City Pools Planning to Abandon Tiered Pricing

Access to city pools costs more for kids who attend private schools, Henry Graff reports for NBC-29. The current policy—set by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee—has tiered pricing for access, with students enrolled in private schools paying between $4 and $19 more for a season pass, on top of the $20 base rate for public school students and home schooled students. It’s not clear from NBC-29’s coverage what the rationale for this policy was, but since city staff have already recommended to the board that they make the rates the same for all kids—and with the board meeting today with rates on the agenda—this may be moot shortly.

05/21 Update: Advisory board member Sean McCord says it ain’t so.

60 Responses to “City Pools Planning to Abandon Tiered Pricing”


  • The price for the pass is such a bargain that it is kind of petty to make an issue out of it. I guess it is just fashionable to slam the city at every opportunity and overlook this beautiful park being built.

  • Hey Waldo, Rest assured the advisory board did not make the decision to have tiered pricing for private and public school children. The board did decide on a pricing structure different than previous years that had priority pricing for city residents. Having said that, the new pool is great, the new pool passes are awesome, the price is affordable and the facilities fantastic. Hope to see everyone at the pool this season! Oh and this weekend is the last weekend to buy the pool passes on sale- so now is the time to buy City residents (although the price is still super affordable after Memorial Day).

  • Why is this a story? Aren’t there more important issues in the world than private school students asked to pay a few more bucks than poor students. How about a story on poverty 29?

  • Aren’t there more important issues in the world than private school students asked to pay a few more bucks than poor students.

    The fact that unimportant things are covered by the media does not prevent important things from being covered. At the moment, for instance, I am posting a comment to a blog when I could be feeding starving children. One allocates one’s time in this manner.

    But I don’t agree with your premise that private school students are a separate group than “poor students.” I paid my own way (thanks in part to a generous scholarship) through private school in my junior and senior years by working three jobs. If I’d gone to a public school, I would have had a lot more spending money (and a lesser education, in my case). I fail to see why I should have paid more to go to the pool. If anything, I should have paid less.

  • It’s not true, Waldo. As a member of the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (along with Jen McKeever, who weighs in above), I can assure you that we never proposed excluding private school students from the discounted season pass rate. Quite the opposite: we voted to make the season passes affordable and attainable to as many city residents as we could. I write more on my own website, here: http://citizenmccord.com/2009/on-pool-passes/

  • Not an official statement...

    A couple of things…

    1. The issue was about fair use of City facilities for all city taxpayers. It’s simply wrong for the city to decide that some taxpayers (or their children) should pay more than others based on where they send their children to school. If the city had said pricing was based on income (free/reduced lunch for example) that would have been different.

    2. Not everyone who choses to send their child(ren) to private schools is wealthy. You don’t have to look very hard to find city kids on 100% scholarship at STAB or parents moving their kids out of city schools for health or special needs reasons.

    3. It’s the city spokesman (Ric Barrick) who said the advisory board are the ones who decided to charge private school kids more than public schoolers or home schoolers. So if committee members have an issue with that part of the story they need to talk with Barrick and Daly and O’Connell.

  • Responding to “Not an official statement…”

    1. In fact, the Advisory Committee did discuss extending a student discount to those children who receive free or reduced lunches. However, we quickly discovered that privacy rules (sensibly) prevent schools from releasing that information, so we decided to extend the student discount to all city students.

    2. You’re absolutely right. That notion may have been proposed elsewhere, but was never suggested by the Parks and Rec Advisory Committee.

    3. I cannot find where Ric actually said that, so I would appreciate a link to the quote. In any case, without knowing the context of the question or his actual response, I would agree that such a statement was misleading. Again, the Advisory Committee proposed no such thing, but I am willing to give Ric the benefit of the doubt that he may have simply misspoke.

  • http://blog.schillingshow.com/ Click on the first video and you will see that the reporter brought in the Advisory Committee.
    I think this is a perfectly good issue to bring up in local media. Quite frankly I don’t see why there are seasonal rates in the first place since we have pools open year round. Why not have reduced rates in the winter? After all, the water rates are lower then.

  • @AnOpinion, Where did anyone say anything about private school students being asked to pay more than poor students?

  • Not an official statement...

    Sean,

    Ric said it more than once in a telephone conversation as a response to the specific question of “who decided?” and when.

    Sorry I don’t have it in an email to cut and paste over here — but trust me — it’s what he said because we wanted confirmation.

    NAOS

  • Then I will just have to take your word for it, “NAOS”, though I would feel better about doing so if you weren’t employing a pseudonym.

    In any case, there was clearly some kind of communication breakdown if Ric found himself defending a “policy” that was not at all what the Parks and Rec Advisory Board had voted on. That is an issue in and of itself, and merits further discussion between the Board and the City staff.

    All that aside, I appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight and declare unequivocally that the Advisory Board always intended to have the student discount apply to any school-age (that is, not college-age) resident of Charlottesville, and that we were decidedly not part of some conspiracy to punish the families of private school students, as hysterically proposed by Rob Schilling.

