City Campaign Finance Numbers Are In

Campaign finance reports have been filed by city candidates, Graham Moomaw writes in the Progress, and those numbers give an early indication of the sort of support that candidates are enjoying.

In the council race, UVA employee Brevy Cannon takes the lead with $4,100 in contributions, but that includes a $2,000 loan he made to his campaign. So really it’s former school board member Dede Smith up front, with $3,900 in contributions. Incumbent Satyendra Huja has taken in $3,500, school board member Kathy Galvin raised $3,200, and developer Paul Beyer raised $2,600 (though spent basically all of it). The other candidates are pretty far behind: Scott Bandy took in $120, Brandon Collins raised $750, James Halfaday $850, Andrew Williams $300, and Bob Fenwick didn’t report any donations. Colette Blount joined the race recently enough that she didn’t have to file.

There’s a clear leader in fundraising for the clerk’s race: school board member Llezelle Dugger, with a striking $8,600. Second place is held by incumbent Paul Garrett, with $2,200. Pam Melampy is a distant third, with $900.

24 Responses to “City Campaign Finance Numbers Are In”


  • When you say in the article “former school board member Dede Smith” do you mean former appointed school board member during the Scottie Griffin era?

    Those figures make sense. The two Dem. candidates with the least experience and qualifications have raised the most money because they hope to influence the outcomes by outspending the more experienced and qualified candidates-in other words Cannon and Smith need the money. So if I had to vote today in the Firehouse I would just vote by reverse amount, those three dems. listed above as raising the least would get my vote.

    Who is Cannon’s director of campaign finance?

  • It looks like from a closer read of the DP article the order really is

    Huja
    Smith
    Galvin
    Beyer
    Cannon (when you take out his 2000 loan to himself and te Eppies hosting donation).

    The difference between Huja, Smith and Galvin are really small at these amounts.

  • Cannon (when you take out his 2000 loan to himself and te Eppies hosting donation).

    I’m definitely down with ignoring loans that candidates make to themselves, but why ignore in-kind contributions? Would it have somehow been different if they’d given him $800 cash, and then he paid them $800 for food and drinks?

    In analyzing campaign contributions, I think it’s sensible to ignore loans from the candidate, but there’s just no established practice of ignoring in-kind contributions. I think there’s a good reason for that! :)

  • Sounds reasonable Waldo. But did the others have such in-kind contributions? It just seems to inflate the numbers. The DP article made it look like Cannon and Smith were front runners bec. of contributions, a false image I propose.

    I know you are a Brevy supporter but weren’t you a little embarrassed last night with the Cannon-Smith-Blount soft balling shenanigans? From what I heard in the audience and after the meeting it backfired and your boy lost some support he might have garnered had he not engaged in the Norris puppet cabal. People don’t like the thought of an ideologically driven narrow interest ticket where candidates get together before the event and conspire, its a foreshadowing of what it would be like if they were elected. Prediction: his association with the ticket/cabal and Smith brings him down.
    Is Norris really his campaign finance director Bizarro Daly machine world in Charlottesville-gives many the willies.

  • Sounds reasonable Waldo. But did the others have such in-kind contributions?

    You bet! Paul Beyer only received in-kind contributions (plus $739 in personal loans to the campaign), Kathleen Galvin had $400, and Dede Smith had $365. The other candidates reported no in-kind contributions.

    I know you are a Brevy supporter but weren’t you a little embarrassed last night with the Cannon-Smith-Blount soft balling shenanigans?

    I don’t know—I wasn’t there, and I haven’t seen video or heard audio. I just know what I read in the Progress last night, and it sounded lame.

    From what I heard in the audience and after the meeting it backfired and your boy lost some support he might have garnered had he not engaged in the Norris puppet cabal. People don’t like the thought of an ideologically driven narrow interest ticket where candidates get together before the event and conspire, its a foreshadowing of what it would be like if they were elected. Prediction: his association with the ticket/cabal and Smith brings him down.

    For starters, “Norris puppet cabal”? Really? This isn’t Soviet russia. You just make yourself sound silly saying such things.

    More to the substance of things, candidates quite often run on a ticket. That’s a tradition as old as the country. You might not like it, and there are plenty of good reasons not to like it, but I don’t think it’s correct to extrapolate that to conclude that “people” don’t like it.

