Nov 162014

Allen Lynch speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

According to Allen Lynch, the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is the byproduct of two vectors of policy that predate Vladimir Putin’s rise to power in the Kremlin: (A) The desire of Moscow’s ruling elites that Russia be the dominant power throughout the territories of the former Soviet Union; and (B) NATO expansion. But Putin’s policy toward Ukraine not only reflects these political tendencies but also lessons that he learned during his family and professional socialization. These are: (C) Vacuums of power will always be filled; fill them yourself before others do, and (D) But in the process, be wary of over-extension, a lesson that Putin derives from his mastery of Judo, in which sport he attained advanced black belt status.

Allen Lynch, is the current professor of international relations and Russian studies at the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics at the University of Virginia, and was director of research at UVa’s Center for International Studies (2010-2012) and was director of the University’s Center for Russian and East European Studies (1993-2008), raising $1.5 million for graduate fellowships in Russian and East European Studies.

Mr Lynch has a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University (1984) and a BA in History from the State University of New York Stony Brook (1977) where he was also the All-American kicker/punter in 1975 in the 80-team National Club Sports Association.

He has held positions at the Harriman Institute for Advanced Study of the Soviet Union, Institute for East-West Security Studies (New York City), Feris Foundation of America, and is currently co-treasurer for the Friends of the Graduate Institute in Geneva, Switzerland. He is a Visiting Professor at the Free University of Berlin, East China Normal University (Shanghai), the Graduate School for Social Science (Paris), and the Radio Free Europe Research Institute (Munich). He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Russian Research Center, Harvard University, University of Lyon, France, and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland (2014).

Mr Lynch’s publications include Vladimir Putin and Russian Statecraft, translated into Chinese; How Russia is Not Ruled; Does Russia Have a Democratic Future?; Europe from the Balkans to the Urals co-authored with Reneo Lukic; The Cold War Is Over Again; The Soviet Study of International Relations. He has also published in The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and various journals in North America, Europe, Russia and China.

He has received the Marshall D. Shulman Award for Best Book by the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies and Teaching Awards from the University of Virginia and the American Political Science Association.

Mr. Lynch has consulted for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI Academy, the U.S. Air Force’s Special Service School, the U.S. On-Site Inspection Agency, the U.S. Army’s National Grounds Intelligence Center, and the Kettering Foundation.

He speaks Russian, French and Italian and reads in German, Serbo-Croatian, and Spanish. He is married to the former Tullia Maffei. They have one son (Thomas), who is now working in Washington, D.C.

Allen Lynch spoke at the Wednesday, November 12, 2014 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 President Robert McGrath.

Jun 142014

The work of Congress has largely ground to a halt. It seems to be unable to address the problems and opportunities we face in a meaningful way. That same gridlock seems to be invading our state legislature more and more. Leigh Middleditch and Terry Cooper are part of a group that’s trying to do something about that. OneVirginia2021: Virginians for Fair Redistricting, is a nonpartisan group that believes that a major cause of our legislative gridlock is partisan gerrymandering, the drawing of legislative districts’ lines for the purpose of partisan advantage.

OneVirginia2021 is seeking to amend Virginia’s Constitution to take that power away from the legislators and delegate it to an independent, nonpartisan commission of Virginia non-politicians who will have to draw the district maps in strict compliance with common sense, nonpartisan standards — like respect for city, county and voting precinct boundaries, compactness and contiguity.

Leigh Middleditch (Left) and Terry Cooper speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.


Terry Cooper

Terry Cooper does political research, principally opposition research for Republican candidates. He is a graduate of Episcopal High School, Princeton University and the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was research editor of the Virginia Law Review, a member of the National Moot Court Team and elected to the Order of the Coif, the law-school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa. He practiced law with the Wall Street firm Sullivan & Cromwell and held executive positions with three Fortune 500 companies before founding his firm, Terry Cooper Political Research, in 1982. Terry has taught opposition research at the Republican National Committee’s Campaign Management Colleges, at American University’s Campaign Management Institute, at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management, at the University of Florida and at training programs sponsored by the state Republican parties of Virginia, Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Washington State.

Leigh Middleditch

Leigh Middleditch is a vice president with McGuireWoods Consulting where his practice is now concentrated in the nongovernmental and exempt organizations fields. Leigh has previously served on the Board of Visitors and as the legal adviser to UVa and was a founder of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership. He also held the position of university lecturer in the Law and Darden Graduate Business Schools and is co-author of Virginia Civil Procedure. Leigh has been chair of the University’s Health Services Foundation; Virginia Health Care Foundation; Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce; Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Senior Lawyers Division of the American Bar Association, and a member of the ABA Board of Governors. He has also served as a director of the United States Chamber of Commerce; trustee of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation (Monticello); and University of Virginia Law Association. He currently is on the Board of the Montpelier Foundation; the U.Va. White Burkett Miller Council and Foundation for the Study of the Presidency; and is a Trustee of the Claude Moore Charitable Foundation. Leigh served on active duty with the United States Navy from 1951-1954 and retired as a Captain USNR.

