Double standard?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 21, 2005

An ugly perception of impropriety comes to mind; I am convinced our city manager has a personal conflict with Roger Leonard. Mr. Leonard was told by the editor of the Suffolk News Herald to stop writing his often verbose but articulate &uot;right on&uot; opinion column until his &uot;conflict&uot; with the &uot;city&uot; has been settled. But is his argument with the city? His RFPs (bids) to construct certain buildings at our airport were thoroughly investigated, finalized, and approved. But it appears he is deliberately being harassed and or stalled by the city manager. Manager Herbert has suggested there is another side to the story and if there is he should make it public.

Another gentleman &uot;bid&uot; on purchasing the Jefferson School with the intention of restoring it and turning it in to residential properties a stone throw from the soon to be Cultural Center. I question this particular &uot;Mixed Use&uot; concept because one day the city will wish it still owned the property for some public use. A substitute motion has apparently handed the project to Mickey Garcia who is now in the position to reject the city’s &uot;offer&uot; and get a better deal. Not that he didn’t get a good deal; it was a giveaway.

I find it amazing how the Mayor and Councilman Brown could speak so eloquently about how the city must show it’s integrity and accept Garcia’s original bid because everything had been done properly, legal to the letter, and that the city must honor his bid as originally stated. But then Mr. Brown speaks eloquently on almost everything. You hear not a word from any Council member for Mr. Leonard’s RFPs (bids) for airport construction that were scrutinized and approved; where are they? The mayor, who has turned double-speak into an art form, originally favored Leonard’s project. Neither the manager, nor Brown or the mayor are defending the city’s work as it applies to Leonard, as they obviously did for Garcia, and should explain why not. Then Leonard can get back to writing his weekly column.

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Not a bad idea the man had about fixing up the Kings Highway Bridge with his money and then charging a three-dollar toll for a round trip. The numbers are good for them assuming the 3200 cars per day VDOT says is the average…ten thousand a day, fifty grand a week, two and a half million per year. Figuring in the new probably permanent price of gas and the extra mileage brings out the pencils of drivers. But, again, who is responsible for a chunk of concrete collapsing and dumping you into the Nansemond? Our city fathers are still against that idea. Besides, the folks living between Crittenden Road and the bridge at least love the peace and quiet. Maybe each driver could sign a waiver of some sort and take no worse chance than when buying a lottery ticket.

Dear Concerned Citizen: Thank you for your recent letter criticizing our treatment of the Taliban and Al Qaeda detainees currently held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The administration takes these matters seriously, and your opinion was heard loud and clear here in Washington. You’ll be pleased to learn that, thanks to the concerns of citizens like you, we are creating the Terrorist Retraining Program, to be called the &uot;Liberals Accept Responsibility for Killers&uot; program, or LARK for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, we have decided to place one terrorist under your personal care.

Your detainee has been selected and scheduled for transportation to your residence next Monday. Ali Mohammed Ahmed bin Mahmud is to be cared for pursuant to the standards you personally demanded in your letter of admonishment. We will conduct weekly inspections to ensure that your standards of care for Ahmed are commensurate with those you so strongly recommended in your letter. Although Ahmed is a sociopath and extremely violent, we hope that your sensitivity to what you described as his &uot;attitudinal problem&uot; will help him overcome his character flaw. Perhaps you are correct in describing these problems as mere cultural differences.

Your adopted terrorist is extremely proficient in hand-to-hand combat and can extinguish human life with such simple items as a pencil or nail clippers. He is also expert at making a wide variety of explosive devices from common household products, so you may wish to keep those items locked up, unless you feel that this might offend him.

Ahmed will not wish to interact with your wife or daughters since he views females as a subhuman form of property. This is a particularly sensitive subject for him. He has been known to show violent tendencies around women who fail to comply with the dress code that he considers appropriate, but I’m sure that over time they will come to enjoy the anonymity offered by the bhurka. Just remind them that it is all part of respecting his culture and his religious beliefs. Thanks again for your letter. We truly appreciate it when folks like you inform us of the proper way to do our job. Take good care of Ahmed and good luck!

And let us know if you’d rather fight the terrorists here than in Iraq. By the way, aren’t you still living free because so many young persons gave their lives in other wars? Surely, because you are obviously bright, you have a better solution. Tell us.

Robert Pocklington lives in Suffolk and is a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be reached at