    Is Norris really his campaign finance director Bizarro Daly machine world in Charlottesville-gives many the willies.

    This makes no sense to me. Do you know what it means to be a campaign treasurer? It means that you file the campaign finance reports with the State Board of Elections and, if anything is amiss, it’s your ass. That’s it. It’s nothing more than a campaign accountant. And even if it were something super-sneaky, so what? What in the world is wrong with an incumbent supporting another candidate for office in a primary? This happens in every election cycle at all levels throughout the country. I can’t even figure out what the problem is with this in theory. Could you explain what, specifically, is bad about this?

  • Here’s what seems bad about the incumbent support issue. What if all of his candidates lose. He has to start the new council with a lot of bad blood between him and the newbees. Now there already seems like there is bad blood with Szakos. I think there is difference between political disagreement on issues and just plain bad blood due to campaign tactics. At least Halfaday seemed to think so last night. Yes, it does happen in other places at other levels, but is Cville really like Chicago? Do we want it to be? I think some people, maybe even many people, would say no.

    It also just reeks of ideological-based power grab.I don’t want a 3-2 or 4-1 block running every issue and that’s what we might get with the ticket.

    As for “For starters, “Norris puppet cabal…” just calling it like I see it ands hear it on other blogs and it does come off like “puppetry,” “Cabal-like behavior,” and yes a little like Soviet style politics now that you mention it. So yes, some people don’t like it. It reads like the Mayor is just angry about a decision he lost and will do anything to win.

    He could have just run a referendum and saved us all the harangue.

    But you are perhaps correct, there are other reasons not to like it like some (two especially) of the people running on that ticket seem problematic.

  • Here’s what seems bad about the incumbent support issue. What if all of his candidates lose. He has to start the new council with a lot of bad blood between him and the newbees.

    So it is your belief that no member of a legislative body should ever campaign for or against any other member of that body, or for or against anybody seeking a seat within that body? City Council, Board of Supervisors, House of Delegates, State Senate, U.S. Congress, or U.S. Senate?

    It also just reeks of ideological-based power grab.I don’t want a 3-2 or 4-1 block running every issue and that’s what we might get with the ticket.

    I think you’re confusing “politics” with “ideological-based power grab.” What you’re upset about is that people who believe something have found other people who believe something, and they are supporting each other politically to accomplish that. This is a fundamental premise of the U.S. political system.

    What would make sense is if you said “I agree [or disagree] with the positions held by these candidates, but I am not comfortable with having an elected body that is comprised of people with so little daylight between their positions on important issues.” You could probably make a pretty good argument as to why such an arrangement is a bad idea, and I might agree with you. But to describe basic, nationwide, 250-year-old democratic practices with terms like “puppet cabal” and “ideological-based power grab” is doing no favors for either you or your positions.

  • “I think you’re confusing “politics” with “ideological-based power grab.” What you’re upset about is that people who believe something have found other people who believe something, and they are supporting each other politically to accomplish that. This is a fundamental premise of the U.S. political system.”

    Hmmmm sounds like the fundamental premise of the Chinese political system? Other than the voting part of it. I don’t mind people being passionate about what they believe but in Cville is there not a point where the passion taints the process of elections themselves. As I have said i have just never seen this level of orchestration by a sitting mayor of Cville since I have been here-odd to me.

    “What would make sense is if you said “I agree [or disagree] with the positions held by these candidates, but I am not comfortable with having an elected body that is comprised of people with so little daylight between their positions on important issues.” You could probably make a pretty good argument as to why such an arrangement is a bad idea, and I might agree with you.”

    OK what he said :)

    But it is more than that. I have not seen this type of politics in our community in the 15 years I have been here. Its not only that there is so little daylight between the positions its as if the positions are calculated and orchestrated to be identical with some window dressing to appear as if different. Really are we not talking about a ticket the primary focus of which is to overturn the dam and the parkway? Is there not a common ideology behind this? It really comes of to me as just desperation to over turn a previous decision.

    How about “machine politics”? Is that more palatable for you than puppet cabal or ideological power grab? Though they seem related.