  • “…as hysterically proposed by Rob Schilling.” There was nothing hysterical about Schilling’s comments. He, I and a great many people are tired of hearing “middle income” people constantly talking publicly about those rich people whether they live in north downtown, Albemarle County or have children in private school. You obviously haven’t lived here long enough. I’ve been hearing it ever since they expanded welfare forty years ago which contributed to the entitlement mentality, particularly of those who think they are champions for the “poor.” Yes, statements have been made against “the rich” in committee meetings that I have attended through the years.

  • Rob Schilling wrote:

    The City of Charlottesville hates the fact that so many potential indoctrination hostages (aka eligible government-school students) opt-out of our deficient division in favor of a quality, private education. And now, the City has found a way to punish for their civic disobedience, those tax-paying citizens who choose to have their children privately educated, all in the name of City-compelled “fairness.”

    Come on, that’s hysterical!

  • No, there is a lot of evidence that it is true. The school board has spent a great deal of time discussing it’s loss of enrollment to private schools, particularly when discussing what to charge for tuition for out-of-district students. The discussion center around how much can we charge without driving those students to private school.
    When the first student ID’s for riding the buses for free in the summer were given out, allowances were not made for home schooled or private schooled children until complaints were made.
    A decade ago, some discussions of declining enrollments in the city also brought on a discussion of increasing enrollments at private schools and the resulting loss of income from the state. When discussions were held several years ago about the poor performance of city schools in general concerning the SOLs, several time school board members commented upon the fact that the private schools did not have to educate the at-risk (whatever that means) and the disadvantaged (whatever that means). Since private schoolers didn’t have to take the SOLs, I never could figure out what that had to do with anything. When former UVA President Shannon sent his children to public schools in the 70’s, the school board and administration constantly said publicly that he could have sent his children to private schools, when it was politically incorrect and I’ve been told that it is expected for the president to send his children to public schools. In a town that is extremely race- and class-concious, it would have been nice if Schilling had become “hysterical.”

  • First, I wish all of you would not use pseudonyms. Be proud, be respectful, and don’t be afraid to make a mistake.

    Second, I feel like there is a witch hunt for Rob, as usual. It seems like that is a favorite past time of the party D. Why, I ask? Was he curt, yeah, he is a radio host. And frustrated…as are many whose voices are not heard and actually ignored. Or so we feel. But the rub is when JX, BX, TX, KX, etc. are curt do they get called out? No, they are applauded.

    Third, I too am on the PARAB and our intent was to make it more affordable for kids, not just city students. We erred. It just didn’t dawn on us because that group isn’t heard from as much as others, like Rick Sincere said. I since have proposed we make a change and do the age thing, below 18 gets the reduction.

    Fourth, and most important actually, (talk about a worthy story and discussion) is what is going on with the city schools, who is ignoring what (and who), and when will there be any honest discourse. Who is looking out for the city and our kids? When is too much pressure on the system enough for the SB to take meaningful action? How many more need to take their kids elsewhere? In my neighborhood yet another middle-class family is moving away and taking their 3 kids out. Wake up citizens and smell the Shenadoah Joe!

  • I too am on the PARAB and our intent was to make it more affordable for kids, not just city students. We erred. It just didn’t dawn on us because that group isn’t heard from as much as others, like Rick Sincere said. I since have proposed we make a change and do the age thing, below 18 gets the reduction.

    And that’s the part that’s pretty ridiculous, Mike. You’re on this board. You know how totally nuts it is to think that y’all were plotting your revenge on kids who go to private school. Schilling wrote that “the City has found a way to punish for their civic disobedience, those tax-paying citizens who choose to have their children privately educated, all in the name of City-compelled ‘fairness.'” He’s accusing you of being part of a small cabal seeking to further a diabolical liberal agenda of creating an unfair tiered system and pretending it’s fair, all to “punish” those kids and their parents. If I were going to select people for that particular evil lib-rhrul mission, I’m not sure you’d be at the top of my list, Mike. :)

    “Raving,” “paranoid,” “hysterial”—pick your adjective, any of ‘em will fit. He’s doomed to be ignored, and rightly so, so long as he announces the discovery of an evil plot under every rock and cabals around every corner.

  • @Waldo, nowhere did Rob Schilling say the decision to exclude private school students was made by the Parks advisory group. Ric Barrack did. I’m sure Rob is perfectly aware that committees and advisory groups do NOT set city policy. That’s done by Council or staff. Not even the Planning Commission set policy. It is solely and advisory group also. I personnlay find it interesting that Democrats don’t seem to care if certain people in the community are discriminated against but, then again, that is the party of Massive Resistance, still presiding over the most segregated school system in central VA. When I think of this, I do get hysterical because it is a disgrace for a locality to still harbor an antebellum mentality. I’ll bet if the city said on married couples made up of one male and one born female could swim on Friday nights we’d see marches in the street or at least at the Free Speech Wall.

