Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Fry's Spring Candidate forum

As I expected, last night's forum was challenging. The Fry's Spring neighborhood association didnt win "Neighborhood of the Year" for nothing. The association is committed to the well-being of their neighborhood and demands accountability from their elected officials even as their neighborhood is routinely marginalized in the face of development.

The Fry's Spring Beach Club was packed with people (and the Club is in the middle of their membership drive). The candidates were given 3 minutes to introduced themselves and then had to answer two questions they (we) had been given beforehand. I wonder how the NA came up with the two questions, they were fascinating...

* What should be the priority for protection of the residential quality of City neighborhood in relation to development and other interests, would you work to establish a policy to protect the neighborhood residential interests, and how would Council assure that the policy is implemented by City staff

MY short answer for the first question is we have a policy it is called the comprehensive plan and we do annual updates for these plans. The process for developing these plans is not perfunctory, people come to meetings and strategize with staff to create these plans. The issue is following the plan and conforming to the Comp Plan.

* How would you measure the negative impact on the quality of life in the City’s residential neighborhoods, including the safety and comfort of their residents, rather than just using the levels of service measurement that measures only the convenience of drivers and their riders?

MY short answer for this question, I measure quality of life on how much time I have away from my family as a result of traffic, lack of commercial development in our commercial corridors and the available green space for my family and I to play and be in. I also measure quality of life by how many options I have to get to places. I want to bike and walk and ride buses not always drive (especially with $3.00/gal gasoline), if it isnt safe then I cant and it isn't economical or efficient.

As you may imagine the candidates faced tough questions including
1. What concrete items would you cut out of the budget
Reduce the # of vehicles in the City fleet; Reduce the prize amount of eliminate entirely the design center competition for the water street parking lot that is not owned by the City...there are others

2. Who is going to stand up for the blue collar worker?
I was raised in a blue collar household. I know the balance between family and work is challenging, the ability to attend public meetings is limited. It is up to Council to reach out to these voters and ensure their voices are being heard.

3. What type of leadership style do you have? Fundamentally I am a problem-solver, I am results oriented, I prefer action over inaction, even if it is easier to do nothing. I want to collaborate with private and nonprofit sectors to make government more efficient. I listen, but I do not accept things at face value, I research and when a decision is made, I hold people accountable for the follow-through on that decision.

4. You can make a lot of promises, but what is the one thing we can count on you to do if you are elected? I will respond to phone calls and emails.

5. What departments are suffering from neglect? Public works and neighborhood development services.

The rest of the questions are a blur but Cville Tomorrow has the podcast and likely a videocast of the event.

Oh and we received homework- we have to answer another question by Monday. RTF also passed a questionaire out this week. Both organizations will have information on their website probably by the beginning of next week (which I will link to when I get my homework done).

Convention doors open at 12:15- be there early and make sure your vote counts!

Cross posted at democratic central.
Corrected spelling errors (Fry's Spring- thanks to Sean)


Sean Tubbs said...

We now have the audio posted on Charlottesville Tomorrow.

Sean Tubbs said...

Or you can click here.