Monday, December 31, 2007

Neat Search Engine

Bored yesterday, I did some random surfing on the Internet. It took me to the Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association's (VBHMA) website

Got to love the engine for matching you with a hotel room in Virginia Beach. Choose location, amenities, etc. I ended up with the Sandcastle Hotel.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

You Said "No" To Rosemary

Our latest poll is over and 62% are opposed to reelecting Rosemary Wilson to City Council next November. What I find intriguing is the 62%-38% spread is identical to regionwide for the 2002 Transportation referendum.

Okay, wondering why I'd run an unscientific poll a year out on a Council race? I was trying to gauge the political persuasions of my readership. 62% want reform, while 38% are status quo. It was just a sneaky way of doing it.

The new poll is out of the Resort Area Master Plan Charete: where should the eastern terminus for light rail be? Both answers are covered in various options now on the table. Which one do you want?

Friday, December 21, 2007

2007 Christmas List

It's time to hand out my Christmas presents for 2007:

1. Bob Dyer - reelection next November without a challenge from a developers' puppet. (Bob can fend off a Deaniac easily.)

2. VBTA - realization that the political universe doesn't revolve around reducing the Property Tax rate. People are unhappy about it, but they care about many more issues.

3. Rosemary Wilson - we have a mutual hatred society, but I care even less for the Deaniacs. With VBTA Vice Chair Bob Hedrick already announced as a challenger, I'll write the first attack ad for Rosemary.

The Deaniacs have been over-the-top on Virginia Beach's workforce housing program, which you'll try to take credit for. (Kind of like Al Gore inventing the Internet....) An ad with a picture of a concerned family huddled around. The caption, "All They Want Is A Good Home. Bob Hedrick Thinks That's A Marxist Conspiracy." In the body of the ad, explain the program and quote the Deaniac rhetoric.

4. Daun Hester - success running for reelection in May, if you wish. It's obvious Norfolk's downtown establishment doesn't like you - which is reason enough for the residents to vote for you. (Not to mention for Mayor in 2010.)

5. Reid Greenmun - voted our biggest civic embarassment on this blog, I give him anger management classes. Maybe if he calms down, he'll come across sane politically.

6. Sam Reid - persevernace for the incoming CCO President. The office has become a hot seat, with no recent President living up to expectations.

7. Billy Almond - former RAC Chairman and Chair of the RAC's Planning/Design Review Committee. He alone deserves credit for pushing Virginia Beach into the ongoing Resort Area Master Plan process.

For Billy: an apartment in one of those mixed-use developments in the Resort Area once built.

8. Chris Stolle - a map of my home Aragona Precinct. Carolyn Weems won with 57% here; Joe Bouchard won with 56% here. Chris obviously doesn't know the place.

9. Wawa - more transit-convienent locations in Hampton Roads. Drivers know them for their cheap gasoline. However, Wawa is also a great break for bus riders with clean restrooms, drinks, and good food.

10. Transit riders - that Norfolk's Light Rail Starter Line continues to run under budget, and that Virginia Beach commission a Study for Newtown Road - Dome site in 2008.

Merry Christmas. And don't forget to go to Christmas Mass.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Resort Area Master Plan Charete - Round 1

Monday and Tuesday saw a two-day opening to begin the crafting of the Resort Area Master Plan. A Charete was held at the convention center: 1-5 on Monday, 1-3 on Tuesday. On Monday there was an opening Presentation by the consulting team from Sasaki, followed by input. On Tuesday Sasaki brought back three draft plans for comment. Nobody seemed to like any of the plans in their entirety. A few of us tried to mix-and-match.

What raised eyebrows is that Options 2 and 3 resurrected BRT as a Resort Area-only system. Don't like that? Option 1 had a streetcar running the length of Pacific Avenue. All three plans had light rail coming to the Resort Area from Norfolk, though with different routings and end points.

