The rest of the story

Published 10:23 am Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I don’t buy the philosophy of some that our city fathers wisely spend every dollar they collect in taxes. And neither do thousands who have seen their savings melt away as uniformly unrealistic property values increase in relation to their initial outlay, income and assets.

It is said that our planners and deciders are merely following a &uot;carefully crafted strategy&uot; to return Suffolk, certain parts of it at least, to turn of the century prosperity and vibrancy. I can’t speak to that…I was not around at the turn of the century, close maybe. And it would be difficult to determine what the criterion was for that period. Who is around to remember?

To me, books I’ve read describing the history of Suffolk don’t make it appear that wonderful, prosperous for the usual few perhaps, but hardly vibrant. And some of those outhouses of the day are still with us.

Would anyone deny that an unseemly amount of money seems to be expended to fulfill what is termed to be the &uot;Downtown Plan.&uot; I suspect a good many less than affluent citizens do not see such a noble experiment as advisable when they are just trying to hold things together. And these are mostly citizens who aren’t going to be around long enough to benefit in any material way. Only those living in the immediate area stand a chance, those more interested in culture and cozy &uot;village&uot; environment, hardly a majority of the 74,000.

It’s a snap for people with sufficient income and assets, and quite natural for them to desire the finer things of life. That little old check they write twice a year requires no thought whatsoever, not at all painful. I’m all for them living high as they can, that’s what we all aspire to and the city needs their tax dollars. But do they realize all are not in the same boat?

I believe they don’t in their continual quest for more. Citizens bailing their boat now are not as much interested in Suffolk’s prosperity as they are their own survival. The situation puts me in mind of TV commercials where they always use beautiful and wealthy people buying only the finest products, diamonds, perfume, cars, while average folks are seen only as buffoons in comedy sitcoms.

No one can really fault the city manager and crew; their duty is to improve the city and catch up with what is happening to it. It’s probably impossible to manage the ever-increasing need for sewers, water lines, roads, schools, etc. I would suggest that council agree only with caution to suggestions for spending…not forgetting Joe Average. I also wonder what those folks living in distant villages think about some of the spending, and enhancements they do without. Of course they are fortunate they don’t have to live in the high culture, high-density downtown, but they might disagree with some efforts to bring only city central back to being prosperous and vibrant. Just ask them. They also note that north parts of the &uot;city&uot; are doing quite well, creating their own prosperity, thanks mainly to our economic team. Outlying communities get 50 grand per year.

Many feel it is a case of &uot;us&uot; versus &uot;them&uot; when it comes to which wheel gets the most grease; that their &uot;squeals&uot; go unheard or unrecognized. When their land is not drained, when their housing is far from adequate, when their cars don’t start, groceries and medicine bought on credit if they can get credit, in those situations squealing is automatic. But does anyone hear them?

Some members of council hear both the financially median and financially strapped, and try to speak for them but to little avail. Even the too-low-income folks shouldn’t be expected to, or forced to leave; they are and have been for a long time, as much a part of Suffolk as the mayor. They perhaps have a right to expect a bit more. They wonder if they will ever feel prosperous and vibrant. A lot of the time it seems to me those getting the grease are those needing it the least. The financially poor are told about lifting themselves by their bootstraps.


Here is a small collection of brilliant statements made by important unnamed citizens.

A wealthy female singer said: I watch TV and when I see those poor starving kids all over the world it makes me cry. I mean I’d love to be skinny, but not with the flies and death and stuff like that. Another glittering female celebrity uttered, &uot;Smoking kills and if you are killed you’ve lost a very important part of your life.&uot; Guess who said, &uot;Outside of the killings, DC has one of the lowest crime rates in the country.&uot; A well-known football star said, &uot;Half of this game is 90 percent mental.&uot; And a recent candidate for President of the Country pointed out that, ‘It isn’t pollution that’s harming the environment. It’s the impurities in our air and water that are doing it.&uot; Another top contender was heard to say, ‘I love California, I practically grew up in Phoenix.&uot; And the CEO of an auto company said loudly when he was referred to as a genius, &uot;I’m no genius…a genius is somebody like Norman Einstein.&uot; You can see how it’s easy for an affluent person to say the wrong thing at the wrong time.