School advocates to seek signatures outside polls
6/9/2017, 11:14 a.m.
Election Next week’s primary will be a big day for advocates seeking to put the issue of Richmond’s deteriorating schools on the November ballot.
With more than 17,000 of Richmond’s 144,000 registered voters projected to participate in the primary elections for local and statewide candidates, the school advocates are hoping to get enough people to sign petitions to put the issue to a vote.
The Richmond Crusade for Voters and political strategist Paul Goldman are leading the effort to gather the needed 10,400 signatures to put their proposed charter change in front of voters during the Nov. 7 general election.
The proposal would require Richmond Mayor Levar M. Stoney to come up with a plan to renovate or replace the city’s 39 aging school buildings or advise City Council that it cannot be done.
If the charter change initiative gets on the ballot and passes, the measure would go to the General Assembly for approval and inclusion in the City Charter.
Mr. Goldman said getting the measure on the ballot and passed would send “a message that Richmond regards the issue of obsolete schools as important.”
He expects that message would be heard around Virginia and in Washington and could help ensure that new school buildings would be included in any infrastructure package passed by Congress.
On Monday, the initiative secured the endorsement of the Sierra Club’s Falls of the James Chapter. Leaders of the group joined Mr. Goldman and Crusade President Bernice Travers to trumpet the effort and encourage support.
Mr. Goldman is raising money and recruiting volunteers to seek signatures outside of the city’s 65 polling places.
“The forecast is for 95-degree temperatures, so we could use all the help we can get,” he said.
Information: Mr. Goldman, firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 833-6313. — JEREMY M. LAZARUS