  • Waldo, nowhere did Rob Schilling say the decision to exclude private school students was made by the Parks advisory group. Ric Barrack did. I’m sure Rob is perfectly aware that committees and advisory groups do NOT set city policy. That’s done by Council or staff.

    You’re making a distinction without difference. No matter what evil cabal that he’s charging here (and it seems pretty clear to me that it’s the PARAB, since they’re the ones who accidentally set in motion an exclusionary policy)—whether PARAB or city staff or council or whatever—it’s just as foolish. This is wingnut conspiracy stuff. Schilling is one of about a dozen guys in town (and they’re all men, incidentally) who have this bizarro-Charlottesville concept of Democrats and of City Council, believing that it’s way more interesting that it really is. I’m sure it’s fun to imagine, but it’s just crazy talk.

    Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    I personnlay find it interesting that Democrats don’t seem to care if certain people in the community are discriminated against but, then again, that is the party of Massive Resistance, still presiding over the most segregated school system in central VA.

    You just set up that straw man and knocked it right down again, eh?

  • Waldo, although I am in the know on this issue, and I know there was no conspiracy going on here, you have to understand that when people’s opinions are ignored and sidelined, and they personally are marginalized for their concerns, they get a bit frustrated and begin to think its true. That is why–and I know many agree but I don’t see them helping to fix the issue–that one party rule hurts. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” -Lord Acton, although speaking of the church was right on.

  • That is why–and I know many agree but I don’t see them helping to fix the issue–that one party rule hurts.

    If you—or anybody else, of course—have any suggestions about how to solve that problem, I’m all ears. There’s no way that one-party rule is good for Charlottesville. Competition is healthy and necessary. But what can I do to fix the problem?

    I’ve encouraged two Republicans to run for Council over the years, assuring them that I’d support ‘em, but both knew that they were far too reasonable to get the support of Charlottesville Republicans, and wouldn’t get the support of many Democrats, by virtue of being Republicans. That’s the pickle that Republicans find themselves in around here. (And the history of violence and instability among prominent members of the party in the past 15 years doesn’t help make it any more palatable to moderate Republicans.) I couldn’t help but get the sense that encouraging these folks to run was really just telling them I’d help them walk that plank and plunge into the ocean blindfolded.

    If you’ve got any ideas for how citizens can help to foster political competition in Charlottesville, I hope you’ll share them!

  • What can you do? How about get all your friends that are dems and feel the same, attend meetings, build a coalition and lobby for changes in city government that promote more diversity in thought. Share the power.

    Ideas such as wards for voting both school boards and councilors, a weak CM/weak Council/strong Mayor form of government and actually speaking outloud against some of strongholds and liberal agendas so prevalent in our city. Then other’s voices become acceptable and folks will feel less vilified, less paranoid and more hopeful that other ideas might be accepted.

    A few years ago when we explored the ward idea it was shown it was the way to go but you see how that was defeated and hardly a dem spoke up.

    As your point about being a reasonable R, that isn’t right to say Waldo. You shouldn’t have to be a moderate or left leaning R to do it. Heck, an extreme left D doesn’t have to apologize and lean right so why should I have to?

    We all have our principles and should stick by them. If there is one thing Sorenson taught me it was that when both sides come together and both comporomise equally you get a much better outcome.

  • A few years ago when we explored the ward idea it was shown it was the way to go but you see how that was defeated and hardly a dem spoke up.

    Because it wouldn’t make a lick of difference. George Allen didn’t get within a mile of winning a single precinct in Charlottesville. Neither did Jerry Kilgore, George Bush, John McCain, Tom McCrystal, Virgil Goode (2002), Virgil Goode (2004), Virgil Goode (2006), Virgil Goode (2008), or the marriage amendment. There’s no harm in voting by wards (that I can envision), but since there’s no conservative precinct in the whole of Charlottesville, I cannot comprehend why Republicans seem to believe that this process will result in Republican candidates being elected.

    As your point about being a reasonable R, that isn’t right to say Waldo. You shouldn’t have to be a moderate or left leaning R to do it. Heck, an extreme left D doesn’t have to apologize and lean right so why should I have to?

    I think it’s totally fair, for a couple of reasons. When I say “reasonable” I mean “hasn’t stabbed people,” and “hasn’t thrown anybody through a plate-glass window.” That’s got nothing to do with politics and everything with being a person who is capable of employing reason.

    But I am perfectly willing to extend it to the meaning that you inferred, which is their position on the political spectrum. On a 7-point scale from conservative (1) to liberal (7), Charlottesville is probably about a 5, maybe a 6. (The only locality in the entire state that gets a higher percentage of the vote for Democrats is Petersburg, FWIW.) So let’s use “reasonable” to mean “holds relevant political beliefs that are palatable to a majority of voters.” A candidate who is a 1 isn’t a viable candidate, isn’t a reasonable candidate, provided that the goal is victory. That candidate adds no more to the debate that, say, Kucinich did to the presidential race. The same probably goes for a candidate who is a 2, and maybe even a 3. But a 4—which is to say a centrist—that’s a reasonable candidate.

