The field of candidates for Charlottesville City Council nearly tripled on Thursday as two Democrats and an independent candidate joined the fray.
Charlottesville defense attorney Lloyd Snook and Brian Pinkston, a project manager at the University of Virginia, will seek the Democratic nomination for council. Three seats are up for grabs in the November general election.
John Edward Hall, a design engineer who focused on medical devices throughout his career, will run as an independent.
Snook, 65, announced his plan to seek the Democratic nomination in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“The City has a sound economic base; we have good people working for us; and our citizens, by and large, support good government,” Snook wrote in the post. “What we have NOT had in recent years is stable leadership at the top.”
Pinkston, 47, created a campaign committee and plans to formally announce his candidacy in early February.
“It’s focusing on those headline issues, but also realizing that the role of the City Council is actually to provide governance and to provide and be thoughtful about that,” he said.
Hall, 67, ran in the 2017 council election, finishing fifth among five candidates with 600 votes.
“We need to focus on unity and healing,” he said.
Snook and Pinkston are the fourth and fifth Democrats to announce a campaign this week, although only four are still in the race.
Don Gathers threw his hat in the ring on Monday but delayed his campaign on Tuesday, citing health reasons.
Michael Payne, a local activist, and Sena Magill, a member of the board of directors of the Region Ten Community Services Board, also announced campaigns this week.
The Democratic primary will be held on June 11. The deadline for candidates is March 28.
The deadline to get on the ballot as an independent in June 11.
Snook graduated from Stanford University with a degree in economics in 1974 and from the University of Michigan Law School in 1979.
One of his reasons for running is a “dysfunctional” government that he says permeates throughout City Hall, citing what Police Chief RaShall Brackney has called at “mass exodus” of police officers, Snook wrote.
“[T]he recent news that the City Police Department can’t keep its positions filled tells us that the lack of leadership is having real consequences beyond City Hall,” he wrote.
Snook laid out three goals for his candidacy: restoring leadership, approving a new comprehensive plan and addressing the “school-to-prison pipeline.”
Snook was chairman of the Charlottesville Democratic party from 2001 to 2004. In his only other bid for office, Snook unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for council in 1990.
Snook will hold a campaign launch party at Bashir’s Taverna at 5 p.m. Tuesday.
“As I said, I won’t solve these problems single-handedly,” Snook wrote, “but I hope that I can work with 4 other councilors and a new City Manager to be a part of the solution.”
Pinkston grew up in Georgia and has lived in Central Virginia for 14 years. He graduated from Georgia Tech with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1994. He received a master’s degree from Biola University in Los Angeles in 2004 and completed a doctorate in philosophy at UVa in 2012.
He is a former chairman of the board of directors of the Region Ten Community Services Board.
Pinkston plans to focus on addressing affordable housing and race relations. He also wants to improve the function of city government.
“I think our overall governance is very important,” he said.
Pinkston plans to unveil more of his campaign at an official launch in February.
Hall graduated from Texas A&M in 1974 with a degree in biology.
He said he attended medical school at UVa and worked at the UVa medical center in the 1980s before starting a medical company in Kansas City, Missouri.
Hall said council lacks vision and leadership. He wants to address homelessness and affordable housing by connecting people with job opportunities to improve their lot in life.
In an interview at The Daily Progress on Thursday, Hall touched on several topics, but he wants to keep some of his ideas close until later in the campaign.
He discussed the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and said the city needs to remove an orange fence around it and focus on healing. He also spoke against a proposed city charter amendment that would allow city councilors to increase their pay outside of state guidelines.
Hall also discussed small measures to impact city residents, such as increasing the clearance of a bridge on the Corner so tractor-trailers don’t get stuck and installing park benches at transit stops.
Hall is gathering the 125 signatures from registered voters required to get on the ballot. He will hold a political rally at noon Feb. 1 at the Ridge Street Fire Station.
Hall said the city wanted him to pay fees for his event, but he is refusing, saying it violates civil liberties.
New rules for demonstrations were instituted following the Unite the Right rally, requiring a permit for events with more than 50 people.
“That’s very dangerous,” he said. “That’s like paying tithes to Caesar.”