Conservative or Liberal, Deist or Pagan, Jersey transplant or Lehigh Valley native, we're all in this mess together. Let's talk. Let us do no harm. Today's one-liner: "The shortest way to the distinguishing excellence of any writer is through his hostile critics." Richard LeGallienne
Friday, July 22, 2011
Another Flip-Flop by Northampton County Council
Last night's County Council meeting included both the "Save the Salamander" crowd as well as the usual Gracedale Goons. They do have three things in common. First, they all pretty much despise Ron Angle, although the green crowd is a lot more sophisticated about it. Second, they're both pretty damn rude. For the zillionth time, Gracedale Goon Mary Ann Schmoyer had to be asked to stop disrupting a meeting. And the tree talkers spent so much time talking loudly in the hall after their portion of the meeting was over, a Deputy Sheriff had to ask them to move on. Third, they are obsessed with their issue, and only their issue.
Sitting in the back, I was unable to hear what was being said, and walked out to ask one of them to move down the hall a little. He told me to move myself.
He's a doctor.
County Council, of course, is intent on setting the world record for flip flops on one issue. Presented with a goofy proposal to buy swampland and steep slopes in Upper Mount Bethel 6 weeks ago, it tabled the matter. Four weeks ago, it untabled the matter and agreed to the purchase even though the only appraisal for these properties came from the Nature Conservancy, and was questionable. Two weeks ago, it halted that purchase and demanded two more appraisals, to be paid for by the seller, after learning that this salamander country is valued more highly than prime farmland. Last night, it reversed course again, and decided to go ahead and buy more swampland anyway, especially after the DCNR dude told them the application is already 91 days late.
Amazingly, the person who decided to go ahead and made the motion was Ron Angle, the person who wanted independent appraisals. He sensed he had a loser, and made the motion with the understanding that open space guidelines about appraisals will be revisited for future swamp land purchases.
The Nature Conservancy's Ellen Lott was there, and told Council she's still speaking for the trees. Northampton County's Federation of Sportsmen's Mike Topping was there, and he claimed he was speaking for hunters. Landowner David Broad was there, and he was speaking for his wallet.
Ann McHale and Ron Angle tried to speak for the taxpayer, but the taxpayer really has no special interest group. So they lost a battle. But if open space guidelines are changed to require truly independent appraisals, and not those from the Nature Conservancy's select group, McHale and Angle will have scored one for the people.