    A far-left Democrat doesn’t have to apologize and lean right because it’s a very liberal town. Such is the privilege of being a Democrat here. You might not like that, but that doesn’t make it any less true. :)

    Republicans are welcome to continue to run strident, snarky, conspiracy-minded candidates like Rob Schilling, but y’all will keep losing. Republicans might be totally convinced that your man is in the right, but without actually getting a man in office, that’s entirely academic.

  • When I ran for School Board as an independent (as all School Board candidates are), I was embraced by the local Democratic party. I have since become a loyal Democrat, and gladly support the Democratic candidates for office. Of course, the party makes that easy by running appealing candidates.

    I actually voted for Rob Schilling when he ran for City Council many years ago. I was impressed that he was the only candidate of any party who actually came to my door and introduced himself, and I believe in the importance of having a loyal opposition. Unfortunately, Rob spent his years on Council simply being an obstructionist and never, as far as I could see, actually propose or do anything constructive.

    As each election period comes around, I find myself supporting leaders like Dave Norris and Kristin Szakos. However, if the Republicans would run a thoughtful and reasonable candidate on a comprehensive platform of constructive ideas (someone like Mike Farrugio) who is interested in working for the good of the city, I think a lot of Charlottesville voters would support that change.

  • Thanks Sean. I have an interest but there is no way I could get elected because of all we mentioned. We should have renamed this thread for this topic!

    The point about wards is this Waldo, if I, or any R or I wanted to run and we had 7 wards, based on the elementary school precints, which are legally diverse, I beleive it would be much more personal and they could walk around, door to door, explain their positions, and get elected. I am not talking about what you mentioned in your rebuttin comment.

    My main point is, if you believe in change, work for change. Hey, that’s catchy.

  • Hey, while we are on Parks, I asked PAR to discuss the rectangular field issue with us at the next PARAB meeting. It seems that we will not be having any at McIntire Park yet we still don’t nave enough. The Mayor said recently he wanted the issue of rectangular fields looked into so maybe we can address this and allow our city kids the opportunity to play lacrosse, field hockey, soccer, etc. As it stands those are considered county sports, and that isn’t right or fair. Our kids should have as much exposure to those sports as football, basketball and the like. And I realize they could join the county-wide programs but my point is all city kids should be afforded the opportunity to play with their school peers in these sports and not be forced to be driven by car further out to be the city kid trying that sport.

  • Personally, I would prefer to see candidates in Charlottesville run as Independents and not with a party. This is a small enough town that we should be able to hold enough public forums that each candidates views were clearly known. We are also blessed with wonderful local news coverage that I feel has vastly improved this past year with the thorough coverage the water plan debate is receiving thanks to the initiative of the Hook and then other news media catching on. We need to vigorously report issues such as this one and document when mistakes are made and I think Waldo has done an excellent job as well.

    Running with the party in this town only sets up an us against them mentality that is detrimental to the best decisions for the community. Candidates need to be elected for their qualifications and their clearly stated views on major issues not their party affiliation. We are lucky to have 2 independents running this time as well as 2 democrats. We need to elect those who best represent the will of the citizens not what party they’re from.

    I also think when Mike is ready to run he will be an excellent candidate whose views will be clearly known
    and appeal to all citizens not just democrats or republicans because he has demonstrated the ability to listen and then make decisions based on facts and to express himself forcefully without rancor.

  • @Sean McCord, actually Rob Schilling accomplished a lot by showing that part of the public that has no buried its head exactly what is going on in City Hall. He voted “No” for the ever-expanding city work force and he voted “No” for the over-increasing budgets which have risen from $82M in 2001-2002 to $142M in 2008-2009, and he voted “No” to an ever-increasing school budget that now spends an average of over $18k per enrolled student. What more could a “reasonable” person ask for?
    @Mike Farruggio, the response to Sean should be enough to show that we don’t need a strong Mayor. We don’t seem to be capable of electing anyone that knows how to deal with tax dollars.
    @Waldo, I wasn’t bringing up a straw man, just a big example of the city’s incompetence.
    @Mike Farruggio and Waldo, it shouldn’t matter if one is a Republican or Democrat; unfortunately, around here it usually does. Once Clark and Walker precincts could be counted on for a substantial Republican vote. The Democrats were in control of Council around 1980 and snuffed the ward initiative out. I always thought there was a racial angle since an acquaintance called me then and tried to explain that having a ward system would have then undesirable effect of one or two blacks being elected and “vote the wrong way” before I hung up on him.

  • Thanks Betty, I appreciate your support.

