On Wednesday, Take Five Minutes to Vote for Wards Corner

October 15, 2012
Louis "Uncle Louie" Eisenberg

Louis “Uncle Louie” Eisenberg

By: Louis Eisenberg

On Wednesday, October 17th between 5:30 pm and 8:30 pm at the Masonic Temple, 7001 Granby Street, the Democratic Party will be holding a primary to fill the 89 th District House of Delegates seat vacated by Kenny Alexander. (Anyone living in the 89th can vote) The winner of this primary most likely will be the new representative for the 89th District, because as of now, there is no Republican candidate announced for the Special Election.

You will have the choice of voting for Yvonne Allmond, Senior Vice President of Towne Bank, who is a friend of Wards Corner or former City Councilwoman Daun Hester, whose record for 14 years on Council showed her lack of interest in the Wards Corner Business District and our surrounding neighborhoods.

This Wednesday, take five minutes of your time to vote for Yvonne Allmond and Wards Corner.

Yvonne Allmond is endorsed by Mayor Paul Fraim, Senator Ralph Northam, Councilwoman Angelia Williams,  Commonwealth Attorney Greg Underwood and Sheriff Bob McCabe among other friends of Wards Corner. Food and refreshments will be served in the Masonic Temple parking lot.


Op-Ed: If You Care About Wards Corner, Vote for Yvonne Allmond on October 17th

October 9, 2012
Louis "Uncle Louie" Eisenberg

Louis “Uncle Louie” Eisenberg

By: Louis Eisenberg

Elections Matter

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.


Wards Corner Civic League to hold candidate forum

October 9, 2012

Jim English, the president of the Wards Corner Civic League, is extending an invitation to the entire Greater Wards Corner Community to attend the Civic League’s candidate forum.  The following candidates for the 89th District of the Virginia House of Delegates have been invited:

Towne Bank Senior Vice President, Yvonne Allmond
Former Norfolk City Councilwoman, Daun Hester
Lionell Spruill Jr., the son of Chesapeake Del. Lionell Spruill

The three candidates are all running for the Democratic nomination so the next representative of the 89th District will likely be the winner of the caucus scheduled for October 17, 2012 at the Masonic Temple between 5:30pm and 8:30pm.

The Candidate Forum details:
When:  Monday, October 15, 2012@ 6:45pm
Where: Norfolk Fitness and Wellness Center


Caucus scheduled for 89th District of House of Delegates

October 2, 2012

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 currently 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.  Voting will take place between 5:30pm and 8:30pm and anyone can vote.  The current candidates are Daun Hester, Lionell Spruill, Jr., and Yvonne Allmond.  It appears that 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.  The Governor has scheduled the election for December 18, 2012.

The 89th district does not include all of The Greater Wards Corner area.  You can view the district on a map here (PDF).  Additionally to determine which district you reside in, you can do a search on the State Board of Elections website here.


Norfolk Mayoral Candidate Questionnaire Responses

April 5, 2010

The Suburban [The Suburban Acres Civic League Newsletter] sent a questionnaire to each candidate for Mayor in early March; the same five questions, focusing on neighborhood initiatives, quality of life, and schools, were sent to each of the four candidates [Ryan Cooper, Paul Fraim, Daun Hester, and Dan Montague]. We’ve provided the verbatim answers of the candidates who responded, as well as basic profiles and how to find their campaign web sites.

Ryan Cooper, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Ryan Cooper, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Ryan Cooper

Full time student at ODU; Virginia licensed annuities and life insurance professional

No civic/governmental experience; first time run for elected office

Lives in Park Place

Contact his campaign at CSNinfo2010@yahoo.com

Virginia and most of its municipalities including Norfolk are experiencing severe budget constraints with shortfalls predicted for the 2011 fiscal year. In prioritizing expenditures to balance Norfolk’s budget for the upcoming year, which NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAMS do you consider completely safe, “off the table” for reduction or elimination, and which programs likely face reductions or elimination?

