That community was destroyed by generational welfare lowlifes, crack-cocaine users, alcoholics and the like -- the kind of people who blast loud music from their cars and homes which disrupts decent peoples' lives. There were many fine, outstanding people in Bethlehem, but by far the decline was because of the bad apples. Now we are all supposed to pay to rebuild it so their lowlife descendants can destroy it again? We don't approve.
Augusta Commissioner Betty Beard, who lived in the Bethlehem community, told me that when she lived there it got to the point that the crack cocaine problem was absolutely uncontrollable, and that Richmond county law enforcement would not "do anything." We do not believe her. We think that what happened was a culture of decline. It was mostly a community of people who were used to turning their heads on wrongdoing -- Betty and the late Commissioner Lee Beard included. The "culture" was the problem.
Unfortunately, their "culture" has not changed. The generational welfare, ghetto-project mentality is a class unto itself. The people who come from it are not content until they have trashed their surroundings. We have watched them time and time again. These people's votes are easy to manipulate, and the Beards' manic political drive proved to be a lethal combination that further stagnated the Bethlehem community.
Enough is enough. Spend some money to restore the historic bricks under the asphalt on Crawford Avenue. Raise the stakes in Harrisburg. Make Harrisburg attractive to black and white upwardly mobile people. Push the riff-raff out of Harrisburg so that we will not have to battle generational welfare people who are not content until their surroundings are trashed, and we all have no decent community standards left.
(The writer is an organizer of the community group HONGKONG -- Harrisburg Organization Networking for Gentrfication to Keep Our Neighbor from becoming a Ghetto.)