The Charlottesville Democratic Primary is slated for Saturday, August 20, from 9am to 7pm. The contest, held at Burley Middle School, will decide which three city Dems will compete with five Independent candidates for three open seats on City Council.
Feel spoiled for choice? C-VILLE assembled a few notes and quotes on the seven candidates currently vying for their party’s nomination.
Paul Beyer, 29
Beyer, a local developer and small business owner, has made support for the arts central to his campaign, and sees them as an economic driver. The candidate recently proposed creation of a Cultural Affairs position in City Hall and reestablishment of the city’s “Percent for Art” policy, to direct 1 percent of capital improvement project costs to a fund for local arts programs. Beyer supports votes by previous councils to construct the Meadow Creek Parkway and a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain.
“How much time have we spent talking about this [community water supply] plan, and not focusing on workforce housing, not focusing on economic vitality in the region? What conversations have not occurred because we have continued talking about the water supply?”
Colette Blount, 47
Blount is a member of the City School Board and was the last Democratic candidate to join the City Council race. Blount’s overarching campaign principle is “equal access to the future for all.”
As an educator, Blount stresses the value of education and advocated for the protection of the environment. Like Smith, Blount opposes the construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway through McIntire Park and, during her school board tenure, voted against a nine-acre easement for the project. Blount also favors a dredge-first approach for restoring capacity to the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir.
“A sound education program is a requisite resource for a community. When our children have the tools to actively engage in the 21st century and beyond, then the community is on a good path.”
Brevy Cannon, 36â¨
Cannon, a writer for UVA’s Media Relations operation, entered the race as a “pragmatic progressive” with a strong focus on better transportation infrastructure and job creation. Cannon identified Indoor Biotechnologies, a local firm that bought the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue, as the sort of business that will offer career opportunities for city residents.
Cannon supports the construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway and the Western Bypass, so long as the latter brings transportation funds to city projects. He supports a dredge-first approach to the community water supply plan debate. “I have never said that I only support dredging,” he said in a recent Democratic candidates debate. “I just want us to get to the bottom of dredging before we start building a new dam.”
“Charlottesville’s most valuable resource is our ability to effectively communicate with each other—across different segments of the community, and among people with a diversity of viewpoints. Effective communication is the foundation of good problem solving, whatever the challenge facing our community.”
Galvin, currently a member of the City School Board and a local architect, voiced her support for constructing both the Meadow Creek Parkway and a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain early on in the race. She has also called press conferences to decry some candidates’ “bunker mentality about a particular issue or set of issues.”
As her campaign slogan indicates, Galvin advocates for a greener, smarter, stronger Charlottesville “by design.” The candidate links the tiers of her slogan to environmentally friendly infrastructure, transparent government operations, and reducing poverty among local residents, respectively.
“I believe that as a city we need to be greener in how we build and how we plan, smarter on how we work together, set priorities and execute those priorities, [and] stronger in order to meet the global economic challenges of the 21st century.”
James Halfaday, 32
Halfaday’s campaign slogan reads, “One Charlottesvile, Our Charlottesville.” Since the announcement of his candidacy for City Council, Halfaday has called for the reduction of the dropout rate in city schools, for affordable housing by temporarily deferring personal property tax for “low and fixed income families,” and for improving the city’s transportation system. He also opposes any new tax increases.
He supports construction of the city’s portion of the Meadow Creek Parkway, and favors dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir prior to construction of an earthen Ragged Mountain dam.
“The education of our residents at all levels, from pre-school through college, is something that is very important to me. I believe strongly in the importance of increasing the high school graduation rate and providing the opportunity for further education for all who wish it.”
Huja has served on City Council since January 2008 and is the only current councilor seeking re-election. Huja, who has worked in the Charlottesville planning department for almost 40 years, has focused his campaign on transportation improvements, a more reliable bike network and protecting the environment with sustainable development and energy conservation. Huja also advocates for safe neighborhoods and better quality of early childhood education. On the top two hot-button issues, Huja supports the construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway as a means to provide better access to downtown Charlottesville, and also supports a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain.
“The Meadow Creek Parkway needs to be built. We have been talking about it for 45 years, and it’s time to do something.”
Dede Smith, 56
Smith has been a vocal proponent of a dredge-first approach to the community water supply plan. A member of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan, Smith argues that dredging the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir is a more environmentally friendly and economical measure than building a new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain first.
A former member of the City School Board, Smith advocates for better, safe and stable housing for all residents regardless of income, and writes online of her interest in bringing local food to city students. Smith opposes the construction of the Meadow Creek Parkway. “Parkland should remain parkland, and should not be used for highways, pump stations, and other infrastructure incompatible with park use,” she writes on her website.
“It is absolutely imperative that the role a city councilor plays is to protect city assets and the city’s future.”