Hot contests: Democrats clash in dog days of summer

Across Virginia, voters go to the polls in November to elect state and local legislators, but in Charlottesville, the election will pretty much be sewn up in August. In this overwhelmingly Democratic burg, perhaps a thousand or two people will vote in the party's primary and decide who will serve on City Council and as the hotly contested clerk of circuit court.

The bleak odds have not deterred four independents from joining the race, raising the number of candidates to 11 seeking the three seats up for grabs on City Council.

When voters go to Burley Middle School on August 20, it will be the second time local Dems have tried a so-called firehouse primary. In 2009, the party abandoned the mass meetings of the past that often took all day to choose candidates.

"The reason we went to the firehouse primary is to make it as easy for people to participate as possible," says local Democratic party co-chair Tom Vandever.

You don't even have to be a Democrat to vote in the day-long event, but registered voters must sign a loyalty pledge to support the Democratic party and its candidates. "There's no legal recourse," says Vandever, but he notes a bit of controversy two years ago when Dede Smith, now a candidate for for City Council, supported independent Bob Fenwick for Council in the 2009 race.

Another feature in the firehouse primary is the instant run-off. "The difficulty is in making sure people know they can rank the candidates," says Vandever. That way, even if your favorite candidate doesn't get a majority of votes, ballot-casters can still weigh in on who'd they'd like next on the list of seven running for the Democratic nomination.

Back around the turn of the millennium, a group of progressives called Democrats for Change challenged the slate-making party traditionalists, and such upstart candidates as Kevin Lynch and Maurice Cox won seats on Council. Some observers see that happening again this year. 

Rob Schilling, the last non-Democrat to win a seat on City Council (in 2002), says there's a big split that's water-based: candidates endorsed by Mayor Dave Norris– Dede Smith, Brevy Cannon, and Colette Blount– who favor dredging the current reservoir over building a new dam and pipeline, and candidates who favor the Nature Conservancy-pushed dam plan– incumbent Satyendra Huja, Kathy Galvin, and Paul Beyer.

"It's a showdown," says Schilling, "between the new guard and the old."

Mayor Norris doesn't think the alliances are cut and dried, and says that candidates like Cannon and Beyer who are on different sides of the water issue might still attract the same young voters. But he doesn't doubt that water is the big issue.

"There was so much anger about water after the Council vote in February," says Norris, referring to councilors' 3-2 vote to sign on to building a new dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir.

And there's more than water. For instance, James Halfaday is the first openly gay candidate for City Council, as well as the first Native American, and he claims he's been the subject of hate emails.

"The Old Guard is conspiring against me to push me out of the race," he alleges, although he declines to release the  emails.

"Early in the campaign, some third party was trying to cause some mischief with false postings," says Dem co-chair Jim Nix. "We got to the bottom of that. That was months ago."

And he adds, "Why would anyone try to force anyone out of the race?"

The requirements for getting on the ballot have stumped both independents and Dems. Halfaday, who filed with the registrar's office April 20, says when he tried to e-file a campaign finance report July 15, the Virginia Board of Elections told him they had no record of him.

"I'm not required to send the state anything for a local candidate," says city registrar Sheri Iachetta. "Candidates are told if they want to e-file, it's their responsibility." Three other candidates had similar problems, she says.

Another race that will be determined August 20 is for the seemingly staid clerk of the Charlottesville Circuit Court, an eight-year, $112K position held by Paul Garrett, who's seeking his fourth term. Garrett has successfully fended off challengers in the past, but with public defender/School Board member Llezelle Dugger calling Garrett out, he finds himself in a serious race against Dugger and a third challenger, Pam Melampy, whose sister, Debra Shipp, is clerk of Albemarle Circuit Court.

Both Norris and Schilling see the 11 candidates for Council as a healthy sign, although Schilling believes anyone who isn't a Democrat is "disenfranchised" from local government in Charlottesville.

"I'd like to see all these candidates on the ballot," he says. And of the ranking of candidates, a.k.a. the instant run-off,  he says, "Why not use that in the general election? That might give independents a chance."

The Dems

 Paul Beyer

Age: 29

Occupation: Homebuilder

Previous political experience: Appointed member, Charlottesville Public Housing Redevelopment Committee, chair, Albemarle County Housing Committee. 

Why run? Council sets the conversation. I want us to focus on fostering jobs, a diverse middle class, and economic vitality in our city.

Priority issue: Jobs: both sensitivity and support to our hometown businesses, and targeting outside industries that address the aspirations of our citizens.

Dam or dredge: Dam– 1.7 billion gallons for $16-20 million. Dredging– 228 million gallons of storage for $25+ million. Dam makes more sense. My main thought, though: it's a thoroughly debated question. Let's move on.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Fence. Quikrete won't address the broader structural problems with that sidewalk.

Why vote for you? Business experience and sensitivity to the economic vitality of the city, coupled with a youthful perspective on arts and culture.

Campaign slogan: Jobs - Sustainability - Arts

 Colette Blount

Age: 47

Occupation: Public school teacher since 1994.

Previous political experience: No partisan experience; elected to Charlottesville City School Board in 2007.

Why run?: For Council and the city to broaden educational approaches to strengthening our schools, increasing environmental stewardship, and amplifying economic opportunities for underrepresented populations.

Priority issue: Sustainable and cost-effective resolutions to water supply/transportation issues so the city can address other challenges— economic and cultural, to name a few.

Dam or dredge: Dredging is economically feasible (per actual and projected water consumption), less invasive on natural environment, and reflective of community desire.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Although the eastern sidewalk (per inspection) received “poor” rating, substructure is “fair” to “good.” Therefore, patching is more economical and keeps sidewalk open.

Why vote for you?: I will approach planning/projects with fiscal responsibility, work in the present with focus on long-term goals/vision, and bring dedication and thoroughness to tasks.

Campaign slogan: Equal Access to the Future


Brevy Cannon

Age: 36

Occupation: News writer for University of Virginia

Previous political experience: Work on Capitol Hill for Senator Bob Kerrey (Nebraska) and several campaigns, including Al Weed's first run for Congress.

Why run? City Hall could use some common sense. We need to think big, be bold and creative, but balance that with pragmatism.

Priority issue: Creating middle-class jobs in Charlottesville

Dam or dredge: Maintenance dredge first and gain better sense of full-capacity dredging costs, then concrete dam if needed.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Quikrete if it could be done safely.

Why vote for you? If you want to see the two Charlottesvilles become one Charlottesville by building our middle class.

