Mixed message: Why Huja, Galvin, Smith won Dem primary

The nomination of Democratic candidates Satyendra Huja, Kathy Galvin, and Dede Smith in a bitterly divided City Council primary offered a couple of firsts: no African-American earned a Democratic nomination for the first time in 30 years, sitting councilors made endorsements, and mass mailings funded by environmental groups and a business PAC urged voters to go with candidates who support the new-dam/pipeline water plan.

The Democratic party chose its candidates for City Council in the daylong firehouse primary August 20, followed by a grueling, six-hour count in the instant run-off process in which voters ranked the candidates. It was a victory for those supporting the Meadowcreek Parkway, dam/pipeline water plan, and what some call the old guard of the Democratic machine. But not totally.

Because along with incumbent Huja and Galvin on the side that wants to move forward with the hot-button projects previously approved by Council, anti-dam, anti-Parkway candidate Dede Smith joins them, squeaking onto the November ballot with 31 votes more than Paul Beyer in the field of seven, a tally verified by an August 22 recount of a final fifth round.

Even the usually staid clerk of court race brought a stunning upset, with challenger Llezelle Dugger garnering more than twice as many votes as three-term incumbent Paul Garrett.

The predominant issue was which side of the 50-year water plan candidates supported. Huja, Galvin, and Beyer were in the dam/pipeline camp; Smith, Colette Blount, Brevy Cannon, and James Halfaday favored dredging the Rivanna Reservoir.

Mayor Dave Norris endorsed Smith, Blount, and Cannon, yet saw just one of his choices win a nomination. He called the result a mixed message.

"Incumbents always come in with an advantage, so it's no surprise Huja did as well as he did," says Norris. "And the two other open seats split between the two factions."

Perhaps one the most surprising results was that the only African-American candidate, Colette Blount, came in fifth.

"The legend of the Democratic party that there will always be an African-American candidate is not true," says Councilor Holly Edwards, an African American who is stepping down after just one term and who did not endorse any candidates. "I think that representation is important in this city with its history."

"If Colette had turned out 300 more votes, we'd be having a different conversation," says Norris.

However, some, like former mayor Blake Caravati, saw Norris' endorsement of Blount as a drawback for her. "I think [the election] was a repudiation of the tactics of the mayor," says Caravati. "It wasn't a very progressive way to conduct an election, nor was that ticket progressive in its tactics.

"I'm really disappointed there isn't a African-American candidate," Caravati continues, adding that if Blount had run without the Norris endorsement and dredging-faction affiliation, she'd have won "hands down."

Caravati also notes that in his 30 years of local politics, "It was the first time a sitting councilor took a stance against another," referring to Norris' nonsupport of Huja. "I'm surprised Kristin [Szakos] did it too."

"I did not seek out anyone's endorsement," says Blount, a School Board member and a teacher at Burley Middle School. "And I never met with Dave during the campaign. That's what makes this difficult. There's a lot of guilt by association."

She lists factors that may have kept her off the Dem slate of candidates, including being the last candidate to announce and, despite her door-to-door efforts, the large number of citizens who don't live and breathe politics enough to get out and vote on a late-August weekend.

Although 2,582 ballots were cast– a 60 percent increase over the 2009 turnout– "2,500 is really low," says Blount, and she says that nationwide, black turnout is at historically low levels.

Blount is dismayed by the tone of anonymous bloggers. "Many people made assumptions about me who'd never talked to me," she says. "I saw a side of Charlottesville that I was saddened by."

Her loss, she says, could be a wake-up call to the African-American community.

'I think the African-American community showed its complacency perhaps by not going out to vote," says NAACP president Rick Turner. "I don't think Colette Blount did enough to support herself. If you want people to vote for you, you have to walk the streets and you have to get endorsements from the NAACP and other folks."

Paul Beyer's 31-vote loss was reminscent of another young candidate, Waldo Jaquith, who was a Council contender in 2002 until the fourth ballot, when he lost by four votes.

Beyer requested a verification of the 1:15am Sunday ballot count. Up until that fifth round, votes had been counted twice.

"In the final round, when it was just me and Dede, people had been doing it for six hours," says Beyer on Monday. "That's the time when errors occur."

"The rules say you count twice," says Democratic co-chair Jim Nix. "It was 1:15am, and we didn't."

In a two-hour recount August 22 of the fifth round, in which the lowest vote-getting candidates– Halfaday, Cannon, and Blount– had already been eliminated, the numbers came up the same as the bleary-eyed early a.m. count: 1,188 for Smith; 1,159 for Beyer.

"It was an absolutely fair process," says Beyer after the recount, and he congratulated Smith and said he'd support the nominees.

In contrast to the City Council nominees, the clerk of court race was decisively decided in the first round, with public defender Llezelle Dugger tallying 1,534 votes to Garrett's 656 and Pam Melampy's 294.

"We did what we did in the past, and it was not enough," says Garrett, who has been in office since 1981.

Dugger, who is also on the Charlottesville School Board, thinks her nomination victory came from a combination of factors.

"[Garrett] has had a lot of bad press over the past five years," she says. "The legal community finally felt it had a candidate it could get behind. I had a great organization. And you can't underestimate– I am a candidate who has a history of working with the Democrats. I've been vetted as a candidate that can be elected."

Despite being trounced in the primary, Melampy collected 125 signatures and, two days after the primary (and one day before the August 23 deadline), filed to run as an independent on the November 8 ballot.

And while the nominees from the powerful party's primary traditionally become shoo-ins in November, five independents remain to jostle for City Council seats.

Read more on: city council election


To say that there was some "mixed" message by the primary results is nothing but spin and shame on the hook for promulgating this. Dave Norris may want to downplay the result of his explicit endorsement, but Ms. Blount doesn't seem to believe there's any mixed message. In fact this article shows her taking concrete verbal steps to distance herself from Dave Norris.

(Indeed, her statement that she never met with the mayor during the campaign is odd as there are pictures of the two of them from a rally two days prior to the primary.)

In poker terms, the mayor went all in with his endorsement and Szakos waited until the river to call his bluff. Her endorsees easily waltz in to the council race knowing that they are the preference of a clear majority of the democratic primary votes wheras Dede Smith, former head of the school board, barely eeked out a 30 vote victory over a political novice. There is very little "mixed" message there.
The facts are loud and incontrovertible. To look at the facts and say they mean the opposite of what they clearly mean makes the hook look like a joke. The fact that a "journalist" at the hook would simply reprint a politician's spin after such an electoral rebuke only shows that the hook itself made a big bet with its laughable diatribe against the agreed upon water plan.

It certainly is a shame that there will be no African American representation on city council. Perhaps if Mr. Norris hadn't made his cynical move, there would be.

Paul Beyer is no more or less of a political novice than Dede Smith. Huja got in for many reasons that had nothing to do with Szakos. Norris needed to be pipped on the post, because outside of the dam, I don't think he has represented the over all population in the City very well.

I agree with former mayor Blake Caravati. With Colette Blount's intelligence, proven electability, and her fine service on the school board, she should have been a front-runner in the city council campaign. Her decision to be part of Dave Norris's slate was a huge mistake. And it was a slate: the plan among the three to serve up softball questions to each other at the Burley forum had to have agreed to beforehand. After the Burley forum I wrote to Colette and asked to reconsider joining Norris's slate, as I would have liked to consider supporting her. She wrote back to say that "Public (and personal) perception is what we make it." I still don't understand what that means. I wished she had called a press conference and declared her independence from Dede Smith and Brevy Cannon.

