Amidst contrasting cries of desperate funding shortages and superb budget management, the Democrat cabal in Charlottesville City Hall has found a new way to buy votes and influence people: Sister Cities Commission Grants!

The transparently frivolous program hands taxpayer money to politically simpatico groups and individuals in exchange for Democrat party loyalty and electoral goodwill.

A recent City press release touts the program:

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – The Charlottesville Sister Cities Commission (CSCC) is now accepting grant applications for projects between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. The Commission invites Charlottesville nonprofits, arts organizations, schools, businesses, and individuals to apply for project funding up to $2,000.

Grants are available to projects that benefit the Charlottesville community as well as our Sister City communities in Besançon, France; Pleven, Bulgaria; Winneba, Ghana; or, Poggio a Caiano, Italy. [emphasis added]

Yes, Charlottesville residents’ hard-earned money is being squandered by unelected commission Democrats in order to benefit foreign cities and interests.

According to submitted grant applications, generous endowments were given among others, to the following entities:

  • $500 to the Festival of Cultures

    Purpose of the initiative: The mission of the Festival is to celebrate the cultural and linguistic diversity in our community, increase awareness of that diversity in a respectful environment, provide an opportunity for building a bridge of communication between newcomers and established residents in the area, and showcase the contributions of newcomers to our community. The theme of the Festival in 2014 is “Celebrating Families Around the World”. We hope to connect the festival to the Sister Cities by enhancing the children’s arts and craft area with hands on art activities showcasing our four Sister Cities.

    How will you accomplish it: We will provide a variety of mixed media art supplies to organize 3-4 simple craft projects which could be featured during the course of the day (ex. African masks from Ghana from 10-12 pm, Mosaics from Italy from 12-2pm, etc ).

In other words, taxpayer money is being lavished on a $500 “mixed media” crafts project for what is, in essence, a niche gathering.

  • $500 to the Franche-Comte-Virginie Besançon,  Christmas Market

    Purpose of the initiative: Our mission is to raise awareness and promote Charlottesville in Besançon, to introduce Virginia-made goods to Christmas Market attendees, to strengthen ties with friends in Besançon who will volunteer to work in the booth and to network to form new friendly, educational and business contacts.

    How will you accomplish it: From a beautifully-decorated [sic] stand at the Besançon Christmas Market, we will display and sell Charlottesville artisanal items, souvenirs from U.Va. and Monticello and assorted “made in Virginia” items (Christmas decorations with cardinals and dogwood, Virginia peanuts, etc.) We will have an appealing display of printed information and photos of Charlottesville and be available to answer questions about Charlottesville and the history of our relationship with Besançon. Our participation in the 2005 Christmas Market is a great help for the planning of this year’s Market.

In other words, $500 taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a junket joyride to France in order to “sell” goods that will likely cost more to ship than they will bring in profit or benefit.

  • $500 to the Ghana Association Independence Day Celebration

    Purpose of the initiative: The celebration of the independence day anniversary of Ghana by the Ghana Association of Charlottesville in Charlottesville. [sic]

    How will you accomplish it
    : The Association will invite the general public, especially, Charlottesville citizens and the business community to participate in the celebration of the independence day anniversary of Ghana through a business forum, cultural display and taste of Ghanaian foods and dishes.

    Additional details
    : Previously, this program had been made possible through the contributions of members of the Association with a chunk of the finances coming from the Chairman of the Association. Unfortunately, the Chairman has been laid off from his job, and this is adversely going to affect the Ghana Association of Charlottesville’s ability to organize the next Ghana’s independence day anniversary in March 2014 without any external supporting fund. [sic]

In other words, Charlottesville taxpayers are shelling out $500 to subsidize an individual’s unemployment benefits in order that his organization can continue to throw annual parties.

  • $1,000 to the Pleven Arts Initiative (aka A Multimedia Reaction to Pleven)

    Purpose of the initiative: To observe, interact with and document the creative culture of Pleven. Through our artwork and field recordings, we will react creatively to the cultural landscape of Pleven. Through cultural activities during our trip, we seek to collaborate with creative minds of Pleven and to foster awareness in Pleven of its relationship with Charlottesville. Ultimately, the purpose to produce a multifaceted but cohesive body of work relating to our experience and to build a relationship with creative groups in Pleven, with the hope of further interaction. [sic]

    How will you accomplish it: We will accomplish interaction with and observation of creative groups in Pleven through the creation of field recordings, illustrations, writings, and a short super 8mm film during our time in Pleven. We wil accomplish the goal of creating a multifaceted but cohesive body work in two ways:

