Do the followers of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) have any shame? In an editorial on Virginia News Source this morning, Bob O'Connor finds a new scapegoat for City spending: the poor and the disabled.
In "Proposed Virginia Beach Expenditures for 2008/2009" (that's FY 2009, Bob), O'Connor writes, "The budget for the Human Services department is $110 million...for our Police Department $89 million."
In his next paragraph he goes on to compare the two, "It is interesting to note that the Human Services budget is greater than the budget for our Police Department. Also interesting is the number of people employed in those two departments. Human Services employs 1,078 people and the PD has 1,005."
First, the vast majority of money spent by Human Services are state and Federal funds. The local tax burden to pay for Human Services is much smaller than VBPD.
Second, the figure is unusually high in that Virginia Beach consolidated Social Services and the Community Services Board into the Department of Human Services. In most cities you'd have two separate operating department budgets.
Third, poor neighborhoods are often the first victims of crime. Does anyone outside the VBTA think the poor want fewer cops? Living in (and posting this from) a poor neighborhood, I can tell you my neighbors and I would like more.
Most sinister is the underlying message in O'Connor's comparison: the poor are a threat to our well-being. With a political message like that, no wonder O'Connor and his pals can't win a City Council seat!