Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 Hospitality Industry Candidates Forum

The Virginia Beach Hotel/Motel Association (VBHMA) and the Virginia Beach Restaurant Association (VBRA) held a joint Forum for Virginia Beach City Council candidates on Thursday afternoon.


What's an issue in the hospitality industry? There was a list of 9 questions, with the grammar and capitalization errors from their sheet:

1. In terms of economic drivers in Virginia Beach, where do you consider tourism with respect to the other major industries?

2. Do you favor the City supporting the Post-Labor Day School Opening Bill in its legislative agenda, as they are currently doing?

3. The "Dome Site" project will in all likelihood require a public-private partnership. Will you support this if the return on investment scenario is a positive one for the city?

4. Other than the Dome project, what specific programs or projects do you foresee as possibilities in the future so that the tourism industry can continue not only to remain competitive, but grow? (Do you support the possibility of a Headquarters Hotel project?)

5. The Tourism Growth and Investment Fund (TGIF), the Tourism Advertising Promotion fund (TAP), and Event funds have been approved by ordinance by previous councils to support the continued growth of the tourism industry. Do you support the continuation of these funding programs in their current form, and would you work to protect their integrity?

6. What are your solutions to the traffic issues and lack of public transportation in Hampton Roads? What are your thoughts on Light Rail?

7. How important do you think it is to listen to your constituents, and how do you plan to do so?

8. With Virginia Beach marketing itself as a "Green Destination," with nearly 200 Virginia Beach hospitality businesses joining the VA Green program and our Convention Center recently being certified as a Gold LEED building, what are other new green initiatives you think our city could champion to reduce our environmental impact with our waste, water, or energy.

9. What are your thoughts for exploring for alternative energy off Virginia's coast?


I had to leave early to make it to another event (which I'll blog on later), but I have 2 1/2 pages of notes from what I heard. From those notes:

1. Dave Redmond opened with a challenge to those candidates who had been bad-mouthing the hospitality industry elsewhere to make those same remarks at this forum.

2. With Toni Hedrick pretending to support the hospitality industry and Wally Erb trying to sound centerist, it was up to John Moss to be the bad boy of the Forum. Moss was anti-Dome site redevelopment, anti-light rail, and anti-public-private partnerships.

3. Speaking of Erb, some of the answers he gave Thursday afternoon (and previously at Thalia) were pretty good. The problem is that Wally Erb is the messenger, so he doesn't have a snowball's chance of winning. (Thank God: maybe a light rail referendum becomes a non-issue when he tanks.)

4. Bill DeSteph supports "460 all the way to Richmond." Uh...Bill...460 goes to Petersburg, not Richmond.

Also on transportation, DeSteph advocates a local Gasoline Tax that would be lock boxed for roads and could only be used in the locality where it was collected.

5. George Furman finally showed up to campaign...and dumped a couple turds. (Louis, Bayside is yours to lose.)

6. Toni Hedrick's clown act continued. Under transportation, she favors "telecomputing". Jim Wood pointed out to the assembled that their hotel staffs can't telecommute.

She repeatedly called for more attractions in the Resort Area. (Attractions her VBTA handlers would oppose.) She wants a casino (wonderful for our family-oriented resort) and called the failure to land the Dixie Stampede a "terrific loss."

Sorry, but Hedrick's candidacy is going right up there with Mike Mitchell in 2002 and Al Wallace in 2004.


Anonymous said...

A casino? Are you kidding me?? Tell me the Pilot was there/

Avenging Archangel said...

Bill Reed of the Beacon was there, but I didn't spot anyone from The V-P.