Future Programs

Posted June 27th, 2011 by Bruce Saunders
Categories: Future

The public is welcome to our meetings that take place at the Senior Center on the second Wednesday of the month from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. The Senior Center is located at 1180 Pepsi Place in Charlottesville — www.seniorcenterinc.org. Next meeting:

Wednesday, December 9: Jesse Rutledge, vice president of external affairs for the National Center for State Courts: How the states select their state-court judges and the pros and cons of the way Virginia selects its.  Note that our business meeting will precede the 1:30 pm talk. It will start at 12:45 pm and desserts and beverages will be available for members. On the agenda is the President’s and Treasurer’s reports, election of Officers and Directors for 2016-17, a vote on a proposed Bylaws modification, and any new business.


Past Programs

Past programs are arranged in inverse chronological order.  Speaker bios and links to podcasts are given, with a program summary written by SSV Treasurer and board member Jim Peterson.

Update on the Supreme Court

Posted November 14th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Slate Magazine senior editor Dahlia Lithwick recaps highlights from the Supreme Court’s last term, previews the new term, and talks about current big themes. Ms. Lithwick spoke at our Friday November 13, 2015 meeting.  The program was moderated by SSV President Bob McGrath. Listen to the podcast of her remarks.

2015-11-13-1-lithwickDahlia Lithwick is a senior editor at Slate Magzine, and in that capacity, writes the Supreme Court Dispatches and Jurisprudence columns. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, and Commentary, among other places. She won a 2013 National Magazine Award for her columns on the Affordable Care Act.

Ms. Lithwick has been twice awarded an Online Journalism Award for her legal commentary and was the first online journalist invited to be on the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press. Ms. Lithwick has testified before Congress about access to justice in the era of the Roberts Court. She has appeared on CNN, ABC, The Colbert Report, and is a frequent guest on The Rachel Maddow Show. Ms. Lithwick earned her BA from Yale University and her JD degree from Stanford University. She is currently working on a book about the four women justices of the United States Supreme Court.

Internet Security

Posted October 19th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Individuals ranging from youthful pranksters to international cyber criminals continuously threaten our personal, organizational, and indeed, the security of our nation. This was addressed as well as the current status of internet security at all levels including what you can do to better protect yourself in the digital age. Ms. Cheng and Mr Rzeszut spoke at the Wednesday, October 14, 2015 meeting. The program was moderated by SSV board member Rich DeMong. Listen to the podcast of the meeting and the Q&A.


2015-10-14-2-cheng (1)Elaine Cheng, managing director and chief information officer at CFA Institute, oversees all aspects of information technology globally for the organization. Her primary focus is to provide and support organization-wide IT, including infrastructure and architecture, applications development, business process re-engineering, networks, and computer operations. She is also accountable for the future vision and strategy of technology and systems at CFA Institute. Prior to joining CFA Institute, Ms. Cheng worked for M&T Bank in Buffalo, New York, as Group Vice President of Technology Business Services. In this position, she led development planning for major IT investments, managed technology relationships with retail, commercial and internal business units, and overhauled the project management process. She served as vice president of retail operations at the bank prior to this position. Ms. Cheng earned her BA from Vassar College and her MBA from the University of Rochester, both in New York.

2015-10-14-3-rzeszutEric Rzeszut is the help desk manager at UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce, and was previously an IT manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) with nearly two decades of information technology and information security experience. Eric is also co-author of the book 10 Don’ts on Your Digital Devices, a guide to data security and digital privacy for nontechnical users published by APress in 2014.


State Candidates Forum

Posted September 13th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Candidates for the contested Virginia Senate District 17, (Ned Gallaway (D)) House District 25, (Angela Lynn (D)) and the Albemarle County Commonwealth’s Attorney (Denise Lunsford (D), Tobert Tracci (R)) participated in a forum on September 9, 2015 that was moderated by Bob Gibson, executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

Delegate Steve Landes (R) and Senator Bryce Reeves (R) both responded that they have scheduling conflicts due to prior commitments, and they did not attend the forum.


Program Summary

The event received extensive media coverage and the Daily Progress published a lengthy article reporting on the views of the candidates. The article, written by Progress reporter Derek Quizon, can be viewed on the Internet by clicking here.

Local Candidates Forum

Posted August 12th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Candidates for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council gave their views on many of the issues and priorities for the County and City. Listen to the event with the podcast below from the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

City of Charlottesville Candidates

Chris Callahn (on the left) and City of Charlottesville Candidates

Albemarle County Candidates

Albemarle County Candidates

The candidates spoke at the Wednesday, August 12, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. Click here for identification of the candidates. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by senior reporter for 1070 WINA News Radio Chris Callahan. Chris has been with the station for 41 years and was honored in 2014 by the Associated Press Broadcasters for the Best News Operation of the Year.

