changes in the law might be regarding Charlottesville. I do think that both domestic violence and stalking laws could be strengthened and enforced. I would also support other ways in which to approach these issues concerning restorative justice. In many domestic violence instances I have seen a man’s anger and propensity for violence increase because of lack of educational and restorative opportunities available after arrest.

Would you push for better rape laws and for the state to help pay to process rape kits
(there is a back log because of the lack of funding)?

Absolutely yes. Our police department should be able to pay for all processing of rape kits whether the state provides the funds or not.

WOMEN IN ELECTED OFFICES
Virginia ranks 41th in the nation for women in elected office, with women comprising only 17% of members of the General Assembly and no female representatives to Congress at this time. Do you consider these low figures a problem? Why or why not? 

This is a problem. We should have ample representation of all segments of society in politics. My feeling is that both the Republican and Democratic parties do not take this issue seriously enough. I belong to political party (Socialist Party USA) that supports affirmative action both in theory and organizationally. We have gender parity in our organization and I would see this is a way that other parties could increase participation and support women in the political process.

If they are a problem, what will you do about it?

I support affirmative action. Charlottesville will be considering minority representation in city government, particularly in supervisory roles, in the coming months. I would hope to include women as part of this discussion as well, and seek to implement an actual affirmative action policy in City government. Further, I will continue to support, value, and demand that women involved in activism have their voices heard and take leadership positions.

SEX EDUCATION
Will you vote for comprehensive, medically accurate sex education programs in Virginia public schools, which stress abstinence as a healthy choice and have appropriate opt-out provisions? 

Absolutely I am in favor of accurate, comprehensive, and inclusive sex education in our schools. I would include homosexuality in sex education. I would like to see Charlottesville schools support free access to birth control in our schools, such as condom distribution.

Will you oppose abstinence-only programs in our schools?

Absolutely opposed to abstinence only programs.

TRAFFICKING OF PERSONS FOR SEX AND LABOR
The 2009 General Assembly passed legislation to strengthen penalties for human traffic. However, additional steps are needed. Laws dealing with immigrants and prostitution can allow traffickers to escape unpunished while punishing immigrants and prostitutes. Would you vote for further enhanced penalties with the goal of eventually ridding Virginia of these criminal traffickers? 

We need to take the burden off of immigrants and prostitutes. I support an end to slavery in all forms, including in human trafficking. People are not products, they should be treated as human beings both by the law and by those who seek to exploit them. We should end all penalties for immigrants and prostitutes and seek only to end trafficking by targeting those who traffic human beings. Further, I support making Charlottesville a “sanctuary city”, and I support the formation of sex worker unions.

REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS
Numerous bills are introduced each session to restrict access to abortion services and contraception. If elected, will you vote for or against each of the following:

TRAP bills (Targeted Regulations for Abortion Providers) –
Classifying Women’s Health Center in the same category as hospitals?

I do not support this type of legislation, and would seek to add this issue to the city’s legislative agenda for the General Assembly.

“Trigger” bills that would make abortion illegal in Virginia if Roe v. Wade is overturned –

I oppose such legislation, and again, would seek to add this to our legislative agenda.

The Birth Control Protection Act, which is supported by NOW and other women’s and pro-choice organizations and states that birth control methods approved by the U.S. FDA are contraceptives and not methods of abortion – 

I support access to all forms of birth control, including emergency contraception.

Do you think that insurance companies that cover FDA-approved medications should be required to cover FDA-approved contraceptives (oral contraception, etc) on an equal basis? –.

Absolutely yes.

Further, I am the only candidate in Charlottesville calling for local funding of planned parenthood in my platform. I would also seek to contribute local funding to programs like the reproductive freedom project which provides resources and funds for low income women to receive abortions.

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
Virginia has not ratified the ERA. The text of the ERA is as follows: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”
Will you vote for ratification of an Equal Rights Amendment? 

If given a vote I will gladly vote in favor of the ERA, this has been put off for way too long. I was proud to be present when Charlottesville City Council expressed it’s support for the ERA last week.

Will you co sponsor a bill for Virginia to ratify the ERA?

I will seek to add this to Charlotttesville’s legislative agenda for the General Assembly.

