Big issues facing Waynesboro, voters in 2020 elections

2020 election vote

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Candidates are busily collecting signatures to get on the ballot for the May 2020 Waynesboro City Council elections. Here’s our primer on what they should be talking about if they want your vote.

Quality of Life

Median household income in Waynesboro in 2018, according to Census.gov, was $45,738, the lowest in the region, by a good bit, and the 15.1 percent poverty rate is the highest in the region, also by a good bit. For comparison, median household income in Augusta County was $61,305 in 2018, and the poverty rate was 9.0 percent.

Economic Development

What’s the biggest issue with the above? The manufacturing base that sustained the city economy for decades has been replaced by service jobs that pay wages at roughly 60 percent the rate of the jobs of yesterday in constant dollars. We have an empty industrial-park space that we paid millions for a decade ago that sits 20 miles from Charlottesville. Connect the dots already.

Education

The school system had to eliminate 22 full-time instructional positions last spring to account for a million-dollar budget shortfall. Anybody who uses the phrase “need to be able to do more with less” should be automatically disqualified from running. According to the Department of Education, 62.4 percent of city school students are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program. (The state average: 45.6 percent.) Our kids are already at-risk, and you’re taking resources away from them.

Public Safety

City voters backed a referendum to build a West End fire station back in 2007, but the do-nothing City Council of that era ignored the will of the voters. Shame on them, and subsequent City Councils, for their inaction. And for letting our police department be a training ground for neighboring law-enforcement departments because we don’t pay our folks enough.

Second Amendment

Actually, candidates who talk about the Second Amendment disqualify themselves from getting your vote. Seriously? Waynesboro City Council has nothing to do with the Second Amendment. We’re hearing about a slate of candidates running on a platform to get the city to approve a sanctuary resolution. We need jobs and more money for our schools. We have more people in poverty, we make less, we’re cutting teacher jobs. This city doesn’t need people who think serving on City Council is only slightly more strenuous than watching the talking heads on Fox News.

Story by Chris Graham


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