Wednesday, November 3, 2010

2010 Virginia Beach City Council Election: The Day After

Okay, you've probably been waiting for my two cents worth. May even want to chime in with your own thoughts under Comments. Here I go....


Who won yesterday? Obviously all 6 incumbents. However, what political grouping?

4 of the 5 candidates endorsed by Mayor Sessoms did. However, Bill DeSteph won reelection while chosen successor Dave Redmond finished 5th in the At-Large field.

Obviously not the extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA), as all of their challengers went down hard. As 2010 was the last chance the VBTA had to even make a half-baked challenge for Council seats (more on that later), fittingly the VBTA as an electoral farce came to an end on All Souls Day. (November 2 is All Souls Day in the Catholic Church, when we remember the dead.)

The biggest story of the day may have been the poor showing of the Council candidates endorsed by the African-American Political Action Council (AAPAC). (More on that later, too.) However, time is on AAPAC's side. Yesterday was an early skirmish in a much broader and longer war.

The only clear winner yesterday was (drum roll, please) City Clerk Ruth Fraser. With all 6 incumbents returning, the old stationary can continue to be used.


You knew I couldn't wait to beat up on my favorite whipping boys, didn't you? With Obama's reelection effort almost certain to drive a huge minority turnout in 2012, any VBTA Council challenges will be stillborn next time out. Most of the angry old men who comprise the VBTA's inner circle will have aged out by 2014. Therefore, 2010 was their last chance to make a Council splash and they largely blew it.

The poll workers pushing the slate of Bill DeSteph, John Moss, and Toni Hedrick yesterday were using sample ballots from the Hampton Roads TEA Party (HRTP). It's telling that they admit that the VBTA brand is ballot box poison for a candidate.

Their astonishing faux pas of the day was further down the sample ballot. They called for the defeat of all three proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution. That's right: they openly opposed tax waivers for veterans 100% disabled in the line of duty, in this Navy town! That had to be dead weight on their Council candidates!

If you want proof positive of what a joke the VBTA is, George Furman received more votes (31,338) in Bayside District than Hedrick (29,229) did in Lynnhaven. Furman didn't even actively campaign as such until a month out, and had no visible organization. Yet Furman got 2,109 more votes than Hedrick!

How will the VBTA react? We get a hint reading the online comments to The Virginian-Pravda story about the election results. First Reid Greenmun posted a disjointed blathering about the Mayor and Vice Mayor promising a light rail referendum. (Not a word about the candidate loses.) Then Ben Krause repeated his same campaign talking points about Jim Wood. (Yeah, that message played well.)


Yesterday I did an all-day stint at Holland Precinct, at Holland Elementary School, primarily for Andrew Jackson. Jim Wood also asked me to distribute his lit, which I did with Andrew's permission.

I started the day with a Jackson palm card and the Wood piece. Running out of Jackson cards about 10 A.M., I then switched that off to the African-American Political Action Council (AAPAC) sample ballot for the remainder of the day.

Poll workers from the Republican Party of Virginia Beach (RPVB) and HRTP were there for the three busier periods of the day (morning, lunch, and evening). The Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) and Kenny Golden campaign had people there morning and evening. Barbara Henley's Council campaign had someone there for lunch and the evening. The firefighters union had firemen there periodically during the day.

Such a day always has it's fun moments. The bizarre one was when the Democratic worker called for a Constitutional amendment prohibiting corporate campaign donations, labeling contributions by corporations "fascism". The most humorous one was using the restrooms at the elementary school. Designed for small children, the urinals are mounted low and the sink even lower. That led a retired sailor to exclaim, "Adjust your aim!" The warm moment was realizing five of us poll workers were Catholic. (We should have brought our rosary beads.)


Todd Davidson came for about 90 minutes at midday, and his time made for some of the better conversation of the day.

He also got corrected a comical problem: the school had it's SOL accreditation flag up the flagpole upside down. (Our Navy veteran had tried to get it fixed earlier, but to no avail.) School Board member Davidson charged into the Office, and within a few minutes a custodian was out to get it right.

James Cabiness and his wife came to vote just before Noon. (Yes, he lives in Holland Precinct.)

George Furman spent about 25 minutes there after 5 P.M. I tried to explain to him that he was getting it wrong. (Hey, it was late enough in the day that the advice was useless.) A candidate is suppose to spend a few hours at a few targeted precincts during the day, but he was trying to hop around a number of them quickly. Anyway, my words went over his head.


I'm always happy to do work for my best friends. Their cause is just, right, and will empower the vast majority of residents. Not only did that take me to Holland Precinct yesterday, but I wrote some basic poll working pointers for the Jackson Campaign last week. As for Andrew, at most I hoped he could slip into the 2nd Place spot in the At-Large field. In the least I wanted to beat a Kool-Aid chugger or two.

Yesterday was a mess. Not only did Tanya Bullock lose, but Jackson (6th) and Cabiness (7th) finished in the last two slots of the At-Large field. Virginia Beach continues to be diversity-challenged.

My consolation is what happened in Holland Precinct. Andrew finished 2nd, just one vote behind Rita Sweet Bellitto. Also, Tanya won Holland. (Her name was at the top of the AAPAC sample ballot.)

We lost a battle, but the war continues. Quite the contrary of the VBTA, our numbers are growing daily. It's not a question of "if" we win, but "when" we win.


The long version of the Democratic sample ballot had a section "Friends of the Democratic Party", which encouraged people to vote for a given list of City Council and School Board candidates. Also, Virginia Beach Democratic Committee (VBDC) Chair Susan Mariner e-mailed out the list on Monday.

