Thursday, February 15, 2018

Mayor Stoney Signs Letter to Congress Requesting Full Funding for Public Housing Programs

Today Mayor Levar M. Stoney joined mayors across the country in calling on Congress to fully fund the federal government’s public housing obligations. There are over one million households across the nation in public housing and adequate funding and a renewed commitment are essential to ensuring these residences are well-maintained, safe and healthy places to live.

Mayor Stoney added his name to a letter being sent to Congressional leaders by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. It reads, in part:
“The difficulty of finding an affordable place to live becomes a greater challenge as cities continue to grow and become more crowded. This has been exacerbated for years as the federal government has decreased its investment in public housing. Cities have had to fill the gaps, taking on the responsibility of addressing repairs and capital improvements… We urge you to propose targeted increases to HUD’s public housing programs in order to improve the lives and living conditions for all public housing authority residents.”

“The simple fact is that for decades, the federal government has let our public housing residents down,” said Mayor Stoney. “We are committed to addressing the current issues we face as a city, but we need our leaders in Washington to step up and work with our nation’s mayors toward long term solutions.”

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Statement of Mayor Levar M. Stoney on Gov. Northam's order to lower flags to honor the Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker

“I’d like to thank Gov. Northam for honoring the Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker by ordering the flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia lowered to half-staff February 14 - 17.

As Dr. Martin Luther King’s chief of staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Dr. Walker was a pivotal figure and leader in our nation’s struggle for civil rights. Dr. Walker’s work is still relevant and important today, and his impact on our commonwealth and our nation deserves our respect and recognition. Accordingly, I have instructed staff to lower the flag of the City of Richmond during this time period to honor and commemorate the life of Dr. Walker.”

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on City Council Passage of Meals Tax Proposal to Fund School Facilities

“Tonight, the City of Richmond sent a strong message to its students that it is no longer willing to kick the can down the road when it comes to providing them with modern, safe and healthy environments in which to learn. This is just the first big step in what will be many more steps to improve our schools for our children, and for the generations of Richmond Public School students to come. After decades of telling them to wait, tonight we put them first. We are moving full-steam ahead with our plan to generate $150 million in new school construction and renovation of facilities that have been neglected for far too long.

This was not an easy decision, and it does not solve all of our schools’ challenges, but it was important that we get started now. I’d like to thank the members of City Council tonight for understanding the urgency and importance of our needs and having the courage to take action. And I would like to thank the Richmond School Board and Superintendent Jason Kamras for their advocacy and leadership for the children under their care. Through our Education Compact, we will continue to work together to tackle the challenges that lie ahead and forge solutions that will not only benefit our students but also make our city stronger.

To the restauranteurs who supported this proposal and those who had reservations about it, you are part of what makes Richmond a great place to live, work and play. I will continue to be a champion for you, and I look forward to finding ways that we can make it easier for you to do business and continue to thrive.

The large number and wide range of individuals and organizations who have supported this initiative – from education advocates to the real estate and business community to RPS teachers, parents and students – reinforce the broad consensus that we must move forward. Our kids can’t wait, and you heard their voices.

Our children face a brighter future. Now let’s make it happen.”

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Mayor Levar M. Stoney Statement on Endorsement of School Funding Proposal by Education Advocates

“Richmond has a strong legacy of champions for public education, and I was pleased to join some of them today at George Wythe High School in support of our proposal to improve the lives of our school children.

I am grateful to receive the support of the Richmond Education Association, Richmond Teachers for Social Justice and Support Our Schools, as well as RPS Superintendent Jason Kamras and School Board Chairwoman Dawn Page, for my plan to create $150 million in school construction and renovations. These education advocates know firsthand the poor conditions and unhealthy learning environment our children have been subjected to for decades. 

For far too long the problem has been ignored and we all know that the time to act is now. Their strong message echoes my message – our kids can’t wait any longer and this plan is the first step to action.”

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Richmond Faith Leaders Unite in Support of Mayor’s Plan to Fund School Facilities

Mayor Stoney was joined yesterday by more than two dozen Richmond-area faith leaders who voiced their support for his plan to fund much-needed Richmond Public School construction and facilities renovation.

The faith leaders, representing all denominations throughout the city, were unified in their call for Richmond City Council and city residents to support the Mayor's plan, which would raise the meals tax on diners 1.5% and allow the city to finance $150 million for the construction of new facilities.

