Members of City Council Soon All Democratic

By: Althea Paul
By: Althea Paul

May 3, 2006

Tuesday was a big night for elections, and based on the results, all of the members of Charlottesville's City Council will soon be Democrats. Although the city is no stranger to an all Democratic council, what changes, if any, will it bring to future decision making this time around?

Last night Charlottesville residents voted for Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro to take the two city council spots up for grabs - ousting the lone Republican Rob Schilling.

Keith Drake, chair of the Albemarle County Republicans, believes the outcome is not the best thing for Charlottesville.

"I think it's unfortunate. I think in any system of government, in any system of society, it takes differing opinions to reach that common ground. And when there is dissenting opinion, I'm very confident that the solution that is finally reached is better for everyone. And Charlottesville has lost that," said Drake.

But according to Councilman Blake Caravati, who decided not to seek re-election, it's not about party affiliation.

"In local politics, despite the fact that we run partisan elections, it really is not partisan at all because the issues we deal with are essentially, a lot of them are non-partisan," said Caravati.

But others believe that it does make a difference. Drake says Schilling asked the tough questions, but he's not sure who will in July.

"I'm not overly optimistic that city council won't revert back to its old ways. That of spending first, and then asking the tough questions later," said Drake.

Caravati however believes council members will still have healthy debate, regardless.

"I know all of the individuals and it'll be a wide range discussion of entirely different view points. The big difference will be that they will coalesce," said Caravati.

The city council was made up of all Democratic members for 16 years, before Rob Schilling was elected four years ago. The two new city council members are slated to fill their seats on the first of July.

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