    You said above:

    “I don’t know—I wasn’t there, and I haven’t seen video or heard audio. I just know what I read in the Progress last night, and it sounded lame”

    If its accurate what’s the “lameness” in it? I think somewhere in there we might find some common ground. Its lame because….

  • Actually, as someone who doesn’t support Dave Norris’ ticket, I think the way Dede Smith, Colette Blount, and Brevy Cannon operated during the forum (called to mind the image of team rollerderby) might be a good thing in the long run. It brought into the sunlight what I’d suspected all along: that they are indeed running as a ticket. And apparently their view in closing ranks and protecting each other (when Brevy Cannon asked Dede Smith the softball question–Do you have any closing remarks?–it meant she couldn’t be asked another question by other candidates, due to the limit of 2), they felt gain in the public eye. I think that was a miscalculation. From the audience it looked like a terrible strategy and I’d be surprised if we see it at future forums. This strategy aided Huja, Galvin, Beyer, and Halfaday–they looked to me like candidates with separate ideas and issues (esp Huja, Galvin, and Beyer), and more importantly like people who will work well with others. I think Dave Norris would be a much more effective city councilor without his “team” elected beside him. He’ll have to learn how to collaborate, a good thing for him and for the people of Charlottesville.

    Also was interesting to note that Dede Smith did not answer the Scottie Griffin question: do you believe Scottie Griffin was good for our school system? I can answer for her, since she did answer the question when she asked me to have coffee with her several weeks ago: Dede Smith continues to assert that Scottie Griffin was good for Charlottesville City Schools. (In Dede’s mind, Scottie Griffin failed because she didn’t get enough support from the community.) Mind-boggling. Talk about someone who doesn’t learn from her mistakes…

  • Really are we not talking about a ticket the primary focus of which is to overturn the dam and the parkway? Is there not a common ideology behind this? It really comes of to me as just desperation to over turn a previous decision.

    I still don’t see the problem here. Republicans took over the House last November in part because of desperation to turn over the previous decision to create a national healthcare system. There’s a similar issue every 2–4 years. That’s just politics.

    How about “machine politics”? Is that more palatable for you than puppet cabal or ideological power grab? Though they seem related.

    Certainly not machine politics. Machine politics requires a machine. Nothing of the sort exists within Charlottesville politics. Decades ago, it did, but that machine gradually broke down and, in fact, Dave Norris was one of the people who broke it, via “Democrats for Change.” Machine politics means an integration of a serious of litmus tests and support structures integrated clear through the political and governmental process, controlling most or all hiring decisions, contracts awarded, deciding who is allowed to run for office, who is on the party committee, etc. That’s just not the case here.

    If its accurate what’s the “lameness” in it? I think somewhere in there we might find some common ground.

    You’re probably right about that. What’s lame about those softball questions is that not only is this a failure of a normal political process (even opponents who really like each other should have some decent, illuminative questions for one another), but it’s a failure to even pretend that they’re trying to do so. The losers are the public, who missed the opportunity to gain insight into the candidates, save the sort of insight that Karl explains that he gleaned from the interaction.

    Sorry for the brief response, but my lunch break is over. :)

  • I thought most of the candidates looked pretty bad in the candidate-to-candidate question period, but the 3 softballers looked terrible.

    The audience was not impressed with it–people audibly groaned when Cannon asked Smith the question, and audibly scoffed when Smith asked it of Blount.

    It did look like a crack in Norris’s slate, since Blount tried to not participate in the little game by trying to pass on her question. I am not sure that the reason she is included in that slate is due to her actual stance on issues. I suspect it is because longstanding, backroom dealings have pretty much guaranteed her a spot on the ticket. I hope she recovers from those shenanigans–until Wednesday night I really had high hopes for her.

  • @Forum Observer: Totally agree on all counts. The whole slate thing is weak on a number of counts. 1. Its all about just getting back at Huja, Szakos, and Brown for their previous decisions, 2) It seems very narrow in agenda, 3) their candidates, except for maybe Blount are either horrible with negative baggage from previous service/elections/organizations or inexperienced, 4) there is not enough convincing evidence to really reconsider the water supply decision and rehash everything so a small group of elite interests can win-or to make the whole election about that,5) it seems like the whole water issue is constructed as a problem so these few can get attention for election, 6) the theatrics at the debate were sophomoric and lame, 7) Blount did look like she was trying to get out of it or like she finally realized what the “advisors” or “backers” were encouraging her to do.

