To the editor:
I attended the Board of Commissioners meeting on April 5, 2005. It was disturbing and extremely disappointing to hear Chairman Bell state we would not get the six recreation centers we were promised when the commission was trying to get the SPLOST passed. But, it was infuriating when Commissioner Bell and Dan Martin, director of finance, advised six centers would be built and went on to name them: The Natatorium to be built at the justice center, the senior center and four recreation centers to be built in Districts 1, 2 and 4.
They underestimate the intelligence of the citizens. We can count and we do comprehend. Playing on words and evasive answers will not work. First, there was $8 million budgeted for recreation centers in 2004. So when you say you are taking $4.4 million of the recreation center money that you gave to roads and giving it back to the recreation centers. We would like the balance. Second, the Natatorium was not part of the SPLOST. It is a joint venture between the county and the school board. Each put up $6.5 million for a total of $13 million. This will be for the use of swim teams from all of Clayton County schools. It is a project that had long been promised, reneged on and promised again. It will basically be under the operational jurisdiction of the schools as it should be and, adding a gymnasium to it does not make it a recreation center.
I have no problem with the Senior Center being built in Commissioner Griswell's district. But it's strange that only $250,000 was allocated in the budget for 2004, with the balance in 2005, yet the commission has already seen fit to borrow $10 million to insure that the Senior Center gets built. Evidently the children of Clayton County are not as important. Now I know senior citizens vote. Many of the parents of our young people may not have voted in the last election, but I'm sure that is going to change now.
Commissioner Griswell - I take issue with your statement that we do have recreation centers because we have all of the parks. I guess you expect our children to play in the parks in rain, sleet, snow, tornados and hurricanes. Don't underestimate our intelligence. We know what constitutes an indoor recreation center.
And last, but not least, it's interesting that you have decided not to build the recreation center in Lovejoy. I guess you intend to disenfranchise taxpaying citizens in the lower portion of District 3 (Hampton, Lovejoy, Panhandle, Rivers Edge area.) We get nothing. Is this retaliation against Commissioner Ralph because you cannot silence him or make him your puppet? Commissioner Ralph is only doing what his constituents have asked him to do, i.e. represent us! We didn't vote him to be your "yes" man. You have enough of those already.
Stop lying to us. Stop trying to dazzle us with your erroneous facts, figures and double talk. Where is your honor? Why can't you be a person of your word. We want our six recreation centers. Why can't you understand that. You are there to represent the citizens - all of the citizens and that includes our children.
Linda L. Crawley-Simmons