Turf wars have been a part of this planet since biblical times. Anyone remember Abraham and Lot arguing over the best grazing land? Abraham gave in that time, and Lot got the best portion. He also wound up in Sodom and Gomorrah territory, so I’m not really sure that he got the best bargain. At any rate, the examples of turf wars are endless. Palestine and Israel. Ireland and Northern Ireland. Quebec and Canada. Walloons and Flemish factions in Belgium, California and Southern Cal. Everywhere we look, there are examples of one group trying to break away from an established entity, or trying to seize power in one form or another. It’s been interesting to see this type of situation come to Bryan County.
There have been some murmurings lately about trying to get the county seat moved from Pembroke to Richmond Hill. It’s a unique situation, but not a unique concept. Such maneuverings have been attempted in the past, albeit not in this vicinity.
One interesting such occurrence happened in Iowa. Yes, I did learn something on my vacation in the straw poll state. During the pioneer days, a man in a town called Ft. Dodge decided to stage a coup to steal the county seat from the neighboring town. This would be a major event, because whichever town was the county seat would be the force to be reckoned with in the neighborhood, whereas the other town would be doomed to obscurity. The embattled town fought back. An election was set, and citizens of each town could vote to pick the town they wanted to be the county seat.
The enterprising man from Ft. Dodge loaded the town with his supporters, and when the votes were tallied, Ft. Dodge was chosen the new county seat by only a few votes. The other town protested (can you say recount, anyone? I wonder if they had hanging chads…). The man from Ft. Dodge suggested a compromise. He would wrestle the mayor of the other town, and the winning man’s city would become the county seat. The mayor agreed, and after a three hour brouhaha (the townspeople had never had such a treat), the man from Ft. Dodge triumphed. Hence, Ft. Dodge became the county seat, and the other town became…the other town (see, I don’t even remember its name).
I bring all this up because I think this strategy might be put into use in our situation. Since certain folks want to move the county seat to Richmond Hill, I propose our own version of the Ft. Dodge solution. Mayor Davis and a County Commissioner of choice could duke it out at a staged event in Gregory Park. Tickets could be sold. I guarantee it would bring a crowd.
In fact, this would be a great revenue-generator. It might even offset the supposed shortfall the county is facing monetarily and they might change their mind about RAISING OUR PROPERTY TAXES, which I understand is the current plan.At any rate, if Mayor Davis was able to kick some booty, Richmond Hill would become the new county seat. And Pembroke would fade into obscurity and become the…other town.
For this reason, I’m actually opposed to such a change. I realize there is very little chance of all this happening anyway, but people should think seriously about things before they jump on board. There would be great expense and hassle in moving the government. I agree, it’s a bally nuisance to do anything in county government if you live in Richmond Hill. It’s not easy when the county is split in half by a military base. Splitting the county into two separate entities is not an option either. Georgia has enough counties. In fact, it has more counties than any other state except Texas, which is four times the the size of Georgia.
However, to move the government would relegate Pembroke, an area that is quiet but growing, into Never Land. The town would certainly suffer for it. Richmond Hill is growing fast enough. We don’t need the extra growth more government would bring. Besides, as a conservative who is generally suspicious of government in any form (except for road building, and they’re not too great at that, either), I prefer to keep the bureaucrats as far away as possible.
Perhaps someone has some points in favor of the move which would negate my supposition. Even still, it seems that whatever good would come from such a move, it would be nullified by the damage done to our sister town of Pembroke. I’m not a status quo kind of person, but in this case, change would not be good.
Last word? I still have a hankering to see a good knock ‘em down, drag out fight…maybe that could still be arranged? Otherwise, it’s back to Iowa again…they know how to settle things there, it seems.
DeBry is a Richmond Hill writer.