County needs less talk, more action

September 10, 2006|by N. Linn Hendershot

How many times over the years, just when you feel the Washington County Commissioners are going to take a step forward and finally address an issue, do you see that all of a sudden they take one step backward to study the issue?

You know - hire a consultant or contract with some group in Missouri or somewhere to tell us what we need to do next.

For nearly 40 years, I personally worked as a marketing specialist in professional sports where it was often joked that a consultant, an expert if you will, was a person with a coat and tie, carried a briefcase and who lived more than 100 miles from where he was considered an expert.

When it comes to nonsense and unnecessary studies, I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired of these wasteful tactics to circumvent issues that must be addressed.


Over the years, I can't tell you how many times I've been told when difficult decisions needed to be made that it would have to wait until after the election. This head-in-the-sand "ostrich syndrome" costs the taxpayers money and leads to poor performances in virtually every branch of our Washington County government.

The latest "oops" study was when our commissioners contracted with an outfit known as White & Smith LLC Planning and Law Group of Lee's Summit, Mo., for $42,955 to design a transferable development rights (TDR) program for the county. This study agreement was covered in the Aug. 30 Morning Herald, although a deadline of Aug. 1 had been promised to have a TDR or other equity program in place.

Personally, I think this entire comprehensive plan dealing with downzoning needs to be readdressed. But to promise those who oppose this downzoning decision an Aug. 1 answer and then shuck and jive the citizens because it's too hot a potato right before the election, shouldn't be tolerated.

Then there's the emergency services issues. Washington County government has to, once and for all, muster the courage to develop a plan to better serve all our citizens when it comes to fire and rescue. We have studied this issue to death over the years and it's time to empower John Latimer with the job he was hired to do.

Every time the heat gets too hot in the county government kitchen, public safety is put on the back burner until after the next election. As your county commissioner, I will have the courage to help develop and implement a plan that will serve Washington County for decades to come.

Let's talk a little about public transportation. For years now, there has been discussion and many meetings about how to change the routing of our County Commuter buses to better serve the Washington County citizens. Every time it appears that we're close to a decision, there's another study, another consultant and delays.

With our aging population and the increased demand for public transportation due to the increasing gas prices, we need to pull our heads out of the sand, use a little common sense and become proactive.

I could go on and on about these planned hot potato, wait-until-after-the-election issues, but the editor of this page thinks most of my op-ed articles rival the writings of the guy who wrote "War and Peace," so I'll stop here.

Please be sure to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 12, in the primary election. Your support is appreciated. For additional information on my plans and hopes for Washington County, please check my Web site at

N. Linn Hendershot is a Democratic candidate for Washington County Commissioner.

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