    A lot of us are waiting to see if Blount gets it and separates herself from the others (and Norris. hoping.

    @Waldo, exactly look at what the Republicans have done with that, holding the whole country hostage because they can. Do we want that on our City Council?

    You keep getting all technical on me…ok, how about “machine-like” politics? And yeah that’s what saddens me the most, Norris seems to be becoming what he despised. The means don’t justify the ends. When you act like your enemy, isn’t there a danger of becoming like your enemy? Isn’t this why Ghandi used non-violence. In keeping with that metaphor, I wish Norris could find the political equiv. of non-violent tactics

    I agree whole-heartedly with your “lameness” explanation.

  • I encourage every Democratic primary voter to assess each candidate on his/her own merits. Period. Ask yourselves, which candidates are most likely to stand up for our City residents, our City assets, our City neighborhoods, our natural resources, our AAA bond rating, our low-income children and families, our ratepayers and taxpayers, our long-term economic sustainability. I’ve done that myself and have personally opted to support Dede Smith, Brevy Cannon, and Colette Blount. The theories being propagated here & elsewhere by supporters of another candidate about some nefarious “Norris machine” are more than a bit laughable and overwrought. My ‘machine’ is my iPhone, my Facebook page and my e-mail list and membership in my ‘machine’ is open to any Charlottesville resident who wants to see City Council stand strong against the pressures that threaten our City assets, our City neighborhoods, our low-income children and families, our long-term economic sustainability, etc. I know and like all of the candidates in this race and will work with whoever gets elected to keep making Charlottesville a better place. That’s the last I’ll say about all this because this election is not about anyone other than the seven Democrats and four Independents who are giving it their all and asking for your support. And when all is said and done, your vote on election day carries just as much weight as mine.

  • @Waldo, exactly look at what the Republicans have done with that, holding the whole country hostage because they can. Do we want that on our City Council?

    You’ve lost me again. What’s the connection here? I’m not following.

    You keep getting all technical on me…

    It’s really not a matter of technicality. Machine politics are a very big, complicated thing—it’s a serious accusation that just isn’t justified by the facts. I don’t think I’m making a fiddly distinction here.

    And yeah that’s what saddens me the most, Norris seems to be becoming what he despised. The means don’t justify the ends. When you act like your enemy, isn’t there a danger of becoming like your enemy? Isn’t this why Ghandi used non-violence. In keeping with that metaphor, I wish Norris could find the political equiv. of non-violent tactics

    What is it that you think he despised, and now has become?

  • here are my responses to the questions asked at the forum Wednesday.

    http://votebrandoncollins.wordpress.com/2011/07/21/in-case-you-were-wondering-my-responses-to-720-candidates-forum/

    also- were there to be actual competing parties in Charlottesville surely they would normally support their own. Since we don’t have that, it is perfectly reasonable to assume that different factions within the Democratic Party are going to support their own factions. Why isn’t anyone pointing out the obvious Huja, Galvin, Beyer faction? Did no one notice that when Peter McIntosh dropped out, do you not think there was pressure for him drop out and support the Huja, Beyer, Galvin slate? I don’t support that slate (obviously) but it is perfectly normal political caucusing.

    and…while we are at it, the council did have a 5-0 decision to dredge and not build the new earthen dam and pipeline, that was the decision which has now been reversed by the SITTING council, opponents to the dam want to return to the original decision.

    Vote Brandon Collins for City Council

  • sorry. one more quick thought- the “softballs” were pretty annoying, reminded me of a high school debate team and broke the spirit of the format.

  • @Waldo Jaquith:

    You said:
    “I still don’t see the problem here. Republicans took over the House last November in part because of desperation to turn over the previous decision to create a national healthcare system.”

    I said: “exactly look at what the Republicans have done with that, holding the whole country hostage because they can. Do we want that on our City Council?”

    My point is just because the Republicans did it doesn’t make it wonderful and good. Look at the mess we are in today on a variety of issues because of the excesses of ideology and winning by any means politically. The Country’s in a mess and “its just politics” doesn’t cut it as an excuse for me anymore. I don’t want Just Politics” in Cville-its why I voted for Mayor Norris in the first place and its why I don’t like the water-supply-driven election in Cville.

