When citizens of Ward 1 go to vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, they need to know that there’s a candidate who supports making sure that all citizens of Winchester have an opportunity to experience fair treatment and equitable services from the local government.

Richard Bell has proven since the start of his real estate company, to being on the Winchester School Board, involved with the chamber of commerce and being a member of the local Winchester NAACP branch, that he will work to solve problems of inequalities that many citizens of Winchester face on a daily basis. He has been an advocate for inclusive education programs, pushed for affordable housing initiatives, and initiated programs that provided financial help for the citizens Winchester.

We need leaders like Bell — an involved community person, a family guy, and a citizen devoted to making Winchester better. To us, Richard Bell meets the qualifications of being a city councilman and will serve the citizens of Winchester with quality leadership standards.

Mike Faison

Frederick County

(1) comment

AdoptDontShop2

When has Bell advocated for "inclusive education programs,affordable housing initiatives, and initiated programs that provided financial help for the citizens"?

He is on the record being opposed to School Board representation by Wards. Having at least one seat per Ward ensures that historically underrepresented communities in Wards 2 and 3 have a voice in their children's education. We almost always have the affluent Ward 1 over-represented on the School Board.

He also opposed Winchester joining the overwhelming majority of municipalities in VA in how we seat board members. He did not want to scrap appointing School Board members in favor of allowing residents to vote for them.

As for affordable housing, his only concrete suggestion that he has put in the Star supports zoning that allows for renting out granny apartments and garages, which has been noted as a possibility in the Comprehensive Plan for a decade. It is not really a forward looking idea, and it will most definitely not create enough inventory to lower rents in our town.

I personally don't like the idea of person in the business of real estate serving on the City Council due to potential conflicts of interest, but I understand why others might support such a candidate for City Council. Winchester needs guidance in that area, especially on ways to make housing more affordable. The proposed ZeroPak redevelopment is a good example of what it will take. However, talking about a candidate's commitment to the underserved and underrepresented residents of Winchester is unconvincing when there are no specific actions or outcomes ever mentioned. My apologies commenting on this letter and not others by and in support of Councilor Bell.

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