Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Opening Salvo

Though I will not be running for office, I fully intend to remain engaged in the doings of the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County and the Clarke County School District. To that end, consider this recent letter to the editor as my opening salvo in this year’s election cycle. To reiterate innumerable such letters and blog postings, the residents who live in the formerly unincorporated area of Clarke County have been treated like dirt by City Hall since city-county consolidation – and it is high time that they start raising Hell about it.

Which leads me to this. Given my political proclivities, it comes as no surprise that I am inclined to support Charlie Maddox for mayor of the Unified Government. Had there been any doubt whatsoever, though, it was allayed by this concerning last Saturday’s mayoral forum sponsored by Common Ground Athens, a self-styled “community resource center for groups and individuals working for progressive social change” (kind of tells you all you need to know right there, doesn’t it?):

Athens-Clarke officials should follow through on their 20-year-old promise to offer sewer service to the entire county, mayoral candidate Charlie Maddox said Saturday at a forum on environmental issues.

The Athens-Clarke Commission voted Tuesday to strip sewer line extensions in Northern Clarke County from a $91 million plan to upgrade the system. Alone among the five candidates, Maddox said it was the wrong decision.

"We need to go back and look at some of the promises that were made in that area," he said.

Damned right we need to go back and look at some of the promises that were made – in quite a few areas.

So, instead of talking honestly about real issues (yes, I realize just what may constitute “real issues” is subjective – but it is my blog), we will get treated to yet another election cycle steeped in the usual progressive shibboleths: more deletions from the Service Delivery Plan (the Charter be damned); TDRs (we have neither “sending” zones nor “receiving” zones because the development potential of the former has been gutted and any proposed density increase in the latter is fought tooth and nail by the NIMBYs and BANANAs); affordable housing (any lack of which we may have is due to its being zoned out of existence through ordinances that intentionally drive up the cost and regulatory burden of development); bike paths (on which hardly anyone rides); the hallowed Green Belt (which merely serves to drive development further out and results in people being in their cars more, not less, and transfers our sales tax dollars to neighboring counties); and assorted “green” this and “sustainable” that.

As I have written elsewhere, the core services that a local government is supposed to provide are but an afterthought here in Athens-Clarke County, especially for those folks living in the hinterland, though we seem to have plenty of money to placate progressive interest groups.

Sphere: Related Content

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think you make an effective contribution in re the ACC public schools particularly with regard to spending issues. As for ACC, proper, you seem to have it about right. You can, to an extent, drive the debate without being in a position to benefit, or take the heat that goes with actual elected office.

It was always, really, "about the money." We had only a temporary period when it seemed this wasn't so.

I guess it's the influence of SCNC-backers and principals who've shut-down development along Commerce Road while saying sewer line extensions would "harm" water quality?

Rather than preserving this greenspace, they've set aside a development treasure that'll end-up growing in a pell-mell fashion when the dam is breached. And it will be breached.

For now, septic systems require minimum lot sizes. This retards density and keeps low income, transient folks in either AHA or other apartments. Many exceptions, though, including the gang infested areas and "Little Mexicos" out Jefferson River Road and on North Bluff.

Lack of sewer for residents comes along with much cheaper water bills (excludes solid waste AND sewer). Perhaps the storm-water tax makes up some of the difference and is a really good deal for ACC since they have no storm drains in many of the areas they bill for the very same service. And no one says a word.