The other day, I was approached by a man who is simultaneously a nice enough guy and a world-class crank. He lives out toward the western end of the county and we hang out very occasionally. When we do, he insists upon talking local politics. The only thing he’s more passionate about is his golf.
During our conversation the other day, he informed of the duplicitous underbelly of the proposed local baseball stadium. “It’s not about building a baseball stadium,” he warned. “It’s about the coal on the other side of the highway. Some local developer is trying to get at those properties because of what’s underneath, either to mine it or maybe to frack it. Mark my words. You can’t trust these developers.”
I had no idea what he’s talking about. I have no idea how building a baseball stadium on one side of the highway is going to free up properties (potentially properties laden with either coal or natural gas) on the other. I’m also baffled that a man who spent his life in the coalmines, a man considerably to my right politically (like, way, way to my right) is suddenly suspicious of local developers and extraction industries.
All of that said though? I believe him. Not necessarily on the specifics of the details, because I can’t work out how the entire conspiracy functions, but because of that final comment, “You can’t trust developers.” He forgot to include the part about not being able to trust local politicians either.
The plan to build the baseball stadiums involves locals paying higher taxes to underwrite the construction of this stadium. Predictably, the locals who have turned out at meetings to discuss this plan have rightly been suspicious of who it benefits and how. Local politicians have scoffed at such concerns, because that’s what they do.
Time and time and time again, developers in this county have willfully and egregiously mislead us about what they’re going to do and how they’re going to develop it. The only people who ever believe these people are the ones we empower with our local political responsibility. In the face of unrealistic assurances that local citizens repeatedly disbelieve, local politicians are forever saying, “Why of course the McCoy 6 developers are going to build a mini-downtown on Falling Run Road and of course we should give them loans of all sorts to help them deliver upon their vision!”
To put that another way, I’ve got two choices: I can believe the people who grumble quietly to themselves about the lies or I can believe the people who repeatedly spout the lies. I can’t easily do both. So for the time being, I’ll assume that nefarious business is afoot in Granville, that somebody we don’t yet know about is going to get obscenely wealthy as a result of this baseball field’s construction, that the greatness of the baseball field as it is currently conceived will never actually be achieved, and that the entire game is rigged to benefit particular individuals at the expense of the rest of us.