Program Summary

All candidates from the contested districts in Albemarle County, and all of the City Council candidates participated in the forum. The event received extensive media coverage and The Daily Progress published a lengthy article reporting on the views of the candidates. The article, written by Progress reporter Michael Bragg, can be viewed on the Internet at this location.

The League of Woman Voters

Posted June 13th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

The officers of the Charlottesville Area League of Women Voters, Kerin Yates, Gerry Yemen and Patricia Hurst, discuss the mission of the League of Women Voters, its history and the positions adopted by the organization. The officers spoke at the Wednesday, June 10, 2015 meeting, which was moderated by SSV Board Member Jeff Gould.

Gerry Yemen, Kerin Yates and Pat Hurst

From left to right: Gerry Yemen, Kerin Yates and Pat Hurst speaking at the Senior Center

Kerin Yates has served as president of the LWV of the Charlottesville Area since July 2012. She is a 1958 graduate of Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA., and was a research chemist at NIH for 17 years and was business manager for a medical company in Pittsburgh for 15 years. Kerin is the treasurer of OneVirginia2021 Foundation and volunteers as a substitute driver for Meals on Wheels. Kerin serves as an election official for the County of Albemarle and has been a resident of Albemarle County for eight years. She is married to Professor John T. Yates, Jr. They have two sons and six grandchildren.

Gerry Yemen is the secretary of the LWV of the Charlottesville Area and is a senior researcher with the Darden Graduate School of Business. With any number of organizations, associations, and volunteer opportunities available, why would anyone choose to join the LWV? Gerry Yemen, who became a member shortly following graduate school, discussed what attracted her, why she stays with the organization, and offered her thoughts on how the league’s future relevance.

Patricia Hurst is the treasurer of the LWV and has been a member of the Charlottesville Area Chapter for six years. During this time she has served as president, treasurer, and secretary for the local league. She retired from a 40-year career in computer software engineering which began at NASA Langley in Virginia and ended with the SBA in Washington D.C. In between she worked for various companies in California, Georgia, New York, and London. As an instructor in software engineering, she traveled extensively in the US and other countries. For the past fourteen years, she has owned and actively managed multifamily properties. Pat has two daughters who live in upstate New York and five grandchildren.

Program Summary

Officers of the Charlottesville Area League of Women Voters: Kerin Yates, Gerry Yemen and Patricia Hurst, provided an overview of the mission of the League of Women Voters, its history and the positions adopted by the organization.

Kerin began by explaining how this meeting with SSV came about. About a year ago she saw the announcement in The Daily Progress that Dahlia Lithwick would be speaking on the Supreme Court at the upcoming SSV meeting. Kerin attended the meeting and found it to be very exciting. She then looked up SSV on the Internet and saw that there were many similarities between the League and SSV and so she emailed the SSV board and suggested they explore if we could coordinate our work. This led to a couple of informal meetings and then finally to today’s program.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Members study issues for two to four years (recent example is the issue of prisons in our country), and if consensus is achieved, then they lobby as a group. The League has a very good reputation for intellectual integrity. They are invited by legislators to testify on various issues. Their greatest asset is their reputation on intellectual rigor. This allows the League to open doors and to be invited to the table and to be taken very seriously. This is important because we are in an age when absolutely anything goes in public debate. Allegiance to the truth doesn’t exist very much anymore because the first consideration is often getting your way or getting elected.

Pat Hurst reviewed the history of the League which was founded in 1920 (the year the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified) by Carrie Chapman Catt who was a leader in the women’s suffrage movement that lasted for 71 years. There were many small steps towards the march to women’s suffrage, examples of which are: in 1896 Utah joined the union and granted full women’s suffrage; in 1906 Idaho adopted an amendment to the state constitution enfranchising women to vote; and in 1917 Montana elected the first woman to the House of Representatives.

Gerry Yemen described the profound impact her membership in the League has had in her life. A Canadian citizen, she credits the League in large part for her eventually achieving U. S. citizenship and the honor of being sworn in at the ceremony held at Monticello.

Montpelier & Why Madison Matters

Posted May 19th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs


Christian Cotz is the director of education and visitor engagement at James Madison’s Montpelier, and has been with the Foundation for fifteen years. He is responsible for the creation, implementation, and oversight of all Montpelier guided tours, hands-on experiences, student programs, interpretive signage and many exhibits. Listen as Mr. Cotz tells the story of Montpelier and it’s most famous resident, President James Madison.

