When I was in high school I was 4'10" tall and weighed 80lbs. I never got picked in those pick-up basketball games for some reason. Having the last name "Nutt" didn't help me fit in any better. I ended up doing a lot of fishing and hunting instead. Needless to say I got pretty used to being the odd man out.
It appears that I'm becoming the odd man out on our council as well, on several different issues. The latest being whether or not council should sign a "Clean Air Resolution (Pledge)". This pledge states that we, as the governing body of Spartanburg County, agree (among other things) to support the development, implementation and maintenance of the Upstate Air Quality Action Plan and the Clean Air Upstate Initiative as well as the Breathe Better Program and "additional actions to improve air quality" (whatever those may be).
As usual, the groups that want us to sign the pledge would love to share with you my motive for the "no" vote. I thought it might be best for you to have the truth instead.
- I am in favor of having Clean Air.
- I believe that Spartanburg County as an Employer should educate our employees about the importance of Clean Air and the ways that they can help the effort to maintain or improve it. We should also implement internal policies that are conducive to having and maintaining Clean Air as much as practical.
- I understand that Clean Air is a serious issue and that Spartanburg County is under scrutiny from EPA (Clean Air Act).
- I believe that it is vitally important that we offer an environment (no pun intended) where businesses can grow and create jobs for our citizens.
- I believe that protection from government over-reach is equally, if not more important.
- I believe it is not the government's job to tell citizens how they should conduct their day to day lives. When your government supports, implements and maintains programs that dictate when you can and can't have your car running (just one example), I believe we have over stepped our powers that were given to us in our Constitution.
Those in favor would have you believe that this vote was about whether or not Spartanburg County wants or is concerned about Clean Air and that according to some "we have to do it (sign the pledge)". Let me be clear: Signing a pledge that we basically downloaded from a website does not and will not make the air in Spartanburg County any cleaner. This pledge was not, and is not required by EPA or DHEC in order to come into compliance. If you just take the time to read the plans that we pledged to implement, you will find that it is more government control, red tape, subsidies and programs - many of which I am principle bound by my oath to help protect the citizens of Spartanburg County against.
Does this mean that we should just forget about the Air Quality in Spartanburg County? Absolutely not. We should take it very seriously. However, when government pledges this, resolves that, and makes big speeches it is typically the citizens that end up paying the price when it's all implemented and enforced.
So, as a citizen of Spartanburg County, I ask that you make yourself aware of the problems our county is facing concerning our Air Quality. Educate yourself on what you can do to help our county be the greatest place on earth to live, work and play.
As a government official, I ask that you educate yourself on the role of government and stay informed and involved so that you can keep your government in check - making Spartanburg County the greatest place on earth to live, work and play - with your freedoms intact. Whatever Air I breathe, I prefer to breathe it as a free man.