by Don Breckon
I have not met Dave Rainey, but I am not “outraged” at his resignation from the Platte County Planning and Zoning Commission as is a recent letter writer to The Citizen, and as are some of my friends and neighbors. I am sorry Mr. Rainey left the P&Z Commission and that his experience and knowledge of the issues is no longer available. That said, I do not think he or others should expect the elected County Commissioners to “rubber stamp” their recommendations, even though P& Z members had invested so much time in studying the Chapel Ridge subdivision proposal, as the letter writer implied. All appeals in any setting are made to those higher up in the organization chart that look at it with different values, information, priorities and/or biases. Even the two voting County Commissioners saw the issues differently, so it should not be surprising that a county commissioner saw Chapel Ridge differently from a planning and zoning commissioner. The process not only is legal, but is so structured to facilitate, but not guarantee, objectivity and better decisions. Having chaired a planning and zoning commission in a Michigan city in the past, I have personally experienced intense pressure that can be brought by friends and neighbors to commission members. Recent reports in the press about large crowds, signs, matching T-shirts and sometimes behavior that would be considered rude by many, apparently occurred in the recent Platte County meetings by the activist “not in my back yard” crowd that organized to protest Chapel Ridge at these meetings. I did not agree with the recent letter writer’s comments that “Jason Brown, a career politician…would not know the meaning of public service if someone opened Webster’s Dictionary for him.” Sarcasm and other emotional responses almost always weakens one’s argument, and suggests to elected officials and others that the presenter does not have a strong case based on facts. That having been said, I do agree with the recent letter writer’s assertion that County Commissioner Jason Brown is arrogant. I have long believed that he has his own agenda, dictated by a chosen few, and that the majority exists to be manipulated. From limited personal experiences and from occasional reports from officeholders, I personally believe that he is typical of so many ultra conservative Republicans that believe the end goal justifies most any means that can be used to achieve it. My all-time favorite bumper sticker appeared many years ago and said, “The Moral Majority is neither!” I believe this could also apply to tea party actions, such as those curtailing food stamps and health care for the poor and/or disabled, and the recent federal government shut down. House Speaker John Boehner was recently quoted in the media as saying in effect that ultra conservatives in Congress have lost the credibility of the majority of the American people. I could not agree more. This seems to me to be also happening in Platte County, given the last election and the recent events. I am delighted with reports that moderates in Platte County are working to coalesce support around a strong candidate to run against Mr. Brown, as I have long felt and voted “Anyone but Jason.” I am certain Jason Brown’s decision in this zoning case cost him many votes. Electing a third moderate to the Platte County Commission would, in my opinion, be the best outcome from the current planning and zoning controversy.