Will Sessoms put his Mayoral announcement speech on his website, from which I've printed and downloaded it. http://www.sessomsmayor.com If you lived through Sessoms tenure as Vice Mayor, parts of it are laughable.
1. "It's time to actually develop and implement an economic development plan in order to reduce the tax burden on homeowners."
During Sessoms tenure as Vice Mayor, the Department of Economic Development (DED) was drastically underfunded.
2. "There hasn't been such a plan since I left City Council."
At the 2002 City Council Retreat (less than two months after Sessoms left office), one of the two hottest debates: the need to do more for economic development that what was being done.
3. "I intend to actively participate in the meetings to bring more business to the community."
Why...so you can steer the public-private partnerships to your buddies?
4. "Homeowners have been paying too much for too long."
Yeah, and as Vice Mayor, Sessoms regularly blew off those asking for Property Tax relief.
5. "With energy prices moving the way they are, it's time to revisit light rail specifically and mass transit generally."
Great policy! The hitch: in 2001, Sessoms - as Vice Mayor and a HRT Commissioner - presided over a large reduction in Virginia Beach's bus service.
6. "It's time to elect a Mayor with a history of listening to everyone, including everyone and reaching consensus to move forward."
That would disqualify Sessoms. When he was Vice Mayor, you would go into a Public Hearing knowing he already had 6 votes locked up for his position.
7. "Tonight, we are the underdog in this race."
Probably has something to do with Sessoms' atrocious track record....
8. "The pundits think that this campaign lacks the grassroots support to accomplish a wave of change in Virginia Beach."
Given that Sessoms and his allies on Council sought to marginalize the grassroots, no wonder.
9. "They doubt our understanding and sensitivity to how disenfranchised and disappointed the citizens of Virginia Beach feel towards their leaders".
I'll take Sessoms seriously on "disenfranchisement" when he comes out for a ward system. Most of what opportunities we have for resident input (i.e. Open Mic, Town Hall meetings, etc) didn't get rolling until after Sessoms left City Council.
The bottom line
This speech from a pro-resident newcomer would be very welcome. Coming from Sessoms, it's Orwellian.
Let's hope that if he does win, we get the above promises instead of his track record as Vice Mayor.