In an iteration of story not posted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch web site, there’s more detail about three meetings last night in Henrico, Chesterfield and Amherst.
Apparently it was a raucous Henrico meeting because the lawmakers present wouldn’t allow testimony or oral questions from the estimated 400 people in the crowd. All questions had to be submitted in writing and the legislators chose which questions to answer.
No greater sham of pretending to hear citizens out than this by Dels. John Reid, John O’Bannon, Will Janis and Sen. Walter Stosch. Why Stosch, who voted for the Senate budget, let them get away with this is beyond me. You would have thought he would have spoken up.
Editors Note: After posting this I learned from two sources that Sen. Stosch indeed spoke up and eloquently about the Senate budget. He received a standing ovation. I’ll trust the people of Henrico. Criticism rescinded and apology offered to Sen. Stosch.
After the meeting, Reid said this, according to the Times-Dispatch: “I’m not interested in hearing comments from people who can’t conduct themselves better than screaming and hollering.…I’m not going to get into a running debate with people sitting in an auditorium.
Mr. Reid, a debate requires at least two people. What you had was a monologue where you controlled the questions and refused to let the people you purport to represent have their say. You obviously weren’t interested in anybody’s opinion but your own.
The Times-Dispatch reported that in “staunchly Republican Chesterfield, pro-tax forces dominated” the meeting. Sen. Steve Martin (R) said his own survey of “14,000 households showed overwhelming opposition to tax increases.”
If he conducted a credible survey of 14,000 households, he has very deep pockets. A reliable survey of less than 1,000 costs $10,000. He did acknowledge, however, that even his survey found people opposed to a referendum.
Any Chesterfield constituents care to ask Sen. Martin for the summary report of his “survey”?
Most of the 80 people at the Amherst meeting urged passage of the Senate budget.