Thursday, September 18, 2008

Publish The Poll Numbers, Please

Today's Virginian-Pravda runs a story on Tuesday night's Virginia Beach Mass Transit Open House http://hamptonroads.com/2008/09/virginia-beach-touts-light-rail-amid-new-economic-realities

What caught me was this statement:

"Uhrin said polls by council candidates during the current election cycle have found overwhelming support for the project."

If that's the case, publish the light rail poll numbers. Each campaign that has polled that question could release their numbers to a central source (The Virginian-Pravda and/or the City's webmaster) where they would be compiled in a table that everyone could see.

That would expose the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) campaign against light rail for what it is. The VBTA would be left without a flamingo's leg to stand on.

Knowing the public backs light rail, I hope we can now proceed quickly ignoring VBTA antics.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Never gonna happen...those polls were paid for by candidates and there is NO way they will release that data!

Let the city and/or HRT run a poll.

Avenging Archangel said...

I wouldn't expect them to release the polls in full. All that is needed are the light rail questions.

They can even wait until November 5.

Wally Erb said...

I also find it interesting that Uhrin would make an unquantitative statement. If it were in fact the truth and he is not blowing smoke, he would have qualified "overwhelming". I think we have caught Mr. Uhrin handling the truth carelessly. If it is "overwhelming" why spend money on polls. Put the bonding issue on the ballot for the voters to approve and be done with it.

Anonymous said...

Wally: you weren't at the event at the Sandler Center when the public overwhelmingly approved Light Rail. Sorry, by VBTA/TLP's own policy, light rail isn't expensive enough to go to a referendum.

wally erb said...

First, I seriously doubt that the "overwhelming" biased sampling attending the Sandler event is indicative of the general Virginia Beach populous. Further, what people want and what people are willing to pay are two separate distinct questions. Second, where is VBTA or TPL policy germane to anything having to do with a referendum? It is up to City Council to ensure they represent the citizens in accordance with the intent of our city charter.

Avenging Archangel said...

Wally,

First, under Federal law, all light rail construction debt would be carried by HRT, not the City of Virginia Beach. Therefore, the City Charter bond threshold wouldn't be invoked.

Second, I think the previous commenter was refering to the VBTA's Transportation Plan from this Spring. Under it, a referendum would be required for any project over $1 billion. Since Virginia Beach light rail would be about half that, under the VBTA parameter no referendum would be required. (You should read your own documents before issuing them.)

Wally Erb said...

Avenging Angel:
Would you have the citizens of Virginia Beach believe they would not have any financial responsibility, either directly or indirectly for the lightrail construction within Virginia Beach?

Moreover, the current leveraged economical environment is not conducive for even contemplating projects of this magnitude. I can't imagine how much more the money supply can be expanded to support nice to have transportation projects.

Brian Kirwin said...

"the current leveraged economical environment is not conducive for even contemplating projects of this magnitude."

Yeah, like Wally ever supported light rail in different economic environments.

No, Henry, the world doesn't exist for people to pay for things, like polls, and give them to you for free.

I look at light rail like libraries. One can say that since we have Barnes and Noble, libraries are "nice to have" but expensive and underused.

Should people have the option?

Avenging Archangel said...

Wally,

You implied that the City Charter's debt limits would be invoked.

My reply is that it would be HRT debt, so that's not the case.

I never said there wouldn't be an obligation. It's just that it won't require a referendum under the City Charter.

As for the current financial situation, construction wouldn't be until 2013 at earliest, so it's not an issue.

Wally Erb said...

Avenging archangel:
I believe I said "It is up to City Council to ensure they represent the citizens in accordance with the intent of our city charter.
The keyword being "intent". The Charter provision for requiring a referendum when acquiring any new general obligation debt in excess of 10 million, should also serve as a guideline to obtain voter approval for other excessive discretionary obligations.

Avenging Archangel said...

The City Charter requirement places a legal obligation where Charter bonds are concerned. Since light rail wouldn't be done with Charter bonds, there is no legal requirement for a referendum.

By your standard, every new school built would have to go to referendum.

Wally Erb said...

AA:
It's interesting that you should mention that - schools that is. That is actually what happen when the referendums for schools and libraries was rejected by the voters. Yet, the schools and libraries got funded and built by council circumventing the city charter through economic development. Yes, legally, but ethically? Ethics in the use of public funds is paramount. That is the adhering standard which I believe. You have the last word. This is my final post for this thread. Thank you for your replies.

Avenging Archangel said...

VBDA bonds were used neither for the schools nor libraries.

However, they were used to build the new convention center to circumvent the City Charter.

Reid Greenmun said...

The VBTA position on HB 3202 that included projects of $1B or greater being required to pass a referendum does not prevent any project under that amount from going to referendum, it simply doesn't FORCE a City Council or BOS to place the matter on a Referendum.

In the case of the proposed Light Rail line along the NS ROW and its Feeder Bus system, within a decade or so of its operation it will most likely exceed a $1B price tag.

As to the effort to hide the debt using HRT, what assets does HRT have to issue debt? How is their debt paid if HRT defaults?

Avenging Archangel said...

Thanks for admitting that the VBTA position doesn't force a light rail referendum in Virginia Beach.

Your 10 year argument is laughable. You're trying to count operational costs as capital costs, which no government agency would do.

Finally, the debt carrying is required by Federal law, not an attempt to hide it. It's telling that the VBTA Transportation Chairman obviously hasn't read the Norfolk Starter Line FFGA.

Anonymous said...

Don't try to confuse the VBTA with facts.