Saturday, July 5, 2008

Stacking the Deck

Once again, Commissioners Pfannenstiel and Berens have revealed their cronyism with wind farm profiteers by appointing and re-appointing Planning Commission members who are either known supporters of wind energy, or have familial ties to land leased for wind turbines. The public needs to know that a large number of other people volunteered for these positions – many of them educated citizens genuinely concerned for their community – not people simply trying to jump on the wind bandwagon for personal profit. None of these people, who might have provided more balance on the Planning Commission, people whom the commissioners may have assumed to be neutral or mildly opposed to the development in its present form, were allowed the opportunity to serve.

These commissioners clearly have no desire for a balance of opinion to be represented on the Planning Commission – they appear determined to railroad this project through over the dead bodies of any dissenters. The rumors of kickbacks and payoffs to these commissioners by wind interests are only rumors and cannot be substantiated. However, the balance of circumstantial evidence indicative of their corruption is becoming increasingly ponderous with every passing week they remain in office.

It does not matter much that Planning Commission members will now be asked to take an oath of office. It is merely one more confirmation that our appointed officials have not been following their own rules and regulations to date. Much damage has been done previous board members and doubtless many of those still present will make their conflicts public, but blithely continue with business as usual. Similarly, our two star commissioners will continue to ignore public concerns, make arbitrary decisions that benefit their friends and families, and mismanage the county’s resources and tax revenue until they are removed from office. The debacle of the Hadley Building deal should be evidence enough of their poor judgment and incompetence. Both Berens and Pfannenstiel have had multiple terms in office and a bounty of opportunities to benefit this community – clealy without doing so.

Whether you are Republican or Democrat, it is difficult to deny that political change is needed in Ellis County – not simply to restore responsible government, but to prevent the whole county and its future from being sold down the river on a ‘good faith agreement’ with a foreign company. I urge everyone to become involved in supporting alternative candidates for County Commission this fall. We must extinguish the apathy that has allowed corruption and cronyism to permeate local government and replace it with increased awareness and vigilance of its operations. And we must take full advantage of the only legal means to restore honest, responsible representation. We must support and campaign for deserving candidates and make it a personal priority to vote for change in November.

J.P. Michaud
1189 180th Ave.

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