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An Open Letter To The Mighty Voters Of Super Ward 7 in Norfolk, Virginia

My name is Harry David Candela.  I am the son of Captain Harry Joseph Candela USN, retired and Janet Atkinson registered nurse, retired.  I am married to a wonderful lady.  I am a Christian with a meaningful, reasonable, and heartfelt commitment.  My career has been one of public safety service to others.  Visit my website www.hdcandela.webs.com to see it in more depth.  Though disabled, I graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College with a BS in Biology, Chemistry, and Government as well as from Regent University with a Masters in Public Policy.  My published thesis was a comprehensive study on the use of Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” in USMC Officer Education during the time I trained under General Gray. 


All of our physical lives are limited in duration and what matters most is what we do.  For those reasons I cannot be bought and I will not lie to you.  I am independent, and as a matter of principle I will do what exactly what I declare I will do. 


I believe myself obligated to run for City Council because of the corruption and abuse that I witnessed while living in Norfolk and working for the City.  It is my strategic plan to expose all of it and use all of it to push for fundamental, institutional and structural reforms that will act as checks and balances to protect your Rights while getting the City’s actual progress back on track.  As City Council meetings are televised and on youtube.com, I will also deliver entertainment value and hope through straight forward honest candor, argumentative if need be. 


If anyone tells you that you should vote for them because they are the incumbent, have the support of other office holders, and were hand-picked by the former Mayor despite being in the midst of multiple scandals that are representative of a very large corrupt political machine, then clearly I recommend that you vote against them.  If someone’s political career is the result of being appointed to commission, committee, board, panel, task force, special district, or to one crony position after another that takes pressure off of elected officials, and attempts to silence the voice of the people, then clearly I recommend that you vote against them.  If seeking to serve on a Governor’s commission in Richmond might make it difficult for a City Council Member to fight for you here on site in Norfolk every day, then I would question if they truly represent you.  If a candidate is taking hefty amounts of money from large out of state organizations, then I would question if they truly represent you.  Please, visit VoteSmart.org in order to see the campaign contributors to City Council and Mayoral candidates.  All you need to do is type in their names.  I pledge to be your check and balance on those who have sold out and mismanaged this City. 

 

If elected, I know my mandate and will not be stopped from protecting and serving you.  If I have to, I am willing to do it through extra-Council means, such as going straight to the public with information unjustly hidden, opening town hall meetings, working with civic leagues, getting help from professional associations, making TV reports, doing radio interviews, guiding newspapers articles, posting internet documentaries, calling in other higher authorities, organizing rallies, fighting for investigations, protecting whistle blowers, offering others the option to resign or retire, or whatever it takes.  


Remember me when you vote, and I will be your City Council representative, not some member of an exclusionary aristocracy in a country club or on a Bank's Board of Trustees.

 

Most Sincerely,

 

 

Harry David Candela   

 

 

 

This letter was written, printed, distributed, and approved by Harry David Candela

City Council Candidate for Super Ward 7 in Norfolk, Virginia

 


Dirty Baker's Dozen

Actions To Be Taken For Voters Of Super Ward 7 in Norfolk, Virginia

“The Dirty Baker’s Dozen”

1. Move New Business and Public Commentary to City Council back into the duration and body of City Council Meetings, mandating that they will be part of the televised and historically documented City Council Meetings.  It is simply corrupt to cut off and leave out what the people say to those who are supposed to represent them on City Council. 


2. Institute the recording, keeping, printing, publication, and permanent internet posting of comprehensive, detailed, and specific meeting minutes from every City Council Meeting, available in printed form without charge on request by and to the public.


3. Prohibit closed and secret City Council Meetings.  In the event that it is found that in the past City Council Members or the City Manager engaged in hiding unpopular, unethical, or illegal actions from the voters, accounts of those activities shall be publicized as part of a City Council Meeting in the process of making a public apology and also handed over to the highest and most proper authorities for investigation and prosecution.


4. Pass an ordinance that in the event a person present questions the validity, truth, and completeness of anything a Candidate, City Council Member or any City Employee says anywhere and at any time, that Candidate, Member or Employee shall immediately go under oath and on record repeating their statements in front of that primary person and two third party witnesses requested to assist by that primary person from the public near by or attending.  Refusing to go under oath and on record should be punishable with the loss of position.  This would reduce misrepresentation to the public those hired to serve them.    


