And in this corner, ‘RSH’

Published 12:00 am Sunday, February 9, 2003

Council acted, and Robert Stephen Herbert, the first City Manager with three first names, assumed the highest chair to receive a nice raise in salary and benefits. And the first words out of his corner are that he thinks he can save us the cost of a third assistant city manager. He gets my vote.

The next significant change came from the lips of Mayor Dickens, who has been pleased with the direction of the city for years, when he said, &uot;We just want to be better at providing the public with information about what we are doing.&uot; At last, at last. And RSH (combined three initials and pronounced Rush after a another famous conservative) agrees we can expect to be better informed about our government.

Now if those two can just get the ear of our public relations director it might happen. Only one percent of our population is city employees, 950 strong and growing. Will RSH hold the line during these difficult economic times?

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Making it a priority to hire a replacement director of Parks and Recreation shows his interest in the 10-year master plan for parks and playgrounds for the citizens of Suffolk. This is where the money should go, including that currently being spent on tourism. I hope RSH will take a look at the doubtful need for a DOT budget and maybe use those dollars for projects like the Fairgrounds, sports fields, fishing boat ramps, things that will benefit the citizens who are not just visiting but live here year around.

The current DOT director could easily take on the new title, replace Melody Green, and RSH would immediately be known for his sweeping changes. Make motorcycle and antique car buff rallies part of sports and recreation. The rest of Suffolk &uot;attractions&uot; can take care of themselves and we would save thousands of tax dollars.

It comes as no surprise that VDOT is over budget and a few months past due for opening the Southwest Suffolk Bypass; that appears to be standard operating procedure. What they shouldn’t have had to deal with is packs of senseless teenagers roaming around when their parents were too busy to know, more likely just don’t care.

No matter whether they were scions of important people or not, they should be publicly identified, nailed, and mommy and/or daddy forced to pay. When VDOT adds up the damages they may decide that projects of this magnitude should be patrolled and guarded by them, and the cost added to their budget.

Some would insist it is a problem for our city police but they can’t be everywhere. Besides, VDOT’s bid was for $35 million, not chump change. It is useless for anyone to comment on the infantile attitudes of some of our current batch of offspring – kids have always been a problem. What is becoming far worse is the alarming and increasing &uot;so what&uot; attitude of, and I use the term guardedly, parents. We are continually loosing the reins of society and the effects are more noticeable every day.

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The Vatican ought to rein in its opinions of

&uot;The New Age,&uot; &uot;feng shui,&uot; and the &uot;Age of Aquarius.&uot; It seems to most people that they have more serious problems with which to deal. Those have not gone away because of a few payoffs and personnel switches.

It is very audacious on their part to insist that other quests for spirituality and inner peace can’t take the place of true Christian religion. And I wonder what exactly that is.

In my lifetime I have been a tithing member of several different &uot;Christian&uot; religions, none of which would agree that the other Christian religions knew the facts, or behaved the way they should. Take a look downtown and you will see several choices of Christian churches. Are all but one of them on the wrong track?

Many manage to live with great peace of mind without their help. I stay out of heavenly trouble by not insisting there is a God, or claiming there isn’t one. If He/She is protecting me I am grateful. If not, I am on my own and so far so good, I take what I get.

As for my relationships with others, the Golden Rule works well enough for me, and if I need more details there are always those Ten Commandments. I am not at all anxious about Jesus Christ returning. If that should happen in my lifetime I would do my best to explain my many years of earthly actions, not ask for forgiveness. That’s too easy and not my style.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist.