Thursday, November 15, 2007

I Like Bob Smith (and this is why)

State Representative Bob Smith of Watkinsville was quoted in today’s Banner-Herald, asking that the Unified Government’s total outdoor watering ban be modified so as to allow weekly watering of outdoor plants by hand for the expressed purpose of helping to keep the local green industry in business.

Though he mostly represents Oconee County, Smith’s District 113 includes all or portions of Athens-Clarke County precincts 1A, 1C, 1D, 6A, and 6C. Prior to the most recent House redistricting, precinct 1B (where I live) was in his district as well. Given that the green industry, in the form of nurseries and container growing, is a major factor in Smith’s district, especially in eastern Clarke County, I think that it is well within his purview to comment on local government actions that affect the residents and businesses located there. Fair enough - reasonable people can disagree over the desirability of any given policy.

Predictably, though, the ink on the newspaper was barely dry before the long knives came out all across the Athens area blogosphere. The problem with Smith is not that he tries to mandate how everyone else lives. Quite the contrary; the local left denigrates him precisely because Smith routinely admonishes the Unified Government not to engage in that very practice. And he represents many of the residents of Athens-Clarke County just as much as do the Mayor and Commissioners.

The real problem with Smith is that he has the temerity to say “NO” to our local politicians and their never-ending quests for more government and higher taxes. Through his position as a member of Athens-Clarke County’s legislative delegation in the General Assembly, he can periodically throw a wrench into the works – sometimes doing so with demonstrable glee. That is why I like him (in the political sense; I have known him for years and think that he is a good guy personally as well).

Smith’s supposed interference with local control irks the folks down at City Hall and their activist/progressive backers to no end. To them, though, "local control" seems to be nothing more than a euphemism for the continuing expansion of ordinances, restrictions, and fees concerning the homes, businesses, families, and now even the pets, of the county’s residents – and damn the costs in terms of our money or our freedoms.

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Anonymous said...

As a green follower of local politics,( in both senses of the word. I'm from the green industry and new to political blogs.) please point me in the direction of some of the attacks on Smith following his remarks. I would be interested to see how they are justified. Thanks.

james said...

Here you go:
Lil’ hobby (15 November)
Who is he to tell Athens what to do? (15 November)
Couple of things (15 November)
Misguided defenses (19 November)
Smith, Broun embarrass Oconee again (15 November)