Republican poll workers had a list of Council and School Board candidates endorsed by Governor Bob McDonnell.

Having spearheaded the RPVB's 2001 look at endorsing Council candidates, I couldn't help but think "It's about time."


Anonymous said...

The VBTA is a non-entity. They cannot gather many people at meetings any longer and they could not muster poll workers for their candidates.

Here's hoping that Moss or Dean runs again in 2012. It makes me feel guilty to watch, because it's kinda like watching NASCAR just for the wrecks.

thesh00ter said...

so with them out of the picture somewhat does it mean City Council will go on with light-rail without referendum talk?

Avenging Archangel said...



Anon 5:01,

Love the NASCAR analogy. However, those buffoons have given me some wonderful blog fodder.

Wally Erb said...

My assessment of the 2010 Virginia Beach city council election.

First and foremost, I am quite pleased that my candidacy had an impact in formulating light rail as the dominant issue. One must understand that whether or not an individual prevails in vote count, if a candidacy fabricates change and awareness to predominate issues, he or she has not lost.

I firmly believe that a vibrant dialog concerning whether or not light rail will come to Virginia Beach will ensue. Moreover, those candidates who were re-elected and those who select to seek office in 2012 will be sensitive to the will of the electorate through a referendum.

Of disappointments, I have few. First, the city council election did not result in racial minority representation. I strongly believe that council deliberations without leveraging diversity cannot result in optimum results.

Second, I was quite distressed to see that Governor McDonnell injected partisan politics into a local election by endorsing a slate of candidates. The elected head of the Commonwealth should expect unified support of the Commonwealth’s citizens as he guides the state through these trying times. McDonnell’s action cheapened his exalted position by paying back political favors and only caused divisiveness to those who were exposed to his sample ballots.

In closing, I hold all in high regard for those who put their personal lives on hold and offered themselves for public service. I can unequivocally attest that all the candidates genuinely believe in the betterment of Virginia Beach and did so for unselfish reasons. I wish them well and they deserve our support.


Avenging Archangel said...


LRT was always going to be a major issue in 2010 regardless of who ran. Also, to imply that it's a given that the issue will be decided by referendum is simply delusional.

You also make a mistake that I've attacked VBTAers for on multiple occassions. As LRT is a minimum 6 year process, it was never going to be built in a vaccum. It will be an election issue, have public meetings, etc. The lack of a referendum won't mean the public will be shutout.

Finally, your attack on Governor McDonnell is comical given your past involvement with the Republican Caucus (1998?).

Anonymous said...


You ran a decent campaign from my perspective. You were a far superior candidate than Moss and Desteph were, and I think you were unfairly tagged as being one of them.

I only ask one thing from you: PICK UP YOUR DARN SIGNS! They are littering up the entire city.

Thanks, and best wishes.

Wally Erb said...

As a supposed devote Roman Catholic, you certainly have a venomous way of spinning character assignations towards those with opposing opinions. The lack of respect for differences of opinion in such a way is akin to bigotry and racism which you abhor.
Participating in political rallies or caucuses has nothing to do with a head of state's endorsement in a local non-participant election. Further, I don't find it comical and it is not an "attack" but a reasonable expectation that our Governor would put the business of the Commonwealth first and carrying out his term of office with aplomb.

Avenging Archangel said...


First of all, devout, not "devote".

To the point, shining the light on hypocrisy isn't character assasination.

Anonymous said...


Light Rail is not your bandwagon.
It has been front and center for
a decade. You looked like the
little brother, who finally got
to sit at the big table. The time
and money you spent, to promote
yourself, could have been spent
helping viable candidates get
elected. Yes, you managed a little
attention.(for your own ego)
But, not being a team player, cost
the residents their chance to have
someone besides Bill DeSteph, to
speak for them.

Since you are so smart, why are you
the one who decided, it was OK, for
you to place your signs in illegal

Wally Erb said...

You just gotta love anonymous trolls. They hide in the shadows and throw out their unfounded remarks but are embarrassed to stand by their accusations. Hmmm, Team player? What team? VBTA? I don't belong to a group that is the personal agenda of two people. HR Tea Party? I don't belong to a group that is the personal agenda of multi-level marketeer. Finally, is was my money. No one elses. Viable candidates? Who, Moss? Viable, get real.

Avenging Archangel said...


I was going to give you first shot at the troll. Now it's my turn.

For your candidacy to have changed the outcome of the election, at least 65% of your votes would have had to otherwise gone to Moss. Just one problem: DeSteph finished 2nd, with Bellitto first. Even if Moss gets that 65%, that puts him on Council with Bellitto. DeSteph would have been 3rd and off.

Ego?!? Robert Dean is the poster child for out-of-control ego in Virginia Beach politics, with Reid Greenmun a close 2nd. (Ken Stolle is now in semiretirement at the Sheriff's Office.)

Your point about the VBTA being the vehicle for the agenda of two people is one of my favorite inside jokes. Robert Dean seems to be oblivious to the fact that most of the VBTA's platform is Messnerism-Greenmunism, not classic Deanism. Reid's calling the shots, and (typically) getting nearly all of them wrong. Look at what the VBTA is pushing and Greenmun's fingerprints are all over it. John Moss is nothing but their front man, a poor soul who seems to need a title to feel important.

Anonymous said...

Which "anonymous" are you trashing?
The one's who agree with the owner
of this website, or the one's who

If you eliminate all anonymous postings, and all postings by the
site owner, what is left?

wally erb said...

Who is left? Those who are not hesitant to be accountable for what they post; more often, those who are respectful of others' opinions; but most importantly, opinions that are substantiated by fact, and opinions by those that can accept the fact that they may be incorrect on a position.