A plan for Suffolk

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 10, 2005

The question on the minds of all those who are interested in local politics and government – both of us – is who will be appointed to replace E. Dana Dickens III as the Chuckatuck borough city council representative.

Dickens, of course, is expected to resign his seat to take the helm of the Hampton Roads Partnership, a group of Norfolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake businesspeople who came together several years ago to come up with a plan to take Suffolk’s land.

Seriously, Dickens has been a great representative,

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not only for his borough, but for Suffolk, Hampton Roads and every community in Virginia cursed by economic and population growth. Replacing him will not be easy.

But luckily for the people of the Chuckatuck borough, I happen to live in their borough and am formally offering myself up as Dickens’ replacement.

Granted, I may not be as smart as Dickens, nor do I possess his command of the issues, political skills, or oratorical prowess, but I hope to make up for those shortcomings through my height. I’m about 6-4, easily six inches taller than Dickens, immediately increasing Chuckatuck’s stature on council.

I’ve sat on the sidelines long enough and criticized from this space. I believe I have something to offer and it’s time I put my considerable height to use for the public good . Unlike the &uot;big picture&uot; thinking that has dominated Suffolk government for the past decade, I will bring a different focus to city government – I will focus on the little things.

You won’t find me wasting time on things like conducting surveys, improving education, &uot;visioning,&uot;

or &uot;quality of life.&uot; If you look after the little things, those things will take care of themselves. There will be no big, sweeping initiatives if I can help it.

What are the little things Suffolk needs to address?

Here’s a brief list:

Cell phones. All taxpayer funded cell phones for city employees need to be immediately eliminated, surely at savings of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Cell phones these days are personal communication devices. Everybody has one. About 10 percent of the population has abandoned land lines altogether. They all pay for their own, as should employees of Suffolk. We managed to run this city for some 250 years before everyone got cell phones.

The city automobile fleet should be immediately sold off, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Again, we all have to get to work and back and pay for whatever conveyance we use to get us there. Increase everyone’s salary by $5,000 a year if we must, but the savings on insurance, fuel and maintenance alone would be astronomical. Let the police keep their cars; sell the rest of them off. And if we can’t get a tent down to the Swamp Roar, we’ll just have to live without it.

Demand that the school board do the same with regard to cell phones and vehicles.

Those are the no-brainers. There are also many other, intangible, benefits to appointing me to City Council:

-I cannot stand the sound of my own voice and am genuinely terrified of speaking before crowds, making meetings go much faster.

-I have a tremendous grasp of modern technology (I own a Xbox).

-I would push to give the Obici property to the Nansemond tribe because I think it would be funny.

-I would actually read the entire Unified Development Ordinance prior to the end of my term.

-I would vote against almost everything.

-In addition, you can rest assured that I will be beholden to no special interests, since I have no friends.

That’s my case. I leave it to my future colleagues on city council

to make the next move and I look forward to serving with each of you to move our fair city forward.

Andy Prutsok is editor and publisher of the News-Herald. He can be reached at 934-9611, or via e-mail at andy.prutsok@suffolknewsherald.com.