Posts Tagged ‘Power politics’
Our Virginia Beach City Council should put the financial health of the citizens of Virginia Beach, finally, at the top of our priority list. Our financial health means having income sufficient to pay our bills (food, gas, heat and so on) without the extra burden of excessive taxes and fees.
During the coming discussions on the budget for the next fiscal year, council should consider the cost of new projects in terms of the increase in our cost of continuing to live in Virginia Beach.
Citizens do not want another real estate tax rate increase. Last year, our council increased our tax rate from $.87 to $.95 and added fees to our water bill. The additional fees, trash pickup fee and the storm water fee, equate to about an additional $.05 of the real estate tax rate. Our council, rather than raise our tax rate to $1.00, successfully hid that extra $.05 among the fees on our water bill.
“Can anybody here count to six?” That is a question asked by Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms according to the Virginian-Pilot as the mayor climbed aboard the Norfolk light rail Tide a few weeks ago. Apparently, our mayor is ready to ignore the resounding NO vote that Virginia Beach citizens spoke in the referendum several years ago. Read the rest of this entry »
The decision by our Virginia state government to subsidize developers in the construction of hotels or other buildings, like an entertainment venue at the old Dome Site in Virginia Beach, represents a new low for power politics in Virginia. This decision, when viewed together with many other developer-favorable activities, shows that power politics in Virginia Beach is completely unhindered. It is unhindered because we have an ineffective news media, uninformed citizens and a lack of ethics in developers and elected officials alike. Read the rest of this entry »
What? Is what lost?
Is representative government in Virginia Beach Lost? Have the citizens of Virginia Beach, uninformed, misinformed and paying no attention to city government, ceded our representative government to Virginia Beach power centers (our local lobbyists)? Have we handed our government over to the developers, real estate agents, lawyers and others? Read the rest of this entry »
For the city council of Virginia Beach, November 2010 is an election date.
This series of questions is a companion to the “State of The City” series and will pose a number of questions to city Council incumbents who are up for election (Belitto, DeSteph, Henley, Jones, Wood and Uhrin) as well as to all challengers to those seats. Each question will be posted on this web site and all responses will be published unedited. Read the rest of this entry »
An article in the Virginian-Pilot on July the 18th clearly drew the line between those who are opposed to the referendum versus the citizens who do want a say in how their money will be spent. The power centers that are using their political power to prevent a referendum include the Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Beach Business Roundtable, Virginia Beach Vision and other groups that represent real estate companies, developers, retail and the so-called hospitality interests. Hospitality interests means, of course, the hotels, restaurants and retail at the oceanfront.
This is a formidable list that will no doubt lean heavily on Virginia Beach City Council to skip a referendum. Some complained that “the vote could delay the project, would cost money and would create confusion among the public.” That put-down is very similar to the comments made by those who did not like the results of the referendum on 31st St. hotel. Basically, the attitude seems to be that the taxpayers are too dumb to know what’s good for ‘em so don’t bother asking them.
The announcement that the Hampton Roads Transit has already started a $1.5 million study on the feasibility of light rail along the Northern Southern right-of-way should give everyone a clue that the proverbial “fox” is in charge of the “hen house.“
So we see lined up against a citizens referendum the Power Centers ready to exercise their political power to keep citizens out of the decision-making loop: HRT that will profit from the significantly expanded operations; the developers who will build the transit system, the stations, and the apartments and condominiums that will grow like magic around stations; both commercial and residential real estate companies will benefit; and businesses generally will benefit.
Citizens will be taxed to pay for all construction of the light rail system, all the new light rail cars and the new buses to feed the rail system and of course pay to subsidize the operation and maintenance of the system.
There is much to be discussed in in terms of the applicability of light rail in Virginia Beach. And citizens need to be well-informed of each and every argument for and against light rail. Unfortunately, the Power Centers are ready to exercise their considerable political power to cut citizens completely out of the decision-making process.
There is lots of money to be made. Power Center Politics (PCP) is in play. You can almost hear the Power Centers saying, “Don’t let the local yokels screw it up.”
Power Center Politics: Power Centers control decision making and guide the process to the desired goal. The Power Centers are those oriented to and driven to accomplish specific self-serving goals. In our political system, power over the decision making process of elected officials by several centralized groups continues to grow.
In Virginia Beach, Power Centers are organized around developers, real estate companies and tourism related businesses. Does Power Center control corrupt or eventually lead to corrupted officials? If the influence of Power Centers results in decisions that favor the few individuals in the Power Centers rather than benefit all citizens, than we have become corrupted.
Is it reasonable to discuss the City Council of Virginia Beach in terms of corruption or at least the possibility of corruption? Of course it is. We should discuss any and all elected bodies in terms of corruption or at the very least the possibility that the elected body could become corrupted over time.