LGBT EQUALITY
Do you support full civil rights and equal treatment under the law for lesbians and gays in the following: 

Employment-  Yes
Housing- Yes
Custody decisions- Yes
Adoptions- Yes
Military Service- Yes

URANIUM MINING.
Uranium mining relates to women and their families’ health, as well as economy and jobs.
Would you support  the mining or processing of uranium in Va?

I am opposed to uranium mining in Virginia, and spoke to city council about it’s effects and was happy to speak in favor of council’s resolution opposing uranium mining in Virginia.

What are your top three priorities if you are elected? 

1. Jobs and Wages- we need to change the balance of workers to employers. By guaranteeing employment in a number of ways, we can make wages rise. There are numerous steps to take towards this goal. We should only seek out business, or grant incentives, to business that is friendly to the needs of our community. Public works and Parks and Recreation expansion can employ great numbers in our city and work towards making our town 100% sustainable. All city contracts should pay a living wage. A jobs center to coordinate Section 3 compliance, ex-offender “home to work”, human resources, job training, direct access to employment and temporary employment.

2. Affordable Housing- we need to double our attention, and funding, for affordable housing in Charlottesville. Expansion and upgrades to public housing, expanding vouchers, only giving incentives to housing developments that are at least 50% low income, public bank or corporation to address our housing needs and stop gentrification, and offer low, and no interest loans to low income people seeking to own their own homes, and loans for sustainable upgrades to existing structures. Immediate construction of a homeless shelter, and construction of more SROs.

3. Public Transportation- all city planning should be based on public transportation, expand our bus system into full service on Sundays, late night, and more frequent routes. Implement park and ride, and direct service shuttles. All state transportation funds should go towards public transit. I support a regional transit authority.

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Where I Stand- links and more

contact Brandon!   brandoncollins@comcast.net   (434) 249-3312 facebook

People all over the country are in the streets and demanding a better world that places human needs over corporate greed. I wholeheartedly endorse the #occupy movement, and have participated, and will continue to participate. While I certainly agree that the true path to social transformation is through organizing to get the things we want, I am still committed to engaging the electoral process… to win!

Here are some resources for folks interested in people over profits to discover who I am and where I stand, and I hope you’ll consider voting for me on November 8th! (don’t forget to register, last day to register or change your address is Oct 17).

I have consistently brought up the needs of underpaid, overlooked, under appreciated, and under serviced people in my platform, particularly with my ideas on guaranteed employment, wages, and jobs and my speech on labor day explains this further.

I look forward to explaining further my thoughts on the housing problems in Charlottesville. We need to get serious about moving folks up the housing ladder, and making sure that new people and expanded UVA don’t push poor people out of town, out of their neighborhoods, and turn Charlottesville into a playground for the rich.

We can make jobs, improve the quality of life for all Charlottesville residents, and take a comprehensive approach to city planning by expanding our bus system. If we are to take our commitment to not trashing our planet seriously we have to plan around public transit.

These three issues are deeply enmeshed with our ecological needs! We can go much further on making the city 100% sustainable but we have to take the issue seriously in all decisions we make. You can see my responses to the Sierra Club and learn a bit more on my overall approach to energy.

Everyone wants to know about the water! I have written a lot on this issue- check out why we should change the plan, thoughts on the demand analysis, and special interests and lies dominating the conversation.

And, of course, the parkway.

The Chamber of Commerce would have you believe that talking about these issues is keeping us from doing something meaningful about poverty. Don’t fall for it! The cost of the water supply and the parkway, the negative impacts they will have on the working class and undervalued neighborhoods is immense. Read my short letter to the Daily Progress that gets at some of that.

I have consistently brought up peace as a local issue with city council for years, and I am still bringing this up as often as possible! We are facing deep cuts from the federal government to vital programs, imagine a world where all that money being spent on illegal wars and occupations is spent instead on programs of social uplift!

Charlottesville is in danger of not having any voice for social justice on city council, please vote for me- Brandon Collins on November 8th!

learn more!
audio and text of my candidate interview for Charlottesville Tomorrow Voter Guide
audio from Random Row “People’s Forum” Aug. 17
my responses to democrats only forum
audio and video of forum sponsored by Daily Progress
audio from forum hosted by Andrea Copeland (also shown regularly on Public Access TV)

 

 

 

 

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