Is Cupid capable of doing what is right for Cobb?
Those of us who love the coast enjoy visiting beaches, like Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where I grew up. It was an area that was well known for its Air Force base that served a valuable role with the military and community. It was an economic engine for the area.
I recall seeing fighter jets taking off and landing and would later learn that many of the units from the base participated in several wars and missions including Operation Desert Storm. They were also the first units sent to Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait. Those on and off the base saw the importance of the military facility firsthand and assumed it would always be there, until one day it was not.
In 1991, the announcement came that Myrtle Beach Air Force Base would close. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) added us to the list of other bases around the country identified to close permanently. What was predicted in the aftermath of the closing of our base was the loss of over 5000 jobs, having 1500 homes to sell, 15 percent fewer students going to area schools, 20 percent unemployment, and $91 million lost in taxes and other revenues. The 3,937 acres that were once the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base was closed March 31, 1993.
The devastation hurt Myrtle Beach and surrounding communities, but it was viewed as a prosperous tourist area that could bounce back. After 20 or so years, it did. My story about Myrtle Beach is real and personal to me, but similar effects have been felt by communities around the country who have found their bases on the BRAC list.
Now all eyes are on Dobbins and the controversy surrounding the vote Cobb Chair Lisa Cupid led. She championed the 3-2 decision that would permit a developer to build condos in an area within the bases’ flight path and a designated area for potential accidents that may occur during take-off or landing near the runway. The effects of that vote could cause Dobbins to be placed on the BRAC list, which would devastate Cobb. Cupid is playing a bad game of chicken as she stays on a course that could lead to devastating impacts on our community. Unlike Myrtle Beach, Cobb is not a tourist destination, so counting on a quick recovery from a base closure is not promised. What is promised is a tsunami that will include massive layoffs and unemployment along with a direct hit to the economic stability of Cobb.
I have seen several opinion pieces that speak to the errors in judgement Cupid has exercised and I found one published in the MDJ to be spot on. It was entitled “The real facts about building in Dobbins’ accident zone” and written by Attorney Ben Mathis who quoted the late U.S. Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who once famously said “Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but not to his own facts.”
With all the myths defunct on why she led this vote to approve lawyer Garvis Sams and his developer client to build in Dobbins’ “no build zone”, the spotlight will remain on Cupid. Can she do the right thing? Will she fall on her sword and do what is necessary for Cobb? Will she continue this selfish and vindictive path to hurt one of our economic engines to spite those who have disagreed with her on this issue? Does Cupid have the strength, courage, conviction, or character to revisit this matter and reverse her vote or will she continue down a ‘shaky yellow brick road’ and over the side of a cliff, taking the rest of Cobb with her?
The next Commission meeting is Tuesday, June 8 at 9:00 a.m. and we are certain the subject will come up, even if Cupid is not brave enough to add it to the discussion. Members of the community wanting to speak will place their names on the Public Comment list for the meeting, so if you have a comment and plan to attend the meeting, plan to get there early.
If you have an opinion on this and are concerned about the Chairs decision and leadership of the Commission, contact Cobb Chair Lisa Cupid at: email@example.com