Commission Chairman John Raber has thrown down the gauntlet placing responsibility for attracting new business on limiting free speech instead of making changes in the way he operates.
According to Commission Chairman John Raber’s column, My thoughts on the dog park and other current local topics, once infrastructure needs are assured “a prospective employer views the quality of life in every community. That quality of life is reflected in how much criticism, envy, jealousy, happiness, trust, fellowship, etc. is manifested via the negative blogs, letters to the editor, and news stories. If it is not a feel-good community, the chances of landing that good employer is slim to none.”
John Raber criticizes newspaper editors, bloggers and other writers for timely discussion of issues. He would have us give up First Amendment rights so that his version of all things can be accepted as truth. The First Amendment was made the first to ensure that no government would be able to stifle public discussion of issues. Elected officials hold their positions for a limited period of time. We, the people, will speak out as long as this republic endures.
No one would doubt that quality of life is a major factor in selection of a site for a quality business. Those companies seek out places that have an open government actively supported by the community.
A government that limits public information and restricts volunteer participation is out of touch with the community. John Raber appears to control the Board of Commissioners by illegally withholding timely information.
We need to know: “Are the commissioners failing to receive information because they are not doing the job; or, is the information actually being withheld by the chairman?”
A Mandamus action to compel district commissioners to do their job is a solution for the public if commissioners refuse to keep up with what is going on. Commissioners who are denied timely information by the chairman may use Mandamus to compel Chairman Raber to follow the law.
To gain the trust and support of the community, changes have to be made in the way our county commission operates. More needs to be done to provide timely, factual information to the people.
Lumpkin County will be an attractive place for business only if we value honesty, truth and First Amendment rights.