All 31 years of my life have been spent living in Macon County. This is my home and the only home many of us will ever know. We all need to protect this land as much as humanly possible. This county and land are precious to me as well as to most of you all reading this I am sure, but when our land and streams become contaminated, by whatever means, many times it is difficult to reverse the damage. “If we're going to be told we can't build house! s until there's an environmental impact study done, we'll probably mov e on,” Cobb-Vantress representative Ben Green once stated. “Because there are a lot of little communities that want us. If we feel unwanted, we don't want to be here.” This type of stance should have not been stood for. Environmental impact studies are performed before large projects such as major highways and landfills are constructed. With the type of operation Cobb-Vantress is, why should this project be any different?
From my vantage point and that of many people I have came in contact with, this project was irresponsibly rushed through and has led to much disdain in some of our local government officials. One such official, Macon County Mayor Shelvy Linville stated in an article, “I am anxious for Cobb to get the hatchery and QA facility built for two reasons. It will create much needed jobs for Macon County citizens and secondly put to rest the negative speculation surrounding this project b! y showing people what Cobb and the business is really about.” I will definitely agree that jobs coming into our area are always welcome news. The part that irks me about the above comment is Mr. Linville's arrogant attitude that he knows best and seems to have little regard for the people that he serves
Speaking of Mr. Linville, I found it interesting that in the June 15, 2010, Macon County Chronicle article titled “A Message from Macon County Mayor Shelvy Linville,” the Democrat-turned-Independent county mayor mentioned most of his accomplishments but failed to mention one of his key achievements. Pointed out was his leadership during our two terrible natural disasters, luring back Fleetwood Homes, providing health insurance for county employees, securing a grant for waterlines in the county, etc. In the article, I could not believe that he did not mention the Cobb-Vantress project. I ! had to read the article again to believe the omission. Was there a rea son that Mr. Linville excluded this accomplishment?
Just recently, a lady that resides near the hatchery site told me that she and others that live in that area were not even notified when blasting was to begin during the construction phase of the project. Apparently, there are several residents near the site that have endured foundation damage to their homes as a result of the blasting. I really feel for the residents that live in the Coolidge Road and Baker Drive area of Lafayette. I am almost positive if a chicken facility or house was being constructed adjacent to or across the road from County Mayor Linville, Lafayette Mayor James Y. Carter or any of our county commissioners' homes and properties, there would be outrage by those very officials. I know the site is located in the Lafayette Industrial Park, but I and many others feel that this type of facility should have been located somewhere ! more remote from a residential area rather than situated just across the street from one. I applaud Mr. David Harper and others for their efforts in calling for stricter zoning regulations involving this operation.
As I mentioned earlier, this county and its well-being are very important to me. Much of our area's identity involves the gorgeous scenery and its beautiful landscape. Due to our area's beauty and peacefulness, tourism has become a viable source of income for this county's economy. It is very important that we keep our land pure so we can preserve this sort of identity for our future generations and visitors. Maintaining a healthy tourism industry involves keeping this area as pristine and inviting as possible.
Since it appears that Cobb-Vantress is here to stay, I sincerely hope everything turns out for the! best. On the other hand, if residents become sick, wildlife is advers ely affected or our environment turns out to be polluted (e.g., what apparently happened to the Illinois River watershed in Oklahoma) due to the waste and fumes from this operation, people should seriously be held accountable.
A few last thoughts… The people in this county have just spoken; that much is a certainty. I congratulate Mr. Linville on his win in the general election. Although Mr. Linville was victorious this past Thursday night, I see a hidden message in the final results. Even though Mr. Linville, receiving 48.6 percent of the vote, bested both of his opponents, more voters still voted against him than for him. I am not saying Mr. Linville would have not won in a two-man race versus his closest competitor, but I am sure this fact has not left the incumbent mayor feeling overly confident. Hopefully this will be a wakeup call for Mr. Linville, as well as other elected officials, to stri! ve to become better representatives of the citizens they serve.
Although the election is over, the need of government of the people, by the people, for the people remains the same. We need elected officials that will stand up for their constituents and represent them like they would want to be represented. Residents in this county and across the country for that matter are fed up with government officials that put their own agendas first and not the people that they serve.
Ninth District, Northern Macon County, Tenn.