Word has reached The Schilling Show that not only has Mayor David Norris resigned from his paid executive position at PACEM, but that in doing so, he may have left the organization in financial straits. Apparently, PACEM gave three or four days notice to clients and supporting churches last week that they would be shutting down on Friday, March 13, nearly three weeks prior to the previously announced March 31 closing date.

As a result, many of the area’s homeless population unexpectedly were turned back out onto the streets and tents that they now must call home.

Mayor Norris has spawned a poor public perception regarding his financial track-record with organizations he has run. In particular, his tenure with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has been called into question. But is there more to this story?

After almost singlehandedly shutting down the HOPE Community Shelter (a competing organization to PACEM) and then refusing to endorse or sign paperwork that would have allowed HOPE to more easily pursue grant money in order to reopen a shelter here, Mayor Norris has left his PACEM position for greener pastures.

Given the Mayor’s inside track and personal relationship with First Street Church benefactor Tom Shadyac (Norris honored Shadyac at a PACEM event last year), and the curious timing of his PACEM departure, we predict that Mayor Norris will apply for and be awarded the Executive Director position for the First Street Church project.

Of course, given the inherent conflict of interest in holding this job while serving on Charlottesville’s City Council, Norris being named to head this project would be a travesty, but what else would you expect in Charlottesville?

P.S. Almost forgot to mention that Dave Norris’s de facto running mate, Kristin Szakos and her husband Joe Szakos are prime movers of the Virginia Organizing Project, a partner in the First Street Church project.

P.P.S. Don’t let the name fool you, despite its locating in a former church building, the First Street Church project currently is a secular humanist, not a Christian faith-based endeavor.

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13 COMMENTS

  1. If PACEM shut down on March 13th how can they be advertised as the benefactor of the Charlottesville 10 Miler?

    PACEM selected as 2009 Race Beneficiary
    PACEM is a collaboration of congregations and community partners in Charlottesville whose mission is to help the homeless find shelter at night, especially during the cold winter months. Learn more about them at http://pacemshelter.org/about/

  2. I wonder if Charlottesville is the only locality in the country where people are fighting over who’s going to provide “services” to the homeless. I also wonder how many of these services are being duplicated. But that’s the case in this you-scratch-my-back… town. I wonder if Norris is planning to also accommodate Karen Waters, former Vice Chair of the local democrats, who has been chastising council that she and her one employee operation has not been able to feed at the trough recently. She was interviewed the other day by nbc29 saying that she hasn’t received any city funding in six years, which is not true, she just got $18,000 from the city for her city garden program by applying for the money behind the backs of the city staff that is charged with evaluating non-profit requests. Can we really trust any of these people? Mrs. Waters was given a total of $500,000 starting in 2000-1 to produce a report detailing improvements needed in the central city neighborhoods and plans for the implementation of solutions. So far, there is no report nor any accounting for the $500,000. She ought to produce either one or the other. Instead she complains that the city staff does not include her “in the process.” Reminds me of that ridiculous venture called the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Task Force. Talk about inbreeding!

  3. The article, by providing a link to Thomas Jefferson Memorial Unitarian, seems to imply Thomas Jefferson…is associated with the First Street Church project. It is not. The church was purchased by and the renovations are being funded by Tom Shadyac and upon completion the “church” will be managed by a group that is now working toward becoming a legal organization. The group that will be managing the First Street Church Project is comprised of a group of diverse individuals, some of whom who would object to being characterized as “secular” or not Christian.

  4. Thanks for the clarification. The intent was not to link TJMUU with the project, but rather to provide a local example of a secular humanist model.

    It should be noted that this building was called the “First Christian Church” for many years of its existence. The reader may draw his or her own inference from the name-change to “First Street Church.”

  5. @luckycat Yes, there are a number of groups with small membership who usually belong to some new “coalition” that appears to have hundreds of members when actually they are the same people belonging to several groups.
    Thinking about the Norris resignation again, as long as Norris is in the “homeless services” busines, he can not vote on providing for the homeless because of cries of conflict of interest. I suspect that Mayor Norris has to quit providing housing for the homeless now, so that when the issue arises on council about using local millions to provide addtional housing for the homeless, he will be able to vote along with Szakos and Edwards against Huja and Brown for the appropriate. Once this “coalition” forms, hand over your wallets people because you will no longer own them. Let’s see… more housing, more day care, more medical care, more food… the possiblities will be unlimited for all of the newcomers drawn to the new Mecca.