Middleditch and Cooper spoke at the Wednesday, June 11, 2014 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 President Bob McGrath.

Jan 092014

John Whitehead speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville.

John Whitehead is a Charlottesville-based attorney and author who has written, debated, and practiced widely in the area of constitutional law. A prominent leader in the national dialogue on civil liberties and human rights and a formidable champion of the Constitution, Whitehead’s concern for the persecuted and oppressed led him in 1982 to establish The Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the defense of civil liberties and human rights.

Whitehead explored the many ways in which our freedoms and privacy rights have been eroded in recent years as documented in his new book, A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State. Whitehead’s book paints a chilling portrait of a nation in the final stages of transformation into a police state, complete with surveillance cameras, drug-sniffing dogs, SWAT team raids, roadside strip searches, blood draws at DUI checkpoints, mosquito drones, tasers, privatized prisons, GPS tracking devices, zero tolerance policies, over-criminalization, and free speech zones. It also reveals the inner workings of an increasingly pervasive surveillance state, including the NSAs program to track the communications of all Americans and map the daily activities of all people in the United States. As nationally syndicated columnist Nat Hentoff observed about Whitehead: John Whitehead is not only one of the nation’s most consistent and persistent civil libertarians, he is also a remarkably perceptive illustrator of our popular culture, its in-sights and dangers.

Mr. Whitehead spoke at the Wednesday, January 8, 2014 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 board member Charles Smith.

Nov 142013

Henry J. Abraham speaking at the Senior Center in Charlottesville Wednesday

What are our most important recent decisions? How would our founding fathers view them? What happens when a new Supreme Court justice needs to be appointed? Can a non-lawyer serve on the Supreme Court?

What differences have the current justices made individually? Or from a gender standpoint, since there are now four women members for the first time in history? Does race make a difference in decisions? Should we have more members of the Supreme Court, as Roosevelt attempted?

Henry J. Abraham, James Hart Professor of Government Emeritus at the University of Virginia, graduated from Kenyon College in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, first in his class, summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his M.A. in public law and government from Columbia University in 1949, and received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952, where he began his teaching career. In 1972 Dr. Abraham became a chaired professor in the Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. In 1983 he was awarded the University’s most prestigious recognition, the Thomas Jefferson Award, and in 1993 he received the First Lifetime Achievement Award of the Organized Section on Law and Courts of the American Political Science Association. He retired from full-time teaching in 1997 after nearly a half-century in the classroom.

Professor Abraham is a leading authority on constitutional law, civil rights and liberties, and the judicial process. A pioneer in comparative judicial studies, he has served as a Fulbright Scholar in Denmark and has lectured throughout the world. The author of 13 books in 48 editions including The Judicial Process: An Introductory Analysis of the Courts of the United States, England and France, 7th ed., and Freedom and the Court: Civil Rights and Liberties in the United States, 8th ed., he continues to research, publish and lecture. His most recent book is Justices, Presidents and Senators: A History of Supreme Court Appointments from Washington to Bush II. In addition, he has published more than one hundred articles, book chapters, essays and monographs. His record of civic and university service is as long as it is distinguished.

Henry and his wife Mildred, a rare books collector and bibliographer, live in Charlottesville. They have two sons and four grandchildren.

Mr. Abraham spoke at the Wednesday, November 13, 2013 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 board member Charles Smith.

Oct 102013

The Senior Statesmen of Virginia continue their tradition of showcasing candidates for local office with this, our second in a two part series. This month we will hear from all eight candidates for Albemarle Board of Supervisors. The decision goes to voters in November.

Candiates for the Albemarle Board of Supervisors speaking Wednesday at the Senior Center in Charlottesville. The program was moderated by Sorensen Institute Director Bob Gibson.

The Candidates

Diantha McKeel

Diantha McKeel (I) (Jack Jouett) served on the School Board for 16 years achieving over $2 million in annual cost reductions, implementing the Goldcard Pass program providing seniors free admission to various events, and increasing the graduation rate, SOL and SAT test scores well above state averages. She supports common ground solutions in education, business and job growth, environmental and cost-efficient government.

Phillip Seay

Phillip Seay (I) (Jack Jouett) will focus on engaging and listening to the concerns of ALL Jouett residents and taking those concerns to work with other Supervisors and County staff with emphasis on ensuring that tax dollars are spent on the goods and services that the County is duty bound to provide: public safety, transportation and pedestrian services, the needs of teachers and students, and concerns of senior citizens.