Campaign slogan: A pragmatic progressive Democrat

Kathleen M. Galvin

Age: 55

Occupation: Architect, urban designer, small business owner, and educator

Previous political experience: Elected School Board, CRHA Redevelopment, Housing Advisory Committee, Commission on Children and Families, Weed and Seed, Capital Improvements Program, chaired Albemarle DISC, Johnson PTO President & Council Parent Liaison, Social Development Commission, Charlottesville Housing Foundation

Why run? To increase opportunity and jobs, enhance Charlottesville’s walkability and urban character, and improve regional collaboration through an accountable, transparent Council.

Priority issue: Expand economic opportunity and preserve community character, ensuring that the common good is not sacrificed to special interests or lack of vision.

Dam or dredge: False choice. Compromise plan costs $10 million less initially, doesn’t preclude elective/auxiliary dredging, and “dredge only” requires ongoing maintenance dredging costing $1.6 million per year.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Bob Fenwick has quipped about Quikrete, but unless there is a formal engineering evaluation of the safety and durability of sidewalk patching, this isn’t a question any of the candidates can responsibly answer.

Why vote for you? I have the range of knowledge, professional experience, and public service skills to ask the right questions, work for consensus, and focus on the common good.

Campaign slogan: Greener, smarter, stronger by design


James Halfaday

Age: 32

Occupation: Co-owner of Snap Fitness

Previous political experience: Elected councilman 1998-2001 in Dunfermline, Illinois.

Why run? I believe that I would be a good representative for the city and to protect the interests of the city.

Priority issue: Closing the educational achievement gap and increasing the graduation rate.

Dam or dredge: Dredge first!

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Quikrete

Why vote for you? I believe in ensuring quality education for all the children of our community, equal opportunities socially, economically and culturally for all our residents and the preservation of our natural resources.

Campaign slogan: One Charlottesville, our Charlottesville

Satyendra Huja

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired. Adjunct faculty at architecture school

Previous political experience: Currently on City Council, Charlottesville planning director for 31 years

Why run? Committed to public service

Priority issue: Transportation, environment, and infrastructure

Dam or dredge: Both

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Fence

Why vote for you? Most experience

Campaign slogan: Building together, a better community for all

Deirdre “Dede” Smith

Age: 55

Occupation: Former Director of the Ivy Creek Foundation (14 years at Ivy Creek Natural Area); now volunteer with several community groups.

Previous political experience: Two terms on Charlottesville School Board (2000-2006); founding member of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan (2007-present).

Why run? As someone recently told me, I have the “heart of a public servant.”

Priority issue: My two main priorities are environmental protection and equal opportunity in education.

Dam or dredge: Dredge the South Fork Rivanna River. Three new studies confirm that dredging will supply more than enough water for at least 40 years.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Repair with a high adhesion industrial repair system and use Jersey barriers if needed for safety.

Why vote for you? I will work hard, pay attention to data, listen to all voices, and stick up for city residents.

Campaign slogan: Dare to CARE. C = Conservation; A = Accountability; R = Respect; E = Education

The independents

Scott Bandy

Age: 50

Occupation: Between unemployed and avoiding premature retirement

Previous political experience: Enough to be disaffected by both parties. Hence, running Independent. Other than that, my experience is having NO BEHOLDEN POLITICAL EXPERIENCE.

Why run? Denial through complacency has brought nothing but undeserved discontent. There's no lack of issues waiting to be handled better.

Priority issue: Roads/sidewalks and transit. Also as our faithful environmental activism citizens like to cajole everyone else, "protecting our city's assets."

Dam or dredge: The recent cessation of hostility (for just $3.5million public funds) between Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority and Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan has weighed preferences toward dredging.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: $14,000 could've afforded more than plenty of Quikrete. I've got a trowel and concur with Bob on this.

Why vote for you? Because it's really the special collective interests the candidates ought to be running against. People before and above interests!

Campaign slogan: The Un-Elitist Candidate

Brandon Collins

Age: 38

Occupation: Musician, restaurant worker, personal care attendant

Previous political experience: Committed activist on national, statewide, and local issues, Save WTJU campaign, wrote draft of council resolution opposing anti-immigrant legislation, Board Member Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, Secretary of Socialist Party of Central Virginia, National Committee (alternate) Socialist Party USA

Why run? Charlotttesville can be a place where fundamental and comprehensive changes can take place to confront the enormous problems of our society.

Priority issue: Poverty: Let's guarantee that all of our residents can get meaningful employment, affordable housing, and ample public transportation.

Dam or dredge: Dredge, raise the existing dam, follow recommendations for further conservation efforts. We should always use existing resources rather than building a destructive and costly new dam and pipeline.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Quikrete was a cheaper option for temporary solution to the bridge issue. When constructing the new bridge, use a local workforce.

Why vote for you? Charlottesville needs a strong voice for social justice on City Council. I have proven through organizing and my political analysis that I can be that strong voice.

Campaign slogan: Instead of treating the symptoms, let's work to cure the disease.


Bob Fenwick

Age: 66


Why run? To provide strong citizen representation in deciding public matters for the city and dealing with the county.

Previous political experience: Candidate for City Council, 2009; active in various community organizations and advocacy groups.

Priority Issue: True representation for all city citizens. We don’t have that now.

Dam or dredge: Dredge. Immediate increase of water supply. Create "green collar" jobs. A cleaner reservoir. Recover and sell sand, gravel, and the topsoil.

Belmont Bridge: Repair. It worked for the west sidewalk and has lasted six years. Why not the east side until we repair the bridge?

Why vote for me: Innovative solutions to seemingly intractable problems (dredging and selling topsoil, clearing Rock Hill Gardens), public demonstrations of my solutions, not just committees, task forces, endless talk.

Campaign slogan: Experienced leadership, common sense representation, results.


Andrew D. Williams

Age: 24
Occupation: Insurance claims handler (adjuster)

Previous political experience: None. I was, however, appointed by Dr. Glenn DuBois, chancellor of Virginia’s Community College, to serve on a state system-wide strategic planning task force.

Why run? I would like to fill a gap in Charlottesville’s legislation. The definition of gap is the need for a different perspective and more balance in our local government.

Priority issue: Pure representation with the residents as the major shareholders instead of following party guidelines. I don’t see the need for partisanship at the local level. 
Dam or dredge: Based on the available data (to date at least), I believe dredging would be reasonable and consistent with my idea of long-term sustainability across all sectors of our government.

Belmont Bridge sidewalk– Fence or Quikrete: Whichever can incorporate green features and other surrounding architectural aesthetics into its design without compromising the safety of pedestrians is my choice.

