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.