Paul Long Running for Council Again

Independent candidate Paul Long is running for City Council, the Progress reports. The public transit advocate and university employee ran for the same office two years ago, finishing last with 7.5% of the vote. He is running on a platform that includes the decriminalization of drugs, having the bus system expand its area of service, and improving homeless shelters. He’s against the Meadowcreek Parkway. He’s running as an independent because he regards Charlottesville Democrats as too conservative (“Bush-lite Democrats”), putting him in the same company as socialist candidate Brandon Collins. He’s the fifth independent to declare his candidacy for the three seats. Democrats will pick their candidates on August 20, and the general election is on November 8.

27 Responses to “Paul Long Running for Council Again”


  • Damn- When you have the stones to call the current crop of democrats “bush lite” then I officially got no idea what being a democrat means.

  • county mountie: great question! Let the defining begin.

    The Dems started to lose me at Clinton and Obama (but the alternatives were of course horrendously worse I’ll give you that). Both of them were neoliberal, centrists more than “democrats”. Support free market, laissez-faire economics, privatizing and competition in things like education, e.g., charter schools, Race-to-The-Top. I was looking more for FDR’s second Bill of Rights that got lost with his death (Google those).

    When Obama caved on Bush tax cuts, prosecuted wars Bush got us into, wouldn’t prosecute wall streeters and banks and housing financiers who got us into this depression, wouldn’t live up to promises to support labor in Wisconsin, etc., he lost me. I will give him bank and credit finance reforms and student loan reforms, but I want a lot more like that and heavy duty implementation esp. with OCR and EPA. Its like he’s and the party compromised us into a centrist democratic party that does look a lot like Bush-lite. Coming from west coast, It has always seemed like a Virginia democrat is like a Pinto democrat as they used to be called. I think that is what brought on Cville’s Left of Center but I don’t know enough about them to weigh in.

  • I think that is what brought on Cville’s Left of Center but I don’t know enough about them to weigh in.

    I’m pretty sure that’s not true. I didn’t have anything to do with the founding of Left of Center, but I ran it for a while (a couple of years ago). Our goal was just to provide some sort of a venue for political discussion and education that would be of interest to people under the age of forty. And all along, trying to avoid explicit political exhortations (volunteer to do X, vote for Y), but just sticking to telling people what’s what. The name “Left of Center” isn’t to mean “not centrist Democrats” but, instead, “it doesn’t matter if you define yourself as a Democrat or not—if you’re anywhere to the left of center, then you might find this interesting.”

    Maybe you’re thinking of Democrats for Change?

  • Waldo,

    Yep I think you are right, maybe it was Dems for change. But I am not too familiar with that group either.

  • I’m thrilled that Paul Long is running. He’s such a breath of fresh air– a genuine old-school fire-breathing unapologetic liberal, with a capital L! (Plus he’s got that Philly accent.) I’m really excited to see what he brings to the debate.

    Candidates like Dede Smith, Colette Blount, Paul, Brandon Collins, and Bob Fenwick are bringing a lot of excitement and vibrancy to this race. They may have different messages, but share some important similarities: All are stand-up folks, have a great deal of love of this community, and very importantly, a lot of SPINE. Several of them have been hard-working unpaid activists for years, trying to make Cville a better place. They don’t benefit financially from their hard work on our behalf, nor are they likely to use their positions on Council to push legislation that would benefit them financially. Something to think about.

  • A shout-out to my fellow Woolen Mills Neighborhood Board member, Victoria (our prez), followed a polite rebuttal: Victoria, Dede Smith would make a terrible City Councilor. Truly awful. Why do I know this? She was a truly awful School Board member, especially when she served as chair during the horrendous Scottie Griffin/Dede Smith era. Dede Smith simply doesn’t listen to people who disagree with her. She has scorn for politicians (odd, given she was one; and wants to become one again). She’s a terrible collaborator. Ask any of the people who served with her on the School Board. I’ve yet to hear ONE of them stand up to support Dede Smith’s city council candidacy. (Six years on the school board: that’s a LOT of folks sitting on their hands. Kathy Galvin on the other hand, had 5 of her 6 School Board colleagues supporting her city council candidacy at her announcement to enter the race. The only one who wasn’t there was Colette Blount, who is also in the race.)

