Bypass issue too self-serving

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008

After the last controversial column I wrote regarding the proposed US 13 bypass of Ahoskie, I told myself I would leave the issue alone.

Way too many people were angry and in my face about it and I saw no need to further stir the pot.

However, there are a few things that in light of recent remarks I feel I must address.

First and foremost, I don’t understand why people against the bypass feel the need to attack individuals on the subject… specifically, Windsor Mayor Bob Spivey.

Why on earth someone would want to say awful things about an almost 80-year-old man who has done his best to help this area grow economically is beyond me.

Some people have said that he has a personal agenda, but how could it be personal when – in his own words – he will likely not even be around long enough to ride on this bypass?

Anyone who belittles Mayor Spivey after all he has done for all of eastern North Carolina should be ashamed of himself (or herself).

I understand that many are against the bypass because their homes are in danger of being bought out from under them.

I sympathize, truly I do.

I hate the thought of anyone losing his or her home… but when it’s for the common good, that’s what eminent domain is all about.

There are those who argue against eminent domain as a practice in general, but that’s another thing I don’t understand.

If someone is truly against eminent domain, then they might as well sit at home all day, or else walk through the woods to get to their destination… because the land underneath all those public roads people drive on every day was once owned by private citizens, too.

I do think that the state ought to make allowances for those homes that have historic value and also for those landowners who rely on their property for their livelihood.

These special circumstances should be considered carefully when selecting which alternate will be used for the actual bypass so that historic homes aren’t destroyed and a family’s income isn’t disrupted.

However, for those people who have no extenuating circumstances except having to relocate from a regular home or a trailer (for example), I just don’t see what the problem is.

Sure, it’s an inconvenience, but if you’re not elderly or disabled, why is it that big of a deal? Are people honestly so selfish that they can’t see the bigger picture here?

It’s not about Windsor, either, however much some people want to make it that way.

It’s about keeping this area – this WHOLE area – alive via economic growth.

Surely no one wants to see, in 50 years, an area so overcome by poverty and lack of employment opportunities (worse than the situation today, that is) that Ahoskie just shrivels up and becomes a ghost town?

I know I certainly wouldn’t want that for my child and I can’t imagine anyone else would want it for theirs, either.

Yet that’s exactly what bypass opponents are pushing for, perhaps without realizing it, because an area without good roads that lead to bigger places might as well BE a ghost town, in this day and age.

Bypass opponents keep saying &uot;No US 13 Bypass, Think Highway 11&uot;.

Yet there’s no correlation between the two – the two roads lead in entirely different directions.

I agree that Highway 11 needs to be four-laned, but so does there need to be a US 13 bypass.

I hope that whatever alternate is chosen is the one that affects the least amount of people as possible… THAT’S what bypass opponents should be fighting for, not futilely trying to do away with it altogether.

What a waste of time, money and effort!

Short of an act of the legislature, the proposed bypass is GOING to happen, like it or not.

It’s up to the people of this area to offer their input as to which alternate route is the most acceptable to people.

Personally, I think it’s pretty sad that this many people can gather together and make such a big ruckus over something so…well… self-serving.

Yes, I said it.

It’s selfish of people to fight for their individual homes when the good of the public is at stake. (Before you flog me for saying that, note that I’m NOT talking about the above-mentioned extenuating circumstances here.)

Where were all these volunteers when a cause arose for something that really mattered?

When children were tragically killed, when families lost everything they owned to fire, when a well-known citizen came down with a debilitating disease… where were they?

Sitting in their precious homes, safe and sound, that’s where.

Why is it that people only come out of the woodwork when something directly affects them?

I just don’t understand it.

I made a remark in my previous column about being able to get to Ahoskie faster on the bypass.

For those who didn’t catch the humor there, that was a joke.

The bypass won’t affect me one way or the other, as I’ll still have to go through town to get here.

Please, people, try to see the other side of things at the very least.

I have… and even if you can’t, why can’t we all just agree to disagree, instead of yelling at each other?

Want to let me know what you think?

Have a suggestion for a future column? Feel free send an email to: or call (252) 332-7208.