We need solutions, not excuses

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 30, 2013

At the July 16 Salisbury City Council public hearing on the school central office, Paul Fisher shared the following Benjamin Franklin quote: “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.”
It’s such a simple truth, and it sums up the central office debate. A debate that has been riddled with excuses for over two decades:
“It’s too big! It’s too small!”
(We can’t make up our minds.)

“It’s too expensive! We don’t have the money! It’s the economy!”
(But let’s spend another million dollars on an unbudgeted project.)
“It’s contaminated!”

(This one always works, just like it killed the Bendix Drive proposal, which is now the home of a beautiful Power Curbers facility on land that never was contaminated.)
Then when all else fails, the delay excuse:
“Now is not the time, but I will tell you what. Wait a couple of years and we will do it.”
(All while acknowledging the county could face litigation over the unsafe working conditions at the Long Street Administrative Building.)
Excuses. Plus the belief the public and media are not paying attention to the ongoing excuses.
It was Benjamin Franklin who also said: “He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
That hits the spot.

When we refuse to move to a solution, and the city and school system decide to partner, how does the county respond?
“We’re glad the city and RSSS are partnering, and we wish them luck!”
(Said while believing that the county still had final authority to deny the partnership.)
Then when the city finds a solution with an operational lease that doesn’t require county approval:
“The city should stay out of our business and not usurp our authority. How dare they find a loophole!”
(We didn’t think the city could do this. It’s not fair.)
Then, when more than 200 supporters show up at City Hall for a public hearing, 80 of whom spoke in favor of the plan:
“How did they do that?”

(We couldn’t have underestimated the support for education in this county!)
Now, we can’t make any more excuses. We are only left to complain — complain that someone else has the gumption to solve a serious problem that our own dysfunction as this county’s elected body has prevented us from solving.
It was Benjamin Franklin who also said: “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain — and most fools do.”
It’s time we stop being foolish. It’s time to acknowledge our citizens care about the future of Rowan County.
The only thing more expensive than ignorance is dysfunction.
Jon Barber serves on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.