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Beware of “Romans” Bearing Gifts

Trojan Horse Being Drawn Into Troy

In the July 2, 2010 issue of The Covington News, the News printed a letter to the editor written by Samuel M. Hay III titled Response to Morgan’s “Visionaries.” I applaud the News for printing the letter since holding divergent views and our right to publicly express them is one of the fundamental rights guaranteed in our Constitution. However, I must admit that Hay’s letter was one of the most rambling, useless pieces of drivel I have ever read.

Hay quotes meaningless statistics as if they were fact… less than 50 of our citizens are visionary… nearly 100,000 of our residents want to live in Mayberry… every city in the world with roundabouts want to get rid of them… a Boston roundabout averages more than one wreck per day… and, Newton County is the most indebted in the U.S. based on per capita bond debt. Where does he get this stuff? Everyone knows that 63% of all statistics are fabricated to support an existing viewpoint, and of that 63%, 96.7% are wrong! (not really… I just made that up!) But, to address Hay’s rambling points:

I don’t believe that the majority of our residents want to live in Mayberry, nor that our quality of life has been destroyed beyond repair, nor that people only moved here for what we had and not what we might become. I grew up in Newton County, graduated from Newton County High School, then left the County for business reasons. However, I moved back at my first opportunity, not because I wanted to live in Mayberry, but because of the quality of life here as well as what I hope it can become. I believe our residents want better education for their children, a higher median income, more parks and recreational facilities, better shopping and restaurants, more businesses to relieve our tax burden, and better public services than just a deputy with a single bullet.

I’m not familiar with the Revere roundabout in Boston, but I have driven other roundabouts in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, and real statistics show that roundabouts facilitate traffic better, and are much safer than 4-way stops or traffic lights. Cities the world over are not “trying to figure out how to get rid of them,” but, indeed, are building more roundabouts every day for the benefit and safety of their citizens. We should actually build more roundabouts in Newton County to relieve congestion and enhance safety at some of our more dangerous intersections.

Next, it’s likely that no one has stepped up to save the treasured eyesore of the Stephenson house “right in the middle of town,” (actually it’s four blocks from the middle of town) because, although historic, it is still a commercially-zoned property requiring a significant investment to produce a return. That is a business and personal finance decision, which in our present economy, is likely not justifiable. Saving or restoring the property is not the responsibility or within the purview of local or county government.

Hay says that he has “personally appeared in court, at my own expense,…” So have I. Of course there’s not much expense involved. Appearing in court… or before the County Board of Commissioners or the Covington City Council… to protest, or question, or congratulate, or express whatever view one might have… is totally free. It’s not only ones’ right and privilege, but ones’ duty.

Finally, I searched the AJC archives pretty thoroughly and could find no indication of Newton County’s being the most indebted per capita on bond obligations in the entire country. Could that be just another example of statistical invention to support ones position?

So, “Who are you going to trust? Those who have stuck it out for the long haul, or those Romans who come bearing gifts….?” Actually, the phrase goes “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!,” which was derived from the Trojan Horse trick perpetrated on Troy by the Greeks during the Trojan War around 1183 B.C. I don’t remember any Romans bearing gifts, but who are you going to trust?

In conclusion, I’m proud to live and work in Covington and Newton County. I’m grateful for the quality of life offered here. And I’m optimistic that, through good planning and growth, my children and grandchildren will enjoy an even greater quality of life in this dynamic, growing, and vibrant historical community.

The Trojan Horse Being Drawn Into Troy
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