NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – In the heart of Ward 4 the Attucks Theater has stood watch over historic Church Street through times good and bad.
It was the ideal location for an interview with 52-year old John Paige who defeated two others to win the seat that was held by the retiring councilman Paul Riddick for 30 years.
Regina Mobley: I have so many memories walking along Church Street. I remember when this was the only place where a Black man could own a business in Norfolk.
John Paige: Yes, yes and this is where I grew up. I went to school on Princess Anne Road before Huntersville Village or Lexington Arms was built.
Paige, the former Airman, former NSU student and former NSU teacher, is putting the word on the streets that he is your new conduit to City Hall. A passerby named Keith stopped to shake Paige’s hand. During this warm exchange, Paige explained that he had just won the race and said that he’s looking forward to serving the people of his hometown.
Ward 4 offers a cross-section of social ills. While campaigning, Paige saw the problems magnified.
“I don’t think any citizen in Norfolk wakes up and says I want to be shot. I don’t think anybody wants the violence to continue,” said Paige.
Regina Mobley: Your Ward also includes several public housing communities. What are your concerns for those residents?
John Paige: Well we need to go to those residents we need to get them educated find out what their desires what their needs are.
From public housing to public entertainment, Paige says a new approach is needed to solve the violence problem downtown. In recent months, the city has shutdown several establishments following several shootings. Paige says progress can be made if City Hall makes a concerted effort to improve relations with the community.
“I think that comes from us know knowing the community like we should. I don’t think there’s one business owner that goes through what you have to go through to get a business opened up specifically downtown with the intent to destroy what’s going on downtown,” said Paige.