    If you intend to vote for Dede Smith on the water issue, make sure you agree with EVERYTHING else on her agenda, because election day will be your last opportunity to be heard by her.

  • Karl, happily, this hasn’t been my experience at all. I don’t know any of the school board members who served with Ms Smith personally, or even by reputation. No offense meant to them as I’m sure they’re fine people, but the opinions of strangers don’t hold too much weight with me. However, I do know many of the people who enthusiastically support Ms Smith. Having worked closely with many of them over the years, I’ve come to value their opinions. We all hold integrity, bravery, and hard work in the highest regard.

    We’re facing some special challenges in the years ahead, and I’m not referring specifically to water. There’s growth, which is handled abominably by local density advocates, traffic, and the preservation of greenspace and our urban tree canopy. Then there are a myriad of social justice issues which need to be addressed, as well as the piecemeal destruction of our historic assets. Basically, I will vote for council candidates with clear visions regarding quality of life, preservation, and the environment… but most importantly who have the guts to back it up. So anyone with a demonstrable record of activism on important issues shoots to the front of the line.

    On a personal note, after what I’ve experienced recently re the pumping station, for 14 years prior to that with the sewage treatment plant and composting yard, and also the many years spent on zoning and preservation issues, I know how tenuous Council votes can be. Just the slightest pressure from the right organizations, developers, or the Chamber, and key votes can change. We need candidates who can withstand that pressure and do right by the citizens. I’ve spoken to many community leaders and activists, and they all feel similarly. We stick our necks out all the time, and we greatly appreciate Councilors who are willing to do the same on behalf of the citizens.

  • “We need candidates who can withstand the pressure and do right by the citizens.” That’s NOT Dede Smith. She may be a fine activist. But as an activist one acts alone. On council Dede Smith will have to work with four other councilors, and with city staff and the public (many of whom might disagree with her). She’s a failure in those venues. Victoria, you are simply putting your head in the sand to say that you don’t know any of the school board members she worked with in the past. (I’m sure you know Peggy VanYahres, one of our neighbors.) It matters how she has preformed in public office (miserably–my opinion, sure, but I’m not alone–and this is something you could check out) because it will tell you how she will perform on council. I may feel differently were Dede Smith to address her performance on the school board, and note her errors. She has only expressed pride in her work on the school board. At the recent forum, she wouldn’t even answer the question of whether she still believed Scottie Griffin was good for our school division. (Incredible, since Dede herself voted to pay the woman nearly $300,000 to leave just 9 months into a three-year contract. Is this the sort of person we want for city council? I sure don’t.

  • Karl, give it a rest.

  • hometown girl: Agreed. The more someone single-issues his dissent about someone/something, the more likely I am to vote the opposite way.

  • Is Mr. Long one of these people who have been duped by CWSP political action committee/special interest group? You know, if you favored the dam then you are automatically guilty of corruption and bought off by “corporate special interest”? Crazy Talk. Kristen Szakos voted for the dam and she’s no dope to be duped. For goodness sakes look how she got elected. Neither is David Brown or Mr. Huja. But CWSP and their propagandists would have you believe that and the same about the other candidates who don’t pass their litmus test of dredge or die. Its like we are heading for McCarthyism is these CWSP slate get elected.

    CWSP wants everyone to focus on the water issue (and we already know the answer about dredging-it won’t give us the supply we need)so we forget about the issue Mr. Ackerman raises about the integrity and past record of some of those running, especially Smith. If you don’t pay attention to history you will repeat it and I don’t think anyone wants a repeat of the Cville School Board leadership or politics again. And hasn’t Ms. Smith, as the “activist” shown the same kind o behavior with the water issues? “Activists” like Ms. Smith don’t belong on governing bodies.

