Charlottesville City Council candidates meet on final virtual forum before June primary

Carl Brown (left), Brian Pinkston (center), and Juandiego Wade (right).
Carl Brown (left), Brian Pinkston (center), and Juandiego Wade (right).(WVIR)
Published: May. 27, 2021 at 10:28 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - We’re just a week and a half away from the Charlottesville City Council democratic primary, and on Thursday night there was one last chance for candidates to go head-to-head to swing some voters to their side.

Juandiego Wade, Brian Pinkston, and Carl Brown are all vying for two spots on the ballot in November. On the Zoom forum, they got a chance to touch on a number of issues - from land use to the area’s economy, and equity.

In a twist to conventional candidate debates, the moderators, Sean Tubbs and Neil Williamson, gave time to the candidates to question each other.

Wade asked how the other two would spend their first 100 days. That sparked the leadership topic.

“First of all I’d bring more continuity and chemistry to the board so the community would have a different perspective on what our board is now and what it was,” Brown said.

Pinkston said: “The first thing I would want to know is precisely what are the next steps on making sure we have a solid city manager in that position with a long-term contract.”

Wade later said he would be the best fit for council because of his ability to unify.

“We need to bring people together because we’re really divided in a lot of areas and I believe I’m someone who can bring people together,” he said.

On policy, each of the three candidates was asked if they would support the two-cent tax rate increase to help fund capital projects. It’s set to go into effect in the FY2023 budget.

“My quick answer is yeah, I’m inclined to,” Pinkston said. “My second answer is: I need to think a little more about it.”

Brown’s response: “I don’t feel comfortable supporting a tax increase at all without understanding why we’re doing it just because it was put in.”

Unlike the other two, Wade is committed to the proposed raise.

“I think improving the schools, building the new schools and redoing the reconfiguration, that is equity, that is a commitment to equity, and I support the 2% raise 100%.”

While two of those three candidates will be on that November ballot, they won’t be alone. Mayor Nikuyah Walker and challenger Yas Washington are both running as independents, so neither has to qualify in a party primary.

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