Frankie#8217;s songs knocked their socks off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I heard from several who attended the Frank Sinatra show at the cultural center who said it was great; they enjoyed the quality of the presentation and the hall’s acoustics. One comment was about how they managed to spend $20 million and still have the building look like an old school … I couldn’t tell if it was sarcasm or a compliment.

I attended one show there and agree with the bit about the acoustics; my problem was forcing my knees into the airplane-sized seats. And I still have other concerns.

Certainly all seats at every show are not going to be filled; that has already been shown. And with nine employees at the center, there will be pressure for the city council to make up the difference.

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Assuming &uot;open and transparent&uot; center management, will there be benchmarks at some intervals so there will be no large surprises at pay-up time?

Michael Bollinger, director, is a very enthusiastic person and overwhelms one with his charm and assurance that all will be well. But council, also enthusiastic, assured us the tax rate could be lowered and now we hear we are faced with potentially serious surprises. At this point no one has assumed responsibility, but could some financial-mess participants, just in case, be the perusing yellow pages for a good lawyer? We could soon be simultaneously watching attempts to impeach the president of the United States and charge city officials, past and present, for malfeasance. The cultural center could profit from showing movies like they do in Franklin for $2 a head.

It may become necessary, if the city treasury is at low ebb, to sell off city properties acquired over the years. We own a couple of golf courses, the Obici House, Navy transmitter site, the old courthouse, etc. I’m sure the list is much longer and adds up to several millions of dollars.

Could we unload the Conference Center, now part of the Hilton, for a few million? There appears to be a lot of money floating around in Suffolk, based upon the price of new homes. Surely there are developers waiting for a chance to buy and own city properties. Imagine the number of homes they could squeeze on the perimeter of an 18-hole golf course.

Suffolk needs a secure-gated community for wealthy and fit retirees.

Looking for a helping hand

It’s fine with me. The wish list sent to Richmond includes a request for big money to float restoration of the old Phoenix bank on East Washington Street. No harm in such a memorial and an African American museum would attract tourists. So would a Matanock Indian Village up at Lone Star Lakes. So would a Confederate museum anywhere in the area, but it seems many would be opposed for politically correct reasons.

My ancestors fought, died, and suffered terrible wounds on the side of the Union … but I would support a permanent local museum memorial to the gallant opposition, even though I have never seen one dedicated solely to Union troops.

Here is another job for Council

We are fast sneaking up on the end of this year, and in spite of the lowered property tax rate, many residents are having a tough time paying up. That’s why there is this animal called &uot;tax relief.&uot; And, so far, our council has done a good thing for constituents by keeping the qualifying numbers reasonable. But the cost of everything has risen during this year, so council should consider upping the numbers again, or those getting some tax relief are going to be surprised when they don’t. Even the small increases in Social Security, 3.3 percent, can push a family over the limits and they will be &uot;punished.&uot; It was in the interest of tax relief for all constituents that fired off the great tax debate earlier this year. Those on limited incomes must not be forgotten.