I came across a post in fakebook about a cell phone tower proposal around the north cutting area just south of Fred & Ruth Zigler Memorial Drive in an effort to drum up opposition against rezoning to commercial.
The area specifically is a pasture that has been a pasture for at least 70 years. The eye catcher in this fakebook commentary is that once the property goes commercial “any business venture could build on this property in the future and it will remain zoned commercial”. The business type examples were “convenience store, Mechanic Shop, Truck Yard and other types” of businesses.
The organizer of the opposition states that he “kinda likes it the way it is now”. That’s an interesting reason for opposition. Do we continue with this mentality of “we kind of like it the way it is now”, all along the way as many towns decline into something resembling ghost towns? At what point do we decide “we no longer like it the way it is” and allow improvements”? When is it too late to turn things around? It’s the same counter-effort in every effort toward positive change, people just want to “keep things the way they are.”
People love their cell phones and their access to internet, but they regularly oppose the very things that it requires to get that service to them. I previously worked in telecommunications for 30+ years I am well aware of the resistance encountered while trying to provide broadband internet and IP Telephony (Internet telephone) to the area.
We complain about the lack of cell service inside a major local department store, north of Jennings, dead spots in Jennings and into the Evangeline area but every time a cell phone tower is suggested to alleviate the dead spots, the anti-tower people come out to oppose. Some love the convenience of technology as long as they are not inconvenienced in the process. I don’t get it!
Let’s get this out of the way…I live between Jennings and Hathaway but I spend the lions share of my household income in Jennings, and as long as the city increases sales taxes, to fund projects every consumer like me has a vested interest in some things that go on in the city, as well as in our neck of the woods. As for things tied to property taxes, I have no vested interest as I have no property, so I stay clear of those discussions. I pay for local projects funded by the sales tax that I don’t have use of. That’s just how things work.
Politicians will paint a picture and use numbers to prove that Jennings is a sound city and upwardly mobile. They’re not lying to the public, just lying to themselves because they just choose to ignore the decay. They are right when you look at certain pieces of the landscape, while ignoring the rest. My senses as I ride around town throughout the city tell me a different story. I trust what I can see for myself. Decay, with its distinct signature, is easily seen. The elected may attempt to improve where they can, I get that, but the realization is that the empty storefronts are not being replaced by others or torn down to make room for new businesses. When businesses are shuttered, it’s just one more vacant building added to the growing list. Downtown is vitalized along empty store fronts. The local newspaper has fewer pages because it has fewer business advertisers. Larger chain stores, regulations and burdensome laws push out privately owned businesses. Technology through internet sales add to the burden for local privately owned brick and mortar stores, who do not open their own internet store fronts. We see the net results of the decades old idea of “keeping things as they are”.
This is not just about a cell phone tower. This is about a failed idea, a hope that things will stay as they are, or once were, and people oppose anything new because of that hope, which is nothing more than a mirage.
If you want to keep things as they are, be ready to ride that idea all the way to the bottom where things like decay, crumbling infrastructure and the criminal element resides! Sure, maybe that property in question, zoned commercial could attract other businesses? How is that a bad idea, as the tower opposition alludes to? Since we are just speculating, maybe it could attract a business that employs 100+ local people later.
Maybe there will be nothing but this cell tower or maybe it will remain a pasture for another 70 years. We don’t know what the future holds.
Others will join in and provide various reasons why a cell tower is a bad idea using the usual predictable safety and health concerns, but the real message is that they too prefer to “keep things as they are”, because working around the issue or finding an alternative to any obstacle this cell tower addition or any other improvement presents is much harder than figuring out what the workarounds are. This cell tower will improve cell service in the area and space will be leased to wireless internet providers and provide broadband services to areas that currently do not have broadband internet. People believe that everyone should have access to broadband internet as long as they cannot see a tower or no fiber/coax crosses their property or over their driveway, in which case they will oppose it. There are a few things that people are on board with, new schools, parks and public buildings named after somebody, but beyond they do not want the landscape to change within their field of view.
Allowing things to “stay as they are” is a bad plan and you can see the net result of this attitude as you see decay gradually setting in. The question is, at what point before we hit the bottom do we stop wishing things would remain the same?