Thursday, March 6, 2008

RAC March 6, 2008

Today Virginia Beach's Resort Advisory Commission (RAC) held it's March monthly meeting. There were two areas of note covered.

1. Lynn Clements of the Virginia Aquarium gave a Presentation on a proposed Master Plan for the Aquarium. She wants to bring it up to a national-level facility. Two things that would require is boosting attendance to 1 million per year (now at 643,000), and a new Animal Care Center.

Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association President Linwood Branch led a charge to have the contract for the ongoing Resort Area Strategic Action Plan amended to contain a land use study from the Rudee Inlet bridge to Birdneck Road (including the Aquarium).

Clements earlier in the week had gone to two RAC subcommittees: the Plan/Design Review Committee (PDRC) and the Resort Investment Committee (RIC). She made the statement, "I want it to come from the community, not me." Clements requested RAC endorsement for drawing funds from the Tourism Growth Investment Fund (TGIF) to cover the Master Plan's costs. It was for no more than $150,000, for 50%, with the other 50% coming from the Aquarium's Foundation.

Council of Civic Organizations (CCO) RAC representative Henry Ryto cast the lone "No" vote. His reasons:

a. It had been the Aquarium that had been involved in spying on Dolphin Liberty and the PETA FOIA case. Has the institution been reformed? As a grassroots representative, he shouldn't be voting funds to it until sure.

b. Lynn Clements' statement was an insult to the CCO (Virginia Beach's civic league federation) and every civic league out there. Clements spoke of "community", but the only "community" she was dealing with was the RAC and it's subcommittees. Apparently "the little people" west of Birdneck Road don't count in Clements' world.

2. On Wednesday the Resort Investment Committee (RIC) voted to add a convention center headquarters hotel to the priorities voted out at the RAC's January 16 Strategic Planning Meeting. They also voted to drop Future of Transit in the Resort Area, which had been Ryto's submission.

The change was passed, with Ryto sitting quietly seething and not voting.

Afterwards RAC watcher Bob O'Connor got documents from Resort Administrator Mike Eason, so expect Resort policy to be attacked (again) soon in The Monitor (the Citizens Action Coalition newsletter) and Virginia News Source.


Anonymous said...

Did the RAC vote to fund these things or do the expect "the little people' to fund them?

Avenging Archangel said...

The RAC endorsed pulling money from the TGIF to help cover the Master Plan. However, it's "the little people" who pay the taxes it's derived from.

Avenging Archangel said...

I've received an e-mail from someone offended by this post. My first though was "Since it's a blog, why didn't he simply post the points?" I'll summarize them:

1. Clements wasn't Aquarium Director at the time of the PETA case.

My response: Yes, but she was a ranking employee. She was one of two employees who took documents to the Aquarium conference room and sorted some out, in violation of Judge Lowe's FOIA order. (That's in the court records for anyone who would like to verify.)

2. Clements plans to involve the public in drawing up the Master Plan.

My response: Nice, but that doesn't change the origin, which is what her comment was about.

3. Leaving out the headquarters hotel was an oversight that needed to be corrected.

My response: Okay, but it wouldn't have been handled that way if one of the trade associations had made such a submission.

Anyone who has been reading this blog knows the posts have been largely pro-Resort. However, for Avenging Archangel to be a credible source for information, I need to post both the good and the bad. Not just puff pieces.

In the same vein, this blog has been adamantly pro-transit. However, I've blasted HRT management where I've thought they are wrong.

I've also tried to add balance. If I attack the City, in turn I'll attack the VBTA. The poll challenging VBTA/TLP/CACI was followed by a grassroots concern, televising Open Mic Night.

If someone wants to start a blog to unabashedly push the Resort Area business community's line, just go to and you can set up one and run for free - just as I did.

Credibility and balance are core components of journalism. Lose sight of that and your blog is history.

Anonymous said...

Henry: If they take offense, you are on the right track. Keep it honest (as you have been) and you'll do just fine.. Great job!