The development proposed was largely off-the-shelf: convention center HQ hotel, Rudee Loop, Dome site, mixed-use in RT-2 and RT-3, etc. It was the Transportation proposals that broke new ground.

I tried putting together a hybrid from Options 1 and 3 that would have changed the light rail alignment and provided housing for the Resort Area workforce. The head of the Sasaki team liked my idea...until Planning Department Staff pointed out my housing proposal would violate AICUZ regulations. (Darn)

Sasaki will be back in February at which time everyone will try to merge the three options into a single draft plan.

V-P On Burton Station

The Virginian-Pravda Editorial Board chimed in on Burton Station today, and it's one of those rare times I agree with them.
Burton Station is a political quagmire waiting to happen for the Virginia Beach City Council, one they shouldn't want to enter with our first-ever November Council election less than a year away.

If the Editorial Board wanted to really do us a service, they would ask a simple question "How can Norfolk redevelop Broad Creek without it being a political lightning rod, but Virginia Beach can't touch Burton Station?" The answer, of course, is that Norfolk's ward system has led to the African-American community being seated at the table. In Virginia Beach, the African-American community is often left begging for crumbs from the table given the evil at-large voting system. Were they at the table, a rational plan could be negotiated. I myself have argued that the African-American community's leadership should bargain Burton Station away in exchange for legally protected status for Seatack. Seatack has greater historical significance, a larger population, and is threatened by Resort Area redevelopment.

Now let's see if the Editorial Board can do a follow-up calling for political reform in Virginia Beach that would seat the African-American community at the table, through either a ward system or cumulative voting.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Disability Backlog

The following story appeared in The New York Times and was reprinted in today's Virginian-Pravda.

I myself have received Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) for 15 years now. I won it on appeal, and the 1992 appeal took just over a month. Now read what's become of the system. What's so crucial about the disability payments is work clearance with such a condition. In my case, I had doctor's orders not to work for six months. For many, they never will be able to return to full-time work. It's the payments that cover the bills.

Two things need to be done here:

1. Hire the additional appeals judges.

2. Change the rules for the original cases. If two-thirds are winning on appeal (like I did), obviously the original case standards are too burdensome. That would lessen the number of appeals that need to be heard.

I wish this story had appeared two days earlier. As my Congressperson, Thelma Drake, was at the Light Rail Groundbreaking, I would have given her an earful.

Another Unanimous Poll

Everyone prefers that a leftover grant from Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) be spent on a new hybrid bus for trolley replacement.

The Resort Advisory Commission's Transportation Committee had previously endorsed a position to use the grant to replace the Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) for the VBWave trolley at the Oceanfront. Apparently the position doesn't have traction west of Birdneck Road.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Word From The Light Rail Groundbreaking

Here's The Virginian-Pravda's take on it:

Having gone myself (sat in the 2nd row on the center aisle), I have some notes:

1. The only specific talk of expansion into Virginia Beach came from Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim - who did it repeatedly.

2. Master of Ceremonies Pete Decker arrogantly stated he didn't have to introduce himself as M.C. since he wouldn't be doing the job unless we all knew who he was. (While I'd obviously heard of him, I'd never met him.)

3. Messina's opening paragraph is spin. The loudest cheer of the day was the only standing ovation, given to Governor Tim Kaine at his introduction. The next two loudest were for Congresspersons Scott and Drake, when it was announced their roles in securing Federal funding.

4. The NET's normal route was extended for the day to bring people down to the Groundbreaking Ceremony site, on the easternmost part of the Harbor Park parking lots. (Yes, I took the NET.)

5. Lunch afterwards: barbecque, Italian sausages, chicken wings, cole slaw, and baked beans. I wish they'd given me more than one spoonful of cole slaw....

6. I spotted three Virginia Beach politicos there: John Welch, Bruce Williams, and Louisa Strayhorn.

7. It was announced that Yvonne Miller has been named Senate Transportation Committee Chair by the Senate Democratic Caucus. Let's hope that means a greater emphasis on transit.

