A bike trail? Re­ally?

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT - Richard Brady Clark Hol­low Ram­blings

Ihave to tell you that when I first heard of the pro­posal for a bike trail, I thought it was more of the Foothills fool­ish­ness, the kind that spent $100,000 of char­i­ta­ble funds to find out that the cell phone ser­vice is spotty in Rap­pa­han­nock and, for the most part, peo­ple would just like to be left alone.

Then I heard there was to be a pro­posal made to the Board of Su­per­vi­sors to stand be­hind this mil­lion dol­lar fi­asco, and put the county im­pri­matur on it. I un­der­stand there has been some con­tro­versy about whether the county would be ob­li­gated to pay for it, in the off chance the hand­ful of peo­ple who were mak­ing the noise couldn’t come up with the funds. Just keep in mind that the term “obli­ga­tion” car­ries a num­ber of def­i­ni­tions, and if the county isn’t ob­li­gated in any way shape or form, then what was the pur­pose of their ap­proval of this silly project.

I thought about the si­t­u­a­tion a few years ago con­cern­ing lights on the ath­letic field and I asked around, and ev­ery­body I talked to said there was no way the BOS would ap­prove this ridicu­lous idea. Then I heard that they had ap­proved it with a vote of 4 to 1, and I said thank good­ness for Ron Fra­zier.

The last three chil­dren born to my mother and fa­ther were boys. I was the youngest. I sup­pose we gave our hard-work­ing mother more prob­lems than she de­served. If we weren’t run­ning around, hol­ler­ing and rais­ing holy heck we were up to no good some­where, but do­ing it qui­etly. When my mother’s wits were at an end, she would call all three of us into the kitchen, and make us line up on the bench that we sat on to take our meals.

She would give us a minute or two to re­flect on our mis­deeds, and then she would be­gin. “What in the world is the mat­ter with you?” And that was all she re­ally had to say. We knew she worked hard in the home to keep things mov­ing for­ward, and at least for awhile, we would be ashamed of the way we had acted.

I think it is time for Rap­pa­han­nock cit­i­zens to call the BOS to sit on the bench and ask them, “What in the world is the mat­ter with you.” Now, I doubt there will be much shame among them, but they need, some­how, to re­ceive a mes­sage from the peo­ple that they have sorely lost their way. They seem more in­ter­ested in pan­der­ing to a vo­cal mi­nor­ity than lis­ten­ing to the good peo­ple of Rap­pa­han­nock who put them there.

Can you imag­ine what the vot­ers of this county would do with a ref­er­en­dum to ob­li­gate even one dol­lar of tax­payer funds to build a bike path? What were they think­ing? I think it was Ron Maxwell who pointed out that there was never a hue and cry from the peo­ple of the county for a bike path. From the peo­ple I have talked to, I have not found one per­son who thinks this is a good idea, and some­thing Rap­pa­han­nock needs. Let me give you a cou­ple more thoughts.

At a time in this coun­try when school sys­tems are do­ing ev­ery­thing they can to keep chil­dren safe in their schools, with metal de­tec­tors, cops in the hall and ded­i­cated re­cep­tion ar­eas, our BOS has ap­proved a paved thor­ough­fare from the back door of the el­e­men­tary school, through a swamp, past the

county dump, to the back door of the high school. Looks like a pretty easy ac­cess method to me, or a quick es­cape route. What were they think­ing? Is it lost on the sup­port­ers of this fi­asco what just hap­pened in New York on a bike path?

The an­swer is, of course, they weren’t think­ing, cer­tainly not about the ma­jor­ity of the cit­i­zens of this county. They took the easy way out; they said yes to a small, very vo­cal mi­nor­ity of peo­ple who know how to write grant pro­pos­als and left the ma­jor­ity of us to clean up their mess. How many peo­ple in your district did your su­per­vi­sor speak to about this pro­posal be­fore vot­ing the way he did?

The li­a­bil­ity is­sue could be the coup de grace for this ridicu­lous idea. If this path is open to the pub­lic and some sep­tu­a­ge­nar­ian runs his bike over a small branch and falls and cracks his skull, the peo­ple who said it would not im­pact the county’s in­sur­ance rates will be hard to find, and, for once, very quiet. In our liti­gious so­ci­ety, the tax­pay­ers will once again be left hold­ing the bag, and our su­per­vi­sors will be sign­ing up to run again for their next term.

Fi­nally, I ad­dress the mis­guided who are fond of say­ing that if the county doesn’t change and progress, we are doomed to wither and die. You need to ex­pand your hori­zons past the hand­ful of peo­ple you as­so­ci­ate with and lis­ten care­fully to a few more peo­ple like Mr. Way­land. There are a lot of us. Some of us are new­com­ers and some of us have been here a long time. And though the years take their in­evitable toll, and there might be a bit of with­er­ing in us, the spirit of this place we call home is alive and well, in peo­ple like Mr. Way­land and Mr. Fra­zier and Mr. Maxwell. And we will be here for the du­ra­tion.

And to that same mis­guided bunch, I can only ask, “What in the world is the mat­ter with you?”

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