Last night there was a Mayoral Candidates Forum in the Virginia Beach City Council Chambers. It was cosponsored by the Council of Civic Organizations (CCO), the Chamber of Commerce, and the Hampton Roads Realtors Association. It was taped for later broadcast on VBTV.
IMO Will Sessoms won the forum, giving some great answers. The catch is that many of the positions he states now are at odds with what he did when previously serving as Vice Mayor.
The intriguing statement of the night was when Sessoms said we'll probably need to go to mandatory Inclusionary Zoning to get Affordable Housing built. The developers' darling advocating mandatory IZ?!?
Meyera Oberndorf was low-key and quietly pushed status quo positions. When Sessoms attacked her on the Stihl machinery and tools tax fiasco (again), Meyera's defense was feeble.
John Moss did well according to some. However, a few of his answers were better left for Marian Manor breakfasts than wholesale politics.
Moss wants to cut the current Budget by 5%, using half for local roads and half for tax relief. Uh...John...where would you cut? (Ah, you thought you could get away with that....)
Both the friend who drove me home and I agreed Scott Taylor had the worst performance in the group. He mixed some fairly status quo positions with a couple populist appeals.
Since a couple people online have accused Taylor of being a Sessoms plant, you'd be surprised that Taylor attacked Sessoms twice last night. First, he castigated him for ignoring the 31st Street referendum, and those in the Chamber could see Sessoms wince. Second, in his Closing Remarks Taylor called on Sessoms to resign his position with TowneBank if elected. Sessoms was so unnerved that he jettisoned his planned Closing Remarks to use his time to defend himself against Taylor's attack.
On Light Rail Will Sessoms repeated his longtime support. That was in stark contrast to John Moss trotting out 1999 numbers to dismiss light rail. (Please, someone get Moss a copy of the Norfolk Starter Line figures.)
The most humorous point of the night was when Sessoms said he had to agree with Moss on the lack of a justification for establishing a Budget Commission. Both believe the buck stops with City Council, and that it needs to take responsibility for the Budget.