Buy local #1: Charlottesville City $550 “free pizza” party catered by non-city business

| March 15, 2011 | 8 Comments

Democrats elected and appointed to government positions in Charlottesville are known for being corrupt. That is no surprise to any astute political observer.

Democrats elected and appointed to government positions in Charlottesville are known for using public funds and resources surreptitiously to “buy” votes or curry political favor. To the recipients of such bounty, especially, that is no surprise.

But when then-candidate and now City Councilor Kristin Szakos (aka the Moat Monster), during her 2009 campaign, brazenly stated intent to bribe Charlottesville citizens with free community pizza parties—replete with complementary “day care” and other enticing giveaways—that was a surprise.

Szakos, who seems continually fixated on “pizza,” even put the “open trough” pledge in writing on her campaign web site:

That’s why I propose to hold City Council meetings at elementary schools and other locations around the city, serving pizza and providing childcare so that residents know their voices are valued.

Fast-forward two years, and Szakos’ campaign promise to bring free food to the masses (under the guise of community discussions) is in full swing, with four meetings now under council’s belt and several to go.

But, although the meal was “on the house,” the convocations have not been free, or even cheap. Following is a to-date list of city-sponsored town hall “banquets” along with the food expense for each (does not include staff time, planning costs, etc.). Click dollar amounts to see actual invoices:

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With another six assemblies planned and an average expenditure of $522 per party, the city (i.e. taxpayers) will have spent over $5,200 in realizing Szakos’ all-you-can-eat, Democrat-vote-buying buffet scheme.

Aside from Kristin’s outrageous abuse of Charlottesville taxpayers for her own political purposes, another problem exists in the execution of the Szakos plan. The most recent chosen caterer, Blue Ridge Cafe (a fine establishment), is located in Ruckersville (Greene County)!

So, while Charlottesville restaurants literally struggle to survive, City Hall Democrats are unnecessarily re-directing substantial business outside of the city and into neighboring counties? All of this from a city government that promotes “Buy Local C-ville” on its own web site?

Yes, and yes.

Kristin Szakos’ free pizza parties are patently ridiculous when observed at face value, but for City Hall to discretionarily funnel Charlottesville taxpayer money out of the city when city-based purchasing alternatives exist is an assault on taxpayers and a “body slam” on “local” restaurateurs and caterers.

The next time you hear big government compelling you to “buy local,” feel free to ignore the “advice” and make purchases wherever it suits you—Charlottesville City government certainly does.

And the next time you hear a Marxist politician offering you “free” food, remember two things: 1) government “offers” always arrive with strings attached; and 2) there’s no such thing as, nor has there ever been, a free lunch.

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA’s The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.

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8 Comments on "Buy local #1: Charlottesville City $550 “free pizza” party catered by non-city business"

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  1. Cville Eye says:

    These slogan-slingers rarely have fulll understanding of what they are saying. I doubt if Kristin Szakos ever understandings. As many restaurants that are in the city limits, why would the city spend its money in another county? Because they are not clear what “Buy local” menas within the context of city-sponsored events. By what process are the food vendors being chosen for these meetings? Council claims it champions “Living Wage” by throwing it around every year at budget time, yet did it ask if these restaurants with which the city is doing business paid a “Living Wage” to all of its employees. Council’s actions are usually symbolic without being substantive. Or is this an example of hypocricy?

  2. Ken says:

    Using 2008 city population figures I get about 19 cents a resident. Need a loan, Rob? ;-)

  3. The_BlueSpade says:

    Absurdity, arrogance and atrociousness, this is Charlottesville and that’s our city council. Well, what’s left of my complacency has had it with that! Rob, you’ve struck a raw nerve here!

    “Aside from Kristin’s outrageous abuse of Charlottesville taxpayers for her own political purposes, another problem exists in the execution of the Szakos plan. The most recent chosen caterer, Blue Ridge Cafe (a fine establishment), is located in Ruckersville (Greene County)!
    So, while Charlottesville restaurants literally struggle to survive, City Hall Democrats are unnecessarily re-directing substantial business outside of the city and into neighboring counties? All of this from a city government that promotes “Buy Local C-ville” on its own web site?