Mr. Cotz spoke at the Wednesday, May 13, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV Vice President John McCauley.

Program Summary

When Christian first came to Montpelier 15 years ago he said, “It was a great big pink house when I started and now it looks a lot better!” First and foremost, Montpelier is a home, and a home to three generations of the Madisons beginning with Grandfather Ambrose in the 1720’s. During this period it was also home to 300 enslaved people. The du Pont family radically altered the property in the 20th century. But it’s more than a home, it’s a place of inspiration where Madison conceived ideas of self-government that would change the course of human history.

The mission of Montpelier is to inspire continuing public engagement of American constitutional self-government by bringing to life the home and contributions of James and Dolly Madison. James, born at Montpelier in 1751, was the fourth president of the United States, father of the Constitution, and architect of the Bill of Rights. And even after all of this and more, Dolly, who was in the White House for 16 years, was probably better known by most Americans than Madison or Jefferson—an incredibly accomplished, admired and sought-after public figure.

Delegates Report on the 2015 General Assembly

Posted April 10th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Delegates Rob Bell, and David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2015 legislature. The delegates spoke at the SSV Wednesday, April 8, 2015 meeting. Following two 15-minute presentations, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV member Terry Cooper. Listen to the informative podcast below.

Delegates at SSV

Rob BellRobert Bell (R) – 58th District:
An honors graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Law School, Rob served as a state prosecutor for five years. He prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice.

In the Virginia General Assembly, Rob has written laws that crack down on drunk driving. As a result, MADD (Virginia) named him the 2005 Outstanding Legislator. He is also interested in school safety. In recent years, he has written laws to ban criminal sex offenders from school property during school hours and to require additional background checks on school personnel. In 2008, Rob helped overhaul Virginia’s mental health commitment laws in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech. And, in 2009, Rob received the Act, Honor, Hope award from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance to recognize his work in the Virginia General Assembly.

An Eagle Scout, Rob was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and with the public schools prior to his election in 2001. Rob’s wife, Jessica, is a schoolteacher. She is currently staying home to raise their children, Robbie and Evie. The Bells live in Albemarle County and are members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church.

Rob understands that in tough economic times everyone – business, communities, government – needs to pitch in to create and protect Virginia jobs. That’s why Rob has fought to preserve and promote Virginia’s #1 business-friendly ranking. This helps Virginia’s small businesses to expand and encourages new companies to move here.

In response to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, Rob was chosen to lead a special Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee charged with reforming Virginia’s mental health commitment laws. The subcommittee’s goals were to ensure that a similar tragedy would not happen again and to protect the ability of Virginians to voluntarily seek care for themselves. In 2008, as a result of the subcommittee’s work, Virginia saw the most sweeping reforms of mental health commitment laws in 30 years.

Rob and Jessica’s son Robbie attends public school. Jessica is a high school English teacher who is currently taking time off to raise Robbie and Evie. As delegate, Rob regularly visits our schools to talk with students. He has taught more than 1,000 students about civics and how laws are made. Rob has also sponsored local students as pages in the Virginia General Assembly and others have served as interns in his legislative office.

Rob is a champion for our communities against crime. He has led an all-out assault against drunk driving and has fought to protect our families from sex offenders. Rob has served on the Virginia Crime Commission since 2003 and is currently chairman.

David ToscanoDavid Toscano (D) – 57th District: David Toscano is serving his third term in the Virginia General Assembly, representing the 57th District of the House of Delegates, where he serves on the Courts of Justice; Transportation; and Science & Technology committees. David also serves on the Disability Commission and has served on the special Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth and the Joint Committee to study Math, Science, and Engineering. He is also a member of the United Way Board and the Chamber of Commerce.

David, his wife Nancy A. Tramontin, and son Matthew live in Charlottesville. David is a practicing attorney and an active volunteer for many community-based organizations.

David is an attorney with Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., and specializes in family law, real estate transactions, and estate planning.

David’s priorities are education, energy, and the environment. He fights for education funding, against teacher pay freezes, and to protect VRS and retirement benefits. He pushes the cause of renewable energy, and stood against those who deny the reality of climate change. He opposes predatory lending in its various forms. He argues for multifaceted transportation programs that include roads, rail, and public transit. He opposes cuts to services for the poor and disabled, defends a woman’s right to choose, and advances reforms in foster care and adoption, so that all children will have the opportunity to live productive lives in family settings free from abuse and neglect.

The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has named David a “Legislative Hero” four times for his work on environmental issues.

