Norris, Taliaferro Win

The results are in: Republican Rob Schilling has been tossed off City Council, while Democrats Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro have won election. They won decisively in every precinct in the city. There was no major issue in the race, and it came down to a battle of personalities.

On the School Board, Ned Michie, Leah Puryear and Juandigo Wade won in this first-ever School Board election for the city. The School Board race was an awkward one, with few voters seeming to be familiar with the candidates or issues in the race. It may take a few election cycles for us to work the process out.

9pm Update: I’ve got some graphs of the results up on my blog. Schilling didn’t even come vaguely close to winning any precincts. Perhaps this will put an end to talk of a ward system being the key to Republican victories in Council races. I suggest a less-exciting tactic: running better candidates.

24 Responses to “Norris, Taliaferro Win”


  • As a former Republican, “personality” had nothing to do with it for me. Whenever approached about any issue, Shilling always had a deer in the headlights look and it became a joke that he always answered every email with “thanks for sharing”. I truly though wasn’t impressed with Norris either, but have hopes in Taliaferro. Give me Blake Caravati any day! The man is honest, says what he thinks, and is thoughtful about the issues. He will be missed.

  • Man, a Progress endorsement has got to be a kiss of death in Council races — predictably, they endorsed Schilling. Remember two years ago, when they endorsed both Republicans, including Kenneth Jackson, the guy with the nasty habit of stabbing people? (“What other candidate has seen the law enforcement system, the court system, the social services system from the perspective of somebody in trouble?” Seriously. That’s what they wrote.)

    The Progress didn’t endorse Norris because they think he’s too young. The guy’s the same age as Schilling; I can’t see why that didn’t exempt him. I’d like to see them deny an endorsement to somebody because they’re too old, or too black, or too handicapped. That would be awesome.

    God help me if I ever run for office and get the Progress‘ endorsement. I’ll have to walk into the candidate interview session, piss myself, and walk out again, just to make sure there’s no danger of getting it.

  • “…walk into the candidate interview session, piss myself, and walk out again…”

    I’m told that’s actually how most Progress interviews go. Thus the difficult choices they have to make.

  • “piss myself”

    What caliber and quality that passes for civil discourse. And a bigot against people who have done wrong and paid their debt to society. Should they be permanently banned from political participation? What’s with this fixation on Jackson and the need to stereotype black men as a violent threat? Waldo still doesn’t know why there’s a stark racial divide in the city? If Jackson were a Democrat, Waldo would see redemption and give a second chance. Where was the NAACP tonight? Standing with Rob Schilling at Lord Hardwicks, standing for civil rights and therefore against the Democratic candidates.

  • Some observations on the campaign and election:

    (1) To win a council race in this city, a Republican must be willing to do more than just act as the permanent opposition; instead, s/he must prove willing and able to work with the other councillors in a constructive manner on important issues. Schilling enjoyed the outsider/gadfly role too much, and this turned off many independents and Dems who might otherwise have supported him.

    (2) A slow start to a campaign is not the kiss of death; the Dems started slow but then built up momentum and peaked at just the right moment. Moreover, their “yes to Charlottesville” slogan worked brilliantly once voters got the message (whether true or not) that Schilling “always votes No.” By contrast, Schilling’s campaign started off strong but for some reason failed to gather momentum. Perhaps it was a lack of effective organization, perhaps a lack of inspiring ideas.

    (3) Charlottesville Tomorrow or some other organization needs to be persuaded to widely distribute a voter guide for School Board candidates in future elections. Too many voters went to the polls not knowing enough (or even anything) about the school board candidates. The voter guides put out by Charlottesville Tomorrow for the city council campaign were excellent; let’s find a way to do the same for future school board candidates.

    (4) All the concerns we heard last fall that minority candidates would not fare well in school board elections have, not surprisingly, been proven false. Nor can it be said that we need wards to guarantee racial diversity of the school board. Two of the three winners of the ciy’s first school board election were African-American.

    (5) The way the SBE calculates percentages is inadvertently misleading. Here are the correct percentages: Norris came in first with 66% of the vote (not 39%), Taliaferro came in second with 62% (not 37%), and Schilling came in third with 41% (not 24%). The correct stats for the school board candidates are as follows: Michie (52%); Puryear (40%), Wade (39%), Lewis (34%), Kollmansperger (28%), High (13%).

  • I hate to be selfish and shallow but where does this leave the Parkway? As a Rio Rd. East resident, city politics matter because of the parkway issue.

