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The Commerce News
November 3, 1999

Election Helps County Make Best Of Growth
How do we maintain the "quality of life" in our rural communities when growth is overwhelming us? That is a frequent question, and the answer one gets upon asking it is never honest. The fact is, we cannot maintain the current quality of life as our population soars.
We can no more avoid the growth coming from Atlanta than Pompeii could move from the onslaught of Vesuvius. All we can do is make the best of it, and try to get a good return for trading off our rural lifestyles. Growth brings the good and the bad, and we've no choice but to adjust as it occurs.
What do we get in exchange for crowded roads caused by more population? We get new people, new businesses and new opportunities. When we surrender our small community schools, we get larger schools that can offer more classes and provide more educational opportunities for our children. We may lose the open space across the street or behind our lots, but at least we gain new neighbors, new friends and fresh blood. Growth will ultimately take away much of our beloved woods and fields, eventually our agriculture. In their places will be new industry, new jobs, theaters, shopping centers, specialty shops and a host of commercial, residential and industrial development.
Few people will find all of those exchanges to be bargains, but we have little choice in the matter but to make the most of the good things that growth brings. Interstate 85 and our proximity to Atlanta make growth inevitable. The job of our city and county leadership will not be to deny growth nor to hasten it, but to make it as positive and as palatable as possible. Strong zoning and code enforcement, a growing tax digest, a self-sustaining water and sewer systems, efficient management, strong schools, and adequate police, fire protection and health services will all be required.
We took two giant steps toward that Tuesday when voters approved the special purpose local option sales tax and the change to a county manager form of government. The sales tax will help us meet the demands of growth, and the new government will put Jackson County in a position to hire a trained, qualified, professional manager to make government as efficient and as effective as possible. The future will be more manageable because on Nov. 2, 1999, voters had the foresight to pass a pair of referendums.

Mark Beardsley
The Commerce News
November 3, 1999

Braves Too Good
For NY Mets
Frankly, by the time the World Series ended last Wednesday night, I was glad to see the long-suffering Atlanta Braves fans put out of their misery, myself chief among them.
Actually, watching them in the World Series, even though they played more like the Richmond Braves than the Atlanta Braves, isn't all that bad. We may not be the "Team of the Decade," but the Braves are unquestionably the "National League Team of the Decade."
That and 75 cents will buy them a Coke, the Yankees having earned the champagne. I will miss having baseball games on TV, but I won't miss those agonizing post-midnight finishes that leave you tired but unable to sleep due to the horrors perpetuated in the late innings. There are a lot of worthwhile causes of sleep deprivation, but losing postseason baseball games to the Mets or Yankees isn't among them.
My history with the Braves goes back to 1957. Little did I realize then that my favorite team would go downhill for more than three decades thereafter. They are still my favorite franchise, and if you see me wearing a St. Louis Cardinals hat, it is not because I like the Cards more than the Braves, but because I like the Cardinals' hats better. I stayed loyal and managed to live with low expectations.
I suffered through the 60s, 70s and 80s watching a team blessed with poor defense, no speed, bad management and lousy pitching set records for last-place finishes. Things got a lot better late in the 1990 season, when the Braves managed another last-place finish, but were losing games by scores like 2-1, 3-1, 1-0. Good pitching had finally arrived.
Still, no one would have dared imagine 1991, and even if they had, none of us would have bought into a scenario putting the Braves forth as one of the best teams in baseball in subsequent years. Lose the World Series? We'd kill for the chance.
Now we analyze the Braves' post-season performance. We use the word "choke," and decide Bobby Cox is a lousy manager. The truth is, Cox made some decisions open to serious second-guessing, but the problem was that the Braves played lousy defense and couldn't hit. Some Atlanta baseball fans are still depressed, but they can't get appointments with their analysts until January, when the football season is over and Falcons fans are stabilized on medication.
Pity the rabid Atlanta sports fans. The Braves remain the only solid team. The Falcons have reverted to the form for which they are known (team motto: wait till next year), the Hawks are an also-ran lucky to make the playoffs in a league where everyone makes the playoffs, and the new team in town, The Thrashers, can't be expected to bring home a Stanley Cup this season unless about 25 other teams are involved in a gigantic mid-air crash.
The New York Mets surely agonized through the World Series, just knowing that they would have matched up much better against their cross-town rivals. But they didn't get the chance, because even with seven guys hitting .300 for the year, they couldn't get by the Braves.
That is our consolation for the year. We may have stunk up the ballpark in the World Series, but we were good enough to beat the Mets.

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