Republicans gear up for CITY elections

Republicans gear up for CITY elections

Judging by the jovial mood of the six people who showed up for a Republican strategy meeting on Tuesday, April 11, the local GOP is still as small as ever, but the elephants are feeling good going into May’s election for Charlottesville City Council and School Board.

The City’s lone Republican Councilor, Rob Schilling, didn’t show up to what turned out to be a 15-minute meeting. The only order of business was the re-election of attorney Bob Hodous as party chair.

The Republicans have some reasons to feel loose. On May 2, city voters will elect School Board members for the first time in decades, fulfilling a plank of Schilling’s nascent campaign platform in 2002. Charles “Buddy” Weber, founder of the Charlottesville Taxpayers Association, says Schilling’s “excellent retail politics” make him a viable candidate for re-election, though Weber concedes says he can count the Charlottesville Republicans who are “out” on his fingers. Indeed, Schilling seems to be downplaying his Republican affiliation, advertising himself as an outsider who keeps the rest of Council honest with “common sense,” which is his campaign slogan. Everyone wants better schools and safer neighborhoods, says Weber, and “there is no Republican or Democratic way of doing that.”
While local Republicans endorse a lower City real estate tax rate, they’re skeptical about Council’s recent cuts to the rate. Hodous and Weber say that the alleged “cuts” are products of political posturing. They encourage residents to examine the supposed “tax cut” carefully: Yes, you may get a lower tax rate, but beware of the real property tax increase that results, which yields the net balance in the City’s favor, they say.—Amy Kniss

Piggy bank politics

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