A Norfolk Town hall meeting draws a crowd of more than 200. That is great news, but I beg to see how the City of Norfolk is any different than the City of Virginia Beach. Both cities take taxpayer money, by any means necessary, to build expensive projects that line the pockets of developers. If anything, people fled Norfolk years ago to get to Virginia Beach, but then their city government essentially does the same thing. One could argue that corruption is worse in the City of Norfolk, but the objectives are the same.
If either city had their way poor residents would shuffled off to suburbia, the cities would resemble New York with more high rises that you could count, and light rail would run everywhere. Where will the money come from to build this infrastructure? Just how much more can the taxpayers be expected to bear? Earlier this week we hear that the Franklin Condominiums is facing foreclosure.
I would love to live in Downtown Norfolk. I am not as much of a fan, but I would love to live in “Downtown” Virginia Beach. But they are both too rich for my blood. I do not have $1,300 a month to live in an apartment to experience downtown. I would prefer to live in such an area comfortably; after all is that not the entire point of living downtown? I drive past Town Center everyday and keep saying that I will stop there and buy something, but what is the point? I am lucky if you do not catch me in a thrift store somewhere.
Thus the conundrum of Hampton Roads. Aspirations to become as bourgeois and stuffy as Northern Virginia, yet a tragic failure to pay anything that would support that type of lifestyle. Yet everyone is paying more in property taxes; still looking for that nice sweet spot, but where is the affordable housing? Not ran down housing that has suffered from neglect and indifference, but true affordable housing an individual can be proud to live in? It doesn’t exist, and if you aren’t making the $60,000 a year to afford what this place is turning into, you may as well not exist either …