"We had a productive meeting with members of our faith community to discuss my proposal to find financing for Richmond Public Schools," said Mayor Stoney. "We cannot kick the can down the road anymore. Our kids can't wait."

"The most state of the art facility that we have in the City of Richmond is the Justice Center," said Sheriff Antoinette Irving. "We show our kids it's more important to take care of incarcerated individuals then it is for them to be taken care of in the schools they're supposed to learn in. It is important right now that we act."

"I can speak to how important a meals tax passage can impact a school system," said Rev. Tyrone Nelson, a Richmond native, pastor of Sixth Mount Zion Baptist Church and chairman of the Henrico County Board of Supervisors. "Henrico County citizens voted to support a meals tax and we've seen some tremendous things happen. I hope that Richmond citizens will follow suit."

"Every child deserves a quality education and we have a responsibility to teach our children and use every resource we have available," said Rabbi Michael Knopf. "If not now, when?"

"The African-American clergy is solidly in lock step with our mayor to make this happen," said Dr. A. Lincoln James Jr., Senior Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church.

"I'm concerned about all of our children having a quality education," said Reverend Marilyn Heckstall. "We can experience an unselfishness of 1.5% when we get the opportunity to have a meal knowing that the investment is in all our children's lives.”
"The story of Richmond's ability to fund its schools is a really complicated one, but we haven't had any capital money in the city to speak of for 40 years," said Reverend Ben Campbell. "Our mayor has found a way to go forward. It's giving us a real shot to do something significant."
The city currently does not have the debt capacity to finance the construction of any school facilities until 2023. By approving an increase in the meals tax, the city will be able to begin building schools now, rather than waiting five years.

Click here to view the press conference with the faith leaders.
Below is a partial list of faith leaders who attended the Mayor's meeting:

Asmat Ali
Jim Arsenault
Johnathan Bibbs
Larry Branch
Earl Brown
Ben Campbell
Roscoe D. Cooper, Jr.
Roscoe D. Cooper, III
Stephen Ford
Maceo Freeman, Jr.
Patricia Gould-Champ
F. Todd Gray
Benjamin Harris
Marilyn Heckstall
Justin House
Antoinette Irving
A. Lincoln James, Jr.
James Johnson, Jr.
Gary Jones
Zulfi Khan
Michael Knopf
Michael Lomax
Ernest Moore
Tyrone Nelson
Nelson Reveley
Sandra Rollins
Rodney Waller
Robert Winfree

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Rose Center Team Visits Richmond to Assist City, Mayor Stoney on Advancing a Shared Vision for Shockoe Bottom

The Rose Center for Public Leadership, jointly operated by the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Urban Land Institute (ULI), is working this week with Mayor Levar Stoney to advise the city on synthesizing and implementing a shared vision for Shockoe Bottom. The City of Richmond seeks to leverage existing investments in the area and honor its history to create a new destination district that supports the protection of its cultural and historic heritage, goals for economic development, and environmental sustainability.

“We are excited to welcome this team of national experts who are generously donating their time to help us explore the exciting possibilities and unique opportunities in this part of our city,” said Mayor Levar Stoney. “Our goal is to find ways to protect and honor the significant historical nature of this area while promoting its growth and opportunity given environmental challenges. By creating partnerships and working together, we are poised to find a solution that will create a compelling destination for our residents and our visitors.”
Mayor Stoney’s team includes his designated Rose Fellows: City Councilmember Cynthia Newbille; Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Operations Robert Steidel; and Jane Ferrara, Chief Operating Officer for the Department of Economic & Community Development; who are assisted by project manager Ellyn Parker, Public Art Coordinator at the Department of Planning & Development Review. They will be joined by a panel of a dozen visiting experts assembled by the Rose Center.

Mayor Stoney and his team will brief the panel, who will then tour the district and meet with community representatives and advocates, business and civic leaders, and other stakeholders to share their local knowledge and perspectives. Drawing upon their professional expertise and experience, the panelists will apply the information gathered during the study visit and present recommendations for how the city, its partners and stakeholders can achieve their goals. Richmond’s expenses to participate in the program—including the panel’s visit—are underwritten by the Rose Center to ensure objectivity during the process.
Read the full ULI release here.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Mayor and Others Discuss Support for School Facilities Funding

On Tuesday, January 30, 2018 Mayor Stoney was joined by Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille, School Board member Cheryl Burke, former Senator Henry L. Marsh, III, former School Board member Nadine Marsh-Carter and others to discuss his recent school funding proposal.