Thursday, April 15, 2010

Greenmun At the Summit

I mentioned it in my previous post. Knowing I had a busy week ahead of me, I gave myself leeway with this story that had shelf life. This past Saturday the second annual Hampton Roads Civic Engagement Summit was held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton. The affair itself was pretty bland. What was noteworthy, especially if you were from Virginia Beach, was the behavior of Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) Vice Chairman/Transportation Chairman Reid Greenmun. While the other VBTAers there were well-behaved (except for a Robert Dean sidebar beforehand), Greenmun's antics were beyond the pale. Another person who was there described them as "fringe, certainly distracting, and borderline obnoxious". A second-hand comment said "it wasn't pretty, or productive". Eight points:

1. The sponsor covering the speakers was TowneBank. That got TowneBank the right to have their banner behind the speaker's podium.

When I came in and saw that, I chuckled. I then told Hampton Roads Center for Community Engagement (HRCCE) Executive Director Betsy McBride that I couldn't wait for the VBTAers to show up and see that banner.

I was having a conversation with Eileen Levandoski of when I looked forward and saw Reid having his picture taken under the banner. Another Kool-Aid chugger was taking it, with Greenmun gesturing at the banner. I had to laugh.

2. Reid sat front and center right by the podium.

It's not the only meeting I've been to where Greenmun has acted like the speakers were there primarily for his own benefit.

3. Reid took exception to a speaker stating a majority of Americans are pragmatic, arguing that some are "principled".

The speaker was simply speaking of a majority of Americans. He never said some weren't dogmatic. Yet Reid had to throw a fit over the idea that most are pragmatists.

Let me point out that the reason for such a Summit was so residents could sit down and speak to each other civilly on issues. On the other hand, Greenmun would have us dig our ideological foxholes and fire on each other. Entirely counter to what such an event was trying to accomplish.

4. Reid wanted binding local referenda.

As you can see, it's getting voted down big in the ongoing poll.

5. Reid complained our elected officials don't listen.

Damn funny coming from a VBTAer. Yes, City Council has ignored referenda results, but the VBTA ignores City Council election results. No candidate running openly as a VBTAer has won a City Council seat in the 21st Century, but the Kool-Aid chuggers don't heed that message. They repeat the same stale and rejected platform.

6. Reid went running around during the Break because the other speaker used the term "tea baggers".

Actually he said "TEA Party or tea baggers", using both their official name and what critics derisively call them. However, Reid thinks he should define terms for the rest of us, so no critical comments on the TEA Party are to be allowed. Sorry, Reid, but "tea baggers" is a fairly common form of political speech that's protected by the First Amendment.

Then, the tiny breakfast cult thinks the VBTA and it's Board members are above criticism....

7. Before voting began, Reid wanted to know how many present were government employees.

Uh...the HRCCE volunteer running that segment pointed out that was going to be measured with one of the votes.

8. Reid then wanted a count of retired government employees.

It took me a moment to get that one: former HRPDC & MPO Executive Director Art Collins was present. Greenmun has a blind rage towards Collins.

With behavior like that from their Vice Chairman, good thing the VBTA is a sideshow best left for joke material. Then, stuff like that does give me blog fodder....


Anonymous said...

I waited for your post on this to report what my friend told me. Basically he said that Reid was extremely rude and disruptive, but did not go into the specifics that you did.

Interestingly, he said that Reid was the only rude/disruptive one there. I would have thought more of the VBTA-ers would have been there.

Anonymous said...

I love the government employee bashing.

Think about our demographics for a moment - how many people in this area work for the government?

Does that mean they can't have opinions?

By the way, where does VBTA President John Moss work? And isn't Reid (gasp) a government consultant contractor??

Avenging Archangel said...

I counted 4 VBTAers there. Reid was the only disruptive person at the Summit.

Yes, Moss works for the Feds, while most of Greenmun's work is under a Federal contract his company has.

On the VBTA's anti-Regionalism, Moss works in Norfolk, while Greenmun's primary office is in Portsmouth.

It's a textbook case of "Do as I say, not as I do."

Anonymous said...

Reid has a history of opening his mouth and saying nothing.... His reputation precedes him at every meeting he attends....LOL

Anonymous said...

Reminds me of the high-speed rail meeting at Half Moone.

Saw him walk up to a guy sitting in his wheelchair (I mean no offense by that, I used to be in one myself) and Reid walks over to say something nasty. Didn't quite catch what was said, but the guy just had a disgusted look afterward as Reid walked away

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 9:36,

You mean the guy in the wheelchair at the rear right of the room?

Anonymous said...

That's correct. I don't think there was anyone else at the meeting.

Why do you ask?

Avenging Archangel said...

Anon 12:02,

That was Michael Ragsdale of HR Transit Ideas. He was in the wheelchair due to surgery on his foot. (He's back in, having had the other foot done now.) I was seated to his left, so I know what was going on.

Reid came over during the Public Hearing to try to talk to me. I was there to listen to the speakers. (Then, Reid probably did think he was the most important person in the room.) Finally Reid said to me, "You support this, don't you?" I answered "Of course," and Greenmun left in a huff.

Michael told me later that Reid was there to express his support for the Virginia Beach Horse & Buggy Association.