Saturday, August 11, 2007

I can’t keep up…

You’re probably wondering why so many of my blogs are focusing on the Fayette County Commission… or maybe you’re just reading and not thinking that at all! Either way I’m gonna ‘splain…

My number one focus when working on the Fayette Front Page is to try to do my small part to make our wonderful county just a little bit better. Or at least try to help keep it the way it is. I love this county. I want to stay here, retire here, spend my last days here.

I’m a Georgia native. However, we were military (Air Force) and a few months after birth we moved to California, then England, then back to the states. I lived in Savannah, then moved to East Point and then to Morrow where I graduated from High School. I watched what happened to East Point. I watched what happened to Morrow. My grandparents moved from Ben Hill to Tyrone. I saw what happened to their old neighborhood and county.

I married, moved to North Carolina and then New York. When I divorced, I came home to Morrow. Long story, but around 25 years ago I moved to Fayette County. My son went to grade school, middle school and high school here. I drove Highway 74 to Atlanta when it was a two lane, and later a four lane. I used to hate getting stuck behind the guy on the tractor who’d chug along most mornings with a long line of cars behind him. On more than one occasion I sat waiting not so very patiently in the car while someone tried to figure out how to get the escaped cow to get up from the middle of the road so the growing backup of vehicles could get moving.

I’ve watched as Hwy. 74 changed and changes in almost the same way as Old National changed many years back.

I’ve watched the county change over the years. Many good changes. Some not so good. We’ve been very, very lucky to have, for the most part, Commissioners in office who have given much of their talents to keeping the county on the right track. I told my husband many times that I felt like he and his fellow commissioners were like the little Dutch boy who put his finger in the dyke to hold back the water. Keeping the land use plan intact and making sure not to give an inch so developers wouldn’t take a mile. Having a strong sign ordinance that allowed businesses to advertise yet kept us from looking like some of the other sign-heavy counties. Planning for the future, putting money aside, building water reservoirs and so on and so on.

Lots of strong fingers are needed to keep the water from rushing through many holes. It takes a lot more than most think to protect the treasure that is Fayette County.

Being a Commissioner is often being like Solomon in the Bible. Hard choices, some right on both sides in many cases and sometimes some wrong on both sides. The one thing that should always, always be in the forefront of a Commissioner’s mind with every decision they make is the wellbeing of the taxpayers and citizens of the county they are serving.

Their purpose is not to compromise their values to accommodate other commissioners or constitutional officers. Their purpose is not to take care of their own political future. Their job is not to take care of their buddies. Sometimes their job is not to push the agenda they like at the expense of what is right for the county. Their job is not to act out personal vendettas. Their job is not to feather their own nest or that of their friends.

Their job is to safeguard the future of the county and to take care of the citizens (all of them, not just a select few). They need to be able to see the big picture and to see what the repercussions of their current actions will be 5, 10 and fifty years in the future. They need to be able to set aside the influence of their friends.

This Commission is raising taxes. This Commission is making what I feel are some serious, serious mistakes that are and will detrimentally affect the future of the county. This Commission is on the verge of messing up so badly a new group of Commissioner won’t be able to fix the mess. I’m seeing shades of East Point, Clayton County, and Ben Hill.

I tried to cut them some slack. They were new for the most part. Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the election results (to say the least!), I still felt like there was a good chance this Commission would act in the best interests of the citizens. I knew up front they were going to make a few decisions I wouldn’t like. However, after sitting through meeting after meeting and seeing the Commissions in action it’s clear I was wrong.

I’ve had a problem from day one with the way the Commissioners aren’t disclosing things to the public that should be disclosed. I don’t like sneaky. You don’t hide in the dark if you’re doing what is right. Not putting issues on the agenda, voting on things when not all of the Commissioners have been informed, popping up with issues without public notification are not just wrong, they are horribly wrong. It’s shady, sneaky and deceitful. It’s breaking the public trust.

You can go back and read some of my blogs and read some of the articles on the Fayette Front Page for a limited chronicle of votes. Very limited. I could write all day, every day and not keep up with all the things that the public, that you the taxpayer, need to know about the actions of this County Commission. You need to be watching. You need to get involved. It’s your future, it’s your county. It’s worth an hour or two a month to safeguard your home.

“A shocking crime was committed on the unscrupulous initiative of few individuals, with the blessing of more, and amid the passive acquiescence of all.” - Tacitus

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