Yesterday I watched the streaming video of the Virginia Beach City Council's Public Hearing on the Budget, which was held last Thursday at Green Run High School. Some thoughts:
1. Kudos to the Mental Health advocates
You did a great job pushing for a much-needed service. With Terry Jenkins finally gone as Human Services Director (thank God!) maybe we can get around to improving the quality of care in Virginia Beach. (A concept totally foreign to Jenkins.)
2. Good going Green Run Homeowners Association
Even came out in your green shirts so Council would have to notice your numbers. You bet they did.
3. Calm down, Robert Dean
You can make the points about the City's atrocious priorities and supposedly doctored numbers without sounding so angry. People will tune out.
4. Billy Almond's a great guy, but...
I had to chuckle when he tried to make the 61st Street Pump Station issue about [yeah] the value of Tourism and the RAC. Yes, Billy is a RAC Commissioner and a former RAC Chairman.
5. If you're going to ad lib, do a better job than Reid Greenmun
With most of his points covered before he spoke late, he chucked his notes and tried to ad lib. He wasn't very effective. Memo to Reid: when I want to change my remarks, I do it in the margins of the copy and on the back side.
6. The shortest speech of Linwood Branch's political career
He got up and made a few generic remarks about economic development.
7. Can you draw the obvious conclusion, Sandy Linkous?
She went on about high oil prices and how demand in China and India will keep them high. What she whiffed on was that such reinforces the need for Virginia Beach to build a quality mass transit system.
8. Marlayne Castelluzzo's bob-and-weave on the Town Center pedestrian bridge
Until she pointed it out, I didn't realize it was to be paid for out of the General Fund. Yes, it should come out of the Town Center TIF, and the TIF's rate cut pared or postponed to cover it.
9. Reverend Flores inviting Council members to spend a weekend at his Lake Edward home
You can bet nobody will take him up on it. More seriously, if Council wants to meet poor people, I can try to arrange a get-together at our apartment complex sometime.
10. The highlight had to be Darl Anderson, who I'm told is running for City Council At-Large
As a VBTAer, he almost certainly backs the VBTA's call for an 80 cent Property Tax rate. He then called for the BPOL tax to be eliminated. Granted, the BPOL is the most absurd tax on the books in Virginia, but he just widened his Budget hole to about $79 million. No problem: he wants to slash the Budget by 10%. (Uh...The DEW Team only called for a $50 million cut and were creamed on it.) Of course, he didn't identify where he'd cut.
Trying to be polite, he thanked Councilman Bill DeSteph for giving him a CD of the Budget...tying DeSteph to a VBTA challenge of a sitting Councilperson. (Wouldn't want to be DeSteph's damage control person....)
Maybe the best part: he opened by saying since there were 8 items on the agenda, he thought he'd have 24 minutes to speak. (Council would be there for a few days if everyone could go 24 minutes!)
Can't wait to see how Brian Kirwin spins that entire fiasco....