  • cvillenative wrote:

    What’s with this fixation on Jackson and the need to stereotype black men as a violent threat?

    That’s the funniest part of your entire post. There’s just so much wrong with it that there’s no point in even starting. It’s comedy gold.

    cville_skeptic wrote:

    Norris came in first with 66% of the vote (not 39%), Taliaferro came in second with 62% (not 37%), and Schilling came in third with 41% (not 24%). The correct stats for the school board candidates are as follows: Michie (52%); Puryear (40%), Wade (39%), Lewis (34%), Kollmansperger (28%), High (13%).

    Very interesting — I always forget about the odd statistical result of the two-vote process. Thanks for those numbers.

  • I hate to be selfish and shallow but where does this leave the Parkway? As a Rio Rd. East resident, city politics matter because of the parkway issue.

    I’m not sure that Council could stop the parkway now if they wanted to, but I wouldn’t swear to that. :) Schilling and Caravati both supported the parkway — I know that Dave Norris opposes it, and I think that Julian Taliaferro opposes it, but not particularly strongly.

  • Gee… now I kinda feel bad about my last blog entry on Schilling. I hate to kick a guy when he’s down.

  • What is the status of Western Bypass, the one from 29N at Lowes to 250W at STAB? I read it was dead, but maybe the writer was mixing it up with Van Yahres’s “Ruckersville Parkway.”

  • The school board election results certainly did demonstrate that those opposing the transition to an elected school board were wrong. As proponents argued all along, this city values diversity and is eager to elect strong minority candidates to office. I’d also point out that these elected school board candidates will have a legitimacy as community leaders that they wouldn’t have had had they been appointed to the school board by council. This is likely to make them more effective, and the schools will be the likely beneficiaries.

  • The school board election results certainly did demonstrate that those opposing the transition to an elected school board were wrong.

    I don’t know about that. It demonstrated that one concern expressed by some people were wrong. Those who were worried that people wouldn’t know on what basis to vote were right, I suspect—I encountered just one voter who considered themselves equipped to cast their vote in the rate. But I think that can be approved.

    I was opposed in the most mild of senses to an elected school board, not because I think it’s a bad thing, but because I don’t think it will do anything to address the problems (real and perceived) with the school board as it was. I also don’t think it’ll harm anything, though, so I didn’t bother to protest the proposed change. I don’t see anything in yesterday’s election that makes me feel differently. We’ll see in a few years if I was right or wrong.

  • cville_libertarian

    I am sorry to see an all-Democratic city council, but I don’t think much will change since Rob Schilling didn’t do much with the job. I’m a little surprised that there wasn’t a big enough anti-Cville-Dems plurality to get him into at least second place. However, I expect that’s an echo of national and state politics to some degree, and I don’t think Rob motivated any of his ‘base.’ I don’t think it’s necessary for a GOPer (Schilling included) to ever vote “yes” to things – the voting record is really not what caused him trouble – it was his inability to propose any kind of real governing solutions that addressed the problems he found in the Democrat’s solutions. That was the basis for the emptiness in his public persona – he wasn’t a ‘fool’, but he just seemed empty or “deer in the headlights” because he didn’t propose serious alternatives. If he’d presented those, he could have still been a constant no-vote and had no trouble getting re-elected.

    I doubt the parkway will change one little bit. Too much money is pledged from the Feds, and we desparately need the extra road.

    The VDOT budget process has effectively killed the western bypass – a good thing since it’s already obsolete. Hollymead Town Center was the final straw.

    Unlike the Western Bypass, the Parkway will not be god-awful expensive and will not require chopping up/through several established neighborhoods. Heck, it’ll help revitalize Park Street and North Ave. neighborhoods by channelling surface traffic off of them.

  • “Gee… now I kinda feel bad about my last blog entry on Schilling. I hate to kick a guy when he’s down.”

    You feel bad, I feel stupid.

    I cynically predicted a Schilling victory. I am very happy to admit that I was wrong.

  • Norris and Taliaferro were on Charlotessville Right Now in the 4:30 segment. In response to only 2 questions from callers– Meadowcreek Parkway is a low priority and a ward system is history. If the government were responsive, you wouldn’t have to have referendums to force popular changes. Waldo has said that the ward system favors Democrats. The purpose of wards is to improve representation and responsiveness, not to favor a political party. Wards is another issue where Dems are not monolithic.