8. During his remarks, Governor Tim Kaine took credit for two provisions in HB 3202:

a. an increase in rail funding of over 60%.

b. an increase in mass transit funding of over 40%.

Even as a Republican, I have to admit Tim Kaine has been the most pro-mass transit Governor in Virginia history.

The humorous part of the affair: the day before the event, HRT e-mailed out to invited guests...ahem...parking passes? Parking passes?!? For a mass transit event? At least I took the bus. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

How Disingenous Of Bob O'Connor

Bob O'Connor was at it again on Thursday. As usual, he attended the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) meeting. The RAC was given a Briefing on a proposal for a convention center headquarters hotel.

There's no formal citizen comment session at RAC meetings, but the Chair will normally allow anyone to speak who wishes. As soon as the Briefing was complete, Bob raised his hand. Wouldn't the hotel be in an AICUZ zone and thus draw fire from the Navy? City Council Liason John Uhrin pointed out the land is zoned RT-3, allowing by right development of a such a hotel up to 200 feet in height.

What's so wrong with O'Connor's argument? Okay, he knee-jerkingly opposes any Resort spending. However, here is something disingenous: his use of the AICUZ argument. The 2005 R&HA Initiative by the Deaniacs (which O'Connor signed the petition for) sought to undermine any use of eminent domain to save Oceana under the BRAC order. In short, the Deaniacs wanted Oceana closed.

Now in 2007 they want to pose as champions of Oceana to push their "Demonize the Resort Area!" agenda. They hope people have some very short memories.

Happy Finnish Independence Day

December 6 is Finnish Independence Day; I celebrated by going out for a nice dinner this evening. How many others locally celebrated?

This is the 90th Anniversary, as the Grand Duchy of Finland declared independence from the remnants of the Russian Empire on December 6, 1917. Russia was hit by Comrade Lenin's revolution in October, and the Finnish had no intention of sticking around. The Finnish assembly requested German troops, and Germany was happy to sever Finland from Russia. Russia was still at war with Germany (World War I).

In the old country, one would hit the sauna and get drunk on December 6. I don't even know of a sauna in Virginia Beach.

Light Rail In Virginia Beach

There's some movement in the business community on light rail for Virginia Beach

The linked story reports that an endorsement by Virginia Beach Vision (VBV) is looming. As much as I despise VBV, I'll take their clout and partnership in a coalition to bring light rail to Virginia Beach. Nearly every VBV pushed project has become a reality; if they endorse light rail in Virginia Beach, it's huge.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

African-Americans Push Politically In Virginia Beach

The New Journal and Guide ran a story on the African-American Political Action Committee, a Virginia Beach PAC championing the African-American community politically.

Having had a crucial role in getting Bob Dyer the AAPAC endorsement for City Council in 2004, I can testify how the group is non-partisan. (They also endorsed Glen Davis in 2006.) Given the huge hurdles the evil at-large voting system presents, it will be interesting to see exactly what the AAPAC does to promote African-American City Council candidates in 2008. However, with the elections now in November, minority voters will make up a larger share of the electorate than in May. Does that translate into wins?

Well, I've been joking that every political junkee wants to see November, 2008 come along just to see how it changes the campaign model. However, too much shouldn't been read into the results, as November, 2010 will be quite different again. In 2010 there will be neither a Presidential nor Senatorial race on the ballot, changing the dynamics from 2008.

Reminder On Light Rail Groundbreaking

Just a friendly reminder that the Groundbreaking Ceremony for Norfolk's Light Rail Starter Line is this Saturday, December 8. Activities will be from 1-3 P.M., with the rail spike driving and speeches at 1:30.

December 8 is also the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. As a Catholic, I've spent the last few weeks trying to draw a paralell between the two; however, I can't come up with a line that isn't sacreligious.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Homeless In The Oceanfront Parks

Aggressive homeless persons in the Oceanfront parks has become an issue on the table at the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC).

