Drone alert, Storm water existence tax
“On the issue of drones: I’m not feeling it.” – Councilor Kristin Szakos.
Charlottesville, Va. – Three of the five City Councilors agreed to get out in front and pursue a resolution to condemn the use of futuristic sci-fi drones to observe and kill American citizens.
At least 4 of the 12 speakers in public comment, including David Swanson, warned of the 30,000 automated aircraft about to be unleashed by the fascist federal government to violate our civil rights. Ironically City Council is a fascist local government routinely violating our civil rights.
The Storm Water Existence Tax targets only rainfall runoff from human activity. Impervious surfaces are to be taxed. But runoff from fields and forest is exempt. Basically Environmental Bureaucrat Krystel Riddervold argued that, after a heavy rain when the Rivanna rises, all that water comes only from roofs, driveways, parking lots. The pseudo science is deeply flawed.
The so-called utility fee would discriminate against the rich and the poor, treating each differently according to his needs and ability to pay. All of the Council and civil rights opponent Brandon Collins wanted to model this tax loophole on the real estate tax abatement, leftover from Council’s 2006 attempt to dramatically expand its urban renewal powers, which was stopped in the state Senate.
All of the 28 speakers in the selective rain tax public hearing support the goal of maintaining our infrastructure. Most represented special interests and claimed expertise so their statements wouldn’t have to make sense. But some speakers zeroed in on the flawed logic. City Republican chairman Charles “Buddy” Weber pointed out that EPA Phase II requires pollutants be reduced in the runoff. Water is not a pollutant.
The sole purpose of the existence tax is to raise revenue. For those who doubt the City is fascist, there is a massive database of satellite and drone imagery at http://charlottesville.org/gis which shows how impervious you are. One “Billing Unit” = 1,000 square feet of impervious surface. There are 64,000 BU in the city. The average tax would be $55 to $78 per year, according to the state. But one speaker said he’s already been to the site and his tax would be 4 times that.
Water Resources Commander Riddervold described the tax as (1) fee for service, (2) program of services, and (3) dedicated source of funding. “Everybody’s doing it,” she said. To offset the $1.6 million minus the $250,000 annual administration, you would have to drop the real estate tax rate by 3 cents. The Council discussed a combination of funding sources including bonds and the general fund. Last year about $800,000 was spent on storm water upgrades and maintenance.
All the supporters used scare tactics. They all basically declared – I’ll give away my freedom if you take it from everybody else. One lady even said, if the Chesapeake Bay dies, we all die. Besides the Governor has $35 million to spread around to localities that have matching funds.
Rddtervold kept saying the commission working on this issue was diverse because she knows it’s not true. There are less than a hundred people who serve on all the boards and commissions. At the beginning of the meeting, Councilor appointment on boards was re-shuffled as they went down a very long list of boards.
Urban renewal expert appointed to Housing Authority board
Mayor Satyendra Huja replaced Dave Norris as Council’s representative on the public housing, urban renewal board. Believe it or not, Huja has a Master’s Degree in Urban Renewal from Michigan State University. As Huja describes it, his thesis dealt with the effects of the settlement of land AND resettlement of displaced persons. Because of this expertise, Huja was hired in 1973 as the city’s chief urban planner, as the city was embroiled in its largest urban renewal project.
But Huja lied about his credentials during his re-election campaign on the WCHV Joe Thomas radio show, and on other occasions. When asked about urban renewal, Huja claimed Vinegar Hill happened before he came to Charlottesville. This phenomenon has been documented in other local politicians such as Rich Collins, Francis Fife, Nancy O’Brien, Mitch Van Yahres, and others.
Ask a WWII vet about the war and he talks about the Great War of 1914. What psychology would make Huja think he could deny so much tangible, legal, official, and anecdotal evidence? And get away with it? How can you have so much experience and not know anything?
Final Note: I don’t really think Brandon Collins wants to oppose civil rights. But that is in fact what he is doing by supporting the urban renewal agency. Collins should be working to stop Huja and Dave Norris from renting and selling land stolen with eminent domain from so many old ladies, families, minorities, small businesses. Collins should be against discrimination, not a part of it.
Video of Jan. 22, 2013 Charlottesville City Council.
12-item, 78-page Agenda Jan. 22, 2013 with background materials. Includes RWSA quarterly report delivered after 10:55 p.m. when Council took a break at the 4 hour point after the storm water tax.