Mayor Norris runs for re-election

Mayor Dave Norris is seeking his second term on City Council. He was first elected in 2006.

Charlottesville's red-headed mayor is looking for another term on City Council.

"I'm running because I have unfinished business to do, in a nutshell," says Dave Norris. "There are a lot of projects in the pipeline."

Top of the list would be a master plan to revitalize public housing. "That's the best opportunity to improve affordable housing and to change the dynamic of poverty in our community," he explains.

Norris is the executive director of PACEM, the organization of churches that provides shelter to the homeless during the winter months.

Kristin Szakos, who served as volunteer coordinator for President Obama's 2008 campaign, has already announced her candidacy for the May 9 Democratic primary, which effectively determines who sits on City Council in Dem-heavy Charlottesville, although voters will go through the motions of formalizing that in the general election in November. Councilor Julian Taliaferro, who ran with Norris in 2006, has not announced whether he'll seek another term.

"They're both friends of mine," says Norris of the possible three-way race for two seats on Council. "Competition is good. I welcome competition."

After more than three years in office, the issue Norris never saw coming when he ran in 2006 was the water supply controversy. "We thought we had that problem fixed," he says. "It never came up in the 2006 campaign. I spent more time on that in the past year than any other issue."


I am thrilled that this young man is willing to continue his energies on behalf of all of us on City Council.

Please find us a better candidate than this, someone who won't raise taxes during a depression, someone fiscally responsible, please!

Jeanne, I doubt he has the continued support of those citizens who still saw an 8% to 10% increase in their property values this year.

I have a house for sale in the county that was easily worth $350,000 just three years ago. I would be lucky to get $250,000 for it right now. And the county saw no reason to raise it's value at all. (Yeah, I know... they're simply going to raise the tax rate rather than insult my intelligence by raising it's value this year. But the county is doing it in such a manner so as to at least make me feel a little better!)

Sick, how is the mayor responsible for an increase in property assessments? That is a function of the city's real estate assessor's office and the assessment must hew close to the market according to state law.

Anyone that feels that their assessment should not have gone up can appeal their assessment and, if their claim is legitimate, their assessment will modified in their favor. It happens all the time.

However, absolutely none of that has anything to do with the elected officials of the city government.

Billy Bob, because people think city council is in control, that's why. Most people don't understand the way the government operates on any level. Starting right at the top, I'll bet you less than 1% of the population could tell you who takes over if both the president and vice president were to become disabled or die today. Coming down the ladder, I suspect 10% of he population in Virginia probably can't even tell you who the Lt. Governor is or what he does. And on the local level, they blame City Council for anything that happens.

billy bob, the state allows each locality to choose between two methods of determining fair market value for the purposes of real estate tax valuation, individual inspection or neighborhood flat-rate neighborhood application. Since Charlottesville chooses the latter, many people who took their houses off of the market last year because their homes didn't sell are angry that their valuations went up because a neighbor was able to sell his home. When people are forced to sell their homes for less than they paid for them five years ago yet their assessments have been going up by double digits since they bought the houses, they feel they should get a rebate from the city on all of the taxes they've paid. The neighborhood appiication method doesn't work well in times like these.

Cville eye, even using the individual inspection method, the assessments have to match the market. It doesn't matter which process the city uses to arrive at the market value, but that it does arrive at the market value. The county uses individual inspection and, when the market went up, so did the assessments. Now that the county's market has gone down, so have the assessments.

You point out that the actual sale prices have gone up in the city. The city is following state law by having the assessments match that increase.

It's not the mayor's fault. Regardless, if the property assessments did not go up, they probably would have raised the tax rate so it's kind of a moot point.

I live in C'ville and the assessment of my property went up dramatically. I went through the simple process of having the assessors office reevaluate my taxes, and feel I received a fair reduction in my assessment. I would suggest that if you are unhappy with the RE assessment then contest it. It really is a simple process, and they are very fair.

I believe that Mayor Norris is a sincere man. He has so far lived up to the platform on which he ran.

