On April 26, 2006, about a dozen people attended a City Council candidate forum for next week’s City Council Elections being held on May 2nd.  This forum was sponsored by

Earth Week Charlottesville


Democracy for America

.  The forum was moderated by

Bob McAdams

of Democracy for America and held in the City Council Chambers.  Candidates

Dave Norris


Julian Taliaferro

participated in the candidate forum.  Candidate

Rob Schilling

was unable to attend.

Complete election coverage can be found on Charlottesville Tomorrow’s

Election Watch website


Listen to podcast:

Download CityCouncilForum20060426.mp3

Read transcript:

Download transcript as PDF

1:01 — Introduction by Moderator Bob McAdams

Topic 1.  Transportation

Question #1: Where do you stand on Council’s recent decision to greenlight VDOT’s acquisition of property in preparation for the building of the Meadowcreek Parkway?

1:58 — Taliaferro

3:18 — Norris

Question #2: What is your opinion of a proposed vehicular crossing of the Downtown Mall?

5:26 — Norris

6:50 — Taliaferro

Question #3: Transportation and transit initiatives are very important with regard to development.  What initiatives do you believe are consistent with sustainable development and which of those do you think the City could do a better job of pursuing?

8:15 — Taliaferro

9:30 — Norris

Question #4: In your opinion, what are the City’s obligations to County development in regards to creating transportation infrastructure and how far should the City go to accommodate it?

11:15 — Norris

12:39 — Taliaferro

Question #5: Automobile exhaust is a major source of air pollution.  Do you believe the City has a responsibility to promote transportation projects that target reduction of traffic, and, thus, those emissions in the City?  If so, what sort of initiatives would appeal to you?

13:52 — Taliaferro

15:03 — Norris

Topic 2.  Parks & Greenspace

Question #6: How would you work with or regulate planning and development interests to encourage better integration of nature with our urban environment, particularly in regard to in-fill development?

16:27 — Norris

18:06 — Taliaferro

Question #7: The 2005 survey done by Parks Department regarding its services indicates that most Charlottesville residents would like to see an increase in walking, running, and biking trails and natural resources in the parks.  How do you plan to meet that demand within the current park structure, e.g., which parks would you target for redesign along these lines and why those parks?

19:25 — Taliaferro

20:10 — Norris

Question #8: Native plants in Virginia are losing the war against invasive species, e.g., Parks has recently cut down acres of invasive bamboo running rampant on City property.  What measures do you think local government can take to encourage native plant propagation and natural habitats?

22:20 — Norris

22:54 — Taliaferro

Topic 3:  Water Supply & Management

Question #9: The City has recently paid some attention to the need for improved stormwater control methods, as witnessed by the critical slopes ordinance passed in January and the erosion and soil inspector position created in the FY2007 budget.  What further measures would you like to see the City take in regards to stormwater management and how can we improve on a good start?

23:42 — Taliaferro

24:30 — Norris

Question #10: On April 18, RWSA announced its intention to go ahead with the local pipeline and raising the reservoir dam.  What do you think are the primary benefits and/or detriments of this project?  Given that state and federal agencies will require mitigation in connection to this project, what mitigation options do you prefer and why?

25:45 — Norris

27:15 — Taliaferro

Question #11: What water conservation measures do you support and how do you think the City can improve its public outreach in this regard?

28:40 — Taliaferro

29:35 — Norris

Question #12: The City, by virtue of owning a great deal of public property along various creeks, rivers and streams, is in position to be a pro-active role model for water stewardship.  You had mentioned green roofing and rain barrels.  How about riparian buffer plantings, other conservation techniques, stream restoration projects?  What initiatives do you think the City should continue or begin and what resources should they devote to that?

31:08 — Norris

32:20 — Taliaferro

Topic 4:  Land Use & Development

Question #13: Do you believe it is in the City’s best interest to attract, support, and use green design and eco-conscious businesses?  How would you propose doing that?

33:20 — Taliaferro

33:58 — Norris

Question #14: When it comes to approving development and housing projects, how will you balance the City’s need for revenues with the public’s need for space and environmental health?

35:02 — Norris

36:00 — Taliaferro

Question #15: In-fill development seems to be a key phrase in this election–how will you ensure that that development style will provide not only affordable housing but will also preserve what open space the City residents currently enjoy?

37:19 — Taliaferro

38:13 — Norris

Topic 5:  Energy & Other Issues

Question #16: Every year, trash becomes a bright-line item in the annual City budget, e.g., Ivy landfill clean-up, revenues from trash stickers, recycling initiatives, and large-item pick-up are just a few of the trash-related budget issues from the last couple of years.  How do you think we can improve our waste services and what would you do to promote recycling efforts?

40:20 — Norris

41:25 — Taliaferro

Question #17: Should Charlottesville look into diversifying its energy sources, e.g., buying or investing in wind power or purchasing green utility services?

42:23 — Taliaferro

43:00 — Norris

Question #18: Both Charlottesville and Albemarle have purchased hybrid vehicles for their service fleets.  Given that hybrids tend to be more expensive vehicles, do you support this as a good use of public funds?  How would you further such green-fuel initiatives in terms of the City’s use of oil and gas for heating, vehicles, maintenance, etc.?

44:15 — Norris

45:32 — Taliaferro

Audience questions

When was the last time you rode a City bus or used a bike for transportation?

46:54 — Taliaferro

47:12 — Norris

How would you improve our public transit and what do you see as our highest priorities for public transit?

49:30 — Norris

What are your opinions of a street car system for the West Main corridor from Downtown to UVA?

51:30 — Taliaferro

52:22 — Norris

What does “sustainability” mean to you?

53:06 — Norris

54:58 — Taliaferro

Are there any environmental groups that have made endorsements for City Council?

55:44 — Taliaferro

55:50 — Norris

If audience members like what you have to say, how can they make sure you get elected?

56:08 — Norris

57:28 — Taliaferro

Several ordinances have been proposed by citizens over the last five years.  Three examples include ordinances to support the use of native plants; an ordinance to create a natural habitat variance for lawn care; and an ordinance related to composting variances so we can deal with some of the trash issues via composting.  None of these made it to City Council for a vote.  What would you do to encourage such ordinances and activities?

59:28 — Taliaferro

1:00:05 — Norris

We have spent a great deal of time and money to make Downtown Charlottesville THE destination place in our community.  If you could turn back the clock, would you maintain that model or would you diversify to promote a neighborhood model that spreads out destination spots with mixed use activity in many neighborhoods.

1:02:10 — Norris

1:04:40 — Taliaferro

Closing comments

1:06:17 — Donna Goings, Democracy for America

1:07:52 — Tatyanna Patten, Earth Week Charlottesville

Brian Wheeler


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