Supervise this! Shop owner displays anti-Slutzky sign
The calendar may say March, but it may as well be November, as election season is well underway at one local business. The owner of a music shop has a bone or two to pick with Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chair David Slutzky (D), and he has made his discontent known by erecting a sign declaring his shop a "David Slutzky Free Zone."
"The man is fiscally brain-dead," says Tom Shaw, owner of Charlottesville Piano, located at the corner of Rio Road and Berkmar Drive.
"Slutzky doesn't want to cut any County programs," explains Shaw. "When the economy is bad like this, I have to cut back. Why shouldn't the County cut back, too?"
Shaw, who identifies himself as a Republican but says he's voted for Democrats like Delegate David Toscano (D-Charlottesville) and Congressman Tom Perriello (D-Ivy), says that it isn't just Slutzky's stance on spending that provokes his ire–- but also Slutzky's position on property taxes, which Shaw calls "smoke and mirrors."
"Slutzky keeps saying, 'Your property taxes won't go up,'" says Shaw, "but that's only because assessments are going down at the same time he wants to raise the property tax rate from 71 cents per $100 of value to 74.5 cents per $100 of value. You think he's going to want to bring it back down when assessments go back up? It's dishonest."
But with five other supervisors, why target Slutzky? That's where Shaw's objections go beyond the political and into the personal.
"When he was thinking about running against [state delegate] Rob Bell, he said he was going to 'kick his ass,'" says Shaw. "You just don't say something like that about someone."
Shaw is referring to a comment Slutzky made at an October 31 meeting at which he panned Bell's opposition to a proposal to add a one-cent sales tax to fund a proposed regional transit authority. "We will pillory [Bell] in the press," Slutzky said, "and then we run against him and kick his ass out."
Shaw's sign has already received plenty attention from both politically conscious passers-by and simply curious customers.
"People ask about it all the time," says Shaw, "and I tell them what I'm telling you. I want to do everything I can to keep him from getting re-elected."
This year, Slutzky seeks his second term on the board. Shaw says he has no personal stake in seeing Slutzky ousted, and has no personal connection to Rodney Thomas, a Republican who has already declared his candidacy for Slutzky's Rio District seat on the Board of Supervisors.
"I've never met the man," says Shaw of Thomas, "but I hope he wins."
Contacted by a reporter, Slutzky declined to answer questions about Shaw's sign, nor to address Shaw's criticisms of his policies.
"I'll talk to you about many things," Slutzky told the Hook, "but I'm not going to talk about that."