Blount is a very bitter sore loser , dumping on her mentor Bunker Dave,dumping on black people,dumping on free speech bloggers,dumping on one whole"side of C'ville" and on and on and on. The fact of the matter her politics were reputed by the voters .She was a poor candidate who gave off a mixed confused message. Leaders lead but she was PERSUADED to run . Leaders have a passion to step forward and not look for a free ride .She was supported by the mayor ,many others and support was witheld from Beyer to let her win but she still blew it . Instead of professing leadership she claimed she was going to be led by the people .So if she heard 50 different viewpoints per day she would be led or PERSUADED in 50 different directions each day .

So let me get this straight, it was more important for Caravati, Slaughter, Galvin, Szakos and all those party-line Dems to have a supermajority on council in favor of destroying the Ragged Mtn Natural Area and paving over McIntire Park than it was to ensure that black Charlottesville has a voice on council??? I guess Blount didn't pass their purity test. Shameful.

The ruling clique within the democratic party decided to throw their weight and money and contact lists and endorsements and expertise to a slate of candidates that pointedly did not include any African-Americans. The candidates chosen by that ruling clique usually have a huge built-in advantage over their opponents. As was the case this year. Didn't have to be that way but it was. The entitled white yuppies in this town like Ackerman and Caravati and Galvin care more about pushing a narrow ideological agenda than ensuring representation for people who don't look like them or drink the same lattes.

In respect fairness ,representation and diversity this article misses a glaring shortcoming . There is a person of colour, two females but where is there a white male ? Why no huffing and puffing about no white male ?

Old Timer- perhaps your age has clouded your memory. Dede Smith was the chair of the school board, that is political experience in this city. That's before her many, many apperances on media and counsel meeting taunting her dreding plan. If you can't see that then I don't know what to tell you.

Paul Beyer was a novice who ran a very good race and if I were Mayor Norris I would be looking in my rearview mirror at Beyer's fast approach if Paul decides to run in 2 years. Norris is looking for 300 votes for Blount? If 16 voters had changed their minds and voted for Beyer over Smith, the Mayor would have gone 0-3. If Norris isn't seriously challenged for the nomination I would be shocked. Given this election his re-election is less than certain.

So congratulations Caravati, Toscano, all you elitist old guard Dems, you've sold out the city to county business interests who bought & paid for your slate, you'll get your grandiose totally unneeded dam but at enormous cost to your reputations and to that of the democratic party in this town.

I think the message was loud and clear - this was an attempt by the Nature Conservancy and the Monticello Alliance Business PAC to swing the election and they succeeded. Without their intervention I doubt if the Galvin/Huja/Beyer slate would have won any seats.

This was a 2 seat win of special interests over the people of Charlottesville, and many drank the kool aid.

Their constant lobbying of other environmental groups, the League of Woman Voters, and all their other friends is what got them 2 nominees and almost a sweep.

They were single focused and desperate when they saw their international modal for taking over a community's water plan might fall apart.

If you still don't understand the role of the Nature Conservancy read this and tell me why it is factually inaccurate, not some general statement like - this is not true, I want details .


The Nature Conservancy sent a water plan mailer to city voters 3 days before the election and the Monticello Business Alliance sent one that arrived 2 days late ( the intent was clearly for it to arrive the day of or day before the election) so no one could rebut the lies in their mailer . And that's what they are lies .

There was a response to the Nature Conservancy water mailer and I totally agree with the citizen quoted, Mr. Pfaltz that that water plan mailer was a lie .

You can see for yourself. Nature Conservancy water mailer scanned into DP article and George Loper has posted the Business PAC water mailer.



Has anyone ever seen this kind of special interest money in a local election before ?

Congratulations go to the victors and thanks go to all the candidates. It was a well-fought campaign and just a tiny number of votes (under 1% of the City's population) separated the winners and losers. It was not a surprise to me that Mr. Huja won as many votes as he did, not just because he's the incumbent but also because he is personally very likeable and has a long and commendable track record of service to the community. (I expect in January we'll all be calling him "Mayor Huja" instead of "Mr. Huja.") We can, and some of us surely will, endlessly dissect the results of Saturday's vote but as Kristin Szakos and others have said, it's ultimately all about turnout. A seasoned politician once told me that the secret to electoral success is "Find out where your voters are, and get them to the polls." The winners on Saturday did just that. My hat's off to them.

This comment by Rick Turner is a marked contrast from his usual rhetoric. I applaud the balance and maturity:

'I think the African-American community showed its complacency perhaps by not going out to vote," says NAACP president Rick Turner. "I don't think Colette Blount did enough to support herself. If you want people to vote for you, you have to walk the streets and you have to get endorsements from the NAACP and other folks."

This primary was nothing short of a Political EARTHQUAKE!!!

Yes Dave and Dede are making a racket in the Bunker already ,must be test firing a few practice salvos at the County .

Don't forget there are Independents running, and once the voters understand that several candidates were bought and paid for with PAC special interest money, and represent huge expenditures of money that will come out of taxpayer pockets -they may take a second look to save their pocketbooks from a fleecing .

Frank, since you live in Canada, what difference is any of this to you anyway? How is it any of your business what happens in Charlottesville.

Mayor Dave, turnout was high and you got spanked. You couldn't motivate more than the tight small group of those who want to stop everything. You over estimated your sway and support. The City doesn't need to revisit every decision that doesn't go the way YOU want it.

Build the Parkway and the dam- that is the will of the people-any other answer is anti democratic


So how about we knock off all the accusations of racial insensitivity and how the elected candidates or the democratic party are not racially sensitive enough to deal with the upcoming redevelopment and public housing issues?

Comments like these in the DP are not productive to moving forward:

"And here we have the Democratic Party and the party establishment actively working to deny African-Americans a seat at the table. I think that’s going to have an effect on some of the progress that’s been made through the Dialogue on Race.”

"Norris said the result will likely have a big impact on the issue of public-housing redevelopment, which he said will be “flashpoint” over the next few years in light of the primary results. “The last several years have been very successful in sort of charting a course for addressing the issues of poverty and housing redevelopment in our community that was sort of coming from the grassroots up,” Norris said. “I think what you’re going to see now, given what happened last night, is a much more top-down approach ... I think it’s going to be a different mentality about how to go about addressing the issues of poverty in our community.”

"Norris said the primary results should serve as a “huge wakeup call” to the black community and residents who support “racial and economic justice and representation.” “That’s huge,” Norris said. “I think you’re going to see … even more disaffection from the African-American community given the fact that the party establishment heavily pushed a slate that would have stripped the black community of any representation on City Council. We already have a Planning Commission now that is all white.”

You said you would work with who ever got elected, playing the race card now is disingenuous and not good for the community. We want you to work with the newly elected councilors to get these problems addressed, not to get your constituency riled up so that they won't work with them. Move forward. You lost on the water supply now let's move on!

Don't confuse people voting for the dam with people voting against diversity on Council. Maybe people just didn't like the ticket and the tactics. Rick Turner's assessment of the outcomes is more accurate.

And if "just a tiny number of votes (under 1% of the City's population) separated the winners and losers" then Smith's margin of 30 votes is hardly any kind of a mandate from the community.

