Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 26, 2004
Again the think-tank got together to study the Suffolk Economic Activity Report and adjourned very satisfied except for what we considered a minor miss. The report was well designed to focus attention on not only what businesses expanded, were newly constructed, what they cost, how many they will employ, and the square feet removed from Suffolk land inventory. We all agreed it would be helpful to show an estimate of the net expected annual tax revenue to the city for the next five years. While some listed in the report were hardly new news, others were, in the category of eateries: Kelly’s Tavern, Barron’s, Panevino Caf\u00E9, and Ruby Tuesday up north. We suspect there will be another Ruby Tuesdays on Godwin near the new banks. But adding up the total investment and new jobs was encouraging. 998 new jobs, $121 million invested. A good team is in place.
We have noticed that most of the restaurants in Suffolk are doing good business. Either there is too much money floating around or there are no longer sufficient housewives with the time or ambition to cook. You have to wonder where all those people came from who now occupy tables and stools at the two new &uot;bars&uot; located downtown. I’m not sure it is accurate to claim people are returning to the downtown area just because there is no parking place. Maybe to eat and drink, but what else is on the mind of the locals who used to meet in Portsmouth or Norfolk for a good time. How much shopping are they doing? The benefits fall to the entrepreneurs who risked the investment, and the city. It will be interesting to see how those other new eateries coming on line will do, and which long existing ones suffer.
The think-tank praised city efforts to stamp out &uot;free speech&uot; efforts of the &uot;gentleman&uot; who insists Suffolk will never be complete without a dirty book and porn shop. We wish his business and MTV would be the first new businesses to be located on Mars. It is too bad this city can’t initiate a referendum so the people can vote. I can see folks now, walking toward the voting booth, avoiding anyone who seems to be pro-porn handing out motivational pamphlets. At least we’d know who favors the mind junk. There is another way, it’s called boycott. We hope the city can muster enough power to see that his smut parlor looks like a bank, no front windows, no signs, but no drive-in windows. They now estimate there are 72,000 of us citizens. You mean to tell me we can’t whip this guy?
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The fun will start soon when the apparent democratic candidate for president will be &uot;pictured&uot; with Hanoi Jane Fonda, and throwing away his war medals, which somehow are still on his wall in Washington. When a true Vietnam veteran meets another on the street he says, &uot;Welcome home, brother&uot; That’s because people like Jane and Kerry headed up crusades against the war resulting n thousands not welcomed home. The true brothers do not want to be put in the same class; young Kerry broke faith with his brothers when he proclaimed his new view of the war. Especially when he supported Hanoi’s position to use our POWs as bargaining chips in negotiating for a peace movement. Living Vietnam vets have not forgotten.
&uot;Without question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous, dictator, leading an oppressive regime. He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he is miscalculating America’s response to his continued deceit and grasp for weapons of mass destruction. So the threat of Saddam Hussein with WMD is real.&uot; Senator John Kerry, (D, MA, Jan 23, 2003)
Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org