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Mountain Park Life :: Forums :: Guest Editorials
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The wolf, the lake, the mayor, whatever... its always a fight over something... time for change.

Author Post
Tue Jan 08 2008, 09:39PM
Registered Member #196
Joined: Wed Mar 21 2007, 04:02PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 17
Dear neighbors,

And I mean everyone here in the Park. Yes, I am addressing those who will agree with me and those who will think I've taken one too many accidental and maybe illegal dips in the lake.

I welcome the dissenters and their acid-drenched criticisms, some lace their responses with wonderful, deadly humor. Bring it on, I enjoy it.

This my thought. Its time to change the way we behave as a community.

I am starting with me.

For 8 years I have lived here and have done my best to leave an invisible footprint on both the property I am graced to be a steward of and to also remain quiet within the community. At first, I excitedly attended several city council meetings in the first few months of moving here, but there was so much bitterness and hostility between the divisions in the council I gave up attending. In retrospect, I should have kept going. During this time, I also had trouble with a neighbor who was popular in the Park and I thought being quiet would keep me out of trouble with everyone. I should have become involved in the community. I will change this year.

A brief, perhaps boring, history of my Mountain Park life.

I waited almost 10 years to be able to afford to live here. It is still a stretch for us to live here, but I desire nowhere else to live. For years, I drove by the lakes at every opportunity until we finally bought a house here. This place is beautiful. It's cooler by 10 degrees in the summer because we have our trees. I love winter when the lakes start to freeze over and the mist rises into the morning. No one can complain about the fall leaves or the rare migratory birds. I have the blue heron and swans visit almost everyday. I have a pair of marsh hawks that I have forgiven more than a few times for limiting the song birds simply by trying to feed their own young and leaving me a pile of tiny feathers where songs once lived.

I cried last summer when the young beaver killed the very best tree in my yard and I later found it a gift of a much better view of the lake. The beaver proudly slapped the lake at me everytime I went down to the dock to let me know he was still around. Sadly, the beaver simply disappeared one day. I know he was "relocated" or "killed" depending on who you talk to about his destructive nature. I am visited by both the small coyotes (who were following a flock of turkeys) and the new wolf/hybrid. And yes, they are different animals and are both living in the Park at the same time.

We have a neighbor with a peaceful Buddist garden and Baptist peacher living near each other. We have liberals and conservatives and probably more independents than any other sector of Atlanta. We are married, partnered, single, widowed, retired, beginning... you name it and we are here. I am so proud we have not 1 but 2 habitat-for-humanity houses and their families as part of our community. A fire truck delivers us Santa and we light up the night sky on Independence Day. Where else in Atlanta could you find such wealth of beings?

We walk different paths, practice different faiths, and have different visions of what the Park means to each of us.

I love that I share this place with so many different species and so many different individuals.

But here's the rub... we fight over everything. And why?

There are 3rd and 4th generation families here. We should not forget that is was their familes' vision that held out against over development and destruction of habitat and allowed us to have such a beautiful place. We should respect and honor these families. I am not Pollyanna. I do know that I have a lake not because someone wanted a wildlife refuge but because they needed a place to waterski. Somehow we got lucky and got both. And we can keep both if work together.

And then there are people like me. We moved in late, in the last 20 years. We don't always mean to but we bring in different views and new ways of thinking. Some new things are good and some new things aren't, some are filled with self-interest and some are truly selfless, but isn't that the way of life in general? There are realtors and lawyers and businessmen and they all bring with them their educated backgrounds and new ways of looking at old problems. We should value their experience and wisdom too.

I believe with my whole heart that everyone wants the same thing. That we all want a community we love to live in. The elders know that too much change will destroy what they have fought for for decades. And the new neighbors (those who moved here in the last 20 years or so) want to perserve the valve of the land and update our bylaws and codes to current standards.

I see us looking at the same coin... just from so many different sides.

I am sick of all the infighting in this little town. Every council member... I mean everyone of them... has been a blessing... even the one's I don't agree with or don't understand. I couldn't do it, I am not smart enough for organized enough to work that hard. They give up their time to make this a better place. I still miss the late Jesse Smith and his smile and I will never understand the meaness directed at Jim Wright or anyone else brave enough to be mayor. There have been so many years of slights, hurts, and heated arguments. There has to be a way towards forgiveness and peace.

It's a new year and new government is being sworn in tonight. Can we start again and find a balance between the old, brave guard and the new, strong recruits? Save the best of the old and bring in the best of the new? Find a way to build a town together that stands together? I am ready to be a part of whatever we build. My hammer is ready.

