Virginia Beach City Council Endorsements: Beach District
Remember the 2016 presidential election?
Of course you do.
Chances are when you told your friends for whom you were voting, they screwed up their faces and asked, “How could you possibly vote for HIM?” Or “How could you think about voting for HER?”
As a nation we were faced with a less-than-ideal binary choice. Two alternatives. We didn’t love what was being offered, but we had to order something off the menu.
Which brings us to the Beach District City Council race. A trinary choice. Three alternatives. They may not be to your liking, but these are our choices.
I live in this district and I definitely have a dog in this fight. For the past 16 years I’ve been represented by John Uhrin.
Wait. What am I saying? He hasn’t represented the people. He’s been a bucket boy for developers.
In my opinion - for a host of reasons including, but not limited to an FBI investigation and conflicts of interest that prevent him from voting on matters important to the people - John Uhrin should not hold public office.
This piece of political driftwood must be replaced with someone who treats constituents with respect and isn’t hamstrung with conflicts.
Since John Coker dropped out of the race several weeks ago - and will still be on the ballot, unfortunately - Uhrin is left with two opponents.
Every incumbent’s dream
This means voters need to unite behind one of Uhrin’s two challengers if this councilman is to be defeated next week.
Both challengers lost businesses because of problems with loans. Not ideal. Still, either man would be a vast improvement on the current occupant of the seat.
But David Nygaard did not even live in the Beach district until he rented a house there last spring in time to enter the race.
Sorry, I’m not voting for him.
So I’m doing something I never thought I’d do: I’m urging folks to vote for “RK”. Rick Kowalewitch to unseat Uhrin.
For years RK was Virginia Beach’s version of Harold Stassen, the perennial presidential candidate of the last century. Kowalewitch ran for mayor or city council at least four other times.
In the past, RK seemed to be an unserious candidate. A bombastic surf shop owner who was both amusing and angry, but unable to garner enough money or votes to win. (Although it’s worth noting that more than 36,300 people voted for him in 2016 when he ran a shoestring campaign for mayor against the well-financed Will Sessoms.)
This time around, he appears to be a more serious, focused candidate than in the past, with a list of sensible initiatives to curb the cronyism that plagues City Hall. Among them is a proposal that “No city contract or subcontract can be awarded to an individual or employer who also serves on a city-appointed commission or authority.”
That’s a common-sense measure that would put the brakes on much backscratching.
RK’s lived at the oceanfront for more than 30 years. And while he can be a tad impulsive, he’s likeable and knows what’s going on at the Beach.
Kowalewitch says he’s determined to stomp out corruption. Yet he’s prepared, he says, to behave collegially with the rest of council while doing it.
“I’ll work quietly with the other members of council,” he told me Monday. “But if they start any stuff, you’re going to need to take the mic away from me.”
When you think about it, Virginia Beach could use someone on City Council willing to voice some of the righteous indignation many taxpayers feel over recent chicanery at City Hall.
If nothing else, a vote for RK will be a vote to give the local political machine a case of the jitters and shake up those soporific Tuesday meetings.