    You said: “I don’t think I’m making a fiddly distinction here.” So @Forum Observer said: “I suspect it is because longstanding, backroom dealings have pretty much guaranteed her a spot on the ticket.” What she is referring to is what I am talking about, we could go on and on about the use of the phrase “backroom dealings” and I think you know what I am talking about and your are being fiddly about it. In fact I am am having nagging thoughts about your disclaimer on Cannon’s story page and perhaps some bleeding over onto this issue? Am I off base here?

    You said: “What is it that you think he despised, and now has become”

    I refer you back to your comment: “Machine politics requires a machine. Nothing of the sort exists within Charlottesville politics. Decades ago, it did, but that machine gradually broke down and, in fact, Dave Norris was one of the people who broke it, via “Democrats for Change.”

    I think you are right. Norris did do what you assert then. So I think he despised the Charlottesville democratic party establishment or “democratic machine” as you refer to that existed right up until he broke it and I am wondering if recent activity I have mentioned above is not the inklings of the building of a new machine of the type you refer to existed previously in Cville. You have give some pretty fiddly technical definitions of machine above and now assert that such a machine existed in cville before and actually you assert right up until recent times, and since old forms seem to just recede for short periods only to be reborn once the young turks have completed their revolution, could this attempt at ticket/slate/bloc activity, that I have referred to as “machine-like,” just not be the precursors of new machine building according to whatever definition you are using for the decades old machine that existed up until the Dems for change broke it? Sorry I didn’t put it in the form of a question before but I didn’t think we were on Jeopardy.

    My “Machine-like” metaphor is not your technical or text book definition of “machine” but may have some elements of it in varying degrees. In any event what I hope does not happen in our town is that a bloc captures the council for one session, makes decisions, then a new bloc takes over and reverses, ad infinitum like we seem to be doing in national elections.

    And just be clear if I used the word junta before, I replace it with “junta-like” as a metaphor. We can keep fiddling if you want or you can help me articulate what you think I am getting at with the METAPHOR (I am not to proud to accept your advice since you got my respect during the whole Kevin Morrissey story) or we can move on.

  • Don’t go yet, Dave. Since you are shilling (or is that schilling?) for your three candidates here, please address the question of how one of them, Dede Smith, performed in the two years she spent as an elected official (the year Scottie Griffin was hired Smith was elected by the school board as vice chair; the year–actually 9 months–Scottie Griffin served, Smith was elected by the school board as chair). My questions for you, Dave: Are you expecting Dede Smith to be that same sort of public official if she is elected to city council? Do you think she behaved in a collaborative way? (Please don’t say you weren’t there and don’t know. That’s punting: ask her colleagues at the time: Ned Michie, Bill Igbane, Muriel Wiggins, Peggy VanYahres, Julie Gronlund, & Byron Brown.) Did Dede Smith show respect for her constituents and those who worked for her in the school division? (Was she a uniting or dividing force?) Was she fiscally responsible? To borrow a page from Brian Wheeler’s playbook, yes or no answers, please!

  • My point is just because the Republicans did it doesn’t make it wonderful and good. Look at the mess we are in today on a variety of issues because of the excesses of ideology and winning by any means politically. The Country’s in a mess and “its just politics” doesn’t cut it as an excuse for me anymore.

    I’m still not clear on the problem here. Republicans ran for office against a federal program to which many voters objected. They won, and now they’re trying to do the thing that many voters wanted them to do. Now, I happen to disagree strenuously with their goal, but the fact is that they have every legal and moral right to overturn a law that they oppose. That’s what legislative bodies do. Indeed, many a terrible law has been eliminated by just this approach. Whether that is an excess of ideology or a bold stance is a matter of which side you’re on in a given debate. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.

    Obviously, “winning by any means” and “excesses of ideology” are bad and can be terribly problematic, but I don’t think we’ve seen any examples of that in this discussion.

    I don’t want Just Politics” in Cville-its why I voted for Mayor Norris in the first place and its why I don’t like the water-supply-driven election in Cville.

