by Jason Flynn
“Thank you, thank you, thank you you’re far too kind.”
That’s all I hear when I look at the picture of Mayor Nancy Denson, Gov. Nathan Deal and other commissioners posing in front of a mustard colored backhoe, and parading a CAT hat.
In case you hadn’t heard Denson, with the help of Athens-Clarke and Oconee county aides, help reel in the industrial manufacturing giant Caterpillar and a massive $200 million dollar investment — and that doesn’t even include the 25 plus suppliers that are expected to follow.
“Balcony, orpera, black tux, binoculars.”
It is a massive achievement that warrants a ball (Sorry, they already popped the champagne).
So why the lyrical sarcasm?
Well to start, no one heard about the major deal until last Thursday, and even then the company and provisions were still kept under wraps. A deal which included ACC and Oconee covering the initial purchase of the property, plus extensions to roads, water and sewage.
“This is your song not mine.”
The Caterpillar factory is slated to add 1,400 new jobs on its own. We are told the wages will be competitive, but either way they are sorely needed for unemployed and underemployed in Athens. In addition, it slashes the city’s image as business unfriendly.
“Heaven knows I’ve made my mistakes.”
While the results of this development — as far as we are allowed to know — are positive the methods employed over the past two months are egregious. The closed door meetings, top-secret monetary promises and a blinded citizenry. Any of this sound familiar?
It should, since the same thing has been happening with the hotly contested Walmart slated to rise between Broad and Oconee Streets. The only difference is the factory will be on an out-of-the-way greenfield. Millions or no, this kind of corrupt — dare I say, illegal — activity is appalling and wholly unrepresentative of proper democratic representation.
“Hold your applause.”