Public servants or Caesar Augustus?
It saddens me to see that none of our commissioners are supporting the public the way they used to do. The commissioners run the county, but are supposed to support the will of the majority of voters.
No clearer picture of the will of the voters was painted than the July 20 Republican Primary Election. It was a case where just about everybody who was anybody in Fayette County endorsed the incumbent Commissioners.
Yet, a former mayor and a broadcasting executive new to government entered into the mix. Their platform of taking back Fayette County won enough public support to get both of them elected.
Their main issues were opening up government, stopping the West Bypass, and nixing mass transit. The folks in precincts in and surrounding the bypass area voted strongest for Brown and McCarty.
Commissioners Smith and Maxwell were at least candid enough to let the public know where they stood. They both came out strongly in favor of the West Bypass. They made no bones about supporting the road, but did little to justify their beliefs publicly.
Commissioners Hearn, Frady, and Horgan stayed out of the spotlight. They never went public with their actions until the last commissioners’ meeting.
There, all five of them retreated into executive session, where they solidified a united front. They voted unanimously to acquire the West Bypass land by seizure, if necessary.
Knowing all the time that forcing the road on people who had taken a stand against it might cost them their jobs, they still voted in favor of seizing property under eminent domain law.
This is a tactic not supported by previous commissioners. Commissioners are public employees, not Caesar Augustus or the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Past administrations have made some effort to find middle ground with the public where land was needed, thus avoiding such Gestapo-like tactics.
The West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition has notified Fayette County that it intends to file an injunction or stop-work order by an environmental law firm when the time is ripe.
If that happens, for the will of the people to prevail, the public will have to pay (from their taxes) for county attorneys going to court against the very group that supports them.
Commissioners Smith and Maxwell must have been hurt by their loss. Do you believe that ignoring the public who wanted them out is the answer?
Their actions would indicate that they are bound and determined to cast stumbling blocks in the path of Brown and McCarty, who have pledged to fight the bypass.
With the current commissioners in a five-man alliance, they are evidently figuring that the addition of Brown and McCarty will only mean a 3 to 2 vote, so present tactics will continue.
In the meantime, all they have to do is ignore all public opinion, criticism, and media publicity until they get a 404 Permit. That way, they hope to start work before Brown and McCarty are sworn in.
After all, when it comes to furthering the West Bypass, staying away from the public is the only thing that has worked for them before.
When they first introduced the West Bypass in an “open house” forum, most of the written public comments (87 of 112) were negative. It didn’t matter to them, though. They wanted the project to go through regardless of public opinion.
So with the voters unable to intercede, that leaves only the West Fayetteville Bypass Coalition to file its lawsuit.
Obviously, the stronger the WFBC becomes, the better it can fight for an injunction until Brown and McCarty can assume office.
In the meantime, Commissioners Hearn, Horgan and Frady need to hear plenty from the public. The West Bypass is beginning to smell pretty bad.
Fayette County, Ga.
[Editor’s note: The letter-writer has property that is affected by the potential condemnation proceedings.]