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Increased taxes, anyone? Oh, Council wants mo' money!
Delphi


Hmm, let’s see, the unemployment numbers are in the tank, disposable income has been shattered due to the loss of jobs, a freeze on wages, historic levels of home mortgage foreclosures, a federal deficit soon to reach $20 trillion, a state that’s facing a $1.5 billion shortfall, retirement plans decimated, Social Security facing no cost of living increases in the near future, and Slick Willie wants us to sign on the dotted line to raise our taxes.  Yeah, right.  We’ll sign on that dotted line when pigs fly.  

Before I get back to Monday night’s 2009 Citizen Summit, and those who speak with forked tongues, remember during the mayoral race when Slick Willie said on numerous occasions that he supported a light rail referendum and would honor its results?  

And remember when Slick Wilie’s ads said that his priority was to provide tax relief for the residential homeowner?  

And remember when Slick Willie’s mayoral campaign was passing out fliers with him and his hero, Barack Obama arm-in-arm, and he denied having any knowledge that it was being done?  

Well, here you go again Willie, trying to put us further and further in debt, but this time, the crowd assembled Monday night was wise to your three-card monte shill game.  Perhaps organizations like the Virginia Beach Taxpayer Alliance, who has the uncanny ability to expose the bait ‘n switch tactics and Enron financing schemes that remove taxpayers from the process, are finally reaching and educating the general public.  At least from last night’s comments from folks seated at the various tables it appeared that way.

The evening started off with the typical "Delphi Method" process by telling the audience exactly what was expected of them during the evening by the highly-paid facilitator and close personal friend of  city manager Jim Spore, Lyle Sumek. The Delphi Method is a qualitative group decision-making process designed to avoid conflict between, or undue influence from, participants.

The process derives its name from the oracle of Delphi in ancient Greece. A chairperson asks each participant to submit a written answer to a question. The chairperson then considers the replies, writes a summary, and passes the summary on to the group members. The participants then revise their original reply in light of the summary, and so on until a common consensus is achieved. The technique is especially useful when the participants are separated geographically.  The City of Virginia Beach has been using the Delphi Method for the last several years to ensure predetermined outcomes, sort of like the good old Nazi propaganda machine run by Joseph Goebbels.    

Mr. Sumek talked incessantly about the greatness of what the city is doing and how the city wanted our opinions as to ways to keep that direction on track.  No negatives allowed, and no recommended cuts in the internal affairs of the city.  So much for objectivity.  

Each table was given a list of instructions that we were to follow, and a time limit to get each question completed.  At the end of each question, Mr. Sumek would again take over the microphone and use up more and more of the public's time to hear himself talk.  At different times, other city officials would go to the podium to tout things they thought were important, such as Mayor Willie Boy Sessoms, who's Towne Bank is holding $25 million of  our taxpayer dollars in investments.  The same Slick Willie that is pushing for tax and fees increases.  City Manager Jim Spore also spoke about the economic uncertainties facing the city and what may have to be done to balance the upcoming budget.  

On Monday night, the majority of the folks attending must have drank plain water instead of the debt-laden kool-aid provided at past Delphi Method public meetings, for the major majority would have nothing to do with the absurd notion of raising taxes and the proposed projects.  They wanted to speak about cutting taxes and the size of the Virginia Beach City Government.  For those of you who spent Monday evening doing homework with your kids and trying to balance your family's budget, you were better off staying at home.  The entire evening was painful, watching a multitude of city bureaucrats hovering over the "unwashed" like perching gargoyles waiting to feed on the flesh of the unsuspecting taxpayers assembled.