The title alludes to the full problem here, and it speaks to what may well be called the final straw. Why did the council vote against the people?
For those not already fully familiar, I will write a brief summary, and include the detailed information in attachments for convenience, both to myself and to the reader.
In 1971, a tract of land was designated as a memorial forest and named in honor of two veterans of the Second world War. It was indicated that this designation would be permanent.
This tract of land is adjacent to good roads, and has good public access, but it is also adjacent to the property owned by an individual who is not a resident of this county. This individual would like to add this land to his own, and has offered a different tract of land, which apparently he has not yet purchased, as an exchange. Unfortunately, even though a few claim that this land has easy access, most who have seen it have disagreed.
There is also the fact that most people in this county do not believe that it is right to move a memorial forest for the sake of one individual’s desire than it would be to move a grave marker for convenience’s sake. It is nearly the universal opinion that to do either would clearly be morally wrong, and be a gross disrespect to the person remembered.
There are two primary problems here. First, a disrespect for the memories of fallen veterans combined with a desire to please a person who is not even a resident. These priorities are backwards, unless there is something to be gained by supporting this individual’s want for this land. Second, there is the fact that some on the council feel as if they are justified in approving something such as this against the overwhelming opposition of the people. I got the distinct impression, both from their statements in the meeting and from their e-mails, that they actually feel that their job is to rule the county rather than represent the will and desires of the people. This goes against every concept of liberty upon which our society is supposed to be based.
During this week’s hearing, the room was filled with over a hundred people, mostly veterans, who were unanimous in their opposition to this exchange, and many of whom spoke at the podium. In spite of this, certain members of the board were so insistent in their determination to go through with this exchange, that at one point the veterans were spoken to as if they were errant children who had to be reminded that they did not understand the situation and that they should listen to those who were telling them what was good for them. It was disgusting. I will not repeat some of the terms I heard later as descriptions of those particular members.
There are only a few possibilities which I can see to explain the intentional and blatant disregard for the will of the people, and none of them bode well for the condition of our county government.
Do they have such an elitist mindset that they firmly believe that their wisdom is so supreme that they, and they alone, are qualified to make our decisions? Do they believe that their opinions are so insurmountably correct? If so, do they also believe that we are so insignificant that our opinions and desires hold no weight? If this is the case, they must be voted out of office at the earliest opportunity to minimize the damage they can do, and because this mindset would automatically disqualify them from being a fair representative of the people.
Are they so inept and blind to the consequences of what they do that they really do not understand the situation? In this case, they should never again receive a vote for public office, as they are incompetent.
Or perhaps one or more of them will receive some unknown benefit as a result of their support for this unpopular exchange. Whether true or not, this question is completely relevant, and is right and proper to ask. In fact, if we are to consider ourselves responsible citizens, we are obligated to ask this question, and to demand an answer. If an official is found to have benefited from, or received the promise of future benefit, then not only should they be removed from office, but they should be vigorously prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.