City Council Candidates Disagree on Housing, Spending Issues

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The race for Charlottesville City Council is getting more intense. Candidates on both sides of the aisle are attempting to poke holes in one another's campaigns.

It has become a war of words when it comes to spending and what to do about Charlottesville's housing crisis. All of this is coming after a press conference Kristin Szakos and Bob Fenwick held Monday. They criticized their Republican opponents for accusing the city of out-of-control spending.

Tuesday, the GOP candidates are firing back with their own share of attacks.

"They weren't basing what they were talking about on facts; they were basing it on a sound bite," said Szakos.

Democrats Szakos and Fenwick say Republicans have it wrong when it comes to spending in Charlottesville.

"When we looked at the actual taxation of Charlottesville residents and how we spend our money, we realized we're number 17 in the state - that's not high," said Szakos.

"They've been saying the city spends too much. Well that means they're going to cut. What programs will they cut?" said Fenwick.

But Republicans Buddy Weber and Mike Farruggio are firing back - saying they've been falsely accused of favoring drastic cuts to spending.

"That's nonsense, they know it, neither Mike nor I have said anything like that in this campaign," said Weber.

Weber says the real problem isn't so-called overspending, but blowing money on what hasn't worked.

"Have we said they need to end these endless studies that produce no decision whatsoever? Sure! They waste a lot of money," said Weber.

This week, Democrats released their five-point investment plan which identifies key areas that promote smart spending, such as investing in schools and transportation. But Republicans say Democrats have failed to address the city's housing crisis.

"They don't want to talk about housing because they failed the members of the housing community for the past 15 years, for more than that, 30 or 40 years," said Farruggio.

GOP candidates say council needs to take ownership of the housing authority - and possibly make it a department within the city.

"We can't just keep shoving it off on the housing authority and claim it's not our problem," said Weber.

Szakos says City Council absolutely needs to be a part of fixing the housing issues. She also mentioned that the current City Council is in the middle of making those decisions, so it wouldn't be appropriate to leap ahead of that.

Press Release from Democrats for City Council '13

On Monday, October 28, 2013, outside the Jefferson School City Center (233 4th Street

NW, Charlottesville), Democratic incumbent City Councilor Kristin Szakos and Democratic candidate Bob Fenwick spoke about the need for targeted, responsible investments to support Charlottesville and its people. The candidates released a five-point agenda describing a smart, efficient, citizen-focused approach to investments that will both continue to support Charlottesville's strengths and ensure that more and more residents can contribute to, and enjoy the benefits of, those strengths.

Click here for copy of The Democratic Plan for Community Investment.