    One more statistic: voter turnout 26%. 17% of those who could have voted actually voted for Norris, 11% for Schilling. Voter turnout was twice that for the elected school board. If that referendum had been in May, it would not have passed. Moving elections to November should bring a little more change.

  • cville_libertarian

    Cvillenative – the real purpose of wards is to carve out gerrymanders – if you want to dress that pig up, put lipstick on it and call it “improve[d] representation and responsiveness”, then I guess that’s your first amendment right to spin as you please. The only reason to partition any geographical voting district is to carve out specific electorates and increase the power of minority blocs – whether they be Republicans, Social Conservatives, African Americans, UVa faculty ghettos, or whatever you please.

    Right now, even with an effective one party system, the geographic representation of the city on Council is diverse. The city is too small geographically for there to be meaningful or significant intra-regional homogeneity or inter-regional hetero-geneity. Certainly there are different neighborhoods, with very different ‘feels’ – Rugby Heights is not exactly the same as Greenbrier and not the same as Hardy Drive. Drawing realistic boundaries where neighborhood character changes dramatically from one street to the next, and where there may be isolated areas well separated that are more similar to other areas on the other side of town than to their immediate surroundings makes such partition impossible.

    Just take a look at the Elementary school districts/boundaries. I grew up in the Venable district – a proud Venable alumnus – and we drew students from a swath carved out of the middle of the city – reaching from McIntyre Park across to JPA. The entire range of housing and economic interests in the city were spanned (this was in the days well before Charlottesville extended much north of KMart). Greenbrier was about the only homogenous enclave then, and that’s a thing of the past now.

    Waldo’s quite right: a look at the fact that Schilling got almost an identical percentage of the vote across each precinct demonstrates that there is no geographic enclave that is coincides with political affiliation. It’s a very safe bet that Rob Schilling’s turnout is solid anti-Democrat – only the hard-core ‘base’ continued to support him.

  • That’s a mighty insightful post, cville_libertarian. You’ve clearly given a lot more thought to the effects of wards than I had. I’ve been thinking of their likely effects as negligible, at best. Gerrymandering simply hadn’t crossed my mind.

  • I think Schilling’s major weakness-amd I say this as one who voted for him-was that he never presented an alternative to what the Dems stood for. He was perceived as a mere naysayer with no constructive proposals.
    His situation was similar to that of John Kerry who could never express what he would do and wanted people to vote for him simply because he was not Bush.
    However,its the city’s loss to be without this different point of view.I think we need someone who will ask questions about the direction the city is going-do we really want to become like a big city or would we rather retain a slower-paced small Southern town flavor? Is building more and more highrise condos and townhouses and cramming in more and more people really desirable?
    One thing no candidate mentioned in the campaign was crime. It seems we may actually have a street gang problem of some kind. What will our government do about it? Spout the usual liberal line about better housing and social programs? Or demand that people accept the responsibility and consequences for their actions? For entirely too long the hoodlum element has been handled with kid gloves in his town.

  • cville_skeptic:

    Some excellent points. I agree that Cville Tomorrow could have contributed enormously to the level of information available to voters on the school board race. Hopefully, they or some other group will step up to the plate next time.

    colfer:

    Yes, the Western Bypass is a cooked goose. The Ruckersville Parkway was proposed as a more environmentally friendly alternative, but that too appears to be a cooked goose. And to hear anti-Parkway folks talk, there is nothing inevitable about the Meadowcreek Parkway. The Western Bypass seemed guaranteed around this point also. I believe VDOT still has that land, is that correct? Also, for information like this, I recommend Charlottesville Tomorrow’s resource on the subject.

  • cvillenative says: “If [the elected school board] referendum had been in May, it would not have passed.” Given that it passed with 73% of the vote, I don’t see on what basis cvillenative makes this assertion. More likely, it would have passed handily in May, as it did in November.

    cville_libertarian says: “It’s a very safe bet that Rob Schilling’s turnout is solid anti-Democrat – only the hard-core ‘base’ continued to support him.” Actually, I know a number of Dems who voted for him, even if they may have held their nose while doing so. Schilling secured the support of about 40% of those who showed up at the polls. The “solid anti-Dem” vote in the city is about 20%, judging from past elections. So I think it’s actually a safe bet that Schilling won the vote of a minority of Dems and independents, though obviously not nearly enough to put him over the top.

