Monday, February 11, 2008

In A Close One

The poll question was what did you want to do with Virginia Beach's bus service? 26% want to increase it by 20%, 26% want to keep service at the current level, while 48% want to cut mainline for residents by 24%. So 52% want to maintain the status quo or improve upon it.

I was laughing at this one earlier today: on this issue we have City Manager Jim Spore and the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance in bed together. (VBTA Transportation Chairman Reid Greenmun actually once called for abolishing Hampton Roads Transit.) Politics does make for strange bedfellows.

With the VBTA on my mind, I drafted the new poll question, "Is VBTA/TLP/CACI a democratic political movement?" Yes, they support a ward system for Virginia Beach, which would make for infinitely fairer elections than the current at-large voting system. However, they have quite a history of undemocratic behavior. From 1999-2001, CACI tried to suppress posts on an Internet bulletin board and get posters removed who disagreed with their agenda. The VBTA has heckled and tried to intimidate speakers at City Budget Hearings the last two years. The VBTA behavior is so bad that City Council has discussed it at Retreat. When the VBTA attacked the City for use of the Delphi method at public meetings, The Insider (a then-blog) asked whether the VBTA wanted credit for using it first or royalties. Some critics have gone so far as to refer to them as a cult.

For those outside Virginia Beach, the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance, the Tidewater Libertarian Party, and Citizens Action Coalition are largely the same group of people operating under three different shells. As one consultant once commented, if you took pictures at the VBTA and TLP breakfasts, you probably couldn't tell them apart.

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