By: Louis Eisenberg
The 89th District of the House of Delegates was recently vacated by the former delegate Ken Alexander who replaced Yvonne Miller in the Virginia Senate.
There are three candidates vying for the Democratic nomination and no republicans or independents. The Democratic Party has scheduled a caucus for October 17, 2012 at the Masonic Temple, 7001 Granby Street. Voting will take place between 5:30pm and 8:30pm and anyone can vote regardless of party, and again, the Republicans most likely will not enter a candidate. Voting in a caucus is easy; just show up, vote and leave.
Since it seems that there will be no opposition in the December Special Election, the next representative for the 89th district will be the winner of the October 17, 2012 caucus so it is important that you show up at the caucus and vote.
For those of us that live and work in the Greater Wards Corner area, we are excited to see the redevelopment of two shopping centers, the addition of new businesses and a new cultural center being built in our business district. Today, the redevelopment is underway on the northeast and southeast corners of Granby Street and Little Creek Road. Norfolk Collegiate is constructing a beautiful fine arts addition to its campus which will bring many new cultural activities to the Greater Wards Corner area. Also, two crime ridden apartment complexes have been demolished.
The rebirth of Wards Corner did not happen by accident. It took Citizen Voters that cared about Wards Corner and the 2010 reelection of Wards Corner advocate Mayor Paul Fraim and the election of attorney Andy Protogyrou to City Council to set the stage for redevelopment. However; the major break for Wards Corner came in a special election which was held on November 2, 2010 to replace Councilwoman Daun Hester who lost against Mayor Fraim in the May election of 2010. Angelia Williams, a Realtor and businesswoman, won that special election in November, 2010. That special election ended Daun Hester’s fourteen year reign of obstruction to many redevelopment efforts in Wards Corner.
Who you vote for makes a difference
Before financial commitments for development to occur, it takes developer confidence in city leadership. The developers in Wards Corner needed to see the City make a real investment in the Wards Corner area. In 2011 and 2012, the City made the financial commitments that would ignite the explosive redevelopment of the Wards Corner Business District. The City agreed to buy two crime ridden apartment complexes; one on West Little Creek Road and one in Denby Park. Councilman Andy Protogyrou attributes these real estate buys as the turning point for Wards Corner. It took the leadership of Mayor Fraim, Councilman Andy Protogyrou and Councilwoman Angelia Williams to make this happen. This opportunity was realized in less than two years of Council Members Protogyrou and Williams being voted into office. Both campaigned on being advocates for the Wards Corner area, and the results are obvious: their documented attendance records, half of the Wards Corner Business District being redeveloped and Denby Park housing density being reduced. In contrast when Daun Hester was on City Council, she would, in effect, be a one woman veto. She would attend a meeting here or there only to block the efforts of the Mayors Wards Corner Task Force when dealing with the crime infested apartment complexes in Denby Park. Members of the task force would be accused of trying to gentrify Denby Park and not caring about the tenants that would be relocated, even though Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority would be assisting the tenants with finding housing and paying up to $5000 per tenant to move.
The Greater Wards Corner civic and business interest are communicated to the City by our City Council representatives on the Mayor’s Wards Corner Task Force. Prior to 2010 City Council elections, the City Council representatives were Barclay Winn, Daun Hester, Theresa Whibley and Don Williams. Between May 8th, 2008 and May 13th, 2010. The Mayor’s Wards Corner Task Force had eighteen monthly meetings. Daun Hester attended only two of those eighteen meetings; an attendance record that could only show that Daun Hester did not care enough about Wards Corner to attend.
Daun Hester’s record on Wards Corner issues stands as a symbol of her lack of understanding of what economic development can do for a declining area. The economic development of Wards Corner made possible through the election of good representatives will give needed jobs to the unemployed and under-employed citizens of Norfolk, many of whom live in Denby Park. Those new jobs will help pay the rent and put food on the table so the children that live in Denby Park can have some stability in their lives. Please remember that the redevelopment of the Wards Corner Business District did not happen and could not happen as long as Daun Hester was on City Council.
The Case for Yvonne Allmond
Yvonne Allmond is a long time resident of the Colonial Place neighborhood in Norfolk. She is the only candidate that has lived in the 89th House District. Daun Hester and Lionel Spruill Jr. have recently moved to find places to live in the district to fulfill the state residency requirement. Like Mayor Fraim, Councilman Protogyrou and Councilwoman Williams, Yvonne is a professional and a proven leader. In fact, Yvonne Allmond knows Wards Corner’s potential. She was on Towne Bank’s Norfolk Location Search Committee; she was instrumental in Towne Bank’s decision to build a new major bank branch on the Southeast Corner of the Wards Corner Business District. She is already vested. She understands Wards Corner’s potential economic impact for growth for us and Norfolk.
Yvonne Allmond is a Senior Vice President of Private Banking in Towne Bank’s Norfolk Corporate Offices. She has over 25 years of financial experience to include serving as an Investment Associate with the Economic Development Finance Corporation in Washington, DC and an assessment auditor with the FDIC also in Washington, DC. Yvonne received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance Degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC and graduated from the Hampton Roads Civic Leadership Institute in 2006. Yvonne conducts credit seminars and business financing seminars for many local churches and community groups, sharing the wealth of financial knowledge accumulated throughout her career. She is involved in many civic activities, community initiatives and organizations to include:
- Governor Appointed Commissioner with the Virginia Housing and Development Authority Board of Commissioners. Chairman of the Board
- Board member for the Board of Trustees, Chrysler Museum of Art
- Board member, Norfolk State University Foundation Board (Immediate past President of the Board)
- Advisory Board Member for Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Virginia
- Vice Chair of the Board for the Old Dominion University Community Development Corporation
- Board member for the Board of Trustees of the Norfolk Employees Retirement System
- Vice Chair of the Board for The Norfolk NATO Festival (formerly the Azalea Festival)
- Board member of the Town Scholarship Foundation
If You Care about Wards Corner
For those of you that live in the 89th House District on Wednesday, October 17th, between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm at the Masonic Temple, 7001 Granby Street, you can and will make a difference when you vote for Yvonne Allmond. (Link to 89th House District Map) Please put the above date on your calendar and in your smart phones. The five minutes it takes you to vote will make two years of difference.