As the faces and motives of the LEED-PAC are becoming known, it is apparent that maintaining the traditional status quo in Lee County is of paramount importance. Just face it, things have been done a certain way and a certain group of citizens have figured prominently in the benefits of those ways. LEED-PAC is nothing new. There are always groups or individuals who ‘call the shots’ or ‘pull the strings’ behind the politicians who make the rules for others to live by. Lee County is no exception. It should be of no surprise to any thinking and concerned citizen that those forces are at work now.
Usually the first indicator that the proverbial ‘apple cart’ is being unsettled is the claim, ‘well he ain’t from around here!’ That is a claim levied routinely about Commissioner Jim Womack, who chose to live in Lee County after he retired from the Army. He has been vilified because he questions the status quo. The second charge levied against Mr. Womack is that ‘he just doesn’t know how things are done around here!’ Again what the clear meaning is that someone is publicly questioning what is appears to be a suspicious practice: in other words, upsetting the local apple cart. Maybe it’s time to check out the apple cart, the way things have always been done around here. Commissioner Womack isn’t the first to question the questionable.
During our 100-plus years of existence, there has always been someone who benefited by the way business has been conducted in Lee County. Let there be no doubt that Moore and Chatham counties didn’t one day up and offer to cede lands to become a new county without someone benefiting. Every bit of ‘progress’, every act of ‘development’ benefited someone. In most cases, there was an indirect benefit derived by the rest of the citizenry in the form of taxes or community services, but those are always of an indirect nature. Some things are obvious. The presence of the community college, the widened roads in and out of the county (and don’t forget the bypass) and the airport are all examples. None of these things were coincidences. Someone benefited from each of them in terms of land being sold or a construction contract awarded, or even by taking political credit. Sure, there usually is some manner of public good served in most developments, but don’t think for a minute that that was the primary motive of the people who pushed to make them happen.
There’s usually a downside also. Progress by these same groups has led to a rundown city center that gets constant criticism about the need for renovation and renewal. Many of the downtown property owners, both past and present, have been lead factors in developments along the Horner Blvd corridor and in the Tramway area. There are many empty and woefully underused buildings downtown. Yet there is constant growth out along the byways, why? Take a short drive along South Horner Blvd. or down Route 1 and take notice of the number of empty store fronts, while there are even more being built, Why is that? It isn’t because someone isn’t benefiting, otherwise that zoning, planning, and building permits would never have been issued. Schools have been built and discarded over the decades, often with no clear plan other than to build anew every 20 or so years. There are discarded neighborhoods throughout the City of Sanford, yet there is constant building of new developments on the fringes of the city waiting to be annexed, why is that? Someone benefited by it.
The LEED-PAC chooses to attack Commissioner Womack and others like him, because they have had the nerve to question the reasonableness of ongoing local developments? That questioning has made him a bit of a pariah. But take a minute to see who people of the LEED-PAC really are and who has put up the money for its newspaper blitz against Commissioner Womack and his so-called militia, and the answers to the earlier questions of why things are answered by the same who’s that benefited from those actions. Few things in this world happen without a discernable cause or purpose. The LEED-PAC exists to maintain the status quo in Lee County. These shadowy figures support politicians and policies aimed at maintaining their apple cart a certain way so that they are the direct beneficiaries from the contents of the cart. LEED-PAC does truly exist for the people of Lee County, but only a select few.