Why vote for you? I have a sincere desire to represent the needs of the many, without forgetting and addressing the concerns of the few in our diverse population.

Campaign slogan: Exercising good judgment, with energy to spare!

Clerk of Court

Name: Llezelle A. Dugger

Age: 42

Occupation: Assistant public defender

Previous political experience: Charlottesville City School Board

Why run? I can improve the level of service to the users of the Circuit Court Clerk’s office.

Priority issue: Customer service, which includes improving accessibility of records by placing them online.

Why are you the best candidate for clerk? I have the leadership skills and vision to keep the office current and provide service with professionalism, competence and transparency.

Campaign slogan: Helpful. Informative. Professional.


Paul Garrett

Age: 65

Occupation: Clerk, Charlottesville Circuit Court

Previous political experience: Four previous elections for this position plus participation in various roles in other campaigns.

Why run: Dedication to the community and to the clerk's office and service to the public, with a commitment to implement the latest technology.

Priority issue: Keeping abreast of state and local budgets; technological advancement such as e-filing, case imaging, and a paperless court.

Why are you the best candidate for clerk? Experience in the position; fair, respectful, and dedicated pubic servant to all, efficient operation of the office within budgetary limits

Campaign slogan: Experience. Equality. Dignity.


Name: Pam Collier Melampy

Age: 49

Occupation: Deputy clerk /probate clerk at Albemarle Circuit Court

Previous political experience: This is my first political venue.

Why run? I believe that the Charlottesville Circuit Court needs to progress into the 21st century. I also believe that everyone who enters that office should be treated with courtesy and respect regardless of their affiliation with the Court.

Priority issue: I have three priorities: courteous and friendly service to everyone who enters the door; utilizing the technology that is available so that records can be accessed online; cross-training employees to make citizens' first visit as productive as possible.

Why are you the best candidate for clerk? I have 22 years invested with the court system. Worked in both General District Court and Circuit Court, which provides me with the credentials that can only be obtained from on-the-job experience. I will not use taxpayers' dollars to train me while I am in office.

Campaign slogan: "Focusing on our Future" and "Never look down on someone unless you're helping them up"

Correction 7/21/11: Because of a transcription error, Paul Garrett's response for his priority issue was mistyped as "peerless court" rather than "paperless court".


The pro dam/pipeline plan advocates quoted here always conveniently leave out the cost of the pipeline needed to fill the enlarged Reservoir they want to create by destroying tens of thousands of trees at Ragged Mt. Natural Area.

That cost is upward of $60 million --
This is just one issue, but it shows they are willing to say whatever they are told by those pushing the dam, and not do their homework. One could assume they would do the same on other issues.

This is a choice to pick candidates that look at the facts and represent city interests. Their blind support of other's agendas does not bode well for those of us who care about the future of our City, which will see increasing pressure from the surrounding county.

Chose candidates that will protect our neighborhoods, parks, schools, and by doing so will create a magnet to attract jobs and businesses. That is the ticket !

It's kind of frustrating when one is privvy to inside information about one of the Council candidates, information that proves they have no business being on Council, information you wish the public could know, because it would ensure the public wouldn't vote for them, but you can't say, because then you'd have to explain how you know. And then the candidate could just deny it (because lying is what they do best, to the point of being completely mentally know those types who lie so often to such an extent about everything big and small, where the lies just come tumbling out, they don't even think twice, like "lying diarrhea") And maybe even sue you for slander or libel. So you have to keep your mouth shut.

I think people who are smart will be able to figure out which candidate I'm talking about. By paying close attention to how this person talks and carries themselves, and what they say, and most importantly, how they present themselves on their website, people should hopefully figure things out.

I hope.

I admit it, my interest is neighborhoods and preserving the quality of life for those who live here now. I also do not want to see my taxes and fees go up, so I support dredging candidates and I believe dredging is the economical, sustainable way to keep utility rates from rising and to protect the beautiful park at Ragged Mt. that I have hiked in for years.
Why would any city councilor vote to destoy that ?

I like everything I have heard Colette Blount say. She seems to truly understand how to represent the people. I trust her to protect the quality of life we all cherish, but is slipping away.

" but unless there is a formal engineering evaluation of the safety and durability of sidewalk patching, this isn’t a question any of the candidates can responsibly answer." --Kathleen Galvin

Oh goody, a study. Sounds like she's already on the council. Maybe afterwards she'll propose a city dialogue on the study to get more public input. Then, after that, she'll propose a small committee to look into the feasibility of implementing the hiring of a firm to study implementing the proposal. After careful consideration by a new board, of course.

Adding to the size of the man-made lake at Ragged Mountain counts as using existing resources just as much as dredging the reservoir. I notice how little experience any of these candidates have in daily matters regarding running a City. Most of them are great rabble-rousers with not much insight on how to balance all of the issues that need to be balanced when making decisions for 40,000 people (and to some extent the people in the County who think they own everything in the City.) Its not as easy as "I read this in a book somewhere and why aren't we doing it?" I think if some of thesee people actually win, they will find out that its nearly impossible to satisfy everyone, but I bet we spend the first 2 years re-studying every decision these folks think is not what they want only to find out that the decision is actually fair and balanced like it has been the past 7 times it was approved. They all seem to talk to each other and only those who support their cause, while ignoring anyone else's opinion on matters. They will get everyone's phone calls and emails soon enough and find out that smart heads in the sand are not as effective as open minds considering all the inputs, and that majority rules in America. Remember the City market task force who thought they were so smart? Funny how in the end they agreed with everything the City is already doing. Maybe people should learn more about all the angles before blindly making stands based on theories and "national experts". Again, ragged mountain has been a water supply for a hundred years. Its South Fork that is the "new" destructive dam on our river that we supposedly care so much for...

According to yesterday's Daily Progress/Charlottesville Tomorrow article, Mayor Norris agrees that the new pipeline would also be built under his favored dredging and dam repair plan. So, it looks as though the dredging advocates are also "conveniently leaving out" the pipeline cost when touting the costs of their plan!
Perhaps the folks - not just candidates, but city residents as well - who are looking at the costs of the plan approved by City Council (30 foot earthen dam for the Ragged Mt. Reservoir, plus some dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir) can see that the cost of the approved plan at $26 million + pipeline is less than the cost of dredge-and-repair at $36 million + pipeline, because they are doing their homework. Even if these costs produced exactly the same amounts of water storage capacity, it's a pretty clear math problem :) When you add in the fact that the less expensive plan creates at least *seven times more* water storage capacity, the only equation that captures the costs and benefits would be: approved plan > dredge-and-repair concept.
The Ragged Mt. Reservoir area is beautiful - right now, it's about 95% forested and 5% reservoir/lake. Under the approved plan, the reservoir pool/lake would occupy roughly 10% of the entire preserve - it would still be at least 90% forested, with plenty of room for trails and the humans who use them. No one would lose the opportunity to hike, or fish, in the preserve once the new dam is built.
I agree entirely that the city would benefit from electing councilors who "look at the facts and represent city interests" - and who will strive to protect Charlottesville's best aspects without sacrificing job growth and prosperity. Candidates who recognize the value of the approved water plan are the ones who fit this description - no one on the softball team ticket fits.

guess who? sounds like a jilted lover....