    This whole water issue is exactly like the debt ceiling issue. By getting you to focus on the debt ceiling, they are getting you to forget about the abysmal record on economic growth and unemployment-the real problems. The CWSP wants the same thing, to make you think they are the anti-growth crusaders while you forget that their leader did a horrible job as leader of the CCS school Board. Stay focused the issues are way broader than dredging or not.

    And to those who have bought the CWSP argument, If Cville doesn’t deal with growth in a sane way businesses will leave or not locate here, people will leave. I don’t trust these CWSP types who pretend they have “the citizens’ interests at heart when they really just want their candidates elected to get their one issue agenda filled and so they can have a bloc on Council that thinks alike and acts like some junta.

    Galvin, Huja, Blount and Beyer will do that, deal with issues in a non-bloc, thoughtful, non-ideological manner. They with Mr. Norris and Ms. Szakos would make a well balanced Council that would act reasonably.

    I hope Mr Long is reasonable too, he might get my vote if he shows he can stand up to the worst of the special interest groups/PACs, CWSP. Forget the water issue al together-vote for candidates with proven records of POSITIVE service (e.g, Galvin and Blount on School Board, Huja on Council).

  • Give it a rest Walt. Maybe you and Karl could go for a drink. If you can’t give it a rest then please, take pity on the rest of us.

  • @ Andrew Hersey: love the photos on your website. They are fabulous. I wouldn’t have found them had you not written to say that my statements about Dede Smith are more likely to make you vote for her, so thanks for writing! Now, about this notion that my dissent is “single issue”… sorry, I don’t agree. Not at all. To me this is about character. It’s like John Edwards. You hear the wonderful speeches, see the charisma, and he looks like a great candidate. Then you learn something important about his past and the wheels come off the wagon. Different issue with Dede Smith, of course. With Dede Smith, it’s more of a Nixon issue. Were folks who voted for RMN in 1972 really surprised to discover that he was up to his eyeballs in Watergate? If so, shame on them, given his recent political past. For heaven’s sake, his nickname was Tricky Dick! He had a deep character flaw that made him unsuitable for office. As does Dede Smith. I hope you see that this is not a single-issue dissent. I am questioning her character. (Folks, do check out Andrew’s website.)

  • @hometown girl

    Huh? Whuh? I haven’t written anything here.

  • @hometown Girl,

    Don’t know who you are talking about but it is like a Smith/CWSP supporter to make personal attacks, go ad Hom with people not running for office, and not focus on the issues at hand, to try to personalize debates about issues (Just take a look at the tripe in the Hook and its blog on the story this week). That reminds me of her leadership during the school board period (Google it). And we should expect same on Council if she gets elected.

    Nice try, but this is about an election, candidates, and the reading public need to know that CWSP is an ideological, special interest group trying to use the water issue as a trojan horse to get someone elected who has a horrible record of public leadership,and will bring more plagues to our house if elected. The other candidate on the CWSP/Norris Slate appears like an inexperienced minion of CWSP/Norris whose primary qualifications for the job was passing the dredging litmus test by the new Bolsheviks-CWSP.

    I didn’t go all ideological crusader and hire a supt. whose past record I didn’t vet and then cost the City 290,000. Do we want this kind of thing on Council?

    Notice how I don’t make innuendo about your name or identity. I don’t care because its not personal its about political issues and qualifications of candidates in a election. Innuendo, false accusations, personalizing things, that’s the danger I see if CSWP ideologues get elected. Those kinds of people when they get elected do irresponsible things because they are blinded by their ideology and personalizing of things. In my opinion, the CWSP and their slate of candidates are ideologues, members of which have no place on City Council. I don’t think James Halfaday would be like this even though he supports dredging.