    I am not at all a fan of single-issue elections. Long ago, as a candidate for Council, I objected to the Meadowcreek Parkway as a single issue in the race—when it was brought up, I’d quickly give my position but then ask if we could leave it at that because, really, there was a lot more going on than that. But single-issue elections are run for a reason. A lot of people care about the water supply issue, and a lot of people are going to use that as a primary motivator in their vote—it’s rational for candidates to jostle for position on that issue. That said, I have nothing but sympathy for people like you who don’t want to see it as a centerpiece in the race, because I felt the same way about the MCP.

    So @Forum Observer said: “I suspect it is because longstanding, backroom dealings have pretty much guaranteed her a spot on the ticket.” What she is referring to is what I am talking about, we could go on and on about the use of the phrase “backroom dealings” and I think you know what I am talking about and your are being fiddly about it.

    Actually, I don’t know. Are you (and Forum Observer) accusing approximately 1,400 Democrats of colluding secretly to ensure that a given candidate gets nominated? Because such a thing would require machine politics. Such a claim is also, not incidentally, completely at odds with reality, and goes beyond laughable to merely jaw-dropping.

    In fact I am am having nagging thoughts about your disclaimer on Cannon’s story page and perhaps some bleeding over onto this issue? Am I off base here?

    I don’t understand what you’re accusing me of. Could you be more specific?

    Norris did do what you assert then. So I think he despised the Charlottesville democratic party establishment or “democratic machine” as you refer to that existed right up until he broke it and I am wondering if recent activity I have mentioned above is not the inklings of the building of a new machine of the type you refer to existed previously in Cville. You have give some pretty fiddly technical definitions of machine above and now assert that such a machine existed in cville before and actually you assert right up until recent times, and since old forms seem to just recede for short periods only to be reborn once the young turks have completed their revolution, could this attempt at ticket/slate/bloc activity, that I have referred to as “machine-like,” just not be the precursors of new machine building according to whatever definition you are using for the decades old machine that existed up until the Dems for change broke it?

    No. A quick history lesson.

    For more than half a decade, the Byrd Machine ran Virginia politics. Harry Flood Byrd Sr. had risen to the position of governor, and then U.S. Senator, and in that rise he completely overhauled and mechanized the Democratic Party. (You know him for our public road system and Massive Resistance, two of the accomplishments of which he was proudest.) Through methods legal and illegal, he gained control of nearly ever constitutional officer in the state—every sheriff, clerk of court, etc. Clerk became the most powerful position in each locality, politically speaking—the clerk would be Byrd’s point man in each municipality. They decided who would and would not run for office, and if it was for a state-level seat, they’d make recommendations to Byrd, and he’d pick the candidate. Didn’t get picked? Then there was no point in running. Those constitutional officers would bribe voters with what was then (and now) known as “street money.” Byrd might ensure that the Clerk would get (say) $10,000 in today’s money. The Clerk might keep $1k, and break up the remainder among nine top Democrats in the locality. They might keep $100 apiece, and give $50 to each member of the Democratic Committee in exchange for their vote for the slate. They also maintained poll taxes, to keep the poor from voting. The combination of street money and poll taxes ensured incredibly low turnout, which meant that buying a handful of votes was enough to win elections.

    The Byrd Machine collapsed statewide in ’69, when Gov. Linwood Holton was elected. (Though there’s no way he knows me, I know him, having met him a few times, and he’s a hell of a good guy. I like him twice as much for wrecking the Byrd Machine. You’ll know of his son-in-law: Gov. Tim Kaine.) But it continued to exist in localities, where the power was just assumed by Clerks or other figures, who just began to use that existing local network of people for themselves. Without that central source of authority, though, it got weaker and weaker with each passing election. By the nineties, there were still some municipalities where the same people had been running the Democratic Party or had been in office since the sixties, and by keeping substantial quantities of new people from joining the party, they’d been able to hold onto power. But that was the decade when Baby Boomers’ kids finally represented a big enough chunk of the politically involved population that those final little bits of control faded away nearly everywhere. And that was the end of the last dregs of the Byrd Machine.

    That is a machine. What you are describing is people who agree with each other supporting one another for office. I hope that you will now agree that this is not tiny distinction. It’s a bit like calling somebody a “Nazi” because they correct your grammar—it’s rather an exaggeration of the situation. :)

    In any event what I hope does not happen in our town is that a bloc captures the council for one session, makes decisions, then a new bloc takes over and reverses, ad infinitum like we seem to be doing in national elections.