    Schilling’s main flaw was that he failed to demonstrate a willingness to work with the other councillors on any high-profile issues, choosing instead to always be the outsider/gadfly. The bad blood on council was not entirely his fault, but I’d say he bore most of the responsibility for it because he so often opted for embarrassing the other councillors in public rather than working with them in private to achieve common goals for the city. Schilling also erred in ridiculing the budget while at the same time refusing to offer a proposed budget of his own. This made him look lazy or incompetent, a perpetual whiner who had no solutions of his own.

    As far as Schilling’s campaign is concerned, it was flat and lacking in imagination or energy. Also, his failure to run TV ads was a major tactical error (though not one that cost him the election, given the size of his loss).

  • VDOT has the Western Bypass land. I know two people who rent fine homes from VDOT, which wasted a lot of money fixing one of the houses up. Or maybe it will make a profit on the deal. Market’s high, time to sell, VDOT!

    Seriously, if you want to make some bux, get contract with VDOT fixing up houses before demolition. Speaking of that, why are roads and public transit so expensive to build? I think it’s the mode of production. Everything is built custom, for one thing. For another, skids are greased in Richmond and Washington. Did you read about the new cost estimate for the 9/11 memorial in New York? One billion dollars. Not for the new office buildings, just for the monument. The PATH train terminal is coming in at 2.2 billion, so far. Those two items almost match the cost of building he two towers in the 1970’s, one billion dollars adjusted for inflation. Somebody is getting rich on inefficiency. The guys selling hot dogs out in front of the construction site?

  • cville_skeptic Says:

    May 4th, 2006 at 10:57 pm
    cvillenative says: “If [the elected school board] referendum had been in May, it would not have passed.” Given that it passed with 73% of the vote, I don’t see on what basis cvillenative makes this assertion. More likely, it would have passed handily in May, as it did in November.

    — Look at the top vote getters last 3 May election cycles.

    Norris received 3,945 votes, 66% of 26% who turned out, and 17% of registered voters.

    Kendra Hamilton received 3,465 with 65% of the 27% turnout in ’04.

    Blake Caravati 2,528 with 58% of the 22% in ’02.

    Elected school board referendum results.

    YES 7,106
    NO 2,597

    The Democratic leadership fought against the new school board every step of the way leading up to and even after the referendum. The number of voters who have actually kept this political machine going is now at most 4,000. 1,500 sometimes disagree with the other 2,500 loyal partisan voters.

    In the referendum 9,703 people voted. This May it was 5,993. If the referendum had been this past May, the referendum might have been close but probably lost because both Democratic candidates opposed an elected school board.

    What is your basis that the elected school board referendum would pass handily in a May election? The next test may come as a referendum to preserve the 4 ward/3 at-large school board composition that Council now says was a total fiction. A switch to a completely at-large school board was not under consideration in last November’s referendum.

    You’re right to be skeptical. And it’s not unusual for people to revise history after they’ve been on the losing side of an issue.

  • cvillenative says: “If the referendum had been this past May, the referendum might have been close but probably lost because both Democratic candidates opposed an elected school board.”

    But the whole point of last November’s result is that voters didn’t give a hoot what our Democratic councillors thought about the referendum. The fact that Norris and Taliaferro opposed the referendum (I’m assuming you’re right about this btw, as I don’t know this myself) is similar to the situation we had last November. So the outcome would have been roughly the same: a victory for the referendum.

    cvillenative also says: “You’re right to be skeptical. And it’s not unusual for people to revise history after they’ve been on the losing side of an issue.”

    I have no idea what you’re talking about. I was not on the losing side of the school board referendum.

  • “Given that it passed with 73% of the vote, I don’t see on what basis cvillenative makes this assertion. More likely, it would have passed handily in May, as it did in November.”

    Your logic– It passed in November, therefore it would pass in May.

    Any argument using facts is stronger than the November=May assertion. There’s no reason to doubt someone simply because they disagree with your unresearched opinions. You are revising history through ignorance by implying that the May voters supported an elected school board because it’s the same voters in November. Not so.

    Half the people who voted for the referendum don’t vote in May. The 2,500 who voted against the referendum are the same people who voted for Caravati, Hamilton, Norris last 3 Council elections.

    “But the whole point of last November’s result is that voters didn’t give a hoot what our Democratic councillors thought about the referendum.”

    The point is that high voter turnout overwhelmed the Democratic position. The Dems were on the losing side of the elected school board. They supported the appointed school board and were not shy in saying so publicly.

    The referendum was so popular that now most people just assume the Democrats supported it. That’s revisionist history without basis in fact. What is your basis that Democrats in general would ever support an elected school board?

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