Why we need a public forum in Jackson County

To the Editor:

Why did the Jackson County Home Builders Association organize the upcoming Jackson County Town Hall Forum at 6 p.m. on Sept. 28 in the Cashiers Community Center? It is quite simple: we have some questions that we think deserve to be answered in a public forum.

The economy is suffering a historically prolonged recession. President Ronald Reagan gave President Jimmy Carter three economic definitions. “A recession is when your neighbor loses his job. A depression is when you lose yours. Recovery is when Jimmy Carter loses his job.” Recovery begins when self-serving politicians lose their jobs.

Residential builders are small business people who are job creators. Remember five years ago before the “Commissioners Construction Moratorium” and this nationwide housing crash, when the builder was the backbone, carrying 75 percent of Jackson County’s economic base? The Inspections Department had over 700 new permits in 2005, last year it had just over 150. What can we do today to rebuild our local economy?

Tremendous increases in property taxes were added in 2005 to reflect the current selling prices of a fortunate few who experienced a capital gain. A neighbor expressed his view of his taxes today, “If the taxable base price is such a fair selling price, then I’ll make the county a sweet deal. I’ll sell it to them for 20 percent less than that price today.”

Remember the national outcry against Wall Street’s golden parachute/bailouts at tax payers’ expense? Well, here are some Jackson County grievances:

• Unemployment is in the double digits.

• Many of the job providers and taxpayers are in foreclosures and bankruptcies.

• Most businesses are struggling to survive. However, there is solid economic security in Jackson County’s government payroll.

• Government has not downsized.

• Salaries have remained the same, at least for the entry level employees. In fact it is so secure that the top 400 Jackson County executives got their pay raises.

• Admittedly, $1 million divided by 400 is only $2,500 per person, but it wasn’t divided evenly.

• Jackson County’s manager is the highest paid in the state, even higher paid than the state’s highest executive, the governor.  

• The part-time commissioners are also receiving some of the highest commissioner salaries in the state.    

Would anyone like to know why?

What can the local voters expect from this public forum? Perhaps we will even hear why the Cashiers Community Center building has been de-funded, and if the newly elected commissioners will ever fund the new facility again. How many decades have we been promised funding for a new viable facility?

Hopefully we will gain more understanding and accountability from our government officials. We can always hope to hear the truth and nothing but the truth.

This public forum has been structured to give both incumbents and opposing candidates a fair and equal opportunity to demonstrate integrity, accountability, wisdom, and openness. We have purposely announced this as the first annual Jackson County Town Hall Forum.

Why should the Jackson County taxpayers attend this forum? We have a constitutionally established government “of the people.” However, when people neglect their citizenship responsibility to be informed on the issues they are surrendering their personal liberties to the few who formulate a government “for the People.”

Thomas Paine like others understood that a monarchy or an aristocracy will rule the ignorant. Thomas Paine and I appeal to your “common sense.” This is a historical truth that has been recorded in every generation and in every culture. He who controls the gold controls the rules. If you are ignorant or apathetic of how your taxes are spent, then you have surrendered your liberty!

I recently re-read “Animal Farm” by George Orwell. I had thought this analogy was communism. However, when the public is ignorant or apathetic the government digresses into greed and dominance by an elite governing class of aristocrats. The result “Some are more equal than others.”

We need public servants, not feudal lords. When government smells foul, we must cry “foul!”

We should be outraged when lawmakers exempt themselves from the consequences of their laws like health care and social “In”-security. The people” must demand a 28th Amendment. “Congress shall pass no laws whereby they may exempt themselves.”

Why? Because “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, … and secure the blessing of liberty… establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Phillip Rogers


This Must Be the Place

Reading Room

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