I think this must have been what they meant when someone coined the phrase: “Rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.”
In this piece about the ongoing saga of Portsmouth city government, we learn that city council has concocted a budget which basically accomplishes nothing but to kick the can down the road. A lot of their plan involves sleight-of-hand in the form of shuffling money from one account to another. Think of this as being like when you decide not to pay your electric bill so you have enough for your mortgage.
The ironic thing about this is that many members of the council have blamed previous councils for creating a fiscal mess that they have to deal with by doing the exact same thing – failing to address the shortcomings in a timely manner and leaving a mess for someone else to clean up.
I feel for you, Portsmouth. Too bad your own elected officials apparently don’t.
Police in every city in the region (and really, the country) are having to address a growing distrust amongst the public about the services they provide.
This article tells about a community forum held Saturday in which representatives of the Norfolk Police Department took questions from representatives of the city’s black community. The article said “the tone of Saturday’s meeting was frustration, bitterness and anger.”
I’m not sure I agree with the premise expressed by some that Norfolk is poised to be the next Baltimore. But then again, if a young black man were to die under circumstances like those which led to the death of Freddie Grey, all bets are off.
The biggest obstacle to effective law enforcement is the so-called “thin blue line.” I’ll never understand the mentality that leads good cops to defend and cover for bad cops. It utterly destroys trust and credibility.
So what went wrong? Well, it turns out that parking in proximity to the chosen location is rather challenging, and the out-of-town owners who own the adjacent strip shopping center have expressed concern – perhaps legitimately – that patrons of Coelacanth might use their parking spaces.
It’s kind of hard to figure out who dropped the ball when it comes to not anticipating this particular problem. I tend to think that Kevin Erskine was more focused on the production facility than patronage, and had received much love from the surrounding businesses in terms of being welcome. Should he have identified and reached out to those neighboring out-of-town property owners on his own? Maybe.
However, it sounds much more like the city did a pretty lousy job of working with him. Isn’t that the kind of thing that the development department and the planning commission are supposed to know about and point out when working with potential new businesses?
I dunno… Maybe when it comes to breweries, the city just shot their wad when they were stepping all over themselves trying to lure Stone Brewing, then rolled over and fell asleep.
I’ve often thought that greater Hampton Roads bears a lot of resemblance to feudal Europe. It’s like a bunch of little kingdoms that occasionally cooperate when it’s clearly mutually beneficial, but every once in a while just can’t help but lob a few cannonballs at each other.
Going all the way back to the 70s when Future of Hampton Roads was formed and produced a remarkable body of work explaining the benefits of regional cooperation, every planner, every economist, every academic and analyst has carefully and patiently explained – sometimes in eye-glazing detail – just how much better and stronger we could be as a community if we ould just learn to get along and work together to our mutual benefit.
Alas – patronage, parochialism and petulance continue to interfere with such a simple concept gaining traction. I have no optimism that this attitude amongst local governments will change anytime soon.
This is my favorite story out of this batch. It’s about a group of students at Seatack Elementary School who are learning lessons that will serve them every single day of their lives.
Known as the Garden Breakfast Club, it consists of ten fifth-grade boys who meet for 30 minutes every school day before classes begin outside in a garden spending time connecting with the natural world.
You can tell from the article how much the writer, staff veteran Elizabeth Simpson, was moved by the experience. She brings up profound nutritional, educational, sociological and psychological benefits that would be pretty easy to replicate – benefits that no standards of learning test could ever generate.
The article is rich with ideas about how this simple activity provides amazing benefits to these kids – both tangible and intangible. Trying to summarize it here would be a disservice to the lessons it provides. It must be read.
And I learned a new term: “Nature deficit disorder.” What an interesting phrase to contemplate.
(Bureaucratic decision-making processes are getting on Mike Rau’s nerves)