Letters, December 17, 2014

Commissioners at fault for bad roads

I have lived on a rural Marion County road, and can say with confidence that the ?blame? for our road conditions falls squarely on the county commissioners.

Rural homes are typically provided with sand instead of the typical hard chalk, in an effort to minimize the dust in front of their homes.

I requested new chalk on my road many times during my 15-year residence, but the sand portion in front of my house never required replenishing, and was always the most solid section of road.

I challenge the commissioners to refute my assertion that sand would be a better long-term choice than the substandard rock currently used.

Let me restate that. I demand the commissioners either confirm or refute that assertion publicly, and so should you readers; it?s our money they are wasting.

Sometime back, there appeared a letter to the editor by the representative of a local quarry, who always loses the bid for our road rock. He pointed out that their rock was far superior quality to the product that the county always buys, yet that isn?t reflected in consideration of the bids.

So I bought Florence rock for my lane road, rather than M-M chalk. If road maintenance consists primarily of dumping more pitifully soft rock, year after year, it appears the slow accumulation of grindings has caught up with the typical short-sighted political fix.

It is my observation that the rock we pulverize with our tires starts out as 11?2-inch base rock, which is not intended to be ground to a comfortable size by our unfortunate vehicles, but intended to be underneath a harder, finer grade rock.

Apparently, this is our leaders? solution to the problem of not having a proper base under most of our roads. But since it stopped the road complaints, and left more funds to be robbed from ?the rock pile,? it provided solutions for other county funding shortfalls.

The general welfare the commissioners are sworn to support tended to be sacrificed for specific welfare, that which only benefits a particular class or type, rather than all citizens.

Well, it looks like it?s payback time. The problem of inadequate drainage would mostly go away by prohibiting and enforcing right-of-way farming, and requiring farmers to keep their field-access culverts in our ditches flowing.

Too many upstanding citizens are actually ?farming the ditches,? and profiting at the expense of county taxpayers. Unfortunately, printing their names for all to see is not allowed.

The county has a history of supervisory conflict within the road and bridge department. No doubt this partly stems from the fact that Marion County has the most miles of road per capita in the state, but the rest of that story seems to have more to do with misguided priorities.

From my perspective, I suspect that our road and bridge department has just been doing the best it could with the junk it has to work with, and has been grossly underfunded and undermanned. Now look at the mess. Now they propose to strip it away and replace with the same soft rock, only bigger?

I can?t imagine this fiasco resulting in federal disaster funds, simply because the roads can?t handle a measly 1 to 2 inches of rain. But then we are talking about the federal government, so anything stupid is possible.

Kelly Hawkins

Hillsboro

Banks own new 2015 Congress

Americans should brace themselves for another bank bailout, which is inevitable. U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts said a few weeks ago on National Public Radio that regulators are getting too friendly with the banks under their control, letting them do whatever they desire while they look the other way.

Now that the banks have manipulated (bought) the new 2015 Congress, they will have the laws written to their liking. Why should ?we the people? let 2 percent of the population control 98 percent of us?

It is too late for us to act now?or is it? But next time please get out and vote. Vote for your survival, not your destruction at the hands of so few.

Bill Woford

Hillsboro

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