Immanuel Kant, an 18th century German philosopher whose work initiated dramatic changes in the fields of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, aesthetics, and teleology once proposed a profound question. He asked,” Does reality exist outside us or in our minds.” As I read the news account of the position taken by the Army Corps of Engineers from several weeks ago, Kant’s question resonated loudly.
The Piedmont Branch of the Corps said in a letter to Newton County that they had administratively withdrawn Newton County’s application for a permit to construct Bear Creek reservoir until the county submits additional documentation supporting the need for the project. It appears from other sources that the Corps had asked for additional information regarding the permit but not received the information.
County Attorney, Tommy Craig, has tried to shift some, if not all the blame on mismanagement of Newton County’s application to the Corps, but it appears from the Corps’ letter that necessary information was requested from Newton County that was not provided. The questions appear to center on the actual need for an additional reservoir.
Kant’s question about reality also seems to apply to many other areas of county government, particularly solid waste management. The committee tasked with looking at solid waste management has issued its report and it bears careful consideration. The 500-pound gorilla that remains in the room is the 400-plus acres near the current landfill and the specter of trash coming there from other counties and cities outside the area.
The idea of a regional landfill is abhorrent enough, but there is still the question of potential damages that may arise after losing the nearly two decades-old lawsuit over creation of that landfill. News about that situation has been lacking and I wonder if this is the lull before the storm.
The Newton County Board of Commissioners should read Kant and ask if their reality is only in their minds. But they may not be able to find a copy of his Kritik der reinen Vernunftv if the library is closed. Maybe a copy can be obtained from the Nancy Guinn Library in Conyers. I seem to remember that they had issues a few years ago but their facility is basking in the light of community support. Did it really take the library closing its doors to realize that the Chamber of Commerce cannot attract new industry to a county that values its library so little?
Newton County is a lovely place to live, full of hard-working people who want industry, shopping opportunities and good schools but while we seek these things, we are viewed, not as an eagle in flight, but as an ostrich with its head in the sand.
I want to believe that most people will do the right thing for the right reason, but when we begin a new round of elections, I want to see candidates put their promises in writing and when they speak of change, give us concrete examples. Let them not tell us what is in their minds without comparing it to the reality we now face.
Some people would try to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. In Newton County, we have made a sow’s ear form a silk purse. We are wasting so much potential and as our elected officials ponder the reservoir and landfill issues, I hope they remember that when one is in a hole, they shouldn’t keep digging.
With my sincere thanks for continuing your coverage of local news.
J. Virgil Costley, Jr.