5. Move the Freedom of Information Act Officer from under the City Public Information Officer and into an Independent Freedom of Information Act Department.  Hire 3 additional Freedom of Information Act Officers.  Establish that resistance or delay in remittance of documents by any City employee to Freedom of Information Act Department Officers shall constitute an ethics violation mandating investigation, review and possible dismissal.  Provide documents and information requested by the public under the Freedom of Information Act free of charge in electronic form, $3 on CD-DVD, or at 10 cents a page in paper form.


6. Create a Department of Ethics for the City of Norfolk Government staffed by 5 Specialists with investigative authority and punitive Council powers above and over the Department of Human Resources.  Additionally commission the Department of Ethics to monitor and guarantee that the Department of Human Resources no longer restricts or denies City employees ERC Representation under the disguise of Employee-Employer Meetings.  Investigate, adjudicate, and dismiss any City Administrator who engaged in that activity or in deception through manipulation of official forms, and in any use of administrative procedures to suppress the grievance process, cover up wrong doing, or besmirch employees.  This is necessary because the City Auditors Office is restricted to only addressing financial issues, and is in practice quite less independent than it should be. 


7. Post the complete City Budget online, itemized and in summery, as many other cities have done for the people to review.  Currently, it is not itemized properly.  Doing so would be the first step toward reducing and eliminating the yearly 11 to 26 million dollar over budget expenditures.  The second step could be the reduction of each Department’s budget by 1 percent each year over a ten year period, excluding police, fire, and EMS.  The third step could be the hiring of new employees only in accord with the numbers of those retiring early or as mandated.  It will also be necessary to combine departments and reduce middle and upper level administrative positions through reassignment wherever possible.  Every City employee serves the public and not themselves or their own career advancement.  Reducing the rungs in the ladder will reduce the bureaucracy, red tape, and expense while increasing the humanity, decency, and kindness in services rendered  as well as progress in the private and public sectors. 


8. Provide better public safety by establishing three additional, well-staffed police substations in the center of the three highest violent crime areas of the City.  One shooting is too many and Norfolk has had more than that this year.  Require that all new police officers are recruited from within or near the areas they patrol.  Examine and determine how better to combine the traditional, tested and trusted method of training officers with the newer method of academy in order to convey insight, wisdom, adherence to oaths, and respect for Rights.  Such may also require additional review of foundational documents and the contemporary exercise of individual Rights as opposed to common enforcement practice.  Officers of the court are our finest in honor, not mercenary or paramilitary.  As well, consideration should be given to the further increase and development of volunteer emergency responder NGOs to help all of the City’s services in the event of disasters or emergencies.   


9. Due to loss of life, excessive injuries, liability, extremely high employment turnover, improper actions, misconduct, mismanagement, and public complaints concerning the Department of Parks and Open Spaces’ Aquatics Division, and in preparation for expansion of the Norfolk Tide’s transportation line in concert with the dredged sand expansion of Norfolk beaches, it is necessary to provide professional standards of care by administrating, staffing, and running Norfolk beaches and waterfronts under Public Safety through EMS and Fire Fighting Station 13.  This would be in a manner consistent with industry standards as illustrated by Sand Bridge beach in Virginia Beach, VA, Ocean City, MD, Pompano Beach, FL, Hollywood Beach, FL, Miami Beach, FL, Daytona Beach, FL, Galveston Beach, TX, Los Angelis, CA, and San Diego, CA.  How much is a life worth?  In order to improve the level of service at, care rendered by, and cost-benefit from City pools and swimming programs, the Division Head of Aquatics should be re-focused on those built facilities in order to eliminate deficiencies that developed after this position was created and the retirement of the senior council of pool managers.  Safety personnel should live in the same City as those they care for.


10. Make the Norfolk Tide train line profitable, help the working people of Norfolk, increase property values, improve the quality of air, and use less fuel by extending the service to Old Dominion University, Norfolk Navy Station, Ocean View Beach, the Norfolk International Airport, and Chesapeake within the next four years.  The studies should be concluded and action needs to be taken.


11. Reform the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority while protecting the Rights of those who have been most disadvantaged in the City, repaying a debt to those most held back by the City, creating stake holders, and building community improvement.  The legacy of past Jim Crow discrimination and plantation slavery still exists today in Norfolk, and that is the reason the current residents of large scale public housing developments should be granted the deeds of the dwelling they are living in, forming condominiums of each building with a 10 year property tax waiver attached to the deeds.  Doing this, the right thing, would actually be more cost effective than the City continuing to lord ownership and control over the residence thereof.  Task the NRHA to reform itself into an organization focused on integrated housing ownership, developing mixed income communities.  Representatives of the NRHA should not be spending time telling residents that they can not exercise one right or another, family members are not allowed to visit, how their living room should be arranged, that mature adults cannot have a cook out barbeque, or worse, how they must vote in elections. 


