Gasp, Cough, Choke

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 26, 2004

Now the city manager can afford his property tax increase…and the assessor, the city attorney and the city clerk because our City Council members who appointed them are &uot;good stewards of our money.&uot; (And remember the Commonwealth employee increase fiasco?) Council again handed out raises like there was no tomorrow and must have heard those city employees were threatening to quit. Add in the increases to the benefit package and it takes about $27,000 just for those four raises…or the equivalent of eight property taxpayers in my circumstances. Apparently City Manager Herbert has satisfied his probationary requirements; it was just a year ago we lost the services of Myles Standish.

Myles Standish was Andy Damiani’s guest on the Round Table TV talk show from the Standish home on Chuckatuck Creek, and it was a pleasure to visit with him again. We talked about old times and the many years he was at the wheel of the city of Suffolk. He was relaxed, as would be any man who had managed to get loose from a tiger’s tail.

And he was as affable as always; even when I had many times jabbed him with my column he only smiled, bit his lip a little, and let me roll off like water on a duck’s back. A man with his obvious charm and talents must be itching to get behind a desk again but he denies it.

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Belly buttons are going back into hiding according to those who dictate fashion for the millions of girls and silly women who, like sheep, get out the old credit card and add to the 18 percent minimum payment. Having those strange looking plugged body orifices disappear is a relief…even the jeweled implants failed to gain my interest.

And I wondered what would be exposed next if the skirt waistline continued south. It’s all I can take watching these male idiots moon the public with their half-mast pants dragging around their shoes. What would happen if a robber confronted them with &uot;hands up?&uot;

But then what would a mugger expect to get from a person who can’t afford a belt.

Swords or sabers could replace lawyers like our democratic candidate for vice president, a very apt title. He has been living high off life-damaging frivolous lawsuits and I wish that just once he could be the victim of a lawyer like himself.

If people squared off against one another in lawsuits were forced to duke it out with swords, both would find a different means of settlement, probably one that is more fair. How about the pair found guilty of placing a dead mouse in their fast-food hamburger and claiming it was there when they bought it? All they wanted was a few thousand for pain and suffering. As punishment for their extortion, they should have been forced to eat the mouse.

Damiani’s Phoenix to rise again. Remember how the city &uot;swindled&uot; Damiani out of that building? He bought it from an out-of-town owner, even mailed the check. But city sniffers snuffed the deal by offering the &uot;honorable&uot; owner more money and he took it. Our health department played a &uot;small&uot; part by eliminating the Chinese gentleman who had the chicken takeout on the first floor.

Officials declared pigeon droppings were part of his chicken seasoning. The homing birds were entering through second-floor broken windows, which lets you know the condition of the building. The city has so far matched the $10,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources; there will be more forthcoming.

Because of the bank building’s location, it appears segregation still works in Suffolk. A museum, black or white, deserves a more central downtown location. But if Mr. Brown is happy, I’m happy. I often wonder if he has pangs of guilt for his part in wrestling the building from Mr. Suffolk, Mr. Damiani.

Painful Progress. The city will pay someone $50,000 to study whether or not the police and fire personnel need a raise. I’d study it for nothing; just ask those people what it would take to make them feel wanted. Surely the chiefs know. I have no idea how many persons are involved but I’d start by splitting up that $50,000 evenly and giving each a small bonus. And why not a fat 10 percent increase, that was good enough for the city commander in chief. Do you suppose council member will get the next round of raises?

Cart before the horse. Many users think it’s stupid and unnecessary to tear down the Birdsong rec-center. How many months before the silly &uot;vista&uot; of the Cultural Center will be required; if ever? Damiani suggested removing just part of Birdsong for the &uot;vista.&uot; Downtown users could maintain their fitness by marching on city hall.

Robert Pocklington is a regular columnist for the News-Herald. Email him at Robert