Brad Sheffield

Brad Sheffield (D) (Rio) is the Assistant Director at JAUNT. With 15 years of experience as a transportation and land use planner, he can forge a collaborative effort among the Supervisors, introducing new ideas that create a productive discussion on decisions of growth, transportation, education and infrastructure investment. He believes that decisions made for the County need to leave a legacy for future generations.

Rodney Thomas

Rodney Thomas (R) (Rio) is a life-long resident of the area, Rodney attended City schools and graduated from Lane High School in 1962. His career in the printing industry began with The Daily Progress and Worrell Newspapers. He earned an Honorable Discharge from the US Army in 1967. Owner of Charlottesville Press, he was appointed to the Planning Commission and served through 2005 and chaired in 2004. He was elected to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors in 2010.

Liz Palmer

Liz Palmer (D) (Samuel Miller) is a veterinarian, small business owner, mother and citizen activist who has worked on County issues for 15 years. She is currently serving her second term on the board of the Albemarle County Service Authority. She has been deeply involved in local water protection issues and was instrumental in getting the 50 year Community Water Supply Plan approved.

Duane Snow

Duane Snow (R)  (Samuel Miller) is a native of Charlottesville, Duane is a graduate of Brigham Young University. Married to Rena Snow he has five children and 14 grandchildren. The CEO of Snow’s Garden Center, for 35 years he hosted the longest running radio gardening show in the nation. He is a former PVCC instructor. He has served on the Architectural Review Board, VA State Agricultural Council, Rotary Club (President), BSA and MPO.

Cindi Burket

Cindi Burket (R) (Scottsville) has lived in Albemarle County since 1997. With a B.S. in Law Enforcement and Corrections from Penn State University and a Master’s in Public Administration from George Mason University, she has held leadership positions in several Albemarle County organizations including the Newcomers Club of Greater Charlottesville and the Albemarle County Republican Committee.

Jane Dittmar

Jane Dittmar (D) (Scottsville) holds a UVa Economics degree and launched her business career here in Charlottesville. She co-founded organizations that encourage job creation and support career or college ready high school graduates and for nine years was President of the Chamber of Commerce. As a professional mediator since 2001, Jane trains new mediators and supports mediation in all Albemarle County courts.

The candidates spoke at the Wednesday, October 9, 2013 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 Bob Gibson. Mr. Gibson is the executive director of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. He is introduced by SSV Vice-President and Program Director Bob McGrath.

Sep 122013

The Senior Statesmen of Virginia continue their tradition of showcasing candidates for local office with this, our first in a two part series. This month we will hear from all four candidates for Charlottesville City Council. The decision goes to voters this November.

Candidates Farruggio, Fenwick, Szakos and Weber speaking at a Senior Statesmen Forum Wednesday. Local radio host and historian Coy Barefoot moderated the event.
Mike Farruggio

Mike Farruggio (R) was born in Brooklyn and raised in Freeport, NY, Mike served four years in the USAF. He began his law enforcement career with the NYPD relocating to Charlottesville in 1988 to join the Charlottesville Police Department. He has served in patrol, narcotics, community policing and traffic units and retired as the sergeant of the administrative bureau unit for training, policy, recruiting and accreditation. Mike lives in the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood with his wife and two children, who both attend City public schools. Mike has served on the Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association, the Charlottesville Planning Commission, the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board as well as others.

Bob Fenwick

Bob Fenwick (D) served in Vietnam as a combat commander with the 4th Infantry Division and graduated from Georgetown University with a BS in Physics. He has taken undergraduate and graduate courses in Civil Engineering and Construction Management at The George Washington University School of Engineering in Washington, D.C. Bob has been a small business owner for 40 years as a construction contractor. His two boys attended Charlottesville Public Schools and are currently serving in the US Army. Both boys have served in Afghanistan. Bob is running for office be-cause he believes the citizens of Charlottesville would benefit from having a voice of experience (business, technical and personal) in important decisions.

Kristin Szakos

Kristin Szakos (D)  is vice mayor of Charlottesville. Among innovations she has introduced are Our Town council meetings, Downtown Ambassadors, the Youth Council and paperless Council meetings. Kristin chairs the regional Jail Board, and sits on numerous boards and commissions. She is vice chair of the National Council on Youth, Education and Families. With a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University, Kristin has worked as a reporter, editor, grant writer, administrator and translations editor, and has co-authored two books on community organizing. She and her husband Joe have two daughters, Anna, 23, and Maria, 22, and have fostered four children.