I consider most of Norfolk’s neighborhood programs to be com pletely safe or “off the table.” I propose cutting the budget of things that I find to be far less important such as grants for private developers and tourist attractions (Nauticus, etc.). Everyone keeps talking about the economy and how we’re all “broke.” I, for one, am still paying the same amount of taxes that I have been. They haven’t gone down. In fact, they’ve gone up. So why should the city have to cut its spending if the amount of money that’s coming in is increasing? It all doesn’t quite add up, but in the event of budget cuts, I will push for cuts to less vital city projects and a reduction of over spending.

What current project or program would you describe as a “success story” or “extremely valuable” in improving residents’ quality of life and preserving Norfolk neighborhoods?

The civic leagues. Honestly, the civic leagues of the city of Norfolk are the most impressive thing that I have ever seen. Citizens from almost every neighborhood band together to make sure that they’re heard by the city council and all the officials therein. I have never seen anything like the structure and organization that these civic leagues possess – all the way up to the Federation of Civic Leagues! I dare say that the voices of the countless concerned residents go unheard far more than they should. As Norfolk’s most valuable asset, our elected officials need to spend more time listening to what is being said by the people who comprise our civic leagues.

What is your strategy for verifying compliance with state educational testing standards by Norfolk Public Schools?

The VSOL (Virginia Standards of Learning) tests are mandatory in all Virginia public schools. If these tests aren’t being taken by students in the Norfolk public school system, then we have far more drastic problems than I originally realized. If any state educational testing standards are not being complied with by any Norfolk public school, drastic action needs to be taken against the management of that school. I have not heard of any specific cases of this, but if I do, I will speak on that then.

Are the current structure, information flow, and accountability among Norfolk Public Schools, the School Board, and City Council adequate? If not, what would you do to improve these areas?

These three things (structure, information flow and accountability) seem to be in order as far as I can tell. I definitely do not want to mess with the structure of any of these organizations – that’s far deeper than I intend to go. Information flow seems to be a very simple process with modern technology. I don’t think it’s necessary to revamp our computer systems. Accountability may be a little bit of an issue. One could argue that people need to start taking responsibility for the detrimental effects that occur after a poor decision is made, but I’ve never been one to point fingers. Instead I urge this city to move on and move up.
What is your plan to maintain and improve the quality of Norfolk neighborhoods and reverse decline in those neighborhoods that are deteriorating?

Cops. Police. Law dogs. Enforcers. What ever you want to call them, I want to hire them. I come from a bad neighborhood and I know what it’s like to live in a ghetto. There’s no way to find and catch the person who broke into your car. Not even the person that broke into your house in most cases. But no one is going to commit a crime in front of a cop. So if we put cops on the streets, the criminals will leave the streets, and the quality of life on the streets will improve drastically. Furthermore, I want to massively increase the funding to our public schools. If our children are properly educated then instead of breaking into cars they’ll go to college and be far more successful than the drug
dealers I see on my street corner. The youngsters only aspire the expectations that we set for them. If we are providing the children with a poor education, with no investment in their future, what can we say that we are truly expecting from them? Not much. And that’s what we’ll get in return.

Paul Fraim, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Paul Fraim, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Paul Fraim (incumbent)

President, law firm of Fraim and Fiorella, PC. Chairman of Norfolk Board of TowneBank Board of Directors

Member Norfolk City Council since 1986; Mayor since 1994; Norfolk’s first elected Mayor

Lives in Larchmont

More on his campaign at www.fraimformayor.com

Virginia and most of its municipalities including Norfolk are experiencing severe budget constraints with shortfalls predicted for the 2011 fiscal year. In prioritizing expenditures to balance Norfolk’s budget for the upcoming year, which NEIGHBORHOOD PROGRAMS do you consider completely safe, “off the table” for reduction or elimination, and which programs likely face reductions or elimination?

With declining local revenues and massive state cuts to education, public safety and social services, all department budgets and programs must be “on the table.”  We will do everything possible to balance neighborhood priorities with available resources.

What current project or program would you describe as a “success story” or “extremely valuable” in improving residents’ quality of life and preserving Norfolk neighborhoods?

Lower tax burden, steady reduction in crime, successful purchase and renovation of the Wellness Center, new recreation centers, re-built library system, more resources for street repairs and re-paving, neighborhood revitalization efforts.

