Brown: We should not trust gov’t.
Conflict avoidance is something we should not be teaching our children. Trusting government is also something we should warn our children not to do.
We are at a point where we are forced to engage the public conscience to argue for what we believe in lest we lose it all.
By conflict I do not mean physical struggles or war. Rather, I am referring to ideological argument and public deliberation over how to preserve our liberty and independence as individuals and as a community.
Many of our local citizens used meaningful political and ideological conflict in a healthy way to build the opposition for the Transportation Investment Act (also known as T-SPLOST) referendum last summer.
By the time the votes were cast, over 70 percent of the voters in our county turned the referendum down. We kept our independence and defeated regional taxation and loss of local control.
Conflict is necessary for effective problem solving and for effective development. We are a country largely built on ideological stands that have, for the most part, survived the tests of time.
It is incredibly disappointing that we send our children to university campuses that literally clamp down on free speech. Our children leave these campuses years later with a constricted point of view, devoid of openness and debate.
At Valdosta State University, student Hayden Barnes spoke out in 2007 regarding his displeasure of a decision made by university president Ronald Zaccari to build more parking decks. Instead of taking on Mr. Barnes in the public forum and allowing students to deliberate the merits of each side, President Zaccari manufactured a way to throw Mr. Barnes out of the university without any due process.
Mr. Barnes filed a lawsuit and this year a federal grand jury found President Zaccari guilty of violating Mr. Barnes’ First Amendment rights. We, the taxpayers of Georgia, are now paying the $50,000 in compensatory damages, President Zaccari’s (who retired) legal fees and Mr. Barnes’ legal fees.
Think about how many students choose to give up their freedom with the damage resulting in a loss of values and a view that government is our warden, being taught their ideas and beliefs are inferior. We fund that damage with our tax dollars!
Your Fayette County Board of Commissioners recently sent an official request to the regional government to be removed from the confines of the Concept 3 regional mass transit plan. The Board does not believe we should be told what we can do in our county.
The board also sent our legislative delegation a resolution asking that we preserve “home-rule” (or self-government) as cited in the Georgia Constitution.
It was sad to see Fulton County’s legislative delegation attempting to micromanage their county government through local legislation. The delegation’s Republican majority decided to leave their conservative principles at the door of the Gold Dome and wreak havoc in the state’s largest county, abandoning home rule.
The Board of Commissioners also sent a resolution asking for meaningful ethics reform at the state level. Unfortunately, the citizens of our state got more special interest garbage.
Locally, the Fayette County Republican Party has been dominated by a small cabal comprised of the Watts Family, former county politicians Greg Dunn and Peter Pfeifer as well as former mayor Harold Logsdon.
Lane and Marilyn Watts ruled things with an iron fist, but the locals got tired of it all and overwhelmingly voted the mob out at the county convention. There is a complaint pending with the District Attorney against Mr. Watts originating from the county’s Board of Elections and Voter Registration.
We are already beginning to see people coming back to the local Republican Party and the new leadership is open, transparent and inclusive.
I am proud to be part of a movement that actually stands for something. I hope you will consider becoming active as well. Our liberty is worth protecting.
Remember what Alexander Hamilton said, “He who stands for nothing will fall for anything.”
Steve Brown, Chairman
Fayette County Board of Commissioners
Peachtree City, Ga.