What we hear, and what’s the truth

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

As with many of you, I have looked closely at what has been said by and about the candidates for the office of President of the United States.

I recently expressed in one of my commentaries; the hope that all registered voters would go to the polls and cast their vote, rather than being drowned out by the active extremists on both side of the issues, as usual.

In addition, during the review and preparations to cast my vote for the office of President of the United States of America, I had to distil my selection down to the candidate whom I felt held to principle and integrity.

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In this adjudication it was clear to me that Senator Kerry has distinguished himself as a man who has no principle or integrity except that which will get him elected and allow him to garner more power.

I have found that the shrillest issue under discussion in this election, is the decision about going to war with Iraq.

I served in the military for twenty years and retired almost ten years ago, but was always ready to do my duty.

Many younger men have been called to do just that and have suffered greatly in the conduct of their duty, which I respectfully applaud.

The political issue however is perhaps best framed as follows: If you truly believe that Sadam should still be in power in Iraq or even restored to the status-quo prior to the war, then President Bush made a mistake and we should withdraw from the Middle-East.

If you believe as I do, that we had no choice, but to remove Sadam’s sadistic regime from power, just on the grounds of the humanity of such actions, then this issue exhibits the moral character that President Bush has brought forth.

There are some that would spin this simple truth for other political uses.

Senator Kerry may wish to play on the dissatisfaction of some for his own benefit, but I believe it directly exhibits why he should not be given the reins of absolute power.

Before you vote, I would ask that you view these facts on their own merit and act accordingly…

Another interesting issue of political courage and truth includes a matter described by many, but perhaps put most appropriately by Del. Spruill at the recent Legislative Breakfast sponsored by Suffolk Tomorrow.

This issue is the one of affordable housing in Suffolk, or as many have recently noted, the utter lack of any such housing in sight anywhere in the City.

The reason that this issue is so very important, is that it has and will affect many of our citizens, both homeowners and those who aspire too be.

With City leaders pushing for ever higher fees and proffers from the shelter industry, along with the unbalanced growth plan that loads the North end of our City, yet starves the South end, we need change.

It is very apparent that some on City Council and especially the City Manager just have it wrong concerning where our community should be headed.

While pandering to the well-healed downtowner’s, they never miss an opportunity to pound down the poor or those who just do not agree with the plan.

The accepted housing plan is to &uot;squeeze all that they can from the developers and tax-payers&uot;.

There is no recognition of the fact that the developers never pay, they just pass the costs on to the buyers and the entire market gyrates up further in price.

In addition; some are now indicating that our assessments in the coming cycle will again be ten percent or more, yielding yet another tax bonanza for City Hall.

With this unending spiral up of prices and the resulting taxes, affordable housing moves farther from the realm of possibility in Suffolk.

Additionally, those who own existing homes on fixed incomes suffer more upward pressure on their assessments and the resulting property taxes that are compounded each year, making housing less and less affordable.

Some citizens think it improper to challenge our local city leadership with the recognition that the present path charted with so many unintended consequences must change.

The system has been so rigged against any opposition to the bad policy that we find under the UDO, that strong methods are necessary to make salient points.

Perhaps the most evident issue in play is that when the city takes proffers, fees, or otherwise increases the cost to build homes in Suffolk, they affect the entire market for new and existing homes.

If allowed to continue, it is quite apparent that some in City Hall would demand extensive fees and charges on new homes, without any care for the effect such policies would have on affordable housing.

There is also the questionable issue that some seem to just place on trust, concerning the hope that all such monies collected will be spent to support infrastructure that such development requires.

This has not been the case in many situations and will continue.

The real question we must pose is: can we continue to afford such poor leadership and bad management, just so we can fund the next big project downtown?…

My vote of such a question is a resounding NO.

Roger Leonard is a Suffolk businessman and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at RogerFlys@aol.com.