All the answers, none that count
It’s the first Thursday in February and you know what means — county commission email!
We haven’t had much to report lately because there hasn’t been much coming in. Could be the holidays, changing of the guard, a little lapse in news.
Not so this time. My random commissioner email of the week is from Chairman Ruthie Davis Schlabach who had numerous contacts from folks offering opinions on this and that.
Schlabach often interacts with the public when they write in. I didn’t see any in this batch but not to fret, I’m happy to step in.
Here are some examples from the chairman’s in-box from last week and the Just Wright Citrus take:
— “I moved from NJ to Citrus County to live in a place that reflects my conservative Christian values. When I elect officials I expect them to be my voice and I want to be heard. We the people of Citrus County are conservative and wish to remain that way. We want conservative values and morals to be evident in our county. I will ask that you choose LAB appointees that represent the majority of the people who live here.”
JWC take: The chairman, and I’m guessing all commissioners, received a few emails similar to this one leading up to their appointment of library advisory board members.
Several citizens used terms like “conservative Christian values” and “conservative values and morals,” I’m not sure what to think. What exactly does that mean? It sounds somewhat threatening, which is a little ironic when you think about it.
Plus, let’s just be real here. People aren’t moving from Jersey to Citrus County because of our strong conservative values. They’re here like the rest of us northern transplants: it’s 80 in February. North Dakota has strong conservative values but you don’t see right-wingers flocking there.
— “Please do not subject our kids and grandchildren to public displays of gay pride month in Citrus libraries.”
JWC take: There are a few emails like that and it’s getting ridiculous. I am asking all you folks who think there’s evil debauchery in the Citrus County libraries to ACTUALLY VISIT ONE.
You know, it’s one thing to believe a lie presented by a con artist. OK, that happens. But to continue believing it without even seeing for yourself, well, that’s just ignorance.
— “I have a couple concerns on all the applications pending in our area of Pine Ridge.
“First of all, most of us moved to get away from congestion and over building. Come to find Citrus is now headed down the same road….
“When is the rest of 491 getting widened? That should be done before all this new development is done.
“Look, I'm all for some growth but it is happening too fast and the county can't handle it…My guess is, county approves everything for the tax revenue but I hope you all really think first. County isn't ready and the commissioners are responsible.”
JWC take: First off, good letter. And it probably sums up the feelings of many people in the Pine Ridge area who moved into a quiet community only now to see all modes of traffic, growth and congestion aimed their way.
(Today’s photo is a “remember when” picture of the 491/486 Target corner before progress came to town.)
Concern is understandable. But it’s not as simple as telling the government to bar the door.
The, “I moved here to get away from crowds and now it’s crowded” complaint didn’t hold water in the past and doesn’t today, for the same reason. Doesn’t seem logical to move into a community and then make others jump through hoops you didn’t have to jump through. It’s much more involved.
That said, commissioners know that growth and roads are the biggest challenges this year. It’s important we ease into 2024 with an idea of what’s happening and whether we’re truly prepared to meet it.
Don’t panic about growth, but also don’t stop telling commissioners about it. They need to hear your issues and concerns.
Well, we’re out of time but, boy, that sure was fun. I’ll have to remember that idea.
Look. A county commissioner’s job is the most challenging of any local politician. So much rides on their decisions. And none more than in the times we face today.
Citizens fire off in-your-face emails to commissioners. I write blogs.
Commissioners are the ones who have to figure it all out in real life.
And they already know that.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 35 years.