Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mayor bitter at political diversity

Tuesday, June 20, 2006
A New Council

Last night was the last council meeting for Rob Schilling and Blake Caravati. It will be different - calmer, certainly, and less entertaining to watch on TV - without them.

Rob Schilling came out of nowhere. He and his wife Joan had moved to Charlottesville only a couple of years before his surprise election to council in 2002 - he won by virtue of being underestimated, doing an enormous amount of door to door, having an uninspired Democratic campaign, and, maybe, being mistaken for a moderate or liberal because of his hair. He never fit in with the rest of council (unlike the prior Republican, Darden Towe) and maybe did not want to. He excelled at constituent service, and he can take a lot of the credit for elected school boards.

Blake Caravati, on the other hand, has been working for the City in one way or another for a long time. Not only 8 years on Council, but 8 years on the Planning Commission. I met Blake in the early 1980's when Mark Lorenzoni recruited me to serve on the Offender Aid and Restoration Board - Blake was the President. Blake both talked the talk and walked the walk - he is committed to the things he believes in. Blake had institutional knowledge, and a keen and insightful mind - and a sharp tongue. Someone I depended on the last 2 years for advice.

Oil and water, Blake and Rob. So what will the next council be like?

More dangerous.

Last November Caravati inroduced a charter amendment to expand the city's Unconstitutional powers. Schilling's single no vote was unable to stop the bill that sought to legalize use of eminent domain to seize and sell any property for "affordable housing" (code for gentrification). The state Senate stripped out the eminent domain language. What remained was wealth redistribution-- housing tax grants for low to moderate income homeowners, up to $250.

Shortly after the four Council Democrats approved the amendment in November, Caravati announced he would not seek a third term. Then he proclaimed that, since he was not running for reelection, he could now be honest and tell it like it is. It's Caravati himself who implied that his political career was filled with dishonesty.

The Democrats loved Darden Towe because he didn't act on his Republican principles or stand up for civil rights. Whereas Schilling took his job seriously and did not seek favor from the opposition party.

Schilling came "out of nowhere"? In the 2004 Council campaign, 13 former Democratic mayors of Charlottesville made the same claim about Republicans even though native and African-American Kenneth Jackson was a candidate on the Republican ticket.

Mayor David Brown is an opponent of elected school boards. Now that the elected school board referendum has passed (3 weeks before Caravati's amendment), the Democrats oppose mixed-ward elections even though they supported and participated in mixed-ward appointments. The two new Council members also opposed the elected school board and support at-large elections and mixed-ward appointments.

Charlottesville will miss Schilling's integrity and constituent services. The Democrats scoff at voters and taxpayers, and especially at minorities. Now there's no one on Council I can ask for help for anything.

2 Comments:

Blogger CR UVa said...

Rob Schilling is a good guy and very principled. Though I am no longer a C'ville resident, I hope that he maintains an active role in the city and helps to keep it a place I look forward to returning to in the future.

7/03/2006 1:26 PM  
Anonymous TrvlnMn said...

Blair Hawkins wrote: [...] Caravati announced he would not seek a third term. Then he proclaimed that, since he was not running for reelection, he could now be honest and tell it like it is. It's Caravati himself who implied that his political career was filled with dishonesty.

That's an excellent point! I wish I had thought of it.

While I'm not affiliated with any party (they both have equal problems in IMHO), it was nice to have the other opinion represented on council if only for balance and to call the majority party on it's crap when necessary.

7/05/2006 12:39 AM  

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