What is your strategy for verifying compliance with state educational testing standards by Norfolk Public Schools?

This is the responsibility of the School Board, but the city council must continually reinforce the need for integrity and credibility in the giving of tests.

Are the current structure, information flow, and accountability among Norfolk Public Schools, the School Board, and City Council adequate? If not, what would you do to improve these areas?

I think it is adequate. I meet with the chair, vice-chair, superintendent, and school staff every other month.

What is your plan to maintain and improve the quality of Norfolk neighborhoods and reverse decline in those neighborhoods that are deteriorating?

Continue to invest in neighborhoods. Oakdale Farms and Monticello Village are examples of recent neighborhoods where decline has been reversed.

Daun Hester, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Daun Hester, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Daun Hester (Current Superward 7 Councilwoman)

Co-owner of education/training consulting firm; 22 year career with Norfolk City Schools as educator and administrator

Member Norfolk City Council since 1996

Lives in Ingleside

More on her campaign at www.madammayor.com

Councilwoman Hester did not respond to any of our emails or return a telephone message as of March 29.


Dan Montague, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Dan Montague, Candidate for Mayor of Norfolk

Daniel Montague

Retired construction boilermaker, civic activist

Lives in Estabrook

More on his campaign at www.danformayor2010.info

Mr. Montague called us after receiving his questionnaire and referred us to his web site for information. We explained that we could not objectively answer the survey questions for him using his web site and he agreed to provide us with a response. As of March 29th (publication printing deadline) we received no response to our questions.


“Developing Wards Corner is right at the top of my list”

May 7, 2008

Last night at the Holiday Inn Select, Pilot Online reports, Councilman Barclay Winn said in his victory speech

“Developing Wards Corner is right at the top of my list. And we need to work on making sure real estate assessments are equitable.”

Councilman Winn’s leadership is making a difference in the redevelopment efforts of the Greater Wards Corner Partnership Area. 

Councilwoman Daun Hester also was reelected last night. In recent months, Councilwoman Hester has shown a renewed interest in the redevelopment of our area. Her participation in the Mayor’s Wards Corner Task Force is much appreciated and needed.


Winn wins Virginian-Pilot endorsement, Hester gets dissed

April 29, 2008

The Virginian-Pilot endorsed Councilman Barclay Winn for another 4 year term while refusing to endorse Councilwoman Daun Hester for some of the following reasons:

Hester was named vice-mayor by her colleagues and then ousted, has cast a series of dubious votes, and exhibited at least one troubling ethical lapse.

When she threw her support to her friend Alphonso Albert for a high-profile city job, her colleagues were unaware that he was once a violent felon before turning his life around. The result was an unnecessarily polarizing embarrassment for everyone, including Albert, who deserved better.

She lost the confidence of her colleagues on City Council, and her position as vice-mayor, after trying to scuttle the long-delayed plan for the direct election of mayor, something citizens had demanded for years.

Hester seems, even after so many years in office, insensitive to the obvious potential conflicts of representing a company trying to do business with the Norfolk Public Schools.

The Virginian-Pilot was not impressed by Hester’s opponent enough to throw him their support; therefore, they endorsed no one in Ward 7 for council.

Barclay Winn was endorsed by the Virginian-Pilot for these reasons:

Winn has been asking hard questions about why commercial assessments haven’t kept pace with soaring residential real estate values and what can be done about it. That disparity, over the past few years, has essentially shifted a heavier portion of the tax burden onto homeowners. In other words, where other politicians talk about taxes, Winn digs into the system and figures out how to make it more responsive.

If Wards Corner has not been transformed by the series of changes fostered by Winn and his allies, it has been changed in dozens of little ways over years, one storefront, one apartment complex, one piece of infrastructure at a time.

He has been a strenuous supporter of Norfolk’s downtown revitalization, although not a blind one, and has brought smart business sense to the council’s work. Winn has earned re-election.

It is very interesting that the editorial staff of the Pilot mentioned Wards Corner twice in its endorsement. Councilman Winn represents dozens of neighborhoods from Downtown to Ocean View. Maybe our work in the Partnership is paying off.


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