Dec 9 2007
09:15 pm
By: WhitesCreek

It seems like every time someone tries to do something good for Roane County someone else tries to stop it and usually for no particular reason.

Since there is no real reason not to adopt the Lighting Conservation Zoning for Roane County, it seems like some folks are willing to just make something up to stop a good thing.

Here's a case in point from... "Minutes from the Industrial Development Board meeting - August 6, 2007..."

"Chairman Kirkham reported that this (Lighting conservation standards zoning) doesn't apply to cities but for the county. The new hospital could not be built if this ordinance is passed. The Industrial Liaison Committee voted unanimously to oppose this resolution with no compromises."

"No Compromises."

Unfortunately for Roane County and the reputation of the Industrial Board's members, they made their "No Compromises" decision based on the rather inadequate and very incorrect information presented to them by Ms. Henderson, of the Roane Alliance which is funded by our tax money, by the way.

We need better work from our appointed boards than this. We can't be lazy, intellectually or otherwise when dealing with issues that affect the quality of life in Roane County's future. But I know several of the Industrial Board members and I think they mean well and care about Roane County...I don't believe they would have come to the conclusion they did if they had been presented with accurate information.

Had Ms. Henderson asked, before she gave her very inaccurate(and intentionally?) one sided report to the Board, someone could have pointed out that Roane Medical Center in Ladd Landing was already built using "full cut off" fixtures for most of it's lighting. And let's be aware that Blount County just adopted a more stringent ordinance than the SRSS folks have proposed and they don't seem to be worried one bit that it's going to hurt development, and that SRSS is made up of a lot of thoughtful Roane Countians who have really studied it and think this is a very good idea.

So why would the Industrial Board be against something that would make the new Industrial park more attractive and save the County taxpayers money?

Given accurate information, I don't think they would have.

No one must have told them things like that the City of Calgary, Canada is taking down all of their old street lights and replacing them with new ones, just like the ones that the Industrial Board unanimously opposes with no compromise. Why? They figure they'll give better lighting for so much less cost that the new lights will pay for themselves in a few years and save money from then on out.

Roane County needs good decisions from it's leadership, and good decisions are based on accurate information. When the people in positions of leadership don't provide accurate information for the decision makers...

Well, I leave the conclusion to you folks. What do you think?

I know I'm going to ruin both our reputations, WC...

... but again, I'm gonna have to agree with you.

I think that board genuinely wants to do good by Roane County. I, like you, know a lot of members of that group, and I think the same thing you do. I don't know Ms Henderson personally well enough to say she deliberately mislead them, but inaccuracy is inaccuracy. They should be presented with more accurate information that is documented well enough so they can clearly see that their previous decision was erroneous based on being misinformed.

WC - what the hell are people gonna think - thee and me agreeing again. I apologize for tarnishing your reputation :-)


We are entitled to our own

We are entitled to our own opinions, but not our own facts.

It appears that we agree on the facts, eh?

Leslie Henderson is a good lobbyist, but perhaps she needs a reminder as to whom she is supposed to represent. It is quite possible that she is in an impossible situation. I can't see how the Roane Alliance can function as an agent of the Chamber of Commerce, a private entity representing it's membership, and also as the Industrial agent of Roane County, funded by taxpayer money and supposedly representing all Roane County Citizens.

In this case Leslie seems to have decided to represent neither.


That's an interesting idea. Actually, the folks I know at the Alliance are good hard working employees. My only question is what job are they doing for the county?

I don't think anyone knows who does what and whether it is a Chamber of Commerce function, or a County function with the Roane Alliance. The money thing should concern everyone. Does the Alliance use County funds to do Chamber functions?

They have a job that is hard to do...

And I suggest we not hastily rush to condemn the Roane Alliance. It is exactly that - an ALLIANCE. Look the word up. It is necessarily made up of people with wide-ranging interests and emphases, and they must try to synthesize the whole milieu into something positive. As WC says, I agree: they have a hard to do, they try to do a good job, and they are good people.

Let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater. They cannot be a one-issue group. And it seems one issue is driving some people's judgment about this group of people who want good things for Roane County, the fact that they are not perfect at it notwithstanding.

I'm not demeaning the needs of those who support the ability for Roane countians to observe starry skies - I like starry skies myself, and know how hard it is to see many celestial bodies with too much ambient light traveling upward.

That being said, we need to work on making sure they have good solid facts at their disposal before jumping to be too hard on them. They do have more to do than lights (I'm not saying that as an excuse to ignore the lighting issues, just a simple fact.).

They're paid employees and they should be. I'm not sure if their salaries are public information or not. But in any case I'm not ready to go on a crusade to make them feel endangered in any way, and I hope nobody else is either.


There are multiple issues here

And I think I might take this to the front page because of that.

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