My latest op-ed appeared in The Virginian-Pilot Thursday. Tuesday’s presentation on the State of the Region gave me an opportunity to write about a couple of things that I think are important.
First, I’ve noticed economic terms being thrown around that a lot of folks seem to not understand. There is this presumption, for example, that everyone knows what “median household income” means. My conversations tell me that many don’t – and incorrectly assume it means average. So I took the opportunity to explain what it meant. I hope to do that with other such terms in future columns.
Second, there is this whole idea of Hampton Roads being a region – and what’s standing in our way. Someone told me that 50% of our local population turns over every 5 years. Even if that’s not quite true, I know there are a whole lot of folks who don’t understand why this area just can’t be one region, all working together. Bluntly, it’s a lack of leadership. Everyone wants their own little fiefdom.
And, of course, we’ve got people still upset about the creation of Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, an event that took place nearly 50 years ago.
One thing is certain: the fiefdoms won’t matter if defense dollars are cut. Neither will it matter that Norfolk and Portsmouth are land-locked since that night-time session of the legislature created Virginia Beach and Chesapeakin 1963 if the defense cuts come. We are all going to be hurting.
It would just make sense for the localities of Hampton Roads to work together. The buzzword a few years ago was “synergy,” meaning the sum is greater than its parts. Hampton Roads needs synergy – and soon.