Like so many things that happen at Virginia Beach City Hall, the latest development doesn’t pass the smell test.
But anyone surprised by Councilwoman Rosemary Wilson’s announcement that she’s running for the council’s Beach seat - despite having one more year to serve in her At-Large seat - hasn’t been paying attention.
This is a carefully crafted play the cronies hope will be checkmate for good government types who have been winning elections. You see, they believe that she’ll win and their lackeys on city council will appoint someone to the vacant At-Large position.
It’s cynical. It’s manipulative. It’s profoundly undemocratic.
If Wilson really wants that Beach seat, she should resign her post and let the voters decide the future of both slots.
But that’s the last thing the behind-the-scenes cronies want. The voters have gone rogue. No matter how much money the developers throw at their hand-picked candidates, no matter how many falsehoods are spread by the once-respected Chamber of Commerce, honest people are getting elected in Virginia Beach.
So when crony candidates don’t win on Election Day, these scheming SOBs simply attempt to get a bootlicker appointed later.
In the awful event Wilson wins the Beach seat, I think the mayor must call for a special election to fill the At-Large vacancy.
It’s one thing to appoint folks for short-term positions, but a year? C’mon. This is the peoples’ seat. They get to decide.
Remember, the old guard wanted John Uhrin appointed to the seat he lost last November, but the public expressed its revulsion and Guy Tower got the nod instead. Tower says he isn’t running this fall, which leaves the future of that post uncertain.
I heard about this move weeks ago. I believe it was cooked up by former elected officials and the developers who bankrolled them. Wilson is their pawn and she’ll raise a staggering sum from the usual suspects. Plus, they’re counting on serial loser R.K. Kowalewitch to enter the race and split the good government vote. (Someone talk some sense into R.K. Please.)
The city charter needs to be changed so that sitting members can’t play musical chairs without first giving up the seat they occupy.
But it’s too late to stop Wilson.
She needs to be called out - loudly and publicly - for this stunt. We can’t count on the local media to denounce this so the grassroots will have to do it.
Social media is a powerful tool. Use it.
In a newspaper interview, Wilson offered this gibberish as a reason for trying to switch seats:
“I am concerned that there is so much instability in a really important district,” Wilson told The Virginian-Pilot. “We have had three councilmen in that seat over the last few months. I would bring that stability and experience we really need.”
Instability? Is she insane? That Beach seat was occupied by Uhrin for 12 years. He was an immovable object, a slobbering lapdog for developers, until he finally lost last November.
The problem with the Beach seat is too much stability. As someone who lives in that district, I can say that what many of us want is new blood.
Not a retread.
If Wilson wins - God help us - and one of the losers from the last election is appointed to her old seat she’ll be complicit in preventing voters from choosing her successor.
There’s still time to stop this.