Government by referendum sounds nice in theory: a method for allowing the community to participate in decision-making. The problem is that, in Virginia Beach today, referenda have become nothing more than a device by which the fringe right tries to veto any attempt by Virginia's largest city to move forward.
We have three issues in the pipes that members of the extremist Virginia Beach Taxpayers Alliance (VBTA) have called for referenda on: the Dome site entertainment complex, a convention center headquarters hotel, and light rail. Let us hope that City Council grows a pair and puts none of the three on the ballot. The entire trio is crucial to future economic development in Virginia Beach.
On light rail, their expectation that there has to be a referendum has prevented the VBTA from putting together a coherent argument against it and presenting a detailed and realistic alternative. Ever notice how the VBTA calls for referenda on everything they oppose, but nothing they support? It's the antithesis of leadership.