One well-heeled Virginia Beach wag once referred to the city council as the dumbest body of white folks in the city.  Can’t say that now, a black person has been added

At the 8th annual Thalia Civic League candidates forum Thursday night, everyone showed up but convicted misdemeant, Mayor Will Sessoms.  He sent a surrogate, councilman Ben Davenport. 

Mayoral candidate R. K. Kowalewitch came out the gate swinging, calling Sessoms a crook who the last two candidate forums has refused to appear.  “He is the first member of City Council to be convicted of a crime,” Kowalewitch said.  “He enriched himself as president of Towne Bank by voting 92 times to make $260 MILLION in his bank loans to friends, associates, and favored business interests who had projects  before council.”[Click Read More below for rest of the story]

Sessoms was charged with 5 counts of conflict of interest, but convicted of only one in a plea agreement that dismissed the redundant othersIt’s joked he is unabashedly running on his record - his criminal record.

Kowalewitch who was instrumental in initiating a state and federal investigation against Sessoms told the crowd of almost 100 that ‘it ain’t over yet.  A federal grand jury is still meeting (considering criminal charges against Sessoms, other members of council, and current or retired city officials)  for government corruption.”

Incumbents Amelia N. Ross-Hammond, a South African, Shannon Kane, and Sessoms’ surrogate, Davenport, all touted the success and greatness of the city under the current leadership:  That among other things to be proud of was it has the lowest taxes in the state. 

Yet not one incumbent, after all their experience on council, knew how many taxes and fees the city assesses against its citizens

Incumbent Rosemary Wilson, the longest swerving on any current incumbents, served a year on a special tax and revenue study committee a couple years ago, but she choked when asked in public ‘how many taxes and fees does the city have?”  She never did find out until it was published by the news media.  

Kempsville District candidate Jessica Abbott said Ross-Hammond, her opponent, had cast 1,700 votes while on council and voted ’no’ only three times and had never voted against a tax or fee

And the 600-pound gorilla in the room?  LIGHT RAIL.  When asked a specific question whether each personally supported light rail?  Only Wilson and Ross-Hammond refused to answer.  At large candidate Courtney LaLonde was the only candidate openly support-light rail, but she didn’t demonstrate any intelligence in support of her position. 

For the record, all, except LaLonde, said they would support the wishes of the voters and what they decide in a November referendum on the issue. 

The anti-light rail moved is headed by Rose Hall candidate Robert Dean and City Treasurer John Atkinson. Dean’s opponent Kane did not address a recent disclosure that she violated Section 2-90 of City Council by using city firemen to erect her campaign signs

According to sources, legal action it remove her from office is expected to be taken in the next 7 days.