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Spore's Folly Cont'd ... Town Center developers get contract changes, delay - with abstentions... 

Well, it seems that once again as predicted, the Virginia Beach City Council has been hoodwinked by another one of Spore's Follies. 

And of the council members who couldnít vote for your interest because of their personal interests would have made their actions subject to the conflict of interest law.   

Want to guess which threesome?  Thatís right, boys and girls.  It was Billy Harrison (never wanted a deal he couldnít profit from); Vice Mayor Will Sessoms (never advocated a deal he wouldnít finance); and Louis Jones, councilís designated cheerleader for the project had conflicting personal interests. 

All three (3) abstained from representing the public. But all three have promoted the project as being great for the city (and themselves).   

This is a project that involves yet another hotel; perhaps not as controversial as the 31st Street 'Stick it in your face' fiasco, but the day isn't over.

This one involves the Town Center project, which is an attempt by a local African-American real-estate developer to get a return on his speculative investment at the taxpayer's expense.  After nearly two decades of waiting, Gerald S. Divaris finally got a city council that would buy anything peddled by anyone using, guess what... surprise, surprise, public funds.   

This council is doing exactly what he wanted, but at our expense - not his, proving once again, Virginia Beach does have the best government that money can buy.   

When the developers requested extension because they can't get financing of the proposed hotel to comply with terms of the original contract, 8 of 11 members approved.  In so doing, generous city council gave them until next year to find the money to begin construction.     

Hmmm, does this sound remotely familiar to the 31st Street fiasco and all of the extensions and major agreement changes that have taken place over the last few years.>     

Remember, both of these projects were fast-tracked and half---ed to begin with, and will only provide a return on investment to the developers.  

We expect the next candidate qualifying for Spore's Follies will be a TIF (Tax Incremental Financing) for the poorly managed Pembroke Mall.  

Thatís right... another bail out at the publicís expense. Which means, just like the Town Center area across the street, all new real estate taxes generated by future increased assessments won't go into the general fund, but will remain in a special fund to payoff taxpayer debt used to fund improvements to the privately owned mall.   

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every subdivision had the same luxury the taxpayers are providing to select special interest groups?  Neighborhoods could borrow money via the city, build swimming pools or tennis courts, or renovate or repaint all of the homes and the debt would be paid back by future assessment increases. The only drawback would be the loss of future revenues into the general fund, which pays for public education, public safety, and other items that are the only true purposes for government.   

Other municipalities in this country that went overboard with TIFís, as it appears Virginia Beach is in the process of doing, soon found the loss of revenue to the general fund required major increases in real-estate taxes.   

These types of voodoo economics rarely work, and should only be used under extreme circumstances.   

This city council instead of succumbing to such harebrained ideas should give city manager Spore marching orders to: 

  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce salary cost
  • Reduce and eliminate duplication in staffing and effort
  • Reduce staff where efficiency studies prove they are not needed
  • Modernize computer systems to eliminate many unnecessary full time positions
  • Find a way to combine the City Treasurer and Commissioner of the Revenue offices to eliminate redundancy