Republican tossed off C’ville Council.

I’m thrilled by the news that Dave Norris and Julian Taliaferro have won today’s City Council race in Charlottesville, and that voters have (by a decisive margin, I’m told) tossed Rob Schilling off of City Council.

Dave, in particular, I’m just tickled to see on Council. I couldn’t imagine a better guy for the seat. I drove to town this afternoon today (my first solo trip since I got sick two weeks ago) in hopes of helping with the campaign, but the mere act of grocery shopping left me so exhausted I had to go straight home without doing the campaign a bit of good.

Schilling’s term on Council has set back Charlottesville Republicans by a decade, at least. It’ll take a long time for Republicans to recover from the debacle that was Schilling’s farcical “leadership.” Charlottesville City Council should have one or two Republicans in order to adequately represent the population and its best interests, but Rob Schilling sure as hell wasn’t that guy.

Published by Waldo Jaquith

Waldo Jaquith (JAKE-with) is an open government technologist who lives near Char­lottes­­ville, VA, USA. more »

14 replies on “Republican tossed off C’ville Council.”

  1. Charlottesville has a huge majority of Democrats. It’s no surprise Schilling lost.

    I lack the historical perspective having not been here for the entirety of Schilling’s term on council, but:

    a) How exactly has he set the Republican’s back a decade?

    b) What would be the qualities of the “one or two a Republican’s..” that you wouldn’t attempt to shred in favor of a Dem challenger, in order to “adequately represent the population”?

    I’m just curious.

  2. How exactly has he set the Republican’s back a decade?

    Rob Schilling did a terrible job on Council. He was lazy, didn’t bother with the meetings that every other Councillor attended, and his votes on the budget made him look like a fool. To the overwhelming majority of the city (Democrats, that is), this is now what they think of when they envision a Republican on Council. Rob Schilling has most of the same qualities that define Republicans in D.C., which is precisely what Council doesn’t need. (To say nothing of D.C.) It’ll be years until enough people have forgotten about Schilling’s term on Council that any electable Republican will screw up the courage to run.

    What would be the qualities of the “one or two a Republican’s..” that you wouldn’t attempt to shred in favor of a Dem challenger, in order to “adequately represent the population”?

    I’d want them to be intelligent, engaged, clever, experienced, and Goldwater conservative. There are two Republicans in Charlottesville interested in running for Council who fit the bill, both old friends — I have encouraged each of them to run and told that I would endorse them if they did. Each of them, of course, decided not to run.

  3. It’s not that Schilling was always a reliable nay vote. I always loved to see Delegate Van Yahres’ numerous 99-1 votes. That would be fine if he cast those votes after looking thoughtfully into the issues and working constructively with his councilmates.

    He did neither, and he was loud about it. That’s why he just became a lame duck.

    Congrats to Michie, Puryear and Juandiego. If I didn’t live in the county, those five would have been my ballot.

  4. How did he look like a fool? Because he voted against the other four councilmen, all Democrats, many times? And lazy? Perhaps I do not know enough about City Council, but if he worked half as hard on City Council as he did in his campaigns and towards the elected School Board, then I cannot see how anyone could call him lazy. Meanwhile, I still wonder exactly what the Democrats have done on the City Council; other than the budget, it seems like all they have voted for are resolutions stating their opposition towards select policies enacted either by the federal or state governments.

    I hope you are right about Taliaferro and Norris; hopefully, they will do more for this city than the three currently sitting in City Hall.

  5. Thanks for the fresh perspective Waldo. Like I’ve said I wasn’t here for most of his term, and the points made about taking the time to propose alternatives in conjunction with a no vote is a valid one. (Though I’d have to imagine were I the lone republican on city council, if that wouldn’t feel at least a little bit as though I were “tilting at windmills”.)

    I too would prefer to see more “Goldwater conservatives” as well (or a Guliani (sp?) conservative). I’ve never understood the appeal of social conservatism In my opinion it has always seemed as though it was an attempt to legislate religious beliefs, and as such divisive and counter productive.

    But that’s just my 2 cents.

  6. How did he look like a fool?

    Schilling spent twice as much time complaining about how the big, mean Democrats were out to get him as he did working on behalf of the people of Charlottesville on Council. Even if there was a conspiracy against him, it just made him sound foolish. And his budget votes? He voted against every budget, issuing press releases afterwards braying for lower taxes, but didn’t once propose a single service cut to reduce expenses. That is precisely what Republicans are doing in Washington. He did it so that he could run for reelection and tell every constituent that not only did he never vote against that constituent’s pet program, but he also fought for lower taxes. You can’t do both. And what really didn’t help him about voting against the budget is it let his opponents run ads saying “Rob Schilling doesn’t support the police and doesn’t support our schools.” And if Republicans want to claim that Democrats who vote against funding the troops “don’t suppose the troops,” then they must also agree that Rob Schilling’s votes against funding police and schools don’t support our officers and our teachers.

