First, I’m personally saddened to hear that Bryan County School Board Chairman Eddie Warren won’t run for re-election, not because I think his potential replacement will do a bad job, but because Warren did a good job .
Warren was not only perpetually low key and laid back, two qualities I appreciate, but he also stood up for teachers and students and, as best as I can tell, disliked spin doctoring, bureaucracy and wasting taxpayer money on more bureaucracy.
Here’s part of Ted O’Neil’s story on Warren’s confirmation he isn’t running again.
"It’s a blessing when you see programs put together by teachers that not only work, but work well and help our students," he said. "You can hire administrators all day long and have any board members you want, but if you don’t have teachers who care about the kids, you won’t have successful schools. They are the backbone of our district."
Better than that from a reporter’s standpoint was Warren’s apparent insistence on transparency whether the news was good, bad or indifferent.
That’s not always the case in public schools.
Of course, the more you grow, the more you grow, and Warren, a real estate broker, is among those who have long had a vested interest in the county’s soaring residential growth.
That opened him and other board members in the real estate industry in one way or the other up to claims years ago they were using the school system to sell houses.
That may be somewhat true, though in Warren’s case I suspect his interest in Bryan County Schools was as much due to his family: his wife recently retired after years as a media specialist and his daughters are teachers as well. But even were that true, you won’t sell many houses if the school system is bad, so in the end it’s probably a win-win.
As for Warren, well, he’s earned a break. And he’s leaving some big shoes to fill for Amy Murphy or whoever else might end up winning the seat.
Speaking of soaring residential growth, for some it’s apparent South Bryan is in a situation where growth has outpaced infrastructure and people are starting to wonder how it happened and who’s to blame.
I’d suggest looking in the mirror. This hasn’t been happening overnight.
If it hadn’t been for the recession, which let’s not forget hurt a great many good people financially, then who knows how much more crowded South Bryan would be now?
But there’s a truism that most folks don’t get involved in what’s going on around them until it happens in their back yard. It’s that old NIMBY (not in my back yard syndrome). Until something happens that directly effects us, we tend to be so busy we let it slide.
That’s understandable, but then it’s in our back yard.
Maybe it’s a drive that used to take five minutes and now takes 20. Maybe it’s a neighbor who just moved in to that new home right behind yours, only he likes to play his music real loud at 2 a.m. while you’re trying to sleep. Maybe it’s sitting on I-95 South in traffic backed up almost to Highway 144 when you’re trying to get off at Highway 17.
Now, those side effects of years of booming real estate growth are getting into increasing numbers of backyards, and people don’t like it.
So back to who’s to blame. You can’t blame local media. We’ve been covering it for years.
Instead, we Americans being naturally suspicious of government, many tend to point the finger at the power’s that be in local government.
Fine. They make the rules.
But our government is a two-sided proposition. They’ve got to be voted in, so what should we expect when voters consistently elect folks in industries that benefit from such growth. There’ve been times when just about everywhere you look on local elected commissions, councils and boards there were folks with a vested interest in residential development.
Bankers, real estate brokers, developers, landowners. Pillars of the community. Good people, mostly.
It’s not their fault for running. Nor is it their fault for doing what they believe is the right thing once they get into office.
No, it’s our fault for expecting them to govern in ways that might be harmful to their self-interest.