City Council candidates square off in Fan District Association debate

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Two debates held Wednesday night by the Fan District Association featured candidates in the 5th and 2nd district running for City Council.

It was a substantive exchange that gave community members a good sense of what to expect when they go into the voting booth this fall.

The fifth district debate featured the incumbent Marty Jewell and his two challengers, Parker Agelasto and Lee Shewmake. Their conversation focused a lot on the city budget, and just how much money Richmond has.

"You will know that Richmond is not hurting for money," claimed Jewell.  "Richmond is not hurting for money."

How that money should be spent is another matter and Jewell's opponents were not afraid to challenge him on his connections to the people in his district.

"We are hearing from the residents that we have concerns in our schools and we want to see improvements," said Agelasto, "But if you are not working together, how are you going to make that change?"

Fireworks flew in the second district debate as well. Incumbent Charles Samuels and his opponent Charlie Diradour battled over the best way to solve the community's parking problem.

"Work with the neighbors, work within the law and make sure that when you do it make sure that you don't have to change it again," Samuels said while making a point that nothing on City Council gets done without careful consideration.

Diradour argued that Samuels didn't push hard enough when he had the chance.

"Do we have a city council person that listens to both sides of the issue, sees that there is massive agreement and does something about it?" he asked.

Both district candidates gave their take on important city issues, like the funding of city schools, the best place for the Redskins training facility and the future of baseball in Richmond.

The debates, in their entirety, can be found on

Copyright 2012 WWBT NBC12.  All rights reserved.