12. While housing might seem to be the largest mismanaged problem in the City of Norfolk, the City of Norfolk mismanages much more.  Waterside Drive Shopping Mall is one example.  The City had unrealistic expectations in rent, fees, and clients during a tough economy.  That is why so many City properties were and are empty or under utilized.  There is nothing wrong with the buildings that cannot be modified inexpensively for micro boutiques, wholesale clearance vendors, thrift curio shops, antique brokers, import-export houses, marina support, service business offices, studios, schools, daycare, or something else.  However the City’s business model expectations and management are seriously flawed.  Simply base the rent on a percentage of net receipts.  Allow people the freedom to start a unique business and rent short term or flexibly.  As well, do not charge so much for parking, even if into the evening.  Think outside of the box.  Work with people.  Shoppers are looking for bargains and experiences better than those on the internet.  If the City could not manage Waterside well, then they are not likely to manage the Military Circle renewal well.  However, if the property is sold, someone in the private sector will make it productive if it is cost effective to do business in Norfolk.  For an example of how shopping areas can be re-tasked, the success of both downtown Granby Street and the Macarthur Mall is due more to private investment than public sponsorship.  Wards Corner, with three grocery stores is a hollow success in public sector micromanagement and control.  Quite a few small shop owners that I spoke with are having a difficult time covering high overhead there.  Nearby, the Texas Street area is still difficult.  The City needs to get out of the office space and hotel business as well.  The property beside Scope Center could be re-tasked into an assisted living center or something else, but most of all should not be run by the City.  The City should sell off or give away it’s under performing properties.  No one ever taxed and regulated themselves into prosperity since bureaucracy costs so much.  Business, opportunity, and money for everyone will grow in Norfolk with the right environment.  Look at Hong Kong, Singapore, London, Miami, and the entire state of Texas.


13.  Foster greater public awareness and understanding as well as complete exposure and prosecution of multiple cover-ups of unethical and criminal activities undertaken by the City of Norfolk employees, officers, officials, and their friends over a number of years in order to see justice completed and give numbers of victims a sense of closure.  Please refer to the following list.  It is only a start.  As well, should you know of any other wrong-doing that needs to be remedied please contact me through email so I can help you.  There is no justice without us.


A. Who could forget the Granby Tower failure?  However, the multiple Bank of the Commonwealth scandals, the Mid-Town Office Tower scandal (pushed by Mayor Fraim), quick foreclosures on properties held by working people while the well-connected went long terms without paying mortgages only further show what happens in cigar smoke-filled back rooms occupied by the Old Boy Network.  It is members of that Norfolk political machine who tried to help to cover up long-term corruption through questionable local investigations and lack of local prosecution all designed to slow State and Federal level action, reflected by the indictment of Anthony Burfoot.  More over, it is highly suspicious when both Mayor Fraim or Norfolk and Mayor Linda Johnson of Suffolk resign from the board of TowneBank at the same time.  It is likely that Anthony Burfoot did not act alone.  Who introduced him to that circle?  I would like to see him turn state’s evidence against the others in exchange for immunity.  As well, has Councilman Paul Riddick paid his overdue taxes yet?


B. The coordinated use of inspections and denial of permits forced the Union Mission to give up its building, which housed the poor and homeless, so as to directly profit well-connected private developers and businesses in “public-private partnership” socialism.  It would be a greater shame if the Union Mission had not fought so hard.  Why should a charity have to fight so hard? 


C. The abuse of eminent domain in an attempt to steal Central Radio and Norva Plastics from their owners - an action that would have destroyed over 100 jobs - made national news, was decided by the SCOTUS in favor of the medium sized private businesses, and required the Commonwealth to change its charter so as to restrict despotic City Councils.  During the fight, the City of Norfolk - under Mayor Fraim and City Manager Jones - went as far as to tread on First Amendment Rights by restricting the owner of Central Radio from political protest and speech through a banner on his own building.  The use of inspectors to target less connected businesses and cause devastating loss through multiple repeat fines is nothing new in the City of Norfolk, and must no longer be done to advantage “the competition.”  These also include the prohibitive hurdles to starting and growing a business in Norfolk - hurdles such as the requirement of special use permits, deposit of a percentage of the first three years gross, architectural drawings, and the like.    


