Why has it always been done that way?
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Have you heard the saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different result? Have you heard of having blinders on so you concentrate on only the things directly in front of you? What about hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil? Many of us fall into one, if not all, of these areas and probably don’t even realize it.
We have an increasing number of new people moving into Coosa County. They are coming from all over the country – some with a connection to Coosa and some with no connection at all. Most reasons I’ve heard from our new arrivals include low taxes, low property costs, the lakes and rivers, and the slower way of life. When we finally get reliable internet I think even more people will be coming!
As a relative newcomer here (only been here 25 years) I have often wondered why things are done the way they are here in the county. The answer I usually get is “that’s how it’s always been done.” But most people can’t tell me WHY.
With more people now coming in and asking the same question I’ve been really thinking about it. When someone asks me that question I now find myself giving that same answer, but adding that I don’t think most people here know there are other ways to do things.
Now, don’t get upset! I am NOT criticizing anyone. I do appreciate that there are many people who have lived here their entire life or only left for brief times and came back. I know there are people who have 8+ generations buried here. And I’m still learning all the family names that have been the main leaders of the county for years.
Some families raise leaders and others raise followers. Some families raise their children to stay home and keep to themselves. Some people just go with the flow without speaking out even if they might wonder about things that go on around them.
Many of the complaints that I hear from people here in Coosa County are about the roads, the lack of businesses, the lack of activities, and the schools. The history of all these issues goes back to the way the old leaders handled moving into the 20th and 21st centuries. The original dirt roads were never planned for the traffic of today. They were not built to handle the much larger and heavier trucks and equipment we have today.
Businesses closed because of the stagnation of the population and people going to larger towns to shop. People moved from the area because there were no jobs or things to do for themselves and/or their children. Once they were gone, they found bigger and better things so most didn’t return.
The once great community schools were closed because leaders didn’t want to fight to keep them, but went into huge debt to build the consolidated schools at Hanover that are now fighting to stay open. Schools need local tax revenue to operate at anything but a minimal level, and that circles us around to the lack of businesses to pay the taxes that are needed. On top of that, the population has become older, and many people no longer have to pay property taxes that would also support the schools.
Are you seeing any type of vicious circle that has been created? I do. Look at who the elected leaders have been through the years. Weren’t many of them from the same family lines? Weren’t many of them the same people who had never been out in the world to see other ways to do things? Weren’t these the people who wanted to keep all the power and control to themselves? Weren’t most of them reelected over and over again regardless of how good or bad the county was doing?
New people are rarely elected regardless of their qualifications because the “good old boys” network has it locked down. Yet, the same people continue to complain about what is going on and probably didn’t vote or voted for the incumbent.
Improvements and upgrades can’t be done because “the county doesn’t have enough money.” That’s the standing excuse that is given. But if you follow the County Commission you would probably be amazed at how what we do have is being spent.
I’m still waiting for the Commission to follow up on providing live coverage of their meetings so people who cannot attend will be able to stay informed. Many of you have asked me why that isn’t still happening, but it was briefly done by individuals on their private phones, using their own data, on their own time to try to let people know what was going on. Just like many churches are providing online access to their Sunday sermons and many other cities/counties already provide web access to their meetings/work sessions, our county should be able to do the same for us.
The only way to foster change is to speak up, speak out and speak loud. We have new county commissioners who need to hear from us. There is occasionally a listing of their contact information in this newspaper or you can call the Commission office directly at 256-377-2420. You can also visit their website at www.coosacountyal.com.
I again want to stress that this column is MY OPINION. I am not calling out anyone by name, but hope more of you will get engaged with what is happening in our county. Let’s find our sanity by trying new things. What do we really have to lose?