Now, maybe they’re just being lazy, but I don’t think so…

In visiting the official web site for the Charlottesville Democrats, I note that as of March 13, there are candidacy announcements for Dave Norris (March 5 announcement) and Kristin Szakos (February 14 announcement), but Julian Taliaferro’s March 9 announcement is conspicuously absent from the “News Shorts” section where the two comrades are featured. (see graphic below)

Could there be a rift in the Charlottesville Democrat Party? Almost certainly there is.

Much is at stake in this election and a Norris-majority council (Norris, Szakos, Edwards) likely would mean a halt to the Meadowcreek Parkway, unchecked increases in local taxes, an even more business-hostile environment for Charlottesville (i.e. living wage expansion), and a further-left social(ist) agenda than already exists.

Mayor Norris’s nomination is a fait accompli, but the “conservative” (a relative term) wing of “The Party” wants Taliaferro back in order to protect the Parkway and to maintain the thin veneer of “reasonableness” that currently cloaks Charlottesville’s City Council. Should this veneer be torn away (i.e. Norris-majority Council elected) a Republican might be able to sneak in Council’s back door during the next election cycle.

Add to this the fact that the Szakos’s (Kristin and her husband, Joe) Virginia Organizing Project and Dave Norris have worked closely together on many issues, but Norris and Taliaferro have not. (To be honest, I don’t think Taliferro has worked much on anything since elected, save for the failed attempted destruction of CARS.)

On point, here is an excerpt of a 2001 letter from Dave Norris to local Democrat operative, George “don’t call me ‘Sorros'” Loper, praising Joe Szakos (among other “progressives”):

…Any successful candidate for the Democratic nomination for City Council is going to need a strong base of support from within the progressive community in Charlottesville, especially if he/she wishes to unseat an incumbent. Sitting on the sidelines on an issue like living wages for city contract employees will not garner anyone much support from local progressives.

Right now it’s the Council that seems to be taking the initiative and moving in the right direction on this particular issue — with help from Joe Szakos and the other good folks at VOP, CAGE, LAG, PHAR, etc., but with little noticeable input by other Council aspirants.…


Dave Norris (electronic mail, October 8, 2001).

These ring out as perhaps prophetic words regarding Councilor Taliaferro’s chances of support by the Norris (read: progressive) wing of The Party.

Further evidence of the divide was clearly seen at Taliaferro’s re-election announcement where the conservative “old guard” was gathered in solidarity. Werner David Chapman, Tom Vandever, Blake Caravati, R. Lee Richards, Jennifer Brown all stood shoulder-to-shoulder to hail the Chief as he spoke, but where was Taliaferro’s “friend” Mayor Norris? Anywhere but present for his former running mate and current council mate.

So who controls the Charlottesville Democrats’ web site? Certainly not the old guard. The young turks push the pixels and if the decision is left to them, Julian T. will remain marginalized.

Come to think of it, the Cville Dems are treating poor Taliaferro as if he’s not really even a member of the Democrat Party. Hmmmmmm.

A final prediction: Once this post hits, I bet the Dems update their web site.

UPDATE: Within 7 hours of our original post, the prediction has come true! As of 3/13/09 at 5:30 PM, the Cville Dems have been shamed (or pressured) into adding a Taliaferro blurb to their site. Coincidence? I think not!



  1. George Loper’s website ( did post Taliaferro’s announcement but it is not an official blog of the Democrats. Using a search of the site, he hadn’t posted anything else about Taliaferro since 2006. Why he didn’t see the news about CARS fit to report I have no idea.
    The actual “friends” click includes the Public Housing Association of Residents, the Virginia Organizing Project, Quality Commity Council and Dave Norris. This is shown on PHAR’s blog ( Under the list members of its Advisory Board, one will see Dave Norris of PACEM (which is strange because as a board member of the Housing Authority and its past chair, and current chair of its Redevelopment Committee, he is advising PHAR on its demands of the Authority) and Karen Waters of QCC (who incidently serves on the VOP’s state board which oversees the actions of the Szakos’ local chapter).

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