James Clayton Terry: To the mayor of Crawford

October 30, 2010 10:43:00 PM



Dear Mayor Tolon: 


I bear witness to all the troubles that your city has undergone for longer than I can remember. However, I have a modest proposal. Before I offer it, I would like to say that it is the height of incendiary rhetoric for elected officials, who should know better, to hurl invectives and declare that the only way for your constituency to see gain is to gather a petition of names, storm the court house, and crowd the supervisor''s boardroom with fisted demands. 


Perhaps the time has come for the residents of Crawford to consider the fact that it is no longer to their advantage to be an incorporated city. In fact, it would be to their advantage if Crawford were not an incorporated city at all. Instead, the residents should consider converting to a township like, say, New Hope. This move would force the county government by law to provide the general upkeep of the district: policing, water, sewer, roads, various grants not available to cities, and recreation.  


As it is, Lowndes County has no more fiduciary responsibility toward an autonomous city like Crawford than it does an autonomous city like Artesia, Caledonia, or Columbus. The whole idea of a city drawing up a charter is so that the city can stand on its own. Right now, Crawford''s tax base is simply untenable in the face of the demands of a chartered, incorporated entity. And the tax base continues to dwindle every year. 


Here is my proposal: 


1. Gather a petition of names from a majority of the residents who would like to lay aside the city charter and have the city reverted to a township. I believe the percentage is two thirds. 


2. Should the petition prevail, dispatch the proposal to the United States Justice Department Division of Voting and Civil Rights. Unless unitary status has been achieved, all elections in the South must be pre-cleared by Washington. 


3. Put it on the ballot at the next election. 


With the gained advantage of having all the resources available from the Lowndes County government, the new township of Crawford should see a marked improvement in the quality of life for its residents. Who knows, at some point when the township has grown into a bustling district, Crawford might then see fit to stand on its own again and draw up a new charter. 


It''s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.