TO THE EDITOR:
Giving outrage, righteous indignation and belligerence a temporary break, I decided to look objectively at the trailer park “invasion” (Thanks, Mickey).
When we first learned of the problem I called my alderman, Bobby Cox. He didn’t return my call. Instead he came over within 15 minutes with a map of Water Valley to identify the area of concern (essentially our backyard). We talked about 30 minutes and discussed what the pros (limited to profit for the developer) and cons (well, you all know what the problems would be).
Obviously Water Valley is attractive to so many of us transplants because the families that have been here for generations MADE THIS TOWN so wonderful. I am a guest here and can take no credit for how wonderful it is. We are so happy to have been made to feel welcome by so many gracious people.
Having worked in city and county governments for nearly 40 years I know very well that our elected officials DO NOT HAVE THE FREEDOM to speak their minds as we do. They carry the burden of liability and responsibility (a four letter word to some progressives) for all of us. They are for that reason victimized – in many cases unjustly (mea culpa!) because they are looking out for the town we love.
What I do know to be true among the swirling gossip, rumors and innuendo is that these men have more to lose than any of us if Water Valley starts a slide from which it might not recover. What I know, also, is that they are restricted by the laws (which we are not) they swore to uphold.
Personally, I am guilty of giving them less than my full confidence, especially when we need them the most. And, worst of all, in a lapse of good judgement I did it publicly. They deserve better.
I apologize to all of them.
They are good men who have made this town a magnet for many of us and sit quietly back while some in the community paint Water Valley as a blight they have “rescued” and denigrate the commitment of the true heroes of Water Valley – the families here for generations doing the hard work to make it home for those of us running from problem areas. Areas we didn’t have the courage or commitment to fix.
Our leaders have been victimized by articles painting Water Valley as derelict – I can just imagine how hurtful that is to these wonderful families who have sacrificed during hard times to keep Water Valley going.
I have watched Water Valley polarize in the last five years, much like our political landscape is polarized and riddled with hatred. There seems to be no room for discussion – only attacks. We are all victims of journalism that has become the property of progressive “reporters” who no longer report what they see. They twist the news into personal observation colored by their ideological agendas and have no respect for truth, only pressing their agenda on a public they arrogantly assume isn’t smart enough to make their own decisions. The more hatred they can generate the more unstable our country is and the happier they are.
Water Valley is big enough to accommodate all of our views – if we can sit down and find solutions to our common problems.
We are big enough for the investors who gamble on the Valley getting better and better. These men and women make Water Valley better and profit personally from their investments, as they should. But we have been very lucky. The investors who have found Water Valley to be a good “risk” have made the town so much better. The renovations have been of the highest quality and these men and women deserve our appreciation and some sacrifice on the city’s part as they try to recoup their investment.
We have a choice facing us soon about leadership.
Leadership is not a personality contest. Nor should it be about empty promises, hidden agendas and an arrogant “we know best.” It is experience, knowledge and wisdom. From the outside looking in it’s easy to promise “change” without really defining what the “change” will entail. Let’s be a little smarter about what we believe – let’s look at what an individual has actually done.
My views on city government is based on my personal experience with city/county governments. I have come to believe that alderman and supervisor positions should not be paid positions. It should be honor enough to be chosen to represent your friends and neighbors. This is just a personal opinion and, as you might guess, not shared by many politicians!
My confidence is in the men who have carried the weight of the responsibility of caring for Water Valley. Until proven otherwise, I will trust them to stop a development that I believe can ONLY destroy what we all love about Water Valley.
I pray that God will continue to bless Water Valley and the families who live here – old and new.
Anne Cavanaugh Burke