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Opinion Letters Debate is larger than steep slope ordinance

This letter is in response to a recent Letter to the Editor by Larry Stenger, vice-chair of the Macon County Planning Board about a fox in the hen house. The so-called fox, Jimmy Goodman, served on the planning board when the Erosion Control and High Impact Ordinances were passed and was removed from the board just like Al Slagle was. Both men deserved better treatment and were just pawns in a political game. The current sideshows and political maneuvers were absent when Goodman lost and have now turned into local comedy.

This ongoing debate is larger than a steep slope ordinance or some other regulation as political philosophies differ in that liberals want total governmental control of our lives and conservatives rely on personal responsibility with very limited government intrusion.

When the liberals lose, they want to change the rules to buffer their loss, attack the character of people with opposing views, distort facts and cry foul at every opportunity.

Mr. Stenger shared his feelings by using the words “lies”, “distortion” and “untruths” in his article several times in describing Goodman and his supporters. Quoting Mr. Stenger, “In the past, some of our citizens have died, lost homes and have been injured by steep slope slides.” This statement defines distortion of fact as none of this has ever happened from local development of steep slopes. He continues this theme by suggesting that up to 15,000 additional homes may be needed in the next 20 years in Macon County which equates to 750 houses per year, 62 per month or two per day. This could be good news to the construction and real estate industry and our local economy, but these numbers are greatly distorted. To further clarify other misleading charges in the vice chairman’s letter, hiatus is defined as a “break in continuity,” not shutting down the board. Mr. Stenger claims that Goodman and some special interest groups have negative agendas but fails to provide specific examples. Maybe he will do so in the future.

I have spoken in opposition to some regulations at previous planning board meetings and if my opinion is labeled a lie or one of distortion as expressed by the vice chairman of the Board, is this the full board’s view and is public input just a joke to the other members? When one board member publicly attacks another board member and the public as bitterly as the vice chairman has done here, does that qualify as disruptive behavior and become grounds for removal under the proposed “Goodman Amendment” to the county statute governing the planning board?

Paul C. Higdon — Franklin, N.C.





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