Selling T.J.: Third time the charm?
Tom Jakubowski pulls up to Ragazzi's in a Cadillac with a license that reads, "RIO DIST."
The former bra salesman is a man not easily intimidated. He's already run for the Board of Supervisors twice– and lost– and yet he's running again as an independent in the Rio District race, the only supe contest in which the incumbent is not running. Three candidates– Gary Grant for the Republicans, Dave Slutzky for the Dems– are also vying for the seat.
In a snoozer of an election year, Jakubowski could be the candidate to add some color.
He's forthright in declaring his reason for running again after being trounced 897 to 3,085 by David Bowerman in 2001: He doesn't like votes Bowerman has made, such as against the Hillsdale Extension.
And he would like to have seen bigger property tax cuts. He doesn't like skyrocketing property tax assessments, and he successfully fought a 27 percent increase in his Minor Hill home's assessment.
"Every time I get a real estate assessment, I wonder how many senior citizens are going to have to move out," he says. "I'm definitely going to be an ambassador for the aged."
Jakubowski says he's promised to run a positive campaign. "That's why I'm not going to knock anyone," he vows– and then proceeds to dish about his opponents and the incumbent. "But I'm not going to bring it up," he says after one allegation.
Political parties don't escape his candor either. "Democrats never had a tax they didn't like, and Republicans have their voodoo economics," he declares.
Marketing is his milieu, and after high-powered, high-pressure sales jobs, Jakubowski, aka "Dr. J," bought a Roy Rogers franchise and moved here in 1980.
His first BOS race was in 1981. "I was on a roll," he recalls. "I had the most successful restaurant in town."
In 1986, he suffered a debilitating stroke, the effects of which are still visible today. Once a math major, he found he couldn't do math– or remember how to use a calculator. "I had a lucky stroke," he says 19 years later. "It forced me to be organized. I used to be the least organized person."
Jakubowski lectures UVA medical students about the effects of strokes. He's served on the Jefferson Area Board for Aging advisory council. He keeps score for the UVA baseball team, and writes a sports column for Silver Linings.
And he's still marketing, practicing "pizza PR" as senior marketing director for Ragazzi's– and selling himself to the voters of the Rio District.
His reason for wanting the latter job is simple: "I think Albemarle County is one of the nicest places to live," he says. "And I think I would be good at it."
Why here? UVA hospital, Scott Stadium, Davenport Field, John Paul Jones Arena
What's worst about living here? Arrogant UVA students
Favorite hangout? Cosner Brothers junkyard
Most overrated virtue? Celibacy
People would be surprised to know: I studied to be a priest.
What would you change about yourself? My golf swing
Proudest accomplishment? I've been married to the same woman for 46 years.
People find most annoying about you: I'm too candid.
Whom do you admire? Rich Murray
Favorite book? Ball Four by Jim Bouton
Subject that causes you to rant? Inconsiderate drivers
Biggest 21st-century thrill? I once made an unassisted triple play.
Biggest 21st-century creep out? 9/11
What do you drive? A CTS Cadillac, but my daily ride is an '85 Chevette.
In your car CD player right now: Carlos Santana's "Oye Como Va"
Next journey? To heaven
Most trouble you've ever gotten in? Stealing hubcaps as a teen
Regret: I turned down a chance to buy 5.7 acres in Farmington for $40,000 in July 1982.
Favorite comfort food: Chocolate-covered halvah
Always in your refrigerator: A six-pack of Mountain Dew
Must-see TV: The O'Reilly Factor
Favorite cartoon: Road Runner. I predict Wile E. Coyote will catch him soon.
Describe a perfect day. Sleep till noon. Spend the afternoon in the surf at Sandridge. Dinner at Steinhibler's.
Walter Mitty fantasy: Who is Walter Mitty?
Who'd play you in the movie? Don Johnson (Nash Bridges)
Most embarrassing moment? I was caught acting out the Village People's "YMCA" by 2,500 fans at a UVA baseball game.
Best advice you ever got? A fish only gets caught when he opens his mouth. (Carter Myers)
Favorite bumper sticker? Jakubowski for Supervisor
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO