Quick, name the biggest obstacle between Hampton Roads and greatness.
This year, the answer might be an inept General Assembly at war with itself. But usually, year in and year out, the greatest obstacle is the common misconception that Hampton Roads remains a beer-and-hamburger area with sailors sprawled on the lawns — nothing more.
Low expectations are germs that spread like the flu, says James Eason, president and chief executive officer of the Hampton Roads Partnership, a think tank seeking to help the region move forward.
As a kind of vaccination against negative thinking, Eason lists several reasons to believe that Hampton Roads is poised for greatness:
Those are just some of Eason's items.
He subscribes to a theory propounded in the book "Tipping Point" that change — for better or worse — happens not gradually but at one dramatic moment, the tipping point.
This region may be poised to tip into greatness, or certainly a higher level of prosperity, but two missing pieces are adequate state support for transportation and higher education, especially investments needed to promote research.
Without those two pieces, the region could one day tip the wrong way, and the state legislators who maintain that Virginia cannot afford public investments for the future will never understand that the region, with all of its natural advantages, should have done far better.
Submitted: Tuesday, April 27, 2004 - 12:00am