Mike's most recent newsletter

It’s been an exciting few months in Charlottesville.  In this installment of my occasional newsletter, I wanted to give you a few recent updates from my time as Mayor of this remarkable city. (As always, you can unsubscribe from this list at the bottom of this email).

Recognizing the Khans: Like millions, I was appalled by Donald Trump’s attacks on Charlottesville area residents Khizr and Ghazala Khan.  I was very proud when they graciously appeared to accept a unanimous proclamation from City Council recognizing their courage.  I later wrote an essay for the Richmond Times-Dispatch explaining my view that their words resonated because they exemplify the pluralism we value so deeply in C’ville.

Our Creative Economy:  As Mayor, one of my top priorities is building and sustaining our creative economy.  We recently received the wonderful news that Entrepreneur Magazine designated us the #4 city in the U.S. for entrepreneurs, and we welcomed my former boss and friend Senator Mark Warner to town for a roundtable with my Mayor’s Advisory Council on Innovation and Technology.  And I also enjoyed holding a Creative Economy Fundraiser for my friend Jane Dittmar, our Democratic candidate for the 5th Congressional District.

Council on Virginia’s Future:  In keeping with this work, Governor McAuliffe recently appointed me to the Council on Virginia’s Future, a bipartisan board including the leadership of both Virginia’s House and Senate that works on a range of strategic and government performance initiatives, including workforce development.

Open Data Policy:  To enhance the accessibility of my office, I instituted open office hours upon becoming mayor.  In my very first office hour, a citizen came to see me about adopting an open data policy in Charlottesville.  It was a great idea, and with the help of my colleagues, staff, and community stakeholders, we recently passed a resolution that will create an Open Data Policy for Charlottesville

Restoration of Voting Rights: Voting rights have been under attack in Virginia and around the country.  Governor Terry McAuliffe has courageously acted to restore the rights of thousands of Virginians.  But many have become confused and intimidated by the attacks on the Governor's actions.  For that reason, Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy and I will be hosting Kelly Thomasson Mercer, Virginia’s Secretary of the Commonwealth, for a Voting Education and Restoration Assembly on October 5 from 4:15-5:30 p.m. in downtown C'ville.  You can see more information on Facebook here.

Online Voting:  Along these lines, I was delighted when we became Virginia’s first city to pass a resolution that will require City agencies to register voters online through Governor Terry McAuliffe’s new online voting portal.

Creating Affordable Housing:  While we’re lucky to have a dynamic economy in Charlottesville, it means we need to work even harder to create more affordable housing.  That's why we recently allocated almost half a million dollars to Habitat for Humanity to help finance more affordable “sweat equity” homes here.

Protecting Historic Neighborhoods:  As we grow, we also need to stand by our historic neighborhoods and native residents.  I was proud of our unanimous refusal to rezone as commercial a traditional African-American residential neighborhood.  After years of delay, we also passed a measure starting a “code audit” that will allow us to overhaul our zoning code, and a new “Streets that Work” zoning amendment that will make our streets more walkable and bikeable.   

Confederate Statues:  Earlier this year, we created a Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces to address a controversy over Confederate statues.  The Commission, which will deliver a report to Council in December, has received national coverage from Politico Magazine for its holistic, creative mission, which focuses not just on any one statue, but on how we can change the narrative in C’ville by telling the full story of race through our public spaces. 

Reducing Gun Violence:  Finally, I have joined Mayors Against Illegal Guns to focus on measures we can take in our cities to practically reduce gun violence.

Recognitions.  Finally, while I certainly can't take credit for this, Charlottesville continues to gain national accolades as one of the country's best places to live.  The New York Post named us the country's #3 best place to live, and our renowned City Market was ranked among the nation's 5 best farmer's markets.  Not too shabby!

As always, I value your friendship and support, and am deeply grateful for the opportunity to serve the public.  Please don't ever hesitate to reach out to me at mike@mikesigner.com.

All the best,

Mayor Mike Signer
City of Charlottesville
A World-Class City