I understand the role of endorsements, and I am not bothered by not gaining the endorsement of another media outlet. What does bother me is how that opinion negatively and wrongfully portrayed me.
I am not a “one-note” candidate. My concerns and my reasons for running go far beyond the Ulmer Park project and just Springfield. I believe that Mr. Loper has not adequately represented the 4th District, nor the county as a whole, especially in the last few years.
While Mr. Loper takes his position as commissioner seriously, how have all his ACCG positions helped him be a better commissioner and how has it helped the county commission function better? How has that manifested itself in helping the county? Have we heard of anything he has done with the regional water councils? While representing Effingham County is noble, it doesn’t make your role as a commissioner more important, unless you are creating more focus on Effingham County. I feel we have other commissioners on the board who can do as much in Atlanta as Mr. Loper.
The endorsement presents me as someone petty and mean-spirited; both characterizations are false and baseless. I feel we need more citizens speaking up and not just letting the board impose their will on the people. People need to be involved. I was asked to be on the Ulmer Park Project Committee and gladly did, because I believe in the Ulmer Park concept. I also believe in the Effingham Parkway, a comprehensive game plan on the recreation project, and the new gym (but only after a real game plan is put into place).
When spending SPLOST money, we must spend it on projects that benefit the most people. I felt, and still feel, that a park of that style, anywhere in the county, will benefit more people than a gym. I think it will be important to the county and would show people who are looking to move to Effingham County that we have a “quality of life” in Effingham. Isn’t that what SPLOST is for? Special purposes?
I am worried about the money the county is spending at all levels and about the tax burden currently placed on property owners. If we don’t provide some amenities to our tax payers, they may leave. Mr. Loper was a member of the Ulmer Park committee, and I thought it was a great opportunity for the county and city to work together on a project that would benefit both entities. I was hoping the park project, which is right beside the new courthouse and the newly restored Historical Courthouse, would be a good blueprint to other cities and communities on what can be done when you work together. This area is a part of the county that a lot of visitors and newcomers would see.
However, Mr. Loper made it clear from the start he was not in favor of the project, even though he was on the committee to push the plans forward. It sounds like he got on the committee to kill the plan, not to work with the committee to facilitate a solution that would make all parties happy. Now the project is at a standstill and we (the county) missed a golden opportunity to combine SPLOST funds with funding from the City of Springfield for the betterment of the county as a whole.
In the future, maybe the journalists employed by the Now could take the time to ask me why I am running. They may discover that there are reasons for disagreement other than this candidate having a “chip on his shoulder.”
I don’t dispute the right to write the “opinion.” I dispute it because it was the wrong thing to write without giving the public both sides of the story.
Candidate, 4th District primary