    But I still think the same thing would happen, “they” would know. Heck, look at the dem primary as who stood together outfront and they will likely join and be on the same yard signs and sample ballots for this election. Even if the sample ballots are from a “Concerned Citizens Committee” instead of the Democratic Party. The party has worked too long and too hard on this machine to give up power (see quote above).

    And CE, I still believe a strong mayor would help move us out of cronyism/strawman politics that affects us today. We want to be modern or progressive, “world-class” city but end up with the same-old, same-old year after year. We need real accountibility in goverment and we don’t have that.

  • “And CE, I still believe a strong mayor would help move us out of cronyism/strawman politics that affects us today.” As in D.C., Detroit, NY and Chicago?
    Charlottesville once had an elected Mayor, decided to become “progressive” and installed the City Manager form and nfow you are recommending that we become even more “progressive” and return to the elected Mayor. Don’t answer this question: Who on city council would you support as an elected Mayor and turn over a $142M budget? Don’t answer: Would you have voted for police-loving Kevin Lynch and turn you department over to hiM? The reason we have a weak council is due to the people serving, not to Gary O’Connell, who was shown by Maurice Cox to be weak also.

  • Mike, I’d respectfully disagree and say that Dave Norris has been strong enough to stand up on both the Water Plan and the MCP, two of the bigger hot-button issues in recent memory. It would be so easy to be a fence-sitter on those, as many have done and are still doing.

    He’s been strong on other issues as well. If that doesn’t show some responsiveness to the idea of accountability in government, then I don’t know what does. It may not be all that everyone wants, but it’s unfair to dismiss it out of hand. Thanks for listening.

  • keepingupwiththejones

    I agree that there should be a less partisan approach in Cville but you have to field a candidate who is less interested in self promotion and character destruction that Rob Schilling. It’s great to have an opposing opinion but be fair, have the facts clear, and talk about the issues and not the personalities. It diminishes the community when you have one person with such venom monopolizing the discussion rather than someone who is being constructive in trying to make the community a better place to live.

  • Whoa, V, please don’t misinterpret what I am saying, Dave is fantastic in many ways. He does address thorny issues AND more importantly he agrees with the whole one party issue and welcomes sharing power. Fact is he is NOT a part of the machine I am referring to. And I am not getting into the whole water issue thing. Dave is not part of the problem nor did I imply that. I just used that point to show–mainly to Betty’s comment–how it wouldn’t matter, in my opinion, if we just went with no party affiliation. It wouldn’t be enough to make any change.

    As to your questions CE, I hear you. It would take a cycle or two of a strong mayor to work out the kinks but I think the citizens wouldn’t vote a regualr party hack into office as there would be way too much at stake. Failure now can be hidden by smoke and mirrors and no one can be held accountable. Heck, now if you make horrible and irresponsible decisions as to roads, water supply, copperation with other governments, the taxes, etc. aa a CC you feel no pain later in life. I think they should be able to go back and hunt them down and hold them fianaicialy liable!

    And I already dealt with the “horrible” Rob Schilling, read the whole chain, specifically May 22 at 1:10 PM. But allow me to repeat one point, I don’t hear any complaints when KX, BX, JX, TX, etc. spew venom…

  • Although the local Dem party has been very good to me, I am still a CVillian first. I vote the Democratic party because they’ve had the better candidates. If an independent, or even a *gasp* Republican, were to run for City Council, one who could show me substantive ideas on how to make this a better community, then I would naturally consider giving that person my support.

    Will Rogers said “I’m not a member of any organized political party, I’m a Democrat!” To repeatedly insist that there is a Democratic machine in Charlottesville that keeps any one else from being elected is both laughable and craven. I say laughable because I’ve been inside that “machine” and I can assure you all that we are as clumsy and as prone to internal mayhem as anyone else. We had endless debates on how to manage this new primary system, for example, but it was a healthy argument that produced record turn-out. Why? Because that is what the citizens wanted.

    And it is craven to just throw your hands in the air and insist that no Republican could get elected to city council when the party cannot even bother to run any candidate, let alone a candidate who hasn’t actually knifed anyone, or who does not repeatedly throw temper tantrums in public.

    CVille Eye, you are making my point when you point out all the things that Rob Schilling voted against. For the sake of the record, can you state one substantive idea that Schilling either proposed or voted for while on City Council?

  • Mike, you must have posted while I was writing, for I did not see you comment until after I had sent mine. I’m glad to hear that you support Mayor Dave, but I am completely lost on two things: how can Dave be the hands-down top winner of Democratic primary votes, but not be part of the “machine”? And who the heck are “KX, BX, JX, TX, etc.”?

  • keepingupwiththejones– interesting comment and I agree with much of it. However, I know a lot of people on both sides of the political fence who are glad Rob Schilling’s voice is heard. The reason? Much to its own detriment, this is a “don’t rock the boat” sort of town, and Rob allows voices on his show that aren’t necessarily heard elsewhere. Whether one agrees with him politically or not, everyone should have a place at the table.

