Sunday, November 24, 2013

Democrats Looking Strong and Competent in Roanoke

Roanoke City Council: Changes a-coming?
Roanoke Democrats have a problem right now that Democrats in Virginia rarely have: too many good candidates.

The candidates for Onzlee Ware's vacated 11th District seat in the Virginia General Assembly are, by and large, capable, involved and forward-looking. My favorite in that race is Sam Rasoul, but there are two other candidates of a total of five that I would not hesitate to support.

In addition, two days following the firehouse primary Dec. 7, candidates for Roanoke's City Council will need to file for the May election and my guess is that two or more of the candidates for the General assembly will be in that mix. There could be as many as four seats open on council, but more likely two or three--all Democratic seats. Republicans tend not to do well in the city. In fact, the last Republican mayor, Ralph Smith, won his seat with 34 percent of the vote while two Democrats split the other 66 percent down the middle.

Bill Bestpitch, a city councilman whose seat will be contested next year, was quoted this morning by the local daily (here) as saying of those not winning the District 11 nod, "It will certainly be interesting to see how they justify deciding that Roanoke City Council is a good consolation prize.” City council is a lesser political position than the General Assembley, bill, so "consolation prize" in this context is not derogatory. It is fact.

Bill is one of those whose seat is in some considerable danger of changing. If they don't win the District 11 nomination and if they run again for Council, my guess is that the seats of David Trinkle and Court Rosen will also be hotly contested. Neighborhood groups are still angry at them (and Bestpitch) for votes that favored business interests over those of those living in affected neighborhoods (including mine).

What I see coming is better representation for Roanokers, regardless of the outcome of the races in the next few months. District 11 representation can only improve. Ware was simply awful, ineffective and a man who wasted Roanoke's vote. The competition for council will be healthy and will remind council members who is in charge. We benefit from that.

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