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Mike Cross and "THE VOTE"

By Ken Harris
Posted Tuesday, February 22, 2005

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Here is the congratulatory letter I wrote to Mike Cross after the election. I actively supported and led the Wilkie Campaign but as noted Mike and I are neighbors and have worked together quite a bit in the past. Mike is a good man and made the right vote. Newland did everything asked of it by the county and more. Now the folks that kept wanting to change the rules as they went along are all riled against Mike. I now have more respet for Mike than ever for his vote was not bought. Based on the proposals brought by Newland as it compared to current county regulations he had to make that vote. I now find my letter to be quite prophetic.

Ken Harris

Mike,

If the results hold as they look now I wanted to write to congratulate you on your victory. Its an uphill battle for Republicans in Chatham and your machine had a bit more horsepower than ours. I also wanted to let you know that my working for Andy in no way reflected any animosity towards you. It was in no way personal. Simply put I believed and still believe Andy has great ideas for the county and has studied the workings of our local government like no other. I also firmly believe that Jeffrey Starkweather and groups like the CCEC and the Coalition put up benign fronts laced with friendly language and overly simplified explanations of their stance which are far more centrist than their leftist tradition. I also firmly believe their "We want growth but good growth" posture is only a front. I believe they will try to stall each and every development (residential or commercial) under the guise of "study and making sure each is a well thought out plan concerning economic and environmental impact". I firmly believe these stalling tactics are designed to frustrate development to the point of it going away as the cost of excessive study and the delays will make the said development no longer profitable to pursue. I also feel these tactics will eventually cause the tax burden to fall on my (and your) back as a lifelong resident and home owner of Chatham as our tax base cannot and will not grow under such policies. I also fear groups like the CCEC and the Coalition will overtly maintain a presence in the Commissioners Chambers as they will attempt to sway your votes to their ideology based upon their tremendous financial and groundwork support for your campaign. I also fear that the first time you vote against one of these group's causes you will quickly be staring down the throat of the monster created to get you elected. Having stated my concerns I also understand a noted military commander and community leader has more of "it" inside than to be pinned down by special interests. You have told me so and I believe you. I am glad that you want the county to entertain comment from advisory councils. Just please do not be beholding to them.

I look forward to seeing you on the Board of Commissioners and these congatulations are sincere. When I decided not to run it was because A) Andy had paid his dues with the local Republican Party as well as his tireless study of the county government far more than me and B) when you decided to run I was acually excited that two good men would be before us on election day. Then I saw fundraisers at Shakori Hills, Jeffrey Starkweather, CCEC, the Coalition, Gary Phillips offering prayers and opening statements at events set up to benefit your campaign, the vitriol cast by these groups towards good companies with good plans. Then I think back to some of those same folks and moratoriums on cell phone towers, hog farms, poultry operations building houses 1500 ft from a residence, 5 acre lots, the Pollard/Phillps/Horne secret meetings on the dump, my property taxes DOUBLING, etc. etc. and just could not figure out how you figured in. I hope it was because you just had more foresight on where to hitch your wagon with the ends justifying the means.

In the meantime I wish you well as you prepare for your term. I have all the confidence in your abilities and in spite of my working for the competition you are far and away better suited than the commissioner that vacated this position. Everyone who has asked me my opinion of you throughout this campaign has received the same answer; "Mike Cross is a good man. He served his country in Vietnam. He is my neighbor and we worked together to fight the dump as members and fellow Chairmen of the SECCAC. I simply cannot be associated with those supporting him in the campaign." And then I would get on my stump against the Coalition and my opinions of their bringing growth in Chatham to a screeching halt and in turn its effect on the common man's pocketbook. I still think the truth about them will come out. Their just better activists.

Good luck. Congatulations. I look forward to seeing your votes. If you would like to discuss anything please call as I would like to get a better feel for your direction as you get things started.

Ken Harris

 
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