    Agree with Betty above. Personally, I vote for candidates, not political parties. Are you strong, ethical, smart, and tireless? When you see BS, do you call it? That’s the sort of thing I look for, and that crosses party lines. One thing I won’t vote for is any candidate I think (or know) sits in the pocket of power. The playing field in Charlottesville is far from level in that regard.

    Disclaimer: I’m one o’ them flaming liberals, so your mileage may vary. :)

  • Gotcha Mike, thanks for the clarification! That makes total sense to me.

  • ” For the sake of the record, can you state one substantive idea that Schilling either proposed or voted for while on City Council?” Elected school board.
    I gather that most people that that it’s admirable that the city added $60M to its annual expenditures in an 8 year period? That’s almost 75%. What is comparable? We’re really on different pages.

  • Oh my friend Sean, as smart as you are you are so (no quality attached) naive!!! There is a machine! The fact that you and Victoria are writing shows that you are probably not part of it though. But you do their bidding without realizing it. LOL :)

    See CE comments above, and there are more. BUT, they were someone else’s ideas that wasn’t part of and were contrary to what the machine (that doesn’t exist) wanted.

    Look at other candidates who ran and their ideas and how far they got. You and V and others like you probably did vote ofr them but 75% of the voters of that party did not so they had no chance. I don’t want to argue this point anymore really. To me, 20 years later and still observing it is very plain. I can’t do it justice though.

    And agree if you like, but an “I” won’t get the vote, due to the same percentages as above.

  • Rob Schilling has also had the courage, as has Kendra Hamilton, and Kevin Lynch to speak out publicly that knowing what they know now they wouldn’t have voted for the water plan. Maybe it’s easier once you’re out of office, but I respect all of them for coming forward. I also thank Dave Norris for taking the lead with Julian Taliaferro, Mr. Huja, and Holly Edwards in supporting a re-evaluation of the plan with better information.
    Even though David Brown voted for the dredging study I’m not sure where he stands and if he truly wants to see the plan re-evaluated once the cost information is known for all components. I see Dave, Julian, Huja and Holly becoming more willing to stand up to staff and not accept all they’re being told. It is important that we clearly understand where all the candidates running for office stand on this issue as well as all the major issues facing the city. I cannot support any candidate that fails to do that. Once one becomes a candidate saying I’m listening isn’t good enough. We need strong knowledgeable leaders

    NEWS- Duped councilors? Three now slam O’Connell’s water leadership

    http://www.readthehook.com/stories/2008/06/12/NEWS-water-GaryProblem-B.aspx/

  • I also would probably be considered pretty liberal, but mainly I vote Democratic because they support some of the issues I care about. If a Republican were to address some of the issues I care about, and show some character and integrity, then I’d definitely consider them. (For example, a conservative that believes in conservation.)

    Nonetheless, I feel local politics boils down to local issues. I think too much effort is made both by candidates and by voters to see local issues through a national party lense ( which does more to distort than clarify). I do think Charlottesville is the kind of place where people have respect for good ideas and solutions. I think people will look at issues first and party affiliation second, even in Charlottesville.

    Of course, another reasonable option is to just overthrow the local Republican leadership and start over. My understanding is that it wouldn’t be all that hard…

  • This continues to be a really interesting discussion. Thank you, Waldo, for creating and maintaining this forum.

    I turn to Wikipedia for the definition of a Political Machine:

    A political machine (or simply machine) is a disciplined political organization in which an authoritative boss or small group commands the support of a corps of supporters (usually campaign workers), who receive rewards for their efforts. Although these elements are common to most political parties and organizations, they are essential to political machines, which rely on hierarchy and rewards for political power. Machines sometimes have a political boss, often rely on patronage, the spoils system, “behind-the-scenes” control, and longstanding political ties within the structure of a representative democracy. Machines typically are organized on a permanent basis instead of for a single election or event. The term may have a pejorative sense referring to corrupt political machines.

    Mike, CVille Eye, and others, Charlottesville is not Chicago. Who is the “boss” at the center of politics in town? Who is getting the political patronage?

    We have a large and active Democratic party that is responsive to the needs of citizens; in turn, those citizens vote in their best interests and support the candidates that they feel will do the best job. For all the questionable judgments that the council has made in the recent past — giving away park land for an ill-considered bypass, not fully investigating the dredging alternative — citizens have risen up and made their voices heard. I strongly disagree with some of the decisions that the City Council has made, but I have responded to that by becoming more active in my community. I get that you feel under-represented, and it’s easier to say that there is nothing you can do about it, but democracy is all about making change.

    There are two independent candidates running for city council, Bob Fenwick and Andrew Williams. (Come to think of it, where are they in this discussion?) Are you working for their campaigns? Are you out there, knocking on doors and telling voters about their campaigns? Mike, you wrote above to “build a coalition and lobby for changes in city government that promote more diversity in thought.” Great! Do it!

