Chris Graham: They, the people
We voted in Waynesboro five years ago in favor of borrowing money to build a West End fire station. The vote was ruled nonbinding because of a paperwork snafu. Depends on who you believe as to how that all came down. The city said it was the local newspaper’s fault for not running a legal notice on time. The newspaper folks said the city didn’t get the notice to them in time.
Either way, we set the referendums thinking the votes were going to be binding, and only found out later that either the paper screwed up, the city screwed up, whatever, bottom line, the vote wasn’t binding.
Even so, we voted, and made it loud and perfectly clear that we wanted a West End fire station. And then City Council went out and borrowed the money to build one.
And now, the City Council is using the money that it borrowed on our behalf for the fire station on something else.
Times are tight, they say, and have been saying since before the after-the-fact nonbinding referendum in 2007.
We voted for the fire station anyway, knowing that times are tight. We decided that, even in tight times, safety and security is paramount, and that we’d be willing to dig a little deeper to make ourselves a little safer and more secure.
Years have passed, lots of water has gone under the bridge. Memories fade. The reporters and editors at the local papers have cycled over a couple of times since the 2007 election. Now the people who opposed the bond issues that were on the ballot that year talk about the referendum being nonbinding as if that had been the intent all along.
It wasn’t. It’s a technicality at best, and at worst a poor excuse for subverting democracy at work the way it was supposed to work.
So much for We, the people. They, the people, seem to think they know what’s best for us, even after we’ve told them differently.