Sunday, August 9, 2009

Frontal Assault Or Lay Siege?

One of the fun topics to discuss in Virginia Beach political circles is the question "How do we destroy what's left of the Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA)?" The consensus is that the pivotal issue will be light rail (LRT); the question is exactly how?

One Councilman who is both pro-LRT and pro-referendum wants it on the ballot primarily as a means to finish off the VBTA. The logic is that a referendum win would be the political bullet through the heads of Robert Dean and John Moss.

I disagree with that strategy for a few reasons. First, you have to consider destroying the VBTA much more important than LRT. In fact, you're willing to risk LRT going down the tubes in order to take out Dean and Moss. Second, it ignores recent history: while Deaniacs have had some referenda success in the past 11 years, no Deaniac has won a City Council seat in the 21st Century. Third, for such a strategy to work, light rail would need to win in a landslide. The VBTA could actually gain from a close loss.

Personally, I would lay siege and grind them down. The VBTA should be clinically dead by 2013 if you play your cards smart.

2010 - the last opportunity for the VBTA to make even a half-assed stab for City Council seats. They radically overplay the LRT issue. Couple that with their habitual rhetoric on taxes and they'll sound hopelessly angry on the stump. VBTA Council candidates lose everywhere big.

2012- the Obama reelection ballot. That means a heavy minority turnout, and the VBTA has no traction in the minority communities. No VBTA Council candidate breaks out of single digits. It's over for them.

Back to LRT - in late 2013 or 2014 we have the FFGA Signing Ceremony. Reid Greenmun is the lone picketer outside. After all, the VBTA is clinically dead and has nothing to throw at a done deal.


Let me count the ways:

1. Extremist Agenda - they are so far to the fringe right that they couldn't find the mainstream with the Hubble telescope. Voters want realistic, constructive solutions. Not conspiracy theories.

2. No Resources - they have no money and few volunteers to throw into City Council campaigns. Last year they put virtually everything they had into trying to get John Moss elected Mayor, and couldn't even get 16% of the vote.

Winning Council seats under Virginia Beach's at-large electoral system requires a pile of money or an army of volunteers. The VBTA has neither and no realistic chance of getting them.

3. Frontbench - Reid Greenmun is the youngster - at age 59. By the time LRT goes operational, many will be in the retirement home or dead.

4. Demographics - the VBTA's only real appeal is among middle class White ultraconservatives. As they shrink as a proportion of Virginia Beach's population, there goes the VBTA's voter base.

Simply keep LRT off the ballot and grind them down. The VBTA will be destroyed with few casualties to sane forces and without risking much in the process.


William Bailey said...

Interesting post. I support light rail and putting it to a public referendum. And I’m not a VBTA supporter or member. It just makes since to get the public (rail riders) to support this project.
As for your posted view: Frankly if you and Mike Barrett would stop using four letter words such as "VBTA" in every public comment, they would be dead today. Most folks do not live in the political world and do not have the in-depth history to understand the whole VBTA movement. However if you and Mike continue to give them legs to support your own agendas, then they will live on as long as you need them. Take them off your blog and the VP online and in six months nobody will know they exist or what they are about. You need the VBTA as much as the VBTA needs big budget projects and developers... JMO

Anonymous said...

Excellent commentary ... I do hope he takes your advice.. I have read this blog for quite some time and feel as you do. The only difference is you are kinder in your commentary..
I feel this individual has nothing but pure malice for the VBTA and and he wants everyone else who reads this stuff to feel the same way.

Not a good approach. Perhaps some deep rooted problems here

Avenging Archangel said...

Come on: kicking the VBTA around is cheap fun.

Besides, it drives the Kool-Aid chuggers nuts.

Reid Greenmun said...

The VBTA will continue to assist Virginia beach taxpayers and help guide our local, regional, and state governments in matters related to taxation and the wisest use of our citizen's resources.

Henry, you make some great points in your commentary from a political strategist point of view.

I think perhaps one area you might want to reconsider is your view that non-whites enjoy higher taxes. That simply is not the case.

Light Rail = Heavy Taxes.

As for your wishful thinking about the VBTA, we are growing in membership, not declining.

I was surprised that you failed to attend the debate on light rail betweem James Toscano and I yesterday at the Virginia Beach Republican breakfast. You would have enjoyed it, I would think.

I am sorry you missed it and that I didn't have the chance to chat with you afterwards.

maybe next time. The VBTA has many more public speaking engagements scheduled to help inform the public about the proposed Light Rail/TOD project for our city - and region.

Oh, and as usual ... once again you have a few of your "facts" wrong. You really should do a better job of 'fact checking' before you reveal to the small number of folks that read your blog how clearly you really don't know the truth about what you are posting.

-VBTA Vice Chairman

Avenging Archangel said...


Once again, only one Deaniac Council candidate has been endorsed by a major minority group in the 21st Century. Zero traction.

Reid Greenmun said...

So then, is what you are saying is that in your opinion most "minorities" don't support less taxes?

Anonymous said...

I agree, stop mentioning the VBTA and they will dissolve like CACI.

First, they can't get a candidate elected to any position.

Second, they have "great ideas" for the budget, but never present them (anyone remember when Reid was provided city staff to help with his ideas and then disappeared?).

Third, their expertise is in question. Mostly retired government employees or contractors, they have no idea what the private sector economy is truly like, so they attack it with a vengenance when it works with government to provide services and revenue.

Finally, like Jim Gilmore, they think success comes from sound bites (VBTA - Light Rail = Heavy Taxes; 1.04 or you're out the door, etc.) (Gilmore - No car tax, drill here drill now, etc.)

It is fun to kick them around because no one takes them seriously, but there is a reason for that. They are a fringe group and seem to be the only ones who haven't figured that out.

Avenging Archangel said...


If a vote for a VBTA Council candidate was simply a vote for lower taxes, we'd have a VBTA majority on Council. After all, people would vote to lower their own taxes.

We don't, as voters aren't one-dimensional. A vote for a VBTA candidate is a vote for an extremist agenda hopelessly out-of-touch with reality.

Name one minority precinct where John Moss did well on November 4. Please.


One of the most fundamental rules of warfare is that when you have an enemy beaten, you pursue and destory him.

At the Battle of Poltava (which historians name one of the Top 10 in history), the Russians won a crushing victory over the Swedes. However, the Russians were so consumed with celebrating the victory that they forgot to pursue the remnants of the Swedish army until it was too late. The failure to capture King Charles XII cost Russia several more years of war.

Let's not make Peter the Great's mistake. "Those who fail to learn history are bound to repeat it's mistakes."

William Bailey said...

A mixed message? "One of the most fundamental rules of warfare is that when you have an enemy beaten, you pursue and destory him."
So earlier I read you wanted to "lay siege" but now you want to "purse and distroy" them..

So which one is it going to be?