Power to the people

Published 9:42 am Tuesday, January 12, 2010

“That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

That excerpt from President Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, delivered on Nov. 19, 1863, still rings true today.

At last week’s meeting of the Gates County Board of Commissioners, the public spoke out in opposition to what they saw as an ineffective program, one that they would bear the costs.

In the end it was the public that convinced the entire board to say no to the program.

At issue was a suggestion by Gates County Commissioner Carlton Nickens to implement an identification system that would deter non-residents from dumping trash at any one of the four waste convenience sites in the county. Nickens said trash dumped at those sites by non-residents was costing the county money.

Following a lengthy debate, which included comments from the public, the issue was defeated.

Those Gates County citizens voicing their concerns are to be commended for taking an active part in local government. Those citizens are the ones who, through their right to vote, placed those commissioners in the position to make decisions that benefit the entire county.

The Gates County Commissioners also need to be commended for their willingness to allow for input from the citizens regarding an issue that was not advertised for public comment.

In particular, Commissioner Nickens is to be commended for listening to the voice of the people and coming to the conclusion that his idea was unpopular.

“Honest Abe” would have been proud of the way Gates County citizens played an active role in last week’s deliberations over an issue. That role was true “Red, White and Blue” and we encourage all citizens in the Roanoke-Chowan area to attend meetings of locally elected officials and let their voices be heard.