Standard of living, quality of life are not the same
It is interesting to note that the writers of the opinion piece “Eastern North Carolina must land CSX container hub,” in the March 6 paper, are from Greenville. Dr. Carmine Scavo and John Chaffee might stand to benefit from the proposed facility but are far enough removed to not have to deal with the immediate impacts of such a site.
It is easy to dismiss forced land loss as necessary for the greater good, “the price of progress,” if the land isn’t yours or part of your community.
Dr. Scavo and Mr. Chaffee also won’t have to squander their time waiting for increased numbers of trains at road crossings or deal with the noise and light pollution from the facility. Nor will they have to deal with all of the related development such as new truck terminals; land loss because of road widening, relocation and interchange redesign; additional rail tracks through the center of their town; or other costs of “progress.”
The interests Scavo and Chaffee represent do get to showcase their industrial park sites to potential tenants and select the businesses they want in the locations of their choosing, compatible with existing uses of land, resources and community support.
CSX and state officials illustrated their arrogance and incompetence by not coming to the community and soliciting input from the citizens prior to making their site-selection announcement. Citizens across the state should also have a say in how or if $100 million of our state tax money that was promised by the governor should be spent on this project.
Yes, Eastern North Carolina needs good-paying jobs, but not at any cost. Let us not confuse standard of living with quality of life. Green space, working farms, small businesses, family homeplaces, family graveyards, small-town environments and churches all contribute to the quality of life that defines Eastern North Carolina. As proposed, the CSX hub would destroy or negatively impact all these factors in Micro, Selma and beyond.
Nobody in those communities was consulted before the site announcement, and no public hearings have been held regarding the appropriateness of the site or the use of public money to develop the facility and related road projects.
According to the East Carolina University website, Dr. Scavo teaches public-policy topics. Mr. Chaffee runs a private nonprofit industrial-development agency. Perhaps they need to be reminded that the public needs to be involved in policy and that you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
He has one question
Did retired superintendent Ed Croom report the perks he received as income on his federal and state income tax returns? If he didn’t, does he plan to submit an amendment for those returns to reflect the increased salary for those perks? If the perks, valued at $44,000 per year, were not reported as income, then they should not be considered for retirement.
If he wants to “criticize a new state law that will force Johnston County to pay more than $500,000 for his rising pension benefits,” let him show his disfavor by refusing to accept the increase.
The anti-spiking law is another example of the Republican-led legislature not considering the impact of its actions. Pass a law that establishes a fund to support “high earners whose pensions were likely to exceed a federal cap,” enabling them to receive bloated pensions, and then extend the period so even more could take advantage of the system. Of course, make the local government responsible for the increase so state lawmakers don’t have to fund it.