Since July of 1999 the citizens of McDuffie County have been fighting a revolution much like the one that began in July of 1776. We have "taxation without representation!" We have those in power here who have forgotten their sole responsibility is to listen and heed the wishes of those who electedthem to office. Hundreds of our citizens went to Planning and Commission meetings to cry out in one voice their opposition to rezoning from residential/agricul-tural to heavy/light industrial of over 400 acres of McDuffie County. The cries fell on deaf ears.
There is an ongoing lawsuit brought by several citizens of this county against the county commissioners, the Planning Authority and the city of Thomson for ramrodding this rezoning through and, in the process, breaking the very laws they passed to protect McDuffie County property owners. The Planning Authority-County Commission took $2.1 million in taxes that by law can only be spent for industrial development and growth and purchased residential/agricultural land, even before our justice system was given the opportunity to decide this case. ...
The protection of our precious environment seems to be another issue that is not a priority with our local officials. For several weeks I left a book, Better, Not Bigger by E. Fodor, at the office of our County Commission Chairperson Joyce Blevins for her to read, especially in light of a recent local meeting with the Georgia Environmental Protection Department in which she stated she knows very little about environmental is-sues.
In this book, Mr. Fodor discusses how industrialization has taken place all across the country and how in most of these cases growth at all cost, with little or no regard to environmental destruction, is the norm. He also points out that the most prevalent groups pushing for this "industrialization" are land developers-realtors, bankers and construction-building companies. I find it alarming that a number of the individuals who serve on the Planning Authority-County Commission in McDuffie County and who are pushing so hard for this rezoning-industrialization are presently employed in just such jobs. The term "conflict of interest" seems to be a possibility here. ...
Besides the ongoing lawsuit, maybe we need a grand jury to look into these issues and the possibilities of "conflict of interest" by some county officials, just like Richmond County is doing.
Sharon T. (Terry) Rhoades, Thomson
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