We have the opportunity to make this place a city of hope.

Isn't it time for a change?

Cheryl Ridgway

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Bill Schmidt
Tue Jan 08 2008, 11:12PM
Registered Member #68
Joined: Fri Sep 16 2005, 09:14PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 141
Thought provoking post.

Thank you for sharing yours.
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Wed Jan 09 2008, 05:54AM
Registered Member #225
Joined: Wed Jul 04 2007, 01:02AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 68
Cheryl, I think about this all the time.
There is a lack of compassion and empathy for others.

The reason for some of the fighting could be that this town is so small that each person feels that they should run it.

Also small town talk and different cliques. Lake people, hill people, civic club, yacht club, Lakeshore Drive people.
You join them, you think like them, you become like them and you lose you individual thinking which is fine unless you are in a profession where you need to be an individual thinker.
Some people are in a profession where they need to be a contrarian which is the opposite so they should can’t be involved in such things because it affects their income.

Take this bell thing, more than one person spoke up that they did not want to hear them. My reaction was my god, then they shouldn’t have to–but apparently some felt that “ I want to hear them and I don’t care if it bothers anyone else” me me me. The same residents talk about being nice people and good neighbors.
Even phony statistics, was it a random sampling or a planned sampling.
Did you have a mean or a median? I was not included in the sampling for these statistics so they are not valid. Please present you case for the statistics with reliable data that can be validated-number of them, their ages, proximity to the event. Over what period of time did you take it because things change and I think that they have. Prove me wrong. Still how did the residents that were not included in the statistics feel?
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Wed Jan 09 2008, 02:03PM
Registered Member #196
Joined: Wed Mar 21 2007, 04:02PM
{LOCATION}Posts: 17

Thank you for mentioning the bells.

I personally loved hearing the bells and thought it was a wonderful idea. My husband and I called Terry on the first morning telling him how amazing that was to hear them from our back porch.

The First Baptist Church in Woodstock and St Michael's both ring bells on the hour, every day and I am sure others do as well. It never dawned on me that there would be a problem with once a week, late on Sunday morning. But my late morning is probably someone else's bedtime.

At first, I thought people were complaining about the bells just to have something new to complain about. Same old crap. It appeared to be people posting on this forum that do complain about several things on a regular basis. If you cry wolf too often... (oops another sore subject)... but you get the idea.

But, if it really disrupts their lives then we should be considerate of their rights. That is being a good neighbor. And let me add, that if they are just being contrary then they should reconsider their position. That is being a good neighbor too.

I wish everyone had just gone knocking on each other's door and discussed it openly with one another. Not used calls to the police or sampling of friends or personal attacks that aren't worthy of merit.

I believe the family who started ringing the bells did so as a gift to their community. Now, like everything else in the Park, the bells are an issue, a hurtful one. Just another division to add to the long list we seem to love to hate.

Somehow, we have got to stop this destructive pattern.

If we don't, we will end up losing our independence and become annexed to Roswell and their love of development. We won't have to worry about bells and coyotes, there won't be any around. But maybe that's the answer, because then everyone in the city could go against the big city government instead of going after each other in small town politics???

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Thu Jan 10 2008, 05:09AM
Registered Member #225
Joined: Wed Jul 04 2007, 01:02AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 68
Does anyone have the backbone to give the address and the full name of the person who rings these bells?

The problem is I don't like the bells. I am taking your exact same attitude and I don't care if you like them or not. It is your right to like the bells.

Who and where are they.
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Thu Jan 10 2008, 11:29AM
Registered Member #225
Joined: Wed Jul 04 2007, 01:02AM
{LOCATION}Posts: 68
Cheryl: I was being the devil's advocate about the bells but I was wrong to ask for a name or address to be posted all over the place. I don't know since I've not heard them.
I never have heard the bells, never got to see the wolf dog and never saw Sarah's banner. It’s a little annoying. If I knew when and where, I'd try to get in the proximity, if it was convenient.
Possibly if there was some organization to it, like an agreement in the hour and day would help. No one would agree, but at least there could be some input when not to do it.

I post on another forum and you could never behave discourteously or impolitely on it and be accepted. If you disagree, you basically start with their name and pardon me but........
I have to read this forum after that one so I won't get influenced and make a mistake. It even has block buttons, so if they don't like you, they block you. I help them but they help me more, very nice and helpful people.
I’m up early reading the late ones now because of the time zone problem and many are in California.
There is too much conflict between the two, I’ll stop reading and posting on this one. Even doing the back bone, name and address thing is evidence of that. This was my 3rd mistake due to this.
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