//More Shitty Council Meeting at The Beach

More Shitty Council Meeting at The Beach

Were these Light Rail lobbyists informed ahead of time that the fix was “in”? It sure looks that way, doesn’t it?

On November 8th, 2016 Beach voters overwhelming voted to stop spending our tax money on Light Rail is our city. This, after a massive citizen-lead campaign, to fight the proposed bailout of Norfolk’s failing Light Rail train.

February 13, 2017, Virginia Beach Councilman John Moss had two resolutions on the Virginia Beach City Council meeting agenda.

1. Resolution (a) created a lock box for all Light Rail taxes and fees “less expenses” (whatever that means?). This resolution passed 11-0.

What taxes and fees?

A $5 dollar increase in the annual vehicle license fee, a 1.8 cent Real Estate Tax increase, a .22% Restaurant Meal Tax removed from Open Space (fund), and the .34 cent Real Estate tax removed from Agricultural Reserve Program.

We have been paying these higher taxes and fees for the past two years, without any Light Rail or even a vote by Council to build Light Rail.

  1. Resolution (b) directed city staff to draft all needed ordinances and other paperwork to get to the point whereby city council could then conduct a vote to repeal all Light rail taxes and fees. This resolution failed because Councilman Davenport made a substitute motion, seconded by Vice Mayor Jones. The substitute motion was to defer any action for directing city staff to prepare the necessary paperwork for City Council to conduct a vote to repeal the Light Rail taxes and fees. The delay was 60 days. The substitute motion passed 8-3. Voting “no” were councilpersons Moss, Abbott, and Dyer.The passage of the substitute motion killed any vote on Councilman’s Moss’s resolution. Thus allowing the 8 people that voted for the substitute motion to avoid accountability for voting “no” on Mr. Moss’s resolution – a resolution simply to begin the process to stop the Light Rail taxes and fees. It was an obtuse and trite bit of parliamentary chicanery used to avoid accountability and transparency.

Over 4 months ago Beach Voters cast their ballots on a non-binding referendum that directed our City Council to stop spending our local tax money on Light Rail. The results were 57% opposed Light Rail. Yet, it is now 4 months later and the taxes and fees are STILL being collected!

Many citizens came out to support Mr. Moss’s resolutions. A citizen speaker from drove all the way from Portsmouth to Virginia Beach, to offer her support of Mr. Moss’s resolutions. She stated that what Virginia Beach does with Light Rail, impacts her city too. She stated Portsmouth does need Light Rail either.

Every speaker that addressed City Council on the issue supported John Moss’s resolutions.

Not one speaker spoke in opposition to John Moss’s resolutions. No one.

No VBCONNEX, no ‘Light Rail Now’, no CBDA Millennials. No ‘Chamber of Commerce’, no ‘Virginia Beach Visions’. Not one lobbyist … er-um, I meant to write “grassroots” Light Rail supporter.

Were these Light Rail lobbyists informed ahead of time that the fix was “in”? It sure looks that way, doesn’t it?

VBTP Budget committee Chair Dane Blyth presented his committee’s resolution to end Light Rail taxes and fees. He stressed that the 8 Strategic Growth Areas (SGAs) the city created,  needs to be abolished as well. Reid Greenmun, Chair of the TEA Party’s Transportation Committee also requested abolishing the SGAs in his remarks last night. He stated that Light Rail was like a cancer and if you don’t remove ALL of the cancer, it grows back. He reiterated that SGAs are the source of the cancer. SGAs were created to cause Light Rail redevelopment in our city. Reid held up a photo of the City’s website and their home page for SGAs. It features two large images. One is a handshake and the other is an artist’s conception of Light Rail at the Oceanfront. The image was taken two hours before the meeting last night. In his remarks follow the Public’s comments, Councilman Moss voiced his lack of support for abolishing SGAs. He stated he felt that referendum did not imply the citizens wanted SGAs abolished.

SGAs lead to Light Rail … and they need to go.

Diana Howard discussed ending the ongoing studies for adding Light Rail in Virginia Beach which is still occurring at the various regional organizations, such as the HRTPO. These studies cost taxpayers millions of tax dollars. She asked City Council to request these studies are canceled. Diana was appointed by the City Council to serve as one of our city’s citizen representatives on the regional HRTPO’s CTAC, a Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee.

The Chair if the Virginia Beach Taxpayer’s Alliance (VBTA) spoke eloquently in support of Mr. Moss’s resolutions. Mr. Moss was the founder of the VBTA decades ago. Mrs. Marlayne Castelluzzo ended her remarks with her version of a Dr. Seuss “Cat-In-The-Hat” poem. It was a welcome moment of levity to a very sobering situation. Clearly, Marlayne was doing her best to used simply words to ensure 8 persons on our City Council can understand the need to support Mr. Moss’s resolutions.

Former City Councilman and VBTA Co-Founder Robert Dean ended his scathing remarks informing City Council that their failure to end the onerous Light Rail taxes and fees would result in the citizens of Virginia Beach suffering a painful “Truth ache”. Mr. Dean is a creative writer and gifted orator.

Several speakers raised the question of honesty, integrity, transparency, and truthfulness – in regard to council honoring the results of the referendum, as they promised.

Conclusion:

It is outrageous that these taxes and fees continue, especially since City Council stated they are no longer going to pursue Light Rail in our city!
We need to get the word out to our city’s residents and let them know what happened last night.

What part of “No!” do 8 persons on our council fail to understand?

By |2017-02-27T23:16:33-05:00February 27th, 2017|

About the Author:

Reid Greenmun
Reid Greenmun is a Business Analyst living in Virginia Beach. He is an involved civic activist currently serving on the Board of his local TEA Party. Reid specializes in political policy as legislative issues relating to the governance transportation and New Urbanism. He has opposed wasteful development project for decades. He invested over 17 years opposing and defeating a billion dollar light rail redevelopment effort in his city. Reid is active in local, regional, state and federal politics. He is a member of his church’s leadership team, serving in many roles to include teaching and yes, even singing in the choir. Reid was a longtime member of the Boy Scouts and a volunteer serving in a local ministry to help the homeless. Mr. Greenmun served in the Navy and supported technical efforts for the US Coast Guard, Special Operations Forces, Naval Shipyards, active duty shipboard combat systems, and several software solutions used by the Navy Reserve. Reid has served as a Chairman of his local Libertarian Party and is currently an active member of his local Republican Party. Mr. Greenmun served as a Delegate for Donald Trump in the Virginia state convention held in Harrisonburg.