@ City Voter: This is quite an allegation you're making. Can you substantiate this with facts and specifics or did you just want a quick snark?

"Don't forget there are Independents running, and once the voters understand that several candidates were bought and paid for with PAC special interest money, and represent huge expenditures of money that will come out of taxpayer pockets -they may take a second look to save their pocketbooks from a fleecing ."

Cookie Jar -- As a bitter,twisted ,poor loser on the wrong negative side of things you should perhaps take a look at Mr Bayer's example and try to show a bit of class and grace in defeat .

Citizen Party, do you agree with Caravati that getting 4 votes on council for the county's grandiose dam plan was more important than supporting a highly-qualified african-American candidate like ms. Blount?

Wow, way to avoid the question, Frank. I think Cookie Jar has a valid question.

Who knows, with Smith's small margin, maybe an independent will beat her in the general election.

A whole lot of independents and disaffected Dems, including many blacks who now feel shut out of the party thanks to Caravati and Slaughter and their ilk, will refuse to support the full Dem ticket in nov. or will stay home altogether.

@Big Difference --just take a look at this flier and who they endorsed and then look at who took their money and throughout the campaign supported the Nature Conservancy Dam Plan --and exactly how much money will come out of the pockets of city residents for this Dam Plan - the $25 million they quote is, in the words of Mr. Pfaltz, quoted in the DP article above, a COMPLETE LIE !!!!


City Voter, someone needs to launch an investigation into how the county special interests and developers were able to exert so much influence in this CITY election

Citizen Party, please answer my question, do you agree with Caravati that getting 4 votes on council for the adopted water plan was more important than supporting a highly-qualified african-American candidate like Colette Blount?

Corrupt Poster -- Try a little honesty yourself . Blount admitted she came in late after unspecified PERSUSIAN, putting herself behind . She was on the wrong side of the two main issues . She made few alliances but the ones she made were ill advised . She spoke in vague fuzzy terms and didn't come across well .During the all candidate meetings there were often half a dozen who gave better performances. Candidate Bayer was sacrificed by the party to let her win .After losing she immediately bad mouthed just about everyone she could think of rather then showing grace and humility towards the chosen .

In fact millions of dollars of city residents money has already gone into the pockets of those pushing this plan- lawyers, consultants, and if the the Nature Conservancy gets its way hundreds of millions will be spent to complete their dam/pipeline plan- coming out of the pockets of those who pay a water bill --mostly city residents.

Frank Speaker - Caravati himself has said that Blount was a great choice of a candidate. So why did he and his fellow party hacks actively work against her? Because she wouldn't kowtow to them on one or two particular issues. They only support blacks who will toe the party line and not dare to think for themselves. Disgusting.

Huja told some people he was personally supporting Colette Blount but apparently the party bosses told him to keep quiet about it and not undermine his bought and paid for ticket mates.

Corrupt Poster -- You are overlooking the major shortcomings of Blount's campaign . Her alliances, her late entry . More importantly you are skipping over the fact that Beyer was sacrificed to let her win . Beyer is a much superior candidate than her and he almost won despite the fact he had no major endorsement . There were major issues that Blount was simply on the wrong side of .Trying to dumb the primary down to a race bun fight is being so wrong as to be dishonest . But bait away .....

I was told that Lloyd Snook's wife Shelia Haughey was lobbying people to vote for Paul Beyer and not Colette Blount. I'd love to hear who else was lobbied to vote for Beyer and not Blount. I am stunned by this. The dems voting for a 29 year old county developers son, over an intelligent African American woman, school board member, with years of teaching experience and service to our community ?

Someone needs to explain this to me - I don't get it . What dog did Ms. Haughey have in this fight that she would do this ?

Frank Speaker, you have no idea what you're talking about. Beyer had the full support of virtually all of the old guard Dems. They couldn't stand the idea of an independent-thinking black person on council. Beyer lost to Dede and only got one more first-round vote than Colette. Just a relative handful of more votes and it would have been Huja-Smith-Blount in the winners' circle

As the ground shook and a roaring filled my ears, one of my first thoughts was truly-WOW, just think-when the giant dam is built we can be worried about its catastrophic failure, under an interstate, with an entire community's water supply dependent on a nine mile pipeline pumping water uphill....such a sustainable, conservative approach. The extent to which taxpayers have been hypnotized into thinking that DREDGING IS BAD is absolutely laughable. Why is it so convenient to ignore the fact that RWSA SHOULD HAVE BEEN DREDGING THE SOUTH FORK RIVANNA RESERVOIR FOR YEARS FOR REGULAR MAINTENANCE???? WHERE IS THE MONEY THAT WAS CHARGED TO THE RATEPAYERS AND SET ASIDE FOR THIS PURPOSE?

I just heard a geologist mention Ragged Mt. Reservoir on the news and say " I doubt we could see a dam failure, but not impossible. "
So with the additional water being bragged about by the Nature Conservancy and Monticello Business PAC of 1,100 million gallons, that would be one might downhill gusher.

Wow this is what must be regarded as compelling evidence of corruption and duplicity (1 poster and a reference to a Regress article). My goodness there's just no arguing with that!

"just take a look at this flier and who they endorsed and then look at who took their money and throughout the campaign supported the Nature Conservancy Dam Plan --and exactly how much money will come out of the pockets of city residents for this Dam Plan - the $25 million they quote is, in the words of Mr. Pfaltz, quoted in the DP article above, a COMPLETE LIE !!!!

http://george.loper.org/archives/2011/Aug/994.html "

Corrupt Poster -- You are fixed on race baiting when the election of Obama disproved your theory in a grand fashion . Also you are ignoring the facts here. Blount was not an independant thinker as you say , she was part of the Trioka put forward by Bunker Dave . This independent thinker had to be PERSUADED to run . The independent thinker said she was going to be LED by the people .Where is the evidence of independant thinking . It just looks like she thought she could be smug and aloof while waiting as promised to be crowned Queen of C'Ville . Something went off the rails on the way to the coronation . Democracy perhaps .Beyer beat Blount even though he no public support of the mayor or sitting counsellor .You are also skipping over the fact the best candidate of the group Galvin got the second highest votes . Why would you want to not have the best qualified candidate of all working for the city ?

I think you just showed your true colors with that "Queen" comment Frank. Pun intended.

So Frank, I'm still waiting. You live in Canada. You are posting from North Labrador. You don't know what is going on here, and you have no stake in the outcome of this or any other local election. Why on earth should your opinion on our local politics matter to us here in Charlottesville.

Frank Speaker August 23rd, 2011 | 2:55pm
Felt it in Northern Labrador while blogging here ,thought it was something i said .

So when the dredgers lose big it was the evil county folks and their pretty 3 color flyers that turned the simple
minded city folks to mush?! Seriously how bad do you have to lose an election before you admit that most everyone thinks you are wrong? It's called democracy and you might want to check out how it works.

I wanted to move forward and the water issues seemed to be more about growth the about saving ratepayers money. It's time to move on down the road.

@BD if you don't get it --it's because you don't want to . Special interests and PAC's have taken over Washington, Richmond and have now come to Charlottesville.

Good work cookiejar, special interests invading local politics all the way from Canada.

@CorruptParty: You ask: "Citizen Party, do you agree with Caravati that getting 4 votes on council for the county's grandiose dam plan was more important than supporting a highly-qualified african-American candidate like ms. Blount?"

