City transportation activist

Peter Kleeman

is collecting petition signatures to get on the November 2007 ballot as an independent candidate for

Charlottesville City Council

.  Kleeman last ran for Council in 2000 on the “Democrats for Change” slate with

Maurice Cox

and

Kevin Lynch

, both of whom went on to win seats on Council.

According to former City Democratic Party Chairman Lloyd Snook

, Kleeman “came within a whisker of getting nominated instead of [Meredith] Richards.”

When asked today why he is considering a run for Council, Kleeman said, “I want to be more involved in the process.  As a citizen, it is very difficult to get the information I need from City staff and VDOT. As a result, it is hard to feel like I am participating as a fully involved citizen.  Part of the reason I am running is to see more opennesses for the public.”

An area resident since 1981, Kleeman has been an independent transportation consultant since 1997 specializing in air quality, noise, and energy modeling and analysis relating to transportation activities. Before becoming a consultant, he worked for three years as an engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.

Kleeman is a long standing opponent of the Meadowcreek Parkway and has lobbied City and County government to consider alternatives and to conduct a broader review of the environmental issues related to the road project.  He is on the Board of the

Alliance for Community Choice in Transportation

(ACCT) and has spoken in favor of public transportation as an alternative to new road construction.  He is also a frequent defender of open government and public involvement policies before local government boards and commissions.

Kleeman expressed frustration that other candidates were not in the race, including Republicans.  “I am disappointed the Republicans have not brought forward a candidate,” said Kleeman. “I think we would have a better discussion of the issues with more candidates in the race.”  When asked why he was not seeking the Democratic party’s nomination, Kleeman responded, “My feeling is the elections are more about issues and the community than the political party.”

“The party doesn’t stand behind issues, they stand behind people.  We need to have a broader community discussion about the issues, and not just those perceived to be important to a subset of people in the party,” said Kleeman.  While not yet an official candidate, Kleeman says he has collected 50 of the 125 signatures he needs to have before the June 12th filing deadline.  If he gets on the ballot, he will face at least three fellow Democrats vying for three seats on City Council.  The Democratic nominating caucus is being held June 2nd.

Brian Wheeler

Hat tip:

Sean McCord

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