Quite exhausted after two full days of it, this morning I awoke refreshed and thought I would highlight a few things about the people who are in on this fight for keeping a "little piece of the pie" in rural North Florida rural. Being an old Army guy, I always look to the great movie "Band of Brothers" and its story as an inspiration for giving me the strength to get involved in tough issues. And while I know that I am just one very small cog in a gigantic wheel, I know that we can't complain if we don't voice our opinions. You can't have a good program if it turns out to be win-win for some and a win-lose for others. That's not economic development; it's economic disaster.
I know that many people couldn't attend the meetings over I-75 relief during the daytime due to work commitments, but the outpouring of support on line and through people I talk to is extremely gratifying. And then, of course, there is the "Band of Brothers" or, in this case, mostly the "Band of Sisters" who do make it to the daytime meetings. They bring their hearts and souls as they try to salvage some of Old Florida from the development push that wants the entire United States to become a cookie cutter land primarily owned and operated by huge money interests. It was never meant to be that way and I'm sure our Founding Fathers have been rolling over in their graves many times.
I can't remember all who have been there with me, both in Crystal River Monday and/or at the Alachua County Admin. Bldg. yesterday to keep the drive alive, but here's the best I can do. These are down to earth good people who have taken time off during the work week or, if retired, have been willing to get up early and drive long distances to show their concern for what big business and government so often does in a vacuum. Included are:
The wonderful and brave ladies from Citrus County who lit the fire at the opening of comments, the ladies from Melrose who were very encouraging, Commissioner Larry Harvey from Putnam for attending, and of course a few gentlemen and ladies from both places that I don't know; Frank and Susan Morey, Judy Etzler, Dave Mathia, Kristen Young, the group from Micanopy, and about four others that I either didn't know or I have missed. I certainly don't mean to slight anyone who stood for we, the little people against a crony-capitalist effort. Whether you are listed or not, what you have done by being there is important and it was duly noted by both bodies, unfortunately, not in a positive way by most of the State Task Force (but not all) but with great impact on the Alachua County Commissioners. And I say that to all of them for their 5-0 vote to carefully go over things and come up with a county position rather than just roll over for the State of Florida.
We've just begun. This journey will be a long and arduous one, but we are having an impact and the numbers now paying attention are growing. So thanks to my good friends in the "Band of Brothers and Sisters" as we fight a different kind of war. Remember, the war story that I opened with had the unit surrounded without food and running low on ammunition. If they could do it, surely we can muster the energy when we get to go home to a warm and cozy home each night.
I'll update this story routinely as the process unfolds. In the meantime, God bless you all.