Those that are casually slinging facts around regarding the water supply need to contend with the FACT that opponents to the approved plan are now emotionally invested. So the facts don't really matter anymore. Candidates that are better able to make a strong emotional appeal will win, regardless of the facts.

You saw it when the city council approved the plan. The amount of vitriol spewed towards those council members was pretty intense. And now it turns out that the council made the right decision? Ooooohhhh, it's on now. This will only cause these people to double down on their vitriol and emotional investment. It's so hard for juveniles to admit when their wrong or defeated.

The softball team, led by their milk and toast manager will not be swayed from the course established by these overwrought nimbyists.

@Keepitcalm I haven't heard any candidate suggest we build a new pipeline, if you have let me know where. My guess is Norris was taken out of context by Mr. Wheeler who reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow/Nature Conservancy . We all know he is a pro dammer and will do that whenever possible.

@ meanwhile

Nope. Not even close.

Hey @TJ -
Here's what was in the DP/CT article yesterday re: what Mr. Norris said about the proposed dredge-and-repair alternative:

Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris says he continues to favor an alternative water plan focused on a smaller dam, a new $63 million pipeline and dredging.
“I haven’t said this publicly before, but I was perfectly prepared to argue we should build the pipeline at the start,” said Norris. “It absolutely accomplishes the stream flow protections and, if we build it at the beginning, it we will accomplish it sooner.”

I have not heard any City Council candidate talk about the pipeline - maybe because it's a "wash" in the sense that both the approved plan, and the dredge-and-repair alternative proposal, would incur that cost at some point according to the Mayor?

As to whether Mr. Norris's remarks were somehow "taken out of context" as you worried in your comment - I guess only he and the reporter could answer that concern for you.

Its not a showdown between the old guard and the new guard. Its a show down between some ultra left splinter group (antidam, anti-parkway, anti-growth?) and the more independent minded of the dem. party. The old gaurd is O'Brien, Fife, Conover, Daugherty, et al. I don;t think Galvin, Beyer, and Huja really come from that generation. They are in the middle between the Norris crowd and the latter crowd I mentioned.

Huja, Galvin, and Beyer offer in my opinion a group of independent minded democrats, not a clique. They all seem to want to move ahead past the water and the parkway to address other needs of the city rather than spending more time and money on navel gazing and revisionism.

"There was so much anger about water after the Council vote in February," says Norris, referring to councilors' 3-2 vote to sign on to building a new dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir."

Yeah so much of his anger and the anger of a small group of elitists in town. Vote is in, get over it and move on to more affordable housing and better schools. Now the whole election is being manipulated and polluted by a few angry people who want power.

@Longtime Resident: quit the hyperbole. Ragged Mtn isn't going to be decimated just slightly changed. You are misrepresenting the situation to make your ideological point.

@ Guess who. I feel your pain. There is a real stinker on the ballot with a proven track record of train wreckage.

@ ableboy: Funny, the first comment here takes the Councilors to task who voted for the dam for not doing their homework. Galvin says she wants to do the homework and you jump down her throat. Which is informed or uninformed decisions?
@ Anthony: right on, the rabble rousers are constructing a false issue to get attention, get elected so the can be on TV and in the paper all the time.
@keepitcalm: "I agree entirely that the city would benefit from electing councilors who "look at the facts and represent city interests" - and who will strive to protect Charlottesville's best aspects without sacrificing job growth and prosperity. Candidates who recognize the value of the approved water plan are the ones who fit this description - no one on the softball team ticket fits."

Right on. Not only that an article in the CT yesterday shows that the dredgers are manipulating facts:

CT reports: "Earlier this month Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan used an August 2010 DEQ letter on its website and in communications to local media to claim that dredging South Fork would provide 15.5 mgd.

“This is an inaccurate and inappropriate comparison that can only further confuse the public dialogue regarding the project,” said Kudlas in an email prior to the Hydrologics study. “[T]he DEQ analysis should no longer be used as a point of comparison with the other more recent estimates for determining yield or whether the facility meets projected demands…DEQ also believes that, for clarity, the Authority [should] consider having its current consultants run additional simulations to provide a valid comparison of safe yield.”

So the dredgers and their leaders are making : "inaccurate and inappropriate comparison that can only further confuse the public dialogue regarding the project,” NOT LOOKING AT THE FACTS BUT MANIPULATING FOR AN AGENDA?

Quit wasting our elections on false issues of an elite few who appear to be anti-growth. Move on to affordable housing, jobs, transportation, better schools!!!

Here are my responses to questions asked at the "Democrats Only" forum last night-

Vote Brandon Collins for Charlottesville City Council!

@anthony, "Remember the City market task force who thought they were so smart? Funny how in the end they agreed with everything the City is already doing." Actually, the task force recommended that the City expand the City Market site to become a City Market District.
@keepitcalm, I believe the idea is not to go with the 30' expansion, getting rid of the need for the pipeline.

@Cviille Eye:I thought Norris said he was in favor of improving the pipeline?

@Cville Eye: "Actually, the task force recommended that the City expand the City Market site to become a City Market District."

With absolutely no guidance whatsoever on how that might happen.

I don't believe anything Mr.Wheeler writes for the DP/Charlottesville Tomorrow/Nature Conservancy alliance. He is a lobbyist for the Nature Conservancy, not a journalist, and by now everyone I know sees this.

Rob Schilling nails it in the first 10 minutes of this program:

@TJ: "I don't believe anything Mr.Wheeler writes for the DP/Charlottesville Tomorrow/Nature Conservancy alliance. He is a lobbyist for the Nature Conservancy"

Is that true/verified?

When I saw that many of local groups did a press conference about the environmental benefits of the pipeline and dam project, I wondered: "what about all the mountaintop-removal coal being burned to pump water uphill 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, 365.25 days per year? Is that not part of the environmental impact?

