Dean takes message against taxpayer raping public/private partnerships into the den of special interests

Unflinching in his criticism of taxpayer rape by the city council to benefit special interests, Mayoral candidate Robert Dean took his message to the Central Business District - the den of special interests - candidates' forum this week.

While the bureaucracy of the CBD is openly hostile to Dean and his message because of their lobbying for increased special interest funding at taxpayer expense, Dean picked up support from individual members who met him and heard his message for the first time.

CBD director was a rude bitch


I didn't know you until your name and affiliation was announced from the podium as being with the media and Virginia News Source, but I overheard a conversation with the CBD director Pearl Smith who ordered you to leave the meeting.

I am relatively new and I was astounded she acted like such a bitch, as though, she was sole dictator of the organization.  For a person in her position, she has no class in dealing with the media.

You are to be admired for standing your ground and remaining cool.

I'm sorry you left before I got a chance to meet you personally, but I have been a reader of the Virginia News Source for more than a year.  Keep up the good work.

Disgruntled CBD  member

The CBD, a self-serving bureaucracy established to use taxpayer funding to build a 'downtown' for Virginia Beach, thrives on the existence of public/private partnerships (PPPs) to build Towne Center.  And one of their main questions to candidates was how they viewed PPPs.

Incumbent Oberndorf unabashedly gushed that she wholeheartedly supports PPPs.  "I'm very proud to have supported" the PPPs  saying how Towne Center had 'helped' Pembroke Mall revitalize.  "I offer no apologies even for the Sportsplex," she said.

Dean has called the failed Sportsplex an $11 MILLION taxpayer rip-off  'Field of Weeds."

Al Wallace, the other candidate in the race, said, PPPs "are a very important tool to stimulate the economy...' and pandered that he supports the PPP-built Towne Center.

Dean told the story of a Chinese immigrant who founded a well-know restaurant, working 7-days a week, all day long with his family, in an obscure small location, and he didn't get a penny in city in clawing his way to success with a larger and now well known Peking Duck Chinese Restaurant.  In fact, Dean said, he doesn't want any city money, he just wants to be left alone to succeed on his own.

He also told the story of how the Virginia Beach taxpayers were duped by city council in establishing Towne Center in its effort to prevent 'Big Box' retailer Target from locating in the Pembroke area.  "Guess what," he said, "two weeks ago the city's consultant said the one thing that is needed to development the town center is a 'Big Box' retailer.  And you know which 'Big Box' retailer was recommended?"  Members of the audience shouted out, "Target!"  "That's right," said Dean.

At large candidate Rick Kowalewitch said PPPs have a place, but 'not if they compete with the private sector and I won't support them if they do."

Candidate John Moss told the group, "When does the government become the driver of the economy?"  He said that such ventures often cannibalize other areas of the city's business community to succeed. He noted that the $20 MILLION PPP, the Amphitheater, another public private partnership. was built by a company that build a similar facility in Northern Virginia without a 'penny of tax money.'

Kowalewitch and Moss' incumbent opponent Rosemary Wilson, pandered to the 'big bucks' special interest crowd saying, "My record speaks for itself.  I have supported the Towne Center since going on the council."

Other questions included whether the candidates supported higher taxes (from higher assessments).  Incumbents did, challengers didn't.  Kempsville Borough candidate Bobby Dyer, challenging Margaret Eure, said, "Roll back the taxes.  People don't mind paying taxes if they can see a return on their investment."

Dean said, "We don't have a budget crisis, we have a spending crisis."  He noted that cost of government is rising 3 times faster than personal income.  Dean opposes higher taxes and has pledged to roll back the tax rate 15% to $1.04 from $1.22 per hundred of assessed valuation.

Eure dodged the question:  "I'm not going to make any radical decision.  We have cut the city budget as far as we could."

Oberndorf said, "I wish I could say I could tell you I could reduce the tax rate, but government growth is a reality."  She then listed a litany of costs for which the council failed to plan when approving them.

[Editor's note:  Because of the overwhelming bias of other Tidewater media against any candidate opposing taxes or inefficiency in government, VNS is on record as endorsing Robert Dean for mayor.  VNS stories are written from the perspective of the challengers, much like stories that helped defeat the 22% sales tax hike referendum in 2002 by a vote of 62-38% when VNS was the only media offering anti-taxers an outlet for their information and views.

[Yet will still try to portray the incumbents objectively and use their own positions and words to make their points.]