Tom Tom Founders Festival

Beer, music, food, people, perfect weather, and a bear-in-progress (by sculptor Ed Miller), as the Festival kicked off on Friday, April 13 with a block party at the McGuffey Art Center.
Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at


Bill --

A slight caption correction perhaps? In lieu of yours, may I suggest:

"Beer, music, food, people, perfect weather, and a bear-in-progress siphon taxpaper money from Charlottesville's City Council in a completely unethical extension of City financial support to the now year-and-a-half-long campaign of aggressive self-promoter Paul Beyer, would-be Council member and, thereby, would-be holder of the keys to the City bank account and the City property pantry."

Wow Debbie Downer. Rain on other people's parades much? I don't think this festival is paid for with city taxpayer money. I'm pretty sure it is funding itself, or at least Paul Beyer has enlisted sponsors. How is that unethical? He got permits to use the street just like anyone else would and funded the whole shebang by selling food and beer and tickets.

According to our alleged news media, three members of our five-member City Council just approved a cash stipend to Tom Tom over the objection of two other Council members. In explaining their opposing votes, the objectors correctly noted that many local organizations had submitted applications for support in the prescribed way at the prescribed time and that most of those had been turned down. Therefore, said one objecting Councilor, "good governance" could not support a special grant to Tom Tom. But one was given anyway.

And FYI: In late 2010, Paul Beyer, film-making major, began an aggressive personal campaign for City prominence and, with it, official access to City assets. Interestingly, he initially consulted on how to shape that campaign with conservatives -- including a couple of avid Tea Party adherents who have since reported that his goal, as expressed to them, was business advancement.

But, of course, when Beyer finally stepped officially into our public spotlight, he found out that his real politics didn't matter. He could just say he was a Democrat and -- as has been the case for decades -- garner with that completely unsubstiantiated declaration unquestioning support from the party and from individual Democrats.

As far as I and the law are concerned, Paul Beyer can hawk any legal product by any legal means in any legal market he chooses. He is not, however, entitled in any way to a taxpayer funded cash boost for his private business venture and/or his next-campaign kick off from me and my fellow City taxpayers.

To restate: For public offcials to give public money to what is clearly a private campaign for public office and/or personal influence is unethical at best and illegal at worst.

It was dumb to pay $5000 so Albemarle County boy could fund this festval which no one cares about, brings in less tourist dollars than a swim meet at UVa, and props Republican Paulie Byers up.

I was unaware of the public money going to this event. That does seem improper.

However, the kickoff block party was a great success and a lot of fun.

Also, there is absolutely nothing improper about Mr. Beyer running for office or declaring his party affiliation.

re:"Interestingly, he initially consulted on how to shape that campaign with conservatives -- including a couple of avid Tea Party adherents who have since reported that his goal, as expressed to them, was business advancement."

Did he ONLY consult with conservatives? Or were conservatives some of the many people he consulted with? Did he tell the "avid Tea Party adherents" that his goal was business advancement perhaps because that's what they wanted to hear?

He sounds like an ambitious young man who sought office. He was 31 votes from being successful. If he were successful, I doubt he would have started this music festival, and Ms. Roades would have something else about which to complain....

Sounds like he lobbied for some start up cash and like it or not, he was successful. Perhaps it was not the most above board way of conducting business, but it hardly seems like the most unethical instance of the city council doing it's thing. That said, let's wish his little festival the best and hope that it can become a boost to the city coffers in the coming years. All those folks milling around town for weeks should have a positive impact, they do have to eat and drink and hopefully shop. Good luck, Mr. Beyer.

To clarify:

Paul Beyer has a perfect right to live where he wants to live, run for office where he is legally qualified to run, and rewrite his personal script as often as he wants to. He also has a perfect right to seek the advice and support of anyone he chooses and even to stiff those who dealt with him in good faith once he finds he doesn't need them -- although his exercising that right hardly speaks well of him. He even has the right to claim, as he did often, that his being "young" (always a relative term) specially qualifies him for public office -- although I note that I, as a card-carrying (Social Security) member of the "Never trust anyone over 30" generation, have a perfect right to fall over laughing when he does it.

Indeed, Paul Beyer has a perfect right to to try to get others to defray his business and political expenses. He does not, however, have any right whatsoever to Charlottesville taxpayers' money for an untried business venture that is also part of his continuing campaign.

After following a prescribed public process over many months, City Council passed a budget that rejected, reduced, or eliminated support for a number of programs and projects of proven effectiveness and contribution.

But expenditure from City Coucilors' slush fund, though a budget item itself, is not subject to any prescribed public process nor is anyone on whom money from it is bestowed subject to any accountability. That being the case, for Councilors Huja, Szakos, and Norris to hand City taxpayers' cash to Paul Beyer for his business-venture-cum-campaign-kickoff was reprehensible.

And as for the fact that some part of the event has been or might be fun: I respectfully suggest that anyone who considers that an acceptable basis on which to dole out public money look up "bread and circuses."

So, Antoinette, I suppose you also think it is "reprehensible" for local governments to dole out money to County fairs, dogwood parades, 250th anniversary celebrations, historical commemorations, recreation centers, playgrounds for children, and any other things that "might be fun".. Let's admit what is obvious: you simply don't like Mr. Beyer. Instead of sitting bitterly in front of your 386 MHz computer running Windows 3.0, why don't you stand up, go outside, and do something good for your community, which, whether it suits your tastes or not, Mr. Beyer has attempted to do.

There's a difference in many of the events you mention - they are not to profit a single individual, as this is . Smith and Galvin were right this should have gone through normal the budgeting process.

I agree that it would have been better to have had a full budgeting cycle to consider this item, but not everything happens so slowly. The choice was to fund it quickly or not at all, and I'm happy that, uncharacteristically, City Council chose to cut red tape and make something happen.

As I understand it (and the reason the conversation is relevant to the above photo caption), the $5k was to help fund the free party held at McGuffey last week and a future "Community Day," which is also free to all comers. Being free, I see no opportunity for profit. If media reports are to be belived, 3,000 people attended the free McGuffey event. $5,000 to support a 3,000 person cultural event AND a future similar event seems like a good leveraging of City funds for the benefit (not the detriment) of the taxpayers.

"Self promotion?" Maybe indirectly. But the assertion that this is sinister calculated part of a multi-year City Council campaign? Absurd. Can no aspiring politician ever do anything good/fun for his/her community? That's what good people do- good things. And if those good things make the Citizens want to elect that person as a leader isn't that what it is all about? Those are the kind of politicians we need, imho.

@ Dredge First...Damn! Nicely said! If more of our elected officials did something to benefit more than themselves we wouldn't feel so dirty after voting. While I'm sure it isn't entirely altruistic, it is a "good" thing being done for the community at large. Very nicely put!


It turns out, according to Dede Smith on WINA yesterday, that Paul Beyer had already received $15,000 from the Visitors Center -- which, of course, draws its funding from both City and County taxpayers -- before making his ad hoc request for more.

And it also turns out that one very good reason not to grant his ad hoc request for more is that the event for which he requested it has not even been planned fully. It's just a sketch of an idea, unlike the effective established programs, projects, events, etc., that lost or were denied new funding in the course of completing the just approved budget.

Three days before the Tom Tom started he asked for $ . An anti-dam person not believing in a sinister plot? I saw two Nestle executives downtown and they are eyeing our water supply to own.