    I think the idea that such a thing was possible died by the time I ran. That year, there was a really sweet guy who was “supposed” to get the nomination, named David Simmons. I had lots of Democrats—almost uniformly in their sixties or older—inform me that it wasn’t my turn to run, it was David’s turn, and I should just wait my turn. I thought—and still think—that such an approach is anti-democratic and fundamentally awful, and I ignored them. So did several other candidates, as evidenced by the six candidates seeking two seats, much like this year. It became clear over the course of the race that David was utterly unqualified for the seat—he didn’t know how to answer most of the questions posed in debates, had never had any experience that prepared him in any way to serve on Council, didn’t have any public speaking experience, etc. (Again, though, hell of a nice guy. I think that’s an important point.) He lost, and badly. That, I believe, was the end of the widespread viewpoint regarding turn-taking.

    There’s another important point to make here, about the change that Democrats made in their nomination process two years ago. For a long, long time they held a convention. That’s where a lot of people get together in a room and, all together, they vote of their nominees. These are very easy to control (aka manipulate, I suppose), and are really the only viable approach these days for machine-like politics. Democrats’ new process is called a “firehouse primary.” That’s basically the opposite of a convention. That’s where anybody who wants to can show up at an appointed public location anytime in an entire day and cast their ballot. That quadrupled turnout last election. It’s simply impossible to manipulate voting on that level. The other really important change that they made is moving to instant runoff voting. Rather than just voting for your three favorite candidates, this has voters rank the candidates from their most- to least-favorite. Then they are tallied in such a way that the candidates that the most people like the most (or, put differently, that the least number of people dislike) end up winning. This makes it enormously difficult to control via machine-like politics.

    Yesterday I read a great joke quote yesterday that’s worth closing with: “People tell me I’m condescending. That means I talk down to people.” :) If I’m providing history information that you are well aware of, then I apologize. But I suspect and hope that I’m not, in which case that I hope that this helps you to understand why the accusations of machine politics are displaced by about fifty years. Or 600 miles, what with Chicago. :)

  • I think Dave Norris has been an excellent mayor and I trust his judgment far more than the other posters on this blog. Besides, if Galvin/Beyer/Huja or any two of this 3some are elected we will have a Mayor Huja or a Mayor Szakos – that thought is scary, given the performance of those 2 on Council. Szakos spends her time scolding citizens who come to voice their opinion ( and only those she disagrees with ) and Huja comes unprepared and hardly enters into the discussion.

    This has been my observation from watching most meetings on TV.

  • Waldo,
    I liked your joke at the end. All good from my pov. I used a metaphor, you think it’s hyperbole. Let’s get back to the main issue. I don’ remember in my 15 years here a situation where a sitting mayor lost on a big issue and then waded into the fray at the level of supporting candidates When he/she was not running. Donyou have any recollection about that?

    I just hope that the sit. In cville you described, that norris thankfully helped break down, isn’t repeating itself and i think it might. The ticket/slate issue as reflected in the “lame” performance by the trio at the debate took some back room orchestrating, and being campaign finance director (despite your protestation to the contrary) for a candidate seem very unusual to me and significant. I think we agree on the single issue problematic and excess of ideology and I have to say as a remote observer, the water issue has become highly ideological and I am not sure why these anti dam people don’t just run a referendum and not make the election about it. My honest feeling is that if mayor norris had not lost on the water issue he would not be out backing candidates now, but that’so just my speculation. I would prefer he stay out of the mud, stay above the fray and be a bit more “mayoral”.

    I have had a lot of respect for mayor norris and I feel the candidate support move as well as the choice of his slate h
    As made me lose some confidence in his judgement- it just doesn’t feel or smell right to me- but that’s just my opinion.

    I think @Ackerman asks some very relevant questions of norris concerning the choice of candidates for the slate, which is another issue above and beyond the process issues I have raised but may be related to the win at any cost mentality.
    There are major red flags there, IMHO.