Wednesday morning the Transportation Committee (which has oversight of the parks) was briefed on the problems there: panhandling, public urination, fornication, sleeping in the bushes, etc. The problem is worst at 17th Street and lessens as you move northward. The root of the problem at 17th Street is believed to be the number of programs for the homeless nearby: three churches serving food, the Lighthouse Center, and the Judeo-Christian Outreach Center. A proposal was made to close the parks, at least during some hours, but nobody on the Committee could support it.

The Oceanfront Enhancement Committee (which has oversight on Behavior issues) took up the issue on Friday morning. Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association (VBHMA) Executive Director Nancy Perry had polled the VBHMA Board and nobody could support park closings. Council of Civic Organizations (CCO) RAC representative Henry Ryto informed the Committee that he had spoken to the CCO Executive Committee about the matter and that everyone was opposed to park closings. Virginia Beach Police Department Second Precinct commander Captain Tony Zuccaro called closing the parks "scattering cats" and reccomended that a security guard (not VBPD) be hired to patrol the Oceanfront parks. In the end, a subgroup was named to come up with a comprehensive solution to the problem.

Watch this issue closely if you want to maintain access to our Oceanfront parks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

RAC TPPC Votes To Replace Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs)

This morning the Resort Advisory Commission's Transportation, Pedestrian, and Parking Committee (TPPC) voted to ask Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) to replace the Ticket Vending Machines (TVMs) in the Resort Area that sell tickets for the VBWave Oceanfront trolleys. The machines were only suppose to suffice until Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) came online. With BRT dead and the machines suffering from the salty sea enviroment, they have become a maintenance headache.

HRT came to the TPPC meeting with a reccomendation to discontinue the TVMs, selling tickets through Resort retail establishments and hotels. Resort Area business interests want both the TVMs and retail sales. The suggestion was to pay for the TVMs out of a Federal grant for BRT that has never been spent by HRT. HRT wants to use the funds to buy a hybrid bus for trolley replacement.

Council of Civic Organizations RAC representative Henry Ryto pointed out that if HRT's ongoing fare study (due out in January) introduces a day pass on buses, then the TVMs become redundant. However, the fare study reccomendations won't be implemented before July 1, 2008, so even Ryto's line would require the current TVMs be kept for another year.

The TPPC asked for the purchase of new machines, with Ryto the lone "No" vote.

Everyone Wants More Bus Service

It was unanimous: every voter supported increased bus service in Virginia Beach. Now it's a question of getting the Virginia Beach City Council to fund additional hours for Hampton Roads Transit (HRT).

Let City Council know you advocate phasing in HRT's 2030 Plan.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Portrait Of A Sick Mind

Three posts ago I reported on Reid Greenmun being voted our biggest civic embarassment. In the previous post I linked up a story from The Virginian-Pravda on the Norfolk R&HA.

Please follow that link to the Comments section of the aforementioned story. There you'll find an angry rant by Reid. If the anger dripping from it wasn't enough, note the story isn't about the flipping of houses that he's railing against.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Strategy? What strategy?

Today's Virginian-Pravda brings us the story of how the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NR&HA) is trying to diversify it's housing stock, in part to raise funds to help cover housing for the "extremely low income".

It's nice that Norfolk has a program to look after such needs. How about Virginia Beach? There are measures that can be taken without a R&HA to promote the construction of "extremely low income" units. Virginia Beach recently enacted a program for Workforce Housing, but that only covers those making $35,000 or more. Lacking adequate housing units and mass transit. where is Virginia Beach's blue collar labor going to come from in the future?

One thing is certain: if Will Sessoms is elected Mayor next November, the "extremely low income" will be written out of City policy altogether. I can't say much more for a couple of the incumbents, either.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The future of Hampton Roads is...a regional dictatorship?

