Stop Trying to Build an Expensive Light Rail Extension – The Virginian-Pilot

Regarding “Norfolk in ‘early talks’ with Pharrell development team to revitalize Military Circle shopping center, officials say” (July 8) and “Norfolk supports light rail extension to Military Circle, seeks public funds for pedestrian and bicycle improvements” (June 29): During negotiations, “some other council members also expressed reservations about the potential cost of the redevelopment.” Councilman Tommy Smigiel previously said the city council was hesitant to choose a project that would require a citywide tax increase. Smigiel said that, generally speaking, the board wanted the developer to bring serious capital to the project.

Meanwhile, at the end of June, The Virginian-Pilot published the second article mentioned above on light rail. Even without a clear vision of what, if anything, will be developed at Military Circle, the council backed “a request by Hampton Roads Transit to extend Norfolk’s light rail system approximately 2 miles from its starting point. end at Newtown Road at the Military Circle shopping centre”. The expansion could cost up to $400 million. Officials said about half of the funding for the project would come from federal funds. The rest would be funded by federal, local and private sources. How much of that will go to the taxpayers of Norfolk?

So the council is wringing its hands to fund the project selected for Military Circle, while at the same time hoping to set up a funding program for a light rail extension. They never tire of looking for plans to extend light rail somewhere, even if they’ve spent a fortune building something to justify it.

Don Vtipil, Norfolk

Re “Youngkin’s choice for Historic Resources Council under fire for defending the Confederacy” (July 21): No wonder we can’t get past the 2020 election when we still have so- telling historians and educators who continue to teach the myth of the Confederacy. The facts of 1860 and 1861 are simple and direct. Eleven states disliked the outcome of a democratic election and entered into armed rebellion to establish a perpetual slave republic codified in their Constitution. “No trespassing bill, ex post facto law, or law denying or impairing the right of ownership of black slaves shall be passed,” according to the Confederate Constitution. Ann McLean’s view that slavery would have been outlawed in five or ten years is not reflected in the Southern Constitution.

Regarding his opinion on the right to secession, no government is created with a poison pill for its own dissolution. Many 17th century writers wrote about the right to revolution that Thomas Jefferson expressed in our Declaration of Independence. But you can only claim this right if you win the war you start. If we had lost our revolution, our revered founding fathers would almost certainly have been hanged for treason, and we may well today be a constitutional monarchy under Queen Elizabeth II, like Canada.

Under our Constitution, these 11 states committed treason, a crime for which they received a general pardon from President Andrew Johnson on December 25, 1868. Let’s stop teaching false history in Virginia like we did in the 1950s.

David Barclay, Chesapeake

Of course, there’s a lot of blame to be had, from the shooter’s parents to the school board and the police. Now there is a call for Schools Police Chief Pete Arredondo to be fired. I’m sure there are attorneys all over Texas rushing to find clients among grieving family members, and they should. All who share blame in this horrific crime should be held accountable in civil court.

On the flip side, let’s not be too harsh in judging first responders. As someone who has been shot twice in my life, first in Vietnam as a Marine grunt on an operation on July 5, 1966, then again as a Hampton police officer on the 22 May 1975, not everyone has the mindset to push past you into gunfire that attacks you no matter how hard you train.



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This fear can be overcome either through experience and/or good leadership, both of which were lacking at the school in Uvalde, Texas. Obviously, Arredondo was out of his depth. He may have been a good administrator, as most senior police officers are, but in my experience, real leaders in those ranks are non-existent in many agencies. It wasn’t until the Border Patrol unit arrived that they took matters into their own hands and took action.

Hopefully this is a wake-up call to every federal, state and local government that there is no room for “wake-ups”, nepotism, diversity quotas or political clawbacks when it comes to is to appoint a first responder supervisor.

Jim Fronkier, Hampton

Re “Gun safety” (Your Views, July 22): The author missed a key point. He suggests that we have enough gun laws. Instead of more laws, he suggests we should “lock them up and throw the key away the first time they commit a crime with a gun.”

Who will pay for this? It seems like the process would be, you commit a crime with a gun, the system locks you up and throws away the key, the US taxpayer covers your living expenses for all the years you’re imprisoned or possibly the rest of your life.

Not sure if this is the best solution.

Bob Powers, Chesapeake

Jose P. Rogers