The Commerce News
July 11, 2001
Trend? Wedding Vows That Expire
I ran across a story recently where a couple which had been married
for 25 or 30 years announced plans to renew their wedding vows.
Inasmuch as I had never heard of such vows expiring, save with
the death of one party, I was stunned.
I am relatively confident that the vows Barbara and I said "I
do" to were the standard "till death do we part"
contract, but since that was 27 years ago, it stands to reason
that wedding vows have probably changed a lot.
Anyone out there who has an expiration date on your vows, please
let me know.
"To have and to hold, from this day forward, till death
do us part or 2020, whichever comes first," is an interesting
option. Given the divorce rate, it seems reasonable that couples
would want to enter a marriage contract of a shorter duration,
perhaps with an option to renew.
I have read of marriage contracts, like that of the late and
former Jacqueline Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, which had financial
and other covenants designed to protect one or both parties.
This is common in second, third and subsequent marriages, particularly
when one of the parties has wealth and the other youth, beauty
and opportunism. These arrangements are brokered among lawyers,
so that the official engagement has all the romance of a mortgage
loan closing and just as many signature lines.
It seems likely that, like the contracts of Major League baseball
players, some of these marital contracts get re-negotiated long
before their expiration date. If an outfielder with three years
left on a contract has a good year and can "re-negotiate"
that contract for more money, spouses who perform their duties
with unexpected success should be able to re-negotiate as well.
New cars, vacation homes, jewelry and the like could be included
as signing or performance bonuses. Shoot, this might open a new
field for talent agents.
I can see that if vows must be renewed, there will be occasions
when at least one half of the couple is anxious to let them expire.
In such cases, that seems much simpler and less painful than
the traditional divorce. In fact, it might well result in a substantial
reduction in the divorce rate.
"I see Joe and Martha are separated. Did they get a divorce?"
"No, their wedding vows expired."
I am sure there are plenty of couples in which one or the other
(possibly both) party now wishes the marital contract had an
The problem with marriage is that love too often gets in the
way of good judgment. Young couples fail to consider the possibility
that they could negotiate a better deal in 5-50 years or the
benefits of entering the free agent market if they're not re-signed
by the original partner. But it's a decision that requires a
lot of thought, because it could be that when it comes time to
renew, your partner has all the advantages.
I assure you that you will never hear of the Beardsleys renewing
their vows. Barbara signed on for the duration, and I'm holding
her to it. She might want to get a better deal, but that's tough.
Our vows do not expire.I've checked.
Call me old-fashioned, but a deal is a deal.
The Jackson Herald
July 11, 2001
good for county
Forget, for a moment, that Judge David Motes issued a ruling
against prospective landfill developer Kelly Henderson. What
was really at stake in the lawsuit was the validity of Jackson
County's zoning codes.
In upholding those codes, Judge Motes put Jackson County leaders
in a strong legal position to defend against future zoning lawsuits.
Although some county leaders were nervous about the suit, Henderson
has perhaps done the county a great favor. Motes' ruling basically
affirms what was less clear earlier: That the county has a legally
binding zoning code.
The ruling also sent another strong message that favored Jackson
County. In his first rezoning application, Henderson was misleading
about his true intentions for the rezoning request. Motes' ruling
was strongly critical of that attempt to deceive the county and
the judge's words will no doubt echo in the ears of other developers
who want to be coy with their rezoning applications.
But while the ruling was a huge victory for the county, it did
not address many other issues related to local rezoning actions.
In weighing rezoning applications, county leaders will still
have to be careful in their efforts to balance property rights
against the rights of the surrounding community. As many will
recall, the county has lost some previous zoning lawsuits by
being inconsistent in how zonings decisions were applied.
While the county won this battle, the suit is a reminder that
ultimately, zoning issues are legal issues. Zoning is not about
allowing current property owners to simply pick their neighbors,
but rather is a formal, legal process that attempts to balance
concerns over land use.
And that is just as it should be.
Jackson County Opinion Index
The Jackson Herald
July 11, 2001
'Big Brother' arrived?
When the city of Marietta moved to put surveillance cameras at
a major intersection to catch people running a red light, it
crystallized a growing issue in this country - that of privacy,
or perhaps, the invasion thereof.