The Future of Hampton Roads, an all self-appointed business group, has churned out a set of papers dubbed "The Regionalist Papers." In them you can read "the business community" plans for our future. The papers are at

Please read the one on governance structure. FHR dismisses the more democratic alternatives to push for an appointed "Metropolitan Council" that would do many of the functions now held by our city governments.

I believe the five cities of South Hampton Roads will consolidate within 30 years, and the consolidation agreement can be drafted in a manner to produce a more resident-friendly government than what we have currently. However, such plans as the FHR dictatorship must be resisted if the people are to be free.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Reid Greenmun: Our Biggest Civic Embarassment

Voting is over and Reid Greenmun (aka Green Reednut) has been chosen our biggest civic embarassment. He took 71% of the vote, to 29% for former Citizens Action Coalition Chairman Bob O'Connor. Reid currently serves as Transportation Chairman for the Very Bellicose Terrorists Authority-er, Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA). Some of his positions:

1. He calls light rail "Marxist".

2. Mass Transit is "socialism".

3. He put together an alternative transportation plan for the region that (get this!) claims to be able to build new road projects with neither new taxes nor tolls.

No wonder the VBTA isn't taken seriously on Transportation!

Reid has a notorius past, having been pencil-pusher for self-styled "civic leader"/nutcase Barbara Messner. With the VBTA now, he tries to run from that past. However, he never could have stayed around BM as long as he did unless he drank the Kool-Aid. Paranoid Barbara entrusted him with e-mails detailing her political ambitions. To point out the obvious, she doesn't do that unless she knew Reid was a true believer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Coup At The CCO

Tonight's meeting of the Council of Civic Organizations (CCO), Virginia Beach's civic league federation, featured the Officers' election for 2008. President Chandler Scarborough, running for reelection, was dumped in favor of Sam Reid.

Sam Reid is President of the Oceana Gardens Civic League, where he helped lead the fight against taking homes in the BRAC process. Sam ran for City Council in 2006, coming in 4th place in the At-Large field. He has served as a CCO Director during 2007, Chairing the Advocacy Task Force.

Sam has been considering another run for City Council in 2008. However, under the By-Laws, he can't serve as CCO President and run for City Council at the same time.

Humorous move of the night: a VBTA sympathizer nominated welfare state liberal Carolyn Lincoln for a Director's seat. Carolyn lost, but why would a VBTAer do that?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Annual Poll

I just got a phone call from Continental Research; it was the City's annual poll of citizens to see how residents view service delivery.

The call lasted about 5 minutes. I was asked my views on various city departments, which services I had used in the past 12 months, and what service I found most lacking (hint: mass transit).

The funny part: I was told City Council would be briefed on the results "in about six weeks." Uh..."six weeks" would be the day after Christmas, and City Council will be on their holiday break.

Regardless, the results are to be posted on the City's website.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

TDCHR Stipend May Double

At the November 8 meeting of the Transportation District of Hampton Roads (i.e. HRT's Board), a proposal was pushed to double the stipend for Commissioners from $50 to $100. Delegate Lionell Spruill, one of Chesapeake's Commissioners, pushed the measure. It will need General Assembly approval. Randy Wright made the motion, Paul Riddick seconded, and it passed.

Kudos to our Commissioners from Virginia Beach: John Uhrin abstained, while Jim Wood voted "No". Personally, while I can see raising the stipend, where does the $100 figure come from? I wish I was getting a 100% pay increase.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

November 4, 2007: A Dark Day For Transit In Virginia Beach

November 4, 2007 was Day 2 of the 2007 Virginia Beach City Council's Annual Retreat. Under Transportation two transit items came up for a vote as priorities:

1. There was Barbara Henley's proposal to make a decision on Light Rail during the coming year. The item was passed...after it was watered down, eliminating a reference to a specific transit system to go down the Norfolk Southern Right-of-Way. Ironically it was our two HRT Commissioners (Jim Wood and John Uhrin) that led the waffling.

City Manager Jim Spore obviously had read my e-mail to Council prior to the Retreat. He reminded them that there was a 10 year lead time to do light rail and the clock doesn't start until Council makes a decision to begin.

