This year, you have a choice!
My name is Mike Maskell, and I’m running for the Lynnhaven seat on the Virginia Beach City Council, currently held by Jim Wood. I grew up in Virginia Beach and graduated from Princess Anne High School in 1997. I attended ODU for my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Physics, and went to law school at George Washington University. I work full-time as a patent examiner and part-time as a family law attorney in solo practice.
I believe that Virginia Beach needs to have its priorities reset to focus on its residents; our municipal infrastructure such as our storm drainage system needs to be upgraded and maintained and our schools and human services need to be fully funded. To do all this, while also paying the massive debt that the previous City Council has saddled us with, we cannot afford to keep handing tens of millions of dollars to developers to build hotels and entertainment centers – nor should we! If anything, they should be paying us for access to our valuable tourism resource! If you’re tired of seeing money borrowed in your name handed over to the usual well-connected suspects, now is the time to vote for change!
Remember, in Virginia Beach, all residents vote for all seats on City Council, regardless of the district they live in!
Setting Priorities for Virginia Beach
Virginia Beach residents are tired of taking on debt to pay for private companies’ construction projects, while watching their neighborhoods flood due to over development and an outdated and unmaintained storm drain system. Jim Wood represents this status quo more than any other member of City Council. A long-time incumbent, Wood has often run unchallenged; this may be why he feels comfortable saying things like:
“And if you take a look and drive down through Windsor Woods and down Plaza Trail and I still see PODS sitting out there. Still see people working on their, their houses, and I add this up and it’s ninety-seven million dollars for the projects for those, those two areas. And the question is, does this ninety-seven million dollars protect what? In terms of property values? And at that point you gotta take a look at that… what the public appetite is to, to stay in place. Is the public appetite, is it worth fifty million dollars to protect ten million dollars worth of property?” – Jim Wood, January 10, 2017.
Issues Facing Our Community
Virginia Beach needs to adjust its priorities to focus on what residents need.
Here are just a few areas where I believe we can do better:
STORM AND FLOOD MANAGEMENT
Each year, Virginia Beach neighborhoods suffer damage from flooding, and the problem is getting worse. Our city must take action now to protect our residents and their property.
The Department of Human Services is a critical part of our city’s infrastructure, and like the rest of our infrastructure, City Council has neglected to upgrade its capabilities to keep pace with our city’s growth.
Partnerships between the city and private developers can be useful to bring new features to the city that we don’t currently have; but when city money is used to subsidize endeavors that compete with existing local businesses, the government begins unfairly picking winners and losers in commerce.
Virginia Beach’s strange way of electing City Council members causes residents’ needs to be ignored in favor of those of wealthy campaign contributors. We need electoral reform to empower voters and give local communities a voice on City Council.
Pay compression for public safety employees is a major problem for Virginia Beach. Merit pay increases have been suspended during past economic downturns, leading to a situation called “vertical compression,” where higher ranked officers end up earning less than their lower ranked subordinates.
In keeping with my rule that city investments should provide a predictable, measurable and reliable return on the money invested, the city should begin looking at acceleration of debt payments as an investment with a guaranteed return.
This is a grassroots campaign, and we’re up against some big players that keep Jim Wood in their pocket! I need your help to reach the nearly 500,000 residents in Virginia Beach so that Jim Wood’s voice isn’t the only one they hear!
Every hour you can contribute or dollar you can donate will help accomplish this! Please connect with the campaign on our Facebook group to join us, and visit my donation link below to help us spread the word – this year there’s a better choice!
Ready to join me?
Catch up with me on my Facebook group!