How Does Charlottesville Government Work?

Feb 12, 2018

After the events in Charlottesville last August, many citizens wanted to be informed on how local government works, and how it might be structured differently in the future. The local League of Women Voters and Charlottesville Tomorrow teamed up to provide an educational discussion on the matter, divided in two events this month. WMRA’s Marguerite Gallorini attended the first one yesterday afternoon.

The McIntire room at the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library was packed. The events of last August certainly prompted a renewed interest – or concern – in understanding how Charlottesville is governed. So a varied panel provided their views and expertise, including Rich Schragger, a UVA Law School professor.

RICH SCHRAGGER: There’s some confusion about authority: a frustration, I would think, with not quite understanding the lines of authority, first of all; and then second of all, some of the limitations on authority, the capacity to do certain things.

One of the big frustrations brought up by the audience was the inability to regulate on guns locally, following the failed recent attempt at changing legislation in the General Assembly in Richmond.

SCHRAGGER: In terms of the specific gun laws, there’s not a ton you can do except operate through the political processes down there: elections matter, as they say. One thing you can’t do is demand that the City Council do something different with guns, because they, in fact, can’t.

The second event will look at how Charlottesville might be governed differently in the future. It will take place on Sunday, February 25 at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center at 2 p.m.