By Brian Wheeler

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yesterday evening, Venable resident

Paul Long (I)

joined the Charlottesville City Council race on the eve of the filing deadline for independent candidates.  Long who will turn sixty in September, has lived in the area for eleven years.  He moved to Charlottesville in February 1998 from the Philadelphia area to assist with medical care for a family member.  Since relocating to Charlottesville, Long has been an employee of the UVa Medical Center where he works in the Transportation Department assisting with patient transportation in and around the hospital.

In an interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow, Long said he was inspired in part by the City Council candidacy of Andrew Williams (I), a twenty-two year old PVCC student and State Farm employee.  “If this young guy can do it, I should do it too,” said Long.

Long said there were three issues that would be central to his campaign for Charlottesville City Council

: decriminalizing drugs; creating the proposed Regional Transit Authority (RTA) and expanding it to surrounding counties; and providing greater revenues to local non-profits working to support homeless residents.

Decriminalizing drugs will be Long’s top priority if elected.  Long said he has eight years experience as an addiction counselor.  “Drug use should be treated as a public health issue, as opposed to a matter for the criminal justice system,” said Long.

Long also says he will bring significant experience in transportation policy to City Council as a result of his fourteen years of work as a citizen involved with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority.  In Pennsylvania’s Tinicum Township, Long was appointed by the town as a “citizen watchdog” for the authority’s meetings because of his advocacy for public transportation.

“I am a great believer in the public transportation system,” said Long.  “I think the Regional Transit Authority is a good idea, but surrounding counties should be invited to join as well.”  Long also plans to lobby for increased bus service on Sundays and on holidays.  Long has never learned to drive a vehicle and relies on public transit in Charlottesville.

Facing Long on the ballot in November will be incumbent Councilor, Dave Norris (D), Kristin Szakos (D), and Bob Fenwick (I).  The candidate that helped inspire his campaign, Andrew Williams (I), will also be running as he attempts to win a seat on Council in a write-in campaign.

Williams learned yesterday evening that he failed to submit enough petition signatures to get on the ballot.

He announced today he will run a write-in campaign

seeking one of the two Council seats in the November general election.


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