David was born in Syracuse, New York, the oldest of five children. He received a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University, a Ph.D. from Boston College, and a law degree from the University of Virginia. He has taught politics and sociology at various colleges and universities, including Boston College, University of Maryland (European Division), PVCC, University of Virginia, and James Madison University. He recently taught for the University of Virginia as part of its 14-week Semester at Sea program.

David served on the Charlottesville City Council from 1990 to 2002 and as Mayor 1994-96. David is a resident of the City of Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife, Nancy A. Tramontin, and their son, Matthew.

Program Summary

The following excerpted from the coverage provided by The Daily Progress written by Derek Quizon and appearing in the April 9 edition. The full story is available on the The Daily Progress website.

Dels. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, and Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, called for the state to strip the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control of its law enforcement powers at a legislative forum Wednesday afternoon. ABC, Medicaid expansion and sexual assault were among the topics the legislators discussed with residents during the question-and-answer session.

Legislators disagree on Medicaid expansion

Medicaid expansion — the decision over whether to increase state Medicaid rolls in compliance with the federal Affordable Care Act — was on the minds of many of the attendees, although it was never addressed in the latest General Assembly session. The delegates were greeted by pro-expansion demonstrators standing outside the center with signs with slogans like “Honk your horn for Medicaid expansion” and “Affordable care for all.” Toscano and Bell, who are on opposite sides of the issue, each presented different arguments. “I’ve been crusading for Medicaid reform for a long time,” Toscano said. “I think it creates jobs and helps a lot of people who need it.” Bell said the state needs to get the costs of the current program down and make sure an expansion would be sustainable. Virginia currently spends about $3.79 billion from its general fund on Medicaid, up from $1.6 billion in the 2003 fiscal year, according to Susan Massart, a fiscal analyst for the state House Appropriations Committee. Legislative Republicans say they want to rein in the growth before any expansion.

Sexual assault bill touted

The legislators also talked about the bill passed during the session that would create a sexual assault reporting procedure at campuses across the state. The bill — which would go into effect if the legislature approves some minor changes by Gov. Terry McAuliffe — requires university administrators to bring reports of sexual assault to a Title IX coordinator. The coordinator, a representative of law enforcement and a student representative would review reports and bring them before prosecutors. There is no requirement for a victim to press charges or cooperate with prosecutors. If law enforcement and prosecutors decide there is a threat to the safety of a community, they would have the ability to push forward with an investigation. Bell said a goal of the legislation is to balance the privacy of the victim with public safety. “We didn’t want to keep spreading that information [on sexual assault reports] further and further, but we wanted a prosecutor to review it,” he said.

Albemarle County: Growth vs. No Growth

Posted March 14th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Tim Hulbert and Tom Olivier presented very different positions in a panel discussion on Population Growth vs. No Growth — What’s Best for Albemarle County and Charlottesville. Listen as they discuss the likely consequences of their positions on the physical environment, taxpayers, local businesses and job seekers. The program was moderated by CEO and Managing Partner of the bridge ltd, Grant Tate. SSV President Bob McGrath introduced the program. It took place on March 11,2015 at the Senior Center on Pepsi Place.


Grant Tate, Tom Olivier and Tim Hulbert Speaking at the Senior Center

Tim Hulbert has been president and CEO of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce since March 2001. The Charlottesville Regional Chamber has more than 1,100 members and affiliates that together employ more than 45,000 people in the Greater Charlottesville region. Their estimated annual payrolls exceed $1.75 billion. Tim is a native of upstate New York and a graduate of Manhattan College. Prior to coming to the Charlottesville Regional Chamber, he held a similar position with the Rensselaer County, New York Regional Chamber of Commerce. He also held a variety of positions in New York state government, including in the transportation field.

Tom Olivier currently is president of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population (ASAP). He grew up in New Orleans and moved to Albemarle County in 1981. Tom holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from Duke University. Tom has done genetics research on mammalian populations in Africa, Australia and the Caribbean. He is a member of Albemarle County’s Natural Heritage Committee and past chair of the Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club. Tom and his wife, Wren, now raise sheep on their farm in Albemarle County, Virginia.

Program Summary

The following was excerpted from the coverage provided by The Daily Progress written by Bryan McKenzie and appearing in the March 12 edition.  The full story is available on the The Daily Progress website.

It’s a fine line. To some, government regulations, including zoning and permits, could help limit growth in Albemarle County, create a sustainable population and save the local environment. To others, it could spur more growth in rural areas, stifle jobs for existing residents and drive up the costs of homes, local business and sustainability.

Tom Olivier, president of Advocates for a Sustainable Albemarle Population, and Timothy Hulbert, president of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, debated commercial and residential growth in region during the meeting.