My assessment went from $24,000 to $32,000...a 33.33333333333333% increase. Ostensibly, it was because I added a porta-potty to my living room along the tracks on East Market. I tried to claim medical reasons, as my voluptuous wife is having some incontinence issues, but the city would not aquiesce. Then I tried a tact that I thought would resonate with the Cville fathers...the "enviro-green" argument. You see, my wife used to do her business behind the Pit Stop (best burgers in town) in a hole I'd dug adjacent to the headstone shop (NOT head shop, you weedheads!); however, with our diet of bear claws and food throwaways from the Mexican market on East Market Street (you know, old salsa, re-re-re-refried beans, etc.), my little hole was becoming a ground water issues. Still no leeway from the city.

I used to think there were too many "S's" in "assessor," but not any more.

I am at a loss, except to vote out Mayor Norris and Julian Toliver..or Talisowicz...or Tolektov...or Talipopolous...gosh, what does he want us to call him this election? He didn't like his Italian name when we was running, so I don't know which sobriquet he wants this year.

"I don't want someone in the White House who has kids at home who desperately need them..."

Just thought I'd point out that Obama is a parent of young children as well.

I don't get the feeling you're a John McCain supporter, but unless you want to tackle the monster of explaining why there's a difference for fathers, or want to come out and blatantly say that parents of special needs children should all stay at home, it sounds like you're ironically making a case for the old guy.

I find it ironic how you want society to legislate standards because someone who will have the resources to provide may not have enough one on one time with their challeneged child.

The problem is if we set up those standards the economy would collapse from all of the kids in foster care.

Look no further than Charlottesville to see neglectful and incompetent parents.

Quit your whinning you high end person of affluence. All person running for office have children so waht makes you so different. It was your choice to have children and your choice to take care of them and operate a business. I don't have a nanny or house manager.

"Here's what I was doing when my kid was five months old: I was at home. Hating it. Telling myself that I was not cut out to be at home." And you've got the gall to talk about somebody else. Maybe you collapsed when you did not have the children you wanted, but that doesn't mean world should stop. Grow up!

There are other reasons families with special needs children may not want Gov. Palin and Sen. McCain in the White House. See the candidates' positions and plans at

"I have a nanny, a house manager, (and a cleaning woman who shows up every day)." Sounds rough. News flash: Even the most "perfect" babies are not capable of changing their own diapers and feeding themselves. They aren't all that great at discussing what they just heard on NPR, either. Pay your nanny well ... sounds like the kids really need her. I'm not a fan of Palin's policies, but at least now there is someone in the running for a worse mother.

The Palin's parenting obligations and skills are the least of our worries. I don't choose a surgeon on the basis of his family life and values, I choose him/her on the basis of the highest level of expertise and success.

Parents can opt to raise children at home with or without help (nannie/spouses/relatives), send them to day care, home school them or send them out to schools - public or private. What I object to is their taking the children to work if their elected officials. I think it's too distracting to try to care for children and provide taxpayers full attention to the issues. If they're not public officials, then the arrangements are between them and their employers or between them and them if thy have their own businesses.

I agree that the Palins have a very full plate right now and I really do not like her, but I am surprised by this article. Many of us have had to deal with very harsh realities without benefit of any help.

I really question Ms. Trunk's ability to cope if she feels she has such a tough time with a nanny, a house manager AND a cleaning lady. As much as I dislike Sarah Palin, perhaps she can at least cope with her family situation and work better than Ms. Trunk can cope with hers.

oh my word! what a sore subject...

it would be different if she were indeed the best person for the job. it would be different if it had been her plan to be on the presidential ticket at the time she got pregnant. but it wasn't.

first there was the special needs child. and then there was the dismissal of said child because the republicans wanted to get the female vote - they didn't even pick her because it was the best thing for us, the american people! they only chose her as a ploy to win. and she went for it instead of taking care of her already over-loaded family!! look, if she genuinely were the *best* candidate for the job, then i would be able to look past this hoopla. but she isn't. in the event that john mcain dies (as the elderly are prone to do) is this the person you want representing the united states of america?

oh, my.
I'm by no means a fan of the McCain/Palin ticket, but this article sounds way too much like "a woman's place is in the home".

Besides, with their chinese-scroll worth of platforms, policies, and opinions with which I don't agree, Ms. Palin's competence as a wife and mother is not my chief gripe.