Charlottesville Deserves a Mayor Who Likes the City

by Kerry Dougherty

There are few requirements in most places to run for mayor. Affection for your own city ought to be a minimal requirement.

Pity Charlottesville’s mayor doesn’t even meet that.

Let me back up.

After last Friday’s “Kerry and Mike” radio show a couple of listeners emailed to say I’d been a little rough on the mayor of Virginia Beach during an interview about the melee at the oceanfront that ended with 10 people shot and two dead on March 26.

Clearly these armchair critics have been watching too many mainstream media interviews of Joe Biden and members of his administration. Those who watch only network news, CNN and MSNBC, would be shocked to discover that good interviews are not a series of softballs lobbed at friendly pols to make them appear competent.

Dyer and I tussled a bit about what the city should do to ensure that there is never a repeat of the bloody shootout on the resort strip. The mayor hesitated to admit that a slice of the oceanfront can be a dangerous place.

You can forgive Dyer’s reticence. His Honor’s weakness is that he loves Virginia Beach. He sees his job to be a cheerleader for the largest city in the commonwealth. And he’s very good at that.

He’s no Nikuyah Walker, that’s for sure.

Walker was elected mayor of Charlottesville in 2017, after the riots. She’s been in the news lately because of a poem she Tweeted about the city. I won’t print the it here because it contains a word that is extremely vulgar.

One thing’s certain, Walker seems to despise Charlottesville.

In a story headlined, “Charlottesville mayor says graphic poem illustrates Black experience in city,The Washington Post wrote:

Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker was having a long and frustrating day.

She has lots of them, like plenty of mayors, even though hers is a wealthy, picturesque college town that regularly pops up on those “best places” lists. Nothing in particular set her off, but the battles she had been mired in for months — with the City Council, the city staff, some ordinary Charlottesvillians — were getting to her.

So the mayor consoled herself by writing a poem — one that soon had parts of C’ville recoiling.

“Charlottesville: The beautiful-ugly it is,” read the poem, which she tweeted late last month. “It rapes you, comforts you in its [semen] stained sheet and tells you to keep its secrets.”

America has plenty of outspoken mayors who don’t mind airing their communities’ dirty laundry. Walker may be the first to publicly compare her city to a rapist — and to drive home that metaphor with a graphic reference to literal soiled linens.

There have been many calls for Walker to resign. She’s a political independent who should face stiff opposition in the next election from both political parties. In a city that voted 85% for Joe Biden, you’d expect a Democrat to cruise to an easy win.

Charlottesville is not my city. But seems to me the folks there deserve what we have in Virginia Beach: A mayor who actually likes the town.

And one who would never compare his city to a rapist.