The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

December 3, 2012

These are the ‘Days of Richfield’

Sunday, December 2, 2012 — There is a rather common phrase used in these parts that is defined as an argument between two parties that just goes back and forth and never gets resolved.

It is a phrase so common that I doubt it would come off as offensive to anyone who has been raised around here, but proper decorum prevents me from using it in a family publication.

Let’s just say it involves a distance contest using a certain substance.

However, it is a phrase that comes to mind thinking about the give and take, push and pull between the honorable mayor of Richfield and the honorable members of the city commission.

That may seem cynical addressing them that way, but I mean that.

I have not seen nor heard or had anything but cordial conversations with all of these elected officials and I do have a respect for anyone that takes the responsibility of an elected office.

I’ve not been here long and am not totally familiar with all of the history behind this stomach bumping between the mayor and the commission.

All I do know is it apparently isn’t new and has been going on for sometime.

As a reporter, I have to admit it borders on fun watching the back-and-forth between the two parties.

And, there’s no denying that when an argument in Richfield hits our front page, people are interested and it sells papers.

It’s sort of like when you slow down as you pass a car wreck.

But, when I called a professor of municipal law at the University of North Carolina to get her opinion of the commission’s recent actions and her first reaction was to laugh, it was a wake-up call.

It should be one for the elected officials of Richfield.

It is not my job to offer an opinion when I cover a story, only the facts, and I believe I and the other reporters that have covered their meetings have done that fairly and accurately.

But, my observation of the situation is that maybe those officials aren’t reading between the lines.

The old saying is, “Perception is reality.”

That perception is these people just don’t like each other. It’s not that they agree or disagree on strongly held views, it’s the perception they simply don’t like each other for some obscure reason.

I can’t prove it one way or another, but it sure feels that way.

The unfortunate thing for them is they are the ones who their fellow citizens elected to run their city.

They voted for them not caring if any of them liked any of the others. They elected them as a body of officers to carry out the important duties involved with running a town.

It was not an audition for “Days of Our Lives.” But, the perception once again is that not only are they acting the parts, they are writing an entertaining script.

It is a script that could destroy a very nice town.

Again, I have no personal animosity toward any of these officials and I hope they like and respect me.

But, I’ve been observing governmental bodies such as theirs for more than three decades and, while I have seen politics at play, I have never seen it like this.

Let me focus on School Street and some facts as I understand them by truth and logic.

First, this is not an “end of the world” matter for the town commission.

The town will not go under should School Street not receive the attention the mayor feels it deserves.

There are other streets within the city that, if it’s anything like any other town, needs work as bad or worse than School Street.

Second, the commissioners say they want to be conservative with the funds.

Good for them.

That is part of their job to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and to prioritize the needs of the town to ensure the residents’ good standard of living.

Third, a road being used mainly as a route for school children to be transported to their classes for nine months a year is a road that should be maintained to a superior standard by someone.

That is caused not just by volume of traffic, but also the heavy use by large vehicles such as delivery trucks as well as school buses.

Fourth, the town has a former educator as a mayor.

His passion to take care of a school would naturally be a strong one.

He has also expressed fears that if the town does not show a concern for the school, with the county system having its current restructuring insecurities, Richfield School could be closed.

Maybe, maybe not. But, it seems like a reasonable concern to be taken into consideration.

As many in this county already know, it can be a traumatic thing to lose a community school.

However, the commission’s decision not to pave the street should not infer they do not support the school. In fact, it appears they very much support the school.

It is simply they have a different point of view about the road, its condition and who should be responsible.

Fifth, this is a very small thing to make such a big deal over.

The cost is really very minimal compared to other items on the town budget.

It isn’t inconceivable to think that the 70 feet of paving would cost as much as what was spent on “Party in the Park.”

Sixth, while not taking sides, the mayor upped everyone by taking on this reporter’s challenge.

I told him it was time to stop yelling and start producing proof on paper the street is the city’s responsibility.

Much to his credit, he did that.

His evidence that it is the city’s responsibility outweighs the evidence, or lack of evidence, presented from the opposing view.

That’s just a fact.

So, here is a neutral person’s advice directly to both the mayor and commissioners offered with only the best of intentions, although I’m going to be as subtle as a hose of cold water hitting the cats under the porch.

You guys need to stop this.

One side may say it’s because of the action of the other. But, the reaction can be just as bad and it’s bad manners to point fingers.

Why don’t you just fix the road and be done with it or negotiate a time frame in which to get it done?

It’s not going to cost that much and the next time it needs it, you’ll probably be out of office or “in a better place.”

And, once you’ve done that, have a private meeting. That’s not something you hear from a reporter often.

Go where you can have a big country dinner, relax and talk openly and contructively about your differences and how you can resolve them so you can work better together.

I’ve always found a big plate of fried chicken and mashed potatoes can soothe over any problem.

While it may be rude to read at the table, look up the word “compromise” betw-een the chicken and the chocolate pie. I think it might help a great deal.

Because, if you don’t do something to make amends of some sort, it won’t matter who is right or who thinks they’re right, you will all come off looking like something that is really worth laughing at.

And, that will be everyone’s fault and Richfield’s loss.

 

1
Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • D.G. Martin Read others’ views to be better informed, decide for yourself

    “I don’t read The Washington Post. That is not where I get my ideas.”

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Patrick Gannon This isn’t medical marijuana

    As state legislators debated allowing the use of an extract from marijuana plants to treat seizure disorders over the past couple of weeks, it was evident that social conservatives – there are many of them in the General Assembly – felt a tinge of unease about it, even as almost every one of them voted yes.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Friends and contentment

    Last week I made my annual trip up the mountain to Sparta. My friends have a secluded home near a babbling brook. Their home and property are a haven for peace. It’s a two-plus hour ride to their home that doesn’t feel that long because I look so forward to my time with this great couple. When I arrive, the conversation seems to pick up right where we left it the last time we saw each other.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Thanks for the honest deed

    I would like to thank the person that found my wallet in the parking lot of Harris Teeter on July 23 and turned it in to the Albemarle Police.

    July 29, 2014

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • We need your help

    Hurray for the Albemarle City Council. Council plans to battle N.C. Department of Transportation’s ranking of all 13 projects in Stanly County to the bottom of their priority list. Council is setting up petitions in various city buildings for citizens to sign.

    July 28, 2014

  • Council asks veterans to seek office

    The terms of office for the leaders of the Stanly County Veterans Council ended June 30. A call is being sent to veterans council members requesting candidates for the four elective offices of the council. A meeting has been set for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 12 at the DAV building. All council members are urged to attend.

    July 28, 2014

  • Mike Walden The gains and gaps in our economy

    Twice a year, I pull out my cloudy crystal ball and attempt to make some predictions about the direction and pace of the North Carolina economy. I just finished my latest effort and, as usual, the results are a combination of pluses and minuses.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jason O. Boyd Yellow journalism takes on new form, people are dumber for it

    Time to get on the soapbox for a few minutes.
    Let me clear my throat. Eh ... hem!
    People are dumb.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brent Laurenz Special election adds to the mix

    RALEIGH – A busy slate of judicial elections this November got even busier recently when Judge John Martin of the N.C. Court of Appeals announced his retirement.
    A special statewide election to fill Martin’s seat will be added to the general election ballot, joining the four N.C. Supreme Court seats and three N.C. Court of Appeals races already slated for this fall.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content