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Posted: July 19, 2014 10:00 p.m.

Letter to the Editor: The Mansfield 2050 meeting: Confusion, conflict

Yes, I am a rocket scientist specializing in deep space propulsion. However that is no asset when it comes to understanding the reason for the extreme “Plan.” I would like to point out that the sessions are unlike anything I have ever experienced due to the fact there are no objective points made by the presenters. It is like, “Hey, it’s all good!” And we know better than that.

Most educational forums which I have attended offer the good points and the bad points. This one does not offer anything except what the presenters are selling which is the 2050 Plan and Transferable Development Rights.

I have never been in a situation to have to sit through a Time Share Condo sales pitch nor a siding salesman pitch (who I understand will not leave your house till you sign on the dotted line) but from what I’ve always heard, this is about what we have here.

My feelings, had I hired these experts, would have been to make positive and negative points, one by one. Tell our people both the good and the bad. Would anyone agree that there is seldom anything is this lifetime that has no negatives attached to it?

I really don’t know where to start. There is misinformation galore in these sessions. You would have to be pretty dumb not to see them. There are so many that during the first meeting I had four pages of questions. I got to ask one, actually. During the first half of the Mansfield meeting, I only had three pages, got to ask two, and left early along with several others because none of the people asking hard questions were called on again.

Just as an example, one man asked, “Who is we? Were there any private citizens on these preliminary planning boards?” The answer was a list of persons and groups but for some reason there was no defining answer. It would have been so simple, Mr. Hall, if you had just answered, “No.” You never did.

And you stated, the county had a 35 percent increase in jobs over the past several years and my question to that would have been, “Where did you get this information?” You cannot just say things that sound good without proper documentation. According to the Washington Post, the average employment across the US is 63 percent. Now, if you take 63 percent of Newton’s population you find that of the 100,000 people, 63,000 are employed, according to the national average. If you say the county has had a job increase of 35 percent you are saying Newton had a job increase of 23,000 new jobs. I challenge you on this figure along with a lot of other off-the-wall comments you made.

People are naturally uncomfortable with anything they don’t understand. What they do understand is this program is being pushed down their throats whether they like it or not. It has created a huge void in trust between the taxpayers, voters, citizens of Covington and Newton County and the elected officials. I predict no one will be reelected in the event this measure passes under any circumstances. Don’t tell me this is version one and version two will be better and version three will be the final version with all the problems ironed out. You people who are being paid to do this deal aren’t going away as long as you are being paid to continue on and ‘better’ is a relative word. “Better” for who?

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