    And lazy? Perhaps I do not know enough about City Council, but if he worked half as hard on City Council as he did in his campaigns and towards the elected School Board, then I cannot see how anyone could call him lazy.

    Rob Schilling made the mistake of thinking that being on City Council consists of showing up for meetings every two weeks. That’s not even the baseline. It means going to the work sessions, sitting on at least a few city commissions, the boards of area non-profits, and working to coordinate those public-private partnerships that make the city go ’round. Schilling never bothered to do any of those things, the work that every other City Councilor has done (Democrat and Republican alike) for decades. He thought he was doing the work by just showing up.

  7. Also with the hair. It made him look like an ugly girl. Just get a freaking haircut already. I cannot take some seriously in politics when they look like that.

  8. We really need another Darden Towe – he was the last of the old-line GOP that used to run C’ville. A contrast of Darden Towe with Rob Schilling points out everything that was good about the old GOP – that would be the Virginia GOP of the early 70s – and bad about today’s party. Towe was a bit of a policy wonk and a pragmatist – even when he was in the opposition, he was very effective at forcing real discussion and debate on real issues that affected the day-to-day business of running a city.

    I’m quite certain that Towe, just as any politician in VA thirty years ago, was pretty socially conservative, and I’m putting the socio-cultural political issues in a group outside and exclusive of issues of governance. Schilling pays lip service to those issues, but they’re real non-starters in C’ville proper, and have been since the early 70s, well, since the defeat of massive resistance in the city.

    Schilling was counting on opposition voters having nowhere else to go; unfortunately, he absolutely sucked as an opposition leader.

    There is a significant plurality of people, including folks who’d never consider voting for the GOP on the state or national level, who’d vote for an opposition candidate on council as a checks-and-balances presence. I don’t think it would make any difference what party that candidate came from, so long as it wasn’t Democrat. Right now my impression is that Gary O’Connell, Linda Peacock and Rochelle Small-Toney really run the city more or less as they think best and see fit. That’s fine, and to some degree the nature of the City Manager system, but they are unelected.

    The Democrats on Council do not appear to concern themselves much with oversight – at least not detail-oriented oversight. It’s very hard to know if that’s because the Democrats are: lazy, don’t care or implicitly approve and don’t want to draw unwanted scrutiny. The city budget in particular is byzantine, and for all the “online forum” and other discussion opportunities, remains pretty obscure until it’s more or less a done deal. The general public doesn’t really get a nuts-and-bolts look at the budget until it’s more or less decided and shaped, and can’t really force the specifics out into the open, but Councilors can. An opposition needs to be there using the bully pulpit (such as it is) to force these issues out in the open.

    Schilling lacked exactly those skills – very short on attention to detail, just spouting off some appropriate rhetoric whenever someone asked. People get excited about candidate Schilling when they heard the rhetoric, but once he got into office, there was zero carry-through.

    Finally, lest you should think I’m just throwing broadsides at the Democrats – Blake Caravati impressed me as a common sense guy on these issues, and I’m very sorry to see him depart; Dave Norris looks like he might be cut from similar cloth in terms of being a pragmatist as well as a dreamer.

  9. Getting Dave Norris on C’vill City Council is the best thing for the city. Greatness! He’s an apt replacement for Blake, who’s made a lasting contribution. I find personal satisfaction in Schilling’s ouster. Buh bye…

  10. This is directed to no one in particular, but everyone in general.

    It is beneath everyone that regularly contributes to this blog to gloat on Schilling’s vote totals. I don’t mind a little happy dance that your candidate won, but no one should disparage someone that volunteers to what they think is best for their community. Disagree with his ideas, dislike the way he handled his position, but steer clear of mocking a man that gave his time and energy to the City – even if he was a Republican.

  11. I remember Darden Towe. He was an ever present fixture on the city council. At the time it seemed to me that even the city Democrats were too conservative for my taste. My how we change. Unfortunately I was a kid at the time so don’t remember much more than that about him.

    The point being that even though I think Cville would as a city be better off with 1 or 2 Republicans on Council (if only to provide some balence of perspective), I also think that Charlottesville has changed too much for that to happen, and that’s even if one could go back in time and erase the damage that others in the local Republican party have done to it.

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