The question really is did Norris and the dredgers want to overturn the dam decision so badly that they were willing to engage in tactics that lost the ticket member,Blount, the election. I think it was more important getting independent councilors who were not part of an ideological ticket elected. I wish Blount had not aligned with the ticket and I wish there were other qualified Black candidates on the ballot. I hope that's true next time. Elections are partly about issues, strategy, and tactics.

Galvin and Huja were just more qualified as candidates than the others and didin't engage in the bad tactics. Though Beyer was pretty impressive for not having the years in. 30 votes, that could have gone either way. We will see him again.

Let's also remember that it was the voters who voted on the referendum the dredgers turned the election into. The voters thought it was more important to vote for their version of the water supply plan than for Blount and two more councilors for overturning the decision. And it had little to do with a flyer.

Finally, let's remember what Rick Turner of the NAACP said: "'I think the African-American community showed its complacency perhaps by not going out to vote," says NAACP president Rick Turner. "I don't think Colette Blount did enough to support herself. If you want people to vote for you, you have to walk the streets and you have to get endorsements from the NAACP and other folks." He places much of the explanation on Blount herself not Caravati.

I would agree special interest groups like CSWP were at play in the election. Again, above with the dredgers calling people liars, will you ever learn? This is what caused you the election as much as anything else. Tactics put people off like the softball questions at the first forum.

Blount mentions that black voting is at some all time low, when since Obama, I think that's not been the case. Maybe Black voters in this community just didn't support her or the Norris/CSWP ticket.

And these earthquakes happen once every 120 years or something like that, more scare tactics from the dredgers. It didn't work the first time and the election is over.

@Old Dem: maybe Ms. Haughey just didn't like the Norris ticket shenanigans like a lot of people I spoke with and who reiterated "I am just sick of the water issue over and over again".

I am traditionally a liberal an Independent but was actually happy with the democratic party this time and how they handled the Norris shenanigans. It seems many Black voters might have opted to stay away from the primary according to Mr. Turner.

As to incumbents having the edge: uh Talifero...hello? Huja won because the voters supported Huja and his ideas and service.

I will sleep better knowing there is a balanced and independent group of Councilors on City Council. Democracy worked pretty well, not perfectly but pretty well here. I appreciate the passion of the anti-earthen dam activists but the referendum on the water supply is over and done with. Build it. Get'r done.

Cookie Jar -- A person could be on the Northern end of Greenland and get issues here more right than you and besides what makes you think that only Americans have the right to go around the world sticking their noses into "local business" ?.

Thanks for answering my question Citizen Party, that was a very tortuous way of saying "yes." And the elecuon may have been a referendum on the water issue but no referendum is fairly conducted if the dialogue is dominated by lies and misinformation. The garbage coming out of the county special interest and developer groups was epic and unprecedented. The voters were misled by all kinds of false information and scare tactics. Some voters I spoke to on saturday actually believed that a mammoth new dam and pipeline offers the cheapest and most environmentally friendly option for water supply. Crazy! But it showed that all the lies had sunk in. Whatever. Who needs good government anyway.

Corrupt Poster --- Having lost the election you resort to the race card . Having lost that argument you resort to some sort of sexism card . You sound very much like Bunker Dave , is that you ?

"Huja told some people he was personally supporting Colette Blount but apparently the party bosses told him to keep quiet about it "

If this is true CP, then this is the saddest post election commentary I have read. I am so disappointed that Huja would refrain from supporting Blount because Jim Nix and Co. told him too.
Very very disappointing.

And I don't think Blount's association with the Norris endorsement had anything to do with her losing. The opponents were hell bent on defeating anyone who favored dredging over the new dam and her position on this was independent of any Norris influence . I know this for a fact, having known her before Norris endorsed her. She already thought the environmental damage of building the new dam far outweighed the benefits of dredging the reservoir we already own, that had never been dredged before. Look at her tenure on the school board, even there she stood out as an environmentalist, not a nature conservationist.

I just hope whoever get's elected can put the water supply and parkway issues behind us (built). They've been debated enough, and the citizens of Charlottesville have spoken.

Wow. Lots of bitterness here.

Collette Blount seems like a nice lady. But I disagreed with her positions on some issues that were important to me. So I voted for other people who shared my positions. Simple as that. Silly me, I thought that was what you were supposed to do in an election.

Plus, voting for someone based on their skin color is just wrong. Right?

If events had been different - if the only black candidate in the field had been a supporter of the water supply plan and the Meadowcreek Parkway, would Dave Norris have backed that candidate to avoid "stripping the black community of any representation on City Council"?

I kinda doubt it.

I would also like to point out that this maligning of any mythical Democratic Old Guard/Party Establishment/Ruling Clique is absolute bunk. Last I checked, Dave Norris' slate had the backing of MANY heavy-hitting Democrats in this town who were more than willing "to throw their weight and money and contact lists and endorsements and expertise" behind the Norris slate.

@DBNOG who do you think calls the shots in the democratic executive committee ? The way Jim Nix handled this entire process was a disaster, ask anyone who witnessed it on the inside. Some day the story will get out, and it wasn't pretty.

@Corrupt Party: "Huja told some people he was personally supporting Colette Blount but apparently the party bosses told him to keep quiet about it and not undermine his bought and paid for ticket mates."

You're gonna have to back that up with something, Sunshine! Huja told "some people"??!! Who did he tell? The Party Bosses told him to keep quiet??!! What party bosses??!! You really ought to be more specific if you're trying to smear someone's reputation in such a fashion.

You sir (or madame), are a detestable, cowardly liar.

Old Dem -- My wife, Sheila Haughey, did not lobby anyone on anything. She did not participate in the primary, and her only role has been to throw away the mail that has come to our house. She has never met Paul Beyer. She has not even told me who she would have supported had she participated in the primary.

Wow. Just, wow.

Now it's the entire Democratic party that is bought and paid for by county developers? Really?

And why aren't the people that voted for Dede Smith blamed by Mayor Dave for denying African Americans' a voice on city council?


You give Jim Nix WAY to much credit. And apparently you haven't the first clue about how the Exec Committee works either. Here's a little tidbit for ya. I DID witness it from the inside. And aside from some initial confusion over the lengthy ballot, which Nix handled a bit hamfistedly, the entire process was completely above board and scrupulously honest.

I should add, speaking now for myself and not about my wife -- I wish people would not make the mistake of thinking of the Democratic Party as monolithic. When Dave Norris complains about "Democratic insiders", I can't help but wonder -- who is more of a Democratic insider than the Democratic mayor? The fact is that there are members of the Democratic City Committee who favor a dam, and members of the City Committee who favor dredging. Over the last 35 years, there have been Democratic members of City Council who have supported the Meadowcreek Parkway, and those who have opposed it. When I was elected co-chair of the Democratic Party in 2000, my co-chair, Rus Perry, and I disagreed on the Meadowcreek Parkway. Which one of us was the "Democratic insider"?

It seems that Dave Norris thinks of those who disagree with him -- including (as mentioned above) Blake Caravati and David Toscano -- as "Democratic insiders." How about former Mayor Francis Fife, former Mayor Nancy O'Brien, or former Mayor Maurice Cox, all of whom opposed the Meadowcreek Parkway? Are they "Democratic insiders"? If not, why not?

