Presentation to Bristol City Council
Sent to the Bristol Herald Courier
Appalachia is the poorest region in the United States, having the lowest incomes, lowest salaries, lowest literacy rate, poorest health, lowest doctor to patient ratio, and least access to health care of any area in the United States.
In light of this fact, our local governments should be doing all they can to promote the health and welfare of our disadvantaged population. Instead, they repeatedly and continuously take adverse actions, which victimize, afflict, and oppress our area's very poorest citizens.
Some egregious examples of this include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Firstly, the lies and treachery on the part of Bristol, Va., and Washington County, Va.,
in taking away the only free outdoor park in the area where regular people could go and enjoy nature, exercise, and up build their health through swimming, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and picnicking--Clear Creek Park. Local officials promised that if the public did not object to the closing of their beautiful park, and allowed the county and city to make a golf course there, that the public would still have free access to the lake.
This was a lie. As soon as Bristol bought the land illegally for $1, the "No Trespassing signs" went up. Now, it is only a country club for rich golfers. The public was deceived and marginalized, and so the public health goes down further and further, and we in Washington County must drive to Tennessee, to find a place to swim in the summer. Even the wildfowl were not spared the cruelty of Clear Creek Golf Course and its management. Rumor has it, that many were viciously slaughtered there.
- Secondly, in the interests of "economic development," the residents of Clear Creek Trailer Park, in the Exit 7 area, were summarily evicted from the park, although they owned their own mobile homes, in order to make way for a Home Depot that never came. These included some of the poorest people in the area, and many were rendered homeless and thrown onto the welfare system. Did this benefit the economy of Bristol?
- Thirdly, the recent and ongoing 44% hike of the Bristol Virginia Utilities electric rate adversely affects the welfare of every citizen of Bristol, Va., and Washington County, VA.
Of course, the poor, disabled, elderly, those on fixed incomes, those with minor children, and those working for minimum wage are the most severely afflicted by this rate hike, for many of them must choose between food and electricity, or paying rent or electricity. How many families already below the poverty line will fall into desperation and destitution because of these actions? How many thrown on the welfare system? How many will be driven to crime? How many children will be rendered homeless? How many sick, poor elderly will die of pneumonia from living in unheated homes this winter?
My question is, who benefits from these outrageous actions, which lower the standard of living and quality of life of every citizen on the Virginia side? Is it the powerful, wealthy members of the Bristol City Council? How about the august personages on the Washington County Board of Supervisors?
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