    And no I am not suggesting that 1200 democrats are conspiring to do anything of the sort. I was suggesting that a group of anti- dam supporters are collaborating to construct a ticket and then doing lame things at debates, keeping things focused on the single issue. You are right nothing illegal, immoral, or improper about it, it just leads to a groupnof group thinkers on council and it feels like the kind of things folks who wanted to build a machine or ideological bloc, would do. I think we agree that the strategy would lead to councilors with very little light beteen them.right now there seems to be a good amount of diversity of thought on a wide variety of issues on council. Schilling is right in some of his complaints about the problems of a one party town- I just think this ticket idea exacerbates that problem. I would encourage people to do what Dave norris said to do in his post here but would add that they take into account candidates’ participation in “lame” debate tactics as part of their weighing of candidates.

  • @truthtopower and others: These ridiculous accusations of nefarious backroom politics are getting really tiresome, as are the repeated slurs against the characters of several of the candidates. Rob Schilling is accusing Jim Nix of engineering the Huja, Galvin, and Beyer slate. Care to address that ridiculous claim as well?

    Personally, I’m looking for candidates that meet the following criteria:
    1) Emphasis on social justice issues like education, affordable housing, fair wages, and compassion for the underserved in our community that translates into proactive solutions, rather than hand-wringing.
    2) A respect for what makes Charlottesville a cool quirky place, including preserving its architectural, historical, and cultural fabric through vigorous preservation and adaptive reuse vs demoing old buildings and replacing them with crappy new ones. Density advocates need not apply, unless you can prove to me that you really know how to make it work. (It can work, but it ain’t easy.) Stop experimenting on my city with your “vision” and stop destroying neighborhoods. If you look at all the green space in the Woolen Mills and see it as an “opportunity,” then hit the road, buster.
    3) An undying respect for greenspace. That means *real* greenspace vs pathetic New Urbanist pocket parks. It also means respect for our parks and for our river, which has been completely crapped on by short-sighted development in both the city and county.
    4) A strong emphasis on conserving our resources, water among them. That means using what we have first, and only then building more. Our precious resources aren’t an all-you-can-eat buffet, which is the typical AlbCo supes attitude towards everything. Show some respect.
    5) An ability to not be snowed by powerful special interests, and the county suits. The county and city share some identical problems. Unfortunately though, some of the county’s solutions are knee-jerk and shortsighted, and could actively harm the city. I want my representatives to stand up for our citizens, not wet their pants any time Boyd, Thomas, or Snow bark at them. Yes, we need to work together, but when the rubber meets the road, our Councilors better not do the politically expedient thing when the city’s best interests hang in the balance. So spine and gumption are a huge part of the equation. Personally, I have this huge RWSA pumping station nightmare to deal with in the Woolen Mills, along with a host of old harmful zoning issues that need to be addressed. I want warriors in my corner, not wimps.

    Many people in Cville across the political spectrum respect Dave Norris and Holly Edwards for their unwavering and brave support of the citizens of this city– no matter how poor or voiceless they might be. It would have been so easy for them to capitulate to $$ interests, and lord knows it would have freed up more time for them to spend with family and friends. I might not agree with them 100% on every issue, but that’s to be expected. I, and many others, are supporting candidates with similar qualities as Dave and Holly. You can call that a conspiracy if you like, but many of us simply want more gumption from our elected officials, and less old-school Dem conciliation and backroom deals.

  • I would have to agree with @truthtopower that there are major red flags. I think the debate, or whole lack of real debate, over the YMCA is another example of a block of council agreeing that something will happen and drive it through. I remember Mr. Taliaferro asking pointed questions about the finances and the wisdom of the idea, and come next election he was not in Mr. Norris’s favor.
    I agree with Karl that it might be better for the City if Mr. Norris had to collaborate with new members of council rather than picking who he would like to have help him guide his agenda.

  • There is a huge difference between Dave Norris picking who will be on City Council and him campaigning on behalf of people he would like to see on Council.

    I personally thing having the YMCA in the park is an incredibly stupid idea for many reasons, damn near as stupid as the bypass, but I just don’t see how there is something wrong when the group of people who are charged with making those decision make a decision. Of course there is a bock of councilors who think the same, otherwise the idea wouldn’t have moved forward indicating a block of those opposed. If that is somehow corrupt, then what might the alternative be?

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