Jack Be Nimble
Well, well, well. It looks like we have a classic case of double
standard in our little hill and vale these days. Reading through
the recent Times-News Letters to the Editor we find that our community
apologist for Commissioners Hawkins, Ward, and Gordon is angered
that Jack Reed, former chair of the Community Advisory Committee
of the Nursing/Adult Care Homes, would run 100 copies of an advocacy
brochure at public expense. However, it doesn't seem to bother our
compassionate Mr. Bumble who fancies himself an objective analyst
that a number of his groupies, the Roundtable, have run who-knows-how-many
copies of who-knows-what on that county copy machine without any
supervision as "aides de camps" for Grady Hawkins et al.
Now, who is to say that all those copies were only for taxpayer's
At least we know Mr. Reed's copies fell within the parameter of
his responsibility -- providing a voice for aging citizens who are
often ignored. While Mr. Reed would have been better advised to
seek his committee's prior approval, a cursory look at the offending
brochure hardly reveals a subversive document. Rather, the brochure
expresses a moderate and sensible concern about placing an open
air asphalt plant within close proximity of a nursing home facility.
(Anyone wishing to receive a copy of the brochure can send a SASE
c/o my column to the Prime Times.)
And what does this brochure contain that has raised the ire and
fury of the Commissioners? I'm really not sure, so you decide:
"Most residents of Long Term Care facilities have worked hard
all their life and then had the unfortunate onset of an illness
or an accident which required the care of the facility. To be able
to sit outside in the sun in good weather is one of the few treasures
they still have left in their sunset years. To deprive them of this
is unconscionable. Professional planning and control could prevent
additional pollution to our already damaged air. Our senior citizens
deserve this at least. In fact they deserve a concerted effort to
clean up the air we now force them to inhale."
That's the whole first page. It continues:
"Our committee monitors the nine nursing homes and the 30 adult
care homes in Henderson County that accept Medicare and Medicaid.
We routinely see residents with serious respiratory illnesses. Smoking
is one cause of these ailments, but industrial pollutants are the
other major contributors. ... The placing of any (asphalt) plant
within the proximity of a Long Term Care facility is unthinkable.
The residents are primarily older and susceptible to the problems
caused by unclean air."
Imagine that. A member of a state-mandated committee charged with
overseeing the safety and welfare of our aged citizens writing something
like that. Shocking. Even more radical is the course of action Mr.
Reed's brochure recommends:
"Attend Board of Commissioners meetings, Town Hall meetings
and other seminars or organization gatherings that are involved
in our changing community. Talk to leaders to gather information
or offer suggestions."
Perhaps the real reason this has raised the ire and fury of our
Commissioners (along with our philosopher-wannabee) is that they
are more interested in protecting their own pocketbooks at election
time than the health and welfare of the citizens they were elected
to protect. Given our Commissioners' less than stellar track record
-- cell tower, racetrack, school nurses, empty-nest zoning, board
appointees -- it's no wonder they fired Mr. Reed. What elected board
in their right mind would want the most effective and dedicated
advocate our older citizens ever had sitting on one of their advisory
My advice to Mr. Reed for the future?
Jack, be nimble, Jack be quick, jump back Jack out 'the way of Hawkin's
To my readers: If you ever wonder if I get
comments on these columns, I do occasionally. What are your thoughts
on the matter?
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