By Tommy Smigiel
Norfolk government managed to stay out of the headlines this past week for controversial matters. It was nice to read a positive story this weekend. I was happy to hear that the Jacoby Development Group finalized plans for the old Ford Motor Company plant and announced that a Belgian logistics company will bring over 225 jobs back to Norfolk. This was a needed boost for Norfolk’s economy and I hope to hear more announcements this year for that location including some green energy jobs.
A friend recently sent me a link to an article titled How to Save Dying Cities. The article introduces a new book by Harvard economist Edward Glaeser called Triumph of the City. The subheadline of the article caught my attention: They don’t need light rail, downtown stadiums, or flashy new museums. They need smart people. The book discusses how successful cities have invested in human capital. Read the article and let me know what you think. I might even purchase the book and try to find some time to read it.
Last week the city council meeting was cancelled, so this week brings a packed agenda with 16 regular items. I didn’t see anything on the agenda that needed additional attention. Click the informal meeting agenda link below to see what will be coming up on next week’s formal agenda. Remember, the City Manager’s office now gives council presentations on the big items one week before we vote on them formally.
I am expecting that council will be discussing redistricting for Wards and Superwards at an upcoming meeting. My preliminary numbers using census track data from the Virginian-Pilot and vpap.org shows that Ward 5 (the Ward I represent), will be short approximately 5,000 people of the 48,500 people per ward divide. This is the largest gap for any of the Wards. Ward 1, represented by Councilman Andy Protogyrou, gained significant numbers because of military population growth. Ward 2, represented by Councilwoman Theresa Whibley, gained population because of growth downtown. Looks like Ward 5 will be expanding west. I’ll keep you updated as more accurate numbers are released.