How Exactly Does Local Government Work?

tl;dr – we’re going to try to learn about local government. If anyone wants to help plan and organize, please contact me. 434-242-7140

How exactly does local government work?

(few people know)

A few weeks ago, I wrote a story on RealCrozetVA

I saw this post recently – An Adult Civics Hour and think we can do the same thing Crozet. And Albemarle.  Based on the Facebook responses, we’re interested.*

I’m thinking of doing this at Crozet Mudhouse to start. Maybe an initial meeting to set the stage.

Topics? Maybe set a monthly agenda?

Note: This is about local politics, but it’s not partisan political; leave that stuff at home.

If you’re interested, please tell me here.


People Came

Know what? 7 people (counting myself) showed up on Thursday night, and we had a very good discussion about, essentially, how we don’t understand how our local government works.

Local government is complex. Albemarle County’s budget is $430M in 2018Charlottesville City’s is $180M. Each has commensurately labyrinthian bureaucracies, systems, and ways to get things done.

Citizens should know about this stuff.

But wait! This is a real estate blog.

Yes, yes it is. And real estate is about community, neighborhoods, schools, infrastructure, taxes … all things related to, affected by local governance.


This is the after-action report I wrote to the people who indicated they are interested in this gathering.

As I said last night, I don’t know what I’m doing with this, but I know I want to know more.

We had a great gathering* last night; 7 people, myself included had a great conversation and set the stage for what’s next. I was impressed with the passion, knowledge, and willingness to say, “I don’t know” by all who came.
Did you know Crozet Mudhouse closes at 7 during the week? I didn’t either. Allan, the manager, was kind enough to let us stay while they closed up, and we left at 8:15. Huge thanks to them for being such a great part of the community.
  • If anyone wants to help me plan/organize, please let me know
  • Next topic – aiming for a panel on the Comprehensive Plan for Albemarle County.
    • what are the levels?
    • How can one make one’s voice heard?
    • I’ve invited two people so far, and may target a third
  • Other topics we might get into
    • How does a thing (development, policy, gov’t action) become a thing? What’s the process, what’s the org chart for that look like?
    • Where can my voice be heard?
    • How does one get on a group? (CAC, Board of Supervisors, committee)
    • When are elections? For what?
      • School Board
      • Board of Supervisors
      • What else?
    • Charlottesville + Albemarle
  • Next Gathering
    • 17 May (seems Thursdays are good) — this is a tentative date; I’m working on firming up the panel.
    • Location to be determined.
    • Need a big white board
      • To show parts of the comp plan – the big parts, not the minutae
    • Other things
      • This is *not* specific to Crozet
      • This is *not* partisan; no one cares if you’re a D or R or I or whatever; we’re neighbors figuring out Civics 101.
      • This is *not* about advocating for or against a specific thing.
      • National stuff may come up, but only through a local lens
People needs – as evidenced by the inspiration in Tacoma, Washington
  • Someone to get guests
  • Someone to organize venues
  • Someone to do the “hype”
Next time
  • I’ll do an eventbrite, meetup, facebook event, blog posts, etc.
  • I’m hopeful for a great panel
  • Suggestions? Comments, thoughts?
In summary
Thank you. Thank you to those who were able to come, and those of you interested. I think I’m safe in saying, we have a lot to learn.
Monthly gatherings might be a bit much, but a suggestion last night was to do this every six or eight weeks or so; I think that’s a great suggestion.
Again, thank you. Let’s have fun.

*I am vehemently opposed to the term “meeting” to refer to what we are doing.

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