Councilman Sherman Lea, Mayor David Bowers and Councilwoman Anita Price
Monday was cold and windy but the gloves came off as Democrats for council rallied around incumbent Mayor David Bowers. A few supporters braved the elements outside William Fleming High School.
Republican challenger Mark Lucas has been bolster by a poll his campaign conducted that shows that “it is close but Mark is ahead by two percent” wrote Adam Boitnott. He admitted it was not a scientific poll but that the 800 respondents “helped to gauge the way the wind was blowing.”
At a press conference councilman Sherman Lea and councilwoman Anita Price both up for re-election touted the progress the city has made during their tenure. “The city is on the upbeat,” said Lea. He added that council’s support for schools “is unmatched by any other urban city in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”
Reduced crime, keeping citizens safe and job growth, business expansions and increased funding for tourism has put Roanoke on the move said Lea.
Fixing bridges and maintaining curbs gutters and sidewalks are the “small things that citizens want to see.” Lea said they are spending taxpayer’s money wisely as he pointed to the scaled down vision for Elmwood Park. The once hefty $13 million price tag is now a more modest redo at a cost of $4 million.
Price said, “I want people to notice and recognize that Mayor Bowers is also well versed on the issues of our city.” She thought Lucas was not ready for a prime time mayoral position. “I would encourage him to perhaps serve in a capacity he could demonstrate his interest … even [Lucas] acknowledged that he is not as well versed as Mayor Bowers.”
On city issues Lucas has deferred answering questions on some city issues with which he was unfamiliar. This concerned Price and she encouraged voters to recognize that fact. “We do in fact have a wonderful team in place,” she said.
“Just within the last week two former members of Roanoke City Council told me that my opponent has expressed concern to them about the time involved with serving as mayor,” said Bowers. “If you can’t find time to serve on the Parks and Recreation committee or the Greenway Commission than you might have a concern about serving as mayor. – I never have that concern – I don’t think the people of Roanoke have that concern about me,” he said.
Bowers said he was at the airport at 7:00 a.m. on a Sunday seeing off the Westside debate team and was at the Blue Ridge Marathon and represented the city at a funeral. “It takes time to be the Mayor of Roanoke … I’ll find the time,” he said.
Bowers said he did some “ribbon-cutting” at the opening of the Tinker Creek Greenway extension with Councilman Bill Bestpitch and Congressman Bob Goodlatte Monday morning. He chuckled saying he told them “oh no, not another ribbon cutting – I’ve been getting so much ribbing about “ribbon cutting.”
He said “call it what you want but … whenever there is a ribbon cutting people in Roanoke ought to know that that’s a sign of success.”
Lucas in response said in an email:
“It sounds like David Bowers is really getting desperate. To hold a press conference to simply attack me reeks of a campaign and a candidate who is out of ideas and out of time. I have a positive vision for the Valley and have a detailed 7-step plan to create jobs in Roanoke. It is up on my website and facebook page and I am happy to answer any questions about it.
I also find it ironic that the same campaign that stated it isn’t the Mayor’s job to be hustling around creating jobs, has now been attempting to offer up some proposals for economic development.”
Lucas thought Bowers was inattentive at council meetings not knowing what was in the budget and “fretting about lost parking spaces” with the Elmwood Park renovation.
“I would suggest that it is better to have never been to a City Council Meeting than to ‘lead’ such a meeting and end up ignorant of the content.”
Lucas in response to experience:
“I have attended many council meetings over the years, including the council meeting where Mayor Bowers was the only member to vote against amending the proffers to Patrick Henry H.S. In fact, my daughter even spoke at that meeting as the female student representative of PH. I believe it is better to be honest with voters and not have an answer to every question rather than shooting from the hip and spouting potential inaccuracies like this obvious falsehood regarding my never being to a council meeting. What really matters in this election is substance over style. I have a detailed plan for the future of job creation in Roanoke and I have the business and entrepreneurial background to get this done.
Last minute attacks on my lack of experience will not disrupt the momentum of my campaign to be an entrepreneurial Mayor for the City of Roanoke. The voters have a clear choice between an ‘experienced’ politician and an experienced father, husband and businessman looking to improve our community. I hope the citizens of Roanoke will support my plan and I look forward to achieving results that matter rather than just hot air.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: city_council, Election 2012, Elections, Mayor_Bowers