My kind of man

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 17, 2005

Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona houses his prisoners in tents, has whittled meals down to 40 cents a serving and charges the inmates for them. He stopped all smoking and &uot;dirty&uot; magazines in the jails (tents). He took away their weight-lifting and cut off all but &uot;G&uot; movies. Then he started chain gangs so the inmates could do free work on county and city projects. Even for the women so he wouldn’t be sued for discrimination. He tried to take away cable TV but a federal court order required it. So he allowed only the Disney channel and the weather. He wanted them to know how hot it was going to be.

He cut off coffee since it had no nutritional value and when the inmates complained he told them not to come back. He piped in Newt Gingrich’s lecture series and when asked by a reporter if he also provided liberal lectures he said it was liberalism that put them in jail in the first place. It gets hot in Arizona so his 2,000 male prisoners were allowed to strip down to government provided pink boxer underwear. Joe Arpaio, the tough-guy sheriff is not one bit intimidated or sympathetic.

&uot;It’s 120 degrees in Iraq and our soldiers are living in tents and have to wear full battle gear …even though they didn’t commit any crimes, so shut up.&uot;

Email newsletter signup

I mention this only because I am thinking of a tourist draw. We seem to have four persons employed in our Tourist Department and they might appreciate this idea for their brochure. Our big-guy sheriff could put those people who show up in the News-Herald &uot;Most Wanted,&uot; when caught, in pink jump suits. Using only light plastic chains to give the appearance of heavy chains, hobble them and provide jobs along the highway where tourists could see them as it was in the old days. Maybe hire a couple of pot-bellied shotgun toting deputies astride big horses and a few bloodhounds tied nearby for effect.

The city buys golf courses, dance halls, and does land speculating, none of which is interesting enough to draw tourists. But while they are in a spending mode, using our ever-increasing property tax dollars, why not join with Franklin and Isle of Wight to purchase that racetrack for sale located just the other side of Franklin? That would be a tourist draw; many will pay to see a crash, especially those from states where such mayhem is not permissible. After the races they could stay at the Hilton and dine at their soon-to-be-steakhouse.

Oh, did I mention that our Tourist Bureau is doing such land office business it is now necessary to have four on that department payroll? Read these titles: Director of Tourism, Tourism Development Coordinator, Visitor Center Coordinator, and Visitor Advisor. Is another empire sprouting? Two years ago one person was more than enough. Our tourist business calls to mind the Capital One credit card commercial when those hordes rushed in only to be disappointed. And the bureau is moving again, just across from the Hilton at the corner of Main and Constance, perhaps the quarters were too small. So who is moving into the Prentis House?

Recently Suffolk City Council appointed a committee of 22 community leaders to develop special projects and events to be finished before 2007 in conjunction with the big events at Jamestown. An Indian Village would have been nice for our tourist &uot;industry.&uot; Maybe 22 community leaders can be more influential than the Indian Task Force and change Herbert’s mind about the Tribe needing a business plan. There is still time to construct the Matanock village. It would be uniquely different than the village we used to call &uot;downtown&uot;: far less restaurants but no doubt another gift shop.


Gotta hand it to Linda McNatt and John Shelly at the Pilot for the piece and picture on the subject of the Fairgrounds. They summed up beautifully what Roger Leonard and I have said in our individual columns – there ain’t no way those 40 residents on Morgan Street will return to new homes or apartments there at anywhere near the price they pay now. Some reporter should visit all those to be &uot;ousted&uot; and ask what their rent is now and track them later to see if they return at the then new prices. Who pays for progress? The landlords will probably get far more than the to be demolished&uot; houses are worth and developers will make out OK. The current tenants will pay and it’s unavoidable.

Robert Pocklington is a regular columnist

for the News-Herald. E-mail him at