By: Gabriella Souza; PilotOnline.com
Some city officials want to create what they call a “citizen information campaign” to educate residents on an upcoming referendum on extending light rail from Norfolk.
The $22,673 campaign would include brochures; ads that would run in the Beacon, a community news section for Virginia Beach readers of The Virginian-Pilot, among other publications; and a poster displayed at the Newtown Road light-rail station, according to a letter from City Manager Jim Spore to City Council members.
Though nothing has been printed yet, the proposed brochures will aim to answer questions about the route and what will happen whether the referendum question passes or fails, while the poster directs readers to a city website concerning light rail. Both show pictures of The Tide, one with passengers waiting to board, and ask, “What will your vote be?”
Virginia law permits the city to produce these types of campaigns as long as the information expresses no bias. That’s where Councilmen Bill DeSteph and John Moss see a problem.
The effort would cost about $22,000.
City Council will debate the idea on Tuesday.