To the editor:
On November 19, the Confederate Memorial statue was taken down in the middle of the night. There are passions on both sides of that action. Many who wanted the statue to remain as a …
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To the editor:
On November 19, the Confederate Memorial statue was taken down in the middle of the night. There are passions on both sides of that action. Many who wanted the statue to remain as a historical artifact blame one faction of protesters for the unrest. Many who wanted it taken away from the courthouse blame their opposing protesters.
I would like to focus first on the people who I think are primarily responsible for opening this hornet’s nest: the four Democrat County Commissioners who voted to remove the statue and went through all the legal motions to make it happen.
They would tell you that what they did was the legitimate end of a government and legal process, and after one gets done splitting all the legal hairs that a friendly judicial environment afforded them, they might be right.
My focus is not about the legitimacy of that process, even if I think it is arguable. It is about the arrogant and ham-handed manner in which they went about doing it. Enough people lined up to object to their proposal in person and more by petition to inform the Commissioners that they didn’t have the support in the county to justify taking it down. They asked for and were given other options to consider. If they chose to place another statue at the courthouse that more directly reflected the views of those who wanted the original statue removed, but left the soldier alongside as a compromise, they might have had enough support to avoid most of this unrest.
This style of governance is reflecting itself in other ways as we speak. They raised property tax valuations last year, knowing full well that the home assessments that were done afterward would increase property values that, in combination with the valuation, would likely increase the average resident’s property taxes by something approaching 10 percent.
Now they are proposing a sales tax increase, to be voted on not next November, but during the primary ballots in March 2020. One of the effects of this is that there will be a lower voter turnout, making it will be easier for them to get a winning majority.
They do all this in a fashion similar to the countywide zoning ordinance they passed — let the objectors line up, listen to their concerns and complaints, and then as soon as the last one is done talking, vote on what they planned all along. This is government by arrogance.
Three seats are up for election in November 2020. Andy Wilkie, the lone Republican on the County Board of Commissioners, is the only one on that board who is speaking up against any of this. He was the only vote to leave the courthouse statue in place.
I respect Commissioners [James] Crawford and [Mike] Dasher, but I think they govern by listening only to people who agree with them. I also think that their passion on the statue issue has lent them the political sensibilities of a urinal mint. Voting to re-elect Mike Dasher in 2020 may ensure you that if you get on his bad side, he will forget about his own requests for public civility, and have him refer to you and yours as a “bunch of d**ks,” as he did recently with some of the protesters.
Vote Republican next year for County Commissioner. Aside from a four-year hiatus from 2010-2014, Democrats have run everything in Chatham County government since Reconstruction, which seems to give them a sense of entitlement to power. Let’s be governed by people who will listen to everybody, even those who disagree with them.