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Opinion – Can’t we all just get along?

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Back in 1992, when Los Angeles was burning with riots and the population of an entire city was turning in upon itself, Rodney King asked the media that question.
Had Mr. King been present in Lytton Springs on Thursday night, he would have discovered the answer to his question. The answer, apparently, is a very resounding “No.”
Leading off, I understand why the re

sidents of Dale and Lytton Springs are against the idea of having an immigration detention center in their backyards. “Jails,” of any sort, do not usually bring “warm, fuzzy feelings” to the neighbors. Having lived on Old Kelly Road when the Caldwell County Jail and the Wackenhut facility were built, I understand that. When I was a teenager, my father taught me how to shoot his guns, just in case someone broke out of one of the jails and came pounding on our door or prowling around our property.
I”m glad he did so. I”m also glad I never had to use that knowledge.
What I don”t understand is how people, who are generally regarded as friendly, educated and respectful, could act so… “Rude” doesn”t quite cover it. “Crass” may be better.
Commissioner Joe Roland, acting upon what he believed to be the wishes of the community, asked Mike Moore, the Emerald Corrections Management representative who brought the proposal to the Commissioners” Court two weeks ago, to come and make a presentation at a public meeting. Moore agreed – again, thinking it was what the community wanted.
After witnessing what happened, I can only determine that they were wrong.
Answers and conversation did not appear at all to be what the community wanted. They wanted a collective punching bag – a figure to burn in effigy over their dissatisfaction with the idea of having a detention center. They found exactly what they were looking for in Commissioner Roland and Mr. Moore.
The meeting attendees” treatment of Roland and Moore was, at best disturbing and, more accurately, appalling. A mob mentality took over, and there was nothing pretty, polite or friendly about it.
The people are concerned. I understand that. But, as I stated at the meeting, many of those concerns were to be addressed, many of those questions answered, had Moore simply been allowed to speak.
How can I know this, you ask? I talked to Moore before the meeting. He intended to make the same presentation he made to the Commissioners” Court. I heard that presentation.
He was there hoping to answer the questions, and set the public”s mind at ease. He should have been given the opportunity to speak. If the people still opposed construction at that point, I believe he made his point very clear — Emerald does not want to go where they are not welcome. Commissioner Roland also made it very clear — the Commissioners” Court would not support the proposal if the people were against it.
But with only a part of the information, I don”t think it”s fair to make a judgment. And I would bet good money that Commissioner Roland and I were the only two people in that room who had heard what Moore came to say.
One of the complaints about the facility is that it will create mostly minimum-wage jobs. If we have to choose between a company creating minimum-wage jobs and no company creating no jobs…
“We”ll take no jobs,” was the way one attendee of the meeting finished that statement.
I can”t understand that. How is thwarting development a good thing?
Sure, with the incoming highways, there are chances for other development, other opportunities. But the last time I checked, Samsung, Toyota and Dell are not knocking down the doors to build in Caldwell County.
We need development. We need jobs. And right, wrong or indifferent, we are not in the position to turn down anyone hoping to create jobs here, or to create revenue for the county. A bird in the hand is, worth two in the bush, after all.
Maybe, just maybe, what I witnessed at that “public meeting” is the reason companies aren”t tearing down the walls to build here. Maybe companies aren”t aching to move to an area where anger and hostility are the prevalent greeting cards.
Jobs are jobs. Income is income. At some point, we have to make a choice.
Do we want the county to keep raising taxes, or do we want to consider bringing in industries to help with raising revenue?
As Commissioner Roland, Judge Wright and numerous others stated, repeatedly — the decision about Emerald was only in the talking phases. No decision had been made.
I”d guess the decision is made now.
I hope we”re more welcoming the next time someone comes knocking.
(By LPR Staff)

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