Dems to Schilling: too far this time

The mayor and another City Councilor have put lone Republican Councilor Rob Schilling on notice that they're not going to take it any more. They're furious that he's accused them of conspiring (as a "cabal") to create the City budget, but as the Daily Progress reports this morning, Schilling has not offered up a competing budget plan, and quotes former mayor/current Councilor Blake Caravati as warning that Schilling could face political penalties and possibly "criminal penalties" for his statements.
2:50pm Update/correction: We got the sense from a commenter below that we misread the part about "criminal penalties." (The Progress subheadline: "Spending critic warned of 'criminal penalties'" abetted our error).
What Caravati was actually saying is that the Democratic councilors were the ones accused of a misdemeanor carrying the "criminal penalties." We called Caravati, who says that Schilling could, however, face some penalties. But could be civil penalties over the "cabal" allegation? "I didn't say 'slander' answers Caravati, "but I may soon."


Actually, Caravati was saying Schilling was accusing the council of doing something illegal: meeting without public notice. He never said Schilling was doing anything illegal.

Maybe Mr. Caravati and his friends ought to find a consultant and pay them hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money to figure out how to get along better with their opponents on council. Maybe they can even find a federal grant to pay for a very small fraction of the costs. Then they can raise the price of trash stickers to cover the rest.
If this isn't a cabal, I'm not sure what is. There is no room for dissent on this council, except for harmless "dissent" from the far leftist fringe.

Schilling deflects criticism
By John Yellig / Daily Progress staff writer
March 25, 2006
Charlottesville City Councilor Rob Schilling said Friday that he never accused the other councilors and the city manager of being in a ââ?¬Å?secret little cabal” that helped write the current budget outside of public scrutiny. He also rejected Councilor Blake Caravati's call for a retraction and an apology.

ââ?¬Å?What am I expected to apologize for, something I didn't say?” he asked. ââ?¬Å?I can't do that.”

Schilling made the ââ?¬Å?cabal” comment at a March 9 budget work session. But he said it was in response to Councilor Kevin Lynch, who said he'd helped City Manager Gary O'Connell come up with a 4-cent cut in the real estate tax rate for the current budget.

ââ?¬Å?Oh, so we have a secret little cabal going on behind the scenes,” Schilling said. ââ?¬Å?We're dealing with the city manager outside of the public eye composing a budget. ”ŠI'm glad that you admitted it because I knew that was what was going on.”

Schilling said he was only reacting to Lynch's comment, not suggesting the rest of the council was secretly working on the budget with the city manager.

ââ?¬Å?At no point did I ever accuse, or could have been construed to accuse, the entire council,” he said. ââ?¬Å?I was responding to Kevin Lynch's comment that he had held meetings regarding the budget and somehow been responsible for a 4-cent tax-rate reduction that was not discussed publicly.”

Furthermore, Schilling said, Caravati wasn't at the March 9 meeting so he couldn't have known whom Schilling was talking about.

ââ?¬Å?It was certainly an inaccurate reaction to what I said,” Schilling said. ââ?¬Å?I think people are protesting too much.”

Caravati, who listened to a tape of the meeting, said it didn't sound the way Schilling described it.

ââ?¬Å?Let's go to the videotape,” he said. ââ?¬Å?The way I heard it was he was slandering me and us.”

Caravati added that Schilling should have clarified what he meant at a work session on Thursday when Caravati called for the retraction.

ââ?¬Å?What's the harm in saying, ââ?¬Ë?I didn't mean it like that, and if you took it like that, I apologize,'” Caravati said.

Schilling said he hadn't wanted to be drawn into an argument.

Contact John Yellig at (434) 978-7245 or

Who cares what was said? Get over it people! Council is acting like a bunch of kids in a sandbox.

The real issue is the budget. And taxes. I have sympathy for the citizens and taxpayers who worked their entire lives and now live on fixed incomes. These fixed incomes often not including a big fat city, state or federal retirement check each month. The people who never accumulated a nestegg because they were struggling to put their children through college. The people who never imagined buying a $35,000 home in a nice neighborhood 35 years ago would now reward them with a $400 to $500 a month tax bill. The people who now face a monthly real estate tax bill three times higher than their last mortgage payment. The people who have to conserve every drop of water and every bit of energy they can because they can't afford it anymore. The people who now have to pay for trash stickers, when it use to be included in the taxes they paid.

What are our taxes paying for? It's certainly not road repairs. A pothole went ignored for a week on a ramp near the bypass recently. I myself bent two wheels on the passenger side of a car to the tune of $300. Wonder how many others were damaged before it was repaired? Police patrol? We're lucky to see a police car once a year on the street I live on. And only then because the new rookies they hire from a dozen surrounding counties get lost and have to come up my street to get where they are suppose to be going. Schools? Look around, our children live in fear getting up and going to school now. Leaf collection? The city closed the last location I know of where we could dispose of our own leaves. Sidewalks and repairs? Keep on dreaming. Tax relief? What a joke. Read the guidelines. Most people would have to lie to qualify. What a sad shape this city is in. The quality of life has gone to hell in a handbasket for the older citizens and taxpayers living on fixed incomes. /Steve

ps - in reference to the sandbox remark I made above.......

We all know Peter, Paul, Mary and Robert want Jack to get out of their sandbox. Politics at it's best. :)

Who's fighting. Caravati is just trying to make a point. Who can blame him for defending himself from Shilling's attack?