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You are here: home > opinion > in my opinion

Unleashing uncontrolled urbanization into Chatham county

By C. E. Bollinger
Posted Monday, November 21, 2005

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Tonight you are set to open wide the gates to the Netherworld by unleashing uncontrolled urbanization into our county. I know that some of you, at least, genuinely think you're helping us, but you're wrong. You would know this if you were willing to actually listen to the well-qualified expert citizens of the county who have been presenting you with reasoned arguments and thorough documentation for years and years. But you don't listen.

Mr. Emerson, when you came on to the BOC, your paternalistic attitude did not surprise me. You're an older gentleman and long-time resident of the county. When I voted for you, I imagined that you would bring a careful eye and a skeptical ear to the Board. Knowing how you value the county where you have lived so long, I expected that your paternalistic attitude would make you inclined to protect what you love. As I'm sure you know, sir, sometimes a good parent must say no to protect his children from foolish acts. If ever there was such a time, Mr. Emerson, this is it. If you approve tonight's zoning changes, you are opening the doors to strangers who do not have the best interests of your children, the citizens of Chatham county, in their hearts. In fact, your approval of these changes tonight is a clear signal that you have decided to abandon your responsiblity to your county. You will have forsaken the preservation of our water resources by failing to protect them, in essence, poisoning the long-term health and future of the citizens you swore to help. You've heard all the arguments, and you'll hear them again tonight. This time, I beg you sir, listen to your conscience, not the voices of wannabe big shots trying to prove how influential they are to Outside Money.

Mr. Outz, can you even begin to understand how disappointed I am in you? I do not understand how you can justify in your mind the complete reversal of opinion reflected by your recent voting record. Sir, you strike me as a man who is too tired to fight anymore, too tired to think carefully anymore. I fear you've found it easier to allow others to do your thinking for you. It's the only explanation I can devise for your abandonment of our county. I am begging you, Mr. Outz, open your mind to the testimony you hear tonight. Forget what any others have told you. Listen, truly listen, to the voices of the people you represent. Doctors take an oath to "first, do no harm," and tonight, I am begging you to follow that philosophy. After listening to tonight's testimony, think long and hard before casting that yes vote that most folks think you're automatically going to cast. First, Mr. Outz, do no harm. In this case, that means saying no tonight to the proposed changes. Things are moving way too fast Mr. Outz. We can revisit these issues later. Be sure you understand the full ramifications of your vote tonight, Mr. Outz. A no vote doesn't mean forever no. Do no harm tonight, Mr. Outz.

Mr. Cross, I respect your obvious desire to serve as a bridge between the forces of urbanization and the proponents of slow growth. It's commendable, really. But, sir, I think you've allowed yourself to be bent too far onto the side of the purveyors of pollution, concrete, and traffic. You know full well that the proponents of slow growth had a lot to do with getting you elected. We expected you to lean toward our interests. We expected you, above all, to be fair. Tonight, sir, you have a chance to demonstrate evenhandedness by not allowing these critical decisions to be rushed through. You are an intelligent, experienced man. You understand long-term consequences. I implore you, sir, to listen to the well-qualified citizens who testify tonight on behalf of caution. Eliminating public hearings doesn't help the citizens of Chatham county, Mr. Cross. It streamlines urbanization, not representation. And isn't representation why you're on the Board? Please, sir, stand up for Chatham county tonight.

Mr. Barnes, may I first suggest that you bring your own tape recorder to all meetings from now on? Seriously, it seems the only prudent way to protect your good name. Thank you for doing your best to stand up to the powerful forces doing their best to squash you flat. Please know that those of us who voted for you are still absolutely behind you, and we're counting on you tonight to vote your conscience, regardless of the fabrications and pressures that may be thrown your way. We're with you, sir. Don't let us down. Protect our county.

Mr. Morgan, I'm not going to waste my time reasoning with you. As a newcomer with no genuine attachment to our county, your position is abundantly clear. I know you fancy yourself quite the bigshot, a self-made man with no more than a high school education. Perhaps hobnobbing with the bigshot urbanizers from California and elsewhere serves to reinforce your high opinion of yourself. I suggest that you consider the possiblity that, when you're not in the room, you're the punchline of the jokes the urbanizers tell among themselves. I pray for you, Mr. Morgan. I pray that light will penetrate some tiny portion of your hardened heart, that you'll come to appreciate the beauty you're destroying so enthusiastically, that you'll start to care about the future generations whose water you're poisoning. I pray, but I know some miracles are just too much to ask for.

Gentlemen, I ask you, what is your hurry? Who is breathing down your necks to make all these changes so quickly? Is it the citizens of Chatham county? Or is it the urbanizers, those who come from elsewhere, harvest every dollar they can without regard to future costs, then return to the Darkness from whence they came? One last time, I am begging you to do no further harm. You are moving too fast. You haven't even had time to see the consequences of the urbanization you've approved so far. Please, sirs, take a breath, don't implement any more pro-urbanization changes for, say, six months. Then go out and inspect what's going on at all the sites you've approved so far. If you care about Chatham county, your course after that will be obvious.

 
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