What’s going on here?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

Somebody suddenly missing from Planning Commission…Brian Pritchard who was known to hold staff’s feet to the fire when appropriate by asking tough questions. His only fault was that he used good common sense when making decisions. Many feel he was one of the most competent and thoughtful of all the members? He understands the process and makes excellent choices. He was appointed by Linda Johnson who may now believe he does not have the same ideas about development as she does.

Recently Johnson has been making little noises about revisiting the UDO, along with Mr. Milteer. We do remember her campaign promises when she agreed with the city for control of our too rapid growth. Perhaps she is having a change of heart and Brian Pritchard was an impediment to what she would change. We will keep an eye on her next time the comprehensive plan is rolled out.

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What’s this shocking news…Virginia Beach, one of those cities to the east that our city fathers always want to emulate, is considering lowering the property tax rate? Well my goodness, what will be next…will Suffolk follow suit? As of this moment I am not aware of what my assessment increase will be, but no doubt it will be a dandy.

What’s this…the schools will offer two budgets? One that they might settle for, and the other suggests we must add several million if we want to keep in step with the rest of the world. But nowhere in either will be hints that there are ways to reduce costs. Perhaps the next school constructed will be less than &uot;state-of-the-art&uot; facilities. Sorry, I still picture myself in one of those one-classroom schools back in the thirties and I ain’t so dumb.

I will have to admit that Rufus Powell made me think about my opinion of the VDOT takeover. He is suspicious of the boys downtown and, being a former boy downtown, he ought to know about what goes on behind closed doors. He points a sharp finger at what some regard as &uot;empire-building,&uot; and a grab for money to spend in the &uot;village&uot; now occupied by downtowners. I still believe in the sincerity of our public works department in regard to the big difference in street maintenance if we get control of it along with additional millions from the state. But it’s the continuance of those millions that worry me. I’m not concerned about council believing that the city streets come first…they believe the city comes first in regards to everything.

Andy D. and I had the pleasure of touring the unclassified parts of the Center for Innovation owned and operated by Lockheed Martin. We did the next episode of Round Table Talk in the outer bowels of that huge facility. David Labato, I hope I spelled that right, and General Buck Marr gave us an inside peek at the place, one of mysterious goings on. It is too difficult to explain what they contribute to the world of security and our armed forces, and only a scant bit of it sticks in my mind. Take a ride up to Harbor View if you want to see a different world. I suggest that Suffolk provide tours of north Suffolk, but the general said, &uot;No thanks,&uot; to tourists getting inside. We had to wear special badges and were escorted at all times. Like they say, if Andy told you all he learned while there, he’d have to kill you.

For Lynette. A group of Americans was traveling through Holland. As they stopped at a cheese farm, a young guide led them through the process of cheese making, explaining that goat’s milk was used. She showed the group a lively hillside where many goats were grazing. Those, she explained, were the older goats put out to pasture when they no longer produced. She then asked, &uot;What do you do in America with your old goats?&uot; A spry old gentleman answered, &uot;They send us on bus tours.&uot;

Question: What is the truest definition of Globalization? Answer: Princess Diana’s death. Question: How come? Answer: An English princess with an Egyptian boyfriend crashes in a French tunnel, driving a German car with a Dutch engine, driven by a Belgian who was drunk on Scotch whisky, followed closely by Italian Paparazzi, on Japanese motorcycles; treated by an American doctor, using Brazilian medicines.

This was sent to me by an American, using Bill Gates’s technology, to my computer, that uses Taiwanese chips, and a Korean monitor, assembled by Bangladeshi workers in a Singapore plant, transported by Indian lorry-drivers, hijacked by Indonesians, unloaded by Sicilian longshoremen, and trucked to my computer store by a Mexican illegal…that, my friends, is Globalization.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com.