The Commerce News
November 3, 1999
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
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.
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
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
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
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