I have to tell you that when I first heard of the proposal for a bike trail, I thought it was more of the Foothills foolishness, the kind that spent $100,000 of charitable funds to find out that the cell phone service is spotty in Rappahannock and, for the most part, people would just like to be left alone.
Then I heard there was to be a proposal made to the Board of Supervisors to stand behind this million dollar fiasco, and put the county imprimatur on it. I understand there has been some controversy about whether the county would be obligated to pay for it, in the off chance the handful of people who were making the noise couldn’t come up with the funds. Just keep in mind that the term “obligation” carries a number of definitions, and if the county isn’t obligated in any way shape or form, then what was the purpose of their approval of this silly project.
I thought about the situation a few years ago concerning lights on the athletic field and I asked around, and everybody I talked to said there was no way the BOS would approve this ridiculous idea. Then I heard that they had approved it with a vote of 4 to 1, and I said thank goodness for Ron Frazier.
The last three children born to my mother and father were boys. I was the youngest. I suppose we gave our hard-working mother more problems than she deserved. If we weren’t running around, hollering and raising holy heck we were up to no good somewhere, but doing it quietly. When my mother’s wits were at an end, she would call all three of us into the kitchen, and make us line up on the bench that we sat on to take our meals.
She would give us a minute or two to reflect on our misdeeds, and then she would begin. “What in the world is the matter with you?” And that was all she really had to say. We knew she worked hard in the home to keep things moving forward, and at least for awhile, we would be ashamed of the way we had acted.
I think it is time for Rappahannock citizens to call the BOS to sit on the bench and ask them, “What in the world is the matter with you.” Now, I doubt there will be much shame among them, but they need, somehow, to receive a message from the people that they have sorely lost their way. They seem more interested in pandering to a vocal minority than listening to the good people of Rappahannock who put them there.
Can you imagine what the voters of this county would do with a referendum to obligate even one dollar of taxpayer funds to build a bike path? What were they thinking? I think it was Ron Maxwell who pointed out that there was never a hue and cry from the people of the county for a bike path. From the people I have talked to, I have not found one person who thinks this is a good idea, and something Rappahannock needs. Let me give you a couple more thoughts.
At a time in this country when school systems are doing everything they can to keep children safe in their schools, with metal detectors, cops in the hall and dedicated reception areas, our BOS has approved a paved thoroughfare from the back door of the elementary school, through a swamp, past the county dump, to the back door of the high school. Looks like a pretty easy access method to me, or a quick escape route. What were they thinking? Is it lost on the supporters of this fiasco what just happened in New York on a bike path?
The answer is, of course, they weren’t thinking, certainly not about the majority of the citizens of this county. They took the easy way out; they said yes to a small, very vocal minority of people who know how to write grant proposals and left the majority of us to clean up their mess. How many people in your district did your supervisor speak to about this proposal before voting the way he did?
The liability issue could be the coup de grace for this ridiculous idea. If this path is open to the public and some septuagenarian runs his bike over a small branch and falls and cracks his skull, the people who said it would not impact the county’s insurance rates will be hard to find, and, for once, very quiet. In our litigious society, the taxpayers will once again be left holding the bag, and our supervisors will be signing up to run again for their next term.
Finally, I address the misguided who are fond of saying that if the county doesn’t change and progress, we are doomed to wither and die. You need to expand your horizons past the handful of people you associate with and listen carefully to a few more people like Mr. Wayland. There are a lot of us. Some of us are newcomers and some of us have been here a long time. And though the years take their inevitable toll, and there might be a bit of withering in us, the spirit of this place we call home is alive and well, in people like Mr. Wayland and Mr. Frazier and Mr. Maxwell. And we will be here for the duration.
And to that same misguided bunch, I can only ask, “What in the world is the matter with you?”