Quite often answers lead to more questions

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 3, 2006

Recently I pointed out what I saw as the unfairness of the Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts offering special cultural information classes only to kids whose parents can pony up $150 each. I suggested that the half million we hand SCCA from our local taxes should be used to promote such classes for any child that wants them.

The Department of Recreation generously backed 12 more children who could not meet the tariff. That’s good, I think, so if that money came from the Rec budget, it also is from our local taxes, but saves the SCCA money.

So how were those 12 kids selected and why only 12? We should be told.

And the Rec department shouldn’t have to provide dollars from its budget as it provide services for many more folks than the SCCA. And I must point out again that our libraries have a smaller budget, but do much more for kids. And our schools should be doing more of what the SCCA is doing … starting with how to behave in a class situation.

One more peek at the SCCA budget is worth your time. You, through your local property taxes provided $6.8 million. Contributions amounted to $3.9 million. So if the total outlay is $20 million, then at least $10.3 million came from the government. So you contributed even more if you paid your state and federal taxes.

If the city is going to gift half a million each year on top of all that, then cultural classes should include all kids free of charge. And I wonder if the SCCA is as over staffed as the Tourism Department. Certainly one should go.

On that subject, the Tourism office should be downsized to no more than one person under the direction of the Division of Economic Development. Their other activities… Civil War Weekend, Lone Star Lakes canoeing and Peanut Fest and parades, clearly should be under Parks and Recreation, where they belong. The fabrication for reasons for this department’s existence was weak at the onset and has never justified the cost in taxpayer dollars. And forget the million to restore the old courthouse for a visitor center.

It’s my belief that the SCCA has yet to produce an operating plan. If it exists, we should be able to review their strategic assumptions and financial projections in an open forum. Ironically that is the same obstacle facing the Nansemond Indian’s Mattanock village project at Lone Star Lakes.

Other questions: Was there any kind of agreement between the IDA and owners of the Hilton to ensure minimal occupancy level and revenue stream to the hotel/conference center? Is there income in the way of berth fees at the marina for the four yachts parked year around at the pier; and who collects the money … city or hotel?

I don’t know if it helps downtown merchants, but the Virginia Repertory Theatre Company headquarters is moving in and searching for would-be actors. For some reason they are leaving Portsmouth, and it’s a break for Suffolkians who hanker for an on-stage role.

Andy Damiani tells me he was part of a troop of thespians years back and desires to see it happen again. Now is the time …Virginia Repertory could use some of those &uot;women&uot; from Suffolk who took part in the Womanless Wedding some months ago.

The Suffolk News-Herald has offered to adopt a couple of children from Suffolk for the purpose of supplying them with what they need for school. &uot;No child without&uot; notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. A great idea, and they need your support.

Our kids are gone, grandchildren and great-grandchildren provided for, so we might join the SNH anonymously. How about you?

But first, I would want to know what etc. amounts to, certainly not one of those laptop computers.

robert.pocklington@suffolknewsherald.com