Merge smerge

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Who needs the company of Norfolk and Portsmouth ? They’ve existed for eons without expanding Why should we say yes when we do them enough of a favor by saying no? It’s true; their population is reduced when their citizens move to Suffolk. And consider who is moving, mostly those who can afford to spread out; get bigger and better homes, and need a bit of rural although it disappears at the same rate they move here. Doesn’t that make life easier for those who sit tight in those two cities…more space on the roads and in the schools? And why do they move here when they have the fancy hotels, restaurants, entertainment centers, and shopping malls? I thought they had everything a city dweller would want. Something is wrong over there and makes me wonder why we think we need all that stuff over here.

An old friend of mine, Louis Guy, recently retired head of Norfolk utilities, now a consultant and guest columnist for The Pilot, had a better idea when it comes to merge. He suggests we include and hook up with Newport News and Hampton. He cites the cost savings of a single city administration and other reasons why we would all benefit. He is a serious man with serious intentions, but forming that alliance would put us in the position of Budapest, a city split by a body of water. Buda is considered a much nicer part of the city than it’s other half, Pest. I leave it to you to decide which description fits which in our potential merge situation. I like the idea of separation by water, something we would not have if merged with Portsmouth, but for different reasons.

Many have stated that all cities and counties bordering on the Hampton Roads waterway should join hands and consider each of the now bordering cities to be boroughs, each sending representatives to a much larger Council. Aye, there’s the rub…do we fire all the city managers or would they become


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&uot;Assistant Managers&uot;? And who is boss, appointed or elected? Then, because of our size and power, the commonwealth government would want to exit Richmond and set up shop somewhere down here and we would be up to our backsides in lobbyists.

I can already see this getting out of hand, much like the warlord spats in Afghanistan, and must agree with the majority of Suffolk citizens – forget it. Stick to our current plans to make Suffolk the Jewel of the Nansemond. The only thing lacking is cooperation from the developers who mostly consider ground space a waste. Given enough time they’d have the human population lined up like dairy cows with their heads in stanchions. Suffolk’s UDO is designed to keep the developers at bay but they keep chipping away at drawbridge gates. What a nightmare it would become if we merged.

And let us not kid ourselves; government cost savings would be minimal because nearly the same amount of personnel would be needed to handle all aspects of a much larger city. All forms of government tend to expand like fast-food aficionados. As it is we seem to have our local government mostly under control, Manager and seven council members to do his bidding. Merging the communities of Nansemond County to form our city still presents problems and many think that stroke of a pen was a bad idea. Resign yourself; you are a Suffolkian. Be proud of that identifying $20 decal on your windshield.

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