    I’ll will give it a rest when CWSP and the ideological mis- and dis-information stops and they give it a rest. When everyone realizes they are trying to hijack the election for their own special interests. Accusing Brown, Huja, and Szakos of being in the pockets of special interests because they did not support dredging is off the chart nonsense. 3-2, get over it.

    In the mean time consider non-ideologues for council like Huja, Blount, Halfaday, Galvin, Beyer. No bloc voting independent minded, no record of past lack of judgement.

  • Wow, this whole debate has grown unpleasant and personal with comments like “head in the sand” etc, don’t you think? You are correct– Peggy Van Yahres is a neighbor, but we are only nodding acquaintances, and I know nothing about her voting record. However, I’m pretty sure she can speak for herself on this website and others.

    My support of the candidacy of Ms Smith, among others, is not based on fantasy or delusional thinking. My own record working on various issues facing our city and county speaks for itself, and I can assure you that I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday.

    I find the criticism being lodged here against activists to be rather distressing. Is activism a dirty word in your world? You’d do well to remember that both Dave Norris and Holly Edwards came to us as community activists, and our community has been blessed to have this pair of tireless exemplary public servants on Council.

  • Good you brought up Dave Norris’ name, Victoria, as his intrusion is at the heart of this election: in politics, you take a vote and move on to address other important issues. Dave lost a vote (on the water issue), and instead of moving on he has assembled a group of three–Smith, Blount, and Cannon–with the hope that two will be elected to overturn the vote he lost. I don’t like this kind of rearview mirror leadership from our mayor. I wish Dave would understand that there is real merit in electing five people to council who are not beholden to each other–or to him–people who have their own constituency, who will speak for the many different voices who elected them. These folks would agree on some issues, and disagree on others; they would vote and move on.

  • Sorry Walt didn’t mean to misidentify you, but if you are Karl’s friend maybe you could help him calm down. I think we get it; he and whoever Truth are don’t want Ms. Smith elected. I was trying to bring a bit of serenity to this post, but too much anger here – over and out.

  • Karl, unfortunately your reasoning is entirely flawed, and you have no hard facts to back up this weird accusation. Who is feeding you this line of nonsense, and why on earth are you swallowing it?

    The idea that three of the candidates are hapless patsies, in lockstep with each other at the bidding of an evil puppet master, is ridiculous. I’ve even seen the word cabal mentioned by one of your buddies. What’s next– are you going to burn them at the stake? Have you even spoken with them at length regarding their platforms, or read their campaign info?

    Seriously, the level of paranoia and mud-slinging coming from your camp is getting surreal. Is the rationale behind this to throw any weird theory against the wall in the desperate hope that something sticks? Ultimately, this doesn’t reflect well on your candidate, I’m afraid.

  • Victoria, I get that folks for whom the water and Meadowcreek Parkway issue are everything–who want dredging even though the majority vote favors the dam, who demand that the parkway stopped at the city line–will vote for Dede Smith regardless of her past performance in public office. It doesn’t matter to these folks that the school board Dede Smith chaired met secretly all through that terrible year. (This isn’t my opinion: the school board she chaired was publicly criticized by the VA Coalition for Open Government.) The $ millions that were wasted ($300,000 in the pay out, countless more $ in lost time in the classroom due to all the ridiculous testing that came with Scottie Griffin and Dede Smith) won’t matter to these folks. But I wonder if there might be other folks reading this who, like me, are seeking to have City Council that collaborates. If so, Dede Smith should not be elected.

  • @hometown girl

    I do agree with you about bringing serenity to the whole thing. I feel like when the supporters of dredging and those against the earthen dam lost their vote, they got really angry and have been doing things that just exacerbate the discourse ever since. I didn’t agree with Mayor Norris coming out so publicly and supporting candidates who will give him a second bite at the apple, it seemed like to me it was like getting into alliances with people he would not have under normal circumstances but was expedient to do so-but that’s just my opinion. I did not like the show at the first debate where those three candidates threw up softball questions to each other in some pre-debate orchestrated strategy to form a bloc.