  6. What was/is Mayor Norris’ relationship with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority? I agree that Kristin Szakos
    may be a stalking horse for Virginia Organizing Project’s agenda.
    At this point in time, can City Council end the Meadowcreek Parkway
    project? Hasn’t money been appropriated for it, or at least enough
    money to start the project so it can not be terminated? Will Julian
    “Where’s the fire?” Taliaferro be denied the Mayorship in the manner
    of Meredith Richards by the Democratic Party political process? Stay
    tuned.

  7. “What was/is Mayor Norris’ relationship with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority?”

    Lack of transparency is a double-edged sword. Officials can make claims that can’t be refuted by official documentation. Critics can also make claims that officials cannot refute with documentation. To get a feel for what the Redevelopment and Housing Authority is all about, you can browse my blog which has more info on this urban renewal agency than any other online source, including the agency’s own website.

    Norris was chairman of the Authority in 2003 and spoke out against City Council and was quickly deposed. “I applaud the City and the Piedmont Housing Alliance for your interest in helping to revitalize low-income neighborhoods, but I strongly encourage you to learn from the lessons of Charlottesville’s checkered redevelopment history and make the effort to show that this time, on Prospect Avenue, it can be done right.” (a href=”http://www.geocities.com/healingcharlottesville/Campaign2003/norris.html”>”CRHA Board Chairman identifies modern urban renewal”,May 6, 2003)

    Norris retreated to upstate New York for a while but decided to come back and resume his political ambitions. Of course, he had to flip-flop on his principles. In Nov. 2006 as a councilor, he opposed the community learning from its “checkered redevelopment history” by publicly opposing release of the Housing Authority archives requested at a Council meeting (a href=”http://super-blair.blogspot.com/2006/11/council-refuses-to-release-urban.html”>”Council refuses to release urban renewal archives…”, Nov. 21, 2006) after previous requests were denied. The most recent request for the 6,000-document, 1,000-photograph archive I made to Councilor Holly Edwards on the Schilling show Feb. 12, 2009. I will follow up again and record for history her ability to follow-through. I’m sure she’s busy. There’s no reason Mayor Norris himself can’t look into this issue now since he’s running for re-election, in part, based on affordable housing. Or if there is a reason, what is it?

  8. Well Mr. Shilling I know you carry a grudge against Mr. Norris for whippin’ ya in the last election but it’s sad to see that carry over into this silly tirade about an organization you clearly know nothing about. Mr. Norris has done an outstanding job with PACEM and there are people in dozens of congregations around here who can attest to that fact. My wife is very involved with PACEM and I know for a fact that very little which you have reported here as true is, actually, true. I would encourage your readers to “consider the source” of these ridiculous mistruths and check the facts for themselves. We are sorry to see Mr. Norris leave but he has left PACEM in very good shape and we wish him the best in his further professional endeavors. If only you, Mr. Shilling, had the slightest bit of decency or class you would do the same. The first thing you should do is apologize for telling so many lies about an organization that has done so much good for so many people.

  9. Dear “Ed in Greenbrier” aka “Charlottesville Old Timer,”

    What Mr. Norris did to the HOPE Center because of his affiliation with PACEM should raise the ire of any “decent” or “classy” citizen. Perhaps your “wife,” or someone else affiliated with PACEM should apologize to the Bares (and to the homeless citizens that were thrown out of a shelter and forced to live in tents) for the City-sponsored, Norris-led attack on their organization.

    I hope you will spend some of your free time investigating that issue.

    Thanks for visiting The Schilling Show online, and I hope you will be a frequent contributor.

  10. Mayor Norris is currently City Council’s representative to the CRHA board and is also the chairman of the board’s redevelopment committee.

  11. Mr Schilling you are typical of the right wingers when you say things that are flat out lies or “untruths”. How did Dave Norris “almost single handedly shut down the Hope Community Shelter”? Building code violations, which we all have to follow, closed down the shelter.

    You write, “Mayor Norris has spawned a poor public perception regarding his financial track-record with organizations he has run. In particular, his tenure with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority has been called into question.” Has it? Pray give us an example of the “poor public perception”? Or is this your perception?

    And you gone on to write, “Don’t let the name fool you, despite its locating in a former church building, the First Street Church project currently is a secular humanist, not a Christian faith-based endeavor.” You are implying that secular humanism is wrong. Secular humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives. Similar to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and a basic tenet of conservatism. You are a fraud with an obvious agenda against Dave Norris.

    Why not take your forum and instead of breeding hate and exasperation take the initiative to give clear and well thought out ideas on how to solve problems?

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