Leonard’s an armchair quarterback; city has a good road map

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 2004

Editor, the News-Herald:

The opinion piece by Roger Leonard that appeared on Tuesday, Dec. 07, 2004 is just one more tired example of Mr. Leonard spouting off when he has no facts.

It was just another offer of the same ole bitter rant that appears more often than it should.

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Your disclaimer should be written bigger and in bold print.

Let’s set the record straight.

Mr. Leonard says that the city should not &uot;enter into the parking garage business anymore than they should have entered into the Hotel business.&uot;

It is abundantly clear that he doesn’t know what he is talking about.

The city is not in the hotel business and is only interested in a parking garage downtown as a business opportunity.

Mr. Leonard should know that other cities have pursued parking garages with great success.

As it should be, the city leaves business and commercial development to those of us in the private sector.

City leaders do encourage private investment throughout the entire city of Suffolk and have used public investment to leverage that private investment, primarily in downtown.

Mr. Leonard asks the question, &uot;Why as a community would we place a higher value on a hotel than a school?&uot;

This shows his lack of understanding of what’s actually taking place in his own community.

What about King’s Fork High School that just opened?

What about the new elementary school in this year’s budget?

The city also has plans for even more school construction and renovation.

Earlier this year they set up a reserve fund of $1 million for future schools.

Mr. Leonard also says that he has seen frustration at some of the recent public meetings in the southern part of the city in dealing with the Comprehensive Plan and VDOT.

Maybe he should get out more.

There are many more people who support Suffolk’s Smart Growth strategies and the UDO.

Mr. Leonard’s views are not based on fact; he merely relies on a micro-sample of his own limited vision.

He does us all a disservice when he writes about it and says whatever comes off the top of his head and bases it on whatever mood he is in at the time.

I am happy to say that my money is where my mouth is….and I am not alone.

There are many people like me around here.

Just look up and down Main Street and you will see many people that have their money where there mouths are.

These pioneers of the revitalization of downtown are the ones at risk.

If Mr. Leonard had any sense, he wouldn’t make ignorant statements about the &uot;failed growth patterns laid out five years ago under the UDO.&uot;

Rather, he should see that the UDO is successful.

Anyone that can remember five years ago and compare it to now could not fathom that it &uot;failed.&uot;

It is the growth plan and the UDO that have provided the roadmap for the successes throughout the entire city, especially the downtown area.

Rather than instill fear and doubt with made up examples like most wanna-be politicians, Mr. Leonard should join the effort and do something about it.

I ask: What board does he sit on?

What task force does he sit on?

What difference does he make?

Oh yeah, he is the chairman of the arm-chair quarterback hall of fame where he sits front and center on the sidelines.

We are in the sixth year of a 10-year plan, and all of the major goals are met or in the physical part of being completed.

What other city can say that?

In most cities it takes 16 years to do a 10-year plan.

I am proud of what this city has accomplished.

I am proud of what these downtown business owners are doing.

I am proud that the citizens of Suffolk come out and support the effort.

Suffolk is a city that has a road map and a destination.

Leonard is just a bug on the windshield…Hey News-Herald – turn the wipers on!

Mickey Garcia