COMMENTARY: Laughing At Cannon County?
KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor
Sunday, October 9, 2011 3:30 pm
Rutherford County gets an Amazon plant and 1,200 jobs, Cannon County gets a quarry.
If there were any more quarries along John Bragg Highway, the state may have to consider renaming it "Rocky Road."
Such is the the state of the situation in Cannon County these days that in some quarters we are not being taken seriously at best, laughed at at worst.
State Rep. Mark Pody told a group of citizens recently that quarry operators have no qualms about coming into Cannon County and tearing up our land because we don't care enough about ourselves to have zoning laws.
We're an open target, an easy mark, for just about any type of business who wants to start operating, anywhere in Cannon County.
It looks like the joke's on us.
The need for jobs in Cannon County has been a source of discussion amongst locals since the beginning of the recent (and perhaps current) recession. Local officials have been criticized for not taking enough steps to bring business to the county.
Randall Reid, at a meeting of the county's Industrial Development Board, said its not only locals who don't feel the county is putting forth enough effort in that area.
Reid said the State of Tennessee has soured on trying to help businesses locate in the county because the county itself has not demonstrated much of a commitment to do the things necessary to attract industry.
Almost every agenda for a public or business meeting includes an item called "Other Business." It allows for persons who are either participating in the meeting or attending it to bring up specific matters not on the agenda.
One or two non-agenda items usually arise at every meeting, especially those of the Cannon County Commission, which only meets every three months on a regular basis. A lot can happen over three months that require attention.
Three months ago few people in Cannon County were aware of an Indiana company's plans to locate a rock quarry just off John Bragg Hwy. on Bradyville Road. Now it's the "talk of the town" so to speak.
Those who oppose the plan have already placed letters to the editor in this newspaper, lobbied local and state officials in an attempt to stop it, and voiced their frustrations at public meetings.
When the Cannon County Commission meets in regular session on Saturday (Oct. 15) its a good bet there will be quarry opponents in attendance asking the commissioners to take whatever action it can to assist their cause.
And, while there may be little the commissioners can do now to prevent Stones River Quarry from operating a facility off John Bragg Hwy., those people will also ask the commissioners to do something to prevent even more quarries in the future by implementing zoning laws.
Will they? That's anybody's guess. They have been slow in taking action or taken none at all on other recent concerns expressed by citizens, such as building codes, an animal shelter, an audit committee, industrial development and a middle school.
THE 'BIG' ISSUE
Comparisons have been made between the new group Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party.
In a way there are similarities, although one leans to the right of center and the other to the left.
Both think bigger is better.
The Occupy Wall Street group thinks big government is better.
The Tea Party group thinks big business is better.
Each tries to get those in the center to lean toward its side.
Those in the center constantly sway from side to side.
They seek balance between both, with checks on the power and influence of each.
The side which emerges the winner at the ballot box a little over a year from now will prevail — at least until the next election.