This whole hullabaloo about selling town property is missing the point, because so many things have been glommed onto it.
Government should be about processes. But personalities and preferences about people come in, especially when it comes time to vote. If it always goes back to personalities, and not what is right and wrong along the way, then citizens are missing the point of government and it becomes a popularity contest. But “that’s how it’s always been in Hope Mills” because eventually everything breaks down into personalities.
Just for a minute, take out the people, whether they are for it or against it. Whether you agree or disagree. Whether they are commissioners, or the mayor, or town staff, or people who live elsewhere, or citizens. Doesn’t matter. This should be about laws and governance, not personalities. So the processes of laws and governance should be the question. Then work from there.
Is it the best idea, for the town, to sell this particular property, at this particular time?
Stop there. That is the salient question. It doesn’t matter about past deals, what a purchaser wants, what an observer wants, what anyone else wants. It’s not about whether commissioners appreciate veterans, or whether veterans’ groups do good things, or whether some commissioners are up to no good, or whether there are secret facebook groups, or whether the mayor was a good principal, or whether veterans need help. It’s not even about whether or not a commissioner was recently censured, or how well meetings are run, or who owns property near it, or if the town gets enough for the property, or anything else.
At the time they had to answer the question, commissioners said 4-1 they didn’t know enough about the process to say “Yes.” So they said “No.” And three have continued to say “No” because they are still not convinced it’s the best thing for the town.
A lot of people have concluded in hindsight that they are wrong. There have been editorials claiming facts that are ancillary to the actual question and that generally devolve into blatantly subjective opinions. Some editorials have promoted the purchasing group and the supporters on the board in overtly glowing terms.
However, a fair number of people agree with the three who still don’t believe, just based on the process, that selling the property is best right now.
If you get to the step of considering facts, still, take out the names and the faces and the glamour and your high school years and your experience on the ballyard, and consider the basic events before you consider the personalities.
Sure, a casual observer can draw a lot of conclusions about the personalities from what has gone on during the process, but even at this point, it’s not necessary. It usually ends up just fulfilling and reflecting their previous conclusions, and a lot of people won’t even consider input that goes against their conclusion, so it doesn’t really help.
There will always be time for personalities later when it comes time to elect commissioners because “that’s how Hope Mills has always been anyway.” That will probably never change, but maybe if the way citizens did things during the two years between elections changed, there might be a chance to develop the habit of looking beyond personalities.