Waiting for the other shoe to drop

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 15, 2004

It seems like the world is collapsing around us — oil shortages, global warming, terrorist cells in Suffolk, brush fires out west, flooding Rio Grande, tsunamis, serial killers, worsening TV commercials and no wine in your carry-on baggage not to mention the immovable politicians and a dead United Nations. Where will it end?

We don’t have to read the book of Revelations, just watch TV mayhem and Sodom and Gomorrah programming. We could site Iraq’s civil war, or Israel versus the bad guys, and penguins seeking other places to live than melting Antarctica.

But I’m more concerned with what is not happening downtown, referring to Council action. I faintly remember campaign promises about this and that, such as re-examining the budget just approved. I believe I heard a few heads would roll, salaries reviewed. It may be in progress, behind closed-door meetings, not quite open and transparent. I suppose we should give it a bit more time and then hear the announcements all at once.

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We do keep hearing about restaurants being closed, or sold, or torn down. George and Steve’s closure up on 17 was not the result of eminent domain; they got a good deal and need a rest.

But look around … the eatery that replaced Arts Kitchen disappeared. Was Moose Caf\u00E9 sold again, or was it another? Pisces not open for lunch, Ed’s place not open for dinner, I need a scorecard. Holland Produce is doing fine and Moon Palace is gaining. I just wish I could afford to eat out … getting there is expensive.

I read recently during the heat wave that there are still homes in Suffolk without air-conditioning, or even fans, and some folks suffer terribly. That’s OK in Iraq, or many other second-rate countries, but it should not be the case here. I’d like our city officials to draw up a list of homes, and I will contribute two electric ceiling fans if five others will do likewise. If there were kids in those homes, I’d bet they need moving air more than Toys for Tots. Isn’t this a good project for churches, civic leagues, Rotarians, Ruritans?

Doesn’t it seem the Virginia Department of Transportation is heartless when they appear to take no notice of the Bridge Club dedicated to &uot;saving the Kings Highway Bridge? So what, that there were thousands of signed petitions to fix it; blow it up. VDOT has the money saved to do that, but none for a new one. Many insist that demolition costs are enough to repair the bridge, but who cares? You have to wonder what god in high places makes these kinds of decisions that affect so many people.

I read that the S uffolk Center for Cultural Arts is now offering various forms of culture to Suffolk children. That’s great; but how many parents in Suffolk have the necessary $150 per child? That’s the part of the SCCA operation that should be paid for with collected city tax, then even kids with no dough can take part.

I’d say those kids with the money have already had more access to &uot;culture&uot; than those without it. Something is wrong here.

No, it does not follow that everyone should be able to have their wedding party in the SCCA; those with the moolah can whoop it up in fine circumstances and that’s OK with me. But charging a family, maybe six kids, $150 each for &uot;improvement&uot; is a reach and unfair. Look at it from the standpoint of the kids. Our libraries offer much for children and those are local-tax-supported facilities. So, figure out how much we give the libraries each year: no comparison. SCCA wins hands down; and they have to charge?

Pocklington is a Suffolk residents and regular contributor to the Town Square page. Contact him at robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com