Published 12:00 am Monday, July 3, 2006

Seeing the fountain going at the Center for Cultural Arts yesterday was pretty cool. If you haven’t been by to look, I highly recommend. I’ve never been inside the building, but if the inside is anything like the outside is shaping up to be (and I have every reason to anticipate that it will), then it will far and away be Suffolk’s most opulent structure. Worth half-a-million of so in taxpayer dollars a year to fund, though? I kind of think it is if for no other reason than we’re in it up to our ears and if it goes down we’ll all go down with it, but I’ll leave that up to you folks …

… The GOP strategy for the fall mid-terms is coming into focus. I read where Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC), sent a campaign mailer out that focused on the prospect of the GOP losing control of one or both house of congress. It mentioned people like Rep. John Conyers and Sen. Chuck Schumer who would be in leadership positions of various committees with subpoena power. The message is clear, if not laughable: “Re-elect us so we don’t get investigated.” …

… I had a visit earlier this week from a couple representatives of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. They were here to thank me for the “our opinion” piece that ran in Saturday’s paper likening the Sankofa Festival that was being held that day to the proclamation the SCV wanted for April to be Confederate Heritage and History Month.

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How it came about was I was looking for something to fill that space Friday and I thought writing something about the festival would be easy. I thought it was a good thing for the city to be doing and wanted to congratulate them on it. But when I got to reading about the purpose for it, it sounded eerily similar to what SCV members were saying in defense of their proclamation with phrases like, “honoring the best parts of our heritage.”

While somewhat reluctant to re-open that issue, it was an irony I just couldn’t let pass.

Let me say, too, that I’ve never been a big supporter of the proclamation. In fact, I was very much opposed to it when then-Mayor Curtis Milteer signed it in 2002. Not because I thought descendants of Confederates had no right to celebrate their heritage (they do). I just feared that because of Suffolk’s large black population, it would open a can of worms. That’s why few other communities do it. They are taxpayers, too, and have every right to complain if their tax dollars are going to commemorate events that they find offensive for whatever reason. Let them celebrate all they want, just don’t use public money or government credibility to legitimize it.

But, of course, that’s a blade that cuts both ways. If the city is intent on celebrating one group’s heritage, every other group has every right to expect equal treatment.

I can’t wait to see how this is handled in ’07 …

… Lots of rumors flying around about a potential

figurative bloodbath coming at city hall after the new council is seated. I won’t mention the names I’m being told who are being targeted for extermination. Normally, I have few qualms about reporting rumors on this site unless they might get me sued.

Suffice it to say that people are telling me we are going to see a much leaner city government, particularly at the upper echelons…