Olivier said economic growth seldom pays for itself, especially in residential developments, which have a direct impact on tax expenditures for police, schools and other services. He said the concept of a free market is good in limited form coupled with government restrictions, and also said a free market does not provide equal benefit to all residents…. Hulbert said that, although a free market does not equally benefit everyone, it provides benefits in the form of jobs, tax revenue and a vibrant local economy that pays for needed services.

Aging in Community – Action 2020: Celebration and Looking Ahead

Posted February 14th, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Over ten years have passed since the groundbreaking 2020 Plan: Aging in Community was finalized. Action 2020 is an initiative to create a challenging, but doable, 5-year action plan to achieve the goals of the 2020 Plan. Ms. Billie Campbell spoke at the Wednesday, February 11, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV Past President Sue Liberman. Listen to the podcast.



Billie Campbell is the senior program manager for theThomas Jefferson Planning District Commission (TJPDC) and executive director of TJPDC Corporation, TJPDC’s companion nonprofit. She has been with the TJPDC since 1999, when she changed careers from structural engineering. She has a wide-ranging role at the TJPDC, managing a variety of projects, heading TJPDC’s housing program, and carrying out management and administrative functions for the regional agency. She has been actively involved in efforts to make our region age-friendly. She has been a leader in the Livable for a Lifetime (L4L) initiative since its inception in 2006 to promote amenities for ease, comfort and hospitality in homes and communities, and is a member of the Chamber’s Aging in Place Business Round Table. She holds a Master of Public Administration from George Mason University.

 Program Summary

Over ten years have passed since the groundbreaking 2020 Plan: Aging in Community was finalized. Action 2020 is an initiative to create a challenging, but doable, 5-year action plan (2015 to 2020) to achieve the goals of the 2020 plan. The plan was created between 2000 and 2003.  JABA was the leader of that effort and involved over 500 people and 85 organizations.  This was one of the few communities in the country to develop a plan on aging that early.  The plan is 97 pages in length and is a guide for this community to be age friendly.  The earlier plan called on promoting “universal design application” which is a home and community design method where you design objects that are easy to use for the widest number of people regardless of their ability without real adjustment or adaptation.  Subsequently, the term “universal” design has been mistakenly interpreted to mean “specialized” design and so we have changed our terminology to better convey a concept that makes things easier for everybody:  we talk about amenities for ease, comfort and things that are for hospitality.  At the end of the presentation, Ms. Campbell took questions and also solicited ideas and suggestions of things we might want to include in the plan about things you know about.

Bridging the Gap: Listening to People You Don’t Want to Hear

Posted February 1st, 2015 by Administrator
Categories: Programs

Dr. Grant TateThis session was focused on learning how to identify and overcome the gaps between different points of view in public and private discourse. It was facilitated by Dr. Grant Tate, CEO/Managing Partner of the bridge ltd, a Charlottesville consulting company that helps leaders make difficult decisions. He is the founder of three small companies and was co-founder of the New Mexico Technical Innovation Center and the Connecticut Venture Center, organizations formed to help formulate and grow entrepreneurial companies. Before starting the bridge ltd, Grant was an executive at IBM where he led a software development lab, introduced new products and managed reorganization of a hi-tech division.

Dr. Tate spoke at the Wednesday, January 14, 2015 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The program was moderated by SSV Board Member Terry Cooper. A podcast of the session follows.

Program Summary

Grant Tate was introduced by SSV board member Terry Cooper who likened Mr. Tate’s organizational interventions to one who tunes up an automobile.  But sometimes more than just a tune-up is required. Mr. Tate began by observing that if the car hardly runs, then he gets involved in “turnaround,” which is what we have to do with the people and the organization to really turn this into an organization.

One of the things that has struck him over the years on conflict resolution is how sparsely held are the skills of debate—people get mad and they’ll run away.  Don’t turn your back.  What can we do as individuals to help bridge the gap.  Take the risk to trust the other people, and ask everyone in the group to take that risk and then you can begin to build trust in the organization.   We all have our individual filters that will affect how we hear and see things and how we respond.

First there is a stimulus—something we hear or see.  Next is our own interpretation.  Then an emotional response followed by a behavioral choice leading to actions and finally consequences.  Slow down and test your assumptions.  One filter is attitude—habits of thought.  Prejudice is an example of a fast response.  One way to change the attitude is to change the messages.  Persons are imbued with the attitude that they “can’t do it” due to the messages they hear throughout their lives.    Education, training and how you communicate across different groups has a profound effect.  One of the things he does in working to build organizations is to try to look at the person’s background.