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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Cherokee Village "No Annexation" letters -- tabled

Friday, August 24, 2012

We here at Areawide Media love to get Letters To The Editor. They are a great way to give feedback to public officials, or get a public discussion going when a community is trying to made a decision on an important issue. Keep them coming!

That said, I feel it is time for the long discussion over Cherokee Village's trial ballon to annex areas around it to end -- at least on our editorial page. It was an idea that went over like a lead ballon, and opponents -- those who would have been dragged into the city -- have gotten their message across. "No and heck no!"

Hoyt Pope of Ash Flat recently sent a Letter to the Editor on the subject. He accused Cherokee Village of "stealing," trying to take another's property without their permission. He added the city was also guilty of "theft" and "larceny," for trying to take property without consent, by the use of intimidation.

That led to a great response from Lynn Wayne of Cherokee Village. She said Pope's letter could have been written, years ago, by Native Americans who experienced the unjust "annexation" of their land by "thieves" (white Americans).

This week, Pope returned, writing a new letter saying his original letter prompted a Cherokee Village official to call him and wave a flag of surrender. According to Pope, the man "went to great lengths to inform me that they are no longer pursuing annexation plans," -- that the annexation had been tabled.

Like others we have heard from, Pope said that is not enough. Anti-annexationists want a motion passed to "Abandon, cease, and desist, in any and all attempts to annex any area, now or in the future."

I was impressed by how residents of the large area around Cherokee Village annexed themselves, when the possibility of an annexation attempt was clumsily announced by Cherokee Village. Residents came together as one, and organized to fight the issue. They faithfully and loudly attended meetings, sent letters and put up signs to make their feelings known -- that they intentionally moved to the country, where they were free to live without a lot of rules and regulations and additional taxes that city's impose.

Take a bow opponents. You definitely got your message across. Cherokee Village, which originally said it just wanted to study the issue, saw the writing on the wall. It says it does not plan further study, much less the introduction of an ordinance to annex anyone for the foreseeable future.

Mr. Pope and others point out that an issue that has been tabled can be brought back in the future. Pope said, in his latest letter, that opponents will "not ever, relax our guard, for, as I have previously stated, we do not trust you."

Good idea. Stay vigilant.

My opinion, however, is that it is not reasonable to expect Cherokee Village leaders to promise never to annex anyone, ever. Would it be morally right or even legal to forever decide the issue for future generations.

Needs and desires have a habit of changing over the years. How can an individual or a city really say now, with certainty, they will NEVER, EVER have to do something?

I hope that Cherokee Village (or any city) can learn from the annexation debacle. It demonstrates the importance of community discussion, instead of discussing a controversial matter behind closed doors and have it slip out in a committee meeting.

I understand that Cherokee Village desperately needs more businesses that can produce tax revenue. Maybe, years down the road, it can try to acquire a smaller amount of land along major highways through purchase or annexation -- land suitable to attract the type of sales tax producing businesses that help Highland and Ash Flat. Trying to annex half of north central Arkansas, as the original proposal seemed to do, doomed the recent "discussion" from the start.

Mr. Pope seems to have a lot of steam in need of blowing off. Maybe he will write us a Letter to the Editor on another topic some day. But I will pass on his most recent letter.

He and others are welcome to write a Letter to the Editor telling me what an idiot I am. But, for now, Cherokee Village annexation is off the table, as far as Areawide Media's Editorial Page is concerned.