Who is running the ship?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, January 26, 2003

Special to the News-Herald

Is Council playing political chairs instead of harmless musical chairs? Usually a newly named City Manager appoints his replacement. One who has earned a shot at the title is Finance Director Christine Ledford who knows the ins and outs of every department. No word yet from Steve Herbert and it is known she wants the job. But a certain three council members are going after what they consider to be a &uot;minority&uot; and it isn’t a woman. They want an African-American and are putting the squeeze on Herbert to name David Freeman who is doing a splendid job right where he is. It would be difficult to find anyone with the courage to do what he does. It would be just as tough to replace Ledford. But the fact remains it is up to the new City Manager to decide and he knows the city personnel as well as anyone. We have an established system in place for finding suitable people. These Council members should mind their own business and leave color out of it.

The Jan, 18 News-Herald pictured only the hands of Vee-Jay Smith who runs a business called &uot;Nice & Neat Nailz,&uot; right hand on top of the left, exhibiting her four-inch long &uot;claws.&uot; I reacted without first reading the text accompanying the picture and jumped back instinctively. The photo was in black and white so I could not tell the &uot;nails&uot; were decorated in vivid colors and my first thought was it must be a pair of tarantulas involved in a mating dance. Or was it the hands of a mummy whose nails continued to grow after death?. Perhaps a rare animal caught in a trap. Then I read the story. Now my longest fingernail doesn’t make it past the end of my finger, so I was impressed that any human being could possess that much patience and carefulness. I break mine typing this column; how could she apply for her licenses?

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I would never challenge a person who is a licensed Nail Technician and Cosmetologist except maybe her statement that her talons don’t keep her from doing anything people with &uot;normal&uot; nails do. So I put my mind to work examining everything I do in an ordinary day imagining how I would manage with four-inch nails, starting with brushing my teeth in the morning. I’ll leave other daily events to your imagination and you will agree that some normal daytime actions could be harrowing experiences.

You’ve been hearing lately about the inequality of wealth and income. So take a look at these figures. The Government pays out $1.3 trillion for entitlements, some refer to it as dole, Social Security and Medicare. Another $730 billion goes for defense and other discretionary domestic programs. That’s over $2 trillion, a lot of money collected from our pockets via taxation.

But the government could collect a lot more from those with higher incomes if they didn’t allow deductions for pension plans, employer-sponsored savings plans, employer-financed health insurance, deductions for mortgage interest, deduction for state taxes, and reduced capital gains. Fifty percent of those nice deductions go to household incomes of over $100,000 while only 15 percent goes to household incomes under $50,000. Ah ha. Add the fact that Social Security is taken from the very first dollar earned, no matter how few you earned, and it is easier to understand why the gap between the &uot;rich&uot; and the rest of Americans continues to increase. And some tax policies being considered will sharpen the class lines. Pay no attention to those who decry &uot;class warfare.&uot; It is a fact even though 37 percent of wage earners pay no state or federal taxes. But don’t figure on the democrats changing anything.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular columnist for the News-Herald.