MARQUITA DANIELS: Council Does Disservice to Town
Upon reading the Sept. 17 article regarding the Southern Pines Town Council's deliberations in picking a committee to advise on the long-range planning agenda, I am appalled, in a state of disbelief, and quite disappointed.
First, the council members don't want "politics" interfering with their choices. To my knowledge, this body has never been involved in politics. It is a nonpartisan board and eschews political parties.
To turn down the help of former mayors, council members, and members of any advisory boards is doing a great disservice to our town.
These are citizens who "have been there" and have given of their time and experience for the betterment of Southern Pines. Who has more knowledge of how and why regulations were adopted? I attend as many meetings of this council as I can, and I assure the public that the council is not being "manipulated."
Mayor Pro Tem Chris Smithson has blamed prior councils publicly for all that he sees is wrong with Southern Pines -- more than once.
Let me remind you, previous councils improved zoning and buffering requirements so that we did not get Wal-Mart; they made it possible for us to have our wonderful soccer fields; they kept the library out of the downtown park, which would have been a disaster; encouraged the Arts Council by donating a mere $16,000 a year to the betterment of our downtown; and pushed for the renovation of the train station.
Previous councils made sure that our water plant remained ours, and not part of the ill-conceived MOWASA failure, and ensured that the small retail area where Fresh Market is located did not become an eyesore on Morganton Road.
I could go on, but you get the picture.
Councilman David Woodruff doesn't like signs on local business vehicles. He thinks all commercial buildings should be four-sided in brick. He thinks that because some former mayors (of both political parties) suggested Gov. James Holshouser would be a good chairman of this new committee, he is being "manipulated," and that people living in our extraterritorial jurisdiction shouldn't be included on the committee. Does he not realize these folks will also be affected by any new plan?
Council Member Abigail Dowd said she didn't want any former members of council, advisory committees, et al., appointed, and that Gov. James Holshouser might have too much influence on other committee members, which is why they didn't appoint themselves.
(The selection committee itself was made up of nine white males, including Messrs. Smithson and Woodruff, who have never told Ms. Dowd or anyone else just what criteria they used in making their selection of a Spokane, Wash., firm.)
I guess that not using any of the resources available in our state -- and there are several -- will allow the council to remedy all the wrongs that previous councils have done in our town, a place where so many love to live, to shop, and to do business.
The writer is a former member of the Southern Pines Town Council.
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