Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia


October 3, 2009

Our Opinion - Airport, fire plan 'hot button' issues after the fact

AMERICUS — Airport, fire plan ‘hot button’ issues after the fact

Frankly, we were puzzled when so many people became so upset about two decisions recently made by the Sumter County Board of Commissioners: to change the name of Souther Field Airport to Jimmy Carter Regional Airport, and to implement a county-wide fire department.

The Times-Recorder had staffed at least two meetings prior to these votes and had published stories regarding both these issues, as well as others, yet no one stepped up then to disagree, It was only after both questions were approved that citizens started paying attention and making their voices heard.

One of the reasons we at the Times-Recorder spend so many long hours covering the meetings of local government is so our readers don’t have to. They can pick up their daily community newspaper and read about what our leaders are up to and how it will affect their lives and livelihoods.

Why they didn’t know about the airport renaming and the County’s fire plan remains a mystery. Being informed is a very critical requirement of being a citizen.

On the matter of the airport name, while we certainly agree that a former U.S. President should be honored, especially in his home county, we feel the commissioners rushed it on this one. Souther Field has a rich history and we believe that history should never be forgotten or revised. One of the letters to the editor made an excellent point: Jimmy Carter was not an airman, but served on a submarine. Frankly, if we were asked to rename Souther Field, if we did at all, we would choose Charles Lindbergh Regional Airport as the moniker, with no disrespect to the former president. Another letter writer suggests that Jimmy Carter should actually reject the renaming of the airport in order to preserve history.

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