Charles Weber

Charles “Buddy” Weber (R) graduated from the University of Virginia in 1968 with a BS degree and a Commission in the United States Navy. He then served his country as a carrier-based fighter pilot for 27 years rising to the rank of Captain and returning to UVA in 1993 as a professor where he also attended Law School. After graduating, he has served the Charlottesville community as a court appointed criminal defense attorney advocating for many clients unable to afford critical legal services. Buddy has worked tirelessly to ensure equal justice for all regard-less of race or economic status.

The candidates spoke at the Wednesday, September 11, 2013 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 local radio host and historian Coy Barefoot. Mr. Barefoot is introduced by SSV president Sue Liberman.

May 092013

Satyendra Huja, mayor of the City of Charlottesville and Ann Mallek, chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors spoke at the Wednesday, May 8, 2013 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at The Senior Center in Charlottesville. Following opening remarks by the participants questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV President Sue Liberman.

Ann Mallek and Satyendra Huja speaking at the Senior Center Wednesday.


Satyendra Huja

Satyendra Huja is the president of Community Planning Associates, and is also adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture and teaches Urban Planning courses on a regular basis. He was director of Strategic Planning for the City of Charlottesville from 1998 to 2004. Prior to that he was director of Planning and Community Development for the City of Charlottesville for 25 years. He received his Masters Degree in Urban Planning from Michigan State University.

He was elected to the Charlottesville City Council in 2007 and is currently serving as mayor. His experiences are in the area of downtown revitalization, housing, historic preservation, transportation planning, art and culture activities, and neighborhood revitalization.

He has received honors from the Virginia Society of American Institute of Architects, recognition from the PEW Foundation for downtown revitalization, and a special recognition award from Piedmont Council for the Arts for his outstanding contribution and support for the arts. He also has been a consultant to the City of Pleven, Bulgaria, for Economic Development and Tourism Marketing.

Ann Mallek

Ann H. Mallek, chairman of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, represents the White Hall District. She is an educator and program coordinator for Central Virginia for the Virginia Museum of Natural History. She received her B.A. in Zoology from Connecticut College, New London CT.

Ms. Mallek was elected to the Board in January 2008 and is currently serving as chairman. She serves on the following standing committees: Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission; Piedmont Workforce Network Council; Acquisition of  Conservation Easements; Property Committee;  Rivanna River Basin Commission; Charlottesville/Albemarle/UVA Planning and Coordination Council Policy Committee; LEAP Governance Board; CIP Oversight Committee; and the Crozet Community Advisory Council.

She is a member of the following organizations: League of Women Voters; Albemarle County Farm Bureau; Charlottesville-Albemarle Chamber of Commerce; Piedmont Environmental Council; Southern Environmental Law Center; Rivanna Conservation Society; Ivy Creek Foundation and the League of Conservation Voters.

May 052013

On the May 5 Wake-Up Call, host Rick Moore talks with Josh Wheeler, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. Rick and Josh discuss the the Center’s mission and achievements. The conversation focuses on the 2013 Muzzle Awards, which are given for affronts to/disregard for First Amendment principles. Mr. Wheeler shares the background of recent “winners.” The center has a new page where readers may leave their comments.

Mr. Wheeler also shares the history of The Community Chalkboard and Podium: A Monument to The First Amendment, located outside of City Hall in Charlottesville, which was designed based on feedback from the community.


Apr 112013

Delegate Toscano speaking at the Senior Center Wednesday.

Delegate David Toscano provided his perspective on the issues that came before the 2013 Virginia legislature at the Wednesday meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. Delegates Steve Landes, Rob Bell and Matt Fariss were also invited to speak but were unable to attend.

Delegate David Toscano is serving his fourth term in the Virginia General Assembly. He represents the 57th District (Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County) in the House of Delegates and, since 2011, has served as House Democratic Leader.

David is a member of the Courts of Justice; Transportation; and Science & Technology committees. He also a member of 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. The Virginia League of Conservation Voters has named David a “Legislative Hero” five consecutive years for his work on environmental issues.

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

Delegate Toscano spoke at the Wednesday, April 10, 2013 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 board member Bill Davis.

Dec 162012

On the December 16 Wake Up Call host Rick Moore talks with David Toscano, House Democratic Leader in the Virginia General Assembly, to discuss hot button political topics such as the recent shooting in Connecticut, gun control, the coal industry, and the VDOT project.

Sep 252012

Credit: RWSA

A proposal to dredge portions of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir cleared another hurdle in an evaluation process Thursday as the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority held a meeting to receive feedback.

However, only three members of the public spoke.

Jul 232012

Rick speaks with Paul Freedman, an Associate Professor in the Department of Politics at the UVa who and commentator for ABC News, and Jeffrey Jenkins, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies at UVa’s Miller Center, about how current political systems could be improved.