    Rob Schilling won in 2002 following a Democratic primary that fractured the party (and, some say, thanks to single-shot voters). After that, the Democratic party got smart, got organized, and became more responsive to the citizens. For years, many people (and the media) assumed that Virgil Goode could not be defeated, but the Democrats fought the good fight with a great candidate, and now we are represented by Tom Perriello. Similarly, Jim Webb defeated George Allen (admittedly, a lot of that was due to Allen’s own missteps), and I’m excited to see that, this year, the Democrats are challenging Rob Bell with Cynthia Neff.

    Republicans, please find yourself a thoughtful, strong-minded, innovative free-thinker who will bring new and interesting ideas to the table. If you just keep proclaiming “we’re not Democrats!”, and then people look at Democrats like Dave Norris and see what a good job he is doing, of course you won’t win an election! Find an idea other than “the city is spending too much money” (yeah, we get that. Who isn’t?), and come up with some constructive ways to make change (and please, not the ward idea again). Listen to the people, don’t just regurgitate your own well-worn protests, but listen to what we really want, brainstorm, and find new ways to meet the needs of the community. Or, take your ball and go home, complaining that no one will play with you.

    And CVille Eye, the question of an elected school board was decided by a citizen referendum, not by a vote on the city council. Next!

  • I still think the economic argument and spending too much money is a winner for an Independent or Republican. The recent efficiency review is something that could easily be criticized. People are having trouble making ends meet and if their taxes and fees such as water and sewer keep going up even if they are using less water –well that’s a problem. We also could use someone on Council who understands infrastructure. Maybe that is Fenwick’s strong suit.

  • “The recent efficiency review is something that could easily be criticized.

    No doubt. But rather than just criticizing it, will an independent candidate emerge who proposes an alternative to finding inefficiency in our city government. Again, just complaining accomplishes nothing. Mike, this may be where you think I’m just naive, but I honestly believe that people vote for the best ideas.

  • Of course Council didn’t support an elected school board. They preferred their power of appointment. The referendum didn’t just happen; Rob Schilling and his supporters collected the required signatures to require a referendum.
    Sean McCord, it seems you are satisfied that people in Charlottesville sit around “brainstorming” on how to spend more money accommodating any and every citizen request. I don’t. Nor do I plan to join in on the “change for change sake” bandwagon to feel I’m involved or to leave my mark on Charlootesville. McIntire Park is a victim of all of this planning for the last 60 years and look at it now. I suspect you and I have a different view on the purpose of local government. As for working on somebody’s campaign, I have no idea exactly what the candidates stand for, but I’ve noticed that nobody is complaining of how the city spends money like drunken sailors, so why would I ask anyone to vote for them, simply because they are not claiming to be Democrats? I’m not intersted in shallow labels. Nor am I interested in serving on a committee looking for a project.

  • ” For the sake of the record, can you state one substantive idea that Schilling either proposed or voted for while on City Council?” Elected school board.

    Schilling starting talking that up that before he was on City Council. I remember him sitting at a table in front of the Democratic nomination convention in 2002, asking people to sign a petition in support of an elected school board.

  • And he didn’t give up the idea once he got on Council.
    Sean McCord, exactly what are these “best ideas?” Baby-sitting services at council meetings?
    Anybody got any ideas about developing W. Main, Preston and Cherry AVenue?

  • Cville Eye: So, other than blog commenting, what do you plan to do to make this town more acceptable to you? And, what is your view on the purpose of local government? I am seriously interested.

  • @Sean McCord, I plan to do absolutely nothing to make this town more acceptable to me. If it were unacceptable, I would have moved scores of years ago.

  • Waldo, here’s an idea Rob Schilling had while on Council but couldn’t get the other Coucilors to discuss it: investigate with the state as to whether the Belmont bridge could be repaired rather than rebuilt and in either case figure out a way to redirect that huge volume of traffice while the project is underway. The discussion was never held, now, the city wants a two-year public process to design the new bridge. What the poor guy didn’t understand was the city has been on a “redesign” Charlottesville trip ever since Maurice Cox was on Council and a repaired bridge just isn’t good enough for Charlottesville’s citizen designers. It was a good idea, since the bridge had just been fixed with tunnel in the 90’s at the cost of millions. Now, they’re trying to convince the public that a new bridge is needed because there is some rust.

  • I believe Cville Eye does improve our City by his blog posts. He has a tremendous knowledge of City government past and present and great insight into it’s inner workings as well as helpful links to meetings and direct quotes that I would miss without his guidance. His writing is an example of blogging that leaves one smarter and wiser after reading.

  • Backatcha two-fold, Betty!

  • Sean, that might be the wikiwhat definition but I simply mean that it is almost impossible to beat. Not totally, but almost. Wards, which you seems to really hate, would be the easiest solution; you or I walking door to door to get our neighbors to vote for us. That and taking the party out of it.

    And you cherry pick what you want to comment on, but leave alone the other points! You right to do so I guess.

