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Thursday, September 13, 2012
City Council/Mayor Candidate Forum at VCU
A public forum featuring candidates running for Richmond City Council and Mayor was held at a VCU building located in a former grocery store. The event was organized by The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government in partnership with the A. Philip Randolph Institute, The Alliance for Progressive Values, The Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, People of Faith for Equality, RePHRAME - Residents of Public Housing in Richmond Against Mass Evictions, Richmond NOW, Sierra Club - Fall of the James, S.O.N.G. Southerners On New Ground, UniteWomen.org - Virginia Chapter, Virginia New Majority - Central Virginia Chapter, and Virginia Organizing.
The Forum started about 8:10 PM. Scott Price, Policy Director for The Alliance for Progressive Values, opened the forum and introduced the moderator for the evening, Dr. Kim Allen from the Martin Luther King Jr. Living History Center. Dr. Allen described the format and rules for the evening and then allowed each candidate make an opening statement.
Facebook event page: facebook.com/events/234730533315637/
Parker Angelasto, 5th District [4:34], Ellen Robertson, 6th District [6:52], Bruce Tyler, 1st District [9:03], Chris Hilbert, 3rd District [9:54], Charles Samuels, 2nd District [11:58], Mike Ryan, candidate for Mayor [14:09], Johnny Walker, 4th District [16:18], Jimmy Hart, 8th District [18:34], Marty Jewell, 5th District [20:07], Lee Shewmake, 5th District [22:23], Erin Delp, 3rd District [24:43], Dawn Page, 8th District [25:57], Michelle Mosby, 9th District [27:38], and Charlie Diradour, 2nd District [29:59].
The first question posed to candidates referenced Mayor Jones' statement about building the City by design and not by default in the context of so many Special Use Permits being granted recently. The question was put to Mayoral candidate Mike Ryan [1:07], and 5th District City Council candidates Marty Jewell [3:16] and Lee Shewmake [4:41].
The second question directed to candidates Dawn Page, 8th District [0:51], and Ellen Robertson, 6th District [2:42], asked if they supported one to one replacement of units for individuals who currently live in Public Housing.
The question referenced varying parking requirements for recently proposed developments in Richmond's West End and Oregon Hill. The questioner asked, "Why is Spot Zoning like this allowed?"
Bruce Tyler, 1st District candidate [0:43] and Charles Samuels, 2nd District candidate [1:43] responded to the question.
A question about improving Public Transportation and their support for a rapid transit bus line to Willow Lawn was posed to 4th District candidates Erin Delp [0:55] and Chris Hilbert [2:18]; Mayoral candidate Mike Ryan [4:29] and 8th District Council candidate Dawn Page [6:30] also commented on the question.
Moderator Dr. Kim Allen asked Council candidates Johnny Walker, 4th District [1:13], and Jimmy Hart, 8th District [3:08], what they would do to promote a safe and tolerant community for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer youth? Mr. Walker initially tried to avoid the question by attempting to discuss the previous question but Dr. Allen made him answer the question.
Considering a recent agreement between the city and Altria for naming rights to the Landmark Theatre for $10 million, Dr. Kim Allen asked how this money could be used to benefit people of Richmond. Jimmy Hart, 8th District [0:28], Marty Jewell, 5th District [1:50], and Ellen Robertson, 6th District [4:25] responded.
A perennial favorite was asked, "What would you do to create jobs in Richmond?" Attempting to answer the age-old question were Charles Samuels, 2nd District [0:31], Marty Jewell, 5th District [1:43], Johnny Walker, 4th District [4:04], Dawn Page, 8th District [5:27], Lee Shewmake, 5th District [7:02], and Mike Ryan, candidate for Mayor [8:57].
The question was initially asked to Charlie Diradour, a real estate developer and 2nd District candidate [0:33]. Diradour was the only candidate who publicly supported the idea of selling Monroe Park to VCU. Charles Samuels, 2nd District [1:29], spoke in opposition to the proposal and got a big round of applause; other sitting Council members also spoke in opposition to the proposal including Chris Hilbert, 3rd District [3:25], and Ellen Robertson, 6th District [4:20].
The question this go-round was, How will you work with the School Board to address future budget shortfalls?
Many candidates answered this question including Dawn Page, 8th District [0:49], Jimmy Hart, 8th District [3:05], Michelle Mosby, 9th District [4:23], Bruce Tyler, 1st District [5:55], Erin Delp, 4th District [7:36], Lee Shewmake, 5th District [8:25], and Johnny Walker, 4th District [10:30].
At the end of this clip, moderator Dr. Kim Allen asked if there was an ordinance that prevented the sale of City Parks, Council members thought there was such an ordinance [12:32].
All candidates present were asked their postion on allowing backyard chickens in the City.
Michelle Mosby, 9th District [0:42], Dawn Page, 8th District [1:41], Erin Delp, 3rd District [2:40], Lee Shewmake, 5th District [3:18], Marty Jewell, 5th District [4:05], Jimmy Hart, 8th District [6:15], Johnny Walker, 4th District [6:48], Mike Ryan, candidate for Mayor [6:59], Charles Samuels, 2nd District [7:39], Chris Hilbert, 3rd District [9:36], Bruce Tyler, 1st District [11:33], Ellen Robertson, 6th District [13:30], Parker Angelasto, 5th District [14:40], and Charlie Diradour, 2nd District [16:04].