Hampton Roads / Local / Politics

Opinion, please: politician participate in program

Barbara Henley (Via The Virginian-Pilot)

A Virginia Beach council member, Barbara Henley, helped to create a farmland preservation program some 15 years ago. Tonight, the council will decide if Henley, 69, along with her husband, can put 99 acres into the program. If approved, they will receive about $32,000 a year for each of the next 25 and a lump sum payment of about $1.1 million in 25 years.

Supporters of the Henleys’ participation in the program point out that this helps preserve the land, the goal of the program. Detractors say that the Henleys should wait until she is no longer a member of council. Henley will not vote on the issue.

(One question I’ve not seen answered anywhere, by the way, is whether anyone else has been denied participation and, if so, the basis of that denial.)

So, dear reader, what do you think? Should Henley be allowed to participate in the program?

4 thoughts on “Opinion, please: politician participate in program

  1. Yes she should get to participate in the program just like anyone else. What we have to question is the value of the program. If building light rail will increase tax values on current land values doesn’t it seem pointless to restrict land owners in southern Va. Beach from selling thir land, building homes and increasing the tax values on their properties? I think it is time to reevaluate the program.

  2. This is the sort of thing that would make me livid if she’d helped start the program 15 months before applying for an easement. After fifteen years, I’d feel less inclined to think that this was all a calculated maneuver…or at least I’d have felt that way if I hadn’t learned that she asked the city attorney for an opinion on whether she could participate within a year of the program’s creation and read that interview where she readily admitted that this is something she’s been thinking about doing all along.

    Still, the cynical part of me that expects a certain level of malfeasance in local politics also has a lot of respect for her commitment to the long con. You don’t see that level of patience from the Rod Blagojeviches or the Phil Hamiltons of the world.

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