I know that Dave Norris likes to rail against folks who disagree with him as members of the "Democratic establishment," or "Democratic insiders," or various other terms that seek to demonize those who disagree with him, but it's purely political rhetoric.

Mr. Snook, excellent points.

Adversity has a way of revealing a person's character and, frankly, Dave Norris' many comments following the defeat of his endorsees does not speak well for his.

Humility is a trait that can only be learned. When all is said and done, it may be that Mr. Norris will look back on this setback as educational.

You make a good point Lloyd. There are obviously factions in our Party (as there are in most parties) but it's lazy and inaccurate to frame them as "the Insiders vs. the Outsiders" or the "Establishment" vs....well, everyone else, and I will try to refrain from using such terms in the future.

here's my response to the primary results-


Vote Brandon Collins Nov. 8th

How about characterizing the local democratic party this way- dems for the people vs dems for the PAC. I'd like to hear Mr. Snook's comments about the references to the mailers above that were sent out days before the election about the water plan, and the obvious attempt to swing the election to the candidates Galvin/Huja/Beyer.
For me that was the most disgusting part of this primary.

I see the division in these candidates more about pushing density into the city to preserve rural Albemarle, and some of the candidates want to give away city assets and parkland to accomplish this, and that's where the parkway and water issue comes in. The problem is; why should city residents give up their parks and assets and have to fund this and get nothing in return ? And why can't Albemarle County preserve the rural areas with zoning.
The water plan fits into this thinking, but is also a problem unto itself because if you study the need for the electric pipeline to make it work you conclude under any scenario there are better ways to provide the water supply needed for a drought . The water plan part of the growth scenario is just a dumb plan for everyone, but I agree the Nature Conservancy is so powerful in this community that well meaning people have been unwilling to look at the data and see that there is a far better alternative that provides all the water needed for all the growth they want . They are tired of the squabbling and want to move on, and are wealthy enough not to care about the cost. I guess wealth does allow some to just say whatever, just do it.

Having 2 PAC's involved in the election; one representing the chamber and developers, I assume ( Monticello Business Alliance ), and the other representing the Nature Conservancy, Piedmont Environmental Council, Rivanna Conservation Society, and Southern Environmental Law Center and The League of Woman Voters is quite a phenomena.

I wonder how the membership of these organizations feels about the use of their donations to support this political activity.

Insomniac -- It doesn't surprise me, or horrify me, that people form tickets. Dave Norris has every right to try to get three people to support who will agree with him on issues that are important to him. The Monticello Business Alliance, and the various conservation groups that you mentioned, have the same right. By the way, I don't remember the details on the fliers that were dropped or mailed, but I would be ASTOUNDED to hear that the League of Women Voters had done anything that smacked of endorsing a candidate or candidates.

I think that people misunderstand the nature of the electorate in small elections. In New Hampshire, where it is taken for granted that every Presidential candidate will come and introduce himself or herself to everyone in every small town, voters wouldn't dream of voting for a candidate whom they had not personally met, and probably met two or three times. In Charlottesville it is the same way. You can win this election by knocking on enough doors; at some level media and fliers don't add much.

Charlottesville people want to vote for candidates whom they know, not just for who has the slickest brochure. They voted for the three oldest candidates, for the three with the most experience in local government, and for three who have shown in their years of experience in local government to be committed to sound planning and civility in decision-making. That personal knowledge of the candidates is more important than anything else, and to me explains why Satyendra, Kathy and Dede won. I know people who voted for two candidates they agreed with, and one that they didn't because he or she was a friend.

In the 1970's and 1980's, when the Republicans were a more potent force politically, they regularly outraised the Democratic ticket, but the Democrats regularly won. So I think we overestimate the effect of money.

Demonizing groups as "special interests" is rarely helpful analytically. All of us are special interests in one way or another. To the Republicans, the NAACP and the Sierra Club are "special interests." To the Democrats, the Chamber of Commerce and perhaps the Monticello Business Alliance are "special interests." And to see the Nature Conservancy portrayed as a tool of Big Money is a little weird. So the terminology, and the demonization inherent in its use, is essentially meaningless.

At base, I don't see the water plan as a "business vs. the people" kind of issue. But that is a whole 'nuther discussion for a different forum.

Mr. Snook, I think you should examine the content of the mailers with someone who has been following this and is not a paid staff of one of those who sent the mailer . The timing made them clearly meant to swing the election to certain candidates.

The Corrupt Party poster by his silence after apparent outing is obviously the Mayor ...interesting !

Frank Speaker is a Canadian with no stake in the outcome of any of our local races, yet he feels compelled to continue to comment on that which does not concern him. Interesting...

cookieJar is a crock ...Not Interesting

The problem is, Frank Speaker, you have nothing to lose by misleading people, if you so chose. You have nothing to lose if you, for example, get vicarious thrills out of misleading locals or want to feel you had a hand in something that you obviously have strong feelings about but know you will not be affected by the outcome. The locals do. And, because they do, it is good to know that the person voicing such strong opinions doesn’t even live in Charlottesville, or Virginia or even the USA. Not that you can’t comment, maybe you’ll get it right, but you really have nothing to lose in getting it wrong and no one knows what you may have to gain. It’s just good to know that you live in Canada, Frank Speaker, because otherwise, local people might assume you have as much to gain or lose by the elections as they do. You don’t. They won’t affect you one bit. It’s just a matter of, since you aren’t local and you do comment frequently on political issues without a hint that you aren’t, making locals aware. I wouldn’t, by the way, “stick my nose” in the local business of another place, I don’t have that much time nor do I have any desire to do so. I’d be happy if the US didn’t do that, but I suspect the world would call us selfish then. You sound a little bitter toward Americans, “Frank.”

Frank your depiction of Colette Blount as a "smug, aloof Queen" showed you for the ignorant fool troll that you are. Suggest you get a life.

Frank is one of the internet ghouls that showed up to participate in the circus that the Morgan Harrington tragedy devolved into. Thankfully, most went away, but Frank has felt the need to hang around and poke his nose into more that isn't his business. Getting a life seems unlikely.

Possibly --- I love most Americans ,been in 49 states, got lots of relatives in the USA, family came from USA in 1745 ,get lots of USA media exposure etc. Ironically your lament could just as easily represent the thoughts of the Taliban.You seem to fit into the Bunker mentality very nicely and like cj just venting your frustrations on being unable mislead locals on your muddy water ditch digging sham .

Frank Speaker takes the Godwin route with the Taliban analogy. Might as well just wave a white flag.

Corrupt Party --- So you are acquiescing that you are the Mayor ?

Oh, Frank Speaker, I don't comment on politics very frequently around here. I vote. The only thing I have commented on is making people aware you have nothing to lose here. Well, everyone is aware of it now. You pick a side, and you play. You think up vitriolic names like "Bunker Dave" and you insinuate yourself into a divisive issue like dam vs. dredging and away you go. Throw in accusations that I represent the thoughts of the Talliban just for good measure. Yeah, if all else fails, thow in some Islamic fearmongering. Didn't they ban you on the Morgan Harrington forums? People here weren't aware of your history. Well now, they are. Sling mud, sling away, Frank Speaker. The truth is out.

