Let­ters to the ed­i­tor

The Covington News - - Opinion -

A re­sponse to Carter Dear Ed­i­tor: Mr. Mau­rice Carter in “Stuck in Beep­ing Re­verse” tries to ex­plain why the T-SPLOST lost so de­ci­sively in last week’s elec­tion. He says it was be­cause of “con­fu­sion, mis­trust and mis­in­for­ma­tion” and then quotes from polls from the AJC when the only poll that counts was that held last Tues­day.

There was no con­fu­sion over the fact that this rep­re­sented the largest tax in­crease in Ge­or­gia’s his­tory. Half the money was go­ing to go to bail out MARTA ,which be­comes more of a boon­dog­gle daily. “Spe­cial” taxes have a his­tory of never go­ing away. Many of the projects had a life that would have lasted longer than 10 years. The high­way projects would have been a witches’ brew of crony cap­i­tal­ism, joint ven­tures and set asides for “mi­nori­ties” and Davis-Ba­con wage de­mands. foisted such a com­pli­cated mess on us (I un­der­stand at least a half-dozen in­cum­bent leg­is­la­tors lost their re-elec­tion bids -- one in New­ton County -- over their sup­port of T-SPLOST). This mis­trust con­tin­ues. Peo­ple don’t like to be black­mailed into vot­ing to raise their own taxes.

Un­der the cat­e­gory of mis­in­for­ma­tion was the re­volt­ing ad that ran on TV and ra­dio that stated that Ron­ald Rea­gan would have en­dorsed, signed and voted for T-SPLOST. Yes, taxes were raised a cou­ple of times un­der Rea­gan, but not be­cause of him. He was dragged kick­ing and scream­ing by the Democrats and Bob Dole into sign­ing tax in­creases af­ter re­ceiv­ing prom­ises of spend­ing cuts that never ma­te­ri­al­ized (in­ci­den­tally, that’s why con­ser­va­tives don’t be­lieve the prom­ises of lib­er­als now that if we will just raise taxes, they will match the in­creases with spend­ing cuts). Also, don’t tell us that rais­ing taxes $7 bil­lion over 10 years will in­crease em­ploy­ment.

In­ci­den­tally, Alexis de Toc­queville did not say “peo­ple get the gov­ern­ment they de­serve” --un­less he said it when he was six years old. Joseph deMaistre said it in 1811. Cov­ing­ton Li­brary Dear Ed­i­tor: The Aug. 5 edition car­ried two of the best let­ters to the ed­i­tor that I have ever read. Writ­ten by Ms. Tamela Mills and Mr. Sam Hay, the let­ters showed con­cern about the down­siz­ing and de­te­ri­o­ra­tion of the New­ton County li­braries. Both Ms. Mills and Mr. Hay have been friends of mine for years, and they only write let­ters and ex­press con­cerns based on fact and logic, no on sup­po­si­tions, in­nu­en­dos and emo­tions.

I have rou­tinely used the Cov­ing­ton Branch Li­brary since its in­cep­tion. Ms. Lee Ellen Digby and I have, over the years, put his­tor­i­cal and Christ­mas dis­plays in the glass cases at the en­trance. When I go into the li­brary, I al­ways look to the left and feel pride about the chil­dren’s sec­tion and the large num­ber of chil­dren us­ing it. Two weeks ago, I went to the li­brary to use the le­gal ref­er­ence sec­tion, and all I found was empty space. An em­ployee told me the sec­tion was done away with Law Dic­tio­nary. I walked around the li­brary and found an at­mos­phere of con­fu­sion and de­feat.

I have worked in poverty ar­eas of New­ton County (mostly with un­der­priv­i­leged chil­dren) for over 50 years. We, at the Pine Val­ley Mis­sion, have given out school cloth­ing, schools

Fred Wheeler sup­plies, books and other chil­dren’s needs for over 20 years. The chil­dren we deal with have no ref­er­ence books, com­put­ers or other learn­ing aids in their homes. Many of them are lucky to have a roof over their heads. Their house­holds live from hand to mouth. Over the years, I have seen these chil­dren us­ing the county li­brary. Their num­bers are in­creas­ing, not de­creas­ing.

Any so­ci­ety is judged by how it treats the el­derly, the poor and their chil­dren. All of these visit and use the New­ton County li­braries. These facts alone should dic­tate a grow­ing li­brary, not one in de­cline due to cut­backs. Any politi­cian who votes to cut­back funds for a vi­able li­brary must have pea soup for brains.

I whole­heart­edly agree with Mr. Hay when he ques­tioned the agenda of the “rails to trails” fa­nat­ics. Turner Lake Park is lo­cated in the heart of Cov­ing­ton and has miles of walk­ing and bike trails that are main­tained by our tax dol­lars. I have walked these trails daily since the part opened. Most of the time, the trails are de­serted. Prac­ti­cally no one uses them.

What makes a politi­cian think that any­one would use an aban­doned rail­road track in ru­ral New­ton County when they refuse to use the state-of-the-art trails at Turner Lake?

I be­lieve it was the NAACP who coined the phrase “A mind is a ter­ri­ble thing to waste.” As far as our com­mis­sion­ers are con­cerned, I hope logic and wis­dom pre­vail over spe­cial in­ter­ests and emo­tions. Thank you Dear Ed­i­tor: First, I want to thank the vot­ers of the 1st Com sup­port. Be­ing elected as the next com­mis­sioner for east and south New­ton County is a very great honor that Su­san and I will cher­ish. Meet­ing so many of our cit­i­zens in per­son, sit­ting on front porches chat­ting, lis­ten­ing to your con­cerns and as we move for­ward be­gin­ning in Jan­uary.

For those who sup­ported me, thank you for your votes. I pledge that I will work with, lis­ten to and as­sist you in ev­ery way I can over the next four years. For those who did not vote

The key is­sue of the cam­paign was main­tain­ing the qual­ity of life we have in this part of New­ton County. I will work with all my abil­ity and strength to main­tain our ru­ral and semi ru­ral at­mos­phere, to avoid con­ges­tion, main­tain lot sizes and keep out apart­ments, con­dos and multi fam­ily hous­ing. I will not of liv­ing pay raises for our em­ploy­ees, es­pe­cially pub­lic safety heroes, and will continue the hands on ap­proach to serv­ing

Fi­nally, let me say to my for­mer op­po­nent John Strauss, you ran an honor­able, tough cam­paign that could have eas­ily re­sulted in a dif­fer­ent out­come. I ap­pre­ci­ate your de­sire to serve our county and look for­ward to wise coun­sel and ad­vice from you over the next four years. Once again, Su­san and I thank the cit­i­zens of the 1st Com an­tic­i­pate the op­por­tu­nity to serve you once again in a new ca­pac­ity.

Harry Long.

John Dou­glas

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