    Yes, and yes.”

    How bountiful and wanton are the numerous improprieties, let me count the ways…..

    It isn’t only the eateries within city limits that this aberrant lack of integrity and dismal incomphrehension applies to. People are being driven to relocate and live outside this city. One something, the city council in it’s government on the road touring series ignores, is the incline of empty residental for-sale and rental properties? The song and tapdance with property assessments, through a market looking like a real estate discription of some landmine field, serves only to further complicate matters. Strange how Albemarle County (within the urban-ring zip code) is once again now attracting the better-to-do frugal minded.

    Oh and what’s all this mission statement buzz about “city vision,” related to another allocated entitlement progenitor aptly named “Celebrate Charlottesville?” Our elected can’t already keep what’s been encouraged residential, let alone try and bolster actual commercial and industrial business inside the city limits. Of course, one of the “in your face” goals set upon by this mission-vision included additional acquistion of parkland whenever for the city. Why even have bothered indulging the negotiations of Bicuit Run, when the ruinous depreciation inside Charlottesville is making our city into one entire park itself?

    Several weeks back, the typical activists at UVa had another of those “Living Wage” Demos for the usual suspects. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not against fairness in the idea of a day’s worth wage for a day’s amount of work. There’s nothing remote about earning whatever amount at the area’s foremost employer working me up. However, consider the following. Maurice Jones was promoted to City Manager from within city rank and file, at a salary of $170, 000. Despite a not-so cost conscious creation of a “Tree Commision,” Tim Hughes is employed as the city’s official arborist at $72,000 a year. Wait for it, you haven’t heard the cherry on the topping yet. Anybody who works for the city surely appreciated the raise of no staffer earning no less than $11 an hour. However, for every action there’s an equally surly opposite reaction. That has to do with retired former city employees. Council did not give their retirees a Cost of Living Increase. Call it disrespect of your elders, whether undeserved or not. I have only two comments directly concerning this.

    1. There is no genuine equality in giving active city employees the goldmine and handing former city workers the shaft.

    2. The City of Charlottesville has now usurped the University as being the prime example of an employer paying a “living wage.”

    Does Dave Norris believe he’s actually impressing everyone with this?

    The City Council Circus Tent is next pitched, within my neighborhood at Johnson Elementary, on May 11th. It may or may not be headed for your community before or after then. I’ll be one of THOSE citizens with a handmade button reading ” Don’t indulge the eatsy freebies, unless you’ve sold your vote. Not easy for somebody as me, who already has difficulty fitting in the seats of rides at Busch Gardens and City Council’s Chamber.

    Yeah, some of us need a diet that really works more than others. So, what’ll it be Kristin – Pizza or Cellulite?

  4. Sam says:

    I see in the Daily progress today (March 22) the City is planning to create a new voting district-Buford but the new voting station will not be at Buford School but at the Boys and Girls Club. $30,000 has been set for advertising and paying rent to the Boys and Girls Club for the polling station. Why not have the school as the voting place and pay no rent? Who is connected with the Boys and Girls Club?

  5. Gary says:

    Rob,can this audience deputize you to attend the City
    Council party when the tour comes to your neighborhood?
    Could you attempt to capture the meeting on video and
    audio production equipment? Why couldn’t Council serve organic, “green” dishes at these gatherings? I’m sure
    they would have leftovers. They could take the leftovers
    to the Salvation Army or a shelter. Norris is seeking
    a subsidy for his Boys and Girls Club with the creation
    of a voting precinct. Is this a learning experience for
    Boys and Girls Club members? I have learned that Mayor
    Norris is travelling to Charlottesville’s sister city in
    Ghana. Why can’t the City send him to Havana while he is
    on tour? He could learn even more about central planning
    and reduction in payroll.

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