I read in the paper that someone post election was quoted that the all white council shows the gentification of Charlottesville. The recent African-Americans on Council have not been Joy Johnson (living in public housing) or someone with less than the average wage in town. They have been a wife of an M.D. (Edwards)*, Professor of Architecture (Cox) etc. So an upper class A.A. with better jobs/money than an average white will never show gentification because they aren't white? Blount (with the same job as Galvin) would not have showed Gentification if she had been elected?
* I'm not positive her husband is an M.D., I believe so.

It's funny that people are regretting that Political Action Committees would be taking political action. As if the primary election was decided as soon as Dave Norris made his preferences known.

Maybe these people are confused by the word "Committee". Despite what city residents could be led to believe as a result of the creation of so many impotent committees by city council, a committee doesn't have to accomplish nothing.

These political action committees took political action. There is nothing stopping people opposed to these PACs from taking political action. Indeed, many did. The difference is that they failed. Now we are hearing all the excuses and how unfair it all is.

Court Square,

The comment itself if as you say is really a back handed slap at folks who are tired of the old culture wars, and also black people who have managed to achieve a lot in their lives. The issue is that by catering to a certain segment of minorities, a lot of other poor to hardowrking lower middle class folks have been left out of the conversation, and they might be showing up this time.

@DaveNorris: So does this mean you will be putting aside your past feelings about the MCP and the Dam decisions and stop with the criticisms of the newly elected candidates and the party along race lines? Will you sincerely move on from the dam decision and work with the Party's candidates in moving forward?

As Mayor, I would love to see you make some form of retraction of the comments you made in the DP that I listed in my last post. I think that would go a long way toward healing wounds from the primary and signal a moving on.

Will you be supporting any of the independent candidates in the general election?

All: I would call the CSWP a PAC so why all the crying about the NC and its mailer?. They had interests and were running their leader as a candidate. All the stuff on their website and in the Hook is what caused the NC and others to send mailers. All of it, including the CSWP propaganda was meant to influence the election. The election is over, there is a mandate on the water and MCP decisions. When are we going to move on?

According to someone above, Blount lost because Smith won. Blount says she didn't have that much contact with Norris, maybe he spent more time with Smith and getting her elected? I wonder what would have happened if Norris had only supported Blount and not tried the ticket for water supply? Blount would probably be on Council. That's why I find the Mayor's coments about how the Party actively tried to prevent the election of an African American to be so troubling. He participated in the construction of the outcome and now blames the Party and characterizes the new candidates elected Saturday as racially insensitive.

I agree with Snook, its all the demonizing that's the problem. Anyone who was against dredging was demonized and I think that's why you got your brochure and that's part of the reason the Norris trio didn't do so well, pereived association with the demonizing dredgers.

And by the way, my family and I make use of Count facilities all the time like with SOCA fields We get things out of the County all the time. The County has done some good development that we partake of all the time and enjoy. Galvin, Huja, and Szakos will do a great job at protecting the City's interests in a civil manner.

@Corrupt Party: You said "Thanks for answering my question Citizen Party, that was a very tortuous way of saying "yes." And the elecuon may have been a referendum on the water issue but no referendum is fairly conducted if the dialogue is dominated by lies and misinformation."

First, wrong, you are not reading or comprehending my response probably because your anger screen is preventing you from listening to another perspective.. Second, perfect, the dredgers said they never had accurate information out there, so they got the Hook to publish their side for them so it was out there for people to digest. But they screamed foul that there needed to be more studies and the whole system was corrupt and against them. Then they screamed and insisted on making thew election into a referendum. Now they have lost and the scream foul election process? This is like a child having a temper tantrum. You can't appease them with rational thought. Its over get over it. Go funnel the energy on Living Wage or something productive.

Now that Pam Malamphy has declared an Independent run for Clerk after running in the Dem primary...what happens.

Citizen Party, what makes you think the election is over? It doesn't even happen until November.

CookieJar -- Get a grip , for all intents and purposes the election is over . Huja and Galvin will cruise to big victories . The third candidate is not a factor in the big picture but she should win also with her PAC and party support .

Charlottesville politics is a Christopher Guest movie in real life.

CookieJar: History

I read all of the 84 previous comments with great interest. I saw no mention of my biggest fear. My greatest concern is with the Nature Conservancy. Nestle Corp has apparently "donated" 1 million dollars to them. How does this Swiss behemoth fit into our local dredging vs dam picture? What is their stake? I recently viewed the movie "Tapped", and was shocked to see how Nestle moves into towns, removes water for their own gain, takes it elsewhere, and gives nothing back. Has the Nature Conservancy sold out to large corporate interests? Why can't we get an honest assessment of the dredge v. dam costs? I would support any reasonable accommodation to settle this controversy. It seems the more I learn, the less i know . I am afraid that big corporate interests in this country continue to rule the day, and our advocates. Even the Nature Conservancy. They probably should have refused the "donation". Our governmental leaders seem to be swayed by the big money more & more. I don't really know who to believe anymore. Congratulations to the winners! I caution you to represent the interests of your constituents, and not be swayed by the big temptation of money from the devil.

Mr. Snook, you say, " And to see the Nature Conservancy portrayed as a tool of Big Money is a little weird. So the terminology, and the demonization inherent in its use, is essentially meaningless. "
Are you really this naive - the Nature Conservancy is not a tool of Big Money , the Nature Conservancy is Big Money !

The Nature Conservancy :

2009 Income: $856,246,824
2009 Assets: $5,636,393,924
Founded: 1951
Exempt since: March 1954

Looks like not only Big Money, but Big Business as well:

Nature Conservancy

Contracts, grants and loans from 2009 stimulus spending:

$992,062 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$2,931,446 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$2,160,095 from Natural Resources Conservation Service
$1,645,741 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$3,361,243 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$75,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$3,408,848 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$70,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$4,028,397 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$65,800 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$134,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$49,998 from Forest Service
$400,000 from Forest Service
$137,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$133,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$2,082,000 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$5,215,960 from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
$560,000 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
$17,500 from Department of the Interior
$17,500 from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Source: Recovery.gov


Sounds like the democrats can’t count on the black vote in the November election. Sherman White clearly states on the Schilling Show that he and his friends will be looking at the Independents they will be supporting. It’s not just the dam that will turn people off, but the arrogant attitude of those who rejected Ms.Blount, well liked for her service to the community and school board tenure, in favor of a wealthy developers son, with no known ties to the democratic party. Just because he supported the Special Interest ( PAC) Wing of the Democratic Party. Was Beyer even a democrat ? I’ve been around awhile and I never saw him at any democratic function until this year when he decided to run.


Insomniac: That just shows the NC are worthy of government support. If we build the earthen dam we won't have to worry about Nestle and their evil designs. Way to go NC on their stellar fund raising for the environment as posted by @insomniac. They are an effective organization for the environment and people believe in them enough to donate kinda like Moveon.org.

It looks like we will have to endure one more round of dredger crazy town talk until the general election is over and the construction gets started. My bet if the all the screaming didn't work in the dem. primary, it won't work for the general election. People were so done with the water supply issue, anyone who dares to harp on it from here on in does so at their own political risk.

I say go for it vote for independents, there is a chance that Fenwick could pick off Smith, sounds like an ok trade. Maybe if a lot of dredgers who voted in the dem primary are going to violate the democratic party pledge and support independents, then a lot of real democrats might do that as well and elect Fenwick over Smith...hmmmm I see a strategy developing. I bet if all the Beyer folks voted for Fenwick, Smith might lose in the general.

