Candidate Forum – Charlottesville City Council

Candidates for the Charlottesville City Council presented their views on many of the issues and priorities for the City. Bellamy Brown (I), John Hall (I), Paul Long (I) and Michael Payne (D) participated in the forum. Senal Magill (D) and Lloyd Snook (D) had prior commitments and were unable to attend.

The program will be moderated by SSV Secretary Peppy Linden. The podcast link is below.

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Bellamy Brown (I), 40, who grew up in the city’s Venable neighborhood, stood in the sanctuary of the Rosser Avenue church his grandfather founded and formally announced his run for the council. He has graduate degrees in finance and accounting, served in the U.S. Marine Corps, is studying politics and leadership and hopes to sit on the Charlottesville City Council.

Brown is the grandson of the late Rev. Charles H. Brown, who was a leader in the city’s African American community and at the forefront of early efforts in affordable housing.

From The Daily Progress, June 29, 2019: photo by Andrew Shurtleff; text excerpted from Bryan McKenzie

Michael Payne (D) is a community organizer focusing on addressing Charlottesville’s affordable housing crisis. He worked with Habitat for Humanity Virginia and the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition, and co-founded Indivisible Charlottesville — a group dedicated to fighting for progressive causes throughout central Virginia.

Michael was born and raised in central Virginia. After graduating from Albemarle High School, he attended the College of William and Mary, then returned to Charlottesville to fight for affordable housing.

Photo and text from: https://michaelpayneforcville.com/

Lloyd Snook (D) grew up in Charlottesville. He attended Venable Elementary School and Walker Junior High, and graduated from Lane High School in 1970.  He graduated from Stanford with an A.B. in Economics, and worked as an investment analyst for two years before going to the University of Michigan School of Law. He concentrated his studies in criminal and constitutional law, and graduated cum laude in 1979.  He and Sheila Haughey were married the day after they graduated from the University of Michigan School of Law.

Program Summary

SSV Secretary Peppy Linden and the candidates.

The following report is excerpted from the coverage provided by WVIR NBC29, reported by Lottye Lockhart and edited by Chris Markham. The entire content can be viewed at https://www.nbc29.com/story/40919298/city-council-candidates-weighin-on-charlottesvilles-confederate-statues

City Council Candidates Discuss Statues, Taxes, Affordable Housing in Forum

 Several candidates for Charlottesville City Council got together at The Center on Wednesday to talk about their plans if they get elected. The candidates were asked a variety of questions – ranging from how they’d work between themselves and with the public, as well as their stance on the Confederate statues in downtown Charlottesville.

Independent City Council candidate John Hall stated Judge Richard Moore ruled in May that the statues are war memorials and are protected by state law. “We can’t move them without changing Virginia constitution and I don’t think we’re going to do that because there’s too much respect and appreciation of the statues.”

Each City Council candidate was asked whether they would remove the statues if they could. Independent Paul Long and Democrat Michael Payne were both in favor of removing the statues. “We’re one country, we’re Americans, we’re all members of the United States and citizens of the United States,” Long said. “I don’t see why we keep on discussing it.”

Independent candidate Bellamy Brown avoided giving an answer to the question on this hot-button topic. “I can’t reconcile at the end of the day that that’s going to improve someone’s life,” Brown said.

People at the candidate forum also had questions about how they would handle taxes. Payne suggested a tax increment finance district, while Hall and Brown asked how fiscally responsible the city is now. Long said business growth is another important factor. “When we have business people that are willing to invest in this city, trying to solve the city’s problems, we have to be willing to work with them and we have to make sure we’re letting businesses know that we are a good place to move to and have business.,” Long said.

When asked about how to stop the disruptions that sometimes occur during council meetings, responses varied: Payne claims there is a lack of trust between elected leaders and the community, while Brown said more communication needs to happen between them. Long and Hall showed support for Mayor Nikuyah Walker’s efforts to address racial issues. “I think Mayor Walker has certainly opened our eyes to the injustices of the past,” Hall said. “But if we are to move forward into the future as a free and thoughtful people, we’re going to have to put certain things behind us.”

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