Listen to the Schilling tape. Mr. Wheeler's role with the Nature Conservancy is well documented.

Thanks Rob, I listened to your conflict of interest expose on all these groups and individuals and I'm glad someone is willing to shed light on what has been a very puzzling affair.

You are proudly representing the fourth estate, and our community owes you a debt of gratitude for doing this. Hopefully the voters and elected officials are listening and will take some action to clean up this corrupt situation.

Charlottesville deserves better !

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the forum so I appreciate this synopsis of issues. It looks to me as if Beyer, Galvin, and Huja are the let's grow Charlottesville, infill where you can, more population, bigger water supply, but the question is - is this the kind of City we want to live in ? I came years ago and appreciate the amenities we have now, but the population has barely increased and I would hate to see the neighborhoods paved over for more development.
I think some growth is manageable, but I think the amount of growth that Beyer, Huja and Galvin are advocating would mean a lower quality of life for us all.

I would welcome other views.

@Nancy Drew - what is it you see as "the amount of growth" being advocated by the candidates you mentioned - Huja, Galvin and Beyer? I didn't see anything in their answers to the Hook's questions that argues they (or any of the other candidates, for that matter) think that any neighborhoods should be "paved over for more development." Where's the line, for you, between "some growth [that] is manageable" and growth that "would mean a lower quality of life for us all" in the city?
The Democratic candidate forum was interesting - and the blackout certainly shook things up for a little bit! The sponsors are supposed to be posting a podcast of the forum, so you could still watch/listen; with any luck, the recording won't include the 25-minute "intermission" that interrupted the live version (thanks, Dominion...).

@TJ, You're right on with your comment about not trusting Brian Wheeler on anything related to the water issue, and I'm skeptical of Charlottesville Tomorrow in general for that reason. Thanks for posting the link to the Schilling show.

I don't agree with much of what Rob Schilling has to say, but I greatly respect that he isn't afraid to expose dirty secrets about local politics. His connecting of the dots between some of the candidates listed here and people behind the scenes pulling strings and fabricating information to get the dam shoved down our throats is very interesting and worth a listen.

I listened to Galvin be interviewed by Rick and Jane on WINA and I would call her a regionalist. Which means, when voting she would favor the interests of the region over those of city residents, i.e. roads, infill, higher density, waving steep slope ordinances in favor of development. I think she see increased population as an answer to many of our problems and she seems to have close ties to the county. That's not bad but given her profession as an urban planner she would have a professional reason to favor increased development in neighborhoods.

So I've made up my mind, no last minute speeches wanted. I can go, sign pledge, get ballot and vote and be out in 30 minutes? Is that right? No forced speeches to listen to like a time share visit?

Vote Quimby

@Hook Feeder:

Quimby? I thought people commenting here were looking to vote for Nimby.

"You don't even have to be a Democrat to vote in the day-long event, but registered voters must sign a loyalty pledge to support the Democratic party and its candidates. "There's no legal recourse," says Vandever, but he notes a bit of controversy two years ago when Dede Smith, now a candidate for for City Council, supported independent Bob Fenwick for Council in the 2009 race."

Does this bother anyone else to have a candidate in the election who has violated this norm recently? Does this not speak to a candidate's qualification to be on the democratic ticket?

I just listened to the audio link @TJ posted from Wednesday's Schilling Show, and it is very interesting. However, there was one shining difference between the publicly-documented positions held by a lot of the folks he mentioned (ASCA members, conservation groups and their boards of directors, the BoD of Cville Tomorrow) and the unsupported claim that one of the city Democratic Party cochairs is running/advising the campaigns of several of the primary candidates. I've heard Rob Schilling say that over, and over, and over again ever since candidates began announcing back in the spring - but he's never offered any proof. Not even his catch phrase "we have it documented" :) Perhaps that's because it isn't happening? Perhaps it's because Rob seems to have some kind of a "thing" about Jim Nix dating back to the 2009 campaign, when Nix actually *was* a campaign manager (and was not the co-chair of the city party)? We all know that Rob isn't shy about sharing proof when he has it, both on the air and on his show's website - so under those circumstances, the absence of proof speaks volumes.

More political figures, including Mayor Dave Norris, appear on the locally-produced Charlottesville politics interview program Politics Matters with host Jan Paynter:

Regarding their positions on growth: Galvin spoke about it during her announcement speech and is known to be a density/growth advocate. She's not exactly known to care about neighborhoods, and is a conciliator and regionalist, as pointed out above.

Paul Beyer is well known, as is his brother, for their many appearances before the Planning Commission and Council speaking against the steep slopes ordinance and for pretty much any development that comes up before the PC (whether they're involved with it or not).

Huja is a bit better than the pair of newcomers, but is known to sway the way the wind is blowing. He plays it very safe, but has been known to ignore facts in favor of doing the politically expedient thing.

I'm no Schilling fan, but there have been quite a few local Dems talking about the connection these three candidates have to party players like Nix, Vandever, and Caravati. I know many of them personally, and know that a bunch of them support Galvin, Huja and Beyer.

I was at the candidates' forum and went away convinced that Kathy Galvin is an incredible candidate for council. I am so ready to see a new member who may shift the council culture away from the endless rehashing of old issues, We have got to move forward to make our city what Galvin envisions: a place that is 'Greener, Smarter, Stronger, by design'.

The water issue: city council voted on that after going through a reasonable process and now it just sounds like insider bickering; other issues are pressing. Let's move forward, people. Seeing Ms. Smith in front of a microphone brought back the nightmare days when Scottie Griffin was school superintendent and Ms. Smith presided over the debacle. Like I said: let's move forward, Charlottesville. Kathy Galvin, you've got my vote.

I too listened to the Schiiling Show piece. There's a lot of conspiracy there. Much unsubstantiated and circumstantial in my opinion (and I like Rob, have voted for him, and kinda miss him on Council). I don't see any evidence that Nix is running those people's campaigns. Nor do I think Brian Wheeler is involved in any insider deal with the NC or the pro-damers, he would have too much to lose in his biz if he appears biased. Evidence dude. Keepitcalm has a good point.

I do see from a Hook article, Vandever is pissed that Dede Smith broke ranks a couple of years ago and supported an independent after signing the pledge at the primary. Now Rob would like that because he really dislikes the dem. party, wants more independents on Council, wants dems to break ranks and wants a non-partisan election and ward elections (I think) and that Smith bailing on her pledge scenario would work for him, but not for democrats who require the pledge and expect people who sign it to have the integrity to stick with their written word.

