|By Bob Weaver 2004|
Twenty-first century consolidation is coming to the Mountain State to "better serve you."
Hence comes an official invitation to consider the relocation of power to Sunny Cal.
West Virginia has until 2010 to begin reshaping its cities, towns and counties, says Senator Brooks McCabe, chairperson of the Commission on Governing in the 21st Century.
Everyone knows that 55 counties and 55 county school systems is a nuisance, not alone those hundreds of bumbling-along towns whose town councils known nothing about management.
Several West Virginia areas are reportedly looking into consolidating themselves into efficient metro areas, according to the commission.
Consolidation, for most West Virginia counties, is where bigger towns or counties take over smaller towns or counties to save money.
It's bound to work.
Saving money like school consolidation or the DMV creating regional offices or the regional jail system, or, well... bigger is better appeals to most Americans, until they check their pocketbooks.
The Commission released a report last week that asks the Legislature to consider three different bills to help municipalities and counties to combine.
"Competition among neighboring municipalities (counties) is outdated - the real playing field is now global," the report said.
Hey, we know about global in West Virginia. All our jobs have gone abroad, from making shoes and sweaters, to thousands of high paying chemical and steel jobs.
If you live up on Grannyshe or down on Mud Lick, you know that global is good, local is bad. But opinions can be changed.
"In a climate of limited resources, rising expectations, and aging population, rural areas must govern themselves more efficiently in order to preserve their quality of life and unique character," said the report.
It surely took a State Senator who went to college to write that conciliatory statement that says Charleston can do it better, even though they helped plunge the state into debt - ten billion dollars!
That's why we are hopeful that Charleston can be merged with the Town of Grantsville and the County of Calhoun.
Here in Sunny Cal we understand fiscal policy, pinching pennies every day and keeping things in the black.
So, it makes good sense to move every form of government from Kanawha County to Sunny Cal.
We know how to manage a buck.
We could borrow a drag-line from Massey Coal and level a few hills for enough flat land.
A side benefit for the displaced will be the opportunity to live and work in a pastoral, peaceful and down-home countryside.
And there's some really nice people here.
Bureaucrats can be relieved of their racy life-style and no more dodging bullets near the Capitol building or Charleston's West Side.
We wouldn't put up with a single fit thrown by the likes of former politico Del. Jerry Mezzatesta, so no need for an Ethics Commission.
We would happily develop a new restaurant in Grantsville with a back room, just to help the folks settle in.
Since Calhoun is the only county in the state that is still dry from the hard spirits, there would be no need to enlarge the local AA chapter. We'll reform'em when they cross the county line.
Sober politicians made sober decisions.
Hey, think of such a dynamic and cultural change, going back to small communities.
We could keep small community-based schools and prevent
kids being on bus rides of an hour or more to those mega-million dollar schools in the next county.
A return to community life would improve the social and moral fabric and the connectedness of government to taxpayers.
So Charleston, pack on up and head this way.
We'll treat you right.
And maybe we could get a better road to the interstate.