2021 Charlottesville City Council Candidate Questionnaire

Below is a questionnaire for Charlottesville City Council democratic candidates. Following the primary election, it will also include responses from the independent candidates. There are no Republicans running for council.

The Democratic primary is June 8.

The general election is Nov. 2.

How will you support affordable homes and apartments for homeowners and renters in Charlottesville?

Juandiego Wade: I believe that addressing affordable housing will take a multifaceted approach including Exploring re-zoning options and working with community partners, I will only support options that will us the desired outcome of increasing affordable housing options.

Brian Pinkston: I believe the Affordable Housing Plan recently endorsed by City Council is a good one. It is thorough, practical, and equitable. I intend to fund that Plan every year, per the figures set forth in the Plan.

Carl Brown: I will support affordable homes and apartments for homeowners and renters by building better relationships and connectivity with organizations like the Realtors Associations both county and city, and UVa. to gain a better understanding of what they can do as they have added resources and knowledge of the available housing that has been explored but not discussed, therefore causing a disconnect. We as a community need to be more inclusive in meeting the needs of our citizens, if we are to resolve any of our problems.

Do you support the police civilian review board having subpoena powers and disciplinary recommendations as outlined in new state law? Why or why not?

JW: I believe in making sure the PCRB is equipped with the tools it needs to provide accountability to the police force, but I don’t believe in micromanagement.

BP: In general, yes, I do. Having a strong PCRB will be good for both CPD and for the Community, in that it will increase transparency and accountability. That said, the details are obviously important. There must be the appropriate organizational and administrative framework put in place, to ensure fairness and consistency.

CB: I support the police civilian review board having subpoena powers and disciplinary recommendations as outlined in new state law just because this will provide for enhanced oversight of police departments all over the state which has been needed for some time. I think it will be essential that we as a community understand that the assembly of this board needs to develop in their processes, as a board, to ensure that the balance and understanding of their responsibilities and duties are clear and concise, as well as represented with balance.

Will you take a climate action lens when reviewing and voting on development proposals? What else can you do to help the city reach its emissions goals?

JW: I believe the most important first-step in ensuring climate justice is increasing tree-canopy in communities of color. I also support continuing to fund AHIP and other non-profit community organizations, which help reduce both the energy and cost burdens on homeowners.

BP: Yes, for sure. I would want to ensure that whatever development proposal that is put forward is consistent with the City’s Climate Action Planning efforts. The main thing I can do as a Councilor to help the City reach its emissions goals is to support and fund the Climate Action Planning efforts now underway by City Staff.

CB: I will most definitely take a climate action lens when reviewing and voting on development proposals. I will work with other council members and discuss initiatives that encourage less driving, to help reduce our emissions and promote better health through walking when possible, as a starter.

What, if any, changes would you like to make to public transportation in the area?

JW: As a former [planner in]  transportation of 20 years, I have a clear understanding of how to gather public input and determine the need for public transit. I will strongly support public transportation in the greater Charlottesville community.

BP: I’d love to see UVA’s bus service and CAT more deeply connected.

CB: I would like to see greater emphasis and incentive for community members to utilize our public transportation system.

How can you support locally-owned businesses and businesses owned by women, people of color, or other historically marginalized groups?

JW: I will continue to support locally-owned businesses and businesses owned by women, people of color, or other historically marginalized groups if elected. As a career counselor, I work with a wide range of job seekers and businesses. Additionally, I am board member of CIC, which as a mission is to strengthen our community and contribute to economic development by fueling the success of under-resourced entrepreneurs through education, mentoring, financing, and networking. As a councilor, I will increase dialogue and continue to offer and support equity programs.

BP: The first thing is to advocate for all small businesses but especially those noted here. The second would be to continue to support the work that the Office of Economic Development is doing to help these businesses get back on their feet, post-COVID. And the third would be to strengthen the City’s commitment to supporting women-and-minority-owned businesses through its own procurement policies.

CB: As a small minority business, myself, Charlottesville has always viewed the small business community as a novelty and have not taken this community seriously. Often times, it is city government, itself, that becomes the barrier for locally-owned businesses and businesses owned by women, people of color, or other historically marginalized groups. As a community, we will shine greater light on our local business community by providing greater support, promotion and community investment in them. These are the people that make our city unique, though it is not viewed that way.

Some community members lack the resources, time, or interest to attend government meetings. How will you reach out to engage with more constituents– in particular those whose voices are not heard often in public meetings?

JW:  In addition to our current outreach efforts, I will propose additional steps, such as walks through neighborhoods, as an effort to take the city to the people, instead of having to wait for the people to come to the city, we should take the city to the people.

BP: This is a great question, which I need to consider more carefully. My initial thinking would be to task the Communications staff with the City to identify strategies to make this happen. I also personally commit to being out in the community, listening to residents myself directly.

CB: Having worked in various capacities in this city for over 25+ [years], I have the ability to organize and coordinate in communities that most people can not. I will use my abilities and knowledge of those unheard voices, to meet them where they are and provide them with the information they need to know in a way that they can understand.

There have been numerous vacancies in City Hall in recent years and rumors of low morale. What are your plans to help the city manager combat that?

JW: The current Council has started effort by hiring city manager and deputy city managers, and if we enable and empower them to do their jobs, that will encourage leaders to come to, and stay with, our city government.

BP: Build an environment of stability, trust, and courtesy among the members of Council, transfer that mindset into Council’s relations with the City Manager, and then expect the City Manager to create that kind of culture within City Hall itself. Vacancies and low morale are, I believe, due to lack of consistent, thoughtful, and compassionate leadership from Council.

CB: My plans to help the city manager combat low morale will be to first, develop better trust and respect amongst the council. This will be the first step in showing the City Manager, whomever it may be that he can do his job. Also, being more transparent to the City Government employees and talk with them to see how we can make things better in the work place but it starts at the top with the Council, first.

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