Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down
Of debt payment, safety and keeping sun shining
Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:00 AM
Thumbs are pointing upward for what is nearly a done deal on the part of Greenwood County's leadership. And no foolin', we do agree it is a good idea to use leftover funds from the penny sales tax to pay off bond indebtedness to the tune of about $10.5 million.
We say no foolin' because the third and final reading on an ordinance to do precisely that takes place April 1. Frankly, we think County Council would be foolish not to use the money in this manner and be debt-free for now.
The new library is built and paid for, Buzzard Roost Dam will get a new fuse plug and will not, thankfully, need millions more poured into it and wasted to make it Pacific quake-safe. There will still be several million dollars in the pot. There is no rush or need to rush to spend that money, but it's there in the event another capital project comes along.
Our state Senate gets a thumbs up for what it calls "Peanut's Law," a measure aimed at slowing down drivers traveling through highway work zones. The measure will increase state troopers' presence in highway work zones, plus impose stiffer penalties for offenders.
This does bring to mind, however, that closer to home, off the major highways, DOT crews often could do a much better job of alerting drivers to road work. Sometimes the signage is too little too late. We have witnessed, time and again, drivers are truly suddenly trapped because a sign reads "Single Lane Ahead," only the sign is at the very point where the traffic is squeezed into a single lane. More advanced notice, good signage and alert flagmen are as vital as having alert and safe drivers. Those drivers who are not? Well, they certainly do need harsh penalties imposed.
Not everything can be so good that this week contains nothing but thumbs pointed upward, correct? Correct.
So, with that in mind we will give a thumbs down to those elected by and working for the taxpaying public who seem to forget who's boss.
Today is the last day of the week set aside to celebrate and promote open and transparent government — Sunshine Week — and sadly there are some even in the corners of the Lakelands who do not know, understand, appreciate or, possibly, give a darn about the concept of operating in the open. Those particular people are dangerous because they develop a sense that they know better and are better than their employers, the taxpayers. They think they do not owe any information about or explanation for what they do.
Of course, there are many elected and appointed officials who truly do understand the concept of "public servant" and operate accordingly. They abide by our state's Freedom of Information Act and are quick to respond to requests for information that is and should be readily made available to the public.
In closing, we simply urge readers to also become more familiar with their rights regarding public information. The state's Freedom of Information Act is, after all, their law, their tool for accessing public information. It is not, as some have come to believe, an arm of the media only.