I am with him on wanting more independents on Council. Here's my dilemma: I look around at the Independents running and I don't see anyone who is electable. So then I look at the Dem slate and I see some people like Galvin, who are in the party but pretty darned independent minded (would I have preferred if she ran as an independent? Yes) and I say that's the best chance at not having group think on council. Say what you will but Galvin, Huja, and Beyer are not throwing softballs to each other, they won't engage in group think and they are no one's patsy..

Boy I wonder if Rob would be mad if his anti-dam crusade helped to get Norris' three cronies elected and then there would be 4-1 or 5-0 votes every meeting with Kristen Szakos sometimes taking on Rob's former role as independent gadfly. What a twist of irony that would be. Be careful what you ask for, it might make Rob's fears of city pizza parties pale in comparison.

What a bizarre town we live in when the upshot is it looks like Rob Schilling is supporting Dave Norris, Dede Smith, Brevy Cannon, and company in the anti-dam campaign because he thinks its a strike against the mainline of the dem. party or it will make an independent electable. Is this what is happening?

I say not so quick Rob. Did people like Fife, O'Brien, Vandever, Conover (or any old guard Dem) come to Galvin's announcement and stand with her? NO!!!!! Who came to the Norris trio's announcement? I think if Rob looks closely enough at who showed up to Dede Smith's announcement he may find the demons he claims to see in the Huja, Galvin, Byer camp. My point is that those last three are not the old guard of the party, I think they are somewhere in between, and from what I know of Galvin, she is pretty darned independent in thinking. I think Rob has this wrong here. But I love the irony, Rob Schilling apparently supporting Dede Smith, who set him off on a mission to pass a referendum for an elected school board. Schiiling and Norris on the same page? Who woulda thunk. Does Rob officially endorse Smith, Cannon or Blount?

Maybe Norris will get Rob to run again on his ticket and at the next debate Rob can serve up softball questions to Brevy Cannon and Dede Smith (Blount didn't seem up for it) and then when Rob gets elected he can join Norris and Cannon and Smith in immediately calling for a new vote on the dam :). Also I don't get it, Rob's conservative cronies on the Alb. Bd. of Sups seemed to favor the dam. Is Rob breaking ranks with the republicans over there? Fiscal conservatives in bed with anti-growth that what's going on?

@ Violet: Here here, same with me!!!!

@Disgusted: from what I hear Galvin has a good vision of sane growth and balanced growth in the city. I have heard her speak of the issues related to high concentrations of poverty and its effects on school outcomes. I think she is also sensitive to the desires of local low income residents who may want other options besides mixed-income housing.

You said: "I'm no Schilling fan, but there have been quite a few local Dems talking about the connection these three candidates have to party players like Nix, Vandever, and Caravati. I know many of them personally, and know that a bunch of them support Galvin, Huja and Beyer."

Yeah well look at the choice and the other option, to support group think like we saw at the debate? I like Norris but I can't support the building of an block, especially with the pieces of the block are so problematic.

@Disgusted - are those same people talking about the support that Smith, Blount and Cannon are receiving from political players? Watching their announcement speech videos shows a lot of well-known Democratic faces too (Kevin Lynch, Nancy O'Brien, Francis Fife, John Conover, Maurice Cox, Dave Norris) - and one of those candidates actually has a sitting member of City Council as her campaign treasurer. Reality is, all of these folks - the ones you mentioned (Nix, Vandever, Caravati) and the ones who stood behind, or introduced, the various members of the softball team at their announcements - are people who get to vote, just like anyone else who wants to vote. So of course they're going to have personal opinions about who they'd like to vote for. But if you're going to "call out" candidates for having support - not campaign management, but personal "you've got my vote" support - then it should be done equally for all of the candidates.
Oh, and I watched the video of Galvin's announcement speech too - and I never heard the word "growth"? It made me wonder. Why is it that you feel she is "not exactly known to care about neighborhoods" - didn't hear that on the video, either, but then you didn't say it was your source for that concern. (Beyer's record of appearances at the PC and the CC is all on the public record, so it's easy to read/listen and learn exactly where he and his brother stand on the steep slopes ordinances, and so on.)

I encourage every Democratic primary voter to assess each candidate on his/her own merits. Period. Ask yourselves, which candidates are most likely to stand up for our City residents, our City assets, our City neighborhoods, our natural resources, our AAA bond rating, our low-income children and families, our ratepayers and taxpayers, our long-term economic sustainability. I’ve done that myself and have personally opted to support Dede Smith, Brevy Cannon, and Colette Blount. The theories being propagated here & elsewhere by supporters of another candidate about some nefarious “Norris machine” are more than a bit laughable and overwrought. My ‘machine’ is my iPhone, my Facebook page and my e-mail list and membership in my ‘machine’ is open to any Charlottesville resident who wants to see City Council stand strong against the pressures that threaten our City assets, our City neighborhoods, our low-income children and families, our long-term economic sustainability, etc. I know and like all of the candidates in this race and will work with whoever gets elected to keep making Charlottesville a better place. That’s the last I’ll say about all this because this election is not about anyone other than the seven Democrats and four Independents who are giving it their all and asking for your support. And when all is said and done, your vote on election day carries just as much weight as mine.

Seems like most of the fear mongering about the supposed "Norris ticket" is coming from one person both here and at C'ville news. The posts are not only pretty much interchangeable, but seem strikingly similar to earlier posts made on C'ville news under a real name by an early supporter of Galvin who happens to harbor a personal vendetta against Smith due to events in the past that he just cant seem to get over. I have to wonder why so much energy devoted to that.

Why wouldn't Beyer and Galvin appear on the the Schilling show ?
I'm a conservative democrat and I disagree, and sometimes agree with Rob, but I am suspect that candidates that wouldn't be interviewed will not represent all of us.

The bunker mentality of politicians within a specific civic border to rally people,s paranoia for their votes is a common tactic . Not co-operating with next door civic neighbours in infrastructure and services leads to diminished services in all areas but at higher costs for all.Top heavy over Government with higher taxes is the product while these lower level power hungry politicians spend time in stupid turf wars BSing to the public about what a great job they are doing .Fending off the evil civic neighbours next door seems to be the 800 lb elephant in the room .A constructive regional approach in civic matters benefits the most . Progressive ,co-operative candidates should prevail .

@Frank Speaker-- the problem is that to some people, "cooperation" means the city gives in to the county when tough decisions need to be made. While I want all of our elected officials to work well together, I need to know that if push comes to shove, city officials will support city interests, even if that means they get raked over the coals for doing so. Standing up for your constituents during a difficult time is not a "bunker mentality." It's called doing your job, and having the courage of your convictions.