    • The production of a small-edition ‘zine booklet at the Virginia Arts of the Book Center
    • A summarizing exhibit of artwork and sound recordings to take place at The Garage in Charlottesville that shares our interpretations of Pleven with the larger community in Charlottesville
    • A public artist talk sponsored by New City Arts Initiative that allows us to screen a short super 8mm film and answer questions about Pleven from the broader Charlottesville community

(N.B. In this instance the beneficiaries of public largesse are: Victoria Long, a now-former communications director of Piedmont Council for the Arts, an organization that operates as a fiscal agent for and receives funding from Charlottesville city government; and, Roger Williams, a now-former resident of Charlottesville and current resident of West Sussex, England .)

In other words, $1,000 Charlottesville taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize leisurely European travel for a government-connected “arts” publicist / political operative and for a denizen of England.

Charlottesville City Government—which perpetually cries poor—is nothing of the sort. With scores of millions in annual surpluses over the past decade and a new rain tax to fatten their coffers, City Hall remains flush. While Charlottesville taxpayers struggle to survive the Obama-Huja economy, the local Democrat cabal and their crony Socialists continue to “celebrate” puerility, of course, using OPM.

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Rob Schilling is founder of the multi-award-winning Schilling Show Blog and News, proprietor of Schilling Show Media; host of both the Schilling Show Unleashed Podcast and WINA's The Schilling Show heard weekdays at noon; husband; father; worship leader, Christian recording artist and Community Watchdog.


  1. Work harder so you can pay higher taxes, minions! The Charlottesville City Government demands evermore of your money to fund their endless boondoggles.

  2. Got an uneasy funny look once from one city counselor, when inquiring about a potential Israel Sister City. How peculiar that exchange seemed. Of our pre-selected city counselors supposedly at-large and rather party partisan,… who could’ve imagined she might have some possible slight anti-semitism within her.

    But wait, this is Charlottesville and pretend you didn’t hear such a thing.

  3. Living in a country does not mean that a person is necessarily a citizen of that country. Citizens of one country who live in a foreign country are known as aliens. Their rights and duties are determined by political treaties and by the laws of the country in which they stay. In the United States, aliens must obey the laws and pay taxes, just as U.S. citizens do. They must register with the U.S. government to obtain legal permission to stay for an extended length of time. Legal aliens are entitled to protection under the law and to use of the courts. They may also own property, carry on business, and attend public schools. But aliens cannot vote or hold government office. In some states they are not allowed to practice certain professions until they become citizens.

  4. taxpayer money is being lavished on a $500 “mixed media” crafts project for what is, in essence, a niche gathering.

    No, the gatherings/projects are open to anyone, including you. Their basic goal is to “love the stranger” (Deuteronomy 10: 19 “You shall love the stranger, for you were once strangers in the land of Egypt.” Leviticus 19:34 “The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt”)

    $500 taxpayer dollars are being wasted on a junket joyride to France in order to “sell” goods that will likely cost more to ship than they will bring in profit or benefit.

    Where is your evidence that they’ll cost more? I challenge you to have these business owners and artisans on your show and debate that with them.

    Charlottesville taxpayers are shelling out $500 to subsidize an individual’s unemployment benefits in order that his organization can continue to throw annual parties.

    1) Those “annual parties,” which you try to make sound frivolous, help the poor in Ghana. 2) The Ghana Association of Charlottesville is a non-profit. Where is your evidence the chairman profits from it?

    taxpayer dollars are being used to subsidize leisurely European travel

    It sounds like this is purposeful travel designed to serve the interests of the many Charlottesville taxpayers who have take an interest in foreign nations and cultures.

    I respect the libertarian argument that none of these initiatives deserve taxpayer funding, but it’s too bad that instead of loving your political enemies you always have to impugn their motives.

  5. Dear Rob, For the Ghanian Independence Day gathering, could someone
    celebrate the national team of the United States World Cup victory
    over the Ghanian national team? This would celebrate the United
    States “independence” from Ghanian domination in World Cup football/
    soccer. Ghana had defeated the United States in two previous meetings.
    I guess that would be bad form in politically correct times and place.

  6. Gary, such a celebration might land you in front of the Charlottesville Human Rights Tribunal! Proceed with caution…

  7. Mayor HuJa says he is an economic advisor to the City of Pleven, Bulgaria. No language or dialect problems there we suppose and he must have lots of international finance experience to share!


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