Don't think the dam building wing of the democratic party is going to support Fenwick, or they would have elected Blount and not Galvin and Huja. No, I see a lot of African Americans and Independents and even fiscally minded Republicans voting for Fenwick and Smith. They are more representative of the people than the others, and they are the fiscal conservatives. Didn't Ms Galvin just vote to approve the school configuration plan that is outrageously expensive ? I believe the price has gone up since this article was written


"people believe in them enough to donate kinda like Moveon.org."
the stimulus money was not a donation it came from our pockets just like they now want to take money out of our pockets for their dam/pipeline scheme. "

Get smart Charlottesville elect people who will not raise your water rates for a science experiment to benefit the Nature Conservancy.

I was on the fence with the water supply before this election, but all of this Nature Conservancy bashing is starting to really turn me against the dredgers in a serious way. I'm gathering now that this issue is simply another fault line in the debate about growth. Dredgers don't really care about the minutia of hydrology and rates they carry on about, but are really only looking for a means for preventing growth *in the city* from occurring. This is why the pro-dredging candidates filled their campaigns with words like "protect" and "preserve." Obviously, the status quo is doing just fine for them.

If I wanted the suburban lifestyle treasured by dredgers, I would have saved a ton of money by buying a foreclosed house out in Louisa County. But I chose the city because I want density. I want an alternative to using a motorcar for everything, and I appreciate the diversity of many kinds of people and many kinds of housing types all mixed together. I like knowing that my decision to live in the city is part of the solution in preventing sprawl and maintaining ecosystems and viable agriculture on the fringes, and I don't want to prevent other people from also making a similar choice by creating needless barriers to entry. I understand that affordable housing depends on allowing enough supply close enough to jobs so employees do not need to own a car. I have no interest in pushing vulnerable families out into rural areas, which is what is happening right now unless the course is reversed.

Call me an "old guard" or "moneyed elite." Whatever. These are phoney titles made to support a mythical narrative about a single issue that we should really be moving beyond by now.

More smoke and mirrors. Dredging will give you abundant water for decades. Why pay to store water you wouldn't need for 30 years and pay interest on the debt. What business person would do this ?
Nonsense, this is not about growth, this is about the Nature Conservancy's modal for streamflows that have no bearing on our water system. There are better ways to provide the needed streamflows than fleecing the ratepayers and making those who can least afford it pay higher rates.

They can send all the mailers they want the voters are on to their game.

Since when were democrats in favor of regressive taxation ?

I'm not sure if questioning deep seeded motives of anyone should be considered bashing. Why should we move beyond an issue before settling it? I personally have not seen a lot of NC bashing. What are the advantages of a dam versus dredging? Who benefits from this decision? Why did Nestle donate a million dollars? Who benefits from this donation? How does a dam or dredging increase your quality of life by living in the city? Your stance in some circles could be termed as gentrifacation. or at very least selfish. However I'm not as interested in pinning a label on you as getting answers. As I said the more I learn the less I know. But I do know this, Every thing seems to be about self serving interest, especially Nestle. I'm not even clear on your motives New Reality

If the voters were "on to the the NC games", wouldn't we have seen the anti-dam bloc win in the primary? City democrat needs to get a grip on reality. If dredging would give us abundant water for decades how come the UVA engineers and administration came out in favor of the earthen dam?

So now we see the dredgers just back to the original strategy just repeat your version over and over again with no new facts to substantiate the claims. Accuse every public venue and process of being corrupted and controlled by special interests..blah balh blah.

New Reality reflects the views majority of citizens in the City. Its all the bashing of anyone who opposes dredging that will do the dredgers in over and over again, in the primary and in the general election. Otherwise we would not have seen Galvin and Huja with such majorities of the voting public and we would have seen Smith win by more than 30 votes. No one wants to be associated with a small group of people who will do anything including call everyone who doesn't agree with them "liars" and worse in order to impose their views on others. Gutter politics don't work in Cville.

Rates will go up because they are going up statewide. If its equity we are worried about I would support a water rate tied to income. Let the wealthy users subsidize the less well off, but just build the earthen dam so we don't have to listen to the whining any longer.

It is a small group of people keeping the phony dredging narrative going and they are attention hounds who like the role of gadfly and naysayer. As Huja or someone said you can't tell the will of the people by a small number of people who come to council and scream the loudest. @New reality is right, they are an elitist group that wants to "conserve" status quo Charlottesville for themselves because they live in an upper middle class fantasy world. Constructing a dependable and significant water supply will allow jobs to grow and open up economic opportunity for all in Cville.

PS @Richard: In politics, at some point a decision has to be made. There was a very thorough and public process on the water supply issue. Major institutions and ordinary individuals had a chance to weigh in. Studies were paid for and done, UVA engineers poured over the proposals, the environmental groups weighed in, There were public votes taken at the RWSA, ACBOS, Cville City Council. At some point you just have to take the info and values on the table after debate and act. We could still be asking all the questions you pose above about the decision to send humans to the moon or about the elected school board in Charlottesville, but the debate was had and decisions were made and we moved on. The trouble is your side just wants to win at any cost. The dredgers did plenty of labeling of anyone for the earthen dam in the Hook, in posts,so I am not sure i believe your statement about not being interested in labeling, that ship has passed and I think the people of Cville pooh-poohed those tactics.

And it wasn't the questioning of deep seeded motives that ruffled most citizen's feathers but the way in which it was done, screaming lair, corruption, etc as exemplified in posts and in the Hook article-it was the gross way in which the dredgers went about it, the tactics.

Nestle is so irrelevant to any consideration of our water supply needs as to be laughable. Its like me saying Communist China supports the CSWP. If we build the earthen dam we will never have to worry about shortages or Nestle anyway.

Dredgers have made the primary about the water supply and now still want to make the general election about the water supply. But the message is already in: Citizens of Cville are done with that decision, they have moved on. So go forward with your plan to make the gen. election about the water supply, it will only solidify the voters in their position of voting against anyone who wants dredging. That's what I learned from the primary. I like New reality didn't start out with a dog in the water supply fight, but your tactics are just such a turn off, you need a better PR person on the team, but methinks its too late for that. You lost me when you ran out of new facts and turned to impugning your opponents characters, Brian Wheeler for goodness sakes, really?

As I said earlier, let's turn that energy to something more prescient like the Living Wage campaign. If you spent the amount of political capital on that issue as you have on the water issue, we would be half way out of the poverty problem in Cville. Show us that you are not just single issue crusaders who have to be right. Act more like Virginia Organizing project and less like a PAC for Smith t get elected.


(Two of us deserve the name...) I did not see the mailer in question. My wife told me that it came, but I didn't see it. A waste of someone's nickel. From what you have told me, I am surprised that the League would approve lending its name to something that was mailed so close to the primary. They are permitted by their rules to send out an informational mailer that says, "Here is the position that the League has taken, and here is what the various candidates have to say on the issue." They generally send out such a mailer a few weeks before the election, not a few days before. It is certainly not supposed to be a specific endorsement, and I gather that in this case, it was supposed to just be that informational mailer. Sounds like it may have gone at least right up to a line that the League has tried not to cross.

