What If The Good-Government Guys Win?
Lemme get this straight.
Virginia Beach’s most famous developer, a guy who’s financed some of his biggest projects with tens of millions of your tax dollars, is threatening to pack up and pull out of town if good-government types are elected to City Council in November.
Let that sink in for a minute.
OK, he doesn’t call them good-government types. I do. Because I can’t think of a better way to describe candidates who are promising to clean up the free-spending, backscratching Virginia Beach Development Authority and put an end to rampant cronyism.
In an email to The Virginian-Pilot that was published Saturday, a clearly peeved Bruce Thompson essentially threatened to take his ball and go home if candidates like grassroots champion John Moss - who’s running for re-election to council - and Bobby Dyer - who’s running for mayor on a platform of “leveling the playing field” for all businesses - are elected.
Clearly, the city’s number one developer is exasperated.
Who could blame him?
First, the state balked at paying more than $2 million to reroute a city street to facilitate valet parking at his latest hotel venture.
Then officials temporarily put the brakes on an ambitious pier project involving Thompson and partners after objections were raised to the bidding process.
Now, with eight of 11 city council seats up for election, Thompson seems alarmed that the compliant majority who have merrily approved his projects for decades could be replaced by folks who realize there is life west of Hilltop and who are more concerned about flooding than fripperies.
“He (Thompson) said he would consider selling it (property he just purchased at the oceanfront) if the City Council decides to adopt fiscal policies supported by members Bobby Dyer, Jessica Abbott and John Moss…," wrote Alissa Skelton in The Pilot.
“Clearly if the election brings out a change in leadership, me and most other developers will not be interested in investment in the city,” Thompson told The Pilot in a text.
“…Gold Key PHR will sit on sidelines and wait and see what this election brings before investing another dime in the resort area.”
Grammar aside, does this strike anyone else as just a tad ungrateful? I mean, taxpayers have showered Thompson with money. Would it kill him to just say "thanks?"
Let me be clear, I don’t blame Thompson. He’s a developer. We don’t elect developers and they have no obligation to care about the priorities of ordinary people.
We do, however, elect city council members who are supposed to do more than simply act as bucket boys for those with fat wallets and friends in high places.
Unfortunately, Virginia Beach’s City Council has been populated with bootlickers and lapdogs for decades. Politicians who win election after election because their coffers are overflowing with loot from local power brokers. Their behavior is stunningly shameless.
Next, think about what would happen if the good-government types became the majority on city council this November.