2. A proposal by Ron Villaneuva to improve existing bus service and add bus shelters got only three votes (Rosemary Wilson, Meyera Oberndorf, and Villaneuva).

Council can still do the above, but it chose to make neither a priority for the coming year.

Bob O'Connor: Municipal Clown

Bob O'Connor is the former Chairman of the Citizens Action Coalition, an anti-tax activist...and an embarrasment. He regularly attends Informal Sessions of the Virginia Beach City Council, meetings of the Resort Advisory Commission, and City Council Retreats. Saturday morning was no exception, as he showed up for Day 1 of the 2007 City Council Retreat.

In late morning the Council discussion turned to Light Rail. Bob was infuriated. He went to the back of the room, crossed his arms, and angrily puffed out his cheeks. Within twenty minutes he had stormed out of the Retreat, not coming back for the rest of it. ROFL! Typical Deaniac: he believes we can't even discuss light rail.

The funniest part: on Sunday (Day 2) City Council fudged on what transit system to put down the Norfolk Southern Right-of-Way. O'Connor had missed over 75% over nothing.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The VBTA: Irrelevant Nuts

Our first poll has ended, and the verdict was unanimous: the Very Bellicose Terrorists Authority-er, Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance is nuts. Thanks to everyone who voted.

This past Saturday, the VBTA held a General Assembly Candidates Forum. Number of candidates who showed up: zero Democrats, and only two Republicans. Virginia News Source is whining about it. If they got it, candidates don't want to waste their time at the VBTA because the VBTA is irrelevant.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Shakeup At The Resort Advisory Commission?

It's nearly that time of year again: the annual appointments - and reappointments - to the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC). This year's round looks to be very interesting:

1. Three Commissioners will term limit out on December 31.

2. Six Commissioners are in violation of the RAC Charter's attendance requirements (i.e. you can miss a maximum three meetings annually).

Together there is the potential for a major turnover in personnel. The most intriguing question is how are the delinquent Commissioners dealt with. Removed? Asked to resign? The entire mess swept under the rug? Attendance at the RAC has become huge: the August meeting failed to muster quorom, while October made quorom with two late arrivals.

Then there is always the question of minority representation:

1. Currently there are three minority Commissioners.

2. There is only one African-American Commissioner.

Does City Council make a minority appointment or two to try to balance the numbers? Two years ago Council dealt with female underrepresentation. In a city that's nearly one-third minority and about 20% African-American, we have a RAC that's 15% minority and 5% African-American.

Friday, October 26, 2007

"There You Go Again"

To quote Ronald Reagan. On Tuesday the Virginia Beach City Council by consensus decided to commission Master Plans for three Strategic Growth Areas (SGA) per year. They've already funded the Resort Area Master Plan for this fiscal year. The other two: Pembroke/Town Center (no surprise) and...Northampton Boulevard/Burton Station.

Burton Station. Where the city used Jim Crow tactics to try to force African-American familes off their land. Where the city tried to get a Redevelopment Authority to bulldoze the same families' homes. It speaks volumes that the city has the nerve to try again.

It becomes all the more appalling when you realize the city could get more bang for the buck by moving along the Norfolk Southern Corridor, preparing the SGAs there for light rail.

Sometimes the Virginia Beach City Council makes me want to barf!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Light Rail Groundbreaking

The Groundbreaking Ceremony for Norfolk's Light Rail Starter Line will be on Saturday, December 8 at Harbor Park from 1-3 P.M. The public from throughout the region is invited to attend. There are festivties being planned.

Update: at the November 8 TDCHR meeting, it was announced that the Groundbreaking will be December 8, rather than the previously announced December 1. The rail spike driving and speechs will be at 1:30. There will be barbecque, a radio remote broadcast, and children's activties.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Henry Ryto Tagged To Return To RAC

The Council of Civic Organizations (CCO), Virginia Beach's civic league federation, is one of five groups with a voting seat on the Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) . The CCO has unanimously chosen to ask City Council to reappoint Henry Ryto to a second full three-year term as CCO RAC representative.