D. The attempted seizure of numerous historic and beautiful Victorian homes in Riverview, owned by blue collar workers and retirees, through eminent domain for the purpose of enriching well-connected land developers and contractors who wanted to build multilevel high density housing there was not an isolated abuse.  No public servant or phony expert has a monopoly on insight as to what would be best done with your property after unfairly taking it from you.  You have a right to be left alone and live in peace without threat.  Riverview was only one of many places.  Even after losing in the SCOTUS to Central Radio the City continues to abuse eminent domain.  How heartless is it to say that if the elderly, disabled or fixed income cannot care for their homes completely then they should be thrown out?  Get up, go next door, and help them.  Now, that would truly build a community worth living in.  For that matter, the City should make it easier through less regulation to form and operate small charities that do what Habitat for Humanity used to do.  However, the same should not be applicable to slum lords.


E. The exorbitant tolls placed on the Mid-Town and Downtown Tunnels that could only be summed up as punitive against the working people of Norfolk and Portsmouth are a serious issue.  Though major construction of the tunnel is completed, those tolls are still in force - collected by a private contractor and used by the City of Norfolk.  As a person who fought beside Wally Erb for the removal of tolls on Route 44 (now known as 264) I can say that City Council will need encouragement to lower those when the projects are done.

Our Schools

Written With Consideration On April 19th 2016 for Norfolk GAINS on April 21st 2016


Many of the difficulties faced by the Norfolk Public Schools, teachers, students, and families will require solutions of uncommon genius. In recent meetings I have been quoted as saying “Free our teachers to teach.” The US Constitution does not enumerate education to the federal government. Education is a state and local plenary power. While one would expect the state level, or in this case the Commonwealth level, government to sue the federal government in order to bring back taxes that were misappropriated by the federal government for educational purposes not in the federal governments “job description” there are few attorney generals comparable to me when it comes to a commitment to the founding documents and natural law. It is time to push for higher level reforms. Though I am running for City Council, I will necessarily need to encourage others to participate in applying that type of pressure.


As well, it will be necessary to figuratively “re-invent” the way that Norfolk Public Education is structured and offered. If one recalls the over-regulation that made the invention of a whole new class of automobiles termed “sport-utility vehicles" and also the excesses that made the authorization of “The Grace Commission” necessary, then such principles can be applied on the local level. That would include technical education that offers subject matter which is recognizably and immediately useful in today’s economy for those students who would prefer that approach. That would include greater competition in and among schools. That would include, in other cases, a more college or university emulating environment with greater degrees of freedom in studies, and individual Rights protected. That would include adult education for those who wish to return to school in order to graduate. I believe that any behavioral difficulties which detract from the educational performance of others are simply the result of a need for greater resolution in a particular self chosen professional specialty or direction with regard for the moral clarity that every one of us is valuable and Created in the image of G-d.


With that understood, we must creatively address safety, the quality of education, and government corruption in Norfolk. In particular, as a solution to the rampant corruption of cronyism, culture of violating employment rights while covering it up, and refusal to fulfill job requirements, there should be an immediate contract negotiation with the Police, Fire, EMS, General Employees, and Teachers Union that would allow for a vote by those professionals to remove administrators who engage in improprieties. That solution would need to be also written into administrator’s contracts. It was shameful to see that the city thought itself limited to buying out our last superintendent of public schools. I am also suspicious of any replacement hired by the corrupt Fraim administration. A similar shame and suspicion may be found in the recent contract renewal for the Chief of Police one year before his contract expires. His recent political statement that Norfolk does not need any additional police officers seems to contradict the amount of overtime our current police officers are suffering. The professionals that the City of Norfolk Employs deserve a protected official grievance process, their medical coverage, and their retirement. The City Government needs to be compelled to keep its word to those professionals who have kept their word serving us all in safety and education.

