Stones Thrown in Council Race

Things are getting a bit snippy in the Council race, John Yellig writes in today’s Daily Progress. Republican candidate Rob Schilling is upset and on the defensive, accusing Democratic candidates Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro of attacking him and claiming their campaign mailings and automated phone messages are a violation of campaign finance law, while disagreeing with their portrayal of him as an absentee councilor in their radio ads. (You can hear the ads on Jim Duncan’s blog and make up your own mind.)

The central point of contention is Schilling’s approach to the budget: he’s voted against every annual budget during his term on Council, demanding reduced spending, but never proposed any service cuts. He uses this position to claim credit both for popular services and for lower taxes; he’s trying to have his cake and eat it, too. The Democrats’ assertion that his votes against the budget are votes against funding all city services — schools, public safety, etc. — is no less logical than Schilling’s claim. When a congressman votes against funding the War in Iraq, isn’t he failing to support the troops? So what do we call it when a city councilor votes against funding the police?

Yellig’s got details about the rest of the points of contention in his article. The good news is that there’s only another 48 hours of this to go.

13 thoughts on “Stones Thrown in Council Race”

  1. Oh please. That’s akin to asking if you don’t pay for your child’s underage drinking, then does it mean you don’t support your child? Of course not. You can still support your child even though you’re against underage drinking. Just like you can support the troops without funding the war. And you can support the police without passing the budget! I’m sure Schilling would tell you that his lack of support was not because he thought police should be given less — hasn’t he said they should be given more? — but rather because other parts of the budget didn’t add up. And unfortunately, it’s an all-or-nothing deal. I guess in a very abstract way, it’s like a giant pork-barreling project…

  2. Oh please. That’s akin to asking if you don’t pay for your child’s underage drinking, then does it mean you don’t support your child? Of course not.

    Close, but that’s not quite the right metaphor. It’s more like, in order to prevent your child from drinking, cutting off all support for him, kicking him out of the house and disowning him. Also known as cutting off your nose to spite your face.

  3. If indeed the candidates pledged “not to participate in negative campaigning.” Those 2 ads clearly qualify as negative campaigning.

    What they don’t mention with regards to education funding is that the system is broken, and that Charlottesville wasted 291k on a superintendant they didn’t use and that shortfall should be reflected by cuts in the education budget.

    Should he have proposed an alternative budget. Yes absolutely. That he didn’t, I think that was a missed opportunity. However in the interest of balance on the city council a token republican is necessary. After all lets remember he did advocate for an elected school board when all the Democrats said “No” lets keep the patronage system we’ve already got.

    It’s probably a good thing for the Cville Democrats that although I pay taxes to the city of cville I can’t vote (like Waldo, I live in the county). Otherwise I’d be voting Schilling.

    The Cville Dem’s have, in my opinion, proven that without opposition they can’t be counted on to do the right thing, remembering of course that doing the ‘right thing’ doesn’t always mean doing what ‘feels good’ and often enough means saying “no.”

    Anyway that’s my 2 cents.

  4. However in the interest of balance on the city council a token republican is necessary.

    I must agree with you there, I just don’t think Schilling is the guy for that. I understand he’s the only Republican running, so anybody who wants to make that point on Tuesday has just the one way to go about it. I think a second term for Schilling will prevent any more Republicans from getting on Council for many years. He just makes Republicans look so bad.

  5. Comparing city councilors to parents is an inaccurate analogy and like most of the analogies routinely used in these types of arguments it oversimplifies the issue and misleads people.

    Schilling cast a vote against a budget that is funded with overinflated real estate taxes and many voters agree completly with the message he sent to O’Connell. The Democratic candidates and their supporters are actually campaigining for Schilling by criticizing his vote against the budget. The fact that they don’t seem to understand this shows how out of touch they are with a large segment of the city’s voters. Most of us don’t want to be taxed till we bleed but we still support paying our fair share for necessary services.

  6. Sorry — Schilling is one prime example of why I’m no longer Republican — and haven’t been for a decade. He’s cunning without being smart. He didn’t just miss an opportunity by failing to submit his own budget — he avoided exposing his actual beliefs as they would translate into city action — or failure of action.

    Anthony Trollope wrote eloquently on the joys of political opposition — and it hasn’t changed in the shift from one continent to another or one century to another. It’s lots of fun to sit back and criticize: but that activity does not constitute action. Schilling won’t get my vote: and Republicans can’t buy me back by putting up candidates of his profound lack of quality.

  7. Elizabeth gets it dead on in her first paragraph. I expect Schilling will be re-elected, since there’s no other opposition party candidate to vote for; it’s not just that the real estate assessments have skyrocketed in recent years – Gary Oconnell has overseen a city government that still shoves all sorts of costs back onto citizens in other ways too – trash pickup stickers, city infrastructure (the new computer system) items hidden inside utility rates are two examples of hidden tax hikes. Unfortunately, it’s not clear to me that Rob Schilling is the kind of policy wonk ala Carole Schwartz (the lone DC Republican) who can really challenge Gary O’Connell on the details. Either that or he’s unwilling to put the time and effort into that.

  8. I don’t believe that Schilling will be re-elected; I think his ads use the “R” word too much in a city that’s heavily Democratic, perhaps more so than ever right now. He should have run as an opposition candidate that will keep the majority honest on their tendency to favor runaway spending.
    I’m not surprised that his campaign has been uninspiring because his service in office has been similar: high hopes but few meaningful results, other than a few good soundbytes. Of course, we’ve had Republicans run in this city who would have made competent and productive public servants, and we’ve seen how far they’ve gotten at the ballot box.

  9. “I’m not surprised that his campaign has been uninspiring”

    But what about his supporters? Also dull? I liked that letter in the Progress that said councilors had more important things to do than to make house calls and talk to voters. That’s why the Dems are out of touch and unresponsive. How can you have an elected school board referendum 75% for and 25% against and the 25% be in power?

    Right now, Schilling has more political capital than his Democratic opponents and the Council combined. Schilling represents the 75% that can see beyond party label and judge a candidate on his ideas and accomplishments. Now’s the time for other leaders to ride Schilling’s coat tails so we can get a majority on Council who will represent the 75%.

  10. Why didn’t Schilling suggest any changes to the budget? Why didn’t he talk directly to the person who proposed the budget to get his suggestions included? If he did that and was ignored, why didn’t he go public with his plan?

    My theory is that he doesn’t have actually have any ideas.

    I agree with Waldo, one party rule doesn’t have enough checks and balances, but Schilling seems to be too much of a slacker to be the opposition.

    Here’s my take on the Progess article:

    The Dems complain that Schilling doesn’t do any of the work and point to 5 out of 6 meetings he’s missed.

    Schilling replies that, in fact, he actually only missed 4 of the 6 meetings.

    Schilling complains that the Dems went negative after promising not to.

    The Dems reply that they are just talking about his “record”, not his “personality”.

  11. I must admit I am dissappointed that the Republican’s didn’t put up another candidate and try for both of the 2 open seats.

  12. I hope Kenneth Jackson runs again too. At least he’s informed on local issues.

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