    I have not liked the level of vitriol put forth by CWSP and their supporters since they lost the water decision when every major institution voted for it (ACBS, CCC, UVA, many environmental groups, etc). Instead of running a referendum they have decided to make this election about the water issue and I don’t think some of their candidates are qualified just because they support dredging, wrong set of qualifications for the job. I don’t think one’s passion for the water issue should cloud one’s judgement about the past experience of candidates. The Hook article, an editorial really, and some of the things they have written on CT reflect the vitriol and is full of innuendo and accusations that were sickening & wiped out the chance for serenity. Talk about mud slinging @ Victoria Dunham, look at some of that. Read the blog posts after the Hook’s article, talk about anger. Its a bit scary. It makes me feel like if these people were vindicated and elected, we might have our own minor McCarthyism in town.

    Is it some odd coincident that Mayor Norris is supporting the same three as CWSP? They may have some differences but all indications this is about overturning the dam decision and they have said they would call for a new vote. Nothing wrong with that as long as its all on the table and the voters know what the are getting if they hop on that train. I might even vote for candidates who support dredging but not candidates who want to form some ideological anti-earthen dam bloc on Council and by so doing end up with councilors who bring such vitriol to Council.

    As to @ Karl Ackerman, I am in no position to influence his opinions or even to have a drink with him. I just agree with some of his opinions in that I don’t want people to forget about a candidate’s record just because there is this big ideological hullabaloo about the dredging issue that takes our attention off of the historical record. I want people on council who can lead us through sane growth process in town (people like Huja, Galvin, Blount, Beyer, Halfaday) not anti-growth ideologues. I like this town too much for that.

    George on Seinfeld: “Serenity now!” :)

  • If one is looking to try and stop the Meadowcreek Parkway and turn the water debate into a bloodbath of community non-cooperation, Ms. Smith is your champion. She seems not to possess a modicum of compromise now or in the past.

    The level of discourse between county/city is to the point that I’ve read of county residents that want VDOT to hold the Belmont Bridge hostage till the city builds the Parkway. Considering the promises broken by the City after approving the Parkway and watching the County build their portion, I’m not sure they’re wrong. Factor in the city voting against the Western bypass and it would not surprise anyone that VDOT might oblige them.

    Of course I’m just a county resident who doesn’t get to vote in the primary, so take what I think with a grain of salt.

  • County Mountie

    Yes especially with what we read in the news about the schools. Maybe the City will kick the County out of Burley if they get mad enough.

    It all gives pause, If the people who like to fight with the County (or just like to fight period) capture the Council, will it give rise to the reversion idea again. Once the dominoes start to fall, and I think many citizens are probably sick and tired of all this fighting and name calling, reversion into one government unit would probably end the fighting. The fiscal conservatives would be satisfied with the massive cost savings. Not that I support the idea but one could see how the citizens of both localities could get sick enough of all the fighting and just say end it through a merger. Food for thought anyway.

  • How did Paul Long get lost in all of this?
    Rule Victoria!!! I admire your public involvement.

  • @ thuth to power

    “Kristen Szakos voted for the dam and she’s no dope to be duped. For goodness sakes look how she got elected.”

    She campaigned locally for Obama.

    “This whole water issue is exactly like the debt ceiling issue. By getting you to focus on the debt ceiling, they are getting you to forget about the abysmal record on economic growth and unemployment-the real problems.”

    Obama’s record? If that’s what you mean, then it seems pretty clear that Sazkos is in fact a dope to be duped. My own personal interaction with her has certainly made me feel that way.

  • Is there a website for Paul Long to look at his platform?

  • More political figures, including Mayor Dave Norris, appear on the locally-produced Charlottesville politics interview program Politics Matters with host Jan Paynter: http://bit.ly/polmatters. The interview can be found in the Program Library. The current show features Bob Gibson, Executive Director Sorensen Institute, discussing journalism and the media.

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