Piedmont Sierra Club endorses Blount and Smith for City Council

The Piedmont chapter of the Sierra Club has officially endorsed Colette Blount and Dede Smith for Charlottesville City Council.

In a press conference this morning in front of City Hall, the group’s president Tom Olivier said the Sierra Club endorses candidates “that we believe have the ability to simultaneously protect the environment and provide opportunities for better lives for people.”

The decision to endorse Blount and Smith, both Democrats, was based, in part, on the candidates’ responses to a questionnaire, whose topics included transportation, agriculture, population growth, the city water supply plan and city/county cooperation.

Both Blount and Smith oppose the Meadow Creek Parkway through McIntire Park and support a dredge-first approach for the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. Independent candidate Brandon Collins has also publicly opposed both the parkway and the construction of a new, earthen dam at Ragged Mountain and has stated his views in his responses to the Sierra Club’s questionnaire. (For the complete list of the candidates’ responses to the questionnaire, click here).

More after the photo.

Piedmont Sierra Club’s Tom Olivier reads a statement detailing the reasons why the group chose to endorse Colette Blount and Dede Smith (pictured) for City Council. Chiara Canzi photo.

After thanking the Sierra Club for the endorsement, Blount said the group’s vision and work mirrors her own views on the protection of the environment. Blount, an educator, stressed the need to create “strong educational programs” and teach our relationship with the environment. 

Smith, whose ideas are also “in sync” with the Sierra Club’s mission, said she sees a correlation between environmental protection and social justice.

Asked about fellow Democratic candidate Kathy Galvin’s recent public statement about some candidates’ “bunker mentality about a particular issue or set of issues,” namely the Meadow Creek Parkway and the community water supply plan, Blount said that the desire to move forward without the most recent and proper information, “opens the door for bad policies.”

Smith, a member of Citizens for a Sustainable Water Plan (CSWP) and supporter of dredging, told reporters that going forward, City Council needs to “be much more fiscally responsible” and environmental friendly. A new earthen dam at Ragged Mountain Reservoir could cost between $16 million and $20 million.