by Mel Griffith
The Bradley Weekly has determined that anyone who does not exactly agree with Promised Land's plans to put a treatment facility for addicts and drunks in a residential neighborhood is not a Christian. I'm not sure when the job of deciding who can and who cannot be a Christian was transferred to the Weekly, but they must be new at it, since most of us know that good Christians can and frequently do disagree about how to apply Christ's teachings to specific problems. That's why there are so many denominations. Many don't find a duty to endanger their families in order to help the dregs of society.
The Promised Land people have a good objective. We wish them well in achieving it. Everyone would like to see chronic ne'er-do-wells make something of themselves. The problem is that Promised Land's plan for achieving their goal is naive and poorly thought through. When it is pointed out that their plan is flawed, they and their friends at the Weekly concentrate on attacking those who pointed out the flaws instead of trying to fix the plan.
They plan to carefully screen everyone who is admitted to their facility. This will likely give them a mixture of people who are sincerely trying, at least temporarily, to improve their lives and some talented con artists who have learned just what to do and say to scam someone into helping them while they plan their next next adventure. As a small time landlord for over thirty years I am well aware that those who sound the best frequently turn out to be be the worst.
Assuming that everyone they pick is really bent on doing their best at the time, we know that in any group starting something new, whether it is college freshmen, church converts, or Army recruits, a certain percentage will decide that they don't want to go forward with what they started and revert to their previous situation. Given that most of the participants in this program got into their present situation through a history of unstable and erratic conduct, the percentage of backsliders is apt to be greater than normal. And where will they get the money when they decide that they really do need a fix, after all?
The neighbor's property seems to offer a good possibility. As long as Promised Land continues to unrealistically insist that none of these people represent any danger to the community, no progress toward resolving this issue can be made. If they really believe that what they need is a residential facility they need to find a spot in a large city where no one cares what is happening next door and try the idea out. If, as they say, there are big bucks available for this kind of treatment, it should not be put in a illogical place because of the presence of a run-down, long abandoned, old house.
Citizens concerned about the quality of life in their neighborhood had a bad time at the county commission meeting. A new inexperienced chairman was unnecessarily rude and harsh to the audience. For future reference, Mr. Chairman, applause at the end of a speech is not disorderly, it is courtesy to the speaker. It is only disorderly if it is used to drown out what the speaker is saying, which didn't happen. After the Commission voted in favor of Promised Land, several commissioners made themselves look foolish by claiming that they were really against Promised Land's project but voted for it for technical reasons. Cut out the double-talk, folks. Decide which side of the fence you are on and stay there. You look silly trying to straddle the fence. And spare us the sanctimonious nonsense about not wanting to tell people what they can do with their private property. If the Commission really didn't want to tell people what they could do with their private property they would repeal zoning. And before you call me commissioners, I am well aware that the commission had no authority over the matter and that the resolution didn't require anybody to do anything. I am also aware that the overriding question was whether the Commission was for or against the Promised Land residential project and the Commission voted in favor of it. If you didn't understand that, maybe you shouldn't have been voting.
The Director of Promised Land needs to stop counting phone calls and claiming that people don't want information. It is not the job of 50 or 60 thousand citizens in Bradley County to call him up one by one to see what is on his mind. It is his job to clear up the series of confusing and conflicting statements made on behalf of Promised Land over the past several years and explain to the community exactly what they plan to do and where they plan to do it. It is said that they are doing very good work at the jail. That is the proper place for dealing with criminals.