Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Fritz: Fought for traffic rule, against big boxes

The U.S. Constitution gives political critics more rights than responsibilities. The major downside of today's Internet technology, as well as some newspapers, is there are some irresponsible communicators, and under our law, we must respect that freedom. The damage done by these individuals is usually irreversible and unjustified. Too often, people don't have the time to get to know their elected officials, or what the facts really are.

My critics would have you believe I supported "big boxes" when I voted on the Wal-Mart and Home Depot issue. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is, Council was not voting on whether or not the big boxes were allowable; they were. The land they are going to sit on was zoned for "big boxes" almost 30 years ago. I did NOT rezone it.

To have denied the development based on the fact we did not want "big boxes" would in fact have resulted in a lawsuit that would have significantly raised our current mill rate to pay for. Fact: Council's vote was whether or not the project met our traffic ordinance. It did. We would have lost the lawsuit and still ended up with the "big boxes" without any of the concessions staff was able to work out. I was here, and I did my homework.

Not only did I stop the rezoning request for "big boxes" at Walt Banks and Ga. Highway 54, I fought for the adoption of an ordinance to prohibit the proliferation of "big boxes" throughout the city. I also fought for the adoption of our traffic ordinance, which will limit any further development in the Hwy. 54 corridor until substantial improvements are made to the road.

Once elected to office, public officials must often choose between following a law, or fighting it. When you fight a law, fights should only be undertaken with public funds if the benefits will outweigh the costs, and the fight is winnable. Good elected officials will follow the rule of law. That is the fine line Council walks each time they make a decision about zoning, initiating ordinances or even proposing voting referendums.

The results and answers may not be what people want to hear when they are passionate about their stance on an issue. It feels much better to "fight City Hall." I know, I have been there. I have also been on the receiving end of much of that rhetoric, and I hope I have set the record straight. Beware voters, of those on crusades or who pretend to know all the answers. They don't. "Monday morning quarterbacking" is always easy.

For four years I have done my homework to serve you, the members of our community. Now it is your turn. Know the facts.

Do your homework. On Nov. 27, vote with knowledge. Vote Carol Fritz.

Carol Fritz

Peachtree City

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