I was driving down Williamson-Zebulon Road, in the rain, after dark. That’s when I really noticed how bad the roads in Pike County have become. Everybody in the county knows our roads are in bad shape. But on the ugly nights, “bad” turns into “dangerous”.
I had just heard a little historical blurb on the radio about roads. Way back when. road crews only painted the center line on roads. In the dark — when it was hardest to see — people would “hug” the middle of the road because the center line was the only thing clearly visible. Somebody had the bright idea that if lines were painted at the edge of the road, people would stop driving in the middle of the road and there would be fewer accidents. It turns out they were right. Likewise, anyone that remembers driving on dark roads before the invention of those little reflectors embedded in the pavement understands what an advancement in safety they represent.
Which brings me back to my journey down Pike County’s roads. Williamson-Zebulon Road (like most other county roads in Pike) has been patched so many times that the white line at the edge of the road has disappeared in places. Likewise, it seems many of those yellow center-line reflectors have come loose and gone missing. There are whole stretches of road that all but disappear into the gloom on a dark, rainy night.
I’d rather have the patches than the potholes but what we need are paved roads, not patched ones. I hope by now you are wondering why we don’t have decent, safe county roads. It’s simple; you keep electing the Party of Potholes.
Pike County is governed by the Republican Party. Every single commissioner is a Republican. The Republican Party doesn’t like government. As a matter of fact, much of the Republican Party hates government. They want the government “off our backs” and “out of our lives”. In large part, they have been successful in accomplishing that. Unfortunately, that philosophy doesn’t keep the roads paved. It turns out it’s the government that paves the roads. Well, the government pays to have them paved. The actual paving is done by contractors. That function of the government has been mostly “privatized” (code for government spending disguised as private enterprise). You’re supposed to believe that a private company can do it cheaper than the government. Which means that we’ll be able to afford to keep our roads paved.
Let me pause here and ask a question: How’s that working out for you?
Do you want your mother driving down a dark and dangerous road in the rain? Or your daughter? How about the school bus carrying your children? Or grandchildren? Let me ask a “Republican” question. How do dark and dangerous roads promote commerce? If the Republican Party is the Party of Free Enterprise, Free Markets, Limited Government and everything-that-is-right-about-America…then why are Pike County’s roads in such bad shape?
Again, the answer is simple. Pike County doesn’t have the money to pave its roads. That’s because Pike County doesn’t collect enough taxes to pave its roads. I’ve been to several County Commission meetings where they talk about paving roads. Mostly they talk about it in confusing code but — in the end — the simple truth is always the same. The county doesn’t have the money.
The Commissioners would like for the State of Georgia to pay for the paving. And Georgia does help out with some paving projects. The Commissioners would gladly take Federal Government money to pave our roads. (As long as we don’t let anybody call it “stimulus” and it doesn’t make President Obama look good.) But the Republican Party has been at work defunding both of those governments — State and Federal — too. Neither has provided all the funds that Pike County needs to maintain its roads.
The lesson here should be blindingly obvious: People that hate government aren’t very good at running one. Again, the County Commission is all Republican. There is no opposition. You can’t blame Democrats because there aren’t any on the Commission. (You can try to blame President Obama but reality gets in the way.) Republicans in this county set the tax rate, plan the budget and execute the plan. They are in control of the government they love to hate and the proof is in the potholes.
The Republican Party hates government. And it shows.
Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County