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Moving Waynesboro Forward: Vote Chanda McGuffin, Sam Hostetter for Waynesboro City Council

waynesboroWaynesboro is stuck in the 1970s, and the reason why is maddening.

The City Council elections are held every other May. The next one is Tuesday. You probably didn’t know that.

But you know who does: the small segment of our population who keeps sending do-nothings to the City Council.

Less than 20 percent of the city’s 12,000+ registered voters have been turning out for the city elections over the past three election cycles.

And if you want to know why we have a city government limited in its funding to the level of the mythical nice little old lady living on a fixed income of Social Security and a tiny pension, well, it’s because those are the folks who consistently turn out in May.

Which is me saying to you: it’s your fault.

You’re the ones who send your kids to school in a system woefully underfunded, in buildings that were designed to the best of specifications in the 1930s.

Our teachers are way, way underpaid. Our police officers are way, way underpaid. City employees have to work second and third jobs to make ends meet.

We have acres of industrial park land laying fallow, purchased as a political favor, but not developable, because we’re too cheap to do what is needed to market it to prospective business suitors.

You want those things addressed, but you don’t vote, and those who do, they don’t care. Their kids and grandkids don’t live here, so the schools mean nothing to them, and as far as the economy is concerned, all we need to do is get DuPont and General Electric to come back, like back in the 1970s, when this place had money, because of all of those jobs.

Waynesboro is the Rust Belt, and we’re doing nothing to change that, because we’re tying our own hands behind our back.

Current city leadership thinks City Hall can be run like a hot-dog stand, and the pathetic thing is, that’s what we’ve had for the past 15 years, no more imagination in policy and direction than throwing some franks into a pot of boiling water.

Thing is, they’re not doing anything other than what they’ve told us they would do.

It’s not that they don’t know that we have issues with fire and emergency-services coverage on the western and southern edges of the city, that we don’t have decades-long issues with stormwater, on top of the literally crumbling school system and an economy that has replaced the industrial jobs that were our base 40 years ago with jobs folding sweaters and waiting tables.

Their solution is to just ignore it all, because of the little old lady on a fixed income.

That’s why your kids are getting a second-rate education, and why they won’t be able to support a family of their own when they grow up, unless they move away, like so many have done over the past 25 years.

And why the streets still flood when we get a couple of inches of rain.

And why our emergency services are straining to keep up with the demands of expectations in 2018.

All because you don’t take a few minutes out of your day every other May to vote.

If I’ve sufficiently shamed you into committing to go out to the polls on Tuesday, I’ve got two recommendations on who you should vote for.

In the Ward C race, vote for Chanda McGuffin, a Waynesboro native, veteran banker and long-time community activist.

In the Ward D race, vote for Sam Hostetter, a physician and community volunteer who served on the steering committee for the recent city Comprehensive Plan update.

McGuffin and Hostetter will best work with the current members of the City Council toward the goal of Moving Waynesboro Forward: to address our schools, our crumbling infrastructure, and our stagnant local economy.

The onus is on you, now, to get out there and vote.

Column by Chris Graham

augusta free press
augusta free press