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– By William Smith –
A little over two decades ago, W.T. (Bill) Timmerman served the Northside of Edgefield County on county council. As he represented his district, he also looked out for Edgefield County as a whole. As he stated, “I will represent the entire county and all of the people wherever you are. I pledge honesty, straight forward administration with partiality to none.” When elected to a governmental office, the idea is to serve those that elected you as well as those that voted against you.
My great- grandfather, Bill Timmerman, understood this. For nearly two decades, the largest district in Edgefield County continues to wander in dark with no representation and now other parts of the county are suffering because of decisions made by Councilman Norman Dorn.
Since the last election, District 1 has had several Northside and other community meetings. Groups around the district proactively have these meetings with topics ranging from infrastructure, police presence, zoning, noise issues, as well as other local issues that can be addressed by the local government. These meetings are led by people who care for their community and the beautiful countryside of our home. Sadly, the one who was elected to represent all of these concerns continues to make the choice not to. It is this representative that tries to stand in the way of county wide issues and concerns. It isn’t enough to allow my district to suffer but the rest of the county also suffers at his inaction and lack of attention to areas that are needed for the county to be maintained and in some areas, allow growth where business and industry can come in and develop. We can still preserve parts of Edgefield County and allow growth and development in other parts of the county.
At the Council Meeting in August, consideration of the first reading of Ordinance Number 13-14-672 which amends the county zoning map to change the designated area of the tax maps from General-Agricultural Development to Industrial Development was given. This area is in prime location for industry and should have been approved, especially on first reading. This area contains rail access for industry to use and would give Edgefield the opportunity for a company or corporation to come in. Mr. Dorn must understand that this would bring in revenue to our county. Revenue is crucial for the county to not only function but grow. Growth is key to maintaining and building our home. Mr. Dorn should understand this. Due to dynamics of the August meeting with the absence of one council member, the vote on the first reading fell flat, 2-2. Thankfully this was corrected during the September meeting when this was brought back to the agenda for another attempt at the first reading.
In regards to four year staggered terms, Mr. Dorn was originally opposed to a four year term. In the August Council meeting, he stated, “sometimes you have enough trouble with someone with only two years that I don’t want to be stuck with a councilmember for four years without the option to vote them out after only two years”. He actually had it right but his reasoning has me speechless. Then in September he flip-flopped and voted in favor of the ordinance. His next tirade of demanding portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 be added had no bearing on this ordinance. For a brief history lesson, the Voting Rights Act was landmark legislation that prohibited discrimination in voting. It prohibited states and local governments from enacting “voting qualifications or prerequisite to voting, or standard practice, or procedure…to deny or abridge the right of any citizen of the United States to votes on account of race or color”. What does this have to do with term length?
I tried really hard to connect it to one of the core provisions in the act and the only one that I can even think Mr. Dorn may be referring to is the “preclearance” provision, or Section 5. This provision “prohibited covered states and local government from enacting changes to their voting laws or procedures without first receiving a determination from the U.S. Attorney General or the U.S. District Court for D.C. that the changes were not racially discriminatory”. But recently, the United States Supreme Court invalidated the heart of the Voting Rights Act by allowing nine states to be able to change their election laws without advance federal approval. I cannot connect how this has anything to do with term length. Maybe we will get that answer at the next council meeting. I am not counting on that.
It is evident that some members on council support four year terms, however they don’t have Norman Dorn as their representative. I agree with Dorn’s original logic but it is his consistent rants and embarrassment of our district that gets us nowhere. I personally disagree with lengthening the term from two years to four years for the exact reason Mr. Dorn stated. It will allow him to serve even longer terms and District 1 will continue to lack leadership.
There have been plenty of capable people to run over the past decade on both sides of the ticket. There were great democrats and republicans that are patriots that love our county and our community. For change to happen, District 1 must make that change next November or District 1 will continue to lack leadership.
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