Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

The News-Herald recently pictured a helmeted man looking ludicrous astride a teeny weenie scooter he purchased and was wise enough to add to his store merchandise. Now I want to look ludicrous and buy one for tooling around the neighborhood. Bad knees make walking a difficult task and this machine is exactly what I need. I had to give up things like the Peanut Fest and the local air show, and this I could toss in my car and would have no need for a handicap-parking slot. I fall below the 260-pound limit and 20 mph speed is more than I want. My only question is how far will it go on a plug in? Maybe the storeowner, Abdul, will latch on to my e-mail address and send the details. This inven-tion is a great idea – compare it to the $2,000 jobs – and will sell like hotcakes. I’ve wanted to attend the Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin for years. With this gem I can zip around the many miles of display. What the heck, maybe the Paris Air Show. The scooter looks like it might pass airport inspection if it doesn’t look too much like the bomb it is.

Remember back when the President secretly flew to Iraq? Sure you do. You either thought it was brilliant and necessary, or stupid and just a photo op. No matter, security was very tight over the Thanksgiving holiday as not only President Bush, but later, Hillary visited the boys in uniform. The extra security was deemed necessary to protect the President from terrorists and Senator Clinton from the troops.

You can learn much by reading. For instance have you noticed that the Democrat candidates for President, in addition to capitalizing on family deaths among them, namely Dean, many of them have Jewish ancestry? There’s Joe Liberman: Always Jewish. Wesley Clark: Found out his father was Jewish in college. John Kerry: Jewish since he began presidential fund-raising. Howard Dean: Married to a Jew. Al Sharpton: Circumcised. Even Hillary claimed to have unearthed some evidence that she was a Jew — along with the long-lost evidence that she was a Yankees fan. Anything for a vote. Let’s see now, how can they go after more of the black vote? I don’t suppose any of them will claim in their youth they behaved like Thomas Jefferson. For others they could hail the virtues of Mexican refried beans and Won Ton Soup?

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Our very capable Chief of Police refuted two of my assertions concerning his department and we are pleased to learn of the upward change in salary and the downward trend of police personnel shortages. In September they were short 19 officers, I reported 16 and suddenly it’s only eight. Apparently the scene is rapidly changing. The chief did not say how many new &uot;officers&uot; have not yet been trained. The shortage number I used was taken from The Virginian-Pilot, 11/24/03, Hampton Roads section page B1. I was incorrect about an officer’s starting salary; it really is $29,000-plus. And a highly trained officer capable of street and some administrative duties can earn $33,000 as a Master Police Officer. The average teacher salary is over $40,000, also sometimes dangerous employment. The Assistant City Manager who insists citizen security is a top priority, and we agree wholeheartedly, is paid only three, not four times, as much as a Master Police Officer. I hope I have it straight this time, or I’ll wash my hand out with soap. There appears to be a concentrated effort to solve police budget problems. Stay tuned.

Spokespersons for the Mattanock Indian Village put it directly on the line at a recent Council meeting. Time is of the essence if the village is to be up and running by the time big events take place at Jamestown in 2007. They want to spend $5.3 million of someone else’s money, not Suffolk’s, for a village replica, tribal museum, and a powwow facility. Both sides agree plenty of grant money is available. They brought a petition listing 2,400 citizens who favor the project and recognize it’s potential for drawing tourists to our city. I’ve talked to both sides and the holdup is still Council’s need to see a bona fide Business Plan. One side says Council will get a B P when they get the land. The other says you’ll get the land when we see the B P. That’s been a B P, Big Problem, for two years now.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: