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September 01, 2009

Lowry criticizes candidates who signed consensus statement on water plan

Reader comments (1) DailyProgress By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
September 1, 2009

John Lowry says he is the only candidate in the race for the Samuel Miller District seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors that is taking a stand on important issues.  Lowry is running as an Independent to fill the seat being vacated by the retiring Sally Thomas.  Also on the ballot in the November election are Republican Duane Snow and Democrat Madison Cummings.

Podcast produced by Charlottesville Tomorrow * Player by Odeo

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20090831-lowry-enviro

20090831-Lowry1 At a press conference Monday, adjacent to the McIntire Road Recycling Center, Lowry said he was the first to have a position in support of the community water supply plan.

“While my opponents in this race take cover behind consensus statements, I believe that voters want to know where candidates stand on important issues,” said Lowry.

In August, Dr. Liz Palmer, a member of the Albemarle County Service Authority Board of Directors, announced that Snow and Cummings had both signed a consensus statement indicating their support for moving forward with the fifty-year water supply plan approved in 2006.  

“I didn’t sign the consensus agreement because I had already made my statement and I think that needed some recognition,” said Lowry.  “I had the leadership to have my own point of view.”

Cummings told Charlottesville Tomorrow in an interview that Lowry had previously been in favor of signing the statement.  

“The three of us had agreed in July that we should sign the statement and take that off the playing field as a bone of contention,” said Cummings.  “Maybe he is trying to find some degrees of separation from the rest of us.”

“He said he probably would sign the statement but that he needed to talk to his campaign manager first,” Palmer told Charlottesville Tomorrow.  “Since he had already said he agreed with the [water supply] plan, we didn’t think there was any reason he would not sign it.”

Tom McCrystal, Lowry’s senior strategist, said his candidate did consider signing the statement, however Lowry determined it didn’t add anything to his previous position.

“He is willing to look at additional measures to protect the water supply,” said McCrystal who cited Lowry’s support for maintenance dredging of the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir. “John feels very strongly that it is important to take care of what we have.”

The statement signed by Snow and Cummings indicated they were “open to the possibility of selective dredging” separate from the fifty-year plan.  Snow told Charlottesville Tomorrow that the important issue for the community to address is how to move forward with a water supply plan.  

“Bottom line to me is that we need to move forward as quickly as possible and quit spending money on studies,” said Snow.  “I make my decision based on what I think is right, not what everyone else is doing.”

Lowry used his press conference to outline positions on other matters related to the County’s environmental resources.  He emphasized a goal of finding a balance between the use of natural resources, stewardship of the environment, and economic development.

Lowry pledged to protect the environment by supporting three specific initiatives: improved storm water regulations; support for regional public transit initiatives; and more convenient recycling options.  

During his remarks, several cars pulled into the recycling center and turned around after realizing that the center was closed on Mondays.  

“It is closed for lack of funding,” said Lowry.  “We need to be open for business when people are ready to recycle.”

Lowry also said he would also support and improve Albemarle’s land use taxation program and conservation easements as tools for preserving the character of rural Albemarle.

TIMELINE FOR PODCAST

01:00 – John Lowry begins his statement about the environment
03:43 – Lowry discusses water resources
04:50 – Lowry discusses regional public transit
05:53 – Lowry discusses convenient recycling
09:44 – Brian Wheeler of Charlottesville Tomorrow asks about his statement that his opponents are "taking cover behind consensus statements"
09:58 – Lowry responds
10:44 – Wheeler asks if Lowry agrees with the principles of the consensus statement on the water supply plan
10:58 – Lowry responds
11:28 – Wheeler asks what the environmental pros and cons are of the community water supply plan
11:32 – Lowry responds
12:10 – Wheeler asks whether Lowry supports the County’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 80% by 2050
12:25 – Lowry responds
13:00 – Wheeler asks about better access to recycling receptacles
13:20 – Lowry responds
13:43 – Wheeler asks whether the County should participate in the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority
13:53 – Lowry responds
14:21 – Wheeler asks whether there should be a limit to how much the County should pay to subsidize recycling
14:30 – Lowry responds

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