City Council Candidate Forum

Paul writes: There was a forum for all the city council candidates on March 18th. It really gave everyone in the room a good sense of who the candidates are, but the news reports are pretty bland. The best coverage was the Progress. Was anyone else there and want to give their impression?

7 Responses to “City Council Candidate Forum”


  • My impression of Kenneth Jackson was not very good. He didn’t seem to know much about many of the issues. When he did have an opinion, it was sometimes scary.

    For instance:

    1) He said he didn’t know much about the Meadowcreek Parkway, but he was in favor of building it. How could someone in this town not know much about the MCP? How could you be in favor of spending that much money if you are unfamiliar with the issue?

    2) When asked about gay marriage, he said he was against gay marriage, but he was for prosecuting people who beat up gay people. No one asked him about beating up gay people. Maybe it was just me, but the way he immediately paired the words "gay" and "beating up" was scary, particularly in view of his strong anti-gay answer.

    3) On the budget he said there was lots of "pork" that could be cut. When pressed on where the pork was, he said that in 1970 there were 200 city employees, and now there are 800, but the population hasn’t changed. Therefore, we should be able to cut 600 jobs. In particular, the city manager has two assistants. We could get rid of both of them. Given his general ignorance, my first thought was that he probably doesn’t know what those people do. Perhaps they actually do something useful, I don’t know, and I guess he doesn’t either.

  • Kevin was the only one who really came across as being really knowledgable about all the issues. You would expect that, since he’s been on council for four years.

  • When asked about gay marriage, he said he was against gay marriage, but he was for prosecuting people who beat up gay people. No one asked him about beating up gay people. Maybe it was just me, but the way he immediately paired the words “gay” and “beating up” was scary, particularly in view of his strong anti-gay answer.

    I had to cringe when I read that in the paper, and cringed again when I read your details.

    Jackson has two things going for him in this race: he’s gay, and he stabbed some people. (Granted, it’ll take some political wizardry to turn the latter into an asset, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt.) So for him to so easily brush off the gay marriage issue is problematic, because gay rights advocates who may have voted for him (in part) on the basis of his sexual orientation now think the guy doesn’t make any sense.

    And he’s for prosecuting people who beat up gay people? Who is against prosecuting people who beat up gay people? Is there some sort of debate going on about this that nobody clued me in on? I might not live in Charlottesville, but I’m there every week or two. Perhaps there was a parade I missed out on.

    And then this from the independent, Vance High:

    “[Vance High] has announced that he supports the Democrats for Change 2002 platform, and encouraged Democrats who tend to vote straight down the party line to give him serious consideration. […] High said he supports civil unions for legal issues such as wills, but based on the Bible, could not support gay marriage.”

    I don’t recognize this guy’s name, and I don’t think I ever saw him at any DFC meetings. In fact, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t, because if he had been there, he’d know that it was a crowd that doesn’t cotton to responses that cite the Bible as evidence of their verisimilitude.

  • I forgot Kenneth was gay. I’m mystified by his position then, paraphrased as "I am strongly in favor of laws that prevent me from getting married."

  • I do not live in the city of Charlottesville and did not attend the forum. However, I was disturbed to read about the comments made by Lynch, Jackson and High regarding the McGuffey Art Center and their plan to close it down. I know the city needs to find ways to save and make money. But part of what makes C’ville so great to live in (or in my case, close to) is the arts scene. Theater, music, poetry, film, and visual art. The artistic community is vital to any town and C’ville is no exception. The arts inspire thought and understanding. They provoke and entertain. Urge us to reflect and to take action. Shutting down the McGuffey Art Center and kicking the artists out to make room for high-end apartments would be a blow to the character that is Charlottesville. I don’t get why these council people don’t understand that.

  • Um, none of the candidates really expressed an interest in doing this except High. I didn’t read the article, so I don’t know what was said. A hypothetical question about converting the McGuffey was given to all the candidates. All candidates (except High) expressed strong misgivings about choosing new development over art. There were a couple candidates who said they wouldn’t consider any other uses for the McGuffey building under any circumstances.

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