Henry has served as CCO RAC rep since February, 2004, and has yet to miss a meeting of the full RAC during that time. (He has missed a few committee meetings.) Previously he spent 7 1/2 years in the hotel business, about 95% of that as a Night Auditor. He has brought to the RAC an informed grassroots perspective.

His name now goes to City Council for approval.

CCO 2008 Officers Nomination Slate

The Council of Civic Organizations, Virginia Beach's civic league federation, has named it's official officers' slate for the November annual election:

President: Chandler Scarborough
1st Vice President: Dan Baxter
2nd Vice President: Jermaine Hannah
Past President: Ken Jobe
Treasurer: Joe Yurso
Recording Secretary: Karen Nuskiewicz
Corresponding Secretary: Kim Rizzo
Director: Sam Reid
Director: Jim Glynn
Director: Jay Kerr

Entering the second year of two-year terms as Directors are Todd Solomon, Bob Heard, and Henry Ryto.

The election will take place at the November CCO meeting on the 14th. The program that night will feature School Board Chairman Dan Edwards as speaker. It will be at 7 P.M. in the Central Library Auditorium.

RAC TPPC To Punt On Tram?

This morning the Resort Advisory Commission's (RAC) Transportation, Parking, and Pedestrian Committee (TPPC) decided to send back to the full RAC the word that the TPPC's support for continuing to study a Boardwalk tram is "tepid". None of the four committee members present was warmly supportive of a tram. Three objections have been brought up:

1. The inability to get good information in quantity.

2. Not being able to secure a tram for a test run on the Boardwalk.

3. Running a tram on an already-crowded Boardwalk.

In other news, proposed changes to the Resort Parking Permit Program (RPPP) were endorsed with two changes. Civic leagues in the area sought more restrictive measures to deal with problems in the neighborhoods.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Nanny State Strikes

Tonight the Virginia Beach City Council is set to vote on a smoking ban in all restaurants. Two problems with such a proposal:

1. It smacks of the nanny state trying to regulate personal behavior.

2. Virginia law doesn't make a distinction between restaurants and bars.

I'd much rather someone at a bar slow up to have a cigarette than continue to chug down drinks.

Update: City Council passed the ban 7-3. Kudos to Bill DeSteph, Reba McClanan, and Harry Diezel for voting "No".

Sunday, October 21, 2007

City Council Budget Discussion

This past Tuesday evening, the Virginia Beach City Council held a public discussion on the Budget. With this the start of the Budget drafting process, the City sought to get public input at the outset, rather than waiting for the Public Hearings in the Spring.

66 people preregistered, as was requested by the City. 80 showed up. Most conspicious was the Very Bellicose Terrorists Authority-er, the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA). Only one in their leadership preregistered, but I counted four of them there. Crashing the party? Virginia News Source twice attacked the meeting, in Erb's Blurbs and the heading of the link to The Virginian-Pravda story on the meeting.

As for the meeting itself, there were 6 citizens at my table. It was a crossection ranging from a Democrat to VBTA sympathizers. 3 of the 4 who spoke up support a local income tax to replace a portion of the Property Tax. Such a tax would allow the rate to be cut 16 cents. In addition, there was a loud consensus for more mass transit. Finally, the desire to cut City employee fringe benefits, which now make up 26% of total compensation costs.

The VBTA? I knew we were in trouble when I saw Reid Greenmun (cofounder of Messnerism-Greenmunism) at the same table with John Uhrin (City Council Liason to the Resort Advisory Commission). Glad I wasn't over there when Resort policy came up....

Here We Go!

This is the start for Avenging Archangel, the newest blog in Virginia Beach. I plan to bring things to you from a grassroots, right-of-center, populist view. I hope this blog becomes a regular stop for you!