Give It Back Initiative

Opening Speech Written for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce April 7th, 2016


School safety is very important.  With his early contract renewal being offered right before this year’s City Council elections, the Chief of Police says that Norfolk has enough police officers, and he is not requesting that additional officers be stationed in our schools.  So, by his view, crime must be manageable, and our children are not misbehaving too badly in schools.  Our children are not the criminals and should not be treated as such - rather, they need good teachers, stable homes, a healthy economy and good employment prospects.  You know that Hillary Clinton said we should be able to sue gun manufacturer for the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  The City of Norfolk should be able to sue the manufacturers and service providers who provide inadequate products and services which do not meet community, state, and federal standards.  We are going to have a new City Council and new School Board which can pursue this option, or even better.  It is the teachers union’s job to get our children ready to pass the SOL tests and to maintain 100% accreditation.  That is why one of my proposals will be for the City to re-evaluate its contract with the teachers union.  Do not demand bonuses or even expect retention when you fail at your job.  When only FIVE schools out forty-five in the City are accredited, that is failing the children of Norfolk.  Accreditation should be the norm, not the exception.  There needs to be healthy competition for teachers who can provide our children the best education.  I remain open to all options and solutions. 


At the same time, for those who hold the problem of school accreditation is that students are in unstable homes and poverty, there is one thing that we can do to improve performance in school, lower crime rates, and create a better economy.  I would like to announce my “GIVE IT BACK INITIATIVE.”  It is to deed every public housing dwelling in this City to its current residents with a 10 year property tax waiver and owner occupant condominium associations to build a sense of ownership, belonging and community.  Those condominium associations filled with owner occupants will be lifted out of poverty in the most sought after locations and be able to improve what is now their own in a way that changes generational poverty into generational wealth.  Students who feel that they have a stable home will get better grades.  Stable homes will lower crime rates.  If you are receiving a paycheck from the City and are involved in any “public-private partnerships” (corporate welfare) but oppose this “GIVE IT BACK INITIATIVE” then you are a hypocrite.  The wealthy in City government have no problem giving money to the wealthy in the private sector.  Corporate welfare or public-private partnerships are funded by taxes, fees, and restrictions that make it hard for the poor to start a small business or hire people, keeping the poor in poverty.  It is time that the City made restitution to those most held back by its policies.  YES WE CAN AND WILL.  




Closing Speech Written for the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce April 7th, 2016


For the last two presidential administrations we have heard slogans like “too big to fail,” “bail out to save the economy,” and “quantitative easing” used to excuse CORPORATE WELFARE and huge gifts of money to corporate executives and bankers, even some that were used as bonuses.  That money came out of your taxes, was misused, and denied you more chances to participate in the economy in a manner that you choose to do so.  However, the problem of such corruption is not limited to the federal level.  On the local level, three mayors and even a few city council members engaged in the corruption of being on the boards of banks that did business with their cities.  Though it is CORPORATE WELFARE and a conflict of interest, they like to call it “public-private partnerships.”  They even entrench all sorts of bureaucrats in positions to administer those slush funds.  Those commissars get very upset when you tell them it is time for real hope and change through fundamentally transforming government.  They are worried about their cushy positions and power over others.  Their current system is to keep the taxes, fees and regulations high so that fewer local businesses can start, grow, employ others, and compete while they hand out substantial amounts of money to a handful of favored large corporations that will return those funds to them in the form of paid positions.  The City Council is expected to stop killing start-up businesses and stop killing jobs by lowering the barriers that it has enacted to keep the poor from participating in Norfolk's economy. 


Recently, I was asked by another candidate how I would accomplish the Dirty Baker’s Dozen Action Items listed on www.hdcandela.webs.com.  That list also includes the “GIVE IT BACK INTIATIVE.”  First, consider that many of those transparency and ethics reforms would cost very little or even nothing because they require simply: the shifting of accountability, representation, service, fairness, and check & balance minded personnel; the enacting of authority held in the recent past before particular scandals were in the news and cover ups were undertaken; adoption of sound procedures now standard practice in other city governments, private business, and practical common sense.  After encouraging City Council members to become heroes in representing the people and making government more democratic through a particular policy voluntarily, watch to see if it is done in the next meeting.  In the event that no action is taken, it is possible to ask Council members in meetings and elsewhere the reason for inaction as well as release any related electronic media.  Then there are large scale town hall meetings, wherein the victims of unjust treatment and civic minded associations could have a voice.  It is of the utmost importance to electronically document and disseminate all of the aforementioned.  While I plan on winning the election, what matters most are the issues.  City government is supposed to be more democratic and NOT a country club wherein conflict of interest, corruption, and bullying are covered up and gotten away with.  With that moral mandate considered, the test of a person is how persistent they are in order to see what is right done – those issues detailed on www.hdcandela.webs.com under City Council are right and WILL be done.