With the growth of the Internet and e-commerce, people have been
concerned about privacy issues. Those concerns have mostly revolved
around three security issues: 1. Preventing the theft of credit
card information; 2. Preventing identity theft where someone
assumes your identity to commit fraud or other crimes; and 3.
Preventing the accumulation of data from your computer by corporations
which use invasive software to "mine" your hard drive
for information about you.
But in addition to those issues, there is one potential problem
that few privacy advocates have focused on: The potential collection
and misuse of personal data by government agencies.
That issue has come more into focus since the debate over red
light surveillance cameras began, but the debate should also
apply to computer data collected by government. No other entity
has the scope of personal information about each of us that governments
at all levels collect, from private medical records to tax and
financial information. The question is, what safeguards are in
place today to ensure that governments do not misuse such information
against their own citizens?
This trend isn't totally new. Banks, for example, are required
to provide data to government agencies when you make a $10,000
transaction. But with the advent of more powerful computers,
the Internet and better database systems, the potential for government
to collect and sort personal data has greatly increased in recent
Few people, however, have focused on that potential problem.
Rather, the political leadership has focused on secondary concerns,
such as how to stop media access to teacher Social Security numbers.
While there may be little need for the media to have such numbers,
such debates have prevented political leaders from asking the
tough questions about their own agency's potential misuse of
That may be changing with the red light camera debate in Marietta.
While the collection of computer data may seem too complex and
esoteric for some citizens, everyone understands the implications
of using cameras to photograph activities on public streets.
Has "Big Brother" arrived?
The use of monitoring cameras is nothing new. Many businesses
and private residences use security cameras, as do some public
facilities such as courthouses. But are those single-purpose
uses different in nature than cameras which monitor the public
on the street?
That's a difficult question. For example, if a wreck happens
on a public road, the accident scene is considered a "public
event." News photographers have open access to such scenes,
provided they aren't interfering with rescue and safety officials.
Some would argue that those running a red light in Marietta have
also created a "public event" by endangering the safety
of others, therefore they have no expectation of privacy.
But how far should that go? Should car rental firms have the
right to put GPS devices on rental cars to monitor renters to
see if they are speeding, as happened in the Northeast recently?
While that involved a private firm, it isn't too difficult to
imagine that some would argue that such devices should be on
all cars to monitor speeding and other potential safety problems.
Is there any difference in Marietta making our picture at a red
light to enforce public safety conduct and law enforcement putting
a GPS on our cars for the same purpose?
This is a slippery slope we're treading on. In the name of "security,"
government agencies could justify any number of ways to monitor
public conduct, perhaps in ways that are invasive to personal
It is not just the single instances, such as a camera in Marietta,
that make this so problematic - it is the power to collect and
sort such data about individuals that is cause for concern.
Governments issue both Social Security numbers and tag numbers.
If government also has the ability to monitor the use of both,
either with cameras on the street or software in computers, can
"Big Brother" be too far behind?
Mike Buffington is editor of The Jackson Herald.
The Commerce News
July 11, 2001
Proposal Is Troubling
Once again, the Commerce City Council has overruled its planning
commission. This time, the council voted 4-2 to rezone property
for the development of up to 240 apartments.
The planning commission had recommended that the rezoning request
be rejected on the reasonable grounds that the area already has
too many rental units and because the city's long-range land
use plan calls for high-density single-family residential development
in that area.
But led by Bob Sosebee, who seems to be an advocate for an unlimited
amount of multi-family housing, the council rejected the planning
commission's recommendation. This is troubling for several reasons.
First, the planning commission's objections seemed valid. The
city does already have plenty of rental housing and the future
land use plan, which was approved by the city council, calls
for single-family residential housing in the area. Of what value
is the plan if it is subject to change whenever a developer asks?
Second, as councilman Richard Massey pointed out, the children
from 240 new apartments will be difficult for the city school
system to absorb. Maybe Superintendent of Schools Larry White
needs to sit down with the council, Sosebee in particular, and
explain the challenges the city school system already faces and
the difficulties rapid growth poses. Third, ignoring the recommendations
of the planning commission renders that panel useless. Why have
a planning commission if valid recommendations are so arbitrarily
The decision to overturn the planning panel's recommendation
seemed to be based more on accommodating the applicant than managing
land use. That is very troubling indeed.