Friday, August 26, 2011

Will Local Tea Party Group Support Independent City Council Candidates

The Jefferson Area Tea Party invited all eight of the Charlottesville City Council candidates to attend a candidate forum at the Hibachi Grill in Charlottesville on August 26. I attended the forum to see how engaged the local Tea Party group might be in supporting candidates in the upcoming election while enjoying the Chinese Dinner Buffet. Four of the five Independent candidates attended - Bob Fenwick, Brandon Collins, Paul Long and Scott Bandy. Each candidate presented a five minute opening statement about their candidacy and participated in a question and answer session for about one hour.

Tea Party members in attendance listened intently to each candidate and asked a broad range of questions of the candidates. But, will the Tea Party as a group or its members actively support any of the candidates in the council election? If the Tea Party wants to be an influence in local government it seems to me that they should should back one or more of the candidates in the field.

As a political observer, it appears to me that candidates opposing the overly expensive Water Supply Plan would be consistent with the fiscal conservatism of the Tea Party principles. I am interested to see if support for those candidates will emerge. Is it possible that Tea Party voters will support Dede Smith from the Democratic Party and Bob Fenwick and possibly another of the independent candidates who support dredging of the Rivanna Reservior first and repair (and possible expansion) of the existing Ragged Mountain Dam as necessary Water Plan option.

None of the Democratic Council Nominees were present at the forum, but I hope the Tea Party members will consider how their positions may or may not resonate with the Tea Party principles.

With no clear Tea Party affiliated candidate in the race many voters may simply opt not to vote. But voting is the best way to influence who the members of the new council will be.

I will be watching to see if the Tea Party chooses to participate in the city council campaign in any significant way. This looks like the "think globally - act locally" concept applies.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Council Candidate Kathy Galvin misses rather then makes political point in recent press connference

Kathy Galvin, candidate for the Democratic Party nomination for City Council stated in a recent press conference that "the city has reached a 'low point' in its political discourse that mirrors the rancor and 'paralysis' of Washington politics as the local debate continues to focus on a few controversial projects." [See the Graham Moomaw Daily Progress story entitled "Galvin blasts some opponents as 'single-issue oriented'" dated Aug 1, 2011]. I think candidate Galvin is missing the point of the debate among candidates. What better time to discuss controversial topics than now.

Candidate Galvin's position on two of these controversial issues - the 50-year water plan and the Meadowcreek Parkway construction - is to consider them done-deals. Frankly, this looks like an attempt to dodge two of the major issues before City Council now and likely into the next council term. I certainly respect Galvin's right to her opinion on these issues, but find her claim that having candidates feature these issues in their candidacy as displaying a "bunker mentality" is just plain silly.

I will be voting for candidates that are eager to discuss the controversial issues in an open and constructive way. Kathy Galvin is clearly at this moment one candidate in the Democratic primary that will not be among my council choices. Perhaps candidate Galvin will explore the reasons why these issues are so controversial and participate in future efforts toward resolving these issues rather than asking other candidates not to include them in the council campaign conversation.