Cops and Robbers

“If the port staff doesn’t have enough to do, why not fire them and hire a few more cops?”

Those are the words of a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind … Richmond City Councilman Tom Butt. His remark came as a result of the efforts being made by the Port of Richmond to acquire and transform a secluded wetland into a new container port, but he was also delivering another message because a lot of folks have been wondering just what it is that port officials are supposed to be doing. In almost every port locale strong efforts are being made by these authorities to acquire as much waterfront acreage as possible in order to expand. Richmond is no exception and, typically, little else seems to be on their plates.

“Every hour and every dollar that our staff spends on this, they’re not solving Richmond’s immediate issues,” Councilman Butt said. He and others are concerned about the actions of the port officials, because instead of striving to make do with what they have, those officials are looking to burden Virginia taxpayers with the cost of developing an additional port. From scratch. It’ll take a cool billion or more for the endeavor … [that’s “billions” with a “b”] …but, c’est la guerre.

In spite of the fact that the idea is being called a “fantasy” that would wreak environmental havoc on an area already plagued by some of the highest pollution levels in the region, the officials’ sale pitch is as follows:
• The new port would bring up to 10,000 new jobs and millions in revenue to the struggling city, they say. [That’s “millions” … with an “m”.]
• By transforming the wetlands into a port for container ships, port officials could hope to land a share of the booming West Coast shipping business.
• The executive director is on record as stating that, “We’re looking at new business after we bring in a few more accounts. But if we’re going to continue to expand, we need to acquire more land.”

We intend to contact Councilman Butt and tell him about our patented container storage and retrieval system. Our sales pitch will be as follows:
• Retrofitting our system within the present boundaries of the Port of Richmond will bring in more than 10,000 new jobs and billions, not just millions, in revenue to the struggling city.
• “Expansion” of the port will be guaranteed without disturbing those secluded wetlands, and a large share of the booming West Coast shipping business will readily be attracted to our cost-efficient operation.
• The port director should do his homework. [This website would be a good starting point.]
• Instead of forcing the taxpayers to ante-up the billion or so for the construction of a new port, our firm will foot the modest cost of upgrading the port’s outdated operations.
• We can handle ten times the port’s present volume without acquiring even a single square foot of additional acreage.

Hiring “a few more cops” may not be a bad idea after all.