A couple of years ago I went to a Democratic breakfast where Dave Norris and a few other panelists were talking about the water supply issue. I went because I didn't think that I understood the issue well enough to have an opinion. I came away with little more useful information than when I went. I also came away with a sense of disappointment that friends of mine could be gratuitously nasty and contentious with one another. My sense was that the people who were there to argue about the water plan were more interested in arguing with one another than they were with trying to persuade undecided folks like me.

I suspect that most Charlottesville voters have an attitude similar to mine -- when we don't know the facts well enough to have a truly independent opinion, we look to people whom we respect for guidance, and that essentially informs our opinions. In my case, I was torn between my respect for my friend Dede Smith and my respect for my friend Satyendra Huja, who were on different sides of the issue. They both are people whose intelligence and integrity I respect. They both are people for whom I might expect to think, "If that person is supporting this position, that's good enough for me."

And it is in that light that I suggest you look at the group of candidates who were nominated. Many people in Charlottesville don't have time to study up on issues as complex as the water plan, and we vote for people in whose integrity and intelligence we have confidence. That is even more important than whether we agree with them on everything. By virtue of their experience, people in Charlottesville have confidence in Satyendra and Kathy and Dede -- not that we will always agree with them, but that they will do the study that we don't plan to do, and that they will apply that integrity and intelligence to the issues at hand. One thing that we will certainly know -- if the three of them are on Council, and are added to Dave Norris and Kristin Szakos, the issues will get fully aired. They are not rubber stamps for each other. We will have five intelligent, independent personalities on Council.

I have long believed that the average Charlottesville voter doesn't care whether the Meadowcreek Parkway is built or not, but they DO want Council to stop arguing. Either build it or don't, but shaddup already! I think the average Charlottesville voter is in about the same place with the water plan.

Thank you for your reasoned comments Mr. Snook. The average Charlottesville voter may wake up once they realize what the cost of the dam pipeline plan truly is.
And what it will do to their water rates.
I doubt if you or anyone else understood, that dredging could provide decades of water, at a far lower cost, and not destroy city owned Ragged Mt. Natural Area, meet reasonable streamflow guidelines for all the rivers, and take care of maintaining city owned South Fork Reservoir, that you would be in favor of building the new dam which creates a reservoir that cannot fill with out a $60 million dollar pipeline ( the dam supporters always leave this cost out - as it was in their mailers ) and many other additional costs.
Bringing the total to 150 -200 million or more. There are no good estimates or a route for the pipeline and expense of using electricity to pump that much water 10 miles uphill.

The mailers sent by the Nature Conservancy and Business PAC were meant to mislead voters.

This is the problem, RWSA is trying to hide the cost of dredging, by stalling an RFP, and creating all kinds of hurdles to issuing it, so that bogus cost figures can be mailed out by the Nature Conservancy and Business PAC claiming the dam is cheaper.

It is difficult for ordinary citizens to go up against the paid staff of the Nature Conservancy, PEC, RCS, League, and SELC with the collusion of the county controlled RWSA , working against the city's interest. They obstruct the process to bring forth good information, and bias the process toward the dam at every opportunity.

Everyone trying to tell you the other side of the story is an unpaid volunteer, and yet includes engineers, water experts, and former elected officials of the city, who have paid their own money to consult experts and bring information to the public to show that dredging is the best first step for water supply, and that there are far less costly ways to provide abundant water while protecting city assets in the future.

Given your fair minded nature and the huge potential losses to city residents I hope you will take the time to read the Hook cover story.
And talk further with members of Citizens for A Sustainable Water Supply.

You are a leader of the community and I promise it is not as difficult as you may think to understand the misinformation and motives driving a dam we don't need.

Unlike the parkway , once built, the costs of the water plan will hit city residents pocketbooks for generations and will be a regressive tax against those least able to afford it .


Mr. Snook, I find it hard to believe that city residents are so apathetic that they want to destroy 60,000 trees at Ragged Mt. , burden the poor in the city and the county with higher water rates, and fail to maintain their main water supply, watching it silt in and become a marsh, if there is a better alternative.
Unlike the parkway, nothing has been built - YET

In fact not only have they not constructed anything, there is no cost share agreement of how to pay for this, and they don't even have a valid permit to build the dam - a public hearing will be held sometime in the future. This will be an opportunity to finally get the new information that all these groups want to ignore on the table.

Who would proceed with a plan based on outdated, inaccurate information. Shocking that business people would support that.

7I could not think of a good/clever handle that would disguise myself. So I write from the clear - I do not want to be a Democratic insider anymore. Nor do I want to be in the democratic establishment anymore. And by the way who and what is "Caravati's Nonsense". It is just too hard to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune found on this blog. What I do want is to have more work for me and the crew. Things out here in the blue collar world are not very peachy. So please call or write if you need any work around the house. And ya'll have fun on the blog.

"........ Many people in Charlottesville don't have time to study up on issues as complex as the water plan, and we vote for people in whose integrity and intelligence we have confidence. That is even more important than whether we agree with them on everything. By virtue of their experience, people in Charlottesville have confidence in Satyendra and Kathy and Dede -- not that we will always agree with them, but that they will do the study that we don't plan to do, and........"

I don't mean to be a smart a** Mr. Snook, but what then also is one of the purposes of the city (non-elected) staff? What ever happen to at least (if such an animal is not totally extinct yet) one ordinary citzen being a councilor? Oh I forgot, there are only exceptionalist that live here. I wouldn't be as frightened by undesired SPRAWL DEVELOPEMENT creeping in as much as unexpected GENTRIFICATION settling in.

They haven't won anything yet.................they "beat" their own ilk.......

remember- "Politicians are like diapers, they have to be changed regularly and usually for the same reason"

I think that the last minute mailer and other efforts (press conferences, etc.) undertaken by Rivanna Conservation Society, the Nature Conservancy, The league of Women Voters, the Southern Environmental Law Center and the Piedmont Environmental Council had a very significant effect on voter's choices this election. Comparing these groups' efforts to money spent by Republicans in days of yore is misleading because these groups have the trust of the vast majority of democratic voters. Yes, personally knowing and trusting a candidate informs voters' choices when they are unclear on issues (and even when they are clear). Similarly, the endorsement of a trusted group makes a difference. When I first started hearing about the big dam and pipeline plan, I assumed that it couldn't be as bad as it sounded because groups I had donated money to, and trusted to represent my interests, were for it. However, I looked further into the issue because individuals who I also trusted were on the other side. I read Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plans web page thoroughly, and I started reading every news story, and the comments. To me, the verdict is clear: the big dam and pipeline plan is a terrible plan, and dredging first will meet our needs as we grow in the future without sacrificing City nature. How can I say that, given the information in the mailer? The information in the mailer is wrong and incomplete. In saying the information is wrong, am I saying that RCS, TNC, SELC, etc. is lying? Am I calling all the people who believe them stupid? Am I screaming, or whining that 2 excellent candidates did not win? No, and I sure wish that people would think about these things with some more subtlety. No, I think RCS, TNC, SELC, etc. believe their plan is best because they have significant investment in all sorts of ways in it, and thus have not properly evaluated new information. No, the problem isn't that people are stupid - its that they are too busy, and don't believe that democracy relies on them. My friends tell me that surely the people in charge know what they are doing. That everything usually works out fine. That they have children to raise. My friends are not stupid. No, in speaking out, and writing about dredging first, I am not screaming, nor whining. I am giving my time and energy because I love our community, and believe that I can contribute.