Old ways aren't showing new results

Dear Editor,

With our plants closing all around us a lot of people are going to be out of jobs and a lot will probably have to move away from Barnwell County.

We need jobs and plants to come here, we all know that. But we need to do things different from the past and it's time for our council people to understand that. We are losing our best plants that have been here a long time and are owned by big companies with money and people to manage them. But what do we have to show for all those that have come and then left in recent years, taking with them all the money that our county government gave them to come here?

We've got a record of paying a high price to bring somebody in and after they use up all we give them, they leave.

We don't need to hand out more money to more of the same type companies that have taken advantage of us in the past.

Just think about it people, there is a long list of them. The economic development people and council people have gotten millions of dollars from SRP and Chem-Nuclear over the years and they have spent millions but don't have much at all to show for it.

Everybody knows it's hard to get big companies to come to a small area, but to keep on just taking what we can get and being taken for it is not the way to go. We need to do solid background checks on companies and be sure they are stable and can pay their own way. We need to sell them on our people, those who can work hard for them and help them make money. And we need to have more to offer for them and their families.

We need to get out and convince a restaurant like Ryan's or Golden Corral to come here. Then maybe we could get a theater and start getting people to stay here and spend their money instead of going to Aiken and other places. Then we could start getting a lot of people from the other small counties around us to come and spend their time and money here just like they do for Wal-Mart.

I have been told a lot of time by council that it was tried before and didn't work. Trying something one time years ago doesn't mean it won't work now and should not be tried again, years later.

Our leaders need to start thinking and acting positive instead of keeping on doing the same old things the same old ways or not doing anything at all.

When is the last time a council person asked you how you feel or what you think about how we can make Barnwell County better? Why don't they set up committees with citizens, plant workers, etc., people that also have some ideas and understanding of what we need and how to go about getting it.

Maybe if companies heard from those people they would see good reasons to come here. Get the politics and good old boy committees out of the way and let the people get involved. Have some town hall meetings and listen to the people. Council people need to remember that they came from the regular people too and becoming a council person doesn't make you know everything and have all the answers, even though most of them act that way.

There's a lot that can be done, think how much a four-lane highway through Barnwell would cause us to grow and improve our tax base. How about a direct four-lane route from Columbia to Savannah going right through Barnwell County? It makes sense and could change our future, so what are our leaders doing to bring that about?

Obama's stimulus package is a big on infrastructure - roads and bridges. Is anybody working and fighting for the road we need? It wouldn't be just for us, but for the other areas it goes through. How about a committee for that project and to get connecting counties involved? How about our senator and representatives? Are they doing anything about this, have they even thought about it?

All our people need to work together including town governments and be heard like we haven't been heard from before, not just the same little group that always shows up, shakes hands, has lunch and goes back home.

I sure don't have all the answers, but I believe we do and I think it is time to shake things up and try something different. The old way has not worked, it has just spent millions. Being a leader doesn't mean you do everything yourself and shut the regular people out.

If our county is going to bounce back and begin to grow, it's time for some real leaders to step up, quit fighting over politics and control and get the people involved in our problems. If you agree I hope we will hear from you and you will tell your council person how you feel.

Sincerely,

Philip Brown,
Barnwell