Now that the 2019 Bryan’s Favorites is safely in the rear view mirror - and congratulations to all you winners and nominees and other superstars out there - it’s my turn to offer up a few props to a few folks.
Oh, and this is only part 1.
Favorite elected official: That would be three-term Pembroke Mayor Judy Cook, whose leadership style is best defined as Southern grandmother, and I mean that as a compliment. Cook’s reportedly at a crossroads trying to decide whether to run again. While the editor in me realizes I’ve got to be neutral, and I am, the human being in me hopes she gives it another four years.
Favorite bureaucrat: This one’s a toughie but in the end Pembroke City Administrator Alex Floyd wins out for his persona, which is sort of like a preoccupied Will Rogers, albeit a Rogers clad in what in the 1970s would’ve been called a leisure suit.
I think every Rotary Club in the world should have Floyd over to tell them about Pembroke’s new well and what used to be in that building on College Street.
Favorite paraphrased quote that I didn’t use: At some point during a workshop some months back Pembroke city council members were discussing ways to get some folks with plots in Northside Cemetery to pay their cemetery maintenance fees or something like that and the idea of not letting them use the plots until they caught up popped up.
That prompted Mayor Pro Tem Johnnie Miller, who to my way of thinking is a gifted humorist as well as one heck of a retired educator and basketball coach, to say the issue sort of reminded him of those annual maintenance fees they charge at those time shares down at Disney World or somewhere, where “if you don’t pay, you can’t stay.”
Far as I know, the city hasn’t adopted said policy, mind you.
Favorite lawsuit: I would say it’s the one from developers suing Bryan County over impact fees and that interim ordinance, but I’m afraid they’ll sue me next. So how about the one where Richmond Hill sues Bryan County over taxes and services and other sausage making?
At the end of the day, the suit will cost somebody, and both sides are likely going to ask the judge to make the other pay up.
So guess who’ll pay in the end?
That’s right. Taxpayers.
Favorite new ordinance: The impact fee.
And I think it should be more.
Least favorite new ordinance: The interim development ordinance. I tend to agree with builders that you can’t make somebody build a house to look like you want it to look just because you want it to look that way. If there’s a health and safety reason for requiring people to build it like it belongs on Hilton Head, go for it. That said, people who build junk should be forced to live in it.
Favorite confederate: My friend Frank Grimm, a two-time winner of this award and a local historian of some note who believes that inclusion and respect should be extended to all.
Favorite local civil rights leader: My longtime friend Dave Williams, who has been quietly but forcefully working for decency and fairness for as long as I can remember.
I will give a special runner up prize here to Unity in the Community founders Craig and Sharon Butts, without whom I wouldn’t have a new favorite parade.
Favorite parade: Richmond Hill’s first Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parade.
Despite my own confederate roots - I’m a direct and proud descendant on both sides of a couple of great-great-great grandfathers who fought as enlisted men for the South and did so despite, as far as I can tell, not owning human beings - I’ve also long considered King a personal hero, and so it was moving to see his legacy celebrated in Richmond Hill. What’s more, the MLK parade had a genuine sweetness and sense of history that brought smiles from all who had a part in it or saw it, or, in my case, covered it.
And maybe that means there’s hope for all of us yet, no matter what our skin color is or who our ancestors were, or what history we share. I hope so anyway.
Take care, drive safe and be nice to kids, old people and animals.