Ask any community activists in this town for their experiences dealing with City Councilors, and almost all of them will have an unpleasant story to relate of a councilor making promises behind the scenes, but then doing what's easy vs what's right. Norris and Edwards have well-deserved reputations for being straight shooters when it comes to the citizens, and for standing up for us regardless of whether we have any power or not. Many of us are looking for similar attributes in our Council candidates. I may not agree with every single vote Norris and Edwards have taken, but one thing I know for sure is that they do the necessary research on issues, and won't pretend to agree with you while stabbing you in the back.

On a personal level, we have several very important issues coming up in the Woolen Mills, primary among them is the RWSA's sewage pumping station, along with the ramifications of past zoning "mistakes." I need to know that my Councilors truly understand the difference between what's right and wrong, and are willing to fight to make sure that Charlottesville's neighborhoods aren't despoiled.

Sometimes solving a really thorny issue is a marathon, not a sprint. If a Council candidate gives me the impression that they just want to move past issues rather than truly solve them, then they won't get my vote. One thing that's particularly impressed me re Dede Smith is the sheer number of hours she's already put into public service with her citizen group. Dogged determination to get to the root of a problem shows character and spine, and we're really lucky when our elected officials have that attribute.

I agree with Citizen Party that Dede Smith needs to explain how she squares her participation in the '09 firehouse primary with her support of an independent candidate in the general election that year. That doesn't say much for her integrity. Just wondering how the party leaders, including Dave Norris who is supporting Smith, think she should be held to account for this. If there is no accountability, and the loyalty pledge is therefore meaningless, as it appears, shouldn't we be honest enough to do away with it?

@Just Wondering-- didn't Norris run as a Dem candidate in the '09 election? I'm guessing he's not one bit concerned about this.

I'm a Dem, but I signed candidate petitions for Bob Fenwick and Paul Long. I "liked" Brandon Collins for Charlottesville City Council on Facebook because I agree with his platform. Does that mean that I've now signed away my rights as a citizen to vote? I get why the pledge is necessary-- isn't it to prevent fake Dems from coming in and skewing the votes? This all seems to be much ado about nothing, and I'm flabbergasted as to why a few posters here and over on cvillenews keep grasping at straws to drag her name through the mud.

@ Victoria, I'll bet you those "few posters" are really a single poster with a vendetta.

I was told by a democratic official that as a democrat I could vote in the primary and if my candidate loses I have every right to work for and vote for an independent. The pledge just says at the time you vote in the primary it is your intention to support democrats . It doesn't bind you to changing your mind once the primary is over .
This is a free country and this attempt to limit our right to vote for the candidate of our choice, or work for them is nonsense.

Mr. Nix and Mr. Vanderver should publicly condemn this attempt at intimidation.

Most voters I know are independents and many of them intend to vote in the Firehouse Primary on August 20th. We all know that is election day in this town . This whole dust-up is just an attempt by some party insiders to promote their candidates of choice.

Victoria, I couldn't agree more.

I am also looking for councilors who will do their homework and not just accept what staff is telling them. That is why I have been impressed with Mayor Norris and Ms. Edwards, who listen to staff and citizens, then form their own opinion after careful consideration. That takes a great deal of work and intelligence, because the issues facing the city are often complex.

It is well known that I believe the facts support a dredge first approach for our water supply, but that issue will soon be resolved and other difficult issues will arise. Before getting involved with protecting our water infrastructure, I served for many years as president of Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association and then on the City Planning Commission.

I have always, and continue to believe, that the greatest appeal we have as a city is our neighborhoods. We need to protect their character so that they continue to be a place where people want to settle down, and form the fabric of a well cared for place. And we need to keep the City an affordable place to live, to make it possible for all income levels to be able to live in our neighborhoods. That is one reason I am currently fighting the earthen dam/pipeline plan. The facts I have seen indicate it is far better for city residents, to maintain and protect the water infrastructure and park land at Ragged Mt. Natural Area, that we already own, and spend our money dredging our largest reservoir at South Fork, so it continues to be our main source of water supply. I respectfully disagree with some groups that interpret the facts differently.

We need to elect councilors who can stand up to the pressures we are now facing. Individuals that will not allow the natural environment to be sacrificed to the built environment, and who will not allow our neighborhoods to become cut throughs for county traffic.

For these reasons, and the others Mayor Norris has included in his post, I am supporting Colette Blount, Brevy Canon, and Dede Smith in the Democratic Primary on August 20th.

Please join me in nominating these candidates to help protect our City for all our residents.

@Betty - so you agree with Norris comment in the paper last week that the new pipeline should be built sooner? Hes voted to approve it every time it's come up for vote, and now he says he supports it and wants it built right away.

The pipeline is always left out of the conversation of cost of comparing dredging to the current dam/pipeline plan . The new dam at Ragged Mt. wouldn't suffice for a long term plan without a pipeline, because unlike the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, that has a huge watershed, Ragged Mt. does not, and is dependent on a pipeline to fill.

I believe what Mayor Norris meant, because if you just read a snipit, reported at CharlottesvilleTomorrow, you can't understand the entire meaning; from my conversations with Mayor Norris he prefers the plan to dredge first, and simultaneously repair the spillway at the current concrete dam at Ragged Mt. and raise it 13 ft. That is what all the Councilors had agreed to before 3 changed their minds ( under pressure from the county and special interest groups, in my opinion) .

But if the county gets its way and Beyer, Galvin or Huja is elected to support building the new earthen dam, I would also believe that the pipeline has to be engineered and ready to go, not delayed for 20 years, before they build a new earthen dam . There are many costs associated with the new pipeline that are still unaccounted for in the current $60 million estimate. And no route through county land has been determined, other than somewhere between the South Fork Rivanna and Ragged Mt. Reservoirs.

The cost of the county plan needs to be seen as a dam and a pipeline , and it is irresponsible to ignore the price tag of their proposed uphill pipeline when comparing their plan to dredging as a first step.

The beauty of dredging is that it can be done in small bites as we continue to monitor what is now a decade of falling water use and we may never need the uphill pipeline.

There are many uncertainties facing our community, and the projections right now, about water use and population growth, looking out 50 years- are best guesses ( as confirmed by the consultants)

For the sake of our ratepayers, I believe, we should take the approach that assures abundant water ( dredging ) and has the lowest cost ( dredging )

I respectfully disagree with some groups that believe the facts point to building this elaborate ( costly for city assets and ratepayers ), new dam. We can always dam later if the need is there.