    I believe the fact is birds of a feather…you support your party like I support mine due to principles we hold dear. You probably don’t mind or don’t see how detrimental it is to run the taxes up and up, or leave others dependant on government instead of self reliant, or think you can wish away cars and roads so let traffic and parking get worse and yet continuously attract good, healthy and beneficial businesses, or push away parents with kids to private schools (because they probably are Republicans any way). It is a sad cycle of group think that leads you to problems and then you use the solutions that were suggested ten years earlier.

    BTW- Betty you’re awesome.

    I want to answer your question Sean. Local government is here to do the peoples business. ALL the people business. We are a SMALL town in the south in the 21st Century.

    Balance the budget, set priorities that match national or best business standards to some extend.

    And don’t tell me about your bond rating BS. I can have a credit schore of 740 and not spend wisely and have a terrible marraige and drug addicted depressed children.

    Don’t lie, if you are raising the taxes by raising the assessments call it a tax increase like the state says it is.

    Be responsible with our school system so we actually reduce the drop out and incompletion rates, get hold of the troubled kids and make it so they don’t hurth the rest of the kids.

    Plan and carry through for sensible and reasonable traffic networks. When cars are gone or reduced because people stop using them THEN get rid of the roads and turn them into trails. Burying your head will not make the cars go away…duh. But it will make the businesses go away. Look around…

    How about completing the sidewalks in this town? 750K sitting in the sidewalk account for two years running…hello? And this year we try and talk city council into not putting more into it? For crying out loud, at least build the safe routes to schools. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

    And how long will you ignore national standards, trends and every chamber of commerce there is? Oh, are they the bad business people? This country and it wealth is build on small business. Nah, let them go to the RING surrounding our city.

    And I LOVE, I mean LOVE people. ALL people. And I want to have long term sustainable goverment to provide for them. Brown, white, red, rich, poor, straight, gay, homeless, etc. Get the picture? But how far do we want to go to house all of central VA’s poor? For asking that outloud I can get labeled as prejudice. I’m not. But to be sustainable and responsible and have this city THRIVE for the future means we have to plan and think about these things. How much has the poverty rate climbed? How much higher are we than the national average? What are oour policies doing to reduce or increase this? Does that have any effect on the schools sytem? The drop out rate? The people moving out? Am I a bigot for asking?

    Look, I’m not crying for the sake of crying. I love this city, love living here and have a voluntarily vested interest. I don’t want to move. I just want a reasonable and responsible government. I’ve seen that before and this ain’t it. No, like CE said, it’s not so bad I want to move, but I am afraid where it is heading. All we need is some diversity, balance and professional management.

    One last thing, I have received two side emails about this and I have dozens of other discussion with city dems who privately agree on these points but they won’t make change. I can only summize that it is because the are of the same party and they don’t want or won’t tolerate coloring outside the lines. Unless they are lying. Why else does nothing change?

    And as for a change of subject, who want to BET what the school board does in the next several months?

  • Mike, how many years until you’re ready to run ? Want to be there when you get elected and I’m not getting any younger.

  • I hate seeing the City Schools getting bashed in this thread and also by Schilling. This past week, a CHS kid got a perfect SAT, another won the Couric Scholarship, the Walker Band put on a performance that would put most high schools to shame, the Buford sports program had another successful season, and I went to youngest child’s music program at Burnley-Moran (which may be the cleanest school that I have ever been in).

    After sending my 3 oldest kids to private schools, I found the city schools to be quite a blessing and full of some amazing kids. It is a shame that some don’t see all of the good things at the schools.

  • webster52, and what are the other 4,000 students doing? Even the school board admits there’s great room for improvement. Let’s not search around for things to praise such as athletics. BTW, the school system apparently had nothing to do with the decision made about the summer pool passes and Rob Schilling never implied it did.

  • Thanks Betty.

    @W52, the city schools aren’t all bad, especailly if you are very smart or need special aid, but if there are issues that cannot be ignored. And that involves the majority of the kids. My kids go to JV and it is amazing, thanks to the priciple. And Clark became amazing as well, but we just lost that principle. I hear Johnson is amazing now.

    But…OVER $15K per kid? the rates of failure? the discipline problems, most of which are hidden? the fact the get 40% of the budget autimatically? And I could go on. These are managment problems you shouldn’t ignore.

  • I missed your post CE. And again, another “let’s burn Rob Schilling.” Rob shines a spot light on these issues that are ignored. If you don’t like it you don’t have to listen or read it. And if you don’t or didn’t one shouldn’t speak about what he said because you will get the context wrong or misunderstand his mission, that of a talk show host.

  • @Mike Farruggio, what are you talking about?

  • Not to you.

    I missed your post but was commenting on the above by W52 mentioning Rob Schilling bashing the schools…

  • Great comments today, Betty, on the Schilling Show. I think Melita may be more accessible than Snow in your campaign. I don’t think he would have gone so far as to spell out exactly who could get the pool passes, and, if someone suggested the old proposal, I think he would have questioned why. He seems to be very analytical.

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