Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mayor Bowers takes a few jabs at his opponent during fundraiser

Incumbent Mayor David Bowers at his fundraiser told his supporters to tell their friends to “Vote for someone who can be mayor from day one … the city needs stability and continuity.” His supporters seemed surprised when Bowers told them that if something were to happen to him any one of the city council members would be prepared to step in as mayor.

The fundraiser at Fork in the City operated by Vice-Mayor Dave Trinkle held about 70 people eating pizza and drinking their favorite beverage Monday evening.

Bowers took issue with Roanoke coming in second as having the most “sensitive” men – “how about changing that to having the most “sensible” Roanoke City government.” He praised the “sensible” city manager and the “sensible” city council.

Bowers avoided mentioning Sam Rasoul by name but the insinuation was clear that “being mayor from day one” lent itself to a criticism of Rasoul’s age and inexperience.

Bowers said that he takes the challenge of his opponent seriously. “It is a real serious threat -nothing is in the bag” he told the crowd of supporters. He cautioned them to not become complacent.

Bowers said he has heard that his opponent has a large bankroll and a high-powered campaign manager determined “to throw me out of office.” Many of his supporters raised their hand when asked if they had received Rasoul’s robocalls.

“[Rasoul] is going around town with a message that I don’t like and I reject – he’s talking about two Roanokes … that’s in the past,” said Bowers. His message is that there is cooperation and unity at every level in the city including the diverse neighborhoods. He will keep a positive tone as he campaigns.

He called his opponent “a charming and nice young man.” Bowers said though he will not rely on consultants but on the current city council’s support. “We know how to win elections.”

Bowers said he’d match his opponents paid staff with volunteers. Later he said that he had raised about $35,000 so far this cycle. He scoffed at the robocalls from Tacoma, Washington saying, “I have telephone calling by the ladies of the Women’s Democratic Club of the Roanoke Valley.” The ladies were delighted.

The importance of keeping a cordial city council and mayor in office is the message Bowers will repeat throughout his campaign. He gave accolades to School Board Chairman David Carson standing in the back of the room. He touted accreditation of the schools, the 16th year of accreditation of the police department and the reduction in crime for the 6th consecutive year.

He is a proponent of preservation. The preservation of the Jefferson Center he said has spurred the development around it – Fork in the City, the Cotton Mill apartments and renovation of homes in the area. “We want economic development that is smart,” he said.

Jobs have been created at every level in Roanoke said Bowers. Rasoul has been campaigning on the need to bring jobs to Roanoke by engaging state officials in Richmond.

The BIG MAC was back. The “M” was for the Market building, the “A” is for the Amphitheater though scaled down but Bowers promised the “C” of Countryside was on its way. The city purchased the 140-acre Countryside Golf Club for $4.1 million in 2005 for high-end development that never materialized. “They have as much a right to have a nice neighborhood as you do.”

In his vision for the future of Roanoke he sees “Arts culture and tourism economic development.” He wants the struggling Taubman Museum to get its financial footing. “We don’t want to have to go to Richmond to see what we can see here – we want to bring more people into Roanoke,” he said.

While attending the Mayor’s conference last week with Vice-Mayor Dave Trinkle he said they agreed that tourism and higher education are the best economic development investments for Roanoke. “We need to do more by bringing law schools or art schools.”

Bowers said he’d be pushing the expansion of Smart Beginnings that prepares underprivileged children for kindergarten.

He again told Roanokers to “shape up” and lose those pounds through diet and exercise.

Bowers said that “we are taking care of the city and we don’t want to get rid of that.”

At 7:30 a.m. on Sunday’s he said he prays for the citizens of Roanoke and on the other six days a week he is working for them.

Posted By Valerie Garner

Categories: Election 2012, Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics

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Comments (3)


January 24th, 2012 at 11:23 AM    

I attended the event last night for some time. Mayor Bowers was talking about Rasoul not living in Roanoke, not serving on Roanoke city council and running for the top job in the city when he lives in Botetourt. Did not take age and experience as the message – more that Roanokers should not want someone from Blue Ridge as mayor.


January 24th, 2012 at 3:35 PM    

I recorded it and I didn’t hear him say that at this occasion though he’s said it other times.

I asked him later if that was his point. He thought Rasoul would have been wiser to run for council first instead of jumping in as a mayoral candidate.

It is not as easy as it seems since I follow council members and the mayor around. It is time consuming. A point Sherman Lea made is “you have to want to serve.” It certainly isn’t for the pay.

E. Duane Howard

January 25th, 2012 at 12:30 AM    

David said he was for the preservation of homes in the area being built up by Ed Walker and David Trinkle. Let me say right off I have nothing but the highest level of respect for these two very fine gentlemen.

Yet, we can’t get our Mayor or the three council people seeking re election to come out and support the survival of an entire neighborhood in saying, “NO more expansion” for the Rescue Mission. Why is it so difficult to take a stand? Take a stand one way or the other is the sign of a good leader to many of us in S.E.
This is where David or Sam and set themselves apart in showing leadership for the neighborhood.

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