@Betty Mooney: "And we need to keep the City an affordable place to live, to make it possible for all income levels to be able to live in our neighborhoods."


Good point Albeboy, ( I wish I could call people by their real names),
Charlottesville is currently unaffordable for many.

@Betty - Help me understand this then: the Council has voted for the pipeline unanimously every time a vote has come up, including Edwards and Norris. So the City Council agrees with the need for the pipeline. What's at issue, then, is storage. One-time dredging costs $36 million and creates 151 million gallons, destroys our streams, and only creats 9.2 mgd safe yield. We're already using 9.9 mgd today so we'd ruin our rivers and be facing mandatory, water rationing restrictions. This sound like the anti-environmetnal plan. The new 30 fott dam costs $23 million and creates 1.1 BILLION gallons and creates 12.5 mgd safe yield. So, it's far less expensive, provides water for everyone, and protects the environment.

I do not support these RWSA numbers as factual, we will just have to disagree. Please listen to Kevin Lynch explain why.

@Betty - You're entitled to your own opinion, but not your own set of facts.

@ richard, Did you listen to the podcast by Kevin Lynch on Coy Barefoot and on Rick and Jane at WINA ? He explains why the RWSA " facts " don't pass what he calls " the smell test "

@ richard, I don't know who you are, or who you represent, but CSWP will debate you on the " facts " anytime you are willing. Just contact us at our web-site.

Maybe it's time. Please let me know and we can hold it in a location that the public can easily get to with plenty of parking.

Richard, please stop repeating the garbage that party hacks like Jim Nix and County special interest groups are spreading about the costs and gains from dredging. They all said dredging would cost $220 million and now they're down to $36 million and we know from dredging companies themselves - you know, the people who actually KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT DREDGING - that the $36 million figure is still grossly inflated if you do dredging the way most communities go about dredging their reservoirs. And isn't it at all mysterious that 30 days before an election those same County special interest groups and party hacks conveniently released a RWSA report which dramatically revised the state's own earlier estimates and insisted with a straight face that we'll have less water once we dredge the reservoir than we do now? How is that physically possible? It's not. They are LYING. More to the point, they are trying to confuse the voters. And the fact that Galvin bought into that report 100% is seriously seriously troubling.

Democrat--I hardly think my question about the pledge and Dede Smith's understanding of it constitutes an attempt at intimidation. It strikes me you are engaging in name-calling--by implication at least--rather than addressing the issue. I prefer dialogue to name-calling. If it's true, as you say, that the pledge only lasts until the polls close on primary election day, and after that primary voters are released from any moral obligation to support only democrats in the general election, then I wonder what's the point of the pledge. Can you tell me? That's the point I was trying to make in my first post. You might go back and re-read it. Not much intimidation to be found there, I would contend.

I was told the pledge is to keep Republicans from voting. It has no enforceable value and is simply believed to be a deterrent.

I never heard any complaints about this until this year.
Wonder why ?

Didn't Dave Norris support Peter Kleeman, running as an independent in years past ? I don't remember party officials complaining about that.

Kevin Lynch's opinion as to why a certain set of facts don't "pass the smell test" is GOSPEL!!!

Interest rates and construction costs are low now. Passing the construction of the dam on to our kids and grandkids would be very irresponsible.

Sure, we can save some money now and not build the dam. Maybe dredging will do the trick, but we don't know that for sure.

Let's say we go with just dredging. 20, 30, 40 years from now people will need to increase capacity. Except at that time, who knows what our fiscal situation will be?

Better to pay now, have all the capacity we'll ever need, and not have to look our kids and grandkids in the eye and explain that the reason they don't have enough water is because of some petty squabbling and the selfish desire to save money in 2011.

The water plan has been approved how many times now? How many different studies need to be debunked and disbelieved in order to support NOT building the dam?

It's almost unreal. Imagine we were talking about the oxygen supply. Responsible adults have made a responsible decision based on good information.

The amount of vitriol, hyperbole and overwrought speculation regarding the intelligence and motivation of those who made this decision does not speak well for those who were opposed to this decision nor for the position they hold. If the opposition to the water supply was based on fact and reason, they wouldn't have to resort to such emotional appeals.

No matter what the issue a candidate mentioned here if she gets on council will spend her term squabbling with " the dreaded outsiders" . Better to shun that terrible trio ticket and go for progressive builders that want to move the region forward . City and county have to work in harmony for the enhancement of all . Dredging up fuedal moats to sling arrows across puts the region in reverse .

@ meanwhile The worst thing we can do for our ratepayers now and in the future is take on more debt than is needed --that is the most pressing problem facing the country --too much debt. We have plenty of water - there is no emergency, now or for the foreseeable future. Your argument doesn't hold water.

The country as a whole has realized the benefit of maintaining what we have before destroying it and building anew. The Sierra Club is the one environmental organization locally that I support, which embodies this principle. And they support restorative dredging first !

I would like Donnie McDaniel or another investor or the City to buy the houses next to the people running for council/on council and see how they like a 4 person SRO adj to them such as the house I have next to me in town. Yes there are months there are no problems. Do I think the water or the parkway is my main problem in town?

@Frank Speaker , "Better to shun that terrible trio ticket and go for progressive builders that want to move the region forward ." Forward, where? All movement isn't forward movement. This statement says absolutely nothing and sounds as though it was spewed out by a politician. By the way, what is a "progressive builder?"
@meanwhile..., "20, 30, 40 years from now people will need to increase capacity." Funny, Ken Boyd suggested that we sell the excess water to Louisa or Flubanna.
"Better to pay now, have all the capacity we'll ever need, and not have to look our kids and grandkids in the eye and explain that the reason they don't have enough water is because of some petty squabbling and the selfish desire to save money in 2011." Why can't they pay for their own water if they choose to live here, that is? They certainly ought to be able to take care of themselves by then.

re:"Why can't they pay for their own water if they choose to live here, that is? They certainly ought to be able to take care of themselves by then."

Reminds me of the story in Common Sense by Thomas Paine, of the shop keeper that asks for peace in his time.

Kicking the can down the road is not responsible, especially given the fiscal situation future generations will inherit. Also, it is important to point out that many of the people that are here now and paying for this plan WILL be here in 20 or 30 years. We'll need water then too.

But thanks for showing that selfishness is a huge motivator for the opposition to the water plan. It's refreshing to see such honesty.

Don't worry about passing debt onto future generations . It is beyond worry as most governments have lost control of borrowing and it will only stop with a world council meeting re-instituting new currancy . All government debts forgiven and start over . Build now and get it over with , excess water is a salable commodity .