Every once in a while our leaders turn back the clock to days of old when things were as they should be, highlighting just how far the system has deteriorated. Once upon a time government worked for the people.
On October 25, the Cleveland City Council unanimously opposed a request by Verizon Wireless to erect an 80 foot cell tower close to the Greenway and Cleveland Historic District. Councilman Richard Banks said he had had 30 to 50 calls, all opposed, and he supported the Greenway Board and historic neighborhood association who didn't want the tower in their part of town. Mayor Tom Rowland said there were so many people in opposition he would veto an attempt to approve it.
It could be argued that cell towers are necessary evils that benefit the public as a whole more than the eye pollution they cause. Also, the view from the Greenway and historic district is already tarnished by four towers, a number of water tanks, a rooftop satellite dish, and a mass of power lines, some we are told, are at least 80 foot off the ground.
What was the Cleveland City Council supposed to have done under the circumstances? Should they have ignored the people's wishes and allowed the tower to be erected?
There are pros and cons on both sides but in the end, the city council are there to represent the people. You know, government for the people.
Then why am I writing about it, you may ask?
For the past few years, people living in the Tasso area of Bradley County have opposed the location of a new airport in their community, possibly hundreds are opposed. The Cleveland City Council were unanimously in favor of the airport even though the impact to residents would have been far greater than a cell tower, also, the Tasso residents didn't want it in their neighborhood either. Similar to the cell tower opposition only greater.
Residents in the McDonald area of the county opposed a proposed industrial park located in pristine countryside and did not want to be annexed into the city. The Cleveland City Council unanimously supported that plan, ignoring the pleas of the people. Interestingly, during both these incidents, people turned out in droves to voice their opposition but the city council ignored them.
Why did the Cleveland City Council ignore residents in the county who took the trouble to voice opposition in person yet support opponents of the cell tower who picked up the telephone but didn't show up to complain? Why the inconsistency?
The City of Cleveland and Bradley County belong to you. Local government works for you. You pay all the bills and make the payroll and as a result this community should reflect your likes and dislikes. You are the boss because the money to manage your neighborhood comes from your pocket. Or at least that is the way it is meant to work.
The Cleveland City Council has proven time, and time again that the voice of the people is of little importance to them when the Cleveland country club set wants something, so the sudden concern over the cell tower is confusing and inconsistent with usual council practice.
My gut feeling is there is more to this cell tower thing than we are led to believe. It could be that someone of influence close to the tower location is pulling city council strings. Or there is money to be made from a different tower location. Or maybe this is a spiteful political payback to someone. Who knows?
If anyone has an idea as to what is going on, post it on the Grapevine blog, or phone me with the answer to the riddle and I will share it with my readers.
It is sad an action of support for the people by the city council is so out of place as to cause suspicion of corruption because we have become so accustomed to city government working against our wishes.
That's what I think. What do you think?
Or, you can now make your feelings known immediately, by commenting on this editorial through our blog, The Grapevine.