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As Long as We Remember...

January 12, 2007

Will Bulldozers Be The Sound of Spring?

Edward Lulie III

Happy New Year everyone! In particular my best regards and deepest sympathies go out to all five of our newly elected county commissioners. They will now face the tough issues left moldering on their desks by the prior board.

The old board operated under a banner, WE LOVE SPRAWL. Well the banner may have been ripped down (and then those scattered pieces were lovingly recovered and stitched back together by Roy Meachum and Blaine Young in the dark of night). Yet the legacy of that banner is still to come.

In case you didn't know there is a ton of development already approved, thanks to the "Real Republicans" that were soundly rejected in November.

The buzzing of bees and chirping of birds may be hard to hear this spring as the tranquil sounds of chainsaws, bulldozers and heavy equipment arrives to start our annual ritual of renewal as they knock down trees, tear up meadows and cement over those ugly fields of flowers and grass.

Yep, that old tired green of nature will be torn down so that folding green may be produced to line some pockets with cash.

"No" you say? The Developer's Dream team lost! How can it be that the construction will continue?

The answer is that the legacy left to us by the last Board of County Commissioners is a flood of approved new development coming in the near future. Thanks be to the Good Old Boys for helping rip down those nasty old forests and fields so that we can have miles of bright new townhouses lining the roadside instead.

And how will voters react when they watch the new sprawl being built? Tears of happiness and joy for all of those extra minutes spent in religious contemplation while stuck in gridlock?

Will crowds of delighted voters march over to Winchester Hall to thank the commissioners for the school overcrowding and vanishing quality of life? Hmmm, you think not, eh?

Now you will have what is loosely termed a "political opportunity;" you will have angry voters and what could be easily - but falsely - labeled as a broken promise by the new commissioners to stop the sprawl. To take advantage of this political opportunity, you would have to have two things;

1. A total lack of ethics. I'll leave that determination to you but remind you that the people who have condemned members of the new commissioners as demagogues are the very same ones that use words like "Nazi" and compare their opponent's actions to those of Adolph Hitler. Apparently anyone who disparages the noble and selfless developer must be considered as the vilest of human beings according to the Good Old Boys.

Okay, so part one is a no brainer. How about Part 2?

2. The ability to hear and understand the public's disgust with overcrowded roads, outdated schools and unrelenting new growth.

Well, Part 2 is just impossible for the Good Old Boys because they can not hear the public's disgust as anything but unfocused grumbling and a failure to appreciate the county's aristocracy. They are completely tone deaf to the sound of public outrage over growth and demonstrated this conclusively in the fall election.

Why? Because they don't see it as being something other than wonderful in their world view. Sprawl is money in the bank, blissful profit making progress.

Sprawl just describes a natural state of man where the aristocracy - the Good Old Boys and developers - exploit the resources of their heritage for fun and profit. It is simply business as usual. They love doing business as usual.

Thus for them to attack the new board they would have to first understand that the average voter hates sprawl. They don't have a clue about that. They view the defeat of the last board as a combination of just bad luck and a vicious smear campaign. Their loss had nothing to do with issues or their stand on growth. So, it is unlikely they will hear voters disgust as anything but an echo of their own mournful complaints that even more growth isn't happening.

Still, all that new growth is not inevitable, not yet. I trust that the new Board of County Commissioners may find ways to stop many of the inappropriate projects already approved.

One simple tactic might be to review the issue of water. We really don't have enough to support what is already here, let alone the demands created by even more growth. Luckily, for the legal side, that one issue can trump all the detrimental reliance arguments made by developers. The commissioners would be wise to consult numerous legal sources before deciding what course to take.

It isn't fair that the task of cleaning up the mess left by the old commissioners is the first challenge of the new board. Yet their success will be determined by how they deal with these issues.

Tough decisions will not get easier as the year goes by; yet the fact that the new board members can be civil, even cordial, in their dealings with each other will create an environment where even difficult tasks become achievable.

So, maybe the green of spring might yet remain for us to enjoy instead of becoming a rolled up wad of cash in some developer's pocket. You can guess what the Good Old Boys want to see happen.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
The Covert Letter

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