CAWTHON'S CATHARSIS - A Liberal's Plan for the Redistribution of Charleston

(07/15/2001)

By Jack Cawthon

I read somewhere the other day-I don't research this stuff; it just sort of happens naturally-that the city of Charleston was having financial difficulties meeting pension obligations, among other things. The big editors of the Charleston dailies may not wish to be bothered by this annoyance as I am certain they are overwhelmingly busy working up plans for the merger of Wirt County.

However, I think I have a solution for both problems. But allow me to digress for a moment. I am no doubt a man ahead of his time and as such I must suffer for my forward-looking proposals, many of which I have presented over the years in the West Virginia Hillbilly. I have been soundly scoffed, or worse, ignored by what I can only describe as a vast right-wing conspiracy. Hillary and I have both been targeted!

Here, at the Hur Herald, I know that you readers will be more open to new ideas, more liberal if I may use that term without you hitting the delete key, and you will fully understand that although I voted for Goldwater in '64 Barry was actually a far-out liberal thinker who had progressed to the right to reach the left, somewhat a political Columbus, and as he had gone full circle he was emerging on the far left when all those stupid rumors surfaced no doubt originated by that same right-wing conspiracy that so dogs Hillary and me.

In coming columns I hope to present to you my plan to increase tourism in the millions by staging public hangings from the New River Bridge, as well as my proposals for millions of dollars for the DNR by its issuing permits for landowners to harvest a hunter, as well as staging a slingshot only deer season. But please be patient. First we must solve the problem of Charleston and in turn stabilize Wirt County. The Charleston daily newspapers have maintained that Wirt County is too small to be self-sufficient and should be merged with a larger entity. (Or should I say mystery entity?) I say that the city of Charleston is too big and bulky for a rural state such as West Virginia and therefore should be broken apart much like the phone company. Look at Ma Bell today. She has more begats than the lineages in the Good Book, and we are told by economists that this is good and will result in more competition and lower phone bills, something you might keep in mind the next time you pay your telephone bill.

The same could be true of Charleston. Broken up, the parts may be worth more than the whole, or let's certainly hope so. If Wirt County were awarded a piece of the pie, say for example the Civic Center, or the Town Center, or whatever that shopping complex is called then the tax revenues resulting from the real estate could keep everyone in the courthouse employed with no layoffs, the regional jail assessment could be met and there should be enough left over for an annual party for all 5,000 or so residents.

I wouldn't touch the East End with a ten-foot pole because of urban decay and the complex of state government, as the two may go together. You can pretty well figure that wherever the Legislature meets, there goes the neighborhood! Wirt, as the most deserving, should have first choice, and after that let the Devil take the remainder with maybe Nitro and Cedar Grove picking up a piece of the action.

I'm afraid that both Charleston daily newspapers will no doubt scream for the status quo. They can't afford for Wirt County to benefit so greatly as they need the county for those off days when editorials are slow in coming. Let's only hope that the good people of Wirt who have been so maligned in the press will show compassion to the heathens when it comes their turn to gloat.

I see both Charleston daily papers losing clout as their circulation base is debased. There will be a jump in the Hur Herald readership as it becomes the voice of reconstruction and many of the big names in journalism will rush to get on board. Fanny Seiler may have problems of adjustment dealing with petty politics of the county government after years of sloshing around in the dirt and grime of a major conglomerate, but give us Tara Tuckwiller, that bright, young star reporter of the Gazette, even if she sometimes, no doubt in the exuberance of youth, describes some of our outstanding citizens, such as Buck Harless, with "dirty little words."

I can visualize L. T. Anderson and Dave Peyton joining with us, although they must understand that there can only be one leading liberal columnist, both in seniority and salary, and that that job is already taken.

There are still some minor problems to be worked